Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blue Moon Celebrations

Every full moon for about 5 years (with a short restructuring hiatus last year), I have been having an open celebration. A time and space for people I know and some I don't to come together and be. At first I did it on the Full Moon exactly, regardless of which day of the week it fell on. After several years it grew stale and I called an end to it. I tried a straight salon structure, trying to make it more about the commerce of ideas and inspiration rather than pure fellowship, but that was too focused. I finally settled on the current template, which is the Saturday before the Full Moon but flexible about holidays, with the extended hours of the salon to make it more accessible for people with kids, and a loose combination of salon and fellowship. We have now added a Marketplace for crafters in the community to share their wares and for giveaways to get distributed into the community first before getting dropped off at the thrift store.

I have this down to a science. It takes an hour or less for setup and maybe a half hour for clean up. I have built an email invite list of about 70 people, and the celebrations average 20-30 people in actual attendance. I always hope to see new faces and meet cool new people, and that has happened with every celebration for the past 6 months or more.

But I am skipping Blue Moon, which is today, the 31st. Today is the second Full Moon in the month of December, making it a Blue Moon. It is also a lunar eclipse and the Conventional Calendar's New Years Eve. Currently Mercury is in retrograde, as is Mars. It is a big day astrologically.

Normally I would have a huge celebration, try to get everyone to come out. But I do not want to fight for New Years (I myself will be attending two shindigs with two different circles of friends) and I did just have my own personal holiday party a couple days after Yule, which was less than 3 weeks from the first Dec Moon. That's a lot of celebrations. And I tend to take a rather Mayan view of these last days of the year. For them, there were 5 dead days at the end of their year to round out their calendar. On those days, you were supposed to lay low and hope the gods didn't notice you.

I like that thought. These are some of the darkest, least structured, most mysterious days and nights of the year, even for modern Christian society. For me, they are about contemplating what I want and envision for the coming year and coming to terms with what just happened in the passing year. I will acknowledge the Conventional New Year and the Blue Moon by celebrating with my friends, and the Mayan calendar by resting and being contemplative (and not having my own celebration).

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Case for a Pagan Time Bank

I did a good bit of research on Time Banks early last year as I was developing a plan for an alternative currency in my neighborhood. I preferred a fiat currency for that plan, but read up on everything before I chose that option. (FYI, it didn't go anywhere, but it might someday...sing along, now: Sooomme-daaaay....)

A Time Bank is basically a way to trade hours of labor where all hours of labor are valued exactly the same. It is non-taxable and by its nature values labor that has been un- or under-valued by the market. It builds wealth and interpersonal connections in the community, and functions best with 50-150 people.

I have recently been pondering the fact that pagans in this part of the country are poorer than pagans elsewhere, and that we are also poorer than the surrounding community. I think a big part of this is the fact that we do not have a culture of financial support, largely because we are small and scattered. We are factional based on geography, ideology, and interpersonal conflicts. I think that if we can shortcut these divisions by focusing not on how we are all different (and we are all quite individuals in our pagan practice), but on how we can support each other economically, then we can build community spirit and wealth.

My first step is to develop talking points in order to best explain what a Time Bank is and how and why I think it will be of benefit. The next step will be to initiate conversations with the members of the pagan community closest to me, see how they go, and ask them for referrals to other contacts. I will also make sure to survey their level of commitment/excitement.

Now to go refresh myself on the salient facts.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New focus

I have deleted my previous posts (which no one ever read anyway) and am repurposing this blog to something hopefully a bit more sustainable. This will now be an account of what I am working on and how it is moving along, any issues I have stumbled into, thoughts and reflections on it, etc.

I am a busy, busy person with several projects set to hit as of the new year. The agenda as it stands now, just before we move into 2010:

  • build consensus for a time bank in the local pagan community
  • initiate first discussions about the potential uses and benefits of incorporating a pagan church in the community. I think a Grove Temple to serve as an umbrella for the local Circles and Solitaries would be good, but we shall see how the discussions go.
  • I have volunteered for the Steering Committee of the local Transition group, which should be interesting. It is not 100% core to my values, but is close enough to be worth pursuing and see how it works out. I am concerned that the Transition movement is too focused on evangelizing people to the cult of the Peak Oil Apocalypse when really the solutions that come out of the Transition process are all win-wins that should be easy to sell, but it may just be a generational bias on my part.
  • Help plan our pagan wedding this May
  • Work on the whole baby-making process (I want a sign for the bedroom door: Making Babies, Do Not Disturb).
  • Move to and set up a new community household, this one being more baby focused/centered and probably a good bit more cooperative, especially regarding finances.
  • Continue to build my Energy Healing Practice
  • Continue in my Dark Moon Circle
  • Continue to hold celebrations of the Full Moons
  • Continue to make space for my physical healing
POSSIBILITIES (given time, space, spoons, and inspiration)
  • Revive Red Tent events/Pleasure work
  • Co-teach the updated Cakes for the Queen of Heaven Curriculum
  • Co-Host and plan Open Space Event/Crossroads Gathering
I think that is enough, honestly. Feels like a lot. It also feels like not enough, but I am highly prone to overambition. I can admit this.