All posts by Temple Of the Standing Stones

Statements attributed to Temple Of the Standing Stones are considered the official view of the temple rather than the opinions of individual authors.

Questionnaire

Temple of the Standing Stones Member Questionnaire
Potential member of Temple of the Standing Stones: We ask that all our new members fill out this small questionnaire so that we can better get to know them, and possibly assist them on their journey. Thank you for your cooperation! Please feel free to use the back of the pages if you feel like you need to add more information. You may return this form in person, or to templehp@templeofthestones.org
1. What do you hope to get out of being a member of Temple of the Standing Stones?
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2. What do you think will be your favorite part of being a member of Temple of the Standing Stones?
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3. Do you currently follow any particular path of Paganism, or identify with any particular Pagan label?
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4. Please tell us a little bit about your background in Paganism. Feel free to include such details as length of time studying, favorite books you have read, any groups or covens you have belonged to previously, and/or any other information you think is appropriate.
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5. Are there any areas of study that you would like focus on with your fellow Temple Members?
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6. Do you have any knowledge or skills that you would be willing to conduct a class on?
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7. Do you work with any particular pantheon of Gods, or have any patron Gods or Goddesses?
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8. What are your favorite parts of ritual/spell working? Or, what do you think will be?
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9. Do you have any physical limitations (such as not being able to sit/stand for long periods of time, unable to perform a spiral dance, etc.) or mental limitations (such as fear of public speaking, boundary issues related to touch, etc.) that might impact your abilities to participate in various portions of rituals/spell working? If so, do you know of any ways we can accommodate you?
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10. Do you have any food restrictions (such as vegan or gluten free) or intolerances (such as allergies or sensitivities)?
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11. Do you have any objections to having your name or image used in any of our temple publications? If so, would you rather be omitted or do you have a magical name or pseudonym you would like to use?
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12. What were your general impressions of the seeker’s packet?
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13. Do you hope to go beyond the dedicant level and initiate as a Priest or Priestess of Temple of the Standing Stones?
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Thank You For Your Time!

Outro

Thank you for reading through our Seekers’ Orientation materials and learning a little about us and our take on Pagan spirituality. lf you have any questions please contact us through the contact form on this website or through our many other points of contact online such as:

Our Forum – http://templeofthestones.org/forum/
Meetup – http://www.meetup.com/Temple-Of-the-Standing-Stones/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/templeofthestones
Twitter – https://twitter.com/OurPantheons
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/Cianaodh/
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu6oOJArj58yr2zyoN3TmKw

If you believe you have read and understood this package and would like to elevate to the level of dedicant then please let us know. You may expedite the process by filling out one of our questionnaires and sending it to us or bringing it with you when you visit. We hope to see you again soon at one of our open classes or Sabbats. Health and Blessings to you and yours!

Ethics of our Temple

Though we are not a predominantly Wiccan group, Temple of the Standing Stones has chosen the Wiccan Rede to be the spine upon which our code of ethics rests.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Wiccan Rede, the most popular incarnation was published in 1975 in the Green Egg Magazine by Lady Gwen Thompson. Lady Gwen attributed the then named “Rede of the Wiccae” to her grandmother Adriana Porter. It is as follows:

Bide the Wiccan Laws we must
In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.

Live and let live.
Fairly take and fairly give.

Cast the Circle thrice about
to keep the evil spirits out.

To bind the spell every time
let the spell be spake in rhyme.

Soft of eye and light of touch,
Speak little, listen much.

Deosil go by the waxing moon,
chanting out the Witches’ Rune.

Widdershins go by the waning moon,
chanting out the baneful rune.

When the Lady’s moon is new,
kiss the hand to her, times two.

When the moon rides at her peak,
then your hearts desire seek.

Heed the North wind’s mighty gale,
lock the door and drop the sail.

When the wind comes from the South,
love will kiss thee on the mouth.

When the wind blows from the West,
departed souls will have no rest.

When the wind blows from the East,
expect the new and set the feast.

