There is a treasure, beautiful, a natural resource, that deserves to be cherished and nourished. This treasure is in plain site and is hidden by those who should see it and who don’t know what to look for.
If I can say how great my experience was at my first Sacred Space Foundation conference this last weekend, April 6 – 9, 2023 it is due to the following.
Every Elder of any tradition, Priest or Priestess needs to make the pilgrimage to it. Do it soon. It would behoove every coven, group or conclave by any name, to make it affordable for at least one of their leaders to be there.
The reason isn’t for the great rituals, classes, presenters or simply communing with people related faiths. It is for getting a feeling for and seeing Community, Leadership in action and in service to the community, and the Hospitality of not only the conference but the whole Egregore that they are part of.
They are in my every estimation the birth of a tribe. I proposed on giving a paper of the need for and understanding of what a tribe is, as well as, how it is needed for building a societal model for the future of mankind. Not just for pagans, local communities, states, but it should be for nations and the world. I explain how we as a people, from the beginning of civilization have been poisoned by corporate, feudal mobocracies. I have published it as a previous blog here. https://archonstone.wordpress.com/2023/04/11/tribes-for-the-future-a-pagan-perspective/
What was it that had me see a tribe there? https://www.sacredwheel.org/ The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel. I was in one class, on Thursday: Falcons & Gryphons: On Using Orders within Groups. They spoke on these orders being seen to be needed by their “Leadership“. Here are things that I have seen pagans treat as an Anathema: Leadership, Organizations, Structures. And here it is working, evolved into and still growing strong since 1984. Not having been living in the Mid-Atlantic states, nor been at these covens, conferences or part of its inception, I am an outsider. I have been working to wrap my brain and heart around this need. Pagans have been looking for these and at the same time fighting against them. And here it has evolved.
Tribes are comprised of clans of families and communities of people. There are collections of different religious beliefs and practices. There are Guilds and orders that intersect these clans and religious societies (covens). There is a warp and woof a weaving of community, practice and organizations by need. There are respected leaders, humble and serving the community. That is the core of it. There is a core group of Elders and Leaders trusted by their service and integrity. They serve without hubris, they walk in their power. This is why people so inundated with corporate western culture don’t see it. They are on the lookout for “power over”, selfish, power self-serving people, and organizational control, and they implode. People don’t look for something they have never seen, never anticipate, and with the lack of definition or understanding, we don’t see what we don’t understand. This is why coven and group leaders; priestesses and priests need to see it in action. They need to feel it, commune with it and the people.
See it, feel it, be it.
The opening ritual, not only invoking Athena and Thoth, to bring wisdom, they invoked an egregore. This egregore is part of the people of the Assembly of Sacred Space and Between the Worlds groups, but more. The egregore for the conference includes the ancient and tribal ideals of hospitality, wisdom, leadership, and our sacred right of sacred people for apotheosis.
The main ritual was a pageant. I have seen really good powerful rituals. This was on another order. It was more than just power, and the gods. They invoked the universe, the powers, the sun and moon, sacred teachers, and five virtues, Love, Truth, Honor, Courage and I think it was Wisdom. It is to say something that I was overwhelmed. But we all participated. We wove our will into the navel of the world, with all this intent, into the world and back into us, to claim our power, our crowns, our apotheosis, to go back to serve the world and the virtues.
Back to the class of the Orders of the Gryphons and Falcons. The leadership at the time saw a need for a group of powerful magicians with the ability to move and exercise energy to protect the Assembly. They have a charter, a set of rules, and this prevents people from exercising hubris, ego that would destroy it. It has survived. I have watched their members in action. In the Main Ritual, the Gryphons cast the circle, contained it and protected it. I have not seen anyone or group to do it so well, ever. It was more than I could have managed. I have had to balance out elements of rituals and add to the circle to make them effective, even if I was not one of the officiants. They protect from energy vampires. They serve the community, to help others, with clearings, dealing with entities, and they do it willingly with advisement. This brings in the Order of Falcons. The Falcons are the seers and psychics that get the sight to an excellent degree to divine or psychically understand situations. They communicate with each other and the Gryphons, to understand what things may be: Good, Bad and Indifferent. They come to a conclusion on what to do about situations magic people and pagans run into. Granted, they steer clear of personal drama. When Therapists and Counselors are needed instead or in addition to, they make those recommendations. There is common sense, humility, yet a commitment to the community and each other to do it right, not only for themselves but also as a reflection of the community as a whole.
Between the Gryphon and Falcon you see the traditional working pairings of Magician and Seer, but in a group format.
The Falcons foresee where Gryphons are needed, and they do the work. I am an odd duck energetically. The work of developing my skills, I will radiate power in my aura, or it is hidden. If you detect what is hidden you become wary. One Falcon was keeping an eye on me all weekend. The one class that should have been labeled a ritual, was on Nagas as the fifth elemental. I guess it was a way of presenting conceptually beings that don’t fit definitions of Gods, Wights, Angels, Demons nor Ancestors. In my tradition we do work with beings that exist on other planes and these types of beings that exist through many planes. They are interdimensional or multiplanar beings depending on your definition. When she presented the being to commune with us, that would or should put peoples hackles up. It didn’t for me. However, I present myself in multiple aspects, each of which can function as a multiplanar being. As an individual if you do that you will draw these beings’ attentions. As the ritual progressed, I resided in my aspects adjusted to commune with the beings that she presented. This drew the attention of at least one of the Gryphons. This gentleman went to the side of the room where my main aspect of that time was working from. I made a point to have it identify as friendly, wishing no harm, and to be part of this ritual. The Gryphon was satisfied and went back towards the entry of the classroom. In the past, people would mistake me and my aspects as other things, usually fearful, and ineffectually attacking it or me. This did not happen, and the ritual went on as expected. I was glad to chat with the presenter, that I and my teacher work with beings like this and identified cultural precedents briefly. Identifying them as multiplanar beings we had an immediate understanding and agreement. All of this interchange was beautiful.
Here is the big question. How old and what was the size of the organization when it was mature enough and the Leadership trusted enough to recognize the need of these orders? Off the cuff answer was about 18-20 years of age, with 7 covens. The orders are at least 8 years old. The covens today number 14 with 4 – 21 coven members each. One generation, about 20 years with trusted leadership, and this exists, evolves and grows. This was grown from the start organically. What can people do if they took notes and created it in larger urban and multi-state areas? People take time to develop and evolve their cultural awareness and it takes just about that long. Can it be done more quickly? That would take a lot of pointed shadow work, and evolutionary internal alchemy to get there.
Byron Ballard has spoken about the groups in Asheville, where they recognize that they might not worship together, but they did learn to work together. Elders and leaders of groups, covens and organizations need honest internal reflection and development.
The ability to be at a conference, uncloaked to a certain degree, without being psychically harassed by well-meaning people or vampires was a complete pleasure. Hospitality is in that hotel and conference egregore, and it is true to its word and intent. Again, this was and is a pleasure to experience.
There was another class that exemplified what a society is within a tribe and extends beyond it. Here is a group of magicians who come together with a common goal. They presented Master Magician Level of technologies. This is a tribal outreach at a master level with other magicians, whether you are part of this group or not. Good tribes have outreach practices and societies that can and do span from tribe to tribe through other competent and committed individuals. My teacher was part of an inter-tribal group of medicine people. Sharing techniques with fellow magicians shows that this tribe is not insular and can grow and evolve as they come in contact with incipient tribes of pagans and individuals. A society can be selective of who they work with. As in this case, they can be discrete and be respected as such. Now we must create them.
Another group or organization for ecstatic and or possessory work is:
This is the third or fourth time I have had the pleasure of being in their ritual space. It has evolved over the past decade. I have in the past been very wary of possession and or mediumship. If you have had to be an exorcist or do soul retrieval work you would have a healthy concern about it. The environment was safe, not only for those who use this for ecstatic communion with Oriesha or Lwa, but also for those who work with other beings of other pantheons. Some pantheons have conflict. I saw conflict resolution. I saw communion. I called on aspects of my past selves becoming like ancestors. A being who rode two people gave me a consistent message on how to facilitate it. One of my aspects even possessed one of the attendees for a short bit. I got some great feedback. This organization should be learned from, from those called to do similar work. Our societies and our connections to pantheons, spirits and egregores are overlapping. This method seems to work in an excellent fashion to be a steppingstone for people of many walks to commune with the spirits of their calling.
This isn’t my calling, but I do recognize it being needed in many pagan communities.
I got to talk shop with some special people into the wee hours of the morning. I was buzzing into Monday following the conference. I had a long drive back to Atlanta from Baltimore and it gave me plenty to think about.
It was a pleasure to be my authentic self. It was a pleasure to not have to be an Energetical bolster and balance a large ritual or protect it. I learned new information, techniques and saw things from other perspectives.
To the facilitators and board members of Sacred Space Foundation and Between the Worlds, I extend a most heartfelt, Thank You. To everyone who exemplified the hospitality, Thank you as well.
A Pagan perspective, an opportunity for creating an evolving society through a tribal level of organization.
Pagan social circles search for a sense of community.
The problem is that our social context has been without tribes for 2000 or more years.
Tribes have been destroyed in the past 2000 years or more.
