A Worldwide Pagan Community & the PSG

So I’ve been home for a few days now and have had a little time to reflect on my time in the USA. Thinking of the Pagan Spirit Gathering I have one overriding impression – that there is a worldwide Pagan community. Some people say that Paganism is so diverse that it has ceased to be anything more than a word to describe a fractured spirituality. That there is nothing that holds it together. But for me that view was proved utterly wrong when I crossed the Atlantic ocean to play music, and offer a couple of talks, to over 900 American Pagans and find that I feel utterly at home – that the rituals, the chants, the viewpoints being discussed, the general vibe of the camp felt just the same as our Anderida camps, and that these also share much with other camps and events that are happening throughout Britain. Maybe it is just that Paganism appeals to people on a spiritual quest, and that after a while their path might lead away from it, so they can continue their Journey elsewhere. I wonder whether those who see Paganism as fractured are just being called away from it, and rather than just open to that new path, they see their old path as broken, rather than their new path as a continuation of their life quest – who knows. Any relationship can end in either co-operation, or anger, and I guess spiritual relationships are no different… So I’ve come away from the PSG feeling a renewed hope, a renewed connection with my own quest, and a revitalised energy to do even more in service of this community I love so much.

The PSG also gave me time to reflect on my appointment as Pendragon of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids. As darkness fell one night I walked to the ritual field to see a massive candlelit Labyrinth. Some people were sitting, just looking at this beautiful thing, whilst others had been called to walk it. I sat for a long time, looking at the spiral path laid out before me. Thinking of it as my own path that, although it has appeared to take sudden twists and turns throughout my life, had been just one path, spiralling, but leading me directly to where I was sitting now. The decisions I’ve made, the changes I’ve undertook; learning to play the guitar, sending off a stamp for the OBOD course, giving up my own company in the Agri-business as I just couldn’t square it with my spiritual beliefs anymore, relationship changes, making friends, and losing some along the way, had all led me to this point, and to taking up the sword for the Order.

The peace of the night was enticing, and so I stood and walked across the threshold into the Labyrinth. Around the outer edge altars had been set up in the four directions, so at each I stopped and made my offerings and prayers. It was a long walk to the centre, with plenty of time to think, to remember, and eventually I came to the centre. Here I sat, soaking up the night, feeling the circling, spiralling people who were either walking into or out from this still point all around me. And there I opened even more and listened.

The Pagan community exists, without doubt. I think it is coming of age and is calling out for a rite of passage. But just as our modern society has abandoned these so we no longer mark when a child becomes a man (other than being able to drink legally), or when a girl becomes a woman, it’s up to us to guide it though this process. After all it is us who are the Pagan community – our spirits make up it’s body. Although we can sometimes see our own bodies as separate from who we are, just a vehicle to carry us around, it is good to recognise that the body, the community, is not separate, and if it is nurtured, honoured and loved, it’ll serve the whole, and the individual.

12 Comments

  1. Paul newman July 6, 2010 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    Nice thoughts, Damh.

    Reality offers us humbling truths in metaphor – indeed if we honour the body, so much falls into place.

    Blessings of insight on your journey as Pendragon and welcome home. πŸ™‚

  2. Justin Patrick Moore July 6, 2010 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    Reading this gives me chills & goosebumps –the good kind that come when Truth is spoken.

  3. Stephen July 6, 2010 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Blessed be Damh!

    It comes as a surprise to me too – that my journey began on the Christian way and has led to the bardic path, and to who knows where in the days to come! Not by leaving Christianity behind or breaking ties, but building on the foundation it’s given me, secure in my love for the Old Ways and the New Way, Creator and Creation, Father God and Mother Earth. It makes me feel so complete – full of joy from God and sharing it with the people of the Goddess.

    “Who would be leader, let him be a bridge.”
    (Bran the Blessed)

  4. Pombagira July 6, 2010 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    you always know the very best things to say/post.

    hmmm.. inspired i say inspired.

    *dances around*

  5. Peter Donovan July 7, 2010 at 2:39 am - Reply

    I have not heard you speak since I left for Peru, though I listen to your music most days, but reading that was like you were sitting next to me. I am so glad you experienced what you did in the US, and I am sure all will benefit back home in Albion.

  6. Jeri Hodges July 7, 2010 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    Reading this almost made me cry, so true. I would have loved to have been there, sounds so beautiful.

  7. Christopher Sutton July 10, 2010 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    Damh,

    I cant say just how fantastic this is, and how I think everyone should not only read this but understand it. This is something I have always thought, and Hope greatly that the pagan community will evolve and come to live to this and leave all this bitch-craft behind.

    Blessed be
    Chris

  8. Maria July 13, 2010 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Great post, thank you.

  9. Odilon July 23, 2010 at 11:18 am - Reply

    Greetings Damh,

    I wish I could have been there. I’d made plans to travel to PSG to see you perform but “stuff” happens and I couldn’t make it…this year. Here’s hoping that you’ll be coming back to the states often!

    Yours is a warm, generous and enquiring spirit and it comes through as clearly in your writing as it does in your music. All the best to you as you take your first steps on the path of Pendragon!

  10. Beth July 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm - Reply

    A lovely experience and thought to share with us. There IS a community, and maybe it is like one of those rivers that splits and braids into many sub-paths along its bed – but still, all the waters are running toward the same sea…

  11. walksalone July 24, 2010 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    A wonderful post, thank you and brightest blessings.

  12. Beltana Spellsinger July 26, 2010 at 6:52 am - Reply

    Damh, I was there at PSG this year… I only got to see the tail end of your performance that night it was at the gathering place with Shibaten, and yet it was stunning… so full of raw energy and real honesty and truth. It was lovely and made me feel so “at home” with the evening and the spirits there. You could just feel the positive energies throughout the campsite. I heard your song at the morning meeting as well, the same day I sang mine, and it was just breathtaking. I cried. It was funny, because I turned to one of the event organizers and said, “Dammit, I told myself I wasn’t going to cry at all this weekend! And now I have to go out there and sing!” I was choked up, to say the least, for the rest of the morning. Thank you for you, for your gift, and for all that you share with the world. I hope to hear more of you soon… perhaps I’ll have to start a Damh CD collection here soon… most of my cd collection consists of pagan friends and fellow musicians, of course, and it feels like it is going “missing” without you! When you come back to the states, please do let me/us know if you are seeking other venues to play. We actually are only about an hour from Camp Zoe, where PSG was! Our home site is at: http://www.wolvenwold.com Love and Light, happiness, health and prosperity to you, musical brother, Beltana Spellsinger

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