Category Archives: Coven

Joining local pagan groups

I wanted to share a few resources that might help you find groups you can join or events you can attend in your local areas:

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Witchvox.com– This site provides groups and individuals a platform to post groups and/or events. You can look up by state to see what is in your area.

To find someplace local, look to the Left Side of the web site Home page and look under ‘YOUR town…” Once you’re on the next page, continue to look a the Left Side of the page to look up group specific to type. You can find teen, adult, college, etc.

CUUPSCUUPS (Covenant Unitarian Universalist Pagans) is affiliated with the UU churches. You can search for groups in your area, or check with your local UU church to see if you can form your own group. You can also look up chapters by the area you live in. Some groups provide ‘open circles’, so you can join a workshop or ritual without being a member.

meetupMeetup.com– This is not specific to pagan, but you can find pagan/wiccan/witch groups. Membership is free, but being an organizer costs $20 per month. Some groups also ask for membership fees, while others are free. You can search your local area for meetup groups specific to your interest such as ghost hunting, pagan, healing, or start your own group.

When I started my own groups, it was because, at the time, there were no local groups established. The Internet certainly helps now. If you can’t find any local groups, start your own, or consider joining groups through Facebook or Twitter.

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Ritual garb, skyclad, or regular clothes?

img06When I first started in Wicca in my early teens, I admit the idea of ‘ritual garb’ appealed to me. The pretty dresses and robes, the head dresses, and exotic jewelry was all very alluring. As years passed, I experienced the ‘skyclad’ (ritual nudity) at festival, and joined in a skyclad esbat. But the cost of garb, the discomfort of nudity, my choice of preference is regular clothes.

Although gowns and robes can be as simple or ornate as you want, I always found them a bit cumbersome in ritual. Sleeves get in the way, and the hem tends to get too close to the fire. In the summer, they can be too hot, and in the winter, you look silly if you wear your winter coat over it.

And I hated the idea of black robes. My coven once decided ‘we’ would make ritual robes. All black, long sleeves, with hoods. I was against the idea. I threatened if they made me wear it, I’d bedazzle it or add glow-in-the-dark paint. It just wasn’t me.

WITCHAnd frankly, I couldn’t afford the nicer stuff. The photo here was a cloak my sister owned, and she was the one who did the ornate beadwork on the velvet vest, as well as the embroidery on the hood. But it wasn’t mine, and I doubt I would’ve worn it much to rituals anyway.

I’m a practical person; one who prefers comfort over fashion, and even the skyclad rituals tended to make me itchy (from sitting on grass or dirt), or suffer the odd sunburns if I was in direct sunlight.

So why ritual robe or skyclad at all?

opalmoonI’ve heard the idea is that you dress up for the holidays, like dressing up for church. Some pagans told me it was to add to the atmosphere of the ritual, or it marks a change in who we are when we enter Circle. I just don’t buy into that idea.

Skyclad (going nude) stems from the Alexandrian and Gardnerian practices where the ritual nudity strips you of earthy things and makes you equal with everyone in the circle.

Again, that just doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t need clothes or the lack of clothes to see others as being equal. And frankly, I don’t see anything wrong with seeing people as being better than others. Some people are better, through their knowledge, wisdom, and caring. Some people are not better, because they work from their weakness, such as jealousy, anger, or fear. I can still enjoy ritual and recognize them as worthy individuals.

What is your preference? Post in comments.

Ritual Etiquette Rant

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I organize a group via the Meetup.com site, welcoming pagans who wish to join in workshops, social outings, and occasional rituals. It’s a handy site, including message boards but more importantly, online tools to organize events.

I can add venues, add map directions, limit members, and get automatic alerts when people change their RSVP, even at the least minute.

So Mabon I had seven members signed up. We were going to have ritual and potluck. Only three members bothered to list what they’d bring, one added an activity, while everyone else didn’t want to plan the Mabon ritual. Two backed out the day of the ritual, one messaged she couldn’t make it due to traffic, while three others didn’t bother showing up at all.

So I wanted to share a few things about attending rituals that I think people need to understand about the etiquette.

If you’ve given your RSVP as yes, show up! Just not showing up is one of the biggest peeves of mine. I will wait a bit for late arrivals, but when members don’t arrive at all, it can seriously impact the energy in the sacred space. I even give my cell phone numbers for them to call, but also have the meetup app so if they change their RSVP, I get the alert immediately.

If you say you’re coming, arrive on time. No one was late…this time. But this was worth mentioning. Being late interferes with rituals, or forces groups to wait for your arrival, or ‘open a door’ when you get there. I often wait 15 minutes for late arrivals, but rituals that require meditations or power raising are affected by such disruptions.

Do not bring uninvited/unexpected guests. This didn’t happen for Mabon, but its happened in the past before. It is very rude to bring a guest, (sometimes who isn’t even pagan) to rituals, unless its understood to be an ‘open ritual’. Even then, some pagans feel uncomfortable being open to the scrutiny of strangers. Always ask before bringing a guest.

ASK QUESTIONS. When in doubt, talk to the organizer about what is expected.  Leaders should be approachable, but as a member, you have a responsibility to yourself to speak up if you’re confused or don’t understand something. Some of us take things for granted (or make mistakes), so letting us know is appreciated.

If it’s a potluck- BRING SOMETHING. Don’t let everyone else carry the load of food and drink. It helps even to bring utensils, napkins, plates, etc. You don’t have to make something. You can buy something, or if you’re really poor, let the organizer know. I’ve been open to letting members help with setup or breakdown instead of food.

If you didn’t go, send an apology! It bothers me when people don’t show up but it shows a deep inconsideration to not apologize for the inconvenience. It lets the host know that you didn’t just forget them, and more importantly, that you’re not taking them for granted.

I was so disgruntled after Mabon, I’m not keen on having any more rituals this year.

What are your thoughts? Are you part of a group that has rules to deal with this? Have any suggestions? I’d love to hear from my readers.