Over the past week, the Pagan Community has seen the passing of two of its more prominent elders – Donald Michael Kraig, and Judy Harrow. This brings me back to focusing on the future of our collective Pagan Community, and has me thinking on to concepts of long-term legacy. Is there a real legacy here to be had? Or perhaps, Paganism is an indulgent fantasy belief system that we all play at, but are never serious enough to look beyond our here and now?
a long-term legacy
Thinking back in time – and admittedly not that long ago – a long-term legacy was created through information passed down from teacher to student. Or it came through authored books, passing some information from author to readership. Or more likely it came from a lineage from Priest/Priestess down to new groups formed by members of their groups going their own ways. But so much more could have been had, and was lost as each member passed on. Lifetimes of experience and knowledge were partially shared. Then came the lowered pricing and easier entry point for recorded information – cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, the Internet…
And yet, much of what I see in these vehicles is small in number, sometimes poor in quality, and sometimes completed for obvious ego-maniacal reasons. And our Pagan Community elders continue to pass on. Yes, there are attempts here and there to record some of their knowledge and experiences in book anthologies, and documentaries….but these are still few and far between. Rarely, do we see members of our community even begin to think about documenting, recording or even (gasp!) freely sharing information from our elders. Seemingly, we still hold an over-reliance on the usage of word-of-mouth over any other vehicle of information.
a modern day great library for paganism
I have watched as the First Nations communities all over North America and Central America struggle to record their histories, the words of their elders – as time runs out. As their elders grow older and finally pass beyond the veil, many of the younger generation have begun to realize the importance of documenting what is their heritage – documenting precisely what is their history, and directly from their most revered sources – the mouths of their own elders. And as I watch, I wonder why the Pagan Community has not thought along these same lines as well? Our history may not be as nearly dense or rich as that of the First Nations, but it is certainly important for us to document where we have come from – so that we may have some sort of signpost that assists us in where we are going and what we are becoming. In a sense, all of the information could be gathered in a few places – shared freely, so it can be studied and utilized by future generations. Sort of a Pagan University system or a Great Library. A repository of our collected knowledge, freely available to all.
just a thought
Its certainly a pipe dream at the moment. There are plenty of legal, finance, and social hurdles to overcome, but it certainly does beg the question of what kind of future can we look toward? Especially when we hardly even document where our Past is…