I have a lot to say. Life is large and full of things to talk about, but writing doesn’t much happen as well or often as it should…. Or, in my case lately, there’s a lot of anger leaking out around the edges that I’d prefer to start letting go of before opening my mouth on with certain subjects.
Instead I want to talk about joy. I want to talk about something I’ve been mulling over in my head for a few weeks now.
I’ve been pretty open about being a solitary Pagan. I didn’t mesh well with the locals in Iowa, which isn’t to say anything bad about the community there, but I just never felt particularly welcome there for some reason. I think it was an extension of generally not feeling welcome in Iowa as a whole despite growing up there. I’m not above thinking I wasn’t coming at it at a completely open mind myself, but I feel like there was a definite lack of either side meeting in the middle.
But honestly? I was at it as a Pagan for over a decade in Iowa, and despite having a friend or two who were of various Pagan faiths, I never really felt particularly compelled to be part of the community. Maybe coming from it now at a different stage in my life would give me a new perspective, but I’m no longer there to test out this theory. I’m somewhere different now: mentally, spiritually, and physically.
For the first few years of living in Missouri, I’ve been working through my faith. I’ve been met with illness and motherhood. I’ve spent a lot of time reading and evaluating what I believe. I deepened my relationship with Apollon and renewed my vows to him (Both of which I’ve been very quiet about up until this point, but I will return to shortly in another post).
I am Pagan. I am Polytheist. I am Roman. I am American… I am everything and nothing. It’s wonderful and glorious.
One thing I’ve realized lately is that I am not an island. With a call to ministry, it’s probably more than a little amusing that up until this point I have been so solitary, except I think maybe this time has been spent evaluating myself as deeply as one can. I’ve lived the Maxim of Know Thyself, and while I will continue to live it, it was time for me to reach out.
On Facebook, I mentioned that I was wishing I had a local community. And much to my shock, some of my local friends started mentioning they had Earth-centered leanings…
Suddenly I was curious… What did the local Pagans look like? What were they into? Did I already know them?
So I did what any rational socially anxious Matrona would do… I packed up my mother and daughter, and I went to Pagan Pride.
Mid-Missouri Pagan Pride, by the way, is a nice little gathering. I didn’t get a chance to go to any workshops like I wanted to do, but it looked like a nice mix of subjects and faiths represented. The local artisans are quite skilled and make beautiful pieces of art. The local stores have a nice collection of books for those not up to their elbows in an ancient civilization. My daughter enjoyed the music, and had she been just a bit older would have loved the activity table and face painting.
I’m not sure if my mind was more open that day; maybe I’ve been working on not rejecting others before they can reject me… Maybe, but I like to imagine that the Pagans of Central Missouri are a better fit for me. This area of the state is where my roots hail from; the land is undoubtedly in my blood. The Missouri River calls to me. This is my home.
I was getting the push to go to Pagan Pride. I felt a great sense that I was supposed to be meeting at least one person there. It didn’t happen. I volunteered to work the divination tent next year anyway.
I guess my swing further into the Cultus Deorum Romanium (or at least the study of it) has alienated me in a way, because I felt this weird mix of not having anything in common with anyone and excitement that I’d found my people. I hadn’t been in the company of another of the Roman persuasion since 2001, and back then I was decidedly not a cultor myself.
But I knew I was selling myself short, because I am still really socially anxious. I didn’t talk to too many people. I understood that I didn’t make any connections because that part of my brain said, “Relax, Meganne, I’ve got this” and then proceeded to flip the eff out and dump copious amounts of adrenaline into my body. (Note to self: Make the socially anxious part of the brain sit in the back seat next time.)
Anyway, I decided to reach out again. This time I asked on Facebook in the local alliance group if there was anyone even remotely close to what I practice. I didn’t expect anything.
The gods are laughing at me. Seriously. I almost immediately got a response from another person who is a Gallo-Roman polytheist, which is where my gut tells me I’m going to end up myself eventually. We’ve been out for tea. It was awesome! I’m doing my best to not wax on for 5 paragraphs about how awesome it was, because I’m afraid of being creepy. Seriously. I have not been this excited since… Well, I don’t even know when.
While we’re at it, you should read his blog.
So allow to me encourage my fellow hermit-types out there to reach out. If it doesn’t work the first time reach out again. And again. And maybe again. Eventually you’re going to find someone you have things in common with out there.
We cannot build the community we want for ourselves without being involved in the community. That is something the last year has taught me. If I dream of temples built on the ground called the United States (and I do, I so very, very much do), I have to gather the community about me that will support such an undertaking. Even if that wasn’t the case, the human experience calls out to be shared and nurtured in a family of chosen kindred spirits.
The gods are patient, kind, and good. They are amazing.
They have to be to put up with me.
And as a side note, Mid-Missouri Pagans who may or may not be reading this… I genuinely and with all of my heart look forward to meeting more of you as soon as I can. Even if I struggle making eye contact.