The lead here is that I’m considering starting a Pagan Salon organization in Minneapolis. No, we will not sit around and do each others’ hair, though I probably won’t stop you on that count. What I would like is a group that meets weekly to take in a small dose of education or appreciation on a given subject. For those who remember the UPS format, it would be pretty much the same thing but be free of university constraints, thus reducing any need for recruitment – no need to make sure we have continuous student members. I would like it also free of some of the wholly unintentional politics of the former group; one can hold hope and perform magic to that end.
Right now I have my eye on the library across the street for a meeting space. It’s undergoing renovations, but when it opens, meeting rooms cost little or nothing for local taxpayers. While I’d much prefer a place that allows easy access to media (not something the city libraries are generous with, likely due to theft) I can work with this. It has the benefit of free/easy parking, a bus stop right in front (that runs frequently) and nearby access to some of the best food in the city. If I can find 3-4 interested people willing to participate weekly, we’re set.
Please note: I’m only considering this at the moment. I miss regular social access to my Pagan types, but limited transportation and a generally out-of-step with local Pagans’ lifestyle sometimes puts me off. While I daresay most Pagans do value diversity, the trend in the Cities has involved a great deal of specialization. While Pagan Pride and the new con thing addresses a big come together, there hasn’t been a general group that allows for genuine exploration of that diversity since UPS folded. I can’t speak for the university group that cropped up to replace UPS – I thought it best to leave them alone; in your twenties nothing is more important than finding your own way, clusterfuck and all.
For those of you who are likely to mention the Sacred Source Center, I acknowledge that they’ve done much to stabilize themselves and it looks like they proved me wrong in terms of getting their act together. At the same time, this group will collect donations (and get a 507c3 status at a certain point) but initially, we start with nothing and I’m not in a position to front the cash for the room rental.
As to my ideas for what we would do should we get our stuff together with an emphasis on using library resources:
1) Watch movies – historical documentaries, the Joseph Campbell series, etc.
2)Present. Group members can present on Pagan and occult related subjects that interest them. Yes, this means that various reiki practitioners, therapists, and so on may also come and speak to the group. This will also include overviews on other religions – I am stunned at how misinformed many Pagans are about the diversity within Christianity, and there’s some stuff taught about Islam on the university level that’s just plain wrong. I may not agree with these religious outlooks, but we owe it to our neighbors to keep our facts straight even if they don’t.
3)Experiment. This will probably work as a break-away, but for those who want to try applying gathered occult knowledge, we can have sessions to explore.
4)Networking. I would make an effort to keep literature and information about all the Twin Cities Pagan groups open to the public. I’d also encourage break-aways such as book clubs, etc. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, I just want to add something that gives the wheel a little extra juice.
5)Performances. Artists, poets and so on would be given opportunities to perform their projects. Also, we can do panels, debates, field trips, etc.
I don’t know if we’d go so far as to have official rituals for the group like UPS did, but small celebrations around the Sabbats would be likely. Also, it’s a big commitment even though it adds a wonderful element of connection to daily life. It would also be exactly what one person complained UPS was: “this is just a social club!” Damn right. A really interesting social club.