Tag Archives: leadership

Leadership is About Sharing Experiences – At Least in My Opinion

I have written a few times about the concepts of leadership, but to be honest – I have always thought it silly for a solo Pagan, like myself, to speak on things like this. My connections within the Pagan community are slight. Much like the title of the old podcast, my area falls more to the edges than anywhere else. Not only am I more comfortable out on the periphery, its almost as if I have been called to be here.

Back in the 1990s, while I was in the United States Air Force, I stepped up to the idea of being a leader in the community. I tried to help with the leadership of the local Kaiserslautern military Pagan community. What I found in doing this was that more people were willing to complain and criticise than those willing to roll up their sleeves and help do the work. And that winds up being a real turn-off to me. So, once I left the United States Air Force and came back to the United States to live my life as a civilian – I choose to be solo. But not after another attempt at being a part of a local community – and what would be the last chance I would give Wicca to be what I needed in my life. But that is a post for another time and topic.

So, I dove deep into being a solo Pagan. I continued to follow the Wheel of the Year in my daily life. And while I never hid the fact that I was a Pagan, I surely did not advertise the fact either. And I discovered a lot about myself during this time. I was not a leader. Working on my own was more effective for me. Wicca was definitely not the Path for me. The Nordic Path had no pull for me to follow. And I was not interested in reconstructing any older belief or practice. And all of that was true, with the exception of the first two statements.

When you are on your own, and there are no effective means of communicating with others, your concept of leadership comes down to a single person – yourself. I can deny my ability to be a leader in crafting my response through my desire to not be a leader. But that desire is not because I lack the ability to provide leadership in anything I do. It comes from my fear of being out front, where others look to what I have to say or do, as an example of what they can try on their own. And at the age of 52, I can literally say that I have been running from leadership since my late teens. And that is certainly a long time. It has colored a lot of the way I handle myself in other situations. I have developed patterns of an introvert as defense mechanisms to insulate myself with ready-made excuses.

I was never ready to be considered a leader in anything. I have always looked at leadership as being some modicum of control over others. My libertarian streak inside of me informs my perspective that only an individual can be the leader of themselves. We make our individual choices on our own. We decide what is right and wrong for our own individual selves. A leader does not have to be manipulative and controlling. In fact, I would posit that such actions are not perspectives of leadership whatsoever. Leadership is not about grooming others to be what you expect them to be but helping them to become what they are. The individual chooses the direction that they wish to go; the leader helps find ways to assist in the growth of that person. Sure, there are many other definitions of what a leader is or is not. Ask a group of ten people for a definition of a leader, and you’re likely to get fifteen different answers.

Over the past ten years, I have slowly brought myself back into the Pagan community. Through the podcasts, the blog, going to local events, going to not-so-local events…and rarely have I interjected myself into the concept or perspective of being a leader. Most of the events I have attended have had very well defined perspectives of leadership. Some folks were well suited to be leaders, others not-so-much (in my opinion). With the podcasts and the blog, my “voice” tends to be given a position of authority and credence that I don’t normally attribute to myself. But in both instances, whether I agree with it or not, I stepped into a role of leadership. And I do have to provide ownership of what I write and say in both areas – after all, I did say it.

Whether I completely agree with it or not, I have been a leader to many folks. No one should be following me into the woods just because that is where I am going. But some folks have asked about what type of gear I am carrying into the woods with me and then creating their own group of items to carry with themselves when they go into the woods. Sometimes, their items have stuff that I took, sometimes it doesn’t…and most likely, it has stuff that I never thought about. In the end, we learn from sharing our experiences. And in a manner of speaking, this is the kind of leadership I see myself providing.

All of this has gotten me to think even more about what happens going forward. Certainly, I will keep blogging about my experiences. Here shortly, the podcast will get moved forward and back into gear. Both of those platforms allow me to share my experiences, as well as the experiences of others. And through that sharing, my libertarian heart says that we will all be able to make better choices for ourselves. We can find the level of comfort that we have in our communities and develop the roles that we should each be filling. And in that manner, we become leaders – in our own definitions of what that means.

