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Author Topic: Coven experience?  (Read 19117 times)
Last Login:April 08, 2009, 10:41:31 pm
United States United States

Religion: Pagan Witch
Posts: 20

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« Reply #11: October 02, 2007, 11:18:42 am »

I go at it differently. For me, witchcraft is a technology used to do various things. My religion is about what I do with that. And my tradition is about how I go about doing them with other people (with some specific other things I consider benefits.)

Isn't separation of witchcraft-the-technology from witchcraft-the-religion a newfangled idea? I was just reading about this a few days ago ... darned if I can remember where. At any rate, separating the technology from the spirituality is the same mistake made by the materialists when they separate the material world from the spiritual -- and you can see where that has led.


When I walk into circle, I recognise that we are *not* all equal - we walk into the circle in different moods, with different experiences, with different *levels* of experience. One ritual may focus on the stuff that's my strong point. The next may be a real stretch for me. One day, I may walk in with great focus and interest in the working ...

My point is - we're not all equal. We can all work together on the same goal, and we can all be thoroughly committed to the work. But there are fundamental differences that make a difference in the methods, approaches, and other aspects used.

I think we have different ideas of what circling is for. Perhaps I should have been more specific. When I think of circling, I'm thinking of the Full Moon celebration. I don't believe this time is primarily for working magick, although certainly magick can be worked. I think its primarily purpose is celebration in the Presence of the Lady. Dancing, singing and whatnot.

As for magickal needs, in a functional group I would think that those seeking the performance would ask for help and choose what to accept from what was offered. As I said before, wisdom isn't hard to perceive. No one is going to ask a proto-Witch for help, at least not twice. The real problem lies in a dysfunctional group; and I think that's why you value hierarchy, for its power to prevent dysfunction. Instead, if there were trouble-makers who have their own agenda, I would simply disinvite them.

One of the things we use our heirarchy for is "What happens if something goes wrong?" If you don't have a heirarchy at all, you can have absolute chaos if there's a problem.

Again, wisdom is obvious. If something goes wrong, people will instinctively look toward an elder in whom they trust. You don't need titles for that.

Beyond this, some of this requires specific skills.

That's not the same thing as hierarchy. If someone's good a digging ditches, he gets the job. If someone's good at healing, she gets the job. Pure functionality, no hierarchy involved.

I think Tradition serves the Work - both things deliberately capitalised. Whatever gets the Work done is viable. Whatever doesn't may be fun, may be personally intriguing, may be meaningful - but it's not getting at the whole goal.

I think we have different ideas about what the Work is. I think it's personal transformation in the context of realizing our interconnectedness. In other words, love. There is a place for spellcasting for more mundane concerns, certainly; but these aren't the Work. At least, that's how I see it.

Part of our group Work is teaching. ... Part of our Work is running a training circle. ... Part of our group Work is service of the Gods and the turning of the wheel ...

Yet, all these can be done without hierarchy. Seekers with true hearts will naturally look up to the wise; they don't have to wear badges of rank. For the true seeker, it is her joy to learn, just as for the wise it is her joy to teach. These true hearts will seek each other out.

Isn't a coven the responsibility of the senior Witches? Don't they direct? naturally, with the consent of those who are directed (who withhold that consent by going elsewhere). I have long thought important decisions would be made by consensus among the wise. A coven is not church with a pointed hat -- at least, I don't see it that way. The heart of a coven is its elders, who are a handful of independent Witches who associate for work and worship, who regard each other as equals and who make decisions amongst themselves by consensus. There may be as few as two or three of these. They may agree to teach others (or direct them to teachers from among their own students) and welcome them into worship and working; but if so it is on their terms. That's my take on it, anyway.

In case you're wondering how I can support this notion of a coven but not hierarchy within a tradition ... well, they're not the same thing. A coven, in my view, is a voluntary association of the wise, who may or may not agree to let others participate; but if they do it's still their association with one another that is primary. If they choose to exclude someone, it's because their time and energy belongs to them, and they spend it on whom they choose. A tradition, however, is a way of approaching the gods together with others -- a religion within a religion, if you will -- and its categories and concepts tend to be etched in stone. A tradition is a way of seeing how things are; covening is just about who you work and worship with. They may overlap, but they are not the same.

I appreciate your feedback; I really do. I deeply respect your achievement, and I trust your instincts. That may sound strange, since I disagree with you philosophically, but what I mean is that I trust that you perceive a genuine need and you're doing your best to meet it. We wouldn't go about it the same way, but that's ok.

You've really made me think, and that doesn't happen too often on Internet message boards. I hope that's a sign of what to expect here generally. Please feel free to respond again, but I feel a little uncomfortable discussing this any longer because it's someone else's thread. I'm sure we've given her a lot to think about. Blessed Be! Cheesy
« Last Edit: October 02, 2007, 11:45:34 am by rodney » Logged

Just to the left, and not very far away, were the Triple Demons of Compromise--one tall and thin, one short and fat, and the third exactly like the other two....

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