The root of community is the word commune which means - To converse together with sympathy and confidence; to interchange sentiments or feelings; to take counsel. [1913 Webster]. It also can mean to think; to reflect; to meditate. [1913 Webster]. These definitions truly describes our lives together. So it seems people in a community have chosen an incredibly difficult path. It is a path of openness and a way which exposes our deepest feelings. We can be hurt very easily and yet we are also open to a deep level of healing.
We should also be deeply aware that our community is a tangible expression of the relationship between each of us and our Gods. We try to express within our daily life, that deep reliance and receptiveness to our Gods with our fellow members and the world at large.
Paganism in general is a very personally focused path. Each person doing their own thing and there is really nothing wrong with this, but it is only part of the picture. There has to be a place to show what a fully functioning community can be like. The world at the present time holds individuality and selfishness up as ideals. This is then supported and under pinned by scaremongering and isolationist ideas. We are told in many ways it is every man/woman for themselves. Look after number 1. It is all unhealthy competition and fear. This is the complete opposite of what a community actually should be.
Part of our work and mission is to challenge this mindset and show what a real community can be like.
Nobody is saying that this path is an easy option or that everyday will be a perfect joy. This is just not possible. We have chosen the path of healing and most healing begins with pain. We accept this and understand this and yet we still choose to do it. Are we crazy??? Who knows? St Francis always said his brothers had to be fools for God. Maybe we are walking a similar path?
Often people in the world criticise would be monastics by saying how can shutting yourself away be of benefit to society. Well I am here to say and demonstrate that we are of immense value as we hold up to critical scrutiny what a community can actually be like. Not that we ever actually shut ourselves away. Our path is one of action in the world
A true community is a place which breeds confidence, trust, and openness. It is the home of deep reflection and meditation. It the place to receive wise council and support. How much greater could our lives be if more of us were willing to go through the pain and the growth of actually being in communion with each other????