Outlook and Methodology
There is a yearning for community and social structure in human beings. It would develop organically for successful social groups. These social groups in history came and went organically and revolved around tribal structures.
This paper will describe the destruction of tribal structures over the past 2000 years or more; and, the social acceptance of social structures that deny organic development and social competence, in lieu of autocratic and defined organizational structures under some conservative power control. This will describe the psycho-social dependency of known experiences as opposed to reifying and reconstruction of more workable structures of the past or the ability to evolve a social structure more satisfying to a diverse group of peoples.
There is nothing unique among groups of people reaching out for independence, away from stultifying dominion of city state, national dominance that oppresses people. The inefficiency and lack of resources where human dignity is lost while elites and autocrats of various descriptions garner resources and riches to the detriment of the lowest rungs of society. The seeds for social collapse re-occur only to recreate the same lack of responsive relationships in a stratified society. People lose empathy and identity to all strata of society.
What occurs after social isolation and disenfranchisement, with an attempt to organize socially, is a reversion to similar social behaviors and supporting other autocratic structures with cognitive dissonance not seeing it being like the social structure they have left.
I will demonstrate this by describing social trends due to changes in society through history. The decades of depravation of social instruction where new behaviors that are even detrimental are adopted.
I will describe from articles describing state dependent behavior and learning where there is addictive behavior refusing to adopt new behaviors, even where there is evidence of needed change. Cognitive dissonance, neuroticism, and cultural reinforcement denies positive changes from both internal and external sources.
I will use Edward T. Hall’s model from “The Silent Language” for defining societal education with terms of informal, formal, and technical methods.
Lastly, I will posit what can be used to counteract this lack of tribal behavior, and a few additional behaviors to expand the diversity needed for future models of human behavior.
Tribes have a few common elements for long standing viability. A sustainable food source, division of labor, and social constructs that made for social mobility, and learning opportunities to and for each division of labor whether it is technical, formal, or informal adoption of technical or social skills.1 These educational opportunities come from family, social orders of labor division, clan or familial history, religious instruction, or societal organizations that reflect archetypical identities within a tribal structure.
When food sources shift, either in availability or in geography successful tribal migration depend on adaptation of leaders, societal stories, religious stories of previous generations successful adoption of other behaviors, along with stories that reflect that change or adoption of new stories to encourage the evolution and or adoption of different survival strategies.
Historical destruction of tribes.
Tribal expansion into city states can be traced back to Sumeria. Tribal behavior that had division of labor for grain, fishing, farming, creation of textiles, pottery took one additional step. The building, use of and maintenance of irrigation canals. The initial stories of a local god of fish, fresh water, irrigation, and canals was Enki or later known as Ea.
The last major inundations from the last ice age forced peoples from Mesopotamian delta upstream, fused tribes with a tribal characteristic with a priesthood to manage dams, canals, and irrigation projects. This required astrological, meteorological knowledge, and reactionary force to manage a city state infrastructure. It was a dominant societal force that kept functioning as an evolving city state that still had tribal divisions of labor. Writing, bureaucracy, and the development of educated elites that required technical knowledge, and social stories to reinforce the necessity of a state organization. This was the evolution of Eridu from 5300Bc to 3500BC. This lasted until the rising power of Uruk. War and fighting which created a military elite, with close ties to administration and religious storytelling, created stories of transfer of power from Eridu to Uruk, with the story of Inanna, stealing the objects of power, mes, from Enki. City States became administrative areas under the administration of the growing empire of Uruk. This pattern has changed little in the past 5,500 years. Egypt Followed suit with the first Dynasty of Menes, and similar patterns of ruling city states in India as far back as Eridu.
State religions and power elites formed stories that supplanted tribal stories, sinified or usurped the local stories into a framework supporting an overarching story of the state powers. Governers were replacing city state leaders or tribal leaders. Local stories were erased, division of labor was controlled by administration elites far from the indigenous locales.
This was the first step of erasing local autonomy of tribes and villages by nation state administrations and religious overarching narratives. The center of powers shifting in Egypt made modified cosmological histories, based on the location of ruling dynasties. Old gods were adopted and woven into new narratives. Old dynasties of Min, Thebes, Hermopolis and Sais had functionally different pantheons.
In Mesopotamia, Sumerian Eridu was replaced by Uruk culture which was Sumerian and mixture of mountain peoples. Administration and war conquering other city states became a norm. Then there was the Akkadians, Assyrians, which had different tribal and societal identities but stepped into the cultural and administrative structures that existed. Babylonian culture evolved cosmology and administrative practices and expanded the empire. Outlying tribes were captured, enslaved, but became vassal states with religious autonomy. The administrative functions of the nation state became more coherent regardless of religious identities from other cultures but also from within as the rise of Zoroastrianism, and the interplay of the Semitic beliefs from Canaan that had a mixture of tribal beliefs with the ever-evolving state religious cosmology from Akadia, between 1800 and 800 BCE. Religion was being used to help define ethnicities that vied for political power in an ever growing complex of vying ideologies, and power struggles from 1200 BCE. The climate change, and shift from the end of bronze age to the iron age, with collapsing city states, organization of sea people warlords, warring factions amalgamated, along with anti-outsider polemics in religious stories, scriptures, and historical writings of surviving nation states. Single monotheistic religions were used to supplant henotheistic or polytheistic beliefs of confederations of city states, into the Empire. Zorastrianism influenced platonic philosophy and the monotheistic creations from with an enslaved Hebrew population, while Egypt’s Ankenaton was similarly focusing on a supreme God of LIght, like Ahura Mazda.
Religious Stories once used to codify a culture, and its evolution through people, became a tool to codify authority of administrative authority.
Tribal organizations started to disappear. The twelve tribes of Israel as Hebrews disappeared after the release of Hebrew slaves back to Judea with the Old Testament. They became Jewish People, not tribes of Israel.
Egypt had various Henotheistic centers for the various pantheons evolved in variations. But it was incorporated into royal and priestcraft administrations. A theory as to why Egypt retained some regional religious autonomy with a crafted overarching updated cosmology may be due to its’ use of writing that is image based and support of Goddess image representation. 2
Greek control of Egypt and the Levant, followed by Roman control in the region, was based on administrative control regardless of leader’s bloodlines, civil machinations for claiming control and power.
Demonstrated by Edward Gibbons the survival of the Roman or Orthodox church from the Eastern then to the Roman Catholic church, was due to bureaucracy. The extermination of other Christian sects 3 where Christian eunuchs directed Pro-consuls how to find these churches and had patrimony to take care of widows, orphans, sick and indigent, was done with bureaucratic efficiency.
The Roman Diocese of the Church helped create a cultural glue, where tribes were once destroyed and managed by Roman Governors and protectorates, replaced by Monarchies and Vassal states. Where the Church went and destroyed the indigenous cultures. Where Monarchies took control, all leadership, management, and internal cultural capabilities of tribes were replaced. Feudal bans prevented serfs and commoners from processing the food that they created, insuring levied taxes. This also kept agriculture, manufacturing, and administration strictly in the hands of the feudal overlords disconnected from the people they ruled.
This model, regardless of the Dark Age, Medieval Age, Enlightenment or Industrial Revolution, expansion of Power and Church, hand in Hand, destroyed every tribe it has encountered.
Villages, Cities and Church, held the remnants of Tribe, by having focus around family and village cultural heritages. Feudal Bans, and control of artisans, land and all resources, local culture was reduced to religious Church whitewash of all customs, and history was supplanted with divine right of nobles. There was no developed leadership that cared for the people of the village, for their needs and the reality they dealt with.
Industrial revolution aggregated the working poor into less than serf positions. Rent of housing, control of food, shops and sources of work, the Church was the only outlet left which justified the existence that they had.
The Gutenberg Press democratized the bible for those who were literate. And made it affordable for others to write, or present other viewpoints, beliefs, and practices. Schisms in church and religion were just useful wedges for power elites to manipulate. Whether they believed in one sect or the other.
Calvinists presaged the fundamentalist mentality where administrative power structures were weak, the descending spiral where religion used fear and hate. Calvinist destroyed villages, killed most of the women as witches, leaving the men for an army for this ever-nihilistic plague that eventually burned itself out. The embers still exist today. What was left was the seeds of capital controlled by a growing merchant class aligned with most of the nobles that managed the rest.
The experiment of the United States of America democracy observed by de Tocqueville, Villages with one of two churches, had at least an educated churchman and a doctor. They at least had an investment in the town where they were elected to represent government.
Corporate moneyed interests in burgeoning cities reverted to fiefdoms controlling administrative politicians. This was one factor for the destruction of the model that de Tocqueville saw. The second was the schisms that kept coming out of Europe. The schism that plagues the country more so was postmillennialism beliefs, where only after a rapture, versus premillennialism. Baptist and Methodist itinerant preachers saturated the rural US. The rabid proselytizing and othering aspects that followed on from the various sects, like the pilgrims, coming to the Americas for their believed perfections. This further separated people in villages, towns, even beyond the mainstream religions.
