Remaining

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So what do you call it when you grew up in a tradition, learned a lot from it, owe a lot to it, but have moved away from it in significant ways?

Reclaiming is like a quick-rising bread. If you want to experience the potential of energy and magic, it’s all there at your fingertips without too much effort. It is a great entry-way into the wider world of Pagan spirituality, and has spawned some of the most talented energyworkers, organizers, priests and priestesses I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

It is long past time, however, for me to join the ranks of my esteemed colleagues who have spent years in Reclaiming and then moved on to bigger and better things. In saying this, I want to be clear about what I am NOT saying:

• I am not saying that Reclaiming is no good.
• I am not denouncing any Reclaiming person, place or thing.
• I am not saying that all Reclaiming communities are doomed.
• I am not saying that I will never practice Reclaiming-style magic.
• I am not saying that I will never teach Reclaiming-style magic.

What I AM saying is this:

Reclaiming—the tradition and the community—is not enough to sustain me over the long-term. It can be part of a healthy diet, but is not a staple.

I feel personally empowered, have found my heart’s desire, and am not scared or distracted by challengers of any sort. I have reclaimed just about everything that I might want or need from my personal, karmic, and collective past. I know who needs to be initiated, and who does not. I know my work in the world, and how to do it. I have allies and friends I can always turn to for assistance, and we are committed to upholding our vows and helping others who are coming up through the ranks.

I think abolishing hierarchy is stupid and a waste of time. If you are interested in equality at all costs, you should never have gone looking for your power in the first place. Holding authority with integrity is more important than making others feel good.

I like using consensus, especially with people who know how it works, but I don’t think it is the only meaningful way to make decisions. I think oppression is real, but that doesn’t mean we’re always being oppressed. I have developed an allergy to holding meetings in sacred space. And finally, I don’t think Pagans are going to change the world. Intelligent, passionate, well-informed people who know how to work with others are going to change the world.

So what does that make me? Not post-Reclaiming or anti-Reclaiming, because I still care about what happens in the name of Reclaiming, still teach with Reclaiming, and still have a voice in the community. I’m not turning my back, betraying, or attacking anyone. I just feel like I’ve moved on in some major ways, so that I’m not quite Reclaiming anymore.

I finally decided that what I am is Remaining. I’m not going away. I’m staying connected on my own terms, choosing my battles, and letting the rest go. If people want to study with me or do magic with me, that’s great. But I am not teaching solely to advance the cause of Reclaiming, or the Craft in general for that matter. I just think there are bigger fish to fry.

We need to develop our leadership capacity, our listening skills, our ability to respond creatively in so many different situations. We need to expand our awareness, and not just by changing consciousness at will. We need to educate ourselves, increase our fluency with symbols and languages, get practical with our dreams and visionary in our daily lives.

The whole “Remaining” thing started out as a joke with some friends of mine as we were searching for a name for an organizing group. Please, don’t anyone say that there is now a new tradition called Remaining, or I may have to commit seppuku. I just like how the word flows from Reclaiming so easily, yet is not about constantly losing something to find it again, or blaming someone for keeping something from us. It is a good word for how I feel in this moment: strong, committed, and done with bullshit. I’m ready to move on, with whoever wants to join me.

22 thoughts on “Remaining

  1. Macha

    Welcome to the big wide world of grown-up Pagans, Anne. You’ve been here for a long time, as far as I can see.

    Blessings,
    Macha, Remaining

  2. Sia

    Dear Anne,

    You are one of the few who could say this, and make people listen :-)

    As you and I have long noted, it is time (past time) that we began to take our skills and do our work in the wider world. If we are afraid of our power, how can we possibly use it for good? The biggest mistake most groups make is a refusal to set boundaries and standards. These are essential if the more experienced and mature among us are to support newcomers and seekers. I like to think that we Pagans are now beginning to recover from this spiritual and social codependency.

    Call us what you will – Stealth Pagans, Practical Pagans, Ordinary Pagans, Pagan Professionals or just plain old folks, There are a lot of us out there, quietly doing good and making connections within and beyond the Pagan pond. You can always tell who they are because they value the work above their own egos.

    Thank you for being a voice for compassion, empowerment and common sense.

    as always,

    Sia

  3. Moonroot

    What a wonderful post! Anne, I have always admired your common sense, clear sightedness and compassion – and they shine through in this piece.

  4. Erin C (verblgerbl)

    I’m coming to see that as the name suggests, “reclaiming” is more of a process than a tradition. The tools continue to serve me well, and I’m glad I’ve learned them. But now that I’ve “reclaimed” my life and my spirituality, I think I might be a Buddhist.

    (Thanks for the Star Goddess path. I think of you often!)

  5. deborah oak

    Anne, I too am Remaining. Could there be any term more perfect? I feel about as reclaimed as I can be. And I remain. And more than ever, in terms of Reclaiming…I am restrained. Or maybe retrained? mmmmmm…..actually, I am both now Remaining and Reframing, seeing things from an entirely different perspective and view. By golly, it feels sooooooooo much better!

  6. Madelon

    Anne-

    Thank you for this precise, articulate post. It helps me clarify my thinking further. A working group on ethical leadership has emerged here in the Midwest out of a workshop that Zoe and I taught, and I will recommend they come and read this piece.

  7. Anne Post author

    Thanks for chiming in, Madelon. I look forward to the progress of your ethical leadership group. Erin and Kevin, good to hear from you, too!

  8. Otter Coyote Moon

    Well said. I have been on LOA from the local Reclaiming group ReWeaving down here in So. California for the last 4 years or so. And have indeed come to just about the same conclusions as well.
    And so we Remain as we are meant to Be…

    Bright Blessings
    Otter Coyote Moon

  9. Sunfell

    I am glad that there are others out there who are unafraid to ‘gracefully surrender the things of youth’ and move on. I’ve shed much of my own Pagan trappings, but remain culturally Pagan. I just no longer need to do the Pagan Thang- whatever it is.

    Remainders… I like that. I’ve been working in the larger world for a while now, and feel free to synthesize what I have learned and do my own thing.

    I like your blog. It’s very interesting and thought provoking.

  10. Sabina

    Right on, Anne! I especially appreciated your thoughtful and cogent comments on hierarchy, on how it’s more important to hold authority with integrity than to ensure equality at all costs, and on the limited usefulness of consensus. I find your words inspirational.

  11. Macha

    I have been struggling with this for some time and you have put words to what I have been feeling and knowing without being able to clearly articulate.
    Blessings to you
    Macha

  12. Corvus Munnin

    Very well written, and thoughtfully composed. It sounds as if you have gained much of value from Reclaiming, and are now moving forward on your path toward new levels of understanding, carrying with you some very useful tools. May the way unfolding before you be filled with as much wonder as that which you have already traversed, and may your footing be firm and sure.

    Blessed Be,

    Corvus

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