Nine woods in the cauldron go,
burn them fast and burn them slow.

Elder be the Lady’s tree,
burn it not or cursed you’ll be.

When the Wheel begins to turn,
let the Beltane fires burn.

When the Wheel has turned to Yule,
light the log and the Horned One rules.

Heed ye flower, Bush and Tree,
by the Lady, blessed be.

Where the rippling waters go,
cast a stone and truth you’ll know.

When ye have a true need,
hearken not to others’ greed.

With a fool no season spend,
lest ye be counted as his friend.

Merry meet and merry part,
bright the cheeks and warm the heart.

Mind the Threefold Law you should,
three times bad and three times good.

When misfortune is enow,
wear the blue star on thy brow.

True in love ever be,
lest thy lover’s false to thee.

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill:
An ye harm none, do what ye will.

Some claim that parts of the Wiccan Rede are influenced by a speech given by Doreen Valiente. Others claim that it references a passage written by Gerald Gardner. Still others attribute influence to Aleister Crowley. Regardless or the origins of this lovely poem, it has become widely accepted as a basis for interpreting ethics and moral standards in Wiccan and broader Pagan culture.

This is not to say that the Wiccan Rede is considered doctrine within our Temple. For we must look at the origins of the word “Rede.” The word Rede is a Middle English word that means to give counsel, advise, interpret, or explain. Therefore we use this poem as advice, rather than a strict interpretation. We also believe that it’s lines hold wise council.
Though there are many lines in the Wiccan Rede that speak of magical practices, and ways to honor the Sabbats, let us focus on the lines that speak of right behavior, and moral action.
“Bide the Wiccan Laws we must
In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.”
Temple of the standing Stones takes this introduction to the Wiccan Rede to be a cornerstone to our practice. Our members come in perfect love and perfect trust to our circles, and our Temple gatherings. “Perfect love” means that we truly care for our fellow Temple Brothers and Sisters, and accept them for their true selves. “Perfect trust” means that we honor the bonds between our members, and act in each others favor.
Our Temple believes that these concepts of love and trust are the energies that bind and strengthen our group, as well as our individual members. We believe that strong foundations of these two elements are essential to fostering productive and healthy relationships.
“Live and let live.
Fairly take and fairly give.”
To our temple, fairly taking and fairly giving speaks to our actions within our temple and our community. Our interactions with each other, and with others, are to be fair. And when we take in, we must also give out. It is important that we as individuals and as a temple practice the art of charity to facilitate that giving back. Temple of the Standing Stones is committed giving back to the community from which we benefit so much.
In addition to giving back to our local community, and our Temple itself, we believe that we must also use this concept of taking and giving in our interactions with planet as a whole. Our resources and our home are derived from our planet. Therefore, as takers from the Earth, we must also be givers to the Earth. Our Temple strives to not only give back to our planet, but also to reduce our taking from the planet.
“Speak little, listen much.”
In our temple we believe that words are spells. The old joke goes: “Why do you think they call it spelling?” While this concept may be a little tongue in cheek, the idea of decisively using your words is considered wise council by us. Also, the concept of listening to all those around you is considered wise. Though many may have a different view point, or even a similar one, their experience should be listened to with much respect.
In practice, these values are most often asserted in the classes our Temple offers. We ask that Temple members and guests share their personal stories with our group so that we might all benefit from their experiences with various topics. We ask that those with knowledge share with their fellow Temple Brothers and Sisters, and we ask that all in attendance listen respectfully to what each individual has to say.
“When ye have a true need,
hearken not to others’ greed.”
Our temple takes these lines to mean that you should not let other people’s negative will influence your own – even in times of need. In other words, you should never give up your moral fiber.
In this couplet we also see that the Wiccan Rede refers to the individual’s personal responsibility for their actions. In fact, this is a common theme throughout the poem, and is another trait that our Temple wishes to highlight for it’s members. Personal responsibility is considered by us to be a key factor in ethical behavior. One always has the option to choose to do right, for everyone is responsible for their own behavior.
“With a fool no season spend,
lest ye be counted as his friend.”
Our Temple believes this to be another version of the phrase “Choose your friends wisely.” We find that it is true that a person or a group is often associated to the company they keep. Therefore, your friends should be wise, and not engaged in foolish behavior.
Temple of the Standing stones also takes these lines to mean that your friends should be chosen by their thoughts and deeds, rather than any other characteristic. And, we use these traits to determine initiation into our Temple above any others.
“Merry meet and merry part,
bright the cheeks and warm the heart.”

