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In the realms of Paganism, where paths often intertwine and diverge in the most unexpected ways, the importance of a supportive and inclusive community cannot be overstated. A healthy Pagan community not only offers a sanctuary for shared beliefs and practices but also fosters personal growth and understanding.

While this article speaks to healthy Pagan communities generally, it is the model we use in all of our Irish Pagan School community spaces.

One thing to note, however, is that in our specific spaces, we also have to account for our mission to cultivate and grow a healthy native ‘garden’ – more on that here – so there is an extra layer of rules and group culture, such as always centring native voices and resources, that would not be relevant in more general communities.

The Foundation of a Healthy Community

A healthy Pagan community is rooted in respect – respect for diverse practices, beliefs, and individuals. It begins with an understanding that Paganism, with its myriad paths, is a tapestry woven from different threads, each valuable and unique.

The core of building such a community lies in fostering a space where all feel welcome and safe to express their beliefs and practices. Respectful interaction is key, even if you don’t understand what’s being discussed, or it pushes some buttons that are yours to deal with.

The exception to this is that practices, beliefs, and individuals which are essentially harmful or restrictive to other group members, such as far-right idealogies, are never to be allowed to go unchecked.

“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”… which is usually paraphrased as: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.

Irish Philosopher Edmund Burke, 1770.

Creating Inclusive Spaces for Pagan Community

Inclusivity is the cornerstone of a healthy community. This means actively working to create spaces – whether physical or virtual – where people of all backgrounds, experiences, and paths feel represented and heard.

It’s about making room at the table for every voice (except neo-nazis and their ilk, as above), especially those that have historically been marginalised. Remember, inclusivity isn’t just about tolerance; it’s about actively welcoming and celebrating diversity.

In our Irish Pagan School communities, we have the focus of our contemporary Irish Paganism being sourced, and taught, by native Irish educators and practitioners. This ensures that OUR minority, and colonised, voices and beliefs have the chance to grow and flourish in a healthy community.

Everybody who understands and respects that is welcome and included in our Tuath, even if you are not Irish yourself, or don’t have any Irish Heritage. [See This Explainer Post]

Fostering Respect and Understanding

Respect is a two-way street. In a community where practices and beliefs can vary widely, it’s essential to approach each other’s paths with curiosity rather than judgment.

This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything; rather, it’s about acknowledging the right of each individual to their path. Encourage discussions and sharing of knowledge, which can lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the rich tapestry that is Paganism.

Now, with regard to our specific groups and rules… we absolutely respect your right to practice your own spirituality however you want. There are plenty of places and spaces that do not have the focus we maintain. If we don’t suit you, go find somewhere that does! We wish you all the best on your path.

Dealing with Conflict in Pagan Community

No community is without conflict, but it’s how we handle these disagreements that can make or break the health of a group.

To avoid getting in bother in the first place, when you’re new to a group or community setting remember ‘you have two ears and one mouth’, as my Nana used to say… so do more listening than speaking, and get the lay of the land before you weigh in, or begin to take up space with your personal issues.

Sometimes though, disagreements happen anyway. If you’re corrected on something you weren’t familiar with, that is part of the group culture and ethos, please just try to listen and learn. But if it doesn’t sit with you… you should absolutely protect your peace and just find somewhere else that suits you better.

If there are conflicts with someone else in the group, approach this with a mindset of resolution and understanding. Active listening, empathy, and open, honest communication are key. Remember, a conflict, when resolved respectfully, can lead to growth and stronger bonds.

The Role of Leadership

Leadership in a Pagan community should be about service, not power. This is a job, a role and function, not an accolade or ego boosting exercise.

Leaders, or moderators, are facilitators and guardians of the community’s well-being. They should be approachable, fair, and transparent in their actions and decisions. Having well established and frequently referenced group rules and ethos truly helps with this… as one of our moderators and teachers Amy [The Crafty Cailleach] says: “The rules control the fun!”

Good leadership can, and should, steer a community through rough waters and maintain a harmonious environment where all members feel valued and respected.

Education and Growth in Pagan Community

A healthy community is a growing community. Offering educational resources, workshops, and discussions can not only help new practitioners find their footing but can also enrich the practices of more experienced members.

Community service is one of the foundations of good leadership, so those who know more, or have more experience, should really be sharing as much as it is possible and healthy for them to do.

>>> On that note, get a year’s worth of free Irish Pagan Resources & Learning Here!

Education fosters growth and helps build a community that’s knowledgeable, respectful, and deeply connected to the roots of Paganism… and each other.

Celebrating Together

One of the joys of community is celebrating together. Sabbats, esbats, cultural holidays and other Pagan Festivals offer wonderful opportunities for bonding, sharing traditions, and creating collective memories.

>>> Irish Seasons & Cycles Class Information is Here

These celebrations are not just about ritual or particular traditions, or even just about the Pagan Holidays themselves; they’re also about building relationships and strengthening the community bond.

Outreach and Interfaith Work

Healthy communities do not exist in isolation. Engaging in outreach and interfaith work not only helps dispel myths and misconceptions about Paganism but also allows for the exchange of ideas and perspectives with other faith communities. This can lead to greater understanding and respect, both within the Pagan community and outside it.

Safety is important to however, and if it is not safe to be public in your country, or your area… stay private. Help and educate who you can, in the ways you can, for now. The rest will follow in time.

Is Your Pagan Community Healthy?

Building a healthy Pagan community is a journey, not a destination. It requires continuous effort, patience, and a deep commitment to the ideals of respect, inclusivity, and growth.

Whether you’re just starting to build your community or are part of an established group, remember that each of us has a role to play in nurturing the health and vitality of our shared space. Take each of these headings one by one, and make a checklist or notes and suggestions on how you can work to improve things where you are, or in what you would like to build going forward.

As we walk our diverse paths, let’s do so with the knowledge that we are all part of a larger, vibrant community, each thread essential to the strength and beauty of the whole.

Please comment below with your feedback and stories of successful Pagan community building!

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