This is part two of four of a series on physical infrastructure in the Pagan community. In this blog post I am focusing on Pagan bookstores and related businesses. For the sake of transparency and disclosure, I'll say that I am the co-owner of a metaphysical bookstore (Bell, Book, & Candle in Dover, De) so I do have a personal interest in this matter. I will also say that it is a labor of love and that there are any number of other ways that I could make a better living with much less work. If my partner Jim, did not have a good job with benefits, I would never have considered a metaphysical store as a reasonable option for myself. This is an artifact of the often strained relationship that the Pagan community has with money and finances. The ambivalence and misgivings related to money and material goods within our community will be a continuing thread throughout this series of blogs.
This is the beginning of a four part series on physical infrastructure in the Pagan community. Although there are many types of infrastructure that deserve discussion, I'll focus on three types in my next blog posts that I think have the greatest importance and greatest urgency at this fork in the road. I will be talking about:
Rites of passage are one of the most durable building blocks in the creation of community.They are also among the most underutilized. I was encouraged in my last post to continue exploring the ways in which we build strong organizations and community. Lasting growth comes from both momentum and inertia. I love ideas, perhaps as much as I love people, but this is not necessarily the case for others. For me, a cause is often enough motivation to persist in my efforts. Even if there is agreement about the goals and the visions of a group, the implementation of those in the real world often generates conflicts born out of a variety of sources. The stresses of conflict can bring about a loss of commitment, a loss of coherence, and perhaps a loss of membership. The uncertainties of the way forward can also sap energy that is needed to pursue collective goals.
It is the weight and the mass of accumulated emotional memory that acts as the flywheel, the gyroscope, and the driver that allows us to push past temporary distress. It is a fairly popular idea to think of loving relationships as consisting not only of the individuals, but also of that meta-being that is the summation of the partners. The same idea can be applied to groups and organizations. In the case of organizations and groups we have to plan for the creation of a common pool of emotional memory. Communal history helps to hold us together and rites of passage help to write the history into our hearts and minds.