A gathering of tribes

It’s interesting to think about where we fit and belong, the communities we call home and the relationships we have with them. I started pondering this a couple of days ago, and making notes, and the scale of it surprised me.

I have my blood family and the people I share history with – people who have lived in the same places, been through the same schools.

There’s the folk community – full of family ties and personal history. People I have played music with, people whose songs I sing, people I listen to. Also there’s the tribe that gathers for Genevieve Tudor’s folk program, and that’s an important weekly moment of belonging. I hope to put dancing back on that list.

I identify with the Pagan community, and with Druidry, and within that I belong a whole host of places – OBOD, The Druid Network, Druid Camp, Contemplative Druidry, Auroch grove, and through the bard side, it overlaps with the folk, and through my writing with the next lot…

Authors, book people, bloggers, readers, Moon Books, JHP fiction, other publishers. People I read and admire, storytellers, the local writing community and through those connections I branch out into…

Wider creative connections with artists, musicians, local creative folk, organisers of things, and I branch out into Steampunk, Comics, and geekery in general.

My Paganism also directs me to green activism, so that’s The Green Party, which is part of my local tribe, as is my engaging a bit with the Transition Network and other local, green, sustainable alternative outfits. People I know because they are local.

Eventually, I also managed to recognise that there are people who are in my life simply because they like what I do. I have a number of important connections based entirely on that.

Inevitably it’s the people who fit in more than one of those circles that I interact with most, because time is also a factor in all of this, and the more I share, the more time I tend to spend with someone. There are people I see once a year, or less, and there are people I pine for if I have to go more than a week, and I can manage an afternoon without Tom, but that’s my limit.

Of those people who I interact with in numerous ways, there are a few with whom I share creativity – either working together, or working alongside, swapping ideas and inspiration. This is a small tribe, and these relationships I pay a lot of attention to. They are the most defining ones in my life. It’s not any kind of coincidence that I married my artist… I am most emotionally invested in people with whom I can share creativity.

Beyond that, and overlapping with wider circles in all kinds of ways, is the tiny tribe I walk with. My most essential tribe.

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About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

2 responses to “A gathering of tribes

  • River

    Hi Nimue, thanks for this. I like the way you look at the idea of community. I often feel alienated when politicians start talking about community (not least as the economic system they uphold promotes atomisation and isolation). My sense is that what they’re generally referring to is the kind of set-up that may exist in smaller locales and often – explicitly or implicitly – religious community. Well, I live in central London and beyond knowing the names of my immediate neighbours to say hi to when I see them coming in or going out of the building we all live in, I have no local community (by which I mean specific to where I live). Similarly, as I have no established place of worship (such as a church or temple), I have no local religious community.

    Your piece got me to thinking about community in a different way (and I think the word ‘tribe’ is helpful here). I thought about those whom I walk with, to use your phrase. Like you, I am beginning to walk with a local tribe of green activists. I have some pagan pals. I participate in ritual with people I may not know at all well, but because we’re all gathered together for the same event, they are walking with me and I with them. (And that is something I like: the idea of the stranger as the one you walk with too.)

    I have other groups I participate in too – some more formally and frequently than others – and then there are those close to me, whom I love. None of my circles overlap yet, though: maybe they will in time.

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