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.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

There's A Monster Living Under My House

There's a monster living under my house & from what I can glean from the sparse, unofficial records, it has been there for five years come this December...

This monster, we call it The Agora. Over the years, it has assumed many forms, many permutations, yet always within a set of permanent dimensions. It has hungrily outstripped many patrons, but still, it persists. 


I am the Agora's chronically ambivalent caretaker. I am also its greatest skeptic. I will be the first to suggest that we abandon the 'experiment' which never dies even though all reason says it should. Yet, when I look in the mirror, I see the backbone, the lifeblood of this monster. Still, I am not its birth parent, not exactly anyway.

Setup: Gnostic Mass
Who the helvella sets out to make a monster like this? Crazy people. People who are so in love with their gods or their community (or sometimes, their egos) that they are willing to open the doors to something insane & to hold it up while it grows. I know we are not alone. We stand among many -- mostly fallen -- soldiers of the P/pagan dream: space-for-community. Our monster still lives. 

The key, the KEY that most communities fail to recognize, or worse still, fail to embrace, is that there must, there MUST be a revenue stream which relies on outside sources. There must be a business model which humbly accepts that there is very little chance that any random assortment of 'spiritually-minded' humans -- particularly of the naturally rebellious pagan sort -- can or will sustain any financial venture over time. 

The other key is sacrifice.* 

And maybe this is why I am such a doubter -- had I been keeping score all this time I might have found myself less skeptical & more bitter. On the other hand, I was wisely advised long ago never to keep score in relationships.


I'm not sure what made me need to acknowledge this birthday of the monster here in this journal... to mark, log & make official that-which-hasn't-died. Part of me wanted a party, but the other part of me is pretty sure a party is a sure means to dissolution, a veritable jinx. 

Maybe I needed to recognize this thing because I am working more consciously than ever to find my way into proper balance with it. I need boundaries, it needs boundaries. At times, it has dominated me in ways which have made me resentful & angry. So many times, I have wanted to give it the boot. Yet, the returns have been very rich & unique beyond measure. 

Setting the stage:
chaos Magick.
I always joke about going back into the past to tell one of my former selfs about my role in maintaining a place for pagan & esoteric gatherings -- especially my atheist self. Really, any past self would be pretty incredulous. In retrospect, I think I usually had strong opinions in any given moment, but never really knew where I was going, never consciously planted any seeds, never had any clear sense of direction or planning. And I ended up here, with this incredible monster. 

And so it is, whether it be the result of serendipitious bumbling or the answer to a more potent & pointed calling. Let it be a Happy Birthday to the monster which lives & breathes under this house... may it continue to nourish & sustain our people, & their Spirits so long as they need it. 

*Admittedly, there are several other very necessary "lesser keys," but this is not the place to discuss organizational structure & strategies.


Heather Awen said...

It's so beautiful (or your photos are!) In the books about "international community" I have read, spiritual ones fall apart the fastest because of what you're describing - an aversion to discuss/deal with money. It's seen as "unspifitual" or everyone trusts it'll work out magically. Then some people of course feel betrayed, others feel used, rumors fly, etc. You're right. There has to be a document about how the place is funded, who owns what come the inevitable end (at least of that transformation), the expenses and income, with, yes, budget and building maintenance meetings. It's the worst and largest job for most types of churches (and nonprofits) of any kind. It's what most meetings are about. When people dedicate to learning about this stuff, they show tremendous commitment. Who cleans, and with what compensation? What about large expenses to the building like a new roof? If the community falls apart, who gets the books? What's the schedule of who clears snow? Are you a registered nonprofit organization? Can people get tax refunds for donations? If people don't want to deal with that, they don't have commitment to the place. Starhawk's Empowerment Manual about collaborative community and Looby McNamara People and Permaculture are helpful. Star's book applies best for finances. Good luck. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Moma Fauna said...

Oh my dear Heather,

This: "everyone trusts it'll work out magically." Had I a drink in my mouth as I read those words, it would have been sprayed over everything in a four foot radius. Hours later, I am still chuckling.

Ironically, I think part of the reason our experiment works is because it is not so collaborative/cooperative in certain ways. The onus & ownership to a large degree relies upon our household & that may be one of those lesser keys. Somehow we have found a workable arrangement with a very unconventional, unofficial, virtually accidental situation. Indeed, when it began, it was more structured, more formal, relied upon commitments from a greater number of people & it imploded. We just happened to pick up what was left of an idea & carry the idea alone forward. The working fuels seem to be a combination of community desire strong enough to generate funds & our own perseverance, trust & perhaps some charisma.

It is very queer & difficult to describe, but maybe it is because we maintain & cultivate a neutral (yet benevolent) *facility* -- not a church or organization, only a space -- is why it lives on.

Nice to hear from you. ;)

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