Technology has played a big part, in recent years, in connecting people who otherwise would not have met, and helping them to find people who share similar interests. This is especially true in the pagan community.
Many years ago when I first started seriously looking in to paganism and witchcraft, my only source of information was the library. It was about 1990 when I went along to our very small local library and borrowed the only 2 books that they had on witchcraft and devoured all the information they contained. After that though, I really didn’t know where else to go for information. I didn’t know anyone else who was pagan, and back then no one would have talked about it much in the backwaters of Lincolnshire (or Humberside as it was then) so it was very difficult to move forward. I just practiced quietly, and alone, from what I had read in those two precious books, and borrowed them several times more to check things. I had to do so in secret though, as my husband at the time was very freaked out by it all and told me never to have books like that in the house again!
He left in 1994 and so I was then free to be more open, but it was still no easier to find information, until in 1997, remarried to a wonderful man who shared my views, we bought a computer. A whole new world was opened up to me via the internet and I used it to find lots more information, and more importantly, to connect to other pagans. Initially this was through Yahoo 360, then Facebook, and I found that I was not alone in my beliefs.
Since then things have changed enormously. There are large online groups aimed at pagans, and several of these, including mine, also meet in the real world and hold events, moots, rituals and workshops. The number of people openly identifying as pagans has spiraled and it is now much easier to find people to connect with, which is wonderful, but how has it impacted on our connection to nature.
I was walking in the woods this morning and had my camera and mobile phone with me. I love to take pictures, as an art form but also as a method of journaling my experiences, but as I was wandering through the trees, snapping interesting and beautiful sights, I had to stop and remind myself to actually experience that beauty as well as capture it with the camera.
Are we in danger of making connections to each other via electronic media, but losing our face to face relationships with each other? Or of capturing every interesting thing we see, but never feeling its energy and talking to the spirit of the trees, the animal and birds, the flowing water.
I feel we owe it to ourselves to use the technology available to allow us to be less isolated in our beliefs and in our practices, but we also owe it to ourselves to make sure we do not replace real relationships and experiences withe digital and electronic ones.