Ahh Community. Pagan buzzword.
I suck at it. When you are a big time introvert, who doesn’t like new situations, it just doesn’t happen. I got removed from the pagan meetup group last week for an inactive membership. I actually liked that group — I just could rarely go to meetings, and when I could, the discussion topic wasn’t something I was interested in.
I may go back eventually. I liked them after all. But it’s very tough to be around people who don’t get the concept that your paganism and my paganism are kind of different. Having to explain that no, I don’t follow the wheel of the year and hard and soft polytheism is exhausting. When I have time, money and inclination, I’ll head back. They were fun people.
Online, however, I have a different view. My pagan community is vast online. I went to Washington State to meet a large group of people from the US and Ireland that I had been conversing with. A wide variety of mostly pagan or “ethnic” beliefs, we called it ReCon. I met them all through GaiaOnline, and I swear we were all above the age of 21 when we got together. This is where my first real pagan community was formed, and these are some of my best friends and confidants. I run one of the largest pagan guilds on the website and while we aren’t always so active, we pride ourselves on quality. And I have a small group of people on LJ and Dreamwidth that I would consider part of my pagan community, not to mention the hodgepodge of Hellenic email lists, and QuakerPagan, an area that I’m starting to look into.
I do think that community is important, but everyone has their own level of involvement in it. I don’t participate much in pagan community, and even on the lists I’m quiet and prefer to lurk.
On the other hand, I’m very involved in other communities — I try, with the dance studio I go to, to build a bellydance community in Bloomington. I’m active in Belegarth locally and occasionally nationally and my desire to build community there is growing. Perhaps as I get older and we put down roots rather than tentatively renting, I’ll put effort into the town again, like I did with my parents.