And while it is a pretty dream that might never be achieved – simply because we apply this theory to the fallibility of human beings — I am willing to dream that dream. And reach for it as well.

Advertisements

Sometimes a Path Is Not Well Marked

Thanks to Donnie, it has been an “interesting” few days since he has decided to remove the United States from the Paris Accords on Climate Change. I’m not here to debate the pros and cons of either Donnie’s actions or the Accords. For what little it is worth, I support the Accords, and would prefer that the United States had remained within that agreement. But that’s not the case. What has made this interesting – at least to me – is that some States’ Governors, and city mayors have decided that the areas under their control would continue to uphold the agreements within the Accords, even with the President pulling the nation out of the agreement. Any effort by a federal government to deter these individuals from doing so may call into question the “sacrament” of states’ rights into the matter. A particularly thorny issue, since it is upheld by many conservatives as being just as “holy” within the fabric of the United States’ existence as the Constitution. But all of that is stepping off the Path I am intending for this post.

Within this particular political moment, lays an interesting lesson, of sorts. Honestly, its a very simple concept, as well – providing your own leadership; stepping forward to grab hold of the reins. Yes, even when you do not feel particularly “qualified” or “experienced” to be the one doing so. And as Pagans, we should be more than understanding of this entire concept of going it alone, when necessity calls.

I have been there this more than once. Back when I was part of a group of Pagans – all of varying faiths and perspectives within Paganism – I found myself stepping up to a leadership role, not because I wanted it. As a group we needed leadership that took all aspects of the group into account, and didn’t feel the need to label all of us as “Wiccans” for the sake of argument and discussion to the outside world. As a solo Pagan, I have had to become my own leader – an odd concept for a group of one – but a leader nonetheless. And as a member of a worldwide Druidic Order, I find myself taking stances and positions on issues that sometimes seem counter to what might be the same one within the Order.

Sometimes, doing so can seem to be a bit rebellious or forcing one’s self to be separate from a group. And while true, my differences on a position with other members of my Order does not nullify the fact that I am a member of the Order. At the core of who I am, I am still an OBOD Druid. I may change up ritual frameworks to suit my own needs and/or desires, but the core of the framework is always there. These governors and mayors are changing the rules where they are concerned, but it doesn’t make them any more or any less Americans. They are doing what they feel is right, and shouldering the mantle of leadership within Climate Change because they feel that it is an important issue that should be addressed within governmental policies, and because they are stepping into that void of leadership that Donnie has chosen to create.

Sure. I hear the statements – “if you are going to be an OBOD Druid, why amend things like ritual framework? Why not just stop being an OBOD Druid and do it all your own way?” Or, from the political side, “If the President says that we should not be part of the Climate Accords, then that’s the end of it all.” Well, the answer to both have the same root. I choose to amend ritual frameworks so that it is something I am comfortable with. I am not abandoning the framework, just changing the wording to something that feels more comfortable and familiar to me. Part of ritual is to be comfortable and relaxed. If you are approaching your Gods like you have a stick in your ass, its likely that you will not be taken seriously or be properly reverent as you keep your cheeks clinched together to keep the stick from falling out. Thus the change to wording. Thus the change to whatever aspect that does not feel “right”. Now, if the whole thing did not feel “right” — then would be the time to think about checking out and finding something else. I did that with Wicca back in 1990. As for the governors and mayors, remember – Donnie didn’t declare the Accords to be illegal, merely that the United States would not enforce the measures. The Governors and Mayors are choosing to follow the measures outlined by the Accords. They are not violating laws. They are enhancing their own state and local ordinances to follow the Paris Climate Accords. No violation of the law. Sure, they are partly thumbing their noses at the President, but there’s no law against that either. At least not yet.

