Groups & Organization

Equipping a Movement Forums General Groups & Organization

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    Baldr Frostflame

    Have you read our “Connect with Us” page over at Do you have questions or comments about local groups or our overall organizational structure? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

    Baldr Frostflame

    Olivia J Moffitt recently posed the following excellent questions:

    If I feel inspired by this group, would it be possible to start one from whatever locale I end up being in at the time?

    Also, how do group structures work if there is no hierarchy etc.?

    On the first question, yes, our vision for the future includes an affiliated network of groups supporting each other. Location-based groups (of the kind that Olivia asked about) we generally refer to as “Branches”. We also envision multiple distinct traditions and interest- or affinity-based groups that may include members of different Branches, as well as individuals who have no local Branch near them. So on the whole, we envision two kinds of groups within the Pagan Renewal: one kind (Branches) based on location and one kind (traditions and interest groups) based on affinity.

    If you have an existing local group that can affirm our conviction, vision, and mission and generally draw inspiration from our Fifteen Theses and Five Elements (which are intended to allow room for differences of opinion), you are welcome to declare your affiliation as a “Scion” of the Pagan Renewal, which is just a special kind of Branch that has chosen to “graft” itself into the Pagan Renewal. If you are an individual or individuals without an existing local group interested in exploring starting one, you can become a “Node”, which just means that you are looking into organizing a Branch. A Node becomes a Branch after continuing in healthy growth for at least a year and a day.

    Pagan Renewal Seattle is the Pagan Renewal’s Radix (Latin for “root”, referring to the original local group of the Pagan Renewal). You can read more about us by following the link above. If you have an interest in starting a Branch, we would love to connect with you so that you and we can support each other and learn from each other’s experiences.

    The overall structure of the Pagan Renewal is currently informal, with each Branch and affinity-based group entirely self-governing. In the future, we may apply for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in the United States, which would require us to adopt formal structures to comply with legal requirements, but the overall spirit of our organization will continue to be based on voluntary affiliation, cooperation, and mutual support.

    On the second question, we are spiritually egalitarian, which means that we do not require individuals to undergo initiations or “priesthood” elevations. We are also operationally egalitarian and without hierarchy in the sense that no one tells anyone else what to do. That said, we view compromise and cooperation as essential and organizational design and leadership as useful tools in making the Pagan Renewal effective in accomplishing its mission and manifesting its vision.

    I hope the above responses are helpful! Please feel free to post any follow-up questions in this topic.

    —Warmly yours, BF

    Olivia J Moffitt

    Thanks for the explanation! That helped me understand better, and I’m sure as experiences accumulate in terms of forming groups, among other things, there will be more information on best approaches and/or practices. From what I understand that you are saying, groups could have a structure due to getting tax exempt status, but their spiritual structure would be egalitarian and individualistic. It’s kind of like being a librarian. The leadership structure (if the organization was pursuing tax exempt status) could share their experiences and their knowledge, but it is up to the individual to pursue whatever path fits them best or makes the most sense. And, from what I understand, people will be attending groups with a variety of spiritual pursuits and ideas about the world, correct? There is no core doctrine or theology, except for the 15 points and the other 5 as guidance principles, from what I understand. I was curious about starting a group, but I am not mature enough on my own path to start anything for quite a while.

    Olivia M.

    Baldr Frostflame

    Egalitarianism is a value that Pagan Renewal Seattle practices, yes, and any group that would like to affiliate and collaborate with us would also have to be egalitarian.

    The spiritual journey, pilgrimage, and quest is individual, and it is also communal, so we hope that we would grow not only as individuals but also as groups and traditions. The vision is that local groups would each encompass a variety of different traditions and paths, yes, and we don’t set up a litmus test that requires anyone to maintain a particular theological or metaphysical outlook. We hold together by gathering around our flexible and adaptable core rather than by drawing boundary lines in the sand that say who is “inside” and who is “outside”.

    All that said, we have to keep in mind that this is all just a vision for now, and it will be an experiment—we will have to see how the Pagan Renewal evolves.

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