As a religious community, we Pagans have produced some amazing thinkers and philosophers. Think about Scott Cunningham and Margot Adler, poets who have dedicated their lives to writing about the Goddess and her people. But we need more than just writers and practitioners. We need leaders to help move our community forward.
When it comes to theology, leadership needs to happen on the community level. Within the coven, within a tradition. I know some people get nervous about people in groups getting power crazy and imposing their beliefs on the group. Our general antiauthoritarianism is part of the Pagan community’s charm. But unfortunately organizations tend to fail if someone doesn’t step up and take charge of basic operations. Coven leaders also act as ambassadors to every community by facilitating events, rites, and community service. That is where democracy within a group comes in handy, leaders working with the community instead of above it. Also there are many types of leadership. Other members of the coven lead not by action, but by example. Men and women who live in their spirit and encourage others to do the same.
Now on the state, national, and international level, leadership needs to happen on a more advocacy tone. While discrimination against Pagans is very rare, there is a lot of misinformation as to what we’re all about that can lead to misunderstandings. Take the pentacle for example. Most people think it’s a symbol of evil or part of rebellious popular culture, yet in reality it represents the convergence of the five elements. Organizations like the Lady Liberty League aim to dispel myths, to work with local government and business leaders to prevent discrimination, and to be a resource to the Pagan community for support when we do face problems. However organizations like that are few and far between. Whether as a particular tradition or as an overall community, we need to begin developing more Pagan advocacy organizations so that if discrimination arises or misinformation is disseminated, we have a loader voice.
As a community, we need to rethink the way we think about leadership. It isn’t about the power of one person, but the power of the entire community coming together.
© Ariadne Woods