As Pagans, Witches and Wiccans, part of our religion or spirituality (indeed, a major part) is serving the Gods. That means different things to different people. Generally speaking, for someone who is Wiccan it means that we hold to the Rites of our particular Tradition. Our Rites honor the Goddess and the God, turn the Wheel of the Year, and connect us with Them through aligning ourselves with what is happening in the world around us. This might take the form of Sabbat and Esbat celebrations or other devotional Rites.
However, a big part of my personal spiritual practice is community. Specifically, service to the community. I don't understand Witches who say that community service (at least community interaction) is not a part of their practice. Yes, our Rites let us connect with Them but the easiest and most effective way of seeing Them manifest in the world around us to to see Them in the very faces of the like-minded folks in our community. If I can see Them in the people with whom I interact, how could I not serve Them? Seems like a no-brainer for me.
For a number of years, I've been in a state of semi-retirement from teaching the Craft and from actively participating in community events within the greater Boston community. Mostly because I was burnt out due to my perception of "entitled Pagans", bickering about definitions, witch-wars and flame fests. Last year, that began to change with my involvement in the Society of Elder Faiths (the SEF).
Over the past year, I've had the opportunity to attend social events, open Sabbat celebrations, and network with folk who I might not otherwise have met. What was surprising to me was that I was
to coordinate the Befana Yule event, I gained a valuable and renewed perspective and appreciation in regards to community. What I came to realize is that community is more important than I was letting myself believe and experience.
As a direct result of interacting with the SEF community, I have come out of my semi-retirement and am once again participating in community. It was a direct result of positive community interaction that prompted me to start the Sheaves of Demeter and, once again, begin teaching. It was a direct result of positive community interaction that prompted me to attend the Feast of Lights and reconnect with some old friends that I hadn't seen in far too long. It was a direct result of positive community interaction that prompted me to offer my serviced to the SEF as a potential board member to nurture community and grow positive connections with others.
Recently, I was appointed to the Board of the SEF and I am happy to say that I look forward to the coming year (and longer!) where I can offer my services to help nurture such a wonderful community.
If you can afford the time and effort, I would encourage you to become more active in your local community especially if your local community isn't doing what you'd like to see it do or if it is not quite as positive as you would like it to be. Remember, if you want change and a more positive community, YOU need to change it.