In psychology the idea of creeping normality (aka landscape amnesia) is used to the idea that societies choose to fail or succeed. Jared Diamond in his 2005 book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed coined the term. The idea is a failing society might choose to go out with a whimper not a bang. That societies can slowly fall apart and fail.
Well I am seeing this inside many older Pagan organizations, where they refuse to address the problems, and just fade away, till nothing substantial is left. In particular for me, my previous pagan church Ár nDraíocht Féin is slowly dying. Members are not renewing in increasing numbers, long term dedicated members, such as clergy and initiates are refusing to acknowledge their qualifications, and leaving, or at leat retreating from service, and finally, Groves are disbanding, or defecting .
This last part is very problematic, as the Groves held a lot of membership. For a Grove to disband or defect, it means you have a group of members, who have decided they can’t continue. Sure one or two may remain, but it does mean that most members have called it quits in the unit. We are seeing larger and larger Groves make that call. Some have chosen to just stop being, others are making arrangements to make sure that their property and funds remain with them, rather than return to the mother organization.
Yet the Mother grove is sitting in a burning room saying “this is fine. ADF will justify this, as people who are not dedicated to the “excellence”, not noticing that the excellence has long since decided enough is enough. As I’ve said here before, ADF is dying. But so are other large groups. We’ve not evolved as a group of spiritual practioners.