Frequently Asked Questions
With so much information available on the Internet, it's easier than ever to learn about paganism, so we decided to put together this page as an orientation for anyone looking for honest answers to a common questions about the Mid-Mo community.
Where can I go to learn the basics about paganism? Are some websites or books better than others?
Paganism is an umbrella term, and a lot of things are covered under that umbrella. To learn more about the major "flavors" of paganism, try Wikipedia's Religion Portal. Also take a look at Celtic Connection and ReligiousTolerance.org. Browse the New Age section of the bookstore. Some titles are better than others, so apply critical thinking skills as you read. Don't beafraid to decide that an author isn't right for you. Check out their bibliography. Read the stuff that comes up over and over again across different authors. Check out the library too! DBRL has books available, and you can utilize interlibrary loans to get access to even more materials!
Are there local teachers available? How do I know if a teacher is reputable?
Yes, there are local teachers available! The best way to find one is to attend open circles and public events. Ask questions. Get recommendations. Pagans are a chatty bunch, so it won't take long to figure out who's got a good track record. Listen to your gut. Join mailing lists and Facebook groups. Periodically a teacher may run a series of introductory classes. Most will not charge or will only suggest a small donation to cover printing fees. Tools like ABCDEF and the Seekers Bill of Rights [note: scroll about 3/4 the way down the page to read it] were designed to help newcomers assess the groups and teachers that they come across, so don't be afraid to use them!
Where can I meet others like me? Is there a secret handshake or something that I should know?
Different groups favor different methods. Look at our Local Groups page, WitchVox, and Meetup for general networking. Some traditions and organizations have their own mailing lists or directories. Look up ADF, OBOD, The Troth, Covenant of the Goddess, Aquarian Tabernacle Church, Reclaiming Collective, and The Sisterhood of Avalon. See what fits for you. Don't be afraid to shop around. There are literally hundreds of groups to choose from. As far as secret handshakes, "I found you on [insert website here]" tends to work well!
Sally Jo said such-and-such about Mary Sue and she's a horrible person and we need to get her out of the community right now!
Personal conflicts exist everywhere in life, and the pagan community is no exception. We call such conflicts witch wars, and they're terribly damaging to the community. The best thing to do in situations like this is to seek out the people directly involved in the conflict and get the story straight from the source. Be objective. Consider the facts. Then make your own determinations and adjust your personal actions accordingly. If you're party to a conflict, then settle it outside of the public eye. This includes public events, open circles, and virtual environments like social media. Seek out mediation or arbitration. If you're a member of a tradition or organization, there may already be a conflict-resolution procedure in place, so ask for it and actively work the process. Abide by the decisions that come out of conflict resolution, then turn your attention to healing yourself and moving on. By taking personal responsibility to keep community drama to a minimum, we all work together to cultivate a more pleasant and inviting atmosphere for everyone.