The Civil War, tore families and regions apart. Slavery was one of the large issues. At the same time, it was for corporate control of agriculture, I.e., Cotton, and textile manufacturing, among other things. Second, the wage slaves of the indebted working poor, virtual slaves, to mining, and industrial towns, which controlled rent, food access, and everything else for the sustaining of life. Education was focused and built around having a rudimentarily trained workforce.
Unionization, and liberal politics, came into being chafing against the abusive powers. Businesses controlled the government and used federal troops to quell any uprisings for civil treatment. While these revolutionary and anti-establishment ideologies exist through to today, they tend to be used to leveraging groups of people against each other and leveraging administrative control from competing industrial interests controlled by the elites.
The Depression, literally ripped multi-generational families into nuclear units. Any long-term wisdom of villages, educated, or elders in community became part of history. The informal intelligence and wisdom from multi-generational and landed peoples was lost. Psychology was developing, but at that time had no awareness of this wisdom. World War II created a culture based on squads, platoons, and industrial trade cliques. Unions helped but in time were destroyed also, bit by bit. Social navigation and upward mobility appear to exist, but only from one isolated clique to another. Like being assigned to one platoon from one unit to another. Social grooming and isolated socialization with connections to other cliques became the societal norms. Fraternal organizations that developed to help fill the gap for charities that churches now failing for the widows and orphans became more for social networking. Unions, fraternal organizations, and progressive political movements become the enemy of corporations and their owners. Cities that dealt with outcasts from the villages that chaffed at supporting the widowed, orphaned, poor, sick and indigent were necessary for controlling criminality and making it safe and stable for the corporations that used workers in it. The problem became too big for churches to support the disenfranchised. The working communities did not have the resources, and corporations so disconnected from people, in general, would do as little as possible.
People today are the most isolated they have ever been. Ersatz social media, and the comfort of echo chambers are addictive and keep people isolated with less and less social connections. So isolated that the social competence of a large, diversified society, being so diminished, can be easily manipulated.
Early in the U.S. the idea of rugged individualism was held as the ideal. Now, we take service industries and consumerism for granted, which focus on immediate gratification, which leaves us even more with isolated rugged individualism. It was also a precursor to rationalized self-interest. Successful groups of people isolating themselves from the disenfranchised and easily dismiss them from rationalized viewpoints.
Where are individuals in the current cultural context left to reach back over 2000 years to rebuild egalitarian satisfying societal relationships that embrace diversity in tribes? We have had 2000 years of increasing social, familial, and cultural isolation. The seeds of that de-evolution started 3000 years earlier.
The 60’s provided an impetus toward counterculture with commune ideals. They focused on personality, ideology, and no practical methodologies. The “Farm” evolved to have core industry, a group of leaders based on core competencies, and has not gone further from there. But it did evolve to survive where many such communes imploded.
The counter-revolution is anti-government in a libertarian way. It is anti-leader and anti-hierarchy. Understandably this is an aversion to all the abuses evident in everyday life and society. An Aversion an emotional reaction, justified by rationalized viewpoints did not survive. 70’s feminist movements eschewed all of it. Demanded that decisions would be by consensus. The only leaders were emotional leaders, who did not have full leadership skills and did not have a conscious idea on how to cultivate succession. These were not necessarily conscious processes. .
Pagan circles and small groups, whether they attract those of belief, aversion to society, or congregate as a group of disenfranchised people. The last straw for most created cliques, whether it is small social circles, counter-cultural supportive religious beliefs, is the disenfranchisement from cliques and social mobility. The human mind that cannot tolerate the irrationality of their social context, and abuse by it will eventually create their own social context. The family we create versus the one that disowns us.
Cliques, and society that is bereft of broad social wisdom, intelligence, and diverse capabilities, like any other weakened animal or ecosystem, becomes susceptible to parasites. Sociopathology, narcissism and other pathological behaviors do not have any natural defenses against them. They must be relearned by the abused, over, and over again. The lack of understanding from the unabused have no conscious awareness of these dynamics are routinely used to reinforce the social constructs, that are leveraged against the disenfranchised. Co-dependency where people know no other way of existing, and enablers reinforcing the victimology, further isolates individuals. However, these individuals label their disenfranchisement, they look for the comfort of some sort of community.
Emotional leadership often comes from people who are sociopaths. They can emotionally and psychologically manipulate small groups who have been victims. The narcissism and sociopathology of disenfranchised groups are inept compared to what exists in cliques. The Victims become more isolated, and groups dissolve after there is no one left to uphold the group, or when the enablers are turned against each other. This process has its own diminishing returns. This reinforces anti-group, anti-leader, and anti-social attitudes and beliefs of individuals. Too often the emotional leaders in consensus groups, or those contrarians effect a destruction of the group out sociopathological behaviors. Counter-dependents who recognize and stand up against the victimizers are painted as abusers and pushed out of the group. The capable individuals are socially stigmatized where they cannot help the individuals or the group. This leaves the ingrained social malignancies to continue
Conferences and gatherings of pagans, however, reinforce for a brief time for many people a sense of community, family, and a togetherness we all need as human beings.
Pagan groups that survive have some familiar characteristics. A core group of leaders that people have confidence and take for granted, the events and environments they support. This is a feeling and evidence-based response to situations that provide for the individual’s sense of well-being, belief and perspectives that support that. Core structures built for this service can be handed down to successors. IF and only if the successors are of the same mind and desires as the originators. Where they happen to be sociopaths waiting in the wings, the structure and belief of the organization sustains it for a while, until the inevitable, nihilism of parasitic behavior destroys the coherence of the organization.
The idea of pagan community is as limited as our perception, awareness, and individual capability of conceiving one, as compared to the fully isolated way of things are in our culture. Modern culture has no societies, only contrived abstract social constructs to force people into.
Europeans have a sense of family, and social integration. It is informal technology, and they can only react to the American general ineptness without technical or formal technical way of addressing it. Americans are left uninformed and kept at a distance. I have discussed some of this with acquaintances from Arab and Islamic cultures. They require a long time, a decade at a minimum, to see if you have a social investment. Americans lack the social aptitude and commitment to develop long term invested relationships. Americans come and go, oblivious as to why they cannot ham fist their way through negotiations. (The non-halal metaphor seems apt. And will be left in with this explanation.) We will not be trusted. Social isolation creates selfish and ego centric people. Social constructs are just tools for leverage, instead of a thriving social or tribal identity that is beyond self.
Pagans as groups of disenfranchised people, along with all western culture, suffer from Dunning-Kruger effect. We do not know that we do not know how to be in a context that has not truly existed for 2000 years. We take on cognitive-dissonance, and are willing to justify negative behaviors and patterns, because we take for granted the coherent patterns in the culture that we can rely on, good, bad, or indifferent. We become addicted to patterns that are familiar to us because it does not upset our emotional and metabolic patterns where we can function effectively. We use state dependent behavior to use cognitive dissonance to remain in the patterns we exist in.
State dependent behavior is a description of why and how addicts revert back to addictive behaviors. The metabolic crutch reflects back into the mind. It is an emotional and metabolic stability, where memory and faculties are easily accessed. I.e., when we are sick, our emotions and metabolism is off, we get irritable because we cannot fuction as well as we are used to. Our memories and functional faculties and abilities are hard to hang on to. Here is where spiritual development helps people break out of that metabolically controlled paradigm, becoming flexible we evolve our ego and sense of self with spiritual identity or doing the internal cognitive therapy, through ritualistic practices to carry forward our memories and capabilities into new modes of being, information, and cultural contexts.
Why does a Pagan spiritual context have an advantage to fix this lack of social construct, and why a tribe?
Spirituality encourages, as some say, a breaking of the ego. It is the embracing of discomfort, to be reborn into a new initiated state. This creates a flexible ego, to accept, adapt and incorporate new ways of thinking, and behaving. Many individuals in groups are breaking their cycles of victimology, embracing healthier coping mechanisms, and evolving a self they are comfortable with. The groups and individuals that reinforce these negative societal patterns disintegrate. Organic growth happens when there is informal training of leadership for the type of personalities and group dynamics that they have.
The process of embracing discomfort consciously allows people to become aware and adopt new behaviors. The process is anything but simple. In the western dominant culture of privilege, the ability to think, remember and function outside of their emotion norms of comfort is limited. In other cultures, emotion is allowed, enjoyed, and seen as a sign of authenticity.
After five decades of anti-disestablishmentarianism that includes patriarchy, church dogma and stultifying cultural norms, the pendulum is swinging in the other direction. This author is also against toxic patriarchal practices, irrational religious dogmas, corporatism or corporate socialism, and isolationist, jingoistic, bigoted cultures. This author is also against hierarchical disconnectedness from all levels with its cliquish isolated detachment from its surrounding reality. Pagan individuals are looking for community and having a burgeoning growth of secular adherents who are looking for more social connection.
There have been attempts to codify and create a more unified pagan community. A lot of it is the autonomy that small groups have and practice beliefs in their own way. There is hard won, authority and leadership in a small group that, so earned, refuse to relinquish.
One success this author has heard of is in Asheville, NC. There was an attempt to grow a large group only to find that they could not worship together but decided they in diverse groups can work together.
