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Author Topic: Coven experience?  (Read 16333 times)
rodney
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« Reply #18: October 03, 2007, 06:10:59 am »

Actually, witchcraft as a religion is probably a newfangled idea for the most part. Witchcraft in most cultures throughout history is just a form of magic. If it has any religious aspects, they come from the religion(s) practiced by the people involved.

Magick is magick and religion is religion. Forms change, but the meaning is the same. The flaw I perceive is in treating them as separate entities, whatever their form, however they appear in different cultures. Even ceremonial magick, if I understand it correctly, is about the Great Work, union with the divine. Separating the technology from the spirit which gives it meaning is no different from raping the land and polluting the rivers to get rich. In my humble opinion. Smiley

Who gets to make the decision on disinviting someone?

The tradition and the coven are two different things. The tradition, the religion, is egalitarian. The coven is not. The heart of the coven is the seniors; it exists because they say it exists. They are the wisdom, they are the power. You could speak of this as hierarchy, but it's really a question of their personal freedom: they associate with whom they will. If you're lucky, you get to come. If you're naughty, you get to leave.

Who decides they're seniors? They do. Worst case scenario, some upstart manages to co-opt everyone, and for some reason they can't stop her. So, the seniors leave, and take their power and wisdom with them. They don't need the students; they offered their time and expertise out of the goodness of their hearts, and if the students don't want it, they don't want it. (I hope these seniors don't need students to validate them; that's co-dependent.) Perhaps it would be helpful to think back to the master-apprentice model. I think it's much the same as what I'm describing here.

You may think I'm saying the same thing as you are, only saying it differently; but I'm not. This hierarchy within the coven exists for a completely different reason than the hierarchy within a tradition. The former exists because a Witch is free to do with her time and energy as she likes. The latter exists as a religious benchmark that applies to everyone, across the board, who is a part of that tradition. It becomes a part of the "way of seeing" that a tradition is. It is division, etched in stone.

I think this explanation answers many of your questions and objections. Traditions tend to be taught at the coven level, I suppose, so it's easy to confuse the two. Since a coven, as I conceive of it, is basically a handful of wise people (who make decisions by consensus), spending their time and energy with others if they choose, they could institute all of the hierarchy you feel is necessary. But they don't need to make it part of their religion ("tradition") to do that. You still don't need those degrees.

As to those comments about Gardner dragging the degree system into Wicca from his dark ceremonial background.....well.......yeah. So?

It's just that my conception of Witchcraft is that it is different in character from CM. They are two different approaches. CM follows the lightning flash up the Tree, while Witchcraft takes the Sword path. Naturally, neither is purely one or the other; it's the same Tree, after all! Smiley

Idealistically speaking, Rodney, I understand just where you're coming from, because I have similar feelings about it.  In practical terms, though, I've learned (painfully) how seldom that ideal is possible.

I really appreciated your comments, Sunflower. Do my responses to Jenett, distinguishing between hierarchy within a coven and hierarchy within a tradition, explain anything? I confess, I don't think I was very clear about that before.

I agree with hierarchy within a coven, simply because the senior Witches *are* the coven, and they have freedom to associate with whom they will and on their terms. It's carving distinctions in stone within a religion that I find disturbing.


« Last Edit: October 03, 2007, 06:42:09 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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