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Author Topic: Coven experience?  (Read 18194 times)
Jenett
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« Reply #19: October 03, 2007, 07:54:44 am »

But they don't need to make it part of their religion ("tradition") to do that. You still don't need those degrees.

Ok, so leaving aside the situation of decisions within a coven (which it's clear that we're not going to agree on, no big deal since I don't think it's likely we'd be looking at working together in ways where it would matter.)

I talked, earlier, about the religious and ritual experiences involved in the degree work. Some of those were personal - those familiar with the descent myth know of one common structure used in some groups. The death and rebirth idea is a common initiatory experience in many cultures. But there's also an idea of connection to the tradition, and to the specific group (and to the specific individuals involved) in the inititation.

I believe that has value. If you don't, that's fine. No one's going to make you go through an experience of that kind that you don't care for, especially over the Internet.

But I *do* find those things meaningful. Yes, they do bring a sense of heirarchy. But they also mark levels of responsibility within the tradition, and energetic connections in specific ways to the tradition as a whole. They also recognise a particular level of work/understanding (and, as humans, I think we tend to like it when that happens.)

Do I think they're required to be a witch? No. Do I think they're required to be a priestess? Not exactly. I do think that having those experiences in a reasonably controlled way is likely to be safer than waiting for them to happen on their own. I also don't think that some of them are relevant outside of group work.

I did have the experience in my 2nd degree - and I fully expect it will be the same for my 3rd - of feeling my path narrow. It's a little hard to describe - but by making the promises I did, suddenly, I got to stop worrying about a whole lot of other options and might-have-beens: the direction I wanted to go suddenly got far more clearly signposted: the potential distractions faded. This wasn't just a "Gee, I've decided I want to take on more commitment": it was something deeply internal in the ritual. It wasn't verbally explicit in the oath, or even in the ritual itself: it was a functional effect of the gestalt of the ritual.

Could that be duplicated without a degree-ritual? Don't know. I do know this way works, and it's solid, and repeatable. I find value in that.

But, as I imply above, I rarely do things for just one reason any more: I do not expect a degree system to simply answer one question: my experiences in it cover a wide range of impacts on not only my life, but the lives of people around me (and not just my coven-mates: I've had some interesting conversations with college friends, living half the US away, about the effect it's had on me.) Therefore, even if I did grant your "heirarchy isn't needed", I'd still find good reasons for the ritual for other effects. Again, you may disagree: that's fine. But it has value for me, and for the people I work with.
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