This mirrors surviving indigenous cultures in the Americas and Africa. There is warp and woof of diverse societies and clans. Societies of various divisions of labor, diverse religious societal practices, clan mothers, each earn their own leadership skills in each group. They have their leaders work in a council or in concert with leaders in the community. Leaders are developed only from within the tribe. Gifted children who have leadership skills, who embrace the reality of each of the societies, clans, and group, learn to massage people to work together to solve problems, issues, and long-term plans.
This informal leadership development of internally invested and caring individuals, concerned of having people work together instead of dictated to have survived 1000’s of years. Split of tribes on the fringe of indigenous nations, either must relearn these behaviors or they disintegrate into the voids of time.
Several things are needed to create a tribe today. First you must have a large enough group of diverse people who are willing to work together. Second, we must have healthy and stable psychologists and social workers to help on mental health of individuals and well versed in conflict resolution. That process must be open enough for groups to learn. This helps build cultural awareness. It needs to be recorded as a technical skill and for stories to help teach the community at large. This requires social education for each other and especially our youths. Cultural or societal groups must evolve as their own, but they must trust someone in that group to represent them. The young need to be aware of these adult processes, to be observed by leaders to encourage their leadership potential. Weed out sociopaths but encourage the caring of others but generate charisma where others look to natural leaders for queues, not answers or dictation.
There needs to be trust in weeding out sociopaths. Communication with others so behaviors can be seen, understood, and identified. Not allowing people to become isolated. There must be a way to make the sociopaths leave. Granted even after it is determined to try to rehabilitate the individual has failed.
Other Hurdles to Tribal Formation
Locality and economic relevance given the surrounding culture, available land, valued skills, and proximity to enhance cultural intimacy and inculcation.
There needs to be a critical mass of events, people, and situations to get a genesis of a tribe. Urban disaffected isolation, and suburban physical isolation are two psycho-social mindsets that need to be treated. Land use laws of city and county planners, if needed, need to be addressed. The complex society with a widespread division of labor, a focus on relevant capabilities must be addressed. The “Farm” a commune born out of the 60’s developed a core economic relevance by creating Geiger counters, and organically finding leaders that are relevant to their society, after the dissolution of charisma and philosophy gives way to objective realities.
Cheap rural land is harder to come by. Too few people are agrarian minded even if their beliefs embrace nature. Social meetings in tribal centers would be centered around cultural rituals, games, and early America the one or at most two churches, and the socials between them.
It will take more planning. For example, some suburbs are open to mixed development. Given a good development plan suburban developments surround a golf course, swimming pools and or tennis courts, with community pavilions. The communities have elected leaders or managed by land management groups. Many pagans work in information technology and there are technology centers. What if there was a mixed community that had tight town homes, with shared facilities for salon style offices, ritual space, shared wood, metal, and automotive shops? There would be wood, metal, and automotive groups. Office group, or whatever relevant skills sets that are valuable in an area. Use a homeowners association fee to pay for a family to farm the outlying grounds around the homes. Food shared in a pantry, or even make a local kitchen or support people who make food for children, busy workers, etc…
The critical mass to make this happen is either groups of people who work toward long term goals as a tribe, or someone with a large nest egg to invest in the locale that draws the groups to it. Trust and commitment become the biggest hurdles.
First is to identify the problem. Hopefully in these few short pages, the depth of ignorance has been brought to light. Second, develop a desire for a much better existence not only for us, but as a model for the rest of society. Most important, not only do we need to heal ourselves, but we must work on healing our relationships with each other in a larger society. Granted a distrust in groups have been vocally adamant since the 60’s, and a distrust of leadership as there has been a destruction of tribes. Once we had tribal communities with leaders who have and understand the intimate relationship between themselves and their community, but also take that intelligence and wisdom to broader communities, states and hopefully the nation. Our religions, and the magic we practice if we use it to isolate ourselves only will exacerbate the problem. It used to be tribes and their religions were there to support, serve, and build the community and its members. If we embrace isolation, we see the outcome of this functional nihilism. If we embrace diversity, we will embrace others, thereby growing and evolving.
What role does surrender play in your practice, if at all? If you are a magic user, where is the balance between accepting the will of the Divine and asserting your own will?
What is your relationship with the Divine and Reality? Is it a relationship of submission? Are you friends with a much more powerful being? Or are you their tool? What of your power and your agency, and what does that deity think about that? In a religion where one chooses to be submissive to a deity, and accept the fate and reality of life by that faith, that is your last of act of will. Or are you looking for an excuse for not making decisions or taking ownership of your life, your decisions and the consequences?
What is up with all the questions? That is part of my practice. Free will, implies an active and engaged consciousness. Taking a knee to survive is not the same as rolling on your back and say do as you will even my death. Deities, good, bad and indifferent each have a personality, agendas, and where do you fit in that?
I had accepted the boon of one God. It was trials and ordeals for 32 years. No negotiations, no consensual interactions, it is what it was. Would I ever do that again, never. And I hope I am not that stupid the next life and hope that there is a support system for me then. Surrender, as in wanting to die, no not enough. Death is only temporary. Oblivion is forever. My soul like many others are adamantine, not a god nor the universe can hurt it. Only ourselves. Was that surrender nope. It was a will, yet the universe showed me the truth of it. Accept truth and reality is always a magical act. It is a spiritual and evolutionary act. So that is what I choose.
My will inspite of a god wanting to destroy me. My will inspite of another god wanting to manipulate me. The answer is no. Living according to the project path, true or no, prevarication or no, with honest relationship with me, no.
Will I work with a deity? Certainly, as long as, they are honest and forthright with what they want and need, and if it works for me as well. How many will do that? The only beings who are not gods but cultural ancestors, are about as honest and forthright with what they need to work with you for whatever X is. Yet you own it the decison and repercussions. That is magic.
Magic always require an understanding of what it takes to achieve the goal. Do you rely on gods for your magic? Great, is it an honest interaction? You do magic without gods? Great, what is your relationship to the world around you as you are altering it? It is all about honest relationship with everything. Can you do magic without a fully disclosed of the hows and whys? With deities that happens often, as often as you buy a product today with out knowing the ethics and sourcing of materials and labor. Did you surrender your attention and responsibility so that you can take for granted that exchange? Many do. AT what cost? Is it free will or is it a surrendering to the Zietgiest of reality, Sitting quietly on the wheel of Samsara, being the plaything of Maya, et all?
Magic is a tool and process, as much as, filling up your gas tank, honing your art, or construction or whatever work life craft you have. To get better you discipline yourself to the techniques and practices, is not a surrender. Acting through what comes naturally is taking for granted all that you have done, to be that competent, as it is any relationship, active or passive with human, place, deity or things. Magic doesn’t have to be a spiritual act. For many they think it is, when it is a religious act. Taking for granted your behaviors is surrendering your awareness and spirituality. Many do it without thinking, context or pretext. I won’t.
Even great Yogis warn even with all the siddhis, one should still pursue that spiritual development, enlightenment to an ever higher state. Even Gods are trapped on the wheel of Samsara. I choose not to be trapped.
No surrender for me. Now learning that the human body, memory, faculties and ego are a temporary construct is it surrendering it, or more to the point it is a fact of temporary physical existence. It is my disciplines, temperament and relationship to the truth that gets imprinted on my soul. Seeing and accepting the truth as it is, is not a surrender. It is the starting place of having an honest relationship with what is so you can make choices of what will be. Be it your will or the will of the world around you. You have to play to make any change whatsoever. No will, accepting the will of everything else, is that surrendering to fate, or the actions of others and the gods. So many people do so even those who do magic, because they are not in full control of the mind, emotion and body, the very tool that we use interact with reality, which can be programmed by everything except your self. Feeling good about our ego’s acceptance of playing the programmed beliefs, may feel like free will, but it isn’t. They fight to keep that programming. The ego is not you but one acts like a slave to keep it alive as long as possible even without personal control of programming it for ones own spiritual benefits.
I may be buffeted by the storm, but I choose to steer, how much sail to loose and catch what wind. I choose the shore and havens I sail to. I refuse to be flotsam and jetsum, they carry no cargo. I do. I carry my future, the keys to other’s freedom and empowerment, the means to improve my boat, which is just a tool. I will be friends with sea and wind, in all of its faces. I will not lay down and surrender to its whims. And yet it will remember me, and embrace me, when I return.
Waxed poetical in the last here. I hope it makes sense. Archonstone
Shamans, or spirit workers of different traditions, are healers, intercessors or just the crazy person that has the idea that will work.
Truth is the foundation from which they work. Without Truth death and destruction follow them faster than a freight train while standing on a railroad crossing with the lights flashing.
There are shaman that work with shadow and underworld, while others work with the over-world and light. There are Shaman that work with spirits on an earthly level.
There are those that work for the Good of the Community, and others just for themselves.
There are magic workers who work for their own selfish reason outside of the truth of the community and are parasites. This causes misery and eventually the world around them collapses. And they bring the world in collapsing around them. The effect sometimes is immediate, and for some it takes lifetimes.
Many shaman work from their own intrinsic nature. Some are called to one affinity or another. Some are damaged to begin with and some choose to be that way.
My path is balance. Many say balance and mean getting even, justice or retribution. I mean balance. It is dancing in a dynamic equilibrium assessing each and everything for the absolute truth of it in time with all other things.
