Ah, Community.

street musician 1
There’s apparently another brouhaha brewing around the issue of crowd funding. I haven’t been following it and don’t plan to beyond this post. For the most part, I don’t care one way or another. I mean, if you support someone’s call for help, great. Go and donate. If not, don’t donate. My understanding,however, is that there was some criticism of a colleague who was asking for help funding a religious pilgrimage that he plans to take in honor of Arianrhod.

My two cents on the whole thing is this: it’s not a new practice to engage the entire community in funding of this sort. If I looked hard enough, I could find numerous examples from antiquity through the early modern period of a community pulling together to help one of their own in religious endeavors.

The benefits to the community are many. For one thing, assistance of this sort can be done as an active votive offering to the Deity in question. For another, it allows the entire community to take part in a sacred pilgrimage. We don’t talk much about pilgrimages in contemporary polytheism, but they can be a tremendously powerful journey. I’ve gone on four in my life, three for ancestors and one for certain of my Gods and they’ve been life changing. Moreover, in many cases, the one going on the journey takes the offerings and prayers and petitions of his or her community along, delivering them to the sacred areas of the Deity or ancestors in question. He or she becomes a messenger of the sacred.

The community then benefits from the renewed spiritual and devotional connection of the journeyer when he returns, bringing the blessings of the Deity, Deities, or dead with him. He in turn is renewed and hopefully re-inspired in his sacred work. The person planning the pilgrimage for Arianrhod is a poet, a very, very holy role in Irish and Welsh tradition. Such a journey, with the support of the community, is not at all in breach of these traditions. Nor is what is the modern equivalent of busking. I think coming together to help our people reach their spiritual goals – particularly when we have been the recipient of their work, be it art, writing, music, leadership, etc.–has value as a means of building a cohesive community too.

Now I don’t support any pan-pagan measures such as those touted by Sam Webster over at the wildhunt. It all too often seems to me in such ventures that the Gods are an afterthought and it’s just another attempt to make socializing the central pagan experience. I don’t think this is right. I do however, think that it is important to build cohesive community ties. If we don’t support each other, who else is going to do it? I will do just about anything to see our polytheistic traditions well rooted and flourishing today, and part of that means investing in the spiritual devotion of our members.

(the image above is my work, titled “Street Musician, New Orleans 2013).

About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on October 29, 2014, in Polytheism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Is that a painting or a filtered photograph? Either way it’s a beautiful image, but if that’s a painting….. holy moly. (And I agree with 95% of the writing here, as well.)

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  2. ah gods, i WISH i could paint that well. lol. It’s a photograph heavily filtered. I took it on a cold december day in NOLA last year. I did ask the man’s permission and gave him a donation. His music was wistful and heartrending.

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