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Reposting my comment from another blog

December 20, 2013

I tire of the endless rounds of tit for tat.  I used to turn to the internet and fellow bloggers for ideas, knowledge and suggestions on how to manage on my spiritual path.  More and more, I’m turning away because its gotten to the point where trying to figure out fact from opinion is more trouble than it is worth.  I want to have a community but I’m starting to believe the virtual communities are good for little more than debating.  Unfortunately, I live in a small town with no other Pagan or Polytheist nearby.  I’m going to have to learn to be ok with that.  I’m going to have to learn that I have to walk my path alone and learn to get past the loneliness that causes.  For good or for bad, I’m going to have to stop relying on other means for “truth” and trundle ahead, stumbling off the path now and then, praying to get to the right destination with only whatever aid given to me by the gods and their attendants.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 21, 2013 11:33 PM

    Don’t forget the power of the written word :)

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    • December 22, 2013 9:00 AM

      Ok, so I’m pre-coffee, mid-headache…I have no idea what point you are trying to make here. :)

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  2. December 22, 2013 7:33 AM

    it’s true that most ‘communities’ these days are so full of crap it’s barely worth it. i’ve pared WAY back. but it’s still worth it to hang onto the few that are good (and i think the one you run is a stellar example of the Best Of), not just for the ideas and learning, but for community.
    i’ve cycled through literally thousands of purveyors of fluff and ugliness on the ‘net, but lo these decades later i’ve distilled it down a few nuggets of gold.
    khairete
    suz

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    • December 22, 2013 9:11 AM

      Oh Suz, you’ve made my day. While I’ve only relatively recently started following your blog, I always find some wonderful nuggets of truth! I’ve pared back a lot but I have found more and more that I have no desire to read about the latest kerfluffle or any blog that speaks in absolutes.

      I’m not a reconstructionist and I’m not a fluffy…just somewhere in between. My biggest issue is finding a common ground between my scientific background and my beliefs. The latest example would be Helios…knowing the science behind the turn of seasons and such I’m having a harder and harder time honoring the myths and Helios himself because I haven’t been able to find a way to blend the myth and the science to my satisfaction. I’m starting to see the sun as a cog, a tool in the universe but that rather leaves out Helios…

      Ha, comments are really not the place for this meandering thought process but there you go…

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  3. December 26, 2013 9:10 PM

    Like most situations, I definitely think there is a middle way. You don’t have to be Lonely McSolitary all the time, nor do you have to turn to blind sources who happen to have cool URLs or lots of followers for spiritual information. My general advice is to find people whose writing seems to jive with your own sense of the mystical, who sound like they might understand or know some things that you could find useful. Remember that this search might have to take place across platforms – limiting yourself to only WordPress or Tumblr or Facebook might overlook a really great resource.

    I would also suggest that the assessment that there are absolutely zero Pagans or Polytheists in your area might be incorrect. I have lived in giant cities and small rural towns and I’ve usually found *some* co-religionists if I apply myself. They might not be where you expect: some UU churches have Pagan groups; Meetup.com has lots of Pagan meetups, Sci-fi/Fantasy themed events and conferences tend to have Pagans in their midst (including comic book stores). I used to host a Pagan Munch in a diner, and in a Barnes and Nobles. You might have to travel to a larger town or a nearby city to get connected initially, but a few 3 hour drives might surface some dude or dudette who lives 20 minutes away and is willing to chat locally.

    And if none of that turns up anything useful, maybe you could try starting something yourself. Meetup.com is free, and you can just pick a monthly recurring date and see if anyone signs up. You could contact a local college and see if they have or would be interested in a Pagan or Polytheist group. Witchvox.com has a database where you could post a listing. Pick a public place to meet at first, and see who shows up. At most you might be out a cup of coffee and gain a few more chapters in your latest book.

    Another thought is not drinking from only one well. Julie might know a lot about herbology, and John might write excellent inspiring posts about meditation. But if Julie starts going on and on about why Christianity has ruined everything including your preferred brand of toilet paper, or John says dubious things about astrology, remind yourself that you weren’t looking to them for those sorts of things. There are some lambastic bloggers that I find quite inspirational, once I learned how to filter the signal from the noise. I look at the non-relevant posts as background color (if I read them at all), and stay away from commenting or venting if I think they’ve gone around the bend again. Well, try to stay away, anyhow.

    Sometimes you may be lucky enough to find someone who may know very little about what you want to learn, but they *do* know/read a hundred bloggers a day, so they can refer you to someone with the speciality you need. Even when I take on students or mentees, I refer out *often*. I also encourage them to find other teachers/mentors that can show them things I can’t or won’t.

    And honestly, when things go “splooey” over whatever ruffled someone’s feathers this week, I take a break from it entirely (or read it purely for Schadenfreude). I tell myself no one is being their best selves in the midst of an argument, and there are likely things going on in the background I don’t know or understand. I’ve had death threats and other odd reactions come at me privately for something I said, wrote, or did, and although I choose to keep that private, it can sometimes color how I react to similar things online. I give everyone a little slack, especially when these brouhahas happen around stressful times of the year. No, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the “offering” traffic accident happened around Christmas, which is a stressful time even if you don’t celebrate it. People were both stressed, and bored, so it became much easier to rant than it was to create new material. There were some valid points on all sides of that shitstorm, but I think things were elevated far beyond reason.

    Finally, sometimes I look specifically for those who mostly stay out of the Poo Sling of the Week, and go out of my way to comment or reblog posts that might get missed because they aren’t generating the same hit count as Sannion’s latest penis worship session. As a devotee of both Baphomet and Loki, who stand for the outliers, I consider it part of my Job to make sure good stuff doesn’t get overlooked.

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    • December 30, 2013 9:59 AM

      Sorry it has taken me so long to respond. You are right, of course. I should take the middle way and there are blogs I subscribe to and even read when I find the time. Your comment is filled with a lot of wonderful advice, some of which I may even take. :) I do live in a small mountain town rather high in elevation. The next nearest town is anywhere from 30-45 minutes away depending on traffic and weather. This town has maybe 5000 people at any one point, most of which are transients…college kids, tourists and tourist/historical-focused businesses. There is at least ten Christian churches and one Baha’i ( possibly other faiths but I have not seen anything of them). The only two Pagans I knew of moved to another part of the state. I keep hoping to find others… Thanks for commenting and giving me food for thought!

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      • December 30, 2013 10:39 PM

        Unless the local colleges are specifically Christian, there’s a pretty good chance that there might be a Pagan or even a Pagan group there. I’ve found that even though college students are only there for a year or three, some of them are more than happy to escape the “bubble” of campus-only activities. Maybe see if they have a bulletin board you can post a flyer that says “Hey, are you Pagan? Would you like to meet up with other local Pagans and discuss spiritual topics? Please email “emailaddressIjustmadeup@gmail.com” to join our list!” It costs you a piece of paper, ten minutes of labor, and a trip to campus. (Make sure to check if they have rules about posting things related to off-campus activities).

        Good luck, in whatever you choose!

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        • January 1, 2014 12:13 PM

          The local college is a community college but that is a very valid idea to which I will give some thought.

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