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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Pagan institutions
In Support of our own: understanding Unitarian Universalist Idealization

"Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals."  -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Last year this time I responded to an essay written by John Michael Greer titled, "A Bad Case of Methodist Envy:  Copying Christian models of clergy is a Pagan dead end."  His essay argued against the notion of payed professional clergy and my response was to argue in favor of professional clergy -- at least having the option of professional clergy.  In this essay it is my hope to build upon the ideas I shared in last year's essay but also share further reflections on the subject of the evolving nature of Paganism in general and Pagan clergy in particular.

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  • Jenni West
    Jenni West says #
    What benefit does a clergy based hierarchy provide for such a belief system? It opens the door to abuse of power and canonization
  • David Oliver Kling
    David Oliver Kling says #
    Jenni, there have always been clergy within the Pagan movement and there has always been abuse of power within the community by so
  • Jenni West
    Jenni West says #
    With all due respect, if Paganism becomes clergy based, I will slip further from the public path.
  • David Oliver Kling
    David Oliver Kling says #
    Paganism has had clergy in both antiquity and in our modern world; therefore, I don't understand what you mean.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Ageism and Pagan Institutions

I always wondered what it must have been like to be a part of the early church, to meet the apostles, to see this little tribe of misfit disciples grow into a religion. I often wished I could travel back in time, just to get a glimpse of the excitement, the challenges, the rawness of a growing fledgling religion. I thought I would never know, but then I became a Witch.


It’s not that I discovered a spell for time travel. But I joined a young religion with old roots in which many founders of traditions and elders are still among us. And sadly I have been seeing eulogies on The Wild Hunt for elders I had just met or was hoping to meet some day. Our founders are aging and dying and a new generation is bringing different interpretations and ways of being Pagan. While we are culturally different, some of the letters that comprise the New Testament of the Christian Bible were written a a time when early Christianity found itself at similar crossroads.

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  • Wendy WIlson
    Wendy WIlson says #
    While I like the idea... many of us may not have all those skills. I am good at creating rituals and leading them... preaching is
  • Amanda Morris
    Amanda Morris says #
    "And yes, I want to see paid clergy, but not for imposing rituals on us, preaching or instilling doctrine. Leading ritual, preachi
  • Wendy WIlson
    Wendy WIlson says #
    I create 8 rituals a year and my first priority is to minimize my talking and actions, while maximizing the other participants' in
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    And yet we already have them and continue to build then. I wonder if it is also a question of definitions. I haven't heard any out
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    "Institutions are scary. The very word produces a knee-jerk reaction in many of us." yes this indeed!
Pantheon Foundation: building 21st Century Pagan infrastructure

When talk is not enough, it is time to build.

This month, with the Claremont Conference on Contemporary Paganism and PantheaCon, I’m taking the month off from my regular blog post to announce the formation of a new Pagan service organization: the Pantheon Foundation.

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  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Hi Sam. Looking at your web materials the initial organization appears to be very heavily focused on CA/Bay Area leadership and m
  • Sam Webster
    Sam Webster says #
    Thanks, Graybeard. Yes, most of us are Bay Area and Jason of The Wild Hunt is in Eugene Oregon, but that aside, you are right on b
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    So, Sam. Does that mean you are starting out by excluding all the pagans who have different views on so-called "social justice" a
  • Sam Webster
    Sam Webster says #
    Not sure what you mean, Graybeard. One person's radical is another's passe. However our goal is to help with specifically Pagan re
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    I hope it works out Sam. May the Lord and Lady guide your path.
Pagans (mostly) like the idea of credit unions

As 2013 was winding down, I put out a call for indebted Pagans who would be willing to be interviewed as I began exploring our relationship with debt.  One brave Heathen, Melanie Swaim, was willing to do so, and the post I wrote after we talked blew the doors off the Witches and Pagans Facebook page, garnering (at last count) 1,137 likes and 162 comments.  I'm told it was, to date, the most liked post on the page for this site.  That deserves some serious unpacking.

First things first:  I took one idea from the many which came out of my conversation with Ms Swaim, and ran with it:  that she had to seek out guidance and support for her financial challenges in a religious community other than her own, because hers does not have that type of infrastructure.  To be clear, I interpreted this is simply an observable fact, not an incrimination of Heathens in any way.  Most, if not all, Pagan religions have a fierce independent streak running through them.  Anecdotally, it seems that individual responsibility is a more important value across Paganism than even community. 

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  • Kveldrefr
    Kveldrefr says #
    I would think that part of the issue regarding credit unions in particular is that many Pagans make a virtue of poverty, taking pr
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    I've heard of virtuous poverty (but not the term, did you coin it, Kveldrefr?) so often that it feels like it must be true, but I
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Credit unions belong to the depositors, a.k.a. members. Allowing Christian depositors allows them to vote for the Board of Direct
Financial support in the Pagan community

There has been some wonderful online discourse about the role of institutions in modern Paganism.  There are those who believe the price -- of leaving behind our counterculture roots -- would be too high.  Others believe that this is the only path to a mature religious movement, and still others propose solutions that include both.  I believe it's important to include the idea of financial institutions in this dialogue.

I'm not necessarily talking about banks and credit unions, although nothing is off the table.  While Pagans are frequently loving, giving people, our community lacks any institutional ways to support one another financially.  A credit union would certainly fit part of that bill, but not every problem can be solved with a loan.  Each of us face challenges and opportunities that could look very different with a bit more money:  wardrobe for a new job, affordable day care, credit counseling, even basic money management skills.  These challenges are quite effectively addressed by some religious communities.  Should they be in ours?

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  • Carl Neal
    Carl Neal says #
    Once again you have explained my feelings in a more eloquent way than I could have. I agree with this wholeheartedly. "Instituti

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