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Author Topic: Pandemic Paganism  (Read 533 times)

Altair

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Pandemic Paganism
« on: September 10, 2020, 09:00:09 am »
How has the global coronavirus pandemic affected your paganism, if at all? If you do group work, have you been able to continue? Have you adapted these or any other practices in light of COVID-19?

A few observations in my experience, from the silly to the sublime:

--Until she resigned a few weeks ago, a Latina served as NYC's health commissioner and thus was on our TV screens here on a daily basis. Her name? Oxiris Barbot.

Despite a passing familiarity with Latin American culture, I had never heard that name before. I'm assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that it's derived from the Egyptian god Osiris--which I find incredibly cool.

--NY's annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade has been canceled for this year, it was announced yesterday. No big surprise--it joins a long list of large-crowd traditional events canceled since March--but this one has a spiritual dimension for me. Dressing up and taking on a persona of the "other" for the night, and mingling with hordes of adults doing the same, has been a beloved part of my pagan year. What do I do now?--dress up at home by myself? (Suggestions are welcome!)

Less specific is the general sense of a lost summer; so many of the signposts of passing season (the Gay Pride Parade, big 4th of July celebrations, etc.) were eradicated or scaled back. It left me feeling less aware and less engaged with the passage of time.

--Working from home indefinitely means I've spent many hours in my garden when otherwise I would have been behind a desk in an office, and for a nature-based pagan like me, that's a huge boon. The chance to see life thriving around me and a sky above me did wonders to lift my thoughts out of pandemic gloom. And despite an apparent crash in the butterfly population here, I've still seen way more butterflies this summer than any summer before, simply due to the amount of time I've had to keep an eye out for them!

So what has your pagan pandemic experience been like?
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

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Re: Pandemic Paganism
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2020, 04:37:49 pm »
So what has your pagan pandemic experience been like?

It has & it hasn't been affected.

~ Pagan Pride South in August was among all those many events cancelled, and this was the one I found the cancellation of most disappointing as I look forward to it all year.  There's also a Hippies, Fairies & Witches Fayre in February and October, usually, to raise funds for Pagan Pride South -- I missed the February one due to conflicting commitments and now I won't be able to attend the October one either as it's likely to be cancelled.

~ I too share the sense of a lost summer, though for slightly differing reasons -- although we too had our town's gay Pride parade cancelled, which would ordinarily have been the weekend before Pagan Pride South.
I usually get to go out to numerous outdoor LARP events, and one or two other day trips with friends (including Avebury stone circle around the solstice, plus 'wild' swimming or to the beach).  This year our 'LARP' has morphed into a version of tabletop roleplay over Discord & neither Avebury nor the wild swimming/beach have happened (though my friend and I had managed to go to Avebury just before mid-March for the equinox, just prior to lockdown).  No BBQs at friends houses, either.
The closest I've managed to come to making the most of the summer months this year has been to sit out on the lawn communal front lawn on sunny afternoons, which was pleasant at times but not at all the same (at least working from home has meant I could do this the moment I shut my computer down, instead of losing early evening hours to a commute).

~ Working from home, for me, has meant I've actually lost a bit of a connection I formerly had with nature & the passing of the seasons, as I'm not walking to or from the train station and more to the point I'm not observing the landscape from the window of the train as I go about on client visits & to meetings etc in other towns.
Usually in about August time I begin to get this lovely bitter-sweet sense of 'impending' autumn, as the fields become golden and I start to see hay bales dotted about the landscape.  I'd also usually start to observe an autumnal crispness on the air in the mornings, in ordinary circumstances.  I've not had either of these things so far this year.
It's even possible that the leaves will largely do their colour change without my notice if I'm not careful - last year it was glorious, whereas some years there'll be a windstorm and all the leaves come down before they get a chance to change colour, largely.  I'll have to make a point of going out and about, with my mask on hand, as the autumn progresses.

~ I feel I'm surrounded & inundated by people, media channels going on about how everyone's been using the extra time in lockdown to learn new skills, take up new hobbies etc.  I haven't found that I've had any extra time for any of this, not really.
I've admittedly been starting work later in the mornings and consequently having to stay logged on until later in the evenings, until roughly the same time as I'd have been arriving home if commuting on the train.  And lunchtimes have been devoted to doing household chores to save me having to do everything at the weekend -- and yet, I'm still too tired to do much except for watch TV by the time the weekends roll around.