 

Temple of the Standing Stones believes that we should all greet each other with joy, and part with joy as well. This extends to old friends as well as new. Our Temple strives to create a peaceful atmosphere, but should any grievances arise, we have an open door policy, so that they may be dealt with swiftly. We want none of our members or guests to leave us unhappily, if it can be avoided.

 

“Mind the Threefold Law you should,
three times bad and three times good.”

 

These lines refer to what is known as the “Threefold Law.” This is sometimes also called the “Rule of Three” and has been linked to the phrase: “Ever mind the rule of three, whatever you send out comes back to thee.” This means that should you send out energy, it will return to you threefold.

 

Many have different view points on how this “law” actually works. Some believe that positive energies sent out return triple the blessings, while negative energies sent out return triple the consequences. Others believe that the energies sent out affect the sender in three ways (usually in mind, body, and spirit). Still, others do not believe in any sort of karmic reaction at all.

 

It is the opinion of Temple of the Standing Stones that this couplet refers to the concept that one’s actions affect their character. Therefore, to be a moral and just person, one must act like one.

 

“When misfortune is enow,
wear the blue star on thy brow.”

 

Temple of the Standing Stones takes this couplet to basically mean “ask for help.” If you are enduring misfortunes, let others know. Let your fellow Temple Brothers and Sisters aid you if they can, or at least support you in your troubled times. Our Temple believes that burdens are made lighter when they are shouldered together.

 

“An ye harm none, do what ye will.”

 

Some consider this last line to be the “short version” of the Wiccan Rede, and say that this verse alone should be the basis of ethics for all Wiccans and/or pagans. However, it is the opinion of our Temple that while this line has importance, it is truly only part of a whole.

 

“Harming none” has many different meanings to many different people. Some see this concept as a justification for veganism while others cannot relate to that leap at all. Some see this idea as relating to a stance of pacifism, and yet others (particularly those that see themselves as “warriors”) do not see it that way at all. So who is right?

 

It is the stance of Temple of the Standing Stones that this final passage of the Wiccan Rede once again reminds us of our personal responsibility. It is up to each individual what one does, and the Rede advises that we cause no harm. We therefore advise our members not to cause what we call “willful” harm to others, in that they should not unjustly forcibly exert their will or energies over any person -to include themselves- for the purpose of causing pain or misfortune.

 

And thus, we conclude the Wiccan Rede. As was stated at the beginning of this article of the Seekers’ Orientation, our Temple looks at this poem as a spine. This means that the values and ethics contained within are just a starting point. Temple of the Standing Stones believes that no one poem, and no one article, can completely describe an entire group’s code of ethics. We therefore invite you to continue the discussion with our members, talk with our clergy (templehp@templeofthestones.org), and perhaps come to one of our classes on the subject if should this topic interest you further.

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Reincarnation

Quite a few of our temple members also believe in the concept of reincarnation; that we live many lives on this earth and after death we are reborn at some point in this or in some cases another world.

The father of American Wicca, Raymond Buckland had this to say about reincarnation:

“Reincarnation is an ancient belief. It is part of many religions (Hinduism and Buddhism, for example) and was even one of the original Christian tenets, until condemned by the Second Council of Constantinople in 553 It is believed that the human spirit, or soul, is a fragment of the divine and eventually it will return to its divine source. But, for its own evolution, it is necessary that the soul experience all things in life. “

– Raymond Buckland in Buckland’s Complete Book Of Witchcraft

It  is believed that life, death, and rebirth are a basic requirement of all living things.  In physics, the law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system remains constant—it is said to be conserved over time. Energy can be neither created nor be destroyed, but it can change form,   If we look at our souls as a form of energy too then would they not also fit within this model?

