The sudden passing away of a community elder last week was a devastating blow to many folks I knew. I may not have known her for long, or as well as the priestesses she taught and nurtured, but those times I spent with her were invaluable. She was kind and honest, a real person tempered by life and hardships I could not imagine, sure in her faith and compassionate to all. Though she hewed to the Goddess, and the feminist manifestation of Her worship, there was never a harsh word against men or our place in the scheme of things. My time with this wise elder was spent around the issue of creating and maintaining a strong, inclusive, and healthy pagan community in our county… So it is inevitable that these thoughts have emerged to the fore of my mind with her passing.
In many ways, she got to see the beginning of her labor pay off. The nascent community I blogged about earlier is taking off nicely, settling into its natural rhythms. New faces are added with regularity, vouched for by existing members, and met with welcoming arms and hearts in our events and get-togethers. This seemed to revitalize our dear elder, and every month I saw her strength and tireless dedication turning into action and wonderful changes.
She gave us a gift and I hope everyone can recognize it for what it is. But she also left us a question: What is our legacy?
A tough question to answer, before the completion of a thing or before endeavors bear fruit, but not something that can be ignored. (As a teacher, I am always told to plan lessons with the end result in mind. Quite applicable here.) In a way, this question of legacy can be spoken of only as hopes and dreams right now. Goals to communicate and nurture toward their eventual fulfillment. A patient sort of magical labor for every member of the community, and myself included therein.
I started my participation in this community building endeavor with my goals in mind. Above all, regardless of specific beliefs/worship/practices, I wanted to foster a community that was inclusive and welcoming. A place of friendships and support. I was blessed to be included among the organizers, and then I was further blessed when my vision was accepted without challenge. Everyone was on the same page. It was later on tested, because one cannot only speak of love and acceptance, one must practice it. In some cases, the message has to be made explicit in order for it to be taught. I continue to work on this goal for the remainder of my “term in office” as an organizer.
But the question of legacy goes beyond the community. It speaks to me, personally. When it comes to the Craft of the Wise–the religion–what imprint am I leaving behind? It’s impossible not to reflect and refer back to previous posts, it seems. The Star Goddess still looms large in my thoughts. Dryghtyn, God/dess Hirself. There is such a long road I must travel on this path, learning things from so many different branches of current religious and philosophical thought. Then, the arduous work: creating a coherent structure to fit all the pieces into.
So let this post stand for my re-dedication to the Work. Let it be a prayer of thanks to a departed spirit, now a source of inspiration and wisdom in the life of many. Let it be.