Monk and I got together today for some lunch and a chat. We did some general catching up since he's been out of town and we discussed some of the stuff that we're mutually involved in.
I hadn't been able to go out to the prison with him last week and there has been a change in chaplains there. The new chaplain is insisting that all pagan groups must meet and practice together. At McNeil, there is a Wiccan group, which Monk and I volunteer for, and an Asatru group. The Asatru and Wiccan groups met together at one point but there was enough mutual friction and differences in belief and practice that they no longer meet together and have been separate groups for a while. The chaplain there wants them to meet together again, which is an all around bad idea. The Department of Corrections for the State does recognize them as separate faiths so it isn't clear where all of this is coming from. It will need to be addressed though.
I'm aware that some of you reading this have various levels of association or involvement with these people or OLOTEAS. I'm not wishing to be critical of your involvement with them or even your friendship. This is just something that I, personally, have felt for a while and which has been bugging me. Various people have their own reasons for doing public ritual and being involved in groups and I do realize that my viewpoint is hardly universal and my opinions are biased.
I've felt for a long time that there should be another choice, another venue, for public pagan activities. Some place that people can go and not necessarily feel like the group is catering to the lowest denominator but which still maintains a public space. Monk and I were discussing this today and agree that it would be possible for a fairly small but somewhat dedicated and experienced group of people to do this. He's going to investigate a possibility or two for meeting space and organizational affilitation but I'm pretty interested in doing this and getting the ball rolling. The provisional plan is to get a small core of interested parties to help this get off the ground and to focus, initially, on doing only the Full Moons in a pretty Wiccan sense. Leave the Sabbats out of it for now and stay focused on a regular, monthly cycle of ritual work. This would allow us to focus on a useful and somewhat unified liturgy and build a base around it and then see what people are really interested in doing and attending beyond that.
If anyone reading this is interested in such a thing or knows someone that is, please e-mail me. Also, I'm interested in any approach people have used for regular public rituals that has really worked well for them.
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