It has been a couple of years since I walked away from my local pagan community. I had been a priestess in that community and organizing for 10+ years. When I left I was just exhausted. I had nothing more to give. I was emotionally devastated. My local community was full of drama 24/7. Lots of power struggles and gossip. By the time I left I was hardly engaging my own spirituality at all. I was immersed in trying to hold my groups together and dodge the fire balls being launched at me daily. In the end I had to walk away to save myself. For 10 years I had given of myself completely and taken very little in for my own preservation. In the aftermath I took a year to heal. I focused on bringing myself back into balance. Healing my wounded heart and learning to trust again were not easy. I cried when I had to cry and I was gentle with myself. Then I really took inventory of my beliefs and decided what things I wanted to hold onto and then what things I wanted to let go of or add. Slowly I let go of anyone in my life that was toxic. I made a choice to move towards peace and sometimes that meant moving away from people.
So here I am now. I am at peace and my life is pretty drama free. It feels good to make choices that in the end lead to a more successful life. On the other hand it can be hard to walk a spiritual life without a community around you. It can be easy to blow off spiritual goals when there is very little accountability. When you go through those “dark nights of the soul” it helps to have other like-minded people to support you. You have to find ways to self-support and self motivate. There are times when I get lonely and I want to do ritual with others. I miss having folks over to the house and having them around the fire. Even though there are things I miss, I would not go back to community now. I have too much peace and it is hard for me to believe that there is any way to find healthy community. I hate to even type those words. There is a part of me that thinks there must be healthy pagan community out there somewhere. I just don’t have the courage to try right now. This is complicated by the fact that I did train to be a priestess and I always thought I would serve the goddess in my local community. Maybe I still do, maybe it has just morphed into something else.