Q: What is LANMIPP?
LANMIPP stands for Loosely Affiliated Network of Monastically Inclined Polytheist Pagans. We are a group of polytheist Pagans and Heathens who gather – online and offline – in order to build monastic ways of life suitable for our religious paths. We gather to experiment, to learn, to share our ideas and practices with one another, to appreciate our diversity, to foster a spirit of camaraderie, support, and fellowship, and to help build a strong foundation for organizing future polytheist Pagan monastic endeavors.
Loosely Affiliated Network: We acknowledge that there is currently no organized monastic tradition within modern Paganism and polytheism, so our network of affiliations is loose – i.e., not (yet!) formal or structured.
Monastically Inclined: As mentioned above, we acknowledge that we have no formal, recognized basis for calling ourselves monastics. Nonetheless, we choose to affiliate with one another because we feel an inclination, interest, or calling toward monasticism in many forms – structured life in community, contemplative practice, and monastic hermitage, for example. Some of us feel called to monastic life, and identify ourselves as amateur nuns or monks in training. Others are simply here to learn and explore ideas.
Polytheist Pagan: Most of us identify ourselves as polytheists, Pagans, or Heathens. We believe the deities are many and They are real. We don’t do theology checks; if you say you are a polytheist, that’s good enough for us. (Thank you to the Many Gods West conference for this helpful description.)
Q: How did LANMIPP get started, and who is involved?
LANMIPP emerged in September 2016 during a playful, tongue-in-cheek conversation on Facebook among Silence Maestas, Syren Nagakyrie, and Danica Swanson. The brief mention of the founding of LANMIPP on the Black Stone Hermitage blog was quickly followed by expressions of interest from several members of the Pagan and Polytheist Monasticism Facebook group, including founder Merri-Todd Webster and admin Jolene Dawe, and from there it has continued to grow. None of us knew at the time that LANMIPP would so quickly take on a life of its own. Apparently the need for it was there, and the timing was right for it to be born!
Q: What does LANMIPP do?
We have three goals:
1) to further discussions about Pagan and polytheist monasticism,
2) to connect people (both online and offline) who may want to develop some kind of monastic study or practice collaboratively or in consultation with one another, and
3) to encourage and facilitate the formation of monastic support networks (both online and offline) to help LANMIPP affiliates better meet their practical daily needs, especially in difficult times.
To further discussion, we hope to host “Tea With LANMIPP” roundtable discussions at conferences and gatherings, including the Many Gods West conference. Online conference chats (Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc.) are also being discussed as a possibility for the future. We also spend a lot of time chatting on the Pagan & Polytheist Monasticism discussion group on Facebook, so that’s where you should go if you’d like to get to know us!
Collaborations, groups, and orders affiliated with LANMIPP:
- Group for devotees of Antinous – contact Merri-Todd Webster
- Nigheanan Brìghde, a Celtic Polytheist Order of Brighidine Flametenders – contact Erin Lund Johnson
- Treasury of Apollon – contact Laurel Olympias Columbine
- My Polytheism – contact Jolene Dawe
- The Order of the Sacred Nemeton – contact Julie Bond
We would be happy to see more collaborations and groups of devotees interested in building monastic practices or starting religious orders in consultation with one another, so if you’d like to start one, you are welcome to do so, and tell us about it!
Our third goal, encouraging and facilitating monastic support networks, will be approached the same decentralized way: if you’d like to start one and link it to LANMIPP (or if you already have a practicing monastic group) then go ahead and do it, and tell us about it so we can list it here for others to find! There are many ways to go about it, and we celebrate that diversity. You can organize and structure it in whatever ways best suit the people involved. Monasteries all over the world provide practical assistance for one another. Polytheists don’t yet have physical monasteries, but our hope is to start building networks to help fulfill one of the functions of monasteries: mutual aid.
Q: How does one get involved?
The best place to start is to join the Pagan and Polytheist Monasicism group on Facebook and introduce yourself. Let us know a bit about what you do and how you became interested in monasticism in a Pagan and polytheist context. Feel free to share the link to the discussion group on your own blogs and social media to help get the word out to other interested folks.
Once you have formed some sort of affiliation – a group of two or more devotees or collaborators interested in monasticism – feel free to announce it to the group and describe what you are doing. The Facebook group maintains a document of LANMIPP affiliation groups and support networks that can be edited by everyone.
If you are interested but not on Facebook, you can email shrine.of.skadi AT gmail dot com, tell me a bit about what kind of group you’re looking for, and I’ll see what I can do to connect you with LANMIPP affiliates.
Q: What’s next for LANMIPP?
That will be determined by those who show up and participate. That’s the beauty of loose affiliations: relationships can form organically, over time, and if the need arises for more structure, those involved can take action to put that structure in place.