Many of us accept a belief that our spirits go on after our physical bodies have expired, some believe immediately to the next life and others believe there is a period of rest on the other side of the veil, a place called by many names; The Summerlands, The Otherworld, Heaven, etc. For most, this is considered a happy and restful place where we can recover from the rigors of our most recent life on Earth and meditate on what we have learned.  There is no proof beyond the recollections of those who have had near death experiences that such a place actually exists, of course, but for many of us, we feel that it is there. Some further believe that we choose our birth circumstances in order to continue the learning process which makes us connected to the lessons we need to learn in any lifetime.

 

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Basic Beliefs

Our temple members come from a variety of backgrounds and belief systems however, we have a broad enough structure that we hope most all Pagans will be able to find a place here. We approach the concept of the divine with open mindedness and flexibility. We believe that it’s okay to ask questions about the divine and explore all images of this vast concept for we all have our own personal relationship with deity, the gods or that creative life force of the universe. However you perceive the divine, it may fit within the animistic concept that all that exists is made up of the same creative energy. We believe that, as individuals, we may all have our own personal perceptions of and relationships with the divine. Those perceptions and relationships may even change as we learn and grow on our spiritual journey. Whereas one person may perceive a duotheistic version of the divine in which all gods are facets of one God and all goddesses facets of one Goddess but another may perceive that all gods and goddesses are individual beings in their own right. Still another person might perceive that all of these divine beings are simply different faces of the one true God. Who is right? Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in the middle ground. Perhaps that one creative energy of which all things, living and non-living, throughout the universe can take all of these forms based on each individual’s needs. Perhaps the concept of the divine is too big to fit in one sentence, one book or even a thousand books. If there are 7 billion people living on a planet and they all have a concept of the divine that is working for them, then so long as they are not harming anyone, perhaps all of their truths are correct but each is only a glimpse of the entire truth. Look up a poem called The Blind Men And The Elephant by John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887) sometime if you aren’t familiar with it. It lays out very well this concept, that we all have a piece of the truth and rather than argue about it we should work together to try to understand it.

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Magick

There are many prevailing theories throughout the community and within our temple regarding how exactly magick works or where the energy comes from and how it is directed but for the most part, we all believe in magick and believe that it is real. Now, what about the “k” on the end there in the spelling? That too is a thing you will see used by some and not by others. Those who use the “k” generally do so to differentiate the sort of magic we do (channeling energy with will to accomplish a set goal) with the stage magic which is an illusion for entertainment purposes. Some like the “k” while others think using it is just plain silly. To each their own!

So, what about those theories regarding what magick is and how it works? Well, let’s talk about some of those:

Some believe that the energy by which magick is done comes purely from within and that by directing this energy by their will and intent they can cause changes to occur whether it’s to raise healing energy for a friend or bind someone from causing harm to another for examples.

Others believe that the energy comes from outside themselves either from the surrounding area, from deities or other divine beings and that the magickal practitioner is merely the conduit which channels this energy to it’s intended purpose.

Still others believe it is a combination of the first two; that it is a cooperation between energies from within and energies from without to collaborate and focus through will on an intended goal.

Perhaps any of the three may be used in working magick and how the task is done is simply a matter of preference or perhaps one of the three is the correct method. Who knows? Debates over the hows and whys and what-ifs have gone on for centuries but one way or another, if you believe, it seems to work. Ultimately, that’s what is important.

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Temple History

Temple Of the Standing Stones was originally part of the Esoteric Path of Enlightenment tradition which was itself derived from the Correllian Nativist Tradition. The Correllians base their teachings upon those of Caroline High Correll, a practicing psychic, spiritual healer, and herbalist who founded the tradition way back in 1879. Her family was said to be descended from a line of Cherokee Didanvwisgi (Medicine Men). These Didanvwisgi intermarried with a family of Scottish Traditional Witches, whose descendants were also influenced by Aradian Witchcraft and by the beliefs of the Spiritualist Church. In 1979 the Elders of the Correllian Tradition decided that it was a form of “Wicca” using the term as synonymous with “Witchcraft”.

