View Poll Results: Do you prefer a solitary or coven environment? Are you practicing differently?

Voters
246. You may not vote on this poll
  • I prefer and practice coven involvement

    17 6.91%
  • I prefer and practice being solitary

    117 47.56%
  • I prefer solitary involvement but practice in a coven

    5 2.03%
  • I prefer coven involvement but practice solitary involvement

    25 10.16%
  • Unsure; I have never experienced coven involvement, but would like to try it.

    82 33.33%
Page 7 of 12 FirstFirst ... 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ... LastLast
Results 61 to 70 of 118

Thread: Solitary or Coven?

  1. #61
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    816
    Scott - you make some excellent points, but ones which can vary a bit among types of groups, so I wanted to take a moment to expand on some other ways to approach these issues.

    You said:
    You should be free to ask anything you want about the coven, and you should get honest, ready answers. If they won't answer something that's important to you, they probably aren't the way to go.
    This is a place that varies - especially with traditions that have oathbound (private) material. I think a better framework is "Get enough information to make an informed decision", rather than expecting to have everything answered. For example, if someone asks me about the details of what our initiation contains, that's oathbound for us, and I can't answer it.

    What I do instead is say: "The specifics of initiation are oathbound, so I can't tell you details. However, before we even consider initiation, you'd have studied with us, been in ritual with us, and had plenty of time to get to know us over at least a year, our training finishes with a class that talks about initiation in specific and some things to consider, and after that it would be your decision whether you wanted to proceed. Whenever possible, we do what we can to either give you information to make your own choices, or in a few cases like this, where that isn't entirely possible, to ask questions that would help us address any concerns in advance."

    You should never be abused or betrayed. Your side should always be heard, even if it isn't popular.
    Definitely. On the other hand, group leaders should not be abused either - a healthy group will have a way to handle difficult conversations. (For example: "Let's get together and talk about this face to face when we all can focus on it" rather than dealing with it after a challenging ritual might be very appropriate - and a group member who pushed for immediate resolution of something that could wait might be behaving in a hurtful way.)

    - Group hierarchies, if they exist at all, should be very open. I don't know if I agree that every group should have rules, but no coven should adopt rules with which even one member disagrees.
    This is something that depends a great deal on the group. I make no apologies for the fact that there's a clear heirarchy in the tradition: in our practice, the HPS is in charge.

    I tend to refer to it as stewarding the group (and group resources.) I will not allow a rule in the group I can't sustain, even if other people want it.

    For example, I'm asthmatic: someone who wants to be able to be in my group and smokes would need to be able to deal with some fairly restrictive options for them around the smoking. (Not in my house, and not outside without being outside for at least 10 minutes after the cigarette is put out. I live in Minnesota, so this is really not trivial in the winter, and also would limit breaks in classes, after-ritual, etc.)

    Similarly, I'm not going to change core parts of the tradition - because I've made a commitment to nurture and keep this particular tradition secure. I'm not going to stop other people doing something else, but I don't feel an obligation to host that in my home, support it with my time, etc. either, so if someone's drawn in other directions, parting ways may make a lot of sense.

    I'm going to listen to the opinions of the group, see what their suggestions are - but I might end up picking an answer that is make-or-break for someone else. That's not my preference, and I'd do everything I could to avoid it - but I also recognise there are times that may happen.

    Part of this is also part of the development of self and self-awareness in some trads: there are often particular points of development where a group member needs to push against boundaries, and try them out. (It's often around 2nd degree, and it can be a lot like being a teenager again.)

    Experienced group leaders will work with this and allow for this to an extent (because it's a pretty healthy and necessary stage in moderation), but shouldn't allow it to take over the group (making everything be about that person) because that doesn't support the rest of the group, or allow the group to do their shared work and worship together. Sometimes that means putting down their foot and saying "No, enough. Deal or take a break."

    - Your membership should never depend upon money. Some groups ask for donations, and that's fine, but money should never impair your experience with the group. And no group should deny membership to or pressure those who cannot pay.
    I definitely agree with this. However, I also think it's important for groups to figure out their needs (and a way to meet them that's sustainable) and to recognise multiple ways of meeting the needs. And then to find ways where everyone contributes, and helps support the group. Maybe one person gives more money, but the person for whom cash is limited does more of the really tedious work instead, and everyone chips in on general stuff (cleaning up after ritual, etc.)

    Personally, I don't think there should even be a problem with immediate withdrawal. It might be ideal for someone to cut you a door before you leave the circle, but your group should contain at least one individual that can manage energy well enough to proceed without cutting it.
    I agree in general that people should be able to withdraw from ritual if they're truly uncomfortable (not just 'not having a great time', though, unless the ritual is extremely lengthy.)