~ Even my get-togethers with my eclectic pagan friend have been impacted, as we were forced to meet on the front lawn (having brought a cup of tea/lunch/whatever from our own homes) -- this meant we could have regular catch up chats, but we had to watch what we were discussing (so, just mundane things) due to being in earshot of my neighbours.  And no meditation by gazing into a candle flame & etc.
But at least we do live close enough that we could do this without fear of being fined by a passing copper.

So yeah, as I said quite early on in lockdown it feels as though 2020 has been something of a 'missed' year (or a missed out on year?) for me.

And yet, we've been keeping safe so that's the main thing, and I've still got some autumn months to make the most of so all is not lost just yet.

Thank you for asking, it actually feels good to be able to express some of this!
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Re: Pandemic Paganism
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2020, 09:39:43 pm »

--Working from home indefinitely means I've spent many hours in my garden when otherwise I would have been behind a desk in an office, and for a nature-based pagan like me, that's a huge boon.
l

We started a garden here. Got sunflowers up over 5' high. Sadly, we completely missed the window for laying in a pumpkin patch. We were gonna put in in the front yard and do a whole patch theme for Hallows... and, with the 'rona, it doesn't look like we'll be having many trick-r-treaters anyways.

It's been really hard to not be a shut-in though, esp with the heat. I get my nature time by spending the evenings on the front porch. I'll watch a show or listen to an audiobook when I should be writing & editing, but either way it's a good time.
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Re: Pandemic Paganism
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2020, 01:37:21 pm »
How has the global coronavirus pandemic affected your paganism, if at all? If you do group work, have you been able to continue? Have you adapted these or any other practices in light of COVID-19?


So, I'm pretty much a homebody anyways...I'm a writer and free-lance captioner, so very much a 'make my own schedule' person too.  No kids at home, though hubby has been off work for several months now, so that took some adjustment.

It's been kind of weird for me.  In a lot of ways, nothing has changed.  I have the exact same personal stuff that I do.  The same writing deadlines, the same working environment (in the sense that I don't have to go to a different place than I am used to).  We weren't super social or what not, so we do miss visiting friends (I would visit mine about every week, and we also met up with another couple a few times a month) but we really weren't the 'go out and do stuff' kind of people (we are 'stay at home and game' kind of people lol).

But, the moments I do leave my house (like for shopping), it's like entering an alien world.  We recently took a trip to the airport and that was surreal.  It's extra jarring I think because my daily life is so unchanged.  And of course, going online, I am inundated with all the crazy the world has to offer, which feels like it's amplified.

Of course this has effected my writing.  I have found myself doing more current event inspired blogs (which I normally don't do), because you just can't escape it, and by now the situation has become a bit of the 'new normal' (I really hate that phrasing, but it's accurate), so talking about how things are changing or how we might be adapting is relevant.  It's even seeped it's way into my fiction writing (not directly, but I've definitely talked obliquely about some of the issues like racism in my monthly stories).

In a very real sense, we are super lucky and this whole lockdown situation has actually worked out well for us.  Son joined the Air Force in January, and so our household is just me and hubby.  When his job shut down (unrelated to Covid), he got severance, and qualified for the unemployment bonuses, plus the stimulus checks.  Monetarily, we are in a better place than we have been...pretty much since son was born (kids are SO expensive LOL).  We have been able to put money away, been able to pick up some things that we never quite had enough money to do, and he has been enjoying being able to stay home and not worry about the money side of things (which he needed a break, his job was brutal).  We are planning for the future, looking at the best time for him to find a new job, but right now it's almost like a little vacation for us.  And, since it's our empty nest time, it's nice to be able to actually spend time together (though admittedly I miss my alone time too...I'm very much a loner).

As far as practice goes, my personal practice hasn't changed much.  I am solitary in my daily working, though normally I do attend a few local rituals.  And my friends I hang out with are Pagan, so we often at least talk witchy stuff, and sometimes will do work together (either planned or spontaneous).  If there is a Sabbat close to when we are hanging out, we might make a little offering.  I definitely miss that (I've gotten to see them only a few times this year, my friend is immune-compromised, so we are being extra, extra careful). 

Our local group is pretty active on Facebook, and that hasn't changed much.  We have two groups (one in the town I actually live in, and one in the bigger town a bit away), and both have had digital chats (I'm SO not a video chat person, so I didn't attend).  But neither is super active for physical meetups regularly, so not a lot of changes there.

