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Author Topic: HPS, HP, and other roles  (Read 3444 times)
Jenett
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« Topic Start: November 04, 2008, 09:27:46 pm »

Ok, as promised, a thread to talk about group heirarchy.

First, there's a lengthy essay I wrote up about my own personal philosophy about a bunch of this. (And it's public, precisely because I want people potentially interested in my group to read it and see what they think) http://gleewood.org/threshold/2008/07/09/role-of-the-high-priestess/

Some stuff people sometimes don't know:

1) In a number of trads, there are specific ritual roles that go with the titles

i.e. the HPs is responsible for a particular kind of energy work in ritual, the HP for specific other things, and other roles (if you've got the people for them: we call them Handmaiden and Summoner) have other specific duties.

Some of these are obvious - the HPS and HP will generally *say* certain things, or do certain actions (the Great Rite, for example.) Some of them aren't so obvious - but if you're combining energy as a group to charge a talisman, it's going to be better focused if that focus comes from one person, not 10 or more.

2) There are ritual roles that happen outside of ritual.

For example, the HPS (and sometimes the HP) is often the final decision maker on whether it's a good idea to do a particular ritual. Much of the time, this is fairly informal - but decisions like initiations, for example, are likely to be very carefully considered as they have far-reaching and energetically intimate goals.

3) Taking a step back from that - it is, the job of the HPS (and sometimes HP) to set the tone for the group overall.

I've got a good example of this. As most of you know, I'm a recent hive, with a quite new coven (about 7 months, and now looking at potential students.) The HPs who trained me is a Leo - in all the ways that might call to mind. She's a hearthfire, a warm presence. She likes the shiny, too.

Me? I'm a pretty typical Virgo, plus a strong water fixation. I lead in totally different ways than she does. I create a sense of the sacred in a different way. My preferred altar setup and decoration is quite different, given we use the same basic set of tools and layout.

And the focus of our groups is quite different - the group I trained in is a training group, my new coven is designed as a working group (aiming at long-term stability and close ongoing work with the same people - eventually, once we build up a bit first!) This means we're focusing in different places.

4) How does this add up?

My job as HPS? To create a reasonable stable environment for that to happen. No group can do everything, no group can be everything to all people. *Someone's* got to pick and choose what's going to be the focus. I obviously plan to listen to group mates - but there's a bunch of stuff I'm not interested in leading people in. And I'm not going to turn the group upside down just because a prospective member wants to do some of what we do - but wants to ignore a lot of it, too. My job is to make the boundaries clear, and help prospective members decide if we're what they want. But it's not our group job to make ourselves into the image of what they want. That's not healthy either.

That said, if I get pushy or egotistical - or even abusive - I can and should expect people to walk away. And most especially, I expect my covenmate (a longtime friend - we were in the same dedicant class, back when) to whap me over the head and tell me so. (I have few worries about this: she's really good at calling my attention to stuff I'm neglecting.) Counterweights are important - not just because they encourage a better functioning group, but because they help make sure you don't get too off track too often.

5) A question of responsibility:

One theory of a degree system is that you don't add increasing *perks* as you go up the scale, but increasing responsibilities.

I definitely believe this. I believe that a dedicant/student's job is to be a student. They shouldn't be distracted by other stuff within the group as much as possible, so they can focus on their own work. This means I might well ask for help the day of the event - this is good and often part of training. But I'm going to try and limit their group commitments to their own learning - not extra meetings about scheduling, dealing with specific concerns, etc.

There's also the part here where they probably don't have the perspective to see some things. Many initiatory paths involve going through a period of serious self-analysis at various points in the process. As that happens, someone may tend to respond from their own past experiences or baggage, rather than from a clearer understanding of what's going on for someone else. This is totally normal and healthy at that stage - but it means they may not be the best judge of all situations. Likewise, they may not be aware of the things necessary for a succesful initiation - so evaluating others for that would be problematic.

At first degree, people (in our trad) are expected to be able to be responsible for their own basic religious needs. In a coven setting, they're also expected to find ways to regularly contribute to the work of the group (sharing in planning rituals, the practical stuff to make that happen, etc.)

Second degrees are expected to be able to take on more specific roles in the group - specific ritual tasks (all four ritual roles we ideally use if we have the people, Drawing Down if they're interested in learning that skill set, helping manage energy in circle, etc. etc.) Third degrees have even greater commitments to the broader community and to training and helping run a group.

Not everyone is interested in these last two - they're a level of commitment that some people don't want, or not yet, or have other things in their life (especially kids) that mean it'd be complicated to take them on. On a simple "How much time is involved" level, it can be pretty involved.

For example, in my former group, my schedule as I was working on my 3rd looked like this:

- Moon ritual. (around 3-4 hours total)
- Generally a Sabbat (around 6 hours total, including after-ritual social + question time)
- Prepping the temple before both rituals. (another 30+ minutes commitment before each ritual, plus some cleanup after. This was easier because I was living at the covenstead for most of this time, but it was still additional time out of my life.)
- Being around for at least half our Dedicant classes (2x a month, total of 10 hours).
- Leader's meeting (1-2x a month,3 hours each)
- Initiates discussion (1-2x a month)
- Teaching seeker classes (5 classes, every couple of months. Call it 1.5 classes a month on average.)
- Being part of a larger community project (Pagan Pride, in my case: 2-3 hours of meeting most months, but up to 20-30 hours a month of work for a couple of months each year, plus the actual event.)
- My own ongoing assignments and work for personal development.
- Misc. other events, social gatherings, one-on-one conversations with group members, etc.

This comes out to about 45-50 hours most month - and that's a relatively light estimate. That's a *huge* commitment of time and energy. In contrast, someone who had their 1st and was happy there (at least right now) would be expected to show up at rituals (under 10 hours total), write ritual once or twice a year in rotation, and maybe help out with other stuff they were interested in. *Much* more flexible and adaptable to other life circumstances. And a Dedicant would be around 20 before homework.

The current coven is also less demanding - we're averaging about 2 evenings (6 hours total) of discussion and learning together, one longer day for Sabbats (call it 6 hours) and one Esbat (call it 3), not including mostly social time (of which we have a lot, as we like spending time with each other.)

But a lot of that is because there's not a lot of management *needed* for two people - as soon as we add students, we'll each be adding teaching time (about 9 hours altogether, plus prep time - which will be extensive as we continue to work out things in this setting.) Plus time to talk about the teaching stuff regularly. And a whole lot of ongoing writing, documenting, and otherwise keeping things sorted out, mostly on my part.

I'm inclined to call coven work a haptocracy, from the Greek 'hapto', to work - the idea being that them who does the most work get the most say in how it gets done. In my coven, I am doing huge amounts of work - so I logically get larger amounts of say in how it gets done. If other people want to step up and demonstrate consistency, I'm happy to hand over some of it over time - but not the stuff that would mean I would no longer find the group satisfying - because that's not something I'm going to be interested in doing long-term.

6) It's also about the intimacy:
If I'm cleaning my house for you to come over and do things with me - if I'm clearing time in my schedule for people, if I'm investing this kind of time - I get the right to say when I've had enough. Just like in any other relationship, it's healthy to have boundaries (and know where they are, and how to enforce them if needed, preferably in a clear and non-hurtful way whenever possible.)

A lot of this is being human: I believe these are basic human rights in any emotionally connected relationship. But the HPS (and HP) get *more* right to draw that line, because they are the ones most directly affected if this gets messed up. (Especially if one or both of them hosts the coven regularly physically.) After all, a covener who has concerns or who decides that it's not for them can simply not show up, in this model. There are some consequences - but it's not the same as a group member or group that you feel unable to trust showing up in your living room wanting ritual. So the HPS or HP need a way to balance that - and some of that is being able to draw certain lines.

Again, there are better and worse ways to do that. But the power and decision does fundamentally go both ways. It just looks a little different in practice. And both options can be abused - though one hopes that given group leadership and a core of members with a solid thoughtful background, both kinds of potential abuse will be a lot less likely.

Ok. I'm going to stop rambling, and go focus on election results, but hopefully this gives folks some things to bounce off and ask questions and go sideways on.

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« Reply #1: November 04, 2008, 10:21:12 pm »

I'm inclined to call coven work a haptocracy, from the Greek 'hapto', to work - the idea being that them who does the most work get the most say in how it gets done. In my coven, I am doing huge amounts of work - so I logically get larger amounts of say in how it gets done. If other people want to step up and demonstrate consistency, I'm happy to hand over some of it over time - but not the stuff that would mean I would no longer find the group satisfying - because that's not something I'm going to be interested in doing long-term.
What a wonderfully apt word!  I'll have to remember/use it.

I might come back to this thread in a few days with more comments; right now I'm more focused on getting caught up on TC.

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« Reply #2: November 05, 2008, 12:20:07 pm »

Ok, as promised, a thread to talk about group heirarchy.

Definitely look forward to others' views on this topic.

Personally, as a solitary witch, I work as my own high priest/ess.

I believe that even those who are in hierarchical positions within a coven, gathering, circle, etc... should view not only themselves as their role, but to enhance that role within those under their leadership.

In doing this, everyone benefits and learns twice as much than just having someone over them.
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« Reply #3: November 05, 2008, 01:55:29 pm »

I believe that even those who are in hierarchical positions within a coven, gathering, circle, etc... should view not only themselves as their role, but to enhance that role within those under their leadership.

This is an interesting issue, because it can get quite complicated. For *within* ritual roles, you're right - it's good for other people to learn how to take them on, when that's appropriate to their level of experience, and if that's something they want to do. This not only helps individuals develop their own skills - but it helps them understand how to better support the people in those roles most of the time.

On the other hand, I also believe, very strongly, that regularly shifting roles both inside and outside of ritual can be very complicated, and can lead to long-term instability - because I believe that whoever is HPs, whoever is HP, whoever is Handmaiden or Summoner - needs to be able to set up practices (on a purely practical level) that work for them - and that changing these every few months or even every year can lead to a lot of time spent on the changeover, and far less on doing good things together as a group.

I'm talking about things like "How do we schedule events" and "How do we communicate about things we need to do" and "How do we store the ritual gear, and who's responsible for bringing it/cleaning it/setting it up/taking it down" and so on - not just the in-ritual acts. These things get a lot less discussion, because they're not shiny and magical and exciting - but in my experience, they're really important to do in a way that's comfortable for the people responsible for making them happen, and for allowing the group to focus on the religious work, rather than how the mechanical stuff gets done.

One example: My former group, I was the handmaiden for well over a year, closer to two. I was responsible for setting up the temple  before ritual. But I also knew that the people who lived in the covenstead (as I did for most of that time) were likely to rearrange or disarrange things if they were set up earlier than the morning before ritual. This made it *really* hard for me fairly regularly - because I had to make sure I had time/energy/focus to do all of that preparation the morning of ritual - I couldn't spread it out over several days.

It meant I regularly got to the start of ritual feeling tired, somewhat shaky, or triple checking I hadn't forgotten something. That wasn't fun, and it wasn't ideal for ritual, but it was the best solution at the time, since it was unlikely I was going to drastically change 4 other people's long-held habits. I am a realist, after all. (And it's worth noting that in the new coven, we've very deliberately made some changes that remove this as a problem.)

*However*, some of it was easier, because *I* was the one doing the work: I could build up a checklist that made the most sense for me and for our set-up and work through it. I knew what kind of time I needed to allow myself to do the set-up, rather than different people figuring that out each time, or every few months. It meant that if something had moved from where it should be (a lighter, tea lights, incense, other ritual items, etc.) I had a pretty good idea where to look further, and a good idea of what I could decide on my own. And it meant that I was a single point of contact for other questions (and could then work them out with my HPS at a mutally agreeable time) rather than having everyone bug her for stuff separately while she was focusing on other parts of the preparation.

There's also the issue that a lot of what we do, ritually, is cyclical. Someone was doing this job for Samhain *last* year will have a head start on this year. Or they'll know that if they do this thing, packing this time, it'll make the next thing they're doing easier. As with our ritual work, I believe building into those cycles is important.

In other words - sure, make sure people have responsibilities and things to do to support the group. But I think there's a lot of benefits in keeping responsibilities stable over time, and changing over new people into over a period of a few months, not very often. It's generally quite possible to find a range of ways for people to contribute, and ideally, you find roles that will challenge people, but that they will ultimately enjoy and flourish in.

And of course, different people have different skill sets. One of my former groupmates is a wonderful person - talented and energetic and competent in many ways. But she is a *nightmare* when it comes to detailed-focused stuff, as she's easily distracted. She is not the logical person to ask to take a task that involves tracking a bunch of details (like handmaidening) but is a fantastic choice for other roles. Likewise, I've done a couple of rituals in the priest role, and while I'm not exactly incompetent, the world is a *lot* better off with me as a priestess or handmaiden role than as a priest role, because I can do far more with those roles due to my own natural inclinations, preferences, and talents. In the priest role, I have to run *against* some of my inclinations, and rely far more heavily on pure skills. It's a lot more work for me, for much less benefit to the circle than the other way round.

As far as actually long-term Priestessing and Priesting: Wiccan practice has a method for dealing with people who want to take on those responsibilities long-term, on a regular basis - it's called hiving. (i.e. creating and forming a new group.) And in practice, this works out tidily. There are two general options when you get a cluster of people who are at a point they could lead a group on their own (generally 3rd degree, but 2nd in some traditions.)

In some cases, you get people who want the responsibilities of the 3rd, but who are not particularly called to group leadership (they'd much rather focus on teaching, deeper magical workings, or other community work, rather than leading the group, per se.) In other cases, they want to lead a group - but one which is different in specific ways than the one they're in right now. (This is what happened to me: I love my former groupmates, but there were a number of things I wanted to approach differently: hiving gave me space to do that - and also allowed other people to step into the roles I'd been doing in that group.)

Now, some groups disagree with me, and think that regular rotation (every six months) or a flat heirarchy works. And I know it does work for some groups. On the other hand, I've also seen it be incredibly unstable except in situations where everyone in the group are true peers (i.e. if you got a group of 3rd degrees, people with serious training, experience, and so on, together, it's a lot more likely to stay stable than a group which is accepting new students every so often.)

There's also the issues I mentioned already - my sense of ritual style, of what sacred space I'm responsible for, feels different than my HPS's did. That's okay - but switching back and forth between them regularly might be really disconcerting. And while we've got similar ideas about how to evaluate new members for the group, there are also some differences. A group in which that rotates entirely is going to have a lot of things to try and match up around the edges - and that's complicated and can lead to a lot of conflicts or just wheel-spinning. I don't think that's in anyone's best interest, personally.

I'd rather be doing the work and serving my Gods, and making magic, rather than readjusting to differences in approach and preference and style all the time.
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« Reply #4: November 05, 2008, 03:40:59 pm »


Definitely agree with you.

When it comes to doing the dirty work, very few people will step up and say, "I will do this." Even creating a ritual can be dirty work, but cleaning and dealing with a lot of bullcrap outside the circle can be draining and frustrating. And then the changes can be even more draining.

So, I applaud anyone who is called to do this type of work. If I were in a covenstead or circle-type setting, I would be one of those who would rather teach and help those who are in charge of cleaning, organizing, etc... but it would not be for me to take on that role by myself.

So, Jennett... here's a question to add on to this topic...

What are some suggestions that you (or anyone else) would have to those who feel this is the type of duties they are called or desire to do?
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« Reply #5: November 05, 2008, 07:10:15 pm »

When it comes to doing the dirty work, very few people will step up and say, "I will do this." Even creating a ritual can be dirty work, but cleaning and dealing with a lot of bullcrap outside the circle can be draining and frustrating. And then the changes can be even more draining.

There's an old line about "How do you know who the HPS is? She's the one in the kitchen doing the dishes."

There's a lot of groups where that isn't true. I hope, very much, that it will be true of me and mine. (O, in practice, the dishes are getting done by the person who's hosting, but right now, we're 2 people, so even with a couple of guests, it's not like the dishes are overwhelming.) But you get the idea: if I want to have a coven that works a certain way, I have to do the work to make that happen. I don't get to sit back and dictate and expect it to manifest.

Quote
What are some suggestions that you (or anyone else) would have to those who feel this is the type of duties they are called or desire to do?

Depends on where you're called, in part, but my take in general is:

1) Learn about yourself.

Learn the stuff that makes you feel productive, satisfied, like you're contributing. Learn the stuff you do well. Figure out what stuff you could do brilliantly if you have some practice/learned some specific skills. Figure out the stuff you really *want* to be able to do, and what it'd take to get you there.

I think the ideal 'role' for someone is something that combines overall things they're good at and find satisfying, with things that are also a challenge for them. It's generally a dynamic balance and will shift a  bit. In a dream world, you'd line up something that would fit with the internal personal work someone is doing, but in practice this is not always a direct match.

2) You're not going to be all things to all people.
A coven-sized group is *not* going to be all things to all people. There's no way it can - "all people" will not fit in my living room. The deities and methods we use won't be for everyone's tastes. Etc. etc. It's okay to place limits, and to focus, even quite tightly.

And just as that's true for the group, it's true for individuals. I'm *never* going to be the exact kind of HPs my HPs is: we've got different skills, personalities, preferences, and other stuff. Likewise, different people will bring their own selves to whatever other roles in the group there are. I believe it's important to give them space to do that - but I also know that this is sometimes one of the most challenging parts of leadership.

3) Similarly, don't expect a group to be all things to you.
I remain fond of my former groupmates, and I see them socially (and expect to guest at ritual sometime down the road.) And I'm deeply fond of my current covenmate, and I'm excited to see who else we welcome as we grow. But I also know they can't be my only religious life. I continue to develop a personal practice, and I continue to make time for other religious spaces in my life where I don't have to be 'on duty' as a priestess and group leader, because those are some of the places I grow most.

All that stuff is sort of standard - but it should give anyone who spend some time with it, building self-awareness, an idea of where they might be best suited.

Once you've got that? Build the skills. *Continue* to build the skills. Practice them.

Learn how to help be a supportive, thoughtful, participant in a discussion, even if you don't ever want to lead one. Learn at least one way that you can keep yourself and a project organised. Learn about different verbal approaches and sensory language that can help you communicate with people with different perferences.

Look carefully at any cultural background issues. For example, I was born and raised in Boston - even after living in Minnesota for 9 years, there are things I do by habit that can put people off - like the speed I speak at when I'm not thinking about it, or how I measure pauses in conversation.

Look carefully at other baggage. Service to a group can be a wonderful thing -but sometimes, we do it because we only feel good about ourselves if we're doing something selfless for others. That's not particularly healthy, nor particularly in keeping with a number of tenets of religious witchcraft. It's really easy to put off the challenging, demanding internal work that we need to do, by saying we have to help someone else out first.

The skills don't have to come from the Pagan community. I've picked up relevant skills playing (and adminning) on online games. Playing World of Warcraft. Volunteering for SF conventions and running SCA events. At work. In grad school. It all goes into feeding how I can a) choose carefully how and where I spend my time and b) how to do it better/more effectively/more efficiently (because those things let me do more of the things I want, which I like.) But, of course, there are also ritual methods and divination, and all sorts of other tools you can use from within the Pagan community that can also help.

Figure out what stuff you can do, and do passionately, and do sustainably. And then volunteer to do it. If you're brand new somewhere, or you're wanting to do something that's higher-stakes, look for ways you can demonstrate you're reliable and competent in smaller (related) ways first.

And then figure out what your boundaries are. I do not want to run a large group. It would not make me happy. I intellectually know many of the skills I'd need - but my heart isn't in it, and it would take a tremendous amount of internal energy. (I'm naturally an introvert who does far better in 1-on-1 or small group conversations.) I do best when I'm around people who are also invested in the outcome - which means I don't do well with more casual groups. I have a strong value on communication, so I don't do very well with groups who don't communicate clearly. And so on. I don't let myself get talked into doing these things - because I'd end up unhappy and grumpy, and that's not good for the group, either.

But once you know them, it's important to seek out leadership you can respect, and who will respect your limits. (Doesn't mean they may not suggest broadening things sometimes - but that they'll also take "not this year" as an answer.) Not everyone has that - it's one of the things I think is a *real* shame about the rise of bootstrap covens, because while some leaders in these groups have developed good leadership skills, the ones who haven't can do tremendous damage to group members before the members give up and leave. But the folks who have put in their own time, and who can lead without their egos getting in the way, can also share responsibility in good and helpful ways that let others contribute to the extent they want to/can/are comfortable with.
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« Reply #6: November 05, 2008, 07:23:57 pm »


Such wise advice... Kind of created sparks regarding the CUPS (Concord University Pagan Society) organization I plan on starting... I relate to how you feel on the one-on-one and small group... and that's what I look to emphasize... if it grows, great... but I will set up others to help break the group down into interest sections when that time comes...

Regarding the dishes and dirty work, I can't stand those who are in leadership but never bother helping with the dirty work... How can one appreciate what they do without experiencing all aspects from dirty dishes to leading the witches' dance/celebration? You can't enjoy being a leader until you've had your hands dirty, IMHO.

If it's okay with you... I would definitely enjoy printing your article from the website, original posts, and responses to me in my Grimoire for future references...
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« Reply #7: November 05, 2008, 10:29:35 pm »

Regarding the dishes and dirty work, I can't stand those who are in leadership but never bother helping with the dirty work... How can one appreciate what they do without experiencing all aspects from dirty dishes to leading the witches' dance/celebration? You can't enjoy being a leader until you've had your hands dirty, IMHO.

Yep. And it doesn't mean they have to do the dishes all the time - if you have four people who can do the dishes, and one who needs to lead the ritual, or have an urgent conversation about something that came up in ritual, you let that one person do the stuff they can do, and have someone else do the dishes. Amazing how everything comes back to balance.

