I am a classic introvert, and a little socially anxious. I love “my people”, but I frequently find crowds and strangers overwhelming. After socializing, even with the people I love most, I need time alone to recharge. So of all
Though it may seem to be a contradiction, I think my introversion is actually why I’m drawn to community. It can be hard for introverts to meet and get to know people, so once we’ve got ourselves a good group of friends, we definitely want to hold on to them. Most people want to belong to a group and be a part of something, and introverts don’t always have the easiest path to finding that, making it very valuable to us when we do. I’ve got my spiritual family, Silver Spiral, and I have found other pockets of community locally that I enjoy working with, such as the Vancouver Pagan Pride Day team.
Community building isn’t just for extroverts. Some of it is outward facing, socializing, presenting, but there are also emails to write, schedules to manage, research to do, cookies to bake… community isn’t just built by people who are willing to stand up in front of a group with a vision, but also those who are willing to sit with ideas for hours to help bring a vision to life, and those – introverts and extroverts alike – who are willing to pitch in at every level, including doing the dishes. Pagans with all kinds of belief systems – deity-centred, nature-centred, and inner-centred – can and do help build community, but for community-centred Pagans, this is our spiritual work.
To be a community-centred Pagan is to have spreadsheets as well as athames as religious tools. It means that writing a rite for a group is a ritual in and of itself, satisfying a spiritual need even before the space has been cleansed. It is to recognize that there’s magical energy in coordinating a potluck as much as casting a circle, that offering a workshop or a helpful blog post can be as important a religious service as an offering to a deity, and that a call to assist at a concession stand is as much a sacred duty as calling a quarter.