All in all, it's sort of more a mind trip for me than anything else...trying to meld my daily experiences with what I see online or when I go out takes a bit of mental gymnastics lol
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Re: Pandemic Paganism
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2020, 07:12:44 pm »
How has the global coronavirus pandemic affected your paganism, if at all? If you do group work, have you been able to continue? Have you adapted these or any other practices in light of COVID-19?

The good
I've been enjoying having more time for things at home. I gained back an hour of commute time every workday, that's mostly gone into reading/witchy learning/crafting. I'm also enjoying cooking more stuff that needs a bit more time (but not much attention).

My community supported agriculture share has been fantastic. It's from a farm that's been in business in the next town over from me since the 1870s. They've got other land these days too.

(Picking up the farm share, my allergy shots and walking around the neighbourhood are basically the only reasons I leave my house right now: I'm high risk, so I avoid buildings with other people unless I absolutely have to. Add in a pharmacy visit about every 6 weeks.)

Because of not commuting, I've also been able to swap my hours back an hour, and sleep on something much closer to my preferred schedule. That part is completely great.

The challenging
My coven is meeting via Zoom, but there are of course a whole set of things we can't do (because they don't work by video), and a set of things where I'm hesitant to do them (because they involve supplies that normally I would provide for everyone). We've got multiple people with financial instability and other expensive things going on (sometimes because of the pandemic, sometimes because of other stuff in their lives.)

I'm okay saying "Get a food that falls into this broad category" (with at least two weeks notice), but anything more complicated than a grocery store seems unfair (or asking people to get a bunch of different things they didn't have on hand.)

Plus, y'know, all the challenges of how to do ritual via Zoom even for the parts that more or less work okay (tech issues, the fact we can't have everyone unmuted for saying stuff together, the fact we can't sing together, background noise, etc.)

We're currently mostly settled into doing Sabbats, and doing some discussion about things people might want to consider for full moons, plus we're about to start some discussions monthly (in our case, about runes, since I wanted something flexible and adaptable in terms of what we talk about and how we tackle a particular discussion.)

Also complicated, we had our current Dedicants finish Dedicant year, and of course we can't look at doing initiations any time soon (see also: I'm high risk) Sorting out those conversations has taken me a bunch of extra time in the last month or so, but I think we largely have that sorted now, to the extent we can.

Interestingly enough, we also had two Seekers interested (and I've heard anecdotally from other coven leader sorts that a number of people are going "Maybe I should see what my options are" and reaching out to groups) and so we're going to try a Dedicant year. We're doing that with some modifications, and a "I am not considering initiations with anyone where we haven't had a meaningful amount of in-person ritual time whenever we get to do that again" (by which I mean at least 3 months and maybe more.)

There are some definite particular challenges here, and it may be that I go "Right, we're not teaching this specific thing until we can do it in person" for a number of things, but I'm playing that by ear (since we start with simpler stuff, I have a chance to figure out what to work out how things are going.)

I also deeply miss getting to see Darkhawk and family on a regular basis - not just the community more-or-less Sabbats we do together with other people, but just hanging out in the same space. (They're 30ish minutes from me, so this has been a "every 4-6 weeks thing, usually" Missing Lammas got me particularly, for Reasons.)
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Darkhawk

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Re: Pandemic Paganism
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2020, 11:42:48 pm »
So what has your pagan pandemic experience been like?

Welp. My training is to the point that I can't substantively advance without in-person work with my teacher, so I've been doing epicycles and letting the work do what it can on me without that formal direction.

Lately when I do alignment meditations I get to sob briefly because that's how much stress I'm under.

So everything's just great!
as the water grinds the stone
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we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Altair

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Re: Pandemic Paganism
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2020, 01:26:09 pm »
I also deeply miss getting to see Darkhawk and family on a regular basis - not just the community more-or-less Sabbats we do together with other people, but just hanging out in the same space. (They're 30ish minutes from me, so this has been a "every 4-6 weeks thing, usually" Missing Lammas got me particularly, for Reasons.)

I had no idea you two were in more than virtual contact!

It's like me and The Green Wizard; he was at my place a week ago, not for pagan stuff, but to celebrate the anniversary of Star Trek with an alcohol-fueled dramatic reading of an episode from yesteryear ("Journey to Babel"; I read Amanda, and I *worked* her monologue in Spock's quarters). Socially distanced in the roof garden...though I fear alcohol made us sloppy with the distancing near the end. But it was very much a blast!
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Altair

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Re: Pandemic Paganism
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2020, 01:27:28 pm »
Welp. My training is to the point that I can't substantively advance without in-person work with my teacher, so I've been doing epicycles and letting the work do what it can on me without that formal direction.

