For several years I have been intrigued by the degree to which some segments of the modern pagan movement in the United States appear fascinated with the concepts of “elders” and “elderhood.” Given the wide disparity of beliefs and practices within the pagan community in the US, the general lack of organization above the level of the local worship group within the modern pagan movement, and the militant aversion to religious authority manifested by many pagans, it is not immediately obvious (to me, at least,) as to why this subject seems to so seize upon people’s attention. This is especially true when the matter being discussed is, as is often the case in public discussions on this subject, the question of which person or persons ought to be considered to be elders with regard to the modern pagan movement as a whole.
I am interested in hearing people’s thoughts on why this issue seems to come up so regularly. What are the forces or needs that are propelling it to the surface of the collective consciousness? Are there personal agendas involved here? Group agendas? Mass delusions and the madness of crowds? Inquiring minds want to know!
(Please note that what I do NOT want here is anything that even vaguely resembles another attempt at defining the status of “elder.” That’s a whole ‘nother can of worms I’d as soon not open right now.)