    However, in a training group (like the one I trained in) it's also important to realise that the person who cast the circle may not be the most experienced person in the group. They may have a much harder time weaving stuff back in together, and it may significantly affect the rest of the ritual for everyone. (Also, people in the group may worry that the person who left is sick.)

    Getting cut out is far preferable, because it means someone in the circle knows what's up, and that the energetic work of the ritual can continue as smoothly as possible. Think of it like leaving a party you're not fond of - there's a big difference between quietly excusing yourself, thanking your host briefly, and slipping out, and storming out of the house banging the door and yelling. Breaking through a circle can be a lot like the latter, depending on that group's practices.

    (I'd also add: it can burn some bridges. If someone left a circle I was leading politely, and being cut out, I'd be open to continued conversation with them about what happened, how to resolve it, or reconsideration later. If they just walked out (we talk about this in a discussion of etiquette long before they come to circle) I'd probably be quite unwilling to reopen conversation about small group work with them unless there were an urgent medical reason why they left.)

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Missouri, USA
    Age
    41
    Posts
    229
    Jenett, you bring up some very interesting points. I think we have some different core values about how spiritual groups should be run.

    For instance, I don't believe in having private material. If someone asks about something that is typically a "third-phase" (many would say, "third degree") process, I answer. You can hide a mystery in plain sight. Most people still won't understand. I might very well tell someone that I don't recommend they go there yet, but the ultimate decision is theirs.

    I just stick to saying that no one should be abused, but that would include people acting in the capacity of "student" or "leader". I see myself and others in my tradition as co-learners, however. Just because I take a "first-among-equals" role in cases where I have more experience doesn't make me the leader or teacher. And, because I've given up the need for such titles, I think I learn more from those I'm facilitating. And I think they develop more confidence because they aren't subjected to strict hierarchies.

    You and I seem to agree about the money issue. Some groups really need those donations, but membership within the group should never depend on having money. And there are many other ways to contribute besides money, so long as no one becomes the group's servant based on economic pressure. I also don't believe giving money should excuse someone from doing real work. You should not expect a higher status to be conferred upon you just because you have money or business skills (that probably seems far-fetched to many reading this, but it was how things often worked in the group I mentioned in my last post).

    Again, I never require someone to be cut out if they need to go because I don't see any problem adjusting the energy. But I don't think it matters how you do it, so long as everyone can agree beforehand.

    Thanks for your comments. I don't think you and I would make good coven mates, but at least you are forthright enough that I can see that up front. I wouldn't have to go through the process of bonding with the group and then being disappointed in my experience because you've been honest about how you think a group should run.
    Blessings,
    P. Rex

    My website: http://www.bookofspirals.com
    My blog: http://www.bookofspirals.com/blog
    An ezine I co-founded: http://spiraltree.weebly.com

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    14

    Solitary... so far

    OK, my first post! I've enjoyed reading a lot of the answers, it's given me a lot to think about.

    I'm originally from the East coast and was very open about my Paganism. When I worked in DC at Thanksgiving when one of my co-workers (who was also a minister) offered a prayer at our pot-luck, another co-worker said "Faeth's clergy too. I think she should say a few words." And I did. It was very well received and from then on whenever there was a Blessing or what have you to be said he and I shared. Well now I've moved to Missouri and I'm almost totally in the broom closet. I've said all this to say - I've never worked with a coven or in a group. I did home cleansings back East and some guidance and teaching. Well, now I'm wondering what I've missed. Lately I've felt a real need for a Sisterhood. And don't get me wrong - I have NO desire for man bashing. We need our Brothers as much as we need our Sisters. I'm not even really sure why I'm feeling this way. Perhaps because I'm away from my family and friends. Maybe because I'm at the age where I'm beginning the journey to Cronehood (is that a word? lol.) There is one group here locally that I know of, but the majority of members are parents and it's a very family oriented group. Again, I LOVE the idea of that, but I have no children so I don't feel it would be a good match. Also, as someone else posted, I don't do a lot of ritual. I also believe when (and if) it's time the group (teacher, etc.) will arrive.

    OK I've gotten awful wordy. I'm sorry if this didn't make sense. I'm enjoying reading everything here - there's so much! Blessings all!
    I Breathe. I Hope.