I know of shaman who are excellent at spirit integration/soul retrieval, other people who are exorcists, of big or little things. There are shaman or energy workers, who help with the energetic imbalances people have, and help working with blockages removing them or helping people to do the hard cathartic work of their causes so they will leave on their own accord.
The work to help people heal with traumas or deep neuroses, to clear those energetic strongholds that attract negative entities, energies or other cases deal with various afflictions and psychosomatic outcomes of dissociative disorders, is a very touchy and difficult set of circumstances.
Healing these issues, most people are attracted to the healers that can do them some good. A perfect good is hard to find, and the shaman or energy worker that is skilled to deal with the specific issues maybe more difficult. There are soul retrieval methodologies that may not necessarily retrieve spirit fragments, but do the personality or psyche reintegration that is necessary for those who have had parts of themselves sequestered or hidden from themselves. For Some the healing never fully takes place. Many rituals dance around the periphery of the truth of the trauma and how the person has dealt with. Some wounds, like Frodo said, never heal.
There are spirit retrievals after removing an entity that had been possessing a person. Some times that piece is long gone. The person lives a half life.
Many people walk their whole lives with neuroses or traumas so deep, that these aspects hive off, sometimes as poltergeists. Cognitive therapy or cathartic rituals can help with some acceptance and reintegration. Some people, they and their families will be haunted by it. Other people these aspects from traumas or neuroses hide in their bodies their whole lives. Some create a long term illness, usually an autoimmune disorder, others some sort of physical manifestation in a permanently affected portion of their body, a limp leg, a list, a set of nervous tics, or some organ malfunction. These require extra-ordinary healing.
All of this healing requires accepting and coming to grips with the Truth, of what happened, and the choices one made with those experiences.
One of the axioms of healing is “Do no Harm”. And in some healing, some, no pain no gain. The axiom of speaking, “is it kind?” I am not talking about the kind thing by letting a person find out the truth the hard way, which in actuality is excessively cruel. It only saves yourself from not taking the brunt the persons reaction. There are sometimes no matter what you do, say or miracles that you can pull out of a bag of tricks, you can not heal or save a person.
Some people have recreated themselves, they have built a strength a resolve a character that made them better than what they were. The cause of the trauma that caused their spiritual disassociation, may just have precipitated what was necessary for them to evolve change and grow. Sometimes it manifests as a cancer, or some other incurable issue. Sometimes it is represented by some type of obsession of spirit or a place holding place for types of spirits. And you have to let it go, they have made themselves better, no matter how much they have and will suffer.
I read a interesting book of Chinese Shamanism that describes spirit bodies that leave the soul and spirit vehicle. These spirit components are called the Hun and the Po. The Hun is related to heavenly or over-world spirit and the Po has its affinity with the underworld. When you travel to these planes/worlds there are particular natural characteristics of the spirits that are there. They fit the various understandings of afterlives heavens and hells and everything in between. Most people end up going into a planes that are a combination of overworld and underworld, rooted into a place that has a similar energy to the person and where human overworlds and underworlds intersect. Realms of ancestors are coherent ones connected to their progeny. The difference between human and natural based overworlds and underworlds or supernatural realms, is that the human realms tie into belief and or behavior and often reflect aspects of their religious beliefs. These realms also reflect the zeitgeist, Weltanschauung, the energy and behavior of a people, place and time. Natures supernatural realms are not clouded with the collective conscience of people. These mixed places tend to be staging areas before people move on.
A person’s soul and spirit vehicle (that spirit that which is the immediate vehicle for the soul, regardless of all the other spirit/astral components. Inevitably without people, place or nature keeping all the spirit components together, they separate. The soul if it is attached to one or the other more strongly will go to each of their respective places. Sometimes one component is coherent enough without the other half and the soul. For example if you are traveling and you see aimless dead and they are usually attracted to a conveyance of some sort, or some place where that underworld component can be absorbed back into the world, that is an underworld. Not unlike the spirit train in the movie “Spirited Away”. Sometimes people end up being there a long while because of their attachments. Similarly it is true for heavenly/over-world places. Heavenly spirit fragments that have no soul end up being like 2 dimensional NPC characters in a very rich bright world there those whose soul is there appear to be functioning in more than one place and or time.
Okay why am I going into all this. Sometimes souls fragment. Most times finding those pieces are crucial to the development of a person, their spirituality and their ultimate evolution. This is where Shaman with soul retrieval expertise is necessary. And those who are psychological healers to deal with acceptance and the processing of those traumas. So the individual can let go of the negative attachments.
There are sometimes, the nature of the fragment soul, spirit or both, serve no purpose to the person, their evolution or growth. It is like a cancer. IT is like the biblical aphorism, if thy right hand offendeth they cut it off. If there is a spiritual gift like grace/salvation or something similar it is designed to cut out these aspects from the self, and add alignments with god or the spiritual realms people choose. In real life, some have these negative aspects who have been so sequestered they turn into obsession, oppressive spirits processes, entities or things, often manifested as illnesses of various sorts. They will hang onto them with all of their might, or they are so intrinsically bound to them to this life, they can’t let it go. This is where I learned the miracle of a “reaper” There are many “Grim Reapers”, they are tied to places, people affinities and things. I met my first one.
I had a girlfriend who had a lot of childhood trauma, and abuse that manifested itself is in a host of physical problems, Multiple personalities, and with horrid psychological counseling false memories. (This is where I find rape is such a heinous and violent crime that needs serious punishment and a society that treats as seriously as all the damage it does, even to the core of the soul.) Sometimes with bad work of regression therapists seeding wrong information to have people fabricate a false reality. Or sometimes people do it for themselves to compensate for the massive black hole of memory loss or loss of time, or gaps in personality, to survive. At this point the manufactured reality was cobbling a working methodology for her as a person. It was a fiction that was sorting out character traits, personality aspects, parts were healing and evolving, other were withering. These manufactured memory parts were helping her body survive longer while the hidden parts would have killed her. She wasn’t ready to leave and she needed to let go of parts of the psyche, soul, spirit and other stuff. She was a loving evolving but often times irascible, difficult individual. Decades ago, one of the personalities I ran into, who gave me some obnoxious grief. I blessed her/ cursed her to know nights of complete happiness. Decades later, I was responsible for just that. Some of these healing take inexplicable twists turns and crossing of fates. Sometimes you can not heal the person. And sometimes you can not extricate critters, demons or things from a person. They have to do it themselves. The hardest part is just to be there. Love them. Hold space for them. Ground them in reality. Love them more, Love them harder, and respect and hold sacred all that they are trying to become. What healing I could do was to help with pain. Nothing else worked. The reason was that this was matter of deeper core healing, and involved letting go of what wasn’t her anymore. There was an episode where she went to the hospital, and almost died. She lost her memory, parts of her personality that held memories of her abused past. Funny now, she was a born again virgin. That helped in the healing. She had other fixated aspects of personality that had to be let go. I had to stand strong, and just be what was real in my life. That had a hard eruption of personalities. That was a deep learning experience. It also helped drive a stronger spiritual ability to deal with other people’s reality beyond the focus on ones own. It helped to heal and process memories in a new way and start letting go of some of the fabricated realities. Her illnesses progressed, and I got the call to come to the hospital, and she passed before I got there. She wasn’t gone yet. Her Matron Goddess was there and a psycho-pomp/spirit guide. What was left was a residual green energy tying one last thing to her body in her heart. It was green energy what some would call residual energy. Some call it the Heart energy or spirit. I gently lifted it from her heart and it dissipated. She was free to go. Her spirit went to an over-world for a short while and I know that she has safely reincarnated into a loving family. Two nights later I was dream traveling. It was an underworld and it was a dark level of shambling shells of people. Those type of shells where a focus of work and drudgery which were let go and not owned by their makers and owners. I manifested a bus around me, and my drum and played, drawing these spirit shells onto the bus. My teacher was their watching. Then I manifested into a Mansion with this green suited Skeletor type of character who welcomed me into his abode. White skin over a skeletal head and frame in a nicely done albeit green suit. Usually my alerts would be going off, but I got a sense that this was okay. He went back to his desk, held his hands over his head and their manifesting over his head was this very same type of green energy, to only let it rain down on him giving a resilience and youth to a skin now less taught over his skeletal head. He had this shared comrade of a vibe going on and said to me, “It is nice when you get a perk like this in this business”. You had to be there to understand this odd bit of comradery.
My girlfriend was free of the burdens that were holding her back.
Since then I have noticed where this one person’s passing, the reapers associated with this person’s life was gently removing what was holding him back. I saw my mother in one staging realm. After awhile she transitioned from this one realm she was at, then to a place where she was separating. The vision wouldn’t make sense unless you had all these other experiences. The horror of her neurotic behaviors were manifested, acknowledge, albeit in an emotionally hard way. I had to show up to be a catalyst for that last bit of transformation. And finally she had an over-world self that was paying respects to and seeing off one last shell of her former lover who probably had an aspect following me for decades.