So, in this time of the #Storm, it certainly is interesting to see where leadership is coming from, and just who is stooping down to pick up the offending gauntlet. In my experience, leaders are not born. Leaders are made. And sometimes, those who are just trying to clear a path by removing the offending gauntlet from their line of footfalls…can instead find themselves in an unlikely position of being thrust to the front of the column. Trying times with unexpected obstacles tend to create a white-hot fire that forges an individual into a position of leadership, even when they do not want the title, the responsibilities, or the resultant outcomes. And somehow, they wind up being the most appropriate individual at the most inopportune moment.

Two Pence – Pagan Leadership

IMG_9670Leadership scares the shit out of me. Seriously. I have noted this a few times: some folks look at me as a “natural” leader. I maintain that I am not. But my reasoning, while gathered from a fictional character in a movie, is weak at best.

In a scene from the Sylvester Stallone movie “The Demolition Man”, the character of Edgar Friendly makes the statement: “I’m no leader. I do what I have to. Sometimes people come with me.” It is a snarky line, but it is also an issue of pushing the leadership off into space.

See, there are leadership qualities that people have – the ability to think quickly on your feet. The ability to break problems into workable tasks. The ability to delegate those workable tasks to people who have the ability to get those done. And the ability to motivate people to get things done. For some strange reason, I have some of the ability to motivate people. I know that I have the ability to break problems down into workable tasks. I do that every day in my job. I also have the ability to stay calm when things come apart at the seams. But I have to be honest and give the United States Air Force the credit for some of this as well. All of that is delineated into a particular skillset. Its called troubleshooting.

In my opinion, troubleshooting is not a skillset of leadership. It is a skillset of the Troubleshooter, which is something I do consider myself to be. I enjoy taking situations that are in chaos, sorting things out, prioritizing what needs to be done, and rolling up my sleeves and getting arm deep in the issues. I can be problematic when I am in this mode. I can push those that are in a position of leadership out of the way. Essentially picking them up, setting them to one side, and saying: “Stay right there until I solve this. Then you can have the steering wheel again.” In my military career, I have told Commissioned Officers to “get the fuck out of the way” while trying to resolve mainframe systems issues. It never made me popular with the Officers, but the enlisted folks (of which I was) loved me for it.

But let’s be clear on something. I never shoved people out of the way, unless I was sure that I could resolve the problem. In the Air Force, I knew my systems inside and out. In two locations, only the Field Engineers were more knowledgeable than the 23-year old me on how the system operated. Older non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers learned to get out of the way when I was called in to repair things. But I had to earn that kind of respect, by showing that I could resolve problems that were set in front of me. That’s not a skill of leadership. Rather that’s a skillset of technical ability. And that technical ability masked on arrogance that I had.

Leadership is not about shoving people out of the way and proclaiming yourself the expert. A better version of me – now nearly thirty years down the line and full of life experiences – would counsel the twenty-three year old me to not shove people out of the way, but counsel them on how to resolve the problem, looking over their shoulders, and explaining why this particular issue was resolved in this particular way. Leadership is not about pointing and directing. That’s a task for ego-maniacs. And I have seen plenty of my share of these in the Pagan community. A Leader teaches others how to resolve the problems, allowing their hands to be the ones that turn the wrenches and use the tools, while explaining the reasoning behind each process.

Leadership is a status that is earned. Rightly or wrongly. The individual(s) empowering you into a position of leadership have confidence in your ability to resolve issues, and put things into motion. Sometimes, you have this bit of respect thrust upon you. For example, a newcomer to Paganism or Polytheism will look to you as their example of what it means to be [x] within Paganism or Polytheism. Whether you wanted that role or not, it is given to you. Even after you explain that you’re no leader, in your best Edgar Friendly impersonation. And if you think about it…it is a weak explanation, as well.