Esoteric Path of Enlightenment tradition broke away from the Correllians in 2012 to form a more eclectic tradition of their own in the North Texas region.

On December 14th, 2014 Cianaodh Óg, Arachne Crowsinger and Sera Freya formally resigned from Esoteric Path of Enlightenment Tradition to become completely autonomous. Arachne Crowsinger went on to found a coven of her own which became Mystic Willow Coven and Cianaodh Óg remains the High Priest of Temple Of the Standing Stones to this day. Sera Freya chose to pursue other studies but remains a founding elder of our tradition with full voting rights. It has been our goal from the beginning to “Forge a new Pagan path!”  and we work diligently every day to do just that. On March 21st, 2015, otherwise known as Mudstara 2015 due to it being a very muddy Ostara Celebration (Haha!) Spirit Of the Sycamore Tradition was born as Cianaodh Óg, Arachne Crowsinger and Sera Freya received their metallic cords and crowns from recognized elders of their former tradition.

Spirit Of the Sycamore Elders
Spirit Of the Sycamore Elders
Spirit Of the Sycamore Sigil in pencil.
Spirit Of the Sycamore Sigil in pencil.
Spirit Of the Sycamore Color Sigil
Spirit Of the Sycamore Color Sigil

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Temple Intro

Greetings, salutations and howdy! Welcome to the Seekers’ Orientation at Temple Of the Standing Stones. In order to help you get familiar with us and our approach to Paganism we have included sections about ‘The History Of Our Temple‘, ‘Basics Beliefs‘, ‘The Basics Of Our Practices’,’Definitions’, and more. We’re a friendly lot who are scattered fairly widely throughout the Dallas, Arlington, Fort Worth area (but mostly Arlington) and beyond but get together about three weekends per month at one another’s homes, rented space at UU churches or other facilities and sometimes just go on outings together. We have lessons, craft nights, rituals, music, games, movies and other activities which we welcome you to join us in. If you have any questions that we do not cover in our Seekers’ Orientation please feel free to contact us and ask away. We are always looking for ways to improve our website to better serve the needs of newcomers to our temple so if you have a question that we haven’t answered it gives us an opportunity to make our orientation better. Before you get started please see our OUR VISION for a glimpse of this temple’s concept of Paganism our way.

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Divination

Many of our temple members practice some form or other of divination to seek guidance and we sometimes include the practice in our rituals. The word literally means to “let the divine realm manifest.” Divination connects you with your subconscious mind or inner knowledge. Some also believe it serves as a link to divine wisdom or that answers lie embedded in the cosmic web that weaves together the seen and unseen worlds. Divination gives us access to information that we might not perceive through ordinary means.

Astrology

Astrology has been around for as long as humankind has watched the movements of stars and other objects in the skies. To link the movement of the planets and stars to our own human lives isn’t as far fetched an idea as it might seem on the surface. After all if the heavens are a macrocosm to our own physical being, the microcosm, then seeking guidance in them as a mirror to our existence has a great deal of merit. The word astrology means “knowledge of the stars” and an experienced astrologer sees the stars and planets as representing life forces which are experienced by each of us. It’s more than just knowing your sun sign on the zodiac and reading your daily horoscope in the newspaper though. Getting a personalized astrology chart gives you a much deeper insight into your personal circumstances and influences.

Auguries

Although these days often seen used as being synonymous with divination it was originally the art of foretelling the future by means of signs, particularly by the flight of birds. Used here, we mean it as interpretation of omens based on the appearance and behavior of animals in general.

Numerology

“The western form of Numerology, the Pythagorian system, is among the most enduring and popular of all self-help methods ever created. The Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Hebrews, Egyptians, Phoenicians, early Christians, Mayans and Incas all employed number systems to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the universe.

