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Charming the Plough

I was chatting with some friends about the discussions about Pagan leadership. There's a conference planned for hard polytheists, and Shauna Aura Knight is writing a series on community building that's good reading (and thanks to Jo for pointing it out to me!). I'm really happy that constructive dialogue is starting up, and I hope that it yields community building and infrastructure in the Pagan and Heathen communities. When I think about my own strengths and weaknesses as a priestess/gythia, and what I'd like to leave as a legacy to my community twenty or fifty years from now, I don't want bickering with monotheists, or other Pagans to be that legacy. I'd like to build a support system for our faith.

Some of that comes from my background as a teacher and speech path; one of the goals in working for ChildFind was to assess both child and family's needs and connect them to government and private resources that would help them improve their lives. What we deeply need, IMO, is the same kind of training and access to resources, because when people seek spiritual counseling and connection, they're often hurting and in need of healing. I am not a healer, but I can help direct someone to the type of healer that they need. Of course, this type of work involves knowing yourself (and oh Gods, we talk about that alllll the time, but HOW do you know yourself?) - that's heavy duty metacognitive work. Just to pick on myself a moment, because modeling often helps people figure out their own processes:

Knowledgeable about the resources in my area (public and private)
Have articulated personal monastic/ministerial ethics, ideals, and goals

Disorganized, particularly in physical space
Difficulty adhering to structure
Trust issues post stalking Crap at self-care
Tend to work myself into (temporary) uselessness , and this is a special kind of stupid because of my health issues

I tend to hyperfocus and that can be both good and bad, so I'd consider that a draw. I also acknowledge that hyperfocus is part of what leads me into overwork.

Self-care is often conflated with some sort of selfishness, particularly when it's associated with Deity relationships. No, it is not all about us, but can we at least acknowledge that if we don't take care of ourselves, we most certainly can't give our Deities our best? The times when I haven't self-cared enough are the times that I resent my responsibilities the most.

So what does all that have to do with Disting and the Charming of the Plow? Well, the CotP is about blessing the tools that help you grow the seeds you're planting. As a community, and as individuals, what sort of seeds do we want to nurture in ourselves? What sort of community do we want to build? What do we want to offer our Gods that is of lasting value?

I can't offer Loki perfection, and it's not even something He'd want, because He considers it arbitrary, and as such is nonexistent, but I can offer Him love. Not just the devotional love that I give as a wife, but the type that helps people grow. It's change, and He is the God of Change. Not all changes have to be bad, and we can nurture the seeds of positive change this Disting season.

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Lokean nun, writer, swamp witch. Heather is a Pagan monastic, writer, editor, and mother. She has written and edited for a variety of publications and social media, including science journals, romance novels, and technology blogs. She also holds degrees in education and speech-language pathology, and has a passion for historical linguistics.


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