Being presently involved with several
magickal and pagan groups and their various projects and goals, I thought
that a parable might be fun to introduce into the mix. The definition
of a parable is a story told to illustrate a point and we oldsters are
prone to telling them, frequently inadvertantly. I know, I know, not another
tale of the "good old days". Well, I don't know about the "good" part, but the social climate was a bit different as well as some of the
physical environment. The flow of personal social interaction hasn't changed
much except in the details like the people involved. Anyway, on to the
In the 1950's and into the middle 1960's the drive-in restaurant phenomena
was in full swing in Southern California. Because the area has generally
pleasant weather all year around the trend lasted over a decade. I still
can't watch "American Graffiti" without feeling a twinge of
nostalgia. In 1957 I was introduced to a smaller neighborhood drive-in
located in Downey called Ritchies. This became a place to meet friends,
acquaintances, and new people to exchange gossip, make dates, and plan
parties as well as show off your car and get something to eat and drink.
It was a place to make connections and one could drop by there any night
of the week and meet people he or she knew. In this environment a core
group of about thirty to forty people came into being.
The "group" as it came to be known had no formal organization
and the glue that held it together was various levels of friendship combined
with a sense of mutual interests. Out of this arose an ethic that "The
Group takes care of its own". This wasn't verbalized much, but it
was consistantly practiced. If one was out of work somebody in the Group
was going to take you in until you got it together. I recall an instance
where a girl in the group became pregnant by a well know rock star of
the time. A few of us got together and one of the other girls in the group
volunteered to take her in. The rest of us would chip in for food and
stuff from time to time. The Group maintained her for six months until
she could support herself again. In the middle sixties it began to drift
apart as people married or moved away. Still, to this day I am in contact
with some of them. The most common contact is an informal joke list which
probably is as it should be.
What has this got to do with our pagan community? Well, within this very
informal structure there was an underlying sense of combined purpose.
Along with this was emphasis on strengths and a pride in the accomplishments
of the individual "members." These turned out to be many and
diverse. In the forty years that have gone by I have yet to hear one of
"The Group" express a regret about being part of it. The very
reliable sense of mutual support is something worthy of instilling in
the pagan community. Then there is the communication thing. Back then
most of it was face to face. Having that happen on a more regular basis
in our community probably wouldn't hurt either.
"How do I make this happen?" Most of us meet in public places
like festivals held on public land, the local park, or our own homes.
There is another venue to consider, though. This is the neighborhood coffee
house. I have two of them within a short walk of my home. In fact I have
even taught classes at them a few times. Interestingly enough the proprietors
of both places are aware of what we represent and welcome us quite readily.
In a lot of ways this replaces the drive-in I wrote about in so much as
I frequently run into members of my group at one or the other. Its a great
place just to lean back and engage in general conversation. One of these
places has become a regular meeting place for several like minded groups
mostly because it keeps very late hours as well as having a cool atmosphere.
In closing I might add if you are a magick user you can make it happen.
Considered action usually pays off in the desired results and being creative
is the majority of what we are about. Being alone for the most part is
a matter of personal choice.