Big Rowan Ackison (greensh) wrote,
Big Rowan Ackison
greensh

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The Pagan Community

What is the role of the pagan community? This was a question asked on one of the LJ groups I belong to. It’s an interesting question, one that I’ve been exploring during the past half year. I’ll give a big answer here, using Dictionary.com to lay the groundwork for definitions...

Noun. Community:
1. a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.
2. a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually prec. by the): the business community; the community of scholars.

Ok... a community shares common characteristics and is perceived or perceiving itself as distinct from the larger society. Now for the pagan part.

Noun. Pagan:

1. one of a people or community observing a polytheistic religion, as the ancient Romans and Greeks.
2. a person who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim.
3. an irreligious or hedonistic person.

This covers the gamut of possibilities. So many possibilities. Personally, I've hung with spiritual, the irreligious and the hedonistic. They’ve all been pagan to some degree. The largest "umbrella" of common characteristics and distinction is that of pagans are not being Christian, Jew or Muslim. From there, the global pagan community immediately splinters into smaller pagan communities. It is in these smaller communities that the party pagans, the neo-witchcraft pagans, the shamanic pagans, the druidic pagans, the norse pagans, the strega pagans, the furry pagans, the otherkin pagans, the BTW pagans, the goth pagans, the discordant pagans, the satanic pagans, and many many more, hang out. The smaller communities have even more specific communities and so on.

So what is the role of the "pagan community"? The biggest umbrella of paganism will give you shelter and comfort from the Abrahamic religions, but that's about it. In the larger pagan community you'll be prosecuted there if you're different enough. The true refuge for the individual pagan is in the smaller tribes within the omnibus "pagan community". What does these niches of paganism give a person? You'll find companionship, validation, and a place to be.
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