There's a second guest post devoted to the topic of Pagan Communities up at the Wild Hunt and, it, too, is worth a read. What's actually more interesting, IMHO, are the comments. There's one sane, brilliant person in every crowd:
And I do think that the Pagan community at large needs, eventually, for there to be groups of Pagans actually living together in close proximity: not just in isolated rural homesteads (As much as that's a wonderful and valid dream to live out for many) but also households and clusters and concentrations in towns and cities, ...I like to think of the word 'enclaves,' ...not for purposes of creating some sort of isolation or 'ghetto,' but just to be able to live more *as* Pagans among a highly-individual-structured society, by sharing some resources, most importantly spaces to tend together, and to really form the interrelated tribe units I think Pagan religion lends itself to.
Often what makes this difficult is not , I think, so much our individualism, but rather that when we try ideas like this, quite often we're *too* ambitious about the level of intimacy and degree of 'intentionality' ...while of course still having to function *as* individuals in an individualistic society: I think what we really need is for there to be stable points among all this rootlessness: I notice the 'Temporary Autonomous Zone' effect we see at extended festivals and the like may take a certain amount of *work,* but not actually a whole lot of contrivance: I think we can trust this process if we don't put too much pressure on it. If more of us live together as neighbors, I think much will follow naturally, though it will take time.
I do think it'd be tremendous if a variety of Pagan folk were to do what the LBGT community did for the Castro in San Fransisco, ...take a blighted urban neighborhood and really adopt it and make it a uniquely Pagan little block or two. ...if the resources were there, I'd love to see about buying up clusters of foreclosed houses, combining yards, sharing as much as comes naturally without making it necessarily about 'leaders' and 'personalities,' ...just little neighborhoods, but ones in which we can relax and live our own sorts of paths. Even a small cluster of such places, in a town of any size, or even one semi-intentional household in town with some 'tenants' can form a sort of 'seed crystal' for a lot more interaction and community that they necessarily seem to be on their own.
I think the solutions may not be to try and 'counteract individualism' so much as to ease up a bit on that and just live with each other. A process which would certainly take time, but very worth doing, I think.
You know, I'm NEVER going to want to share my living space with another human, much less humans, but I'd love to live in the Pagan Castro. And that's actually far more realistic than the notion that we're all (or even that many of us are) going to go from our apartments directly to a big commune in the mountains of South Carolina (NTTIAWWT).
I'll also say that I got a huge, although certainly evil chuckle from this line: I think real community building involving real estate requires a level of psychological maturity that is often missing in "occult" leaning people.
As has been eloquently stated in this forum by others, the "weird body-type / SCA costuming / computer geek / Asperger's contingent" do not tend to respond well to sharing, let alone sacrificing to make social connections viable.
You know that it's true. And I'll admit to at least two of those characteristics.
I'm a woman, a Witch, a mother, a grandmother, an eco-feminist, a gardener, a reader, a writer, and a priestess of the Great Mother Earth. Hecate appears in the
Homeric Ode to Demeter, which tells of Hades who caught Persophone
"up reluctant on his golden car and bare her away lamenting. . . . But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit: only tenderhearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave . . . ."