A new Langley religious group has sprung up on Facebook and is hoping to meet more in person as COVID-19 restrictions ease – the local pagan community.
Stephanie Windle moved to Langley recently from the Sunshine Coast, where she had organized the Sunshine Coast Spiral Dance group for some time.
She was hoping to find some local organization to join.
“I noticed there were none in Langley,” Windle said. So she started a new Langley Pagans Facebook group, and was surprised at the response, gathering more than 20 members in just a few weeks.
“It’s a great way to get to know people and know the area,” she said.
Windle said that paganism is a nature-based spirituality that centers around natural cycles like the phases of the moon and the seasons.
“It’s kind of an umbrella term,” she said, noting there are many ways people practice the religion.
Although it’s an old religion, it’s constantly evolving and changing, Windle said.
One thing it has in common with almost every other faith is that members like to gather together, and the pandemic has put a serious crimp in those gatherings.
On the Sunshine Coast before COVID-19 hit, Windle’s group organized bi-weekly coffee socials and holiday meetings.
“We became a heavily digital-only community,” she noted.
As restrictions have eased, the local pagan community in Langley is going to be “half and half” she said, with online events mixed with in-person, and hopefully transitioning more to in-person events as more people are vaccinated and the pandemic eventually recedes.
The end goal would be to have a permanent physical premises for a local group, but as they are still a new and small group, gatherings will be in coffee shops, parks, and member’s households, Windle said.
She’s also hoping the group can start doing some community outreach work, such as volunteer clean ups in Langley parks.
“I want us to be a part of the community and to be present,” she said.
Popular culture has conflated paganism with Hollywood-style witchcraft, which Windle said is far from the reality of their group.
“We don’t fly on broomsticks,” she said. “Although sometimes we wish we could, we could save on gas money.”
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