Reinvention?12 Dec 2012
As you can see, pagandharma.org seems to be alive again.
While the domain never lapsed, the website was taken down during 2011. This was because I was finding myself (Al) uninspired to write much and Catherine, the other main contributor, got busy doing some kind of doctoral work and teaching martial arts (obviously, she's a slacker).
Once again, I find myself thinking about the interrelationship, at least for me, between my cultural paganism (along with associated pagan ideas, praxis, etc.) and the Dharma, that is, Buddhism. Is there a relationship, even if only in theme and direction for me, personally? It is a good question.
I've never been a great fit for the Buddhist community. I don't speak in platitudes and still seem to be a difficult and potentially troubled soul. That said, I didn't always fit well within paganism but I find, over time, that I fit more there than it turns out I did elsewhere.
Recently, I attended the "Feast of the Mighty" here in Oakland. You can follow the link to the blog post on it if you'd like. One thing I said in the post was the following:
We attended and it was… interesting. Rebecca added to the altar when we arrived. I found the ritual activities moving but also very familiar. I spent a lot of time at various points over the years in the kind of social and ritual environment in which this ritual took place. The delineating of sacred space, the calling of the ancestors, the reciting of old tales, and the seeking of light from the dead, ritually, as well as the act of eating and drinking with and in remembrance of the dead were all familiar and moving as well. This is the kind of ritual that I don't see within the Buddhist communities I function within. While most of my Buddhist activities are done as a solitary, without a local community but a more distributed one, even those that do have a local community really don't seem to do things of this sort. This aspect of community and celebratory religion really is missing from most forms of Western Buddhism, whether Zen or otherwise. It does bring home elements of what I lost when I explicitly turned my back on sixteen or so years of being a Neopagan. Once upon a time, I helped lead a kindred that did exactl this sort of ritual, though in a more Germanic vein. It does tend to seem very familiar (moreso than the Catholicism of my youth, even). That said, I'm as theistically challenged as ever so I'm probably not going to become a Morrigan worshipper.
It was a good way to remember our dead and the fact that they are never really gone from us, even though they are no longer with us in other ways.
Again and again, this sort of feeling is driven home, even though I really don't even know what the pagan community is like anymore, especially since I moved states from Washington to California since the last time I was involved, seven or more years ago.
Anyway, no simple answers here but the site is back up. Perhaps there will be more posts to come.