Pythagorian Numerology was organized by Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras, who combined the mathematical disciplines of the Arabic, Druid, Phoenician, Egyptian and Essene sciences. Since then, it has continued to evolve. It formed the spiritual basis for many secret societies, such as the Rosicrusians, Masons, Anthroposophists and others.

Today, its popularity continues to grow. Numerology columns now appear regularly in newspapers and magazines. Numerologists are consulted with increasing regularity for everything from personal romance to business decisions. As the industrialized world becomes more computerized and dependent on numerical systems, the fascination with this ancient spiritual science only grows.”*

* The preceding is an excerpt from ‘Numerology: Key to Your Inner Self’ by Hans Decoz’s.

Palmistry

Palm reading, palmistry or chiromancy, is practiced all over the world. It is said to have come from Indian astrology and Roma fortune-telling. The purpose is to deduce a person’s character and/or future by studying the lines in the palm of their hand. The four major lines are: The heart line running horizontally nearest the fingers, the head line also running horizontally underneath the heart line, the life line running in a curve from near the web between the thumb and the forefinger down towards the center of the palm ending above the wrist and the fate line which only some people have crossing the life and heart line in a vertical line parallel with the life line.

Runes

The word rune itself comes from the old Norse word Runa meaning a secret or mystery. No one knows for sure just how old the runes are but symbols similar to runes have been found in cave markings from the late Bronze Age. Their use in ritual and as an Oracle for consultation probably predates their use for writing or the two uses may have come about simultaneously. Out temple High Priest posts a new rune from his personal daily divination each day on the forum. If runes interest you then you might also find his article on Runes My Way worthwhile.

Scrying

Scrying is accomplished by focusing your gaze on some object, like a crystal ball or a black mirror in which you can see symbols or maybe scenes that might give you insight on the past, present or future. Scrying has a long history as a valued divination skill and its history may go back as far as the dawn of spiritual ritual itself according to some sources.

Tarot Cards

Tarot cards are a great tool for guidance and divination. The symbology and artwork gives each card a meaning of its own. Picking a tarot deck is a very personal matter for some and many people become very attached to their deck of choice. The more you practice with your deck and the more familiar you become with the cards the better your readings will be. Like other forms of divination, it’s a highly intuitive thing, so while books and charts are great tools when you are initially learning them, the best way to actually become proficient with your cards is to handle them, and feel what they are telling you. The so called Rider Waite deck (artwork by Pamela Colman Smith) is the most used deck and it’s format is the standard for many other decks. It is made of of 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards for a total of 78 cards in the deck.

Tea Leaves

Also known as tasseography, tasseomancy or tassology is a divination method that interprets patterns in tea leaves, coffee grounds, or wine sediments at the bottom of a cup. The word tasseography derives from the French word tasse for cup, which itself comes from the Arabic word tassa. In the Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology, Fifth Edition, Vol. 2, edited by J. Gordon Melton, notes:

“After a cup of tea has been poured, without using a tea strainer, the tea is drunk or poured away. The cup should then be shaken well and any remaining liquid drained off in the saucer. The diviner now looks at the pattern of tea leaves in the cup and allows the imagination to play around [with] the shapes suggested by them. They might look like a letter, a heart shape, or a ring. These shapes are then interpreted intuitively or by means of a fairly standard system of symbolism, such as: snake (enmity or falsehood), spade (good fortune through industry), mountain (journey of hindrance), or house (change, success).”

Others

There are many other methods of divination to choose from. We advise you to explore as many as you are inspired to and use those which work for you.

