Archipelago of Hope

Apr 29th, 2017 | By | Category: Articles

MabhBy Mabh Savage

This year I’m honoured to be participating in the Pagan Federation Disabilities Team Online Beltane Festival. I’m pretty sure this one marks one year exactly since I became involved with the online festivals, and it’s really brought it home to me why they are so important.

Pagans, like all people, on all paths, come in all shapes and sizes. There are introverts and extroverts. There are healthy Pagans and unwell Pagans. There are fully able-bodied Pagans and there are less able-bodied Pagans. And the fact is, there are many, many Pagans who, either for physical or mental reasons, simply can’t get out and indulge in the many and varied celebrations that mark the turning of the year.

Recently, my own health has not been too great. I suffer from back, knee, hip and other joint pain, which is, if not directly caused by, greatly exacerbated by severe hypermobility. I also experience quite crushing periods of depression, interspersed with debilitating bouts of anxiety. A few months ago, the whole lot ganged up on me, leaving me unable to work for a few weeks.

I couldn’t write, not a word, which made the depression even worse. I stopped meditating, my sleep suffered, and my spiritual practice became a dull, background hum rather than the intricate melody it had always been.

I am lucky enough to have very supportive friends, and was blessed to have visitors at Imbolc who helped me not only celebrate, but understand that the spark of magic is always alive, even when I am at my lowest ebb. These online gatherings do exactly that, for so many people. For those who can’t access fields, standing stones, pub moots, even other folks’ houses, here is a chance to connect with potentially like-minded people. To share ideas, to ask questions, to celebrate and ultimately to be a part of the Pagan community.

Illness, especially long term and/or chronic illness, whether physical or mental, can make you feel so lonely; so isolated. You can become a desert island, in a merciless ocean; lost and gradually worn away. Creating a safe, online space, free from judgement, where authors, musicians, creators of ritual, craft-workers, artisans and more come together; this is how we build bridges. We build a sturdy bridge from each island, perhaps not to the mainland, but to at least one other island in the crashing waves, creating a little network of islands, no longer isolated. An archipelago of hope.

Beltane is the Celtic festival of fire, and watching how hard the Pagan Federation Disabilities Team members work to create these online events creates fire in me: the fire of passion and drive, to do more, to help where I can, tempered by the wisdom we all need: to rest when we must.

My video from last Beltane:

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One Comment to “Archipelago of Hope”

  1. Debi says:

    Dude, you had me crying when i have a festival to put out! Damn you and your kind words! 😉
    Seriously though, we appreciate everything you do for our team and the festivals. You’re one of our strongest supporters and without you i wouldn’t have the strength to battle my own demons well enough to get the festivals together!
    Much love to you, babe! Never stop being you!

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