Sunday, July 25, 2004

My Coven? Grove? Circle? Whatever.

Already July the 25th! Lughnasadh is a week away.

Lughnasadh 2003 Altar

My coven will be meeting out at Jewel’s. Last year we made corn dollies, which did not seem like an overly masculine thing to do, but I got over it. My corn dolly turned out to be a punk rocker anyway. I was the source of much entertainment for the coven: I did not know how to shuck corn. I am entirely too suburban of a human being.

Lughnasadh is not my favorite holiday. Not that I have anything against many skilled Lugh, it is simply that in Texas it is usually too hot to enjoy anything. I very much miss living in Colorado; August was hot but bearable.

My coven has been doing an agricultural theme this year in our rituals and our studies. Jewel has challenged us to that since right after Imbolc we got to work weeding our garden and sowing our seeds, we should now focus on the harvest. She is speaking in a metaphorical sense. We were to have chosen specific personal issues to work on and having worked on them we can now begin to harvest the benefits of our work.

To my chagrin, I cannot, for the life of me remember what I was working on. I have racked my brains and I just don’t have a clue what things I chose to work on in those rituals past. However, I am reworking the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and I can and will put the focus on my harvest from the efforts I have put into that program.

My coven is changing. This is good, because I think that early this year we reached a point of stagnation, no new members, no new challenges, comfortable old rituals. The time had come to stretch, extend ourselves, exert ourselves—at least this is what I think. Not all members agree, nor do we agree on the direction we want to go.

Let me give you a little background on my little coven: we are six in number and we all were part of a local Unitarian Church, a church that is Pagan in orientation. Our little church had a small problem in that there was a man who occasionally attended it who was an avowed Nazi. This nazi liked to tell us about the girl he was dating. She was from Atlantis and had green skin. He also got very angry very easily. And he liked to carry guns. Three of them. So, what’s not to like about a psychotic, armed nazi?

The church seemed to prefer the idea of keeping a psychotic armed nazi over keeping half of their dues paying members. Just as a side note, to this day the nazi is welcome at services, with his guns (we were called intolerant and judgemental for having a problem with this). We left and formed our own group called TotemGrove. For some reason, none of us felt safe attending that church anymore.

TotemGrove is the name. I call it a coven. This is a bone of contention amongst members. While we have an exclusive membership, we do not follow one tradition, so we are not truly a coven. However, we are not truly a grove either because membership is intentionally tightly controlled. I think the term coven is an effective and relatively accurate shorthand description of what we are. Also, the term provokes a reaction from people, and I like to get a reaction.

It looks like we are going to formally define who and what we are, something the anarchist in me rebels against. Once we define what we actually are, we’re stuck with the constraints of our own definition. On the other hand, some members do not actually like the free form way we have been cruising along.

I am excited that we are putting into place a way to formally welcome in new members. I have been interested in growing for a while now. I like new people and I like having friends that I work with spiritually and magically.

I guess if I had to make any one complaint about my little coven it would be that we tend to meander from one ritual to the next with what we do, there is no consistent theme or structure to our workings (so much for my anarchism!). I would like to maybe have us choose a book (I would be partial to anything by Starhawk or Currott and opposed to anything by Silver Ravenwolf) and us go through it together, cover to cover. I have not brought this up to the others though, so I have no idea how they would feel about this proposal.

I don’t expect to keep everyone who is present now in the coven. Not in the long run. Our interests are diverse as are the spiritual needs of our members. Some will need to take their own path. I simply hope our friendships will survive. I think they will but we may not be closely in touch. That is sad, but that is life.

I have not lost sight of the idea of a group meditation for the coven. I think that would be a great thing to do.

Ooooh—I people can see a little bit about us. The pictures at my website:Andy's Page or at Lady Moonwolf’s site:TotemGrove HomePage

The internet is plenty magickal itself!