Last week I presented the question of Pagan solidarity. Does it exist? Should it exist? What is the impact and evolution of such a concept? Generally speaking, it is widely accepted that Pagan solidarity, in some form, is vital for both the protection and continued growth of the non-traditional religions that fall under the Pagan umbrella.
Last week, I reported on the Atlanta Pagan community’s wreath project. As explained, the wreath’s purpose is to build a sense of solidarity for that Pagan community. Following the post, several readers launched into a discussion that probed the very nature and meaning of Pagan solidarity. As one reader asked, “What is the purpose?”
Additionally, readers explored the concept of solitary solidarity. Can such a thing exist? Or, as one reader put it, is the concept of the solitary group “oxymoronic?”
These are serious sociological questions that, in exploring, could help to define modern Pagan practice as it expands and diversifies.
In this modern, transient, and digitally-driven world, we find ourselves frequently discussing the meaning, development, make-up or even the apparent death of “community.” For Pagans, this can be a particularly profound discussion due to the incredible diversity in our faith and practice. How do we develop and nurture a positive and lasting Pagan solidarity across differences in belief and tradition? In Atlanta, the answer has come in the form of a wreath. In the spring of 2012, Lady Charissa, senior priestess of North Georgia Solitaries (NGS), began a community wreath project that has now been going for over nine months. She explains:
The idea behind [the wreath] is for people, groups, or covens to add a ribbon to the wreath symbolizing how connected we all are. We are connected to the people we like and work with; connected to the people we’ve never met, connected to the people that we don’t care for.
It’s been an oft-repeated assertion that during tough economic times the church pews fill up. In a recent Newsweek article economist Daniel Hungerman suggested this phenomenon is more due to a yearning for “interconnectedness” than with the popular “no atheists in foxholes” theory. Economics writer Ryan Avent thinks it all comes down to cheap entertainment. But does this pervasive truism of increased religious attendance during hard times apply to modern Pagan faiths? What happens when there is no “pew” to casually fill when times are tough?