I have found that some aspects of soul are not meant to be reintegrated. For some people they have to be let go. I have seen treatable cancers become untreatable. I have seen the horrors of rape, trauma, war and abuse play this horrible hell on peoples lives and health. Sometimes, it frees the soul that is the will and glory of an individual held sacredly by a healthy spirit letting the rest go. I have seen what it does to beings that don’t let it go. Oft times they manifest into creatures that are denizens of these hells, reflecting these torments, while they lose what is left of what was good. And when their is nothing left but this unbalanced shell, it only hopes for more unbalanced spiritual drama that people offer. Reapers for example had a fear and fascination with death. Definitely not a job I want. Some people have ancestral realms following their progeny.
This letting go, is a grief cycle on a spiritual level while people are living and changing through various places in the afterlife.
To do this you have to love people for who they are, who they are working to become. As a shaman that means a lot more.
On a personal note, this lesson applies to life. I am watching my country tear itself apart. And it is only in the beginning. Again I will do whatever is loving, and the rest I am going to have to let go and watch it happen. I don’t know whether there will be enough country left over to survive and evolve, or it will crumble and be reabsorbed into the world and some new order after all the weeping wailing and gnashing of teeth have finished. Again, as a person I got to keep my morals and truths and survive. As a shaman, I need to hold space for those who want to create and hold sacred the idea, that community, that holds each other sacred, to evolve, grow and thrive. I can only hope I teach some to do it, and hopefully have a group to hold space for a community to grow. What is wise to keep and what to let go. That is a balance, and hard work.
I saw Elders being pushed to the side over 25 years ago. And others going solitary.
I see some elders being respected in some communities.
It depends on the type of community and the personality of the groups of people drawn to each.
People noted the various influxes of Pagan/Wiccans that have joined the community. Some may choose a good initiatory tradition and stick with it, respecting and Elder.
Many that are taught a one true way ( and I have heard it called “The Wicca”) don’t leave room for those who see the basic Wiccan ritual format as a training mechanism. And those who take it as a religion versus those who pursue the magical spirituality of it.
This country in the mainstream and many of those who have joined suffer from the mainstream discrimination of ageism. And like others have said join a movement that helps them justify their lifestyle without a true type of morality and ethics.
And since the burgeoning of Wicca from the 60’s feminist empowerment era, and the 60’s in general, authority, organization and hope of respect of those of whom paved the way gets diminished when that attitude and culture is still present when they get “there” and represent that which was thrown out with the bath water.
Couple this with the fact that there are parasites and sociopaths, both “so-called” leaders and coveners, that are bane to the Traditionalists or any serious seeker.
I, a male from NY from those Female only times and places, through having had my own experiences that simulate what an initiatory tradition could have provided but then I could not culturally fit, for one reason or another. I had to go solitary. It is only after decades, and going where reputable long standing elders show up, do I get any type of recognition. The true ” The Wicca” and those religious and make stuff up as they go, to stroke their ego types, (sociopaths that have their enablers attack you) do every thing they can to keep you out their section of the community. Then I watch what larger community re-fragment.
When you see it coming, and people are conditioned to isolate themselves, sociopaths and narcissists take full advantage of that. Groups can’t get as big as they used to because of this influx and conditioning to respond to these types of people.
I haven’t seen one group in 20 years that teaches meditation anymore. The last Elder (now Past- Lady Amethyst) that taught anything about energy, vibration, and the reason for ritual adherence. Nor have I seen anyone speak to building an astral framework and ritual space except for Thorn Coyle.
I just listened to an Ifa traditionalists where the one Baba wanted to get people back to talk about the magical and spiritual work that the various paths of the Oriesha have versus the surface rituals and practices that people do. It is endemic to the spirituality of many traditions.
And it is part of the mainstream culture. No one trusts anyone, no group, no leader and wouldn’t know who to trust, to say that is a leader and for these reasons. People don’t waste time to listen to reasons, history, or exercise their own brain and abilities to think it through for themselves. People follow what gives them those feels, with no idea what or where it comes from, or who is manipulating it and how.
The Elders who try to teach any of these truly empowering things are shown the door with some sort of social kick in the pants.
There are few, who have good solid working traditions and people earnestly supporting them, If what you say is true makes you and yours rare of what and whom I know.
Here is the by-word, community, and by that diversity and leadership. Who do you trust, and how do you cultivate leaders? A tribe has those and multiple societies with different religious and spiritual traditions, along with a warrior, women’s, men’s and other practical day in and day out societies. That is what my group is working on. And yes we get next to zero interest. They don’t see a value in it. They want to see what’s in it for them.
And the Elders that say they are retiring from Wicca and going to more traditional witchcraft, being a witch, wizard, is the continuing study of self, lore and magical practices, and extending their relationship with the divine and nature, without being impeded by those who have made Wicca an altogether stultifying but small organized religion, managed by many, by many standards, who couldn’t earn a traditional third degree. Those who see the Gods and the spirits know.
And nowadays, vampires, the added extra bonus of spiritual environment and sociopaths, do what I want versus in perfect love and trust. Every larger meetup or gathering I go to, I and my group have to protect people from them. Witch by definition is what you do for yourself. Wicca is a religion and a framework, for some these magical training traditions. Shamans learn to serve a tribe. No Tribe, no community, no reliance on wisdom of elders, but the self serving of each little group manipulating each other. Yes many of us have had to survive, recuperate from burnout, or just be a victim of abuse.
Those of you have survived with a cadre of an honest tradition. I salute you.
I have seen Elders from various traditions manage to work together for a time here and there. The underlying lack of structure, and that thing that is a hypocritical stone stuck in my throat, working by consensus, that develops only the most skilled of the emotional manipulating leaders, that drive the core founders and workers away, no there won’t be a coherent community honoring Elders.
Again I am doing what I can to teach. Many are concerned with who I trained under, what traditions and how successful I’ve been without any context or understanding of what I know. The paucity of capable people who have had any adept experiences are few and the rest fake it, while flaunting a more marketable feel good group. People will get what they get.
Now that I put myself out here, I expect to be hammered. Have at it.
Most of those who have responded to this post what you say is true and good, and from your sets of experiences, I have seen also. I just hope the one thing in pagan communities are not interested in is community and leadership and culture is the very thing that they need. And now without any good culture to be based off of, one must be created to be a model not only for ourselves, but for the world.
Traditional shaman, who deal with spirits initially, whether from the land and the culture or being so close to death, they are patterns of the same process. Getting accustom to each pattern and living it, takes a lot of personal energy. And it has costs. The ordeal by spirits whether by ancestors, planes or by being close to death, are by happenstances.
Many medicine workers who are by definition not “shaman” either have talent and or go through ordeals, initiations or vision quests. This however has more of a natural, earth based and ancestral pattern that helps these people center themselves and serve their tribe and or people.
The Shaman sickness pattern Identified in Siberia and the Asian steppes by some tribes are identified as “white” shamans. There are other shaman that learn by skill and talent and are called “black” shamans (nothing to do with light/dark, good/evil dichotomies, etc)
Some witch, hoodoo or Voudou paths, speak of all magic and dealing with spirits have a cost. And it has a cost on the body. Personal energy that goes through the body that isn’t matched to a person’s body but spirits and places each have their unique patterns. If we were to fully accustom ourselves to that pattern would probably move completely there. And our bodies would have an even worse time. This is why many shape-shift on planes. This too can bring residual energies to manage by or alter people’s own natural.
There are other techniques that can people can use not to be hurt by working with these people, places, entities and or things. There are some who are taught aspects in varying cultures.
For those who have been called to these shaman sickness, madness or death paths, there are medicine people who help them if they want it. And sometimes they can’t be helped. And they work their own path and the energies, destinies and patterns that they are attached to. It is my hope that those weaves will honor them in this plane or the next and heal them and give them an equitable boost in their next life time or their time in between.
In general, people moving people energy, or highly structured or dynamic energies through their bodies, that are usually not tuned to their bodies, does damage to their bodies. It takes a lot of energy to protect their soul and have a spirit body that maintain their soul in that dynamic equilibrium with body and life in general. This takes a lot of work and many don’t do that depth of work to be adequately prepared. This can be said not only of “shamans”, but of energy workers, healers, vampires, or energy players.
DSM-IV that classify kundalini psychosis and chi-gong crisis, “a crisis of faith”, where practitioners who do this energy work on purpose but have worked it too hard with out the adequate time and experience to work through the psycho-spiritual-somatic experiences to attune their body and the energies together. The recommendations there follow what gurus and chi-gong teachers would say. Slow down, focus on health and balance, and deal with the after care of the attendant catharsis that occur when working these practices.
Not all energy or spirit workers suffer illness or madness. The world may wish to impact individuals to that point, but it isn’t necessary. There are balance paths where many work on light or dark, over and under worlds, or ancestors, gods, or the dead. There are ways that mitigate these issues given cultural or traditional contexts, few who follow fully. Many don’t get a choice nor do they have the blessings to be received into same said communities, as few and far between they are. People do the best they can. That cost that people take, is a commitment, that will have repercussions over lifetimes and over many planes of existence. As I teach, I try to give people, newly on their paths and some who have been on a path or two, an insight to the choices and what is going on so they can have conscious control over the choice of their path. Understanding the path and choosing that path, is different than being thrust upon it. Also, how to mitigate and manage that choice. Sometimes there is nothing for it. It is what it is. And I try to support and give a level of understanding for them, if it is warranted.
