January, 2016

What Is It You Are Joining?

Last month, I wrote about the considerations given before deciding to become part of a magickal group. My own journey since April of this past year has been in forming a new coven and providing the place of community for those seeking a spiritual home that encompasses more than that of solitary practice. To that end a new coven was birthed at the Winter Solstice and a new family of seekers was welcomed.

This month I would like to provide the perspective of the person(s) who are providing the home and space of learning that may become the place of consideration and deciding factor in whether to join (or not).

How A New Coven Comes Into Being…

Forming a new coven requires time, dedication, hard work and commitment. First the thought of what is possible presents itself and the desire to create a place that will serve the larger pagan community takes hold. These first seeds of idea then quickly become the vision of shared experience and spiritual growth achieved in a space of safe haven and support.

Months of planning, meditation and workings of attraction become the central focus. Structure and strong foundations are necessary to attract what will become a purposeful structure of work and foundations from which membership can soar.

The first steps are offering classes that will serve as a foundation for the magickal practice of membership. These classes also offer the opportunity for potential members to interact, share their knowledge and see their points of commonality. Additionally, the classes allow those seeking membership in the new coven to experience first hand the style and methods of teaching that leadership of the new coven uses to inspire and co-create with membership. ?

Activities that will create collective memory are vital to feeding the construct and image of what this new coven’s energetic signature will become. Ultimately, those who become the Charter Members of the new coven, hold the mantle of responsibility as co-creators with leadership of what that Coven looks like, what its work will have potential to be and, most importantly, what the flavor of future members will be.

Just as with any good recipe, there should be flexibility built in to adjust the finished product to what the tastes of those experiencing are; while holding true to the basic idea of what that recipe consistently produces. And, those that will become classic tried and trues become those covens and groups that are sustainable and have the greatest longevity.

There is no finite timeline in the birthing of a new coven. There are markers of historical significance that rise to the surface and of course, all of the “firsts”. First class of the study group that fed the new group. First charter member accepted. First planning meeting together. First group ritual. First open ritual. And, the day of dedication of the new coven, and more. And, the lack of finite determination, leaves room for growth, expansion, contraction and everything in between that ensures that the coven, as well as its membership continue on a path of spiritual growth.

The point of synchronicity is when the seeker finds their place of spiritual home in the group that has been birthed with the intention of attracting those who are just the right fit and resonance for the Great Work of Community.

Blessings of this New Year!

Witches Soul Work

November, 2015

Witch’s Soul Work: Community

People join community for many reasons, maybe as many reasons as there are people. I joined the Pagan community many years ago because I had a child and wanted him to grow up identifying with and belonging to a community. Some people join community to be part of something, or to have social interaction with others, because they are lonely, looking to connect with people of like mind, searching for support and healing, or many other things. When Witches or Pagans join the Sacred Cauldron community what are they looking for? If they don’t find what they are looking for do they verbalize it, ask for it or try to create it? Or do they just walk away. I find that people come to the community looking for nourishment and many other things, but few people join with the idea of participation and giving back. Then if one small problem comes up they dump the community and go back to ‘oh poor me, I’m all alone’. There is no accountability and no loyalty. After years of trying to include people it hurts to get dumped and slandered because of a small mistake. No one is perfect and no community is perfect.

A Wiccan community is not the same as joining a Coven. A Coven is a small spiritual group run by (hopefully) Elders who have many years experience and can give spiritual guidance and teachings. Many of the teachings in Wiccan Covens are oath-bound (not public) and all are confidential. What happens in Coven, stays in Coven! The Elders or Priest/esses will tell you what is secret and what is not. A few weeks ago one of the Covens closed. This Coven had been going for 11 years and the two main teachers were moving out of town for work and school. Also there was a problem with attendance in the Coven and many people were just not committed to coming. When the HPS decided to close the Coven she was criticized by some of the members and others went behind her back and complained about how devastated they were. No one stepped up and said: Well this Coven is important to me; I would like to give my time and energy to keep it going. Not one person said that. The Priestess stopped spoon feeding them and they all went home.

So what is a Wiccan or Pagan community? For us it is a place where Wiccans can meet to talk about their spiritual work, celebrate together and share. We can share teaching, work, crafts, services like healing and tarot and all the other things that regular communities share. We can create a place that newcomers can ask questions and a place for families. Community is the place we celebrate births, successes and weddings and support each other through funerals, illnesses and tragedy. When we belong to a community we feel as if we are cared for and that we are not alone. A community can be online but better a community where people can get to know each other in person.

My problem is that people want community and Coven yet they don’t want to give anything. There are a few volunteers that give all their time and energy and the rest show up waiting to be spoon fed the nourishment, support, love, friendship and all the other things they are looking for. Goddess forbid that someone should ask them for something in return or make a commitment! And if they pay a small fee to belong to the community then that is their only contribution and they then feel they are entitled to receive everything without giving any more. For example we ask the Witches in the Covens to give $15 per month to help support the Center and the Coven. For that $15 per month they get 3-6 hours of teaching per month in Coven, one on one spiritual support from their Priestess if they need it, a place to come and hold their meetings, candles, incense, tea and toilet paper, all the other things they might need. It costs us $2500 per month to run the center including rent, phone, insurance, cleaning supplies, toiletries, ritual supplies and so on. No one is making any money from this venture but the benefit we get from a thriving loving community is well worth it. It is very frustrating to see people sign up for workshops and then not show up, borrow books and not return them, come to the center and leave dirty cups lying around and not put away what they use. Even more frustrating is that they don’t offer to help with anything but when one tiny little annoyance happens they just walk away and criticize the community to anyone else who will listen. No one is perfect and community is not perfect. If you don’t like something, work to change it. If you are angry talk about it and try to resolve it. Treat people with respect and don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

There is so much loneliness in the world and depression and sadness. A lot of this is because people are isolated and don’t have communities. We need them! So why not open your heart and participate in your community and support it. Help the ones less fortunate in your own community and it will mean so much.