Pray to the Moon when She is round,
Luck with you will then abound,
What you seek for shall be found
On the sea or solid ground.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thoughts While Nursing: Friendship & The Rich Rewards of Transparency

A message from Alex.
Recently, two old friends sent me messages (very much in their own way) which made me think about how much I gained from being open about my spiritual self. Perhaps more significantly, the messages called attention to how much I have not gained by withholding salient aspects of myself in my relationships with others in more recent years. People often go by the axiom that is is best not discuss religion (or politics), but I am finding that this approach makes for anemic associations. It is true that as Pagans we have more to risk (potentially) by being public, but what is the price of keeping secrets?

Some time in the last 10 years, I went into the proverbial "broom closet." This was not so much a conscious decision, but rather an unconscious response to changing social & geographical conditions -- an adaptation if you will.
I did not work very hard to foster relationships, nor did I feel particularly motivated to extend myself very much to others.The result has been that the friendships I have established since that time generally lack depth. This is what I would call a net loss.

At one time, I had friends around me of all persuasions. We did not agree, but we shared mutual affection & respect. We could talk. We could argue. We could share ideas & opinions without pussyfooting. We never withheld the subtext, or if we did, there was a reason -- something to be revealed later, at a better time. More importantly, I felt & still feel like we have an understanding, a sincere understanding. There is a bond that I cannot articulate, a sympathy that extends beyond the temporal. Dissimilar as we are, these people know me.

Friendships like these span the seasons; they ride 'round the Wheel without losing quality. These relationships reach across the miles like tiny threads, keeping us connected without words, without voices, without contacts -- sometimes for many years. These are the bonds that cause me to use up my camera's memory on Halloween night, recording the songs of wolves in the dark, instead of photographing children during trick-or-treat. These are the friendships that make me ache for that old minimum-wage job, simply so I could slice cheese & banter about theology just a little bit longer.

I miss this kind of association. I miss these people. But, I cannot go out across the land & harvest them all to me, bringing them near & keeping them close. Were it even possible, I wouldn't. They are part of their own environs, they have their own ecosystems & they belong there.

Can I begin to foster friendships like these anew? Will friendships already years old suffer or prosper if I approach them with candor? Do secrets lessen the opportunity for honesty over time? What parts will motherhood, seasonal migrations & cultural climates play? How will my new found Pagan community factor into my hopes for deeper relationships? Only time will tell, but it seems to me the potential losses cannot be any greater than the present emptiness I feel now. I am aiming for net gain.


Carol said...

I felt like this when I first started venturing out into the pagan community. Though I never had the initial relationships/friendships to realize what I was missing. In some aspects, even now, I'm still a bit hesitant to open up fully, to have intense discussion and debates without fear of losing new friends or breaking fragile tendrils of community.

Moma Fauna said...

It very strange to feel this way now, as though I am starting at the beginning all over again. Funny thing is, I never felt this way when I first entered the community. Perhaps I was too young & wild & excited to have any trepidation. I also was in a cozy, intensely liberal nest of a town. I could have worn a cabbage on my head & people would have accepted it.
I think maybe it is my ego that does not like it, the feeling of starting over. I am no noob, but I feel like one. It is annoying to me.
On the other hand, I am also uncomfortable about some relationships w/non-Pagans. I have to weigh the value of those friendships & the risks of openness. Its better to begin things in a forthright manner & that is how I generally operate, but I made the choice to hide out & now I have to live with the consequences.
And yes I understand the hesitation among our own community. I have some really strong opinions that I contain b/c I am new to the groups & don't feel like I should ruffle anyone. Its a bit odd for me. Culturally, I might be a bit more Asatru/Norse Heathen than I realize. I really believe in their fearlessness in discourse. They are willing to lock horns & agree to disagree w/o a bunch of animosity afterwards. I think in general, most Pagans like to play nice. Everyone needs to be happy & cozy all the time. This is wrong. There is no growth w/o challenge, without asking heavy, uncomfortable questions. Ignoring the uncomfortable things won't make them go away. Face them. Talk about them. Own them or throw them away, but don't pretend it's all rainbows & unicorns.
Well, I could go on, but I won't. ;)

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