Pagan/Polytheist Social Club

In years past, there have been many discussions regarding the idea of creating permanent space for Pagans. Often, the idea comes up that we should have our own temples like our ancient polytheistic predecessors. I know it’s something I’ve even mentioned that I wanted to see. 

 

For various reasons, I don’t see this working out currently. Many Pagans and polytheists have their shrine and practice their religion in the privacy of their own home. There’s not really a need for many folks to have permanent ritual space elsewhere.

 

Additionally, we’re just far too diverse of a community. The religion of a Heathen differs massively from the religion of a Celtic reconstructionist. Both differ massively from Wiccans.

How does one decide what a permanent ritual space should look like or function like?

 

What I think is a better model is the idea of a social club for Pagans or polytheists.

 

Social clubs seem a bit outdated now but they were immensely popular in my grandparents’ and parents’ generation. They’re clubs that are open to members only. Sometimes (as in the case of the Freemasons) they have their own rituals and culture.

 

Others are oriented towards ethnicities (the Ancient Order of the Hibernians) or religions (Knights of Columbus, Jaycees) or community service (Elks, Eagles, Moose, etc.) Some are for veterans (the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars). They often include a lot of charity work but also function as a place to meet and socialize with people of similar values.

 

So my idea is a social or service club for Pagans and polytheists of all varieties, regardless of political affiliation. Perhaps best started in major cities, these can function as meeting places around the country for people like us.

 

No need for rituals or passwords or secret handshakes or robes to be a member.  You pay a yearly membership fee and you’re a member, giving you rights to use the space and access the bar. Additionally, it gives you the right to visit all branches of the organization in various cities.

 

Each will have a hall which is available for rental by members for public rituals or parties. Or perhaps the hall can be rented by Pagan authors or musicians for touring. There can be space for classes for Pagan 101 type classes.

 

There can be a “Witches Ball” type celebration yearly around Samhain for the Wiccan types.

 

There can be programs for kids. There can and should be family-friendly events.

 

A library of books and resources for people.

 

If people want to run events celebrating a holiday either closed to the members or open to the public, they can do so.

 

If you’re a Heathen and you want to run Heathen rituals, you can do. Maybe some can even have some land out back for outdoor rituals.

 

If you’re a Hellenic polytheist (or any other type of polytheist) and you want to educate other Pagans or polytheists about Hellenic polytheism, you can do so. If you have enough people interested, you can do rituals for the various holidays.

 

The club can do various charity work in the area based on what members decide is important. Though I do think there should be an effort to be politically neutral. These clubs cannot be allowed to be whites-only or straights-only. Or even feminists only.

 

I think there should also be attempts to keep it from becoming Wiccan-centric as many Pagan communities are.

 

Each club should have a pub-type area where people can socialize. (Where legal, people can share their home-brewed mead. Maybe we can even have brewing classes.)


There can be monthly potlucks as well for people to eat together.

 

Due to our differences in religion, a temple itself seems like an unrealistic idea. But a social club can bring us together and allow us to have some sort of space where we can be ourselves and network with people like ourselves in a community.

 

Granted, this idea isn’t going to be for everyone. Some people really have no desire to interact with others. That’s OK. But as our religion grows and gets older and more mature, I think we need to focus on building some sort of community despite our differences.

 

So what’s wrong with this idea? Money, first of all. Convincing Pagans to spend money on any sort of infrastructure is difficult. Many Pagans do not have money to spare and those that do perhaps are not interested in such an idea.

 

Then, there’s the possibility of drama and gossip. This isn’t something specific to Pagans, of course, but it definitely occurs once Pagans get together in large groups. If a club becomes too Wiccan-centric, which is liable to happen due to Wiccans being the largest Pagan religion, then it’s likely that non-Wiccans won’t have much of an interest in joining. Particularly polytheists. If it becomes too much of any one thing (say, Heathen), it’s likely to not attract people outside of that in-group.

 

Having Pagans and polytheists get together without politics getting in the way is going to be a challenge, especially in today’s politically-charged climate. While the club will be open to both conservative Heathens and feminist Goddess-worshippers, what happens if the conservative Heathen is folkish and does not believe in allowing non-whites into their rituals? Or a TERF (trans-exclusive radical feminist) that does not believe in allowing trans women into female-only full-moon Dianic rituals?

How will it work to have individuals that believe in strict traditional gender roles (such as males being ‘manly’ mix with Feri types that believe strongly in flouting traditional gender and are often openly queer?

 

These are issues that will have to be dealt with.

 

Right now, it’s just an idea borne out of my frustration of not having a Pagan/polytheist community outside of the Internet. Perhaps it’s something others are interested in as well.

~ by sacredblasphemies on 06/21/2017.

5 Responses to “Pagan/Polytheist Social Club”

  1. It’s a great idea!

  2. It is absolutely an interesting idea! Also one that has popped up in my mind – I’ve more than once wondered if I should try and start up something similar here in my home town. Perhaps one day?

  3. There have been several pagan community centers that have formed and subsequently disbanded after lack of support, one here in the Twin Cities, and we have one of the largest Pagan communities in the country. Part of the problem being how scattered people are, I’m glad I’m able to drive now as most druid groups that have formed here have been in further out suburbs. I’m not saying its a bad idea, I think it would fill many needs, however it seems there needs to be more social cohesion before we could do that. It also seems as if we have more introverts & former abuse sufferers than the general population. (Not to conflate the two- just two groups that are less prone to well, want to be in groups!) For myself, I’m thinking of trying to do more with the local Irish community, the Irish fair did let us do a ritual there, so I am feeling more optimistic about doing more with them. I often have trouble figuring out when & where it’s appropriate to share my faith, particularly among GLBT folks, it’s like no, you’re good my religion has no hegemonic power to oppress you 😉

  4. This is a good idea if you can get enough community support. Unfortunately, many of the groups described would not actually mesh well together.

  5. There are some existing groups (though much more narrow) like Hellenion who cater specifically to Hellenic Polytheists, operating on much the same system you’re describing. There’s a yearly membership fee and then access to all of the group resources as well as community features, etc. So basically what I’m saying is, the structure works! I would be interested to see how this could work with a group of open-minded, multi-faith polytheists 🙂

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