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Author Topic: Creating a new tradition  (Read 1718 times)
Áine
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« Topic Start: September 01, 2008, 09:22:43 am »

My partner and I are looking into creating a new tradition, maybe some day in the future, publishing a book about our practices.  He is pretty much a Germanic Recon and I am a *mix* of things (Celtic, Wiccan, Native American, among others)  I'd like to incorporate all of this into one tradition with giving respect to the proper sources.  My question to you all is: Have you had experience in blending many traditions into a working (meaning others can participate as well) practice?  How do you credit your sources?  Do you keep anything outhbound? Any other advice you would like to bestow upon me? Smiley

   
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Jenett
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« Reply #1: September 01, 2008, 10:56:58 am »

My partner and I are looking into creating a new tradition, maybe some day in the future, publishing a book about our practices.  He is pretty much a Germanic Recon and I am a *mix* of things (Celtic, Wiccan, Native American, among others)  I'd like to incorporate all of this into one tradition with giving respect to the proper sources.  My question to you all is: Have you had experience in blending many traditions into a working (meaning others can participate as well) practice?  How do you credit your sources?  Do you keep anything outhbound? Any other advice you would like to bestow upon me? Smiley

My background is in a tradition that started with some existing training, added a bunch of stuff, and which has developed over time, so...

My take on it:

0) Is your stuff truly compatible?

This is a question only you both can answer - but from those combos, I can see you will have some different views on cosmology, the nature of deity and methods of interaction, and a number of other things. This suggests proceeding cautiously, and having some kind of method in place to deal with places that there's disagreement - this is *especially* true as you want to share it with others in the future, since "Well, I won the last one, so this one's his" is a workable method, maybe, for two people, but won't sustain other people - you need better reasoning than that to provide consistency.

1) Document where you got stuff from.

This does not need to be a big deal: my preferred method for it is endnotes for ritual (i.e. at the end of the ritual, do a list: "Meditation from page # in [book title] by [author]" or "Meditation from [web address], accessed [date], saved on computer as [file name]" - whatever makes sense. For class notes, etc. footnotes may be easier, because it's a little easier to mark location that way.

I also - because we've made some changes from the group I trained in (in line with agreements about what's core to the trad, and what was up for change) have general notes for our standard ritual set-up. These are really brief (obviously, if I annotate to our parent group, that's going to make sense to me) but they're easy to expand for future students. I include the date we started using that text, too, because I'm interested in what changes we made when.

I'm also working on a book of group practices about mundane stuff (how we handle scheduling, new members, etc.) that has a commentary section - this is so I can remember why we made the decisions we did, as we review or explain them in the future. Simply writing it down is doing a lot of good, too.

2) Do stuff for a while.

Chances are very good that things will start to meld and come together on their own, after 1-3 years: you will likely find that things start to feel more or less natural, and 'fit' better with what you've got.

For example, the new coven was always intended to have a strong focus on music in ritual and magic - it was one of my starting goals. But even over 6 months or so that we've been actively working, we've found a clear pull towards dance as a counterpoint (certainly in phrasing; physical spaces limit it slightly in practice). It's not surprising, and we're running with it - but it's very much something that grew up organically, not something we said "Hey, let's put this there."

You may also find that your focus shifts over time: I tend to think that the first couple of years are likely to be a time of things settling out - and life is a lot less stressful if you plan for that, because it's easier to shift and change as you find the parts that 'stick' well to each other.

With the new coven, we started with 6 months of doing stuff on our own (just me and my co-founder, where we've got long experience working together) plus very occasional guests. We're looking at our first potential students this fall, and I expect there will continue to be changes and shifts as we add people, try out training approaches, and see how things go.

What is really important is figuring out three categories:
- which things are non-negotiable (Some of these, for us, are agreements within the tradition. Some are things I just have absolutely no interest in facilitating or spending time on. And some are health/wellbeing issues.)

- which things might be open to change with sufficent reason (we've got good reason for our choices, but we also know situations change, so we're open to reevaluation if needed, but they need a better reason than "Well, this book I read says..." or "Well, it'd be easier for *me* if I didn't have to do this".)

- which things you really don't care about (For example, we care about having music in ritual, but there are a couple of places in our set-up where we're using a song that works, but where there are a bunch of other options. We're not going to sing every option, so we pick one. If/when brilliant alternatives come to us, we'll put them in instead.)

3) On the oathbound bit:
Over time, the trad's developed it's own mysteries. Some of these were intentional - and at least some of them weren't, they grew organically from other choices.

In at least a couple of cases, information is oathbound from students/first degree initiates, because it's about stuff they're not responsible for maintaining: there's no particular reason for them to know the details, and some good reasons for them to not know them, because it's information that could affect the entire group if handled carelessly. Personally, I'm very committed to the idea of giving students and new initiates a chance to focus on those things, rather than worrying about the management of the group on esoteric levels, so while we'll talk briefly about some of the relevant structures, we won't be giving them details on how it works or having them participate until they're the appropriate degree. (2nd, for us.)

Other than that, a lot of the oathbound stuff either depends on a bunch of context, or is something we keep private so that the first experience can be done without the analytical brain checking off "Oh, that has happened" checkboxes (like initiations but also historically our Samhain ritual) or is to allow appropriate confidentiality in circle and class (being able to talk about stuff without worrying it's going to migrate elsehwhere.)
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« Reply #2: November 11, 2008, 05:31:10 pm »


Áine, this woman (Jenett) knows her stuff... She's given me wise advice and she has done so here, as well.

I started a similar thread, and have received some good advice... The link is:

http://www.ecauldron.net/forum/index.php?topic=7407.0

Best wishes on your journey!
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