After the drama of the coven, I found myself cast adrift and wondering what the pagan communities in my area was up to. Its amazing the politics you find in groups, which I attribute to egos more than anything else. It certainly wreaked havoc in our own group.
So I started a group through a site called Meetup.com. I joined this site almost two years ago when it was free to organize. Now there’s a monthly cost of almost $20.00! Fortunately for me, I get a discount for being a loyal member which makes my cost only $9.00. I further help myself by asking all the members to pay yearly fees. Its only $7 per year, but no one complains.
Starting a group takes persistence. I notice a few other groups struggling to make it, and I have the benefit of past experience to help me along. I know it takes an effort to get members to join, to participate, and to show up to meetings.
My writer’s meetup fluctuates with members, but we get a consistent 6-8 members always showing up to chat about writing. The witches’ meetup…not so much. This has more to do with the time of year and slow growth of the group. I expected this when I started, in fact.
But I know I have to wear another hat to lead a witches’ meetup group- a pointy one. 😉 This means to be open to pagans in general. Not everyone shares the same beliefs. Some are into the paranormal more than others, while some members prefer a more spiritual path. Some love the drama of pentacles and witchcraft, while others keep to a quieter expression of their belief system.
As organizer, I need to keep a balance between members, to guard against the posers or trouble-makers, and to maintain subjects to discuss. I make the decisions of time and place, and who stays and who goes. I already refused membership to a ‘golden wizard’ who wanted to join. He was looking for recruits.
Building pagan communities takes a level of tolerance as well as willingness to be leader. I must engage members while also willing to take steps to remove them if need be, and mediating issues should they arise.