See, I am nearly fifty-one years old this year. I have been in Paganism in one capacity or another since 1987. That’s twenty-nine years of being a Pagan. I was a doe-eyed newbie at one time too. Anyone who had been in Paganism for any length of time, regardless of Path, was an incredible person to me. Until I met Pattalee. She ran one of the few local Pagan bookstores in the area with her (then) husband. I would go down there, and tentatively sit one a bar stool next to the jewelry counter. And I would ask questions, and listen to the answers – hanging on her every word. I guess she humored me at first. But after a while, instead of answering my questions, she would prompt me to answer my own questions. Then, she would have a long, prolonged discussion of where my logic was incorrect, and where I made assumptions that had no factual basis. Instead of puzzling things out for me, she quietly prompted me to learn from myself. Sadly, she passed away quite some time back, and her ex-husband eventually closed the store. But I always remembered those talks, and how she dealt with the doe-eyed newbie sitting in front of her.

After her passing beyond the veil, it took nearly another decade before I realized that she talked with me through a position of leadership. The authority of leadership had been given to her by me. She most likely didn’t want it, but she accepted it – and led me gently towards the habit of puzzling things out for myself. She gently showed me how to look inside myself and find the answers that I was needing. And pointed out how the “truths” as I found them applied to me, and not necessarily to others. Leadership is not about molding people forcibly, but showing them the potential that is inside of themselves.

Newbies may hand you a mantle of leadership, simply because you have been around longer than they have. Throwing that mantle back in their faces and saying that you’re no leader is not the way to handle things. Folding that mantle up, and setting it to the side, with care and reverence respects the responsibility that you have been handed. And eventually, you will be able to gently, and with respect, hand that mantle back to those newbies – pointing out that they have always been able to fend for themselves. In my opinion, this is how we grow our Pagan community. We don’t grow leaders in this process. Some of those newbies will become leaders in their own right. We grow self-sufficient Pagans and Polytheists, able to handle themselves as Solitary practitioners of their own connectivity with the Gods, and able to work within the wider ranging Pagan and Polytheist communities as individual parts of the whole. Able to be Priests/Priestesses and Leaders without becoming tyrants. Able to teach others how to grow, without delineating debilitating and crippling dogma that creates a belief structure that is too rigid to be flexible with the changing world around us. We grow Pagans and Polytheists that learn to cultivate their relationships with others, the Gods, the Spirits of Place, and Spirits of Ancestors, while expanding their understanding of those connections and their own position within those sacred relationships.

Yeah, I can claim to not be a leader. That I just do things, and sometimes people come along. But in the end, that statement – while playful – is disrespectful. It is disrespectful to the people that come along. It is a wise-ass dismissal of the authority that they hand to me. It is slapping the respect that they have for me as an elder in the wider Pagan community, while laughing in their face with my flippant comment. And to be honest, it is long past time for me to ditch the attitude. I’m a podcaster and a blogger in the Pagan community. I make commentary on how I feel about Paganism and Polytheism from both platforms. And whether I want to agree with it or not, I set myself out there for my opinions to be read. And people respect me for that. Yes, some of them hand me their respect as an authority., as an elder. And I need to return that respect as well. I need to follow Pattalee’s example, and fold up that mantle and set it to the side. And listen.

Pagan leadership is about helping the community. Troubleshooting issues. Listening. Growing Pagans that are new to this Path. Leadership is about being the appropriate example to our community. And we are all leaders, in one capacity or another.

Two pence….  –T /|\

I’m No Leader and Neither Are They

I have said it hundreds of times, and I truly mean it. I am no leader. But I do know what leaders look like, what they act like, what they do, how they handle themselves…and I am definitely not one of those people. But I hear it all the time for folks.

You are a natural leader.

People just seem to want to follow you.

I cringe every single time I hear these words. Because I am not a leader. I have said it before, I follow the Edgar Friendly principle of leadership:  I get things done; sometimes people come along.