I have managed to be pretty healthy, regardless of the ordeals that I have been put through. And some have pushed me to the brink of sanity, illness and death. That isn’t to say I haven’t suffered. Each of us need to have a cadre of path walkers who can understand what we as an individual has gone through. Support, tips, and some times just a place to chew the fat, can help us have a perspective who we are and the sense of purpose of our place in the universe. This is a rare and very healing thing for likes of each of us. Too often we are busy justifying what we are versus seeing the others in the diversity of we can be together. This is a rare thing that must be cherished.
Cherish each other. In the mix there is a balance, usually.
A local leader in our greater Atlanta community came up with some great questions seekers should ask prospective teachers. I will narrate the answers as best as I can.
I also look at a western Pagan culture that is steeped and colored by Wicca that took it roots in the United States with Feminist movement of the late 60’s. The idea of god being female, and a religious group leader would be female was a strong incentive in our country that is steeped in misogyny and patriarchal cultural paradigm. Since then there has been a lot of reconstruction of pre-Christian pagan beliefs and practices. Some of it well researched, and much of it poorly researched. And a lot of it purely made up with poetic license. Natural born witches, people of personal power and ability, and groups had been hunted down wholesale, and whole villages of other schisms were put to the fire, the noose or sword. Others went underground, in secret societies, and family traditions, keeping in the mainstream, mostly working for society with what talents they could. They couldn’t advertise, and share. The didn’t have conventions, newspapers or mail lists. Each was dangerous. Wicca, by Gerald Gardner, the Sanders, Richard Buckland and Stewart & Janet Farrar brought Wicca out in its format. Leland brought a light of Italian witchcraft. Sybil Leek brought to light a family tradition, and others bit by bit. Where people couldn’t get the first hand teaching, others learned by books. Few lead by spirit. Many lead by Ego, seduced by the idea of personal empowerment.
I was born 1958 in Saratoga, NY. I lived at the edge of the Battlefield until I was 7. I went out as a child, wander in woods, the bog, the streams, enjoy the world as it was. I would sing to the birds in glossolalia and to the convocation of murders of crows. There was one woman that was a friend of my mother, told me not to speak such words, until I was much older. My mother took me to her house once, and I asked about the peacock feather. My mother told me not to ask about such things. She told me I could ask anytime I wanted. Many years later i found out it was an outward symbol of witches for people who were “in the know”. I never did get an opportunity to talk to her.
In 1965, my father, grandfather and uncle all died within months of each other. Two weeks after my grandfather’s passing, I was sleeping in the room next to his, and woke up early. I went downstairs, and heard more activity in that section of the house. My grandfather came walking down stairs. The world did a tilt out of 45 degrees and back. My grandfather said, “So long Sonny.” He stepped off to the side of the stairs, and proceeded in becoming transparent, then there was dust, and settled in a pile and it too disappeared. He was already buried for a while. And as long as I lived in that house, there were these werewolf like things with red eyes would visit me in spirit form.
This wasn’t my first spiritual experience. I was having one since my first memories when I was around two. In my sleep and day dreaming I would see two orbs swirling with a separate center and swirling around it like a golden orbs with thousands points of liquid sand. The other orb was swirling in its own sets of centers each moving. I have seen it mentioned twice. Once in an obscure reference by a yoga teacher, and in a book by the author of Falun Dafa, inferring it was a protection or an oversight by a spiritual being. My teacher taught me really what it was and how to create one and why.
My father and grandfather, went to spiritualists meetings in their day. My mother’s mother, read cards and palms, and taught my mother the basics of palm reading. After reading a friends passing that was a few weeks in the future, she gave it up. 35 years later I find out that those red eyed werewolves were fae, the English called them noggins, that inhabit marshy forests, just like the one across the street from our house.
How long have I been Pagan? How long could I be a Christian when I am dealing with psychic and paranormal phenomena without a lot of ostracization and discrimination? Many Pagans and Wiccans I know of pursued these beliefs from a need of self-empowerment. They come from dysfunctional families, cultures and bullied by their peers for any number of reasons. Many faced the misogyny of the culture. Being a person of color, or large size (fat or big), smart, with a control of ones own thinking and not blindly following “what everybody else does”, one gets scrutinized and abused accordingly. As a Baptist I was narrowly accepted. Were I in the mountains, I’d be one where the hand of fellowship would be “withdrawn”.
I wasn’t aware of all the cultural shake ups, and the exploration that others were doing in the 60’s. I was surrounded by old, conservative, albeit a family of Liberal party members in upstate NY. My mother was a depression era parent, yet liberal for her day and age. She knew what condoms were and was popular. As if that secret could be kept. Two books changed my life. I received a copy of “Stranger from a Strange Land”, by Heinlein. And I purchased a book named ” Tibetan Yoga, Secret Doctrines” by Dr. Evans Wentz. I taught myself meditation, and started getting a handle on lucid dream, plane walking (took years to understand that), and refined my intuitive and psychic awareness. I was 14, in 1972, for the lack of any social outlet, I joined a Baptist church. When you are so out of step from the insanity of illogical people rarely, anything, including adults made sense. When your parents and their parents are all closed lip and kept things close to their vests, along with self absorbed neurotic burying of core traumatic events, rarely do you get an honest dialog with anyone. The neighborhood my mother moved to was an exit community. People coming of the city, with all the dregs and hangers on trying to drag them back down, and all those who no matter what they did their own impulsed drag them and their families back down to these lower rungs of society. The most social order was the drug gangs and their comradery. I was not part of any group. I was an outsider with a unique perspective looking in. With an IQ of 180 at that time, I had skipped 5th grade. I was one or two years younger than my peers, and had nothing in common with those my own age. Also I was 5’10” 180 lbs, when I was 13.
As a Christian, and my only known source for any type of supernatural intervention and support, I called upon the only God I was familiar with. I asked for the wisdom of Solomon, a.k.a. the wisdom of God, and after prayer and a progressive fast of 40 days, I had a vision. And to find out, the name of God I called and a got a response to was ‘El”. Years later do I learn about the large Canaanite Pantheon and all the predecessor cultures and evolution of this God’s names over the previous 3000 years. I was told I would be released in 32 years. I was exposed to more and more things. And I had to learn how to deal with them. Not unlike Siberian or Tuvan Shaman learn to deal with spirits. Here they are, deal. Most people are familiar with the White Shaman traditions that deal mostly with spirits and initiated with a Shaman’s sickness. The Black Shaman learn. A lot of learning and experiences happened when I was in the Marine Corps. I had to deal with a Satanist that had invoked demons, performed an exorcism, and two “soul retrievals”, along with being attacked by demons a dozen times in two weeks. I got external verification of what I saw and felt by other people with talents. I learned to do what I had to do. Otherwise I think I would be severely messed up. The basic exercises in the Tibetan Yoga book, the discipline, the meditation and cultivation of energy helped me to a great degree. At the end of the two week period of being attacked several of us observed a being that called itself Ashura. (Japanese war god, and Hindu Asuras (jealous gods)). The situation that presented itself was that there was either , I accepted this as God’s will, God was messing with me (yes he was) or there was a much bigger supernatural and paranormal world out there (Oh yes very much so). I was 21, and Pagan was a label that I had to slowly assimilate into.
As a seeker, trying to get an education with, with an essentially dismantled GI bill, going to work, and finding anything and anyone that I could learn more from, was difficult. The few groups in the area were women only. We had Marcia Pickands who was adopting the Sangreal Sodality ceremonial magic methodologies for William Gray’s version of Kabbalah. The particular problem she saw with me was that my experiences had already outstripped any of the initiatory processes that ceremonial initiations had to serve. My experiences and my processing of them would not mesh with those of that group or for that matter many others. She suggested I start teaching myself. This is 30 years ago. Traditions and revelatory initiations provide a context for spiritual development. Just as school and other rites of passage. In those cultures each of those have a context. Shamans have that opportunity. In Siberia, Altai and other areas, the spirits work directly with individuals. If they are lucky they have another shaman to help them develop their role in society. Other type of shaman develop their skills on their own or teach individuals that have the skill, but it is a one to one mentor protege type of relationship. I have spent a considerable amount of personal effort to understand different spiritual methodologies and experiences from many different viewpoints. My personal teacher that I found at age 50, had teachers from his own family that was Native American, but not on a tribal list, trained by teachers who adopted him in NE California and Nevada, and others in the 4 corners area. He was taught by a teacher in Korea. Some of it was traditional, much of it was from a group of practitioners who shared their knowledge. This wasn’t something typical either. My experiences and takes on them meshed with his and his experiences, and decided to teach me more. I was taught some non-traditional methodologies and practices and most of the common practices I had pretty much knew or had learned. It is nice to get some confirmation after all those years.
369 books listed http://www.librarything.com/catalog/Archonstone Most of which I read. Many are resource books, dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc. Some of the books are on anthropology, psychology, philosophy, religion, practices and other assorted and related topics.
Books I’m reading currently, Ba Gua Circle Walking Nei Gong 2012, Kriya Secrets Revealed 2013, Ling Bao Tong Zhi Neng Nei Gong Shu 2015, Meditations by Aurelius 1997.
