Fellowship. I believe I first learned of the word reading The Lord of the Rings. There really is no Dutch translation for it. In the Dutch version of the great book by Tolkien, the first part is called ‘De Reisgenoten’, meaning the travelling companions. I suppose it works. When I google pictures for fellowship, I find either this, the fellowship of fellowships:
I am part of a fellowship, a group of friends who gave itself a proper name. We call ourselves ‘Het Vrijgezelschap’, which is a conflation of ‘free companionship’ and ‘band of bachelors at the same time. We definitely are not all bachelors, the name refers to our first official meeting which was a bachelor’s party. We are named after that which brought us together, somewhat like the Fellowship of the Ring. Though we lack the obvious quest, we do have a picture of us roaming the fields, walking in a clear line like a proper fellowship.
This second type of fellowship is completely alien to me. First of all, my fellows’ teeth aren’t as white. The group is not nearly as evenly multicultural. Furthermore, though we like to jump in front of a camera, we usually do see facing the camera rather than showing our backs. And finally, there are no babies of yet. If the bit of purple in the far left corner is wine, than that is the only thing that our fellowship has in common with this one. Our wine and beer glasses are much bigger and fuller however.
But the greatest difference of all, we do not share a religion.
We do not share Christ.
I estimate half of our members is atheistic. There is one Pagan, I am. And two protestant Christians. One cultural Catholic, and one of the Catholic faithful. Religion is not what we do when we come together. The most recent time religion came up, was when I wanted to plan an activity on Easter Sunday. This was also then time I discovered that a fellow was a church-going Catholic.
I do not particularly want to discuss religion with my fellows. Religion comes up occasionally, but then it is my sister-in-law who speaks of her Christian faith, and I merely respond and challenge. Usually that is enough for me. Indirectly I have given a lot of clues about my views on religion, so they probably have some inkling. Nevertheless I have never initiated a conversation on the subject It is only recently that I shared this website with a friend, mainly because I believe that at least one person from my social life should know of it and thus know this part of me. To make it more real, and less boxed-in.
Yet I do long for Pagan fellowship. I miss talking about the gods, making sense of their stories into the deep of night. I miss dialogue.
Blogging and all that is great, but it is not the same as conversation. The medium has its limits. When someone presses enter … there exists an expectation that the published post is somehow … done, finished. A blog post is a thing onto itself. I sometimes get into trouble because I write replies whilst I am still thinking … and thus my writing is often incomplete, or it deviates slightly from the subject matter. I read an article and it will lead me to new directions, which the author did not intend me to go. I may write three subsequent replies, all saying something different. This is not always well received. Many would like it better when I just stick to one view so things are neat and tidy. But writing not only captures ideas, it also stimulates the birth of new thoughts. This is why I blog. I write to un-knot my thoughts and I invite you all to change my thinking.
Sometimes, it is true, my work could use some editing. All writing needs editing to make it suitable for an audience.
This post should have been ‘much shorter for example. It has taken me ages to get to the heart of the matter. The point is that I would love a place where this thinking (and writing) aloud is encouraged. A place where changing your mind and opinions is a good thing, not a weakness. I hope the Solitary Druid Fellowship will offer such a haven. Teo Bishop has made it very clear that the SDF is not an online community. Well, it is a community. What is fellowship if not community. But is a community with a creative focus. As of yet that focus is developing a shared ritual liturgy. But it could be so much more.
So far, SDF has supported crowdsourcing poetry and sharing thoughts on seasonal change. I hope that in the future we can also share doubts, questions and advise. I hope we will become a true fellowship.
Thank you, Teo, for creating the SDF, for always thinking aloud and asking new questions and for letting me “continue to sit with these ideas”.