I am an individual that likes to get things done. I am a problem solver. I do like getting information and resources into the hands of people who do make the decisions. In the military, I was referred to as a “dog robber” or a “scrounger” because I managed to take things that were useless to my unit, and trade those to other units to get things that were useful for us. One year, we needed a Connex Shed. Those things aren’t small. They are the cargo containers that you see on the decks of transoceanic ships. You can park three full-sized SUVs inside these things. I traded carpeted floor tiles for a raised floor (three-hundred of them) to a Naval unit based in Rota, Spain for a Connex Shed. And I even got the naval unit to deliver it to us in Germany by truck. Right to our doorstep. Getting things done is what I know how to do. I am never worried about what something was built for – I always looked at its utility value. What can it do?

“I’m no leader; I do what I have to do, and sometimes people come along.”

Like I said, I get things for the people who make the decisions – the people who are the leaders. I have worked under good leaders, and some of the very worst. I have worked for extremely hard-working leaders, and some of the laziest souls you will ever meet. I have seen the qualities of both. And because I have seen those qualities, the upcoming Presidential cycle in America scares the shit right out of me. Every single one of these candidates have the scariest qualities that I have seen in bad leaders. Every single one of them. Its almost as if we have decided to hold a Presidential election with the worst possible candidates we can find.

But I completely grok the whys of it too. We drag every candidate’s entire personal history through the mud. We scrutinize their every step in every location to see where they stumble and fall. We require them to know the ins and outs of every single situation and come up with potential solutions, which when examined show a total disregard for the way laws are truly mustered through our governmental process. And even more so, the “solutions” have no financial capacity for survival under the tight budget constraints that the United States should be operating. We set every single candidate up for failure, or drive them away from the process because something about their familial connections may be repugnant to one sector of society or another. And that’s just the starting course. We, literally, set an impossibly high bar, and are let down in every cycle by the lack of good candidates that we get compared to the last election cycle. Holy shit, what we were expecting? We slam any moderate candidate that comes down the line, and extoll the virtues of each extreme member of either the Republican or Democrat parties. The smaller, lesser known third parties have to be outrageous just to get any press, which drives any sensible voter away from them and into the arms of the Republican or Democratic candidate from whom they were wanting to find an alternative to. What are we expecting??

We sure aren’t expecting leaders. Leaders are people who understand compromise. Leaders understand what areas have give and take, and what other areas require a hard, uncompromising stance. Leaders communicate not just with the people who agree with their plan of action, but also with those who disagree. Leaders listen, understand, and redraw plans where compromise makes sense. Leaders empathize not only with those who agree with them, but also with those who disagree with them. Leaders do not antagonize. Leaders do not mock. Leaders keep control of their emotions during the heat of discussion, and insure that the topic never slips away. Leaders do not do outrageous things or fire off inflammatory comments just to get attention. Leaders understand that consensus does not always mean that they (the leaders) get their way on an issue.

But I know this:  I’m no leader. I’m the one who puts plans into action, even when I disagree with the plan. I make sure that things get done. I’m not a leader. And neither are any of the people we have running for President during this election cycle.

 

1.5 Days at Pantheacon – the Pagan Future and Leadership

Well, Pantheacon 2016 is certainly everything that it has been made out to be…and much more. There are Pagans and Pagan-friendly people EVERYWHERE in this hotel. And its not a small hotel either. There are Pagans of all types here, I’ve met folks of neaarly every Spiritual stripe, and there’s no need to get into sexual orientation, skin pigmentation, hair color or eye color. Because all of that obviously does not matter. Everyone is friendly, smiling, and having fun. And for a people watcher person like me – its an awesome site to see and comprehend.

Seriously. Many people discuss this place like its a wild circus or something. The closest thing that has happened to that – the Krampus revellers that passed by me on Friday night. They were loud…and HAIRY. But it was a seriously fun moment for me. It caught me unawares, while I was eating dinner in the lobby area – and it was just a moment that was out of whack. Flat out fun.