I am sure I have read other books along the way, some lost, some pilfered by others, and many skimming through at libraries. And no I don’t remember all the book details. I do try to make sure they are valid, academic, or at least supported by traditions, and can some hermeneutic scrutiny can be made on the contents of the books.
I have supported CUUPs briefly at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Schenectady NY in 1990. I led a couple of the Sabbats, with a third degree individual as a mentor. He was satisfied that generated the type of space and energy that third degrees would do. (With this out of context and not in a traditional setting, it is what it is. I was glad that the participants found the ritual useful and transformative. ) The UU got a new minister and the congregation changed its focus to more conservative christian focuses.
In the late 80’s, I supported a group called Heathens on the Hudson. This ended up being a drumming group, with one woman who was a multiple addict, got into Reiki, and had issues that took control of that group. The group disintegrated. I left before it fully degenerated.
I ran a computer Bulletin Board Service (BBS) called the Wizard’s Workshop. It was designed, to help people explore what their path may be. Most needed to know they are not a freak, and other people have talents. No they aren’t evil, wrong, and no they don’t have to follow the first “so called” experts that come along. Use critical thinking, question what these people are about. Guard their sense of selves, they don’t have to bow down to any one, ask questions, and not to feed the vampires. There were a lot of predatory types in the upstate NY and capital district area during that time.
One reason why I may have difficulty with people. My hard life and personal history doesn’t make me relatable. I don’t deal with people who lie and take advantage of other people. It is exceptionally difficult to be in a position to help others, when a sociopath sees that you have good intentions and targets you with their cultivated enablers. When you are targeted for being male, large, too intelligent, geek, nerd, experiences that no one can relate to, too young and now too old, too conservative too liberal or whatever leverage du jour that has little to do with what I know and what I can show people. Lastly, I have gotten to the point where I value my time and energy, and won’t give of myself indiscriminately, to be used over and over by people won’t value what I have to offer beyond what they can take advantage of.
If you are a seeker, what might be about you that you shouldn’t use me as a teacher. If you are looking for an excuse to live without ethics or morals. Personally, I am an ethical hedonist. People who look for justifications for bad behavior, don’t waste your time. If you are looking for power over people. I am not good at that and even if I were I wouldn’t teach you. How do you serve the people? If you believe magic doesn’t require work. To progress, work must be done. There are practices that need to be done more or less daily. And the practices build on each other. If you can’t do that, then you will not progress, and won’t have the experiences that I can help you with a new set of exercises to discover for yourself. At one point I become a guide. Not a teacher. Once you have experiences, that we can relate to, then we will have a common frame of reference to talk about it. Until then, there is no talking or teaching that will get you there. And it will be evident that you haven’t done the work. T. Coyle’s book infer this in her own teaching from the Feri tradition. As part of a tribe and a community, there has to be a desire to work to some sort of service.
What type of person won’t fit into People Embracing Change (PEC) the tribe. Anyone that fails with the above. Magical traditions and methods can vary. The ultimate spiritual goals can be vastly different. What can not be different, is that we have to sophisticatedly work with each other as family, society, community and tribe. If you have no respect for people who have been there, and cause drama to tear apart any structure, method, or tradition, then you won’t develop the skills and understanding to be respected enough to actually help the tribe to evolve. People who think they know, when they are just there for themselves, will destroy a group very shortly.
As long as there is an interest in the group, I will be giving about 6 hours a week to the group. Some of that is prep time for the classes, or focus on organizational issues. The rest of the time is divided between work and family.
PEC is still just starting. Several starts of classes have been on and off for the past 8 years. There were two starts of classes we had self serving people come in and prey on others. This again is in that fragile beginning. Enablers won’t be supported. They will be asked to leave with the sociopaths. There was one group where we had an open eclectic social sabbat group. There were different people with their own agenda’s all vying to make and hold the group to their influence, it started disintegrating. Trying to expand the group and functions, the vying to control each aspect and squash what couldn’t be controlled, caused the group to explode. The details are only important to describe human behavior. I have learned my lesson. I for one wanted to see that type of Sabbat keep going as a social and community event. I and a few others wanted to add classes and other type of spiritual groups and practices.
PEC has its organization outline, it is inclusive, but with ethical guidelines. It allows people to have multiple paths, of study, and development. In the end, community, family and developing a sophisticated and healthy supportive culture is more important. One’s spiritual path can’t be devoid of having a meaning in a context with the world and community. The last time anything like this has been done, is when tribes have hived off to create new tribes. From my studies, this hasn’t been done in more than 400 years, and the last places may have been by Native Americans or West Africa. So we are doing this with no current precedence.
We are currently planning 4 – 6 hours a month in classes and lectures.
Sabbats are run by Elders currently until there are enough trained individuals or society groups, that have been formed have taken it on as a service, rotated with other society groups.
Number of books for each level of training. There are no levels, except what is respected in one’s work and development. The books to read will be suggested. There will be no deep teaching unless people put in the work to study. Depending on the individual’s temperament, direction of study, we will make recommendations.
Each spiritual group, whether it is Wicca, Heathen, lodge work, will have their own internal organizational methodologies.
As part of the tribe, each member must be belong to some spiritual society for personal development. Council members must be a leader from one of these groups, to represent the group. To become an elder, they need to experience and develop an ecumenical skill set with different groups. Show a deep understanding of the group, the people and a sophisticated skill set to develop leaders and encourage the tribe to grow and work toward resolutions. Elders focus is the growth and transformation of the tribe. Cultivate leaders and a culture that can be cherished, transmitted, and evolve to meet the needs of the people. This is no small task. They will need to develop respect from each of the Elders and all of the council members, and a trust from Tribal members. Without it there is no leadership. As Elders it is coaching others to develop their leadership abilities. To help build respect and how to work with each other, along with developing conflict resolution.
We are looking at some sort of recognition ritual and methodology. Some of it needs to be managed from each magical society, others by service. We have ideas, but they won’t make a difference until we all start working together, to make it a working cultural idiom.
The structure of the public classes will be based on the published curriculum. This is to help individuals to understand the basics to psychic development, and the different levels of magic so that they can decide their own path, and have the basics to understand individual groups, methods and objectives and see if it matches their own. As it develops there will be more advanced classes added to the schedule.
All material I have is published online. My bibliography is listed on-line. Classes may shift depending on the individuals needs and the questions that are asked to help with individuals growth at the time. As I write, I will keep adding it to the web site. Other material will be in books, to be read on site. Individuals will need to invest in themselves, and groups into each other.
People can hang out and learn. If individuals become disruptive to other students they will be asked to leave.
Societies that have their own initiatory traditions or revealed traditions, if they desire to be part of the community can close various levels of training to the tribe and or their particular group.
We do not allow illegal use of drugs. We have respectable jobs and do not wish to lose our careers nor endanger others careers with illicit behaviors.
Alcohol may be available to post ritual feasts. But in general this is a bad habit to get into. We will not encourage it.
The Elders and I support polyamory and other lifestyle choices. If the choices are about honest and ethical relationships. Until we start having larger celebrations, we expect people to retire to their own homes.
All individuals are to hold each other’s dignity and safety a priority. Sexual predatory behavior will not be allowed. Such behavior will be a reason to dismiss people from the tribe. Adult flirting and other type of behavior as long as it is consensual and not making each other uncomfortable, we are not against this. Common sense is needed, respect for people checking in each other. And no means no. We prefer that people use explicit consent.
What type of leader am I?
Honestly I don’t know. It really depends on the people who share the dream. How I can facilitate that dream. What other leaders and individuals who want to build something greater than themselves.
I hope I can teach. I hope I can create a passion for developing spiritually. I hope I can inspire people to study. Study magic, people, society, others, and most importantly to love, each other, the community and a country that needs a better way than what it is doing to itself now.
If I can’t build a better world with one model at a time, I hope I can find at least one person that I can teach all that I know to. I don’t want all that I have learned to be lost.
Archonstone. What is this nickname moniker that I have chosen. Archon is by a Greek definition an elected leader. As a Gnostic term it is a being that heralds a new age. A stone is a worked rock. A stone is used as middle eastern metaphor for a person’s skull and sometimes a seed, from a fruit or a grain. The root letters are similar and can be used as a spiritually laden pun. I want to be a seed for something that worthy to be grown and cultivated in the future. A stepping stone, for a new eon of human evolution. Or at least a new age. My original Pagan name was Witan. It was a handle I used in the BBS days of the late 80’s before the internet. I ran a BBS called Wizard’s Workshop that was dedicated to magick, philosophy, and religion. Like any BBS of the day it was targeted by hackers and I lost a lot of my investment from them destroying my computers from that activity. The Wizard’s Workshop was held every other Sunday afternoon. It helped people psychic talents recognize that they were normal, not some bedeviled, possessed individual. That there were many paths out there. Maybe not in that area. There were books and precedents for many things they experienced. We did some spiritualists exercises, that helped hone our skills and give each other feedback on what was being done. When the internet replaced the BBS and there IRC chat rooms, Witan was a common moniker used by different people, and some very vocal rabid individuals that devolved that social media into another quagmire of drama and mediocrite, and who claimed I wasn’t who I was. I chose this moniker for its complex, rich and challenging meanings for me to grow into. I am still working on that.