    "To be nobody but yourself -- in a world which is doing it's best, night and day, to make you like everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting." ~e. e. cummings

  4. #64
    thought_on_a_wind's Avatar
     is offline walking the road to see where it leads
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    In between this place & that
    Age
    35
    Posts
    1,776
    Quote Originally Posted by thought_on_a_wind View Post
    I feel a group around me from various parts of the world that would profit well from our experiences and universal views... they communicate in a way with me, and vice versa... the closest I came was when I was in Albuquerque amidst a group of free thinkers... problem is even then I felt the pull of the solitary and would isolate myself every so often...

    So in short, I picked the Solitary option because I've felt no click with physical group that I'd profit from and be able to embrace completely... so, until that group of us who are linked can meet physically I'll maintain my habitual solitude/tutoring I've come to embrace.
    strangely enough, still a ragin' rarin' solitary... but... this previous post of mine seems to be manifesting....

    To expound on being a solitary, I've embraced many paths in my past, read up on them, practiced them and attempted to locate circles... just never worked out, as such, since walking my own path without having a traditional title, I've started to notice there are many others that walk similar paths who could be considered, loosely, a circle of sorts... though it seems said circle is sort of slowly coalescing. Will have to clarify on this original post in that, I've practiced primarily as a solitary though there have been moments within the last couple years since this post that I've had opportunities to embrace circles.
    Per Mare, Per Terras!!!

    Feel Free to PM me with your request

    *sigh* I finally did it... thar be my dragons, pwease qwick them... I don't want to go to jail for neglect... what'd a dragon ever do to you??

    Your friendly solitary non-traditional eclectic.




    "Follow me into the depths of insanity, leave beliefs and apprehensions at the door"- quoth the ocelot

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    25,571
    Quote Originally Posted by Faethgale View Post
    OK, my first post! I've enjoyed reading a lot of the answers, it's given me a lot to think about.

    I'm originally from the East coast and was very open about my Paganism. When I worked in DC at Thanksgiving when one of my co-workers (who was also a minister) offered a prayer at our pot-luck, another co-worker said "Faeth's clergy too. I think she should say a few words." And I did. It was very well received and from then on whenever there was a Blessing or what have you to be said he and I shared. Well now I've moved to Missouri and I'm almost totally in the broom closet. I've said all this to say - I've never worked with a coven or in a group. I did home cleansings back East and some guidance and teaching. Well, now I'm wondering what I've missed. Lately I've felt a real need for a Sisterhood. And don't get me wrong - I have NO desire for man bashing. We need our Brothers as much as we need our Sisters. I'm not even really sure why I'm feeling this way. Perhaps because I'm away from my family and friends. Maybe because I'm at the age where I'm beginning the journey to Cronehood (is that a word? lol.) There is one group here locally that I know of, but the majority of members are parents and it's a very family oriented group. Again, I LOVE the idea of that, but I have no children so I don't feel it would be a good match. Also, as someone else posted, I don't do a lot of ritual. I also believe when (and if) it's time the group (teacher, etc.) will arrive.

    OK I've gotten awful wordy. I'm sorry if this didn't make sense. I'm enjoying reading everything here - there's so much! Blessings all!
    I've heard "cronedom" more often than "cronehood." But both are good.

    I tend to think of those who lead groups as clergy, not so much those who are solitary. I got my internet certificate to be a minister many years ago, but didn't consider myself to be clergy until I was asked to take over as leader of my group/coven.
    ____________
    If you make a customer happy, he'll tell 3 other people.
    If he's not happy, he'll tell 20 others.




  6. #66
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Bronx, New York
    Age
    56
    Posts
    1,883
    I prefer being a solitary practitioner. One of the biggest reasons for my leaving Roman Catholicism was to get away from organized religion. I like to worship as I see fit, follow my own spiritual, moral and ethical code. Not those forced upon me.

    I have attended a couple of open circles and those were fun. Still I can't see myself joining a coven. I would have to find one that followed at least 80% of my beliefs. I think that is a near impossibility. I would not force my beliefs on others so starting my own coven is also out of the question.

    For me being solitary is the way to go, worship wise. As long as there are open circles, festivals, fairs and great sites like MW, meeting fellow pagans is not a problem.
    "You hesitate to stab me with a word, and know not - silence is the sharper sword."

    Samuel Johnson 1709-1784


  7. #67
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    25,571
    Quote Originally Posted by Pagan's Sword View Post
    I prefer being a solitary practitioner. One of the biggest reasons for my leaving Roman Catholicism was to get away from organized religion. I like to worship as I see fit, follow my own spiritual, moral and ethical code. Not those forced upon me.

    I have attended a couple of open circles and those were fun. Still I can't see myself joining a coven. I would have to find one that followed at least 80% of my beliefs. I think that is a near impossibility. I would not force my beliefs on others so starting my own coven is also out of the question.