Quote
If it's okay with you... I would definitely enjoy printing your article from the website, original posts, and responses to me in my Grimoire for future references...

This is a hard one for me to answer. My general take on the blog is that I want people to have access to the context - there, they can easily click to linked articles, can click over to information about me or the coven, and otherwise get context for specific things I've written. Once it's printed out, that's no longer an option. (and, incidentally, if you're interested in my thoughts about group work, the tab at the top that says "Finding pages" has links to a bunch of others.)

That said, I write anything I write in public aware that copyright generally allows for a single personal copy to be made for personal (individual, not redistributed) and I'm certainly not going to try and stop anyone from doing that, and in fact, write with that fact in mind.

So - making a personal copy is fine, but please don't redistribute without checking with me (and getting permission) for a specific piece: the reason for that request is so that I can either let folks know about other similar discussions, or can keep them updated if I write something new and related. (Plus, it's just good intellectual honesty practice.)
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« Reply #8: November 06, 2008, 05:51:06 am »

Yep. And it doesn't mean they have to do the dishes all the time - if you have four people who can do the dishes, and one who needs to lead the ritual, or have an urgent conversation about something that came up in ritual, you let that one person do the stuff they can do, and have someone else do the dishes. Amazing how everything comes back to balance.

Totally agree.

So - making a personal copy is fine, but please don't redistribute without checking with me (and getting permission) for a specific piece: the reason for that request is so that I can either let folks know about other similar discussions, or can keep them updated if I write something new and related. (Plus, it's just good intellectual honesty practice.)

Being an English major it gives me an insight on how united one feels with their work... so for me to just go and distribute another's work of art, would be rude and inconsiderate. For me, it would be similar to visiting a friend who just gave birth and then being stingy about the baby. *Probably not a good example, but works for me!*

I wanted to print for personal reference, definitely... If I ever were to refer someone, I would refer them to the site or the forum here. It's not my work to hand out, so I can't just hand them a copy.
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« Reply #9: November 08, 2008, 12:24:32 pm »

I definitely believe this. I believe that a dedicant/student's job is to be a student. They shouldn't be distracted by other stuff within the group as much as possible, so they can focus on their own work. This means I might well ask for help the day of the event - this is good and often part of training. But I'm going to try and limit their group commitments to their own learning - not extra meetings about scheduling, dealing with specific concerns, etc.

I think that this is a really good idea.  I was previously involved with a group that basically required everyone to take on the same level of responsibility.  While there really weren't "students" per se, any new comers often got the impression that you had to hit the ground running when it came to helping write rituals, etc.  The group was eclectic so there wasn't a particular trad to reference for these kinds of things, but, as you might imagine, integrating new comers into the process of writing ritual sometimes led to difficulties.  I think that immediately saddling people with too many responsibilities not only leads to burn out, it doesn't allow for them to spend adequate time learning the basics about Paganism generally, or a tradition specifically.
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« Reply #10: November 20, 2008, 01:38:13 pm »

Now, some groups disagree with me, and think that regular rotation (every six months) or a flat heirarchy works. And I know it does work for some groups. On the other hand, I've also seen it be incredibly unstable except in situations where everyone in the group are true peers (i.e. if you got a group of 3rd degrees, people with serious training, experience, and so on, together, it's a lot more likely to stay stable than a group which is accepting new students every so often.)

My tradition has a structure that's somewhat similar to yours. We have a degree system, and each coven within the tradition has a HPS and HP. Those roles do not normally rotate. I can't remember any of the covens ever changing leadership, though one did dissolve because the HPS left the tradition.

We have six covens who celebrate the sabbats together. There's another one or two hives I've never heard from... so I'm not sure if they're not local, or have dissolved, or what. But the six groups that do work together encompass around 50 or so people.

We rotate how the sabbats are organized. This year, everyone gets to pick which one they want to work on. I picked Imbolc. The email group we're using to organize has been used several years running, so we have documentation on what's been done in previous years.

This is, I think, the only viable way to rotate responsibilities in a group. In my local Jaycees group, they keep project binders with write-ups on different projects they do, so when a new person takes on a recurring project they have somewhere to start. It's a fantastic idea. I'm not sure how our coven elders keep documentation on what the group does, since I'm only an initiate, but I assume they have some similiar system in place.

Having documentation keeps new folks from reinventing the wheel every time they come into a position or take on a project. And I'm all for time-saving steps, myself.

Karen
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