I first began meeting other Pagans and magically-minded folk online 10 years ago through various Usenet groups, e-lists, message boards, IRC, websites, e-mail and other electronic correspondence. While there were quite a few then, over time I’ve watched it expand and grow significantly. Today there are literally hundreds of e-lists and online communities virtually dedicated to each and every facet of Paganism, and every tradition of Wicca imaginable. (And some I would never have imagined!)
I was excited to find others who were interested in the same things I was, and I learned a lot. I even briefly had a go with an online coven, but that didn’t work out for me, though there are several that are active and successful today.
There is a certain amount of interconnectedness online, especially within specific communities, but what about offline, meeting people in the flesh? Attending public rituals with other Pagans, or even just meeting up for coffee or a pint, can seem difficult or scary for someone newly discovering their path.
Check out your local occult shop for postings, or Pagan magazines, and websites. For example, The Witches’ Voice is great resource that lists many, many local covens, shops, and other places for networking.
You may not find a community that fits your particular interests or needs in your city, may need to decide how far you’re willing to travel, and what sort of relationships you’d like to make. Are you hoping just to meet casually, or would you like to be a regular member of a coven, circle or grove? What tradition would you most like to connect with?
When meeting anyone new for the first time, it’s always best to meet in a public place. Many moots are held in pubs or coffee shops with non-Pagan attendees present as well. Festivals and conferences are great ways to meet a number of people in a public setting.
People in the Pagan community come from a variety of age groups, traditions, coven or solitary backgrounds, and while generally a friendly lot, if you do come across a group that seems hostile, or demands certain things of you that you feel uncomfortable with, remember that you are free to disagree or leave at any time.
Just be honest and open; make an effort, but allow connections to form naturally, and don’t try to jump into anything too serious too soon. At any large gathering you’re likely to find others who are new to the scene or to Paganism in general.
It’s fairly recently that I’ve branched out into meeting other Pagans offline, and I’m thoroughly enjoying myself. I hope your experience is as rewarding.
First published on Suite101.com on 27 March 2006.
Image credit: Gustavo Gomes