brock_tn: (reading at home)
[personal profile] brock_tn posting in [community profile] group_paganism
The last time I looked, the half-life for a pagan group here in the United States was somewhere between two-and-a-half and three years.  That is, 50% of all newly formed pagan groups will have ceased to exist within thirty to thirty-six months after they are formed.

Now, we've all seen discussions that go on ad infinitum about why pagan groups collapse.  I seems to me that a far more useful subject for a community like this would be why certain pagan groups survive well past the three-year mark.

What say you?

Date: 2009-05-03 08:49 pm (UTC)
wide_worlds_joy: (ULC)
From: [personal profile] wide_worlds_joy
I've always considered a working group/coven to be a group marriage of a kind. There are many of the same problems and a lot of the same solutions.

* communication between all people
* cooperation and participation
* understanding and acceptance of personalities
* consistency

A lot of the problem I see with many new groups is that they try to share around the leadership positions. This, IMO, is a mistake unless ALL the people in question are abnormally mature.

Not talking to others and letting them know what is going on is a mistake as well, IMO. Communication trumps nearly every problem.

Date: 2009-05-04 09:57 am (UTC)
purpletigron: In profile: Pearl Mackie as Bill Potts from Dr Who (Default)
From: [personal profile] purpletigron
I think it's important to explicitly have an ongoing discussion group structure and facilitation.

In my experience, there does need to a small, well-defined group with specified facilitation roles to make a group work.

There also needs to be a system for new people to join the facilitation group, and for people to step away from that role after a sensible period - perhaps 2 - 3 years.

Date: 2009-05-05 03:29 am (UTC)
bohemianeditor: an old-style typewriter (probably 1940s Remington Rand) (aquarius)
From: [personal profile] bohemianeditor
I think it would be possible for a group to share around leadership positions if leadership was passed in a clear, defined, even ritualized way (like the passing of a coven sword) and there were clear, defined roles for each member of the group (so that someone could cycle from a leadership position to a support position, for example).

That said, I've never seen it done in the wild.

Some kind of structure definitely helps with group longevity -- a way to define "what we do" as well as "what we don't do" -- with a little room for exceptions.

And the longer I hang around traditional Craft, the more I think that long-lasting groups are comfortable with hierarchy and use it to the best advantage of the group. I've spent time in three groups over the last 10 years. Two of them pretended to be democracies; one fizzled out, and the other is in denial about its current fizzling out. The other (which has been around for ... 18 years?) is run by an HPS who's big on rules/boundaries/limitations as well as accomodating people who sincerely need it.

Date: 2009-05-04 03:39 am (UTC)
nacho_cheese: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nacho_cheese
I have to agree with daven. I also noticed that groups tend to dissolve under the pressure of forming cliques and whispers behind others' backs. On top of communication, cooperation, acceptance, and consistency, there must also exist respect for others and knowing when to bring up issues.

I'm an active part of a group, actually, that has been around for about 5 years. They remain a group because there's a definitive set of leaders, activities and events planned around the Pagan community, and people who are open about their thoughts and their acceptance. Worked so far!

Date: 2009-05-15 02:35 pm (UTC)
seshen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] seshen
I think the idea that "pagans hate rules; we're all free spirits" lends itself to not having more concrete, enforced standards as to social behavior in a group, whether it be community or coven.

Our last coven lasted 7 years; the previous one for 11. But everyone knew up front what was expected.

Date: 2010-01-23 03:43 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] darkwidow69_sine
Within reason, I do not see a problem with a group having a halflife of three years.

People change, so therefore the group dynamics change.

Some groups, have a reason for existence which probably 3 years is about right. Most study groups probably should just start out with the plan to dissolve after three years, and that actually is probably 2 years longer than it should last.

I think the problem with most of the polls that look at group lifespans, is that they start with the assumption that the words coven, grove, study group, etc...equal "church".

They do not. In fact there is very little in pagansim that equates to christian religion, and so it should not be surprising that small groups do not exist for long.

I think the single contributing factor to groups dissolving is because the group as a whole only have one thing in common. So as members find different directions, the group will by normal human nature dissolve.

It never occurred to me that my children would not grow up and form their own families and as part of that process leave my home.

So why should we be surprised when group members leave group. They grow and change.

Now systems and traditions are another matter, now we have a different group dynamic. We have more things in common, and those bonds can stretch beyond the smaller coven/grove/study group, to a larger network. That can support the continuation of a coven even past the point that a particular subset of individuals are together.

Community must have definitions, and rules and a system in order to feed an egregore. Ethics and morals, and respect for the individual members must be integral to any community for its continued survival.

Most herd animals evolve to grasp that the herd is safety.

But the herd can also mean group insanity and group extinction.
Note Elf's recent post on corporations as persons.


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