Why Service to your community is an integral part of spiritual work

Posted on September 26, 2013
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service

When we talk about magic and spiritual work, most of the time the focus is on a person’s journey into his/her spirituality, but I think that another component of a person’s spiritual work is the service you engage in with the community around you. That service can involve the Pagan community you are apart of, but I also think it should include service to the larger community that you are apart of. Service to the community is an integral part of your spiritual work because it provides you a way to give to the community. And service doesn’t need to be complicated. It could involve working at a soup kitchen or donating some time to a nonprofit that you believe in, but regardless of what you, why you are doing it is because you feel a call to serve your community.

I also think that this call to be of service can be applied to your profession. As the managing non fiction editor of Immanion Press, one of the things I’ve focused on is how I can use the press to serve the community. One of the missions that I’ve set for Immanion Press is that we publish books on issues that need to be addressed in the Pagan community, but aren’t being addressed overtly. For example Women’s Voices in Magic was published because I felt it important to have an anthology that strictly represented what women had to offer on magic. Similarly Shades of Faith is anthology which focuses on Pagans of color speaking about their experiences in the Pagan community. Immanion Press will be publishing ┬ánew anthology called Rooted in the Body, Seeking the Spirit later this year which focuses on people with disabilities sharing their experiences in the Pagan community. Each of these anthologies were put together because I saw a need to focus on these topics.

In each case, I found someone to edit the anthology who was qualified to edit it and could do an excellent job of reaching out to their respective communities. I recognized as a white male that while I saw a need for each of these anthologies and could hep them get published, I wasn’t the one to edit them. Instead as part of my service to the community I needed to find the right person who could edit the anthology and who would feel a similar passion for the anthology that I felt. I also recognized that I could help set up the circumstances, but I needed to step away, provide enough support to help each editor, but also let them run the project their way. This showed them that I respected their work and the work with the people they were working with. I think that Brandy Williams, Crystal Blanton, and Tara Masery Miller all demonstrate that passion in their respective anthologies.

What I love the most is hearing how each of these anthologies empowered the people who wrote for them and helped to facilitate and promote much needed conversations in the Pagan community. The anthologies are a way that Immanion Press can serve the community, and it has even helped to get some of the people to continue writing and sharing. To me, while Immanion Press is a publisher that publishes books, it’s also a publisher willing to publish work that might be edgy and controversial because it gets conversations to happen and raises awareness about issues that the Pagan community needs to address to continue to evolve.

Publishing is a passion of mine, but part of that passion is informed by my desire to serve the community I am apart of. For me, one the best ways I can serve the Pagan community is no only publish my own work, but empower other people to write their books, in their voice, to their audience. And what really excites me is helping to publish the anthologies and other works that promote discussion about issues in our community that might otherwise not be focused on as overtly. Publishing is part of my spiritual work, because the books we publish are for the Pagan community, and so I see it as a form of service. I don’t make a salary for the work I do for Immanion Press, and what little I do get paid amounts to pennies for hours of work, but why I’m doing isn’t for the pay, but rather for the opportunity to help people share their words with the audience that needs to read them. In doing so I serve a part of my spiritual calling. And I think that informs a lot of my approach to magic as a result, because it’s not just about my journey, but other people’s journeys.

 

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