    For me being solitary is the way to go, worship wise. As long as there are open circles, festivals, fairs and great sites like MW, meeting fellow pagans is not a problem.
    Where did you get the idea that forming a coven means forcing others to accept your personal beliefs?

    In the best of worlds, we find others who share our beliefs and agree to work/worship with them. Or we find those who are interested in learning about our beliefs and we share them with others, who may then decide to work/worship with us (or decide to travel on and seek a different path).

    My group/coven is an eclectic one. We agree about the way to perform a ritual and the benefits that come from doing group rituals, but we don't share the exact same beliefs about the gods or about spirituality. Which leads to some interesting - and mind expanding - discussions among us.
    ____________
    If you make a customer happy, he'll tell 3 other people.
    If he's not happy, he'll tell 20 others.




  8. #68
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    14
    Quote Originally Posted by Lunacie View Post
    I tend to think of those who lead groups as clergy, not so much those who are solitary. I got my internet certificate to be a minister many years ago, but didn't consider myself to be clergy until I was asked to take over as leader of my group/coven.
    I should have clarified that she called me clergy - that wasn't how I represented myself. And I still don't really feel I'm clergy. It *feels* to me one should really have a group of some sort to be clergy. But as I've thought of it I can see solitary being clergy. I think back to when people were more isolated than we are now, when funerals and marriages, etc. needed to be done and there wasn't "ordained" clergy to do it. As I'm so alone now in this area I also kind of have to be my own clergy.

    Don't mean to hijack this post, but I'd like to hear other's thought on solitary vs. group as clergy. Especially because I'm awful at explaining while typing, lol.
    I Breathe. I Hope.

    "To be nobody but yourself -- in a world which is doing it's best, night and day, to make you like everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting." ~e. e. cummings

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Bronx, New York
    Age
    56
    Posts
    1,883
    [quote=Lunacie;4138322]Where did you get the idea that forming a coven means forcing others to accept your personal beliefs?

    In my personal experience, the few covens I have had interactions with were most definitely not eclectic. They were more the type where the priest/priestess ran the entire production. I certainly wanted no parts of anything of the sort. I didn't mean to imply that all covens are that way. It would be nice if someday I can see what a true eclectic coven is like, but until then I'm happy to remain a solitary.
    "You hesitate to stab me with a word, and know not - silence is the sharper sword."

    Samuel Johnson 1709-1784


  10. #70
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    25,571
    Quote Originally Posted by Faethgale View Post
    I should have clarified that she called me clergy - that wasn't how I represented myself. And I still don't really feel I'm clergy. It *feels* to me one should really have a group of some sort to be clergy. But as I've thought of it I can see solitary being clergy. I think back to when people were more isolated than we are now, when funerals and marriages, etc. needed to be done and there wasn't "ordained" clergy to do it. As I'm so alone now in this area I also kind of have to be my own clergy.

    Don't mean to hijack this post, but I'd like to hear other's thought on solitary vs. group as clergy. Especially because I'm awful at explaining while typing, lol.
    That could be an interesting discussion. Care to start a new thread?
    You could put a link to it here.


    [quote=Pagan's Sword;4138336]
    Quote Originally Posted by Lunacie View Post
    Where did you get the idea that forming a coven means forcing others to accept your personal beliefs?

    In my personal experience, the few covens I have had interactions with were most definitely not eclectic. They were more the type where the priest/priestess ran the entire production. I certainly wanted no parts of anything of the sort. I didn't mean to imply that all covens are that way. It would be nice if someday I can see what a true eclectic coven is like, but until then I'm happy to remain a solitary.
    I know there are many covens who insist on everyone toeing the party line. Definately not the kind of coven I'd be satisfied working in.

    It might be easier to start your own classes that could lead to your own coven than to find a group with beliefs that are similar to yours. Not everyone in my group has even been Wiccan, but they have been interested in working with a group and are willing to work with our rituals for Sabbats and Esbats and then go off and do something solitary to suit their own beliefs and honor their own gods. Some people forget that's the way Wicca was originally set up - the group does things one way without demanding acceptance of a certain orthodoxy, and the individual members do their own thing on their own time in their own way.

    I'm not saying that everyone would be better off if they could find a group or coven to work with - but it can be a really great experience and I think those who don't even give it a try out may be missing something good. IF (big if) they can find a good group to work with.
    ____________
    If you make a customer happy, he'll tell 3 other people.
    If he's not happy, he'll tell 20 others.




Page 7 of 12 FirstFirst ... 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •