Book Release: Pagan Leadership Anthology

PaganLeadershipAnthologyCover_finalI’m very excited to announce the release of the Pagan Leadership Anthology. Taylor Ellwood invited me to co-edit this anthology with him almost two years ago, and it has finally come to fruition! Helping grow more resources for Pagan leaders is a passion of mine, and this anthology is priceless for all the collected wisdom it offers from many different leaders, many different traditions, and many different perspectives. Continue reading

Pagan Infrastructure: Fundraising Challenges We Face

4502486_xlIt’s probably pretty obvious that I’m in support of Pagan infrastructure, whether that’s seminary/clergy training, leadership training, physical sacred land, or other Pagan organizations.

My own 5-10-year plan is to have land of my own outside of Chicago; a seminary/monastery/temple/farm/cooperative living space. I want to help offer leadership training to Pagans who are looking for that, as well as have self-sustaining land.

But there’s a few challenges to building that infrastructure, and to fundraising for that. Some challenges are easier to overcome than others.

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Abusive Leaders, Grooming, and Seduction

AA022583Over on Pagan Activist blog, I just posted about Sex, Ethics, and Paganism, talking about what it is to be sex positive, and what isn’t sex positive. I ended up with way more than I could fit into one blog post, so I wanted to call out some of the specific techniques that Pagans (specifically, group leaders and teachers) sometimes use that get people wrapped up in sexually nonconsensual situations.

This isn’t just about Pagan community, either–this happens in all sorts of subcultures and small groups where people are afraid to speak up once they realize they’ve been abused. It gets tricky, because these situations sometimes can feel consensual at the time. Continue reading

Stand Up

EdwinHowlandBlashfield-TheAngelwithTheFlamingSword1893LargeIt simply boils down to this. Either you can let your civil rights be taken away inch by inch, or you can stand up. Standing up is hard. When an abuser “, grooms” us they take, inch by inch, our rights. We’d never put up with the end-game right off the bat. But trample a right here, bend a rule there, and eventually we’re living in George Orwell’s 1984.

It’s not to say that a lot of protestors and activists aren’t dumbasses. Some are, and if you’ve watched the streaming videos of the protests you’ve probably seen a few. Some have so much rage and anger and rebellion boiling up inside of them, they are so incensed at the encroachment on our rights, they get angry and they make stupid decisions. And it’s not to say that the protests are always well-organized. There’s not always an overarching strategy on what “winning” looks like, which can make it frustrating to engage. I have found myself frustrated with this.

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How do we pay for all this? Memberships, Tithing, and Pagans

7060151_xxlHow do we pay for the functions of a community organization and services to members? How do we pay for regular classes, clergy, a community center?

I wrote this after reading a conversation among some of the organizers for NIPA, the Northern Illinois Pagan Alliance. They’ve been working for years to bring their local community together and offer services, and doing a great job. And they’re having the conversation many Pagan communities are having.

How do we pay for all this, and how do we make it sustainable?

I’m so excited to see the work that NIPA is doing. There are Pagans all over the country who have no place to go for various reasons, and helping Pagans in one area to have a place to connect and find “home” is such important work. Continue reading

Pagan Community: Why Are Pagans Dissatisfied?

5161195_xxlWhy do so many Pagans end up avoiding Pagan community? Why do so many Pagans speak out very vocally about how they are now solitary, or even about why they left the Pagan community? Every time I teach Pagan leadership classes, I hear the same things from participants, the same patterns, over and over.

A consistent one is, “Why do we build things and then they fall apart?” People also bring up leadership burnout, the constant frustration of wondering why more Pagans don’t come out to events much less volunteer to help out more, among many other complaints.

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Pagan Elders, Healthy Community Structures

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One of the things I’m passionate about is finding workable models of Pagan community. Overall, I hear a lot of Pagans complain about community. I hear the same old stories–Pagans can’t get along, it’s like herding cats, leaders always burn out, witch wars….etc, etc.

And yet I’ve seen healthy Pagan communities.

I believe that the thing that holds us back is both our communal “story” that Pagans can’t work together, as well as a lack of a workable structure. Pagans sometimes shy away from words like structure, but the trick is, there are structures that don’t limit what you can believe or how you practice, spiritually.

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