Had a wonderful day at the Ottawa Pagan Conference today. While it was more a planning session with the various pagan groups within Ottawa, and less really what I expected as a conference, some wonderful things did come about from it.
Firstly, there is something wonderful to be said when the leaders or representatives of the various paths can come together to report on their groups’ past activities, give a brief look at what is being planned, and, more importantly, discuss common issues and devise ways to deal with them. If the day was spent only doing this then, in my mind, it would be time well spent. But more than that it fostered a wonderful working relationship between the representatives of the various groups…. Heathens, Druids, Witches… all collaborating. It was a very refreshing atmosphere, and one I feel we could use more of.
Also included today was a wonderful talk given on Communication and Community by Marie Francois. She teaches religion and such at the university. I found this talk fascinating. Many of the things we have expressed as a grove were touched upon in her talk through the fundamentals she laid out. At the risk of a long blog entry, I will attempt to capture some of it.
To have effective community in any form, she postulated it requires very key elements:
- Proximity. They either have to live close together or at least have more than sporadic physical interaction with each other. We live and are dying as communities because the physical comradeship has been replaced with electronic messaging, phone calls and the like. This is one of the reasons I feel the ADF made it that all rituals should be open and celebrated. To bring people back together and in person, to reforge the bonds of community that are being lost.
- Continuity. We have to be able to pass on what we know and what we learn. We have to be able to share it with others.
- Custodians. Every one of the community members needs to take responsibility to learn and share the history, myths, and customs. By doing so, we create common language and understanding. Furthermore, it allows the history to be alive and active.
- Common language. As mentioned above… if we don’t understand the metaphors or myths that we work with, or we can’t find commonality, then we can’t communicate effectively
- Common vision. In which direction do you want the community to strive? This also represents the legacy that is passed down.
While I can’t put everything from the talk down into this blog, these are the basic points with which every group, and society in general, should be aligning itself.
My thanks to the organizers of the event. I am also going to include a link (below) to a wonderful group that runs several of the festivals up here in Ottawa. If you happen to be traveling this way, you might want to check out their schedule and see what is being offered.
Raven’s Knoll Special Events Campground – they handle festivals for any and all of the pagan groups up here…. firstname.lastname@example.org or www.ravensknoll.ca