It’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.
One of my great regrets as a Pagan organizer is that when I run an event, I’m often asking people to present or perform for free. Granted–I’m often presenting for free myself. But I still feel that people offering up a professional skill should be paid for their work.
Yet, I know how much most regular Pagan events pull in financially. I know that an event without a big name will probably bring in just enough to pay expenses.
On the other hand, I meet a lot of people, including Pagan organizers, that assume that any Pagan should offer their skills and talents for free, and I’m not ok with that. But how do we negotiate the gray area on this?
Should Pagan teachers charge? How are we going to pay for all the Pagan events and initiatives out there? I see those questions come up a lot. I also see some Pagans viciously attack anyone who charges for classes or events.
Context is important, and I’d offer that there’s a range of what we mean when we say, charging for classes and services.
I charge for what I do. I travel and teach, I host events. There’s a cost–a hard cost (venue rental, gas money) and a soft cost (time).
I charge for readings too. But, I also do rather a lot for free. In fact, most of the time even when I’m charging, I’d say I ultimately end up at a financial loss.
Many Pagan groups have a story, a myth. “Pagans are broke,” Pagans will tell me sagely. And…they are right and they are wrong. I’ve run Pagan events that make money. And, I’ve run Pagan events that didn’t break even.
I’ve posted about Pagans, money, and paying for community events before, but it’s a topic that begs further exploration. As an event planner, and as a traveling teacher, this is quite honestly a maddening process.
“I live in ____, and there are no Pagans around here.” I hear this a lot; either people asking me directly for networking assistance, or just people posting on Facebook or on email lists. In fact, I talk to Pagans all over the country who are sure there are no Pagans nearby to them. They’re often surprised when I rattle off 3 or 4 local groups near them when I live hundreds of miles away.
Hi, I’m Shauna, and I’m a nerd for Pagan networking. See, long ago, I started traveling and teaching.
A lot of the activism that I do is what I would call “everyday activism.” It’s things that you can do in your own life to begin to live in the world you want to be in, change the world around you, by first changing yourself and becoming the person you want to be. Some of this kind of personal transformation work can be very difficult. It’s often just as challenging, if not more challenging, than front-line activism at a protest.
One area that has taken a lot of personal work on my part is around personal boundaries. I’m not necessarily talking about energetic shielding, though that’s tangentially related; I see a lot of Pagans talk about magical shielding practices, but few Pagans who are actually doing the personal growth work to develop healthy boundaries.
It 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.
The recipe for most Pagan groups–and indeed, most small grassroots or activist groups–is, a strong personality with a vision comes forth, puts for the time, effort, and money to get a group started, and recruits (and sometimes strong-arms) friends and like-minded folks into making the effort of the group happen.
Over time, various kinds of volunteers become part of the grassroots organization. There are both unskilled/low motivation volunteers–people who want to help but aren’t sure how–and either highly skilled or highly motivated volunteers who want to get things done.