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Community and Tribe

By Angharad Lois

[Snip] I have a confession to make: I really dislike the word “tribe.” It makes me wince each time I read it. And I read it a lot in pagan circles.

Tribalism is founded on “othering,” on an opposition of “us” and “them.” While I have no doubt that the notion of the tribe in modern paganism is mostly focused on the “us” – on the desire to belong to a group of like-minded people – there is always a corollary.

Most of us will have experienced the sharp end of othering: we live in a society where our religious or spiritual beliefs are generally ignored, often ridiculed and sometimes vilified. And the desire to reach out and connect with like-minded people is a very natural and healthy thing – that is part of the point of keeping this blog, after all. Ideas are best developed in discussion with people who understand their context, and sometimes we all need a little reassurance that we are not the only ones of our kind out there in the big, wide world. But when I read people talking about “finding their tribe” in paganism, it is often accompanied by the kind of othering that sets off my warning bells.

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