What does community mean to you? Is it a place of magic? A gathering of like-minded people with a single goal? A place to get taken care of? A place to belong? Singing and drumming around the fire? Doing good work with others?
Come closer. I will tell you my vision. It is a vision of the present, and a vision of the future. All time is now, and magic is here, so everything is possible. The moment is reality. We breathe together, and the vision opens:
You have studied, and danced the spiral many times. You have walked the pathways of sun and moon. You have been guided, and rebelled a time or two. Slowly, you come to recognize your power, the power you’ve always been told was within you. Still, you study. You work. You play. You practice. Eventually, you come into your own work. You recognize the rhythm of the divine heart within your animal body. We stand and cheer. We celebrate your beauty and your power. You teach us what you know. We dance awhile to the beating of your drum. If others are called to similar work, they will join you, forming a coalition that creates something beautiful, that does meaningful work together, that is of help to all involved and to the rest of us.
Meanwhile, she makes her music and he writes his epic stories. She sits high amongst the branches to save a patch of forest. He campaigns for clean water. She teaches. He plants a garden. They come together to leap the fires in spring and to gather canned goods for the food bank come the autumn. This is community, this coming together and this moving apart. Nothing is static, the rising and falling belongs to a living, breathing, being.
Why does this image come to light so seldom? Why are we so worried about jockeying for position, and fighting over scraps? My answer: because, as communities, we are afraid of autonomous power. We seek to uphold the status quo. Her unique expression may rock the carefully balanced boat. His deep study is seen to take away from what the group needs in the moment. Anything different becomes a threat. We fight for what we have, instead of reaching for what we can become. We tear each other down instead of supporting someone else’s rise.
There is no need for this. Here is the secret: if we all have power, there is no need to fight for scraps. If each has a role to play, there is no need to jockey for position. The quiet bring in listening. The noisy bring in liveliness. Some grind incense and others teach our children. We can all be equal, but this means we cannot be equivalent. Every biosphere needs diversity and the ways of magic are no different. Not any one of us holds the fabric, but each holds a vital thread. Your thread does not trump mine, nor mine, yours. What is this fabric? It is the fabric of the Limitless Divine. God Herself flows in each thread, and we color these with our lives.
Community does not mean we all do the same thing. Community is not about who gets the biggest role in ritual. Community, for me, is what I have with my best peers. It is something we’ve been hard pressed to learn ourselves, after many years of our own squabbles and power plays. We finally reached a point where we went off by ourselves for awhile to discover our deeper talents and interests. We sought the magic that welled up from within, rather than always seeking the magic outside. We would come together periodically, to toast the longest night, or dance up the spring flowers. But mostly, we studied, practiced, and prayed. And now we are strong and beautiful. We each have something valuable to share.
I celebrate my friends: the artist, the dream-worker, the medium, my friend who helps heal sexual wounds, she who priestesses the dying, he who teaches. I toast my friends: the mystic, the poet, the singer and she who dances down the Gods. This is my community. These are my peers.
We all still seek out teaching. We celebrate together. We eat and laugh and raise a glass of wine. We do our work apart. We ask for help during the planting of something new, and we share the gifts of our harvest, knowing that there is plenty to go around.
This, for me, is community.
What do you wish for yours?
- guest posted by T. Thorn Coyle