A long, lazy Sunday morning spent w/ my circle discussing where we go from here.
Several of our members have received promotions that, especially in DC, have meant moving out-of-town. And, so, as happy as we are for them, we've been vaguely trying to add some new members, but also thinking about who/what we want to add.
I think in the future, the whole notion of "creating community" will become an academic field, a profession. Community used to simply mean the place where you lived. Now, it means something different, but no one is sure what. How do you create viable communities in today's world? How do the right people find each other and create enough time in otherwise busy lives to actually do the "work" of creating community, even when that work means just clearing time on your calendar to spend lazy Sunday mornings chatting?
I think of the Eschaton
community, where this week, two members of the community got engaged and even those of us who'd never "met" them, in real time, were happy and excited or where two members of the community recently had a baby and all of us were happy and felt involved. But what if someone who regularly shows up at Eschaton stops coming? No one's likely to call them up and ask what's wrong. Not too long ago, there was a thread where we listed the people we remembered who used to show up that we hadn't seen in a while. A form of mourning? How is it different when we're trying to create community in the "real" world?
My circle is confronting ourselves. What do we want from each other? How much do we want it? What if someone's life takes them in a direction where they can't regularly "be there"? How, and I'll say "especially" in a group of women, do we confront that w/o causing hurt feelings? Most of us agree; you can't be a magical community if you regularly have a "hole" in the circle. But the reality of life for most women in Washington, D.C. is an overcommitted calendar, a Blackberry-full of obligations, a life that's very, very busy. Getting from the gym, to work, to Whole Foods to buy food for the week, to a political action meeting, to spending family time, to being a witch -- there's no time for sleep. How do you create a "college of priestesses" in the middle of that? We all need it; we need it to be there for us. The issue we're dealing with is --how do we do that? What are we willing to give up in our busy lives in order to have it?
We spent some time today trying to figure out if there are logistical ways to make it all easier for us. That runs the gamut from deciding that for mid-week Full Moons maybe we'll send out for dinner instead of doing potluck, to considering -- horrors for a feminist group that believes in a lack of hierarchy -- assigning certain jobs to certain people, at least for a four-month rotation, to, again, horrors, always having rituals at only one or two homes. It also involves deeply spiritual questions. What kind of magic do we want to do? How much pre-ritual magical time are we willing to spend in order to make the rituals "work"? Are we all willing to do political magic or should that be a subgroup? Do we all seriously believe that a witch who cannot hex cannot heal? If we believe it, how and when will we hex as a group?
Long story, long. We decided that we've been unfocused; we need a several month period of focused meditation and magical working and then a day-long retreat before we think about bringing in new members to replace those who've moved away. We need, no surprise for a magical community, to do magic.
I came home and planted some black hollyhock
seedlings and some black violet
seedlings. Call it, not in a very far-fetched way, "grounding" -- the witch's most important tool
. And then, I sat in the sun in the corner of my yard that's the shady, woodland garden part of the yard, and did what witches do. I sank my roots deep into the wet, hummusy ground and pulled energy up from Mother Earth. I called the quarters, North, South, East, and West/Earth, Fire, Air, and Water, and cast a circle. I called upon Hecate and Diana and Amataresu. I did the Ha prayer and directed energy out into the universe to create the community that we need to have, to call the new members that we'll, eventually, want to have join us. I thanked the energies of the four quarters. I opened the circle.
It's a strange time to be adding to a circle of witches in Washington, D.C. Women with real careers in this town are concerned about being outed as witches. It makes it difficult to, for example, advertise our open meetings where we'd like to meet potential new members. On the other hand, there are more public rituals than ever before and, for many people, that's enough. They can show up at the Radical Faeries
and/or Connect DC
public rituals, practice the rest of the time as what witches call "solitaries," and that's all they need.
It's, as Bush would say, hard work. It's hard work being in community, fostering community, taking responsibility for growing community. It's never easy. But, for me, at least, it's always necessary, it's always important, it's always worth the effort. I am who I am because I am a member of my circle. I need these women. I need this circle. I need to learn whatever it is that I'll learn by working on fostering this community.
This is my will. So mote it be.