Lately when I do alignment meditations I get to sob briefly because that's how much stress I'm under.

So everything's just great!

Hang in there, DH
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Dynes Hysbys

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Re: Pandemic Paganism
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2020, 05:04:31 pm »
How has the global coronavirus pandemic affected your paganism, if at all? If you do group work, have you been able to continue? Have you adapted these or any other practices in light of COVID-19?


So what has your pagan pandemic experience been like?

Well I am not a people person so staying home is not really a problem for me and not having to do the sabbat open rituals is actually a big bonus!

Most coven work has been moved online but I've been working with my local coven mates in person again with a few minor tweaks. We're all  fairly careful in who we mix with so the risk level is low. As a lot of work is done outside it's nice to be able to take advantage of the last of the good weather.

I have 2 dedicants who are all but ready for initiation but we need the full coven to assemble for that so it's on hold at the moment. I do have enough I could call on locally to actually facilitate  but it seems a shame to deprive them of the larger experience. If things don't resolve by next summer we may just do it anyway as it's not fair to them to delay indefinitely.

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Re: Pandemic Paganism
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2020, 10:57:59 pm »
How has the global coronavirus pandemic affected your paganism, if at all? If you do group work, have you been able to continue? Have you adapted these or any other practices in light of COVID-19?

It really has hit my pagan practices hard if I'm honest. As a NYC public school teacher, I have been working nonstop and while this past July and August have been both stressful and restful (oddly enough), I have noticed that I haven't been able to connect with Dionysos or Persephone as much as I thought I would. There was my one experience that I had, however, continued sustained experiences? Not really. Continued practice and adherence to a schedule? While having (untreated and undiagnosed) ADHD, hell no.

I know that I would love to go back to my practices, however, I feel that my Gods are pushing me to take care of myself and to reflect on what is important in my life, what I need to let go that is toxic, and what I need to heal and regenerate so that I can better serve them.

Now, aside from all but shutting down my activities for the Gods, I have kept up with reading various books that I have ordered, and have attempted to make it a point to read the books when I can - Ideally for 15 minutes before bed time, however, as per usual, I'm trying to read too many books at once, and thus have...

*counts the books in the piles by his desk...*

Uh... I think 9 or 11 books that I'm reading simultaneously for both my spirituality and my profession. Add to this, I have been trying to get out of the apartment more, and simply walk around, but that has been hard to do as of late due to being in quarantine (yes, my school was in the local news. yes, I'm safe and I'm waiting for the test results for Covid).

EDIT: Add last touches.
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Re: Pandemic Paganism
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2020, 06:32:38 am »
So what has your pagan pandemic experience been like?

the main thing I've noticed is how distant most of my gods are as they are all incredibly busy. I get the equivalent of an indulgent smile to the dancing toddler while Dad's on an important business call from Manannan, and from the rest I get much less.

The second thing is I'm actually able to attend the big pagan events I've missed for so long because now they're virtual and cheaper. And no less powerful. So that's nice.

There are other things, I think, but I'll have to post with them when my brain is a bit sharper. Just got a serious case of fog.
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Darkhawk

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Re: Pandemic Paganism
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2020, 03:49:36 pm »
I had no idea you two were in more than virtual contact!

Yeah, Jenett and I know each other from college and have been playing Polite Mod / Cranky Mod for over twenty years in various places. ;)
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Re: Pandemic Paganism
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2020, 07:30:54 am »
Yeah, Jenett and I know each other from college and have been playing Polite Mod / Cranky Mod for over twenty years in various places. ;)

So, which witch is which?

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Re: Pandemic Paganism
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2020, 06:46:13 pm »
Well I am not a people person so staying home is not really a problem for me and not having to do the sabbat open rituals is actually a big bonus!

Same here :) My practice is mostly solitary anyway, so that wasn't impacted.

I have been wondering what, societally, will become of Halloween this year. One of the things Halloween is is an inversion festival, but with everything this year so topsy-turvy already, will people still want or need that? Will there be more emphasis on the day-of-the-dead aspect?

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Aisling, Jenett, Sefiru

Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, EclecticWheel, HarpingHawke, Kylara, PerditaPickle, rocquelaire

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, LyricFox, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Site Administrator:
Randall