Some years back I wrote this on our YABB forum:…
But “back in the day,” when we were visualizing what the OMS (and so yes, none of this even remotely applies to what we have today, with the RDG and all) would look like in the future, we saw Groves of 12 or more individuals from every class, race, ethnic background, etc., led by a ruling collective; a “Nest” (like in SiaSL) of 3 or more united in polyfideletous marriage, with the idea that these could eventually morph into “line marriages“ (see Heinlein’s, “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress”) involving the entire Grove.
It’s still how I would like to see the Mother Grove develop, although as I age I fear the likelihood of this vision is becoming dimmer and dimmer. Two people have read it. No one has commented. I’m not really expecting anyone to.
Ceridwen and I have sought a “third” for years now. We came really close once, but the candidate in question (let’s call her “J”) wasn’t truly polyamorous, and was much more interested in me than in Ceridwen. In fact, J plotted ways to break Ceridwen and I up (an impossibility – Ceridwen and I are true soul-mates, and it is increasingly becoming clear we may be one soul within two physical bodies – but I digress). One problem is that where we live isn’t as liberal/progressive as it seems it is from the outside. Politically this is definitely a “blue” County, and left-wing politics abound. But a progressive living style isn’t apparent, and we have found that even Pagans are skittish when it comes to discussion of polyamory or of naturism. We’ve lost friends over this, and we’ve even been accused of being “sexual predators.” One young couple whom we were friends with, ceased being friends when we decided to give them Raven Kaldera’s book, Pagan Polyamory as a present for his birthday. It was chosen as a gift because these young people had always made an open show of their sexuality, and Ceridwen and I thought this would be an appropriate gift. What happened was that somehow the gift was interpreted as a “come on;” that we were trying to recruit the couple. Well yeah we were, but as Druids, not as lovers. This couple talked with another couple who were members of the mother grove — also not candidates for our family, but certainly valued members of the grove – and soon the male member of that couple was forbidden to associate with us by his spouse, and we were “banished” from their home. I can’t imagine how an open knowledge of “we’re looking for a wife” becomes a pronouncement of “we want to frak everything that moves” but there it is.
I suppose it is true that there are many people who might have become members of the Order of the Mithril Star if it were not for our promotion of polyfidelity and naturism. On the other hand, given that promotion; there are very few members of Order of the Mithril Star that actually practice either lifestyle, let alone both of them. I know of several members of the Order that are polyamorous, but in most cases, none of their partners are Druids. There are also many members who are naturists, but the other naturists they hang with are not Druids.
Our annual Druid Gatherings here have been well attended, and officially, they are “clothing optional,” but as yet no one has, even for a few minutes in their own campsite, ever appeared nude, even though their have been times when it was warm enough. It may be one of those things where if one person were to matter-of-factly be naked, others would as well, but in these instances it takes at least one. Even I do this.
Another Pagan lifestyle choice we promote is that of the “Intentional community.” I don’t know any “mithrils” who practice this, aside from some (like Ceridwen and I) who have house mates. Our house mates are not Druids, they’re not naturists, and they’re not polyamorous. They’re not even Pagan, though they are progressives for the most part.Having “house mates” is not the same as living communally. In fact if anything, it is quite constraining. We only have them because it is an economic necessity; the rents in Humboldt being so high that almost everyone has at least one house mate. You can’t legally advertise for Pagan, naturist, polyamorous house mates. Nor is it practical, as it limits the pool you are searching in. It’s hard enough to screen out people who are politically incompatible, let alone totally spiritually compatible.
Then there is the vision of Dryad’s Realm, our dream of an intentional Druid community in the redwoods here, that would be host to a new age / naturist resort. There has been very little expressed interest among the mithrils.
Then there’s the issue of “class.”Pagans are as much products of society as anyone else. Wealthy Pagans don’t want to hang with working class Pagans. Middle class Pagans prefer to hang with wealthier Pagans than with working class Pagans. It’s also my observation that the lower down the class scale one is, the less likely they are to go for alternative life style choices, even choices that would ultimately, and in the long run, be economically more beneficial and preferable for them (like intentional community). My other observation is that wealthy Pagans and working class Pagans tend to be in the closet about their spirituality (the wealthy out of fear of losing their non-Pagan friends; the working class out of fear of losing homes or jobs). It’s the middle income Pagans that tend to be out front, and they are also the ones who go to the Pagan festivals and are also more likely to be naturists at home (and at festivals) and to be polyamorous. This makes sense since festivals cost money, and the best places to practice naturism are naturist resorts, which also cost money, and those activities are engaged in by people who have disposable resources.
Those of course are not the only activities that Pagans like to engage in. Putting on and attending Renaissance Faires is popular, and also very expensive, and again, one engaged in by the middle and wealthy Pagan classes.
What does all this have to do with the Order of the Mithril Star? Well, honestly, most of our members are living within 300% of the Federal Poverty guidelines. I’d say at least 1/2. People in that bracket are usually a lot more concerned with survival issues than they are with getting to practice naturism or polyamory. People in that bracket are also way less likely to be politically active at all (they may hope for health care reform, but do little or nothing to help bring it about, because they’re totally focused on survival – even though healthcare reform promises to help their survival). Add to that the stigma of living in that bracket (because our society makes you out to be a “loser”) and you tend to live life under the radar. I think most of our members might want to be able to walk around the apartment, or maybe even the garden, nude. But they don’t. They might wish they had a 3rd (or even a 4th or 5th) but never bring it up or pursue it. BUT, they did join OMS, so that means that they are at least thinking, maybe dreaming about those kinds of life styles.How do we collectively translate the dream into reality?