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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 story.

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.


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