Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Threshold Generation

Inspired by the death of Margot Adler, and the many before her.

I am an early 30-something. I read voraciously as a child, explored the world around me, and began having and recognizing my first spiritual experiences by the time I was 5. At 18, I had my first true Awakening to who I was and my purpose in this life. Through that time, I devoured every book I could find on Goddesses, Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism. Who were these people that felt so similar to the way I did? You mean there are others, and have been for a couple of decades? I’m not alone? I didn’t know anyone else personally, but knowing they were out there was exhilarating.

Enter the Internet. I remember the internet coming into my home my last year or two of high school. Suddenly, I had access to other people from all around the world. I began talking to others who had been in “The Community” for years. I had people to look up to, to emulate, to respect. Down the rabbit hole I went.

Many years and many communities later, here I stand. I was brought up having to learn everything on my own, but matured with connections to some of the most influential people in our movement. Some at arm’s length, some very close to my heart. I’ve participated in some amazing things, built and facilitated some incredible groups and organizations, and began leading in my early 20’s.

Technically, we are considered Generation Y. I hate that moniker and the entire stereotype that has formed around it. As Hecate Demeter said here, we don’t get the credit we deserve.

But, there is something generational happening. Those in my age range have been sandwiched between card catalogues and the dawn of the internet age, between the rise and fall of some of the greatest individuals of the movement(s), between struggling for information and being overwhelmed by it, between the passion of revolution and the passivity of numbness. We straddle two worlds and two eras.

We are the Threshold Generation.

We stand poised, ready, waiting, prepared to cross the threshold and fully step into our leadership. And yet, we look around and wonder, who and what are we going to lead?  An apathetic and disillusioned younger generation that would rather tweet than talk?  A planet that we have sickened? Countries ravaged by war and poverty?

And now, in the last couple of years, many foremothers, forefathers, and influential people of the Pagan Movement have died. We lost my own dear teacher and friend, Shekhinah Mountainwater, in August 2007, and I’ve struggled since. The losses are painful and sad. It also strikes a chord of fear and dismay in my heart. These people who laid the foundation and nurtured the soil of our movement are gone. I look around at what is left without them, and it worries me. Those who are like me in my generation want to do you proud, to carry the torch, to make a difference in this world that you cared so much about, and were brave enough to stand for.

There are a few lights that shine, but they are harder and harder to see in the fog of frightening news, “reality” TV, and information overload. Finding a mentor seems to be even harder, as people jockey for their 5 minutes of internet fame, and charge a thousand dollars or more for classes on “finding your inner ….” (I am 100% behind financially supporting the leaders, teachers, and clergy of our religions, but I see this getting out of control) Even finding like-minded individuals seems to be getting harder as we divide ourselves across lines of false conflict and illusion.

The need and desire is just as real now as it was when books like Drawing Down the Moon, Spiral Dance, The Holy Book of Women’s Mysteries, Ariadne’s Thread, and others came out. It’s just clouded by the illusion of the age we live in.

I don’t yet know where we go from here. There is always talk about those buzzwords authenticity and inclusion and diversity; about right living, standing in your power, and being true to yourself while respecting differences. The challenges that face us are great. They might be insurmountable. But those who came before felt the same way and did it anyway, laying the foundation piece by piece, figuring it out as they went along. We must find a way to continue that work.

I plead to the older generations to reach out to those who are straddling worlds and trying to trudge on through the muck.  I call upon my generation to take your place among your peers - some of us do still give a shit.  And I promise the younger generation that I will do my best to leave a future for you, and my hand will be here when you are ready.

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