[This is a guest post by Brendan Myers. Brendan Myers, Ph.D, is the author of eight books on environmentalism, ethics and social justice, and spirituality. He has taught philosophy at six different universities in Canada and in Europe, and provided policy research for the Government of Canada, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, and various private clients. His work has been featured by the Pacific Business & Law Institute, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, as well as numerous cultural societies, environmental groups, interfaith groups, and humanist societies around the world. And he’s a decent songwriter too.]
About a year ago, I was attending a semi-private gathering of pagans in eastern Ontario, Canada. One of the people there was an atheist and we were talking about why she enjoys attending pagan events.
Today is Easter/Pasha/Resurrection Sunday, when it is said that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. Rather than give a barrage of “how pagan is Easter” type stories, I thought I’d leave you with a few non-Easter related links to look over today when you’re not busy finding eggs, eating candy, or dressing up like a witch. The Ganges in New York: The New York Times reports on how Hindus near Jamaica Bay in Queens, New York have turned the body of water into a local Ganges, a place to leave offerings for a variety of rituals. The problem is that the large number of offerings are disturbing the local habitat and creating an eyesore for park officials. “We call it the Ganges,” one pilgrim, Madan Padarat, said as he finished his prayers.
Pagan Community Notes is a companion to my usual Pagan News of Note, a series more focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. I want to reinforce the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So lets get started! Creating a Coalition: Peter Dybing, National First Officer, Covenant of the Goddess, who recently led a successful effort to raise 30,000 dollars for Doctors Without Borders, proposes the formation of a “Pagan Relief Services Coalition” that would respond to the needs of Pagans in times of disaster.
[The following is guest post from Brendan Myers. Brendan Myers, Ph.D., is a Canadian philosophy professor, a winner of OBOD’s Mount Haemus award for research in Druidry, and the author of “The Other Side of Virtue”, “Loneliness and Revelation”, and other titles. Find him (and his books) on the web at brendanmyers.net.]
The recent interruption to Jason’s blog service, and the generosity of the movement which raised for him the money to pay his increased costs within a single day, got me thinking about volunteerism and community building in the pagan movement. What does it mean to ‘build’ community? Probably the simplest and broadest answer is this: to build a community is to create and sustain relationships between people.
[The following is a guest post from Brendan Myers, Ph.D. Brendan is a professor of philosophy at Heritage College CÉGEP in Gatineau, Quebec, and sometimes an instructor at the Cherry Hill Seminary. He is a winner of OBOD’s prestigious Mount Haemus Award for professional research in Druidry, a founder of the Order of the White Oak, and the author of five books including “The Other Side of Virtue” and “A Pagan Testament”. I’ve invited him to write a bit about the themes in his latest book: “Loneliness and Revelation: A Study of the Sacred”.]
Paganism can be described as a religion of relationships. We speak of magical correspondences, apprenticeships with teachers and mentors, therapy work with counselors or magical healers, initiatory group membership, relations with a totem or a patron deity, and ecological relations from local landscapes to the global biosphere. Some of our best known writers and leaders also emphasize relationships in their metaphysics: Starhawk, for instance, wrote that “the primary principle of magic is connection”.