It’s not always easy to find a Pagan. We don’t own churches or other big buildings you can easily spot. And if we’re not wearing our pentagrams, you might not be able to pick us out in a crowd. So how do you find your Pagan community?
In my experience, one Pagan usually leads to another. Ask someone you know how they meet other Pagans, where they meet up, and what they do, and soon you’ll find a whole group of them. After all, they do tend to work in circles.
A good place to look will be your local moot. This is really just a fancy word for a meeting where Pagans meet up for a pint (or goblet), a bit of chit-chat and quite possibly some constructive discussion. Advertisements for these might be listed on a bulletin board in your local Pagan shop, or posted on the door of your local pub on the day the moot takes place. Of course, this depends on where you live, and whether the pub will be torched for daring to host a bunch of Pagans discussing such controversial topics as planting trees or drawing circles on the ground.
Of course, your local Pagan shop can be a wealth of knowledge. Most people that run these shops will love to talk to you at length about everything Pagan. This is partly to sell you things, but mostly because like most Pagans, they’ll be well into their spirituality. They are the focal point of many Pagan communities. People will go these shops to buy supplies, but stay for a chat about everything they’re up to, upcoming festivals, conferences and the like.
While you’re in your Pagan shop, look for local magazines and journals. New ones are coming out all the time and will hold listings of local events. Don’t be afraid to purchase the rougher looking, less-glossy journals, as they may be real grass-roots attempts at starting a great new community that you could be a part of.
Another place would be at your local university. Even if you’re not a current student, the leader of your local university Pagan society might be able to put you in touch with people in your area that are involved in all things Pagan.
Of course solar festivals are a great place to meet Pagan friends. Does your part of the world have any winter or summer solstice gatherings? They may not actually call them by the names Yule or Litha, but you can be sure that more than a few Pagans will be in attendance.
Other gatherings, often held in summer, are also great ways to meet people. Some have a special theme, such as a particular deity or local legend, and it’s always easy to strike up a conversation over a table of scrying bowls and goddess statues. After attending a few workshops and drinking a glass or two of mead, chances are that you’ll have met someone within a few miles of where you live.
Longer retreats are a slightly more expensive but rewarding way of meeting Pagans. Whether it’s a weekend of camping or a week learning the ways of hedgewitchery, a retreat can give you the space and time to relax and meet some new friends.
Then of course there are Pagan organizations. These exist in many countries around the world and serve to support Pagans in their everyday lives. They fight discrimination, hold events, publish journals, and perform a lot of charity work. Getting involved in an organization is one of the most active things you can do as a Pagan to really become part of your local Pagan community as well as the growing community worldwide.
Okay, so there’s still the big elephant in the room that I’ve avoided so far: the internet. Of course the internet is an excellent way of meeting Pagans. However, it can sometimes make you feel a bit isolated if everyone you meet is hundreds or thousands of miles away. Use the internet as a starting point or as a reference point, especially for ordering that hand-crafted wooden athame you’ve always wanted! But meet a few people living near you and start a non-virtual Pagan moot, and soon you’ll be a valuable member of your very own local Pagan community.