This time last year, a friend and I were dreaming a dream that will not let me go. We dreamed a group that we cannot build, a group that would bring forth a community centre for polytheists and ultimately also a monastic house for those among us who feel pulled to that life by something we cannot name (I have felt the pull of the gods, and this is not all that is happening here. This is also something in me that knows how I should live, knows the course my life should take). The dream took root in my psyche and I cannot let it go, but equally I cannot build it.
I’ve read a lot about Anglican and Catholic monastic life, and there is so much in it that calls to me, much as well that I could adapt to my own religious path and incorporate successfully and I believe that would bring me joy. But from my reading, the heart of many types of monasticism is community. Real flesh and blood people with you and around you all day every day, flawed and infuriating people, very much like family. And I read these things and my heart aches.
And you don’t have to be a mystic, a spirit worker, a visionary. You have to be devoted to your god (or, in the case of polytheists, gods) and willing to live as the community lives, and to keep going when things are difficult. Monastic life is very much about discipline, but it is supported day to day by the community. I can do discipline – when I was at school I was a music type and that really did teach me the value of discipline, even if that doesn’t always transfer easily into my religious/spiritual stuff. But I don’t have community, not really. I value online polytheist communities very much, but it isn’t the same as having flesh and blood people around. The friend I dreamed with lives a fair way away from me now, she has a busy and full life and I don’t like to bother her with my daydreaming. I’ve considered trying to find devotional polytheists in the pagan community, but I don’t live in a city and I can’t drive, and anyway I’ve found increasingly that paganism doesn’t really look much like what I’m trying to do. I think a lot of pagans would probably think I was mad anyway!
So I’m stuck with this dream that makes my heart ache, this dream I don’t know how to build.