All Beliefs are Welcome Here!
The imagery of walking a single path by candle glow with a smoldering cauldron waiting in the center to reveal a message from a higher source or a revered ancestor is a powerful image to behold. Science tells us that walking the labyrinth can enhance right brain activity. Labyrinths can open you up to allow for a deep plumbing of your inner depths giving us a deeper understanding of the world within us and how it relates to the world around us. Now you’re asking yourself what does any of this have to do with volunteerism? Well, I will explain.
Volunteering for an event in our community can be just as fulfilling to the soul as walking a labyrinth is to our interior world. How could that be? The answer is simple enough. By offering a minimum of two hours of your precious time is an act of selflessness and in selfless acts new knowledge of one’s self can be found. Yes, I know. You just rolled your eyes at that, but allow me to give you an example of my own path of service and the transformation it gave me.
As many of you know I was the Local Coordinator for Phoenix Pagan Pride Day for a number of years. (If you didn’t know that about me, well, you do now.) Before I was LC I volunteered as workshop coordinator for 3PD. My first meeting was a bit overwhelming since there were very few actual guidelines. I’m a Capricorn (third trine) with a Cappy rising – I like lists and guidelines. The co-LCs at the time was Dan and Bethany. I asked Dan for some kind of advice for my new post and Mr. Dan, gentle, smiling soul that he was, did just that –he smiled and told me to trust my instincts. He said he trusted me to know what to do to make for a good event.
Now I won’t bore you with the details of finding speakers and organizing schedules, but somewhere along the way I began to realize that the process was less important than the experience. I met new and interesting people, who consistently amazed me with their graciousness and willingness to come and speak. They were flexible on topics and times. They were generous with their own time, willing to accommodate whatever last minute scheduling or classroom shifts (and trust me last minute snafus come up all the time in these large lumbering events). After the event was over and I had time to sit and reflect on my experience I could honestly say I had found out something important about myself and my spiritual path. Nothing felt better than being of service.
There was a warmth deep in my center that radiated out, filling my being with a golden glow. I had not only accomplished my tasks, but people had enjoyed the experience I had helped to craft. The attendees had learned something new and I had the tiniest hand in giving them that experience. The larger lesson for me was one I had forgotten years ago – I enjoyed working a path of service. I feel connected to my ancestors and my deities when I am in service to others, which is why I continue to give my time to events around the Valley of the Sun.
I know in many Witchcraft or Wiccan traditions being of service is part of the training cycle. I know in my own training, my third year was spent in service to my coven and the community. Our Heathen brethren follow the Nine Noble Virtues which doesn’t specifically reference volunteering, but it does address hospitality and industriousness both of which are key elements in volunteerism. So here I ask a question, if being of service is so important that traditions make it part of the training, then why is it so few people are willing to volunteer their time at events?
To have a strong community does not mean we have to all walk the same path, nor do we have to think the same way. There is strength, honor and enormous beauty in diversity. An unknown author said, “Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day.” And a Sanskrit phrase states “I can see myself in all things and all people around me.” We as thinking beings can have a meaningful discourse and never agree on a single thing other than we are not the same. We do not live in a vacuum. We live in a dynamic and diverse city with dynamic and diverse communities within it. Our own community is dynamic, passionate and diverse and in that we can choose to come together and work for a greater purpose.
There are amazing examples of this greater purpose in event around the Valley. It can be seen in Phoenix Pagan Pride Day, the Phoenix Fire Gatherings events, Sacred Spiral Church of Arizona, all of the meet-ups, book discussion groups and of course, the Witches Ball – every event, is different, run by passionate, selfless and usually exhausted people who want our community to grow and become stronger. You can help. When it comes time to volunteer, do it. It’s only a few hours of your time and you will get back what you put into it. Plus you will have the added bonus of the appreciation of event coordinators Valley wide. Be of service. Walk the path of service and find out something new about yourself. What do you have to lose?
In Her Service,