But the one thing that has seriously impressed me is the number of young folks here. And when I mean young people, I mean people below the age of eighteen (or at least seem to be that young). Seeing young people getting involved in their Spirituality, and taking it seriously is heartening to an old fart like myself (who is a spring chicken at 50 when compared to some of the other attendees here). I can definitely see that the younger generation of Pagans are looking for ways to build upon the Paganism that is being offered to them by the older generation (myself included).

And I have met other folks as well. One of the panel security folks that I talked with on Friday night was a former military member – and joined the military after I got out. We talked about how Paganism has been in the military during his term. It was seriously awesome to hear how the military has expanded its awareness of who and what Pagans are – and to some degree have become a little more accepting of this. Essentially, what I was getting a look at was how things have been built upon from the work that I (and others) had done when we were in.

Its that utilization of the building blocks of the Past by those in the Present that really tugs at my heartstrings. These folks don’t have to piece together a Past to build for their Future. They can mold and shape what is already there. And it totally freaks me out to think of myself as an “Elder” or even as a “Leader” of anything. And yet, here I am starting to realize that I am both of those – regardless of what I think.

IMG_0180So far, I have sat in on a few panels. Each presenter has provided their points of view with interesting clarity, sometimes punctuated with bawdy and somewhat irreverent humor. But everyone has been spot on with their messages. From the darker aspects of Druidry to Finding One’s Personal Magick to an academic (and fun) exploration of the Dagda to a wonderful talk on the Welsh Gods and Goddesses, the underlying message is clear – Paganism is alive and well in our modern world society. For some it may not be growing fast enough (or at all) for where they live, for others it may not be growing quite the way that they would wish it to…but rest assured it is alive and well.

That means that some of us (particularly myself) need to get off our asses and step into roles of leadership. That’s a particularly difficult perspective for me – an INFT on the Briggs/Meyers test – to assume. I’m a naturally introverted individual, preferring to handle aspects of my Spirituality as a solitaire practitioner. But, as I am learning – being a leader does not mean that I would be leading rituals.

Let me be honest here, I SUCK at leading rituals with others involved. I am not the greatest at facilitating for others. And I know this. It is something that I will have to work on. And there are two workshops that I chose at this convention that are my first baby-steps in that direction. But there are other ways to be a leader or even a mentor. I can talk with folks that are new to their Path, reassure them that their new found connectedness to the world around them is not some form of mental illness. I can talk about some of the missteps and pitfalls I have encountered on my long strange trip (that its been), and commiserate with those that have stepped in dog-shit elsewhere on the field. I can continue to talk about my Paganism, and my Druidry here on this blog – where others can read it. I can continue to bring the stories of others to the podcast – so people can see that they are not alone. And most importantly, I can stop running from the concept of leadership…I don’t have to be the captain of the boat to be a leader.

I heaar the heavy breathing of the Wolf by my side. I feel the strong grip of the talons on my shoulder. I hear the laughter and sweet whisper of Fliodhas coming from the edge of the forest, enticing me to come and wander through the trees hand-in-hand. But I also grasp the undercurrent of what all three say from time to time – stop hiding in the shadows. Step forward and be what you are supposed to be.

Whether I like the idea or not, I am a leader in this vast Pagan community. And while I have not noticed the younger generation coming to the fireside over the last few years – they are here. And they are watching. And learning. And growing in their Spirituality. My time of resting and being stagnate is over – I either step forward or get out of the game. Stepping forward is where I am headed. What about you??

Pagan Leadership: Catching Swords From Watery Tarts

tommyI have been seeing a few comments and posts popping up around the inter-webs lately – discussing the needs for Pagan Leadership, and some of the problems with getting leaders to step forward. In reading through the comments – and the counter-comments – and the various posts by individuals – I started to let the idea brew around in the ol’ pot of stew I call my brain. The result was that I could not come up with any solution to the so-called “problem” — and found myself left with even more questions. I am sure over time, I will find some answers to my questions…or at least answers that will let me move on in my own understanding of the issue. But I am sure that in satisfying those questions – even more questions will result….which, for me, may be a natural process – but in trying to find proper “leadership” will not bring about a result whatsoever.

The “Big Tent” of Paganism

When I started reading some of the posts and commentaries on all of this, I noticed a simple division had taken place. There were essentially two camps. One, saw the problem with getting individuals to step up into the positions of leadership that were the “correctly” qualified (more on that here in a bit). The other, wondered how any individual could be set aside as a leader over a wide-range of belief systems that preferred to have autonomous control and authority? It just so happens, I fall into the second group here. I am a Solitary Pagan on a Path of Druidry. And while I am a student in the Bardic Grade of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids – I have no group that I engage with. I know that this is a similar case to many others around the world as well. And this does not even bring to bear how Wiccans, or Asatru, or any other faith system will react to having a member of a different faith be their “leader” – appointed or anointed. John Beckett has talked about the concept of the “Big Tent Paganism” on his blog – Under the Ancient Oaks – quite a few times. And while I am not overly enthused with the over-arching concept – there is a point in all of what he has said. And it brings me to the biggest question I have concerning this idea of Pagan Leadership…

How in the Nine Hells can there be a “leader” of a group of autonomous and independent belief systems, when the leader is likely not to represent a large majority of the groups and individuals that they have become a “leader” for?

You’re Qualified!

Which brings me back to the other side of the discussion table. Setting aside the “Big-Tent” issue – let us assume that a leader can be found – and that various systems of belief will allow such an individual to have authority over and speak on behalf of them. One of the lamentations I have seen on this, is that many of the folks who step forward to assume that mantle of leadership are not always “qualified” to be leaders. That the “qualified” individuals will not step forward and assume the position of leadership for a wide variety of reasons (pick your poison here, but the reasons are not necessarily germane to the issue here). So, what qualifies one to be a leader? In several instances, I have seen people set forth authors, lecturers, and other well-known types as good starting positions. That, in doing whatever it is that makes them well known, sets them forward as leaders of the community. Really? If I followed that logic, my status as one of the longest running podcasters in the Pagan community – with my two podcasts (the defunct “From the Edge of the Circle” and the current “Upon a Pagan Path“) – would entitle me to step forward and claim such a mantle of leadership. I am not sure I would even desire to make such a claim. Which comes back around to the position that the ones that would be good leaders, typically do not step forward to be leaders for [x] reason. But again, I am led back to my own manner of thinking – where I do not believe that I can be a leader of any group of people, where my beliefs and theirs will not necessarily match up.

But what about your position in helping out with the DFW Pagan Pride Day? Are you not assuming a position of leadership with a wide-range of Pagan belief systems? I certainly hope that no one sees me as being a leader because I volunteer to help out with Pagan Pride Day here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. I help out, because I believe this this event is a wonderful way for Pagans to discover one another, and to be able to come together and talk – as well as a way to have non-Pagans find out first-hand how wide-ranging Paganism is, and that we are no different than they are. I am not assuming a position of leadership by doing this. I am finding a way to be helpful to my community – to give back to my community – some of the same reasons that I have been podcasting for so long. None of that bestows any position of leadership upon me. To quote Dennis:

Oh, but you can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you.

So, What About Pagan Leadership?

To be completely honest, I do not know. I just cannot see leadership festooned upon someone simply because they do a podcast or write a book or publish a blog. I am quite sure there will be those who disagree with me. As the old saying goes, ask a three Druids a question and you will get seven answers. From my own perspective, I am just a little unsure of how followers of belief systems that espouse a heavy system of autonomy and independence would be able to set forth a leader – even in a spokes-person role – that all would readily agree upon and completely support. Its definitely a discussion to watch and listen, and even participate in. I am sure it can – and most likely will – create huge rifts between both sides of the argument. I am also quite sure it is a discussion that will need to be had. After all, our Pagan community is beginning to grow up, and is starting to ask the hard questions, such as this. How it gets answered? I have no bloody idea. But I am willing to listening and discuss.