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The Basics Of Our Practices

We adopt many of the ritual elements and practices common among modern day Wiccans and Pagans because we believe these are a solid and familiar foundation for many who are seeking a place to call home within the Pagan community. We want the average Pagan who may have recently moved to the area from somewhere else to feel right at home at one of our rituals or a solitaire who is just trying out group working to not be confronted with a huge learning curve when being introduced to our ritual style. So, while we do things with our own flavor, you should have an easy time catching on and fitting in with us. Even if you’re new to Paganism altogether, what you learn with us will be easily transferable elsewhere if you end up moving to a new area or decide to explore other groups. Still, there are certain things which are uniquely ours or that we have borrowed from other traditions and incorporated into our practices and we will try to cover these a bit here.

As you will find covered in the Clothing, Tools and Magickal Names article our temple uses cord colors to indicate a particular degree or level within the clergy. Cords are collected and not replaced so as one gains another cord it is usually added to the ones already attained by the priest or priestess. To learn which colors mean what please refer to the Cords subsection of Clothing, Tools and Magickal Names. Like many Wiccan covens, our temple utilizes the practice of having someone designated to use a besom (magickal broom) to sweep the ritual space clean before circle is cast. While one person is sweeping the circle you will usually see another go to a point somewhere to the south of the ritual space, say some words and pour something out onto the ground or in a bowl. This is an “Outdweller Offering” An outdweller is a spirit or entity who, while not necessarily malevolent, might not be friendly to our work. To appease these spirits we make an offering of some sort, often ale but other things can be used too, and ask them to accept this gift and leave us be while we have our ritual. It’s a gesture of making peace with the spirits of the land or others who may be nearby.

We typically have someone to anoint participants with oil by drawing a pentagram (for protection) or other symbol on their forehead and asking them how they enter the circle. If you do not know the correct answer then ask someone before ritual begins. It’s fairly common knowledge among Pagans. Upon giving the correct passwords the participant is welcomed to join the circle. After everyone is in, the High Priest or High Priestess will usually have a few things to say about the reason for the ritual that is about to take place then ask everyone to join hands as the circle is cast with the following chant: “Hand to hand the circle’s cast, joining present, future and past — a sacred place, a world apart, where powers merge and magick starts.” Afterward a few more things will take place at the altar then everyone will turn to the east and prepare to call the quarters.

The quarters represent the four elements of Air to the East, Fire to the South, Water to the West and Earth to the North. These elements are considered to be the fundamental essence from which all things are made and the elementals themselves are called upon to attend and help guard the circle against any malevolence from outside. They form the boundary between the magickal, sacred space created within the circle and the mundane world of the outside. After each quarter is called all of the participants turn to the next direction and the next until all are called, ending with Earth in the North. At this time the High Priest and High Priestess will call upon the divine masculine and divine feminine to join, this can be the Lord and Lady or a particular God and Goddess may be called by name depending on the occasion. But in all things we seek balance so we try to have both masculine and feminine energy present in our rituals in equal degrees. After the elements and the gods (used here to mean gods and goddesses) have been called what happens next varies from ritual to ritual but the High Priest or High Priestess will usually have some things to say and will explain what workings are coming up. At some point it is often asked if there are personal magicks which anyone wishes for during the circle. This is when members will often tell us of friends, loved ones or themselves in need of healing energy, help finding new employment or help with another situation. We have certain chants, spells and other things we can do to raise the proper energy for the request made and usually those will be done on the spot or if more research is needed then a commitment is made to study on a way that more magickal work can be done to help the individual. Also, at some point a request is made to make offerings to the gods. This can be an opportunity to share a poem one has written, or a spoken piece one would like to share, perhaps a work of art or craft or anything that it is felt by each individual woud be an appropriate offering to make in thanking the gods for the gifts which have been bestowed upon them.

Later, after all words have been said, workings done and offerings made then an offering of cakes and ale (which can be any food and drink actually) are blessed and passed around the circle with the words, “May you never hunger.” and “May you never thirst.” then the circle is closed in generally a reverse manner to the way it was cast. Although there are many ways to do what was just described, this is basically the gist of a typical Wiccan or Pagan based circle anywhere you may go (save for the Outdweller Offering part which comes from ADF Druidry). This is how we do it and for the most part it is what you can expect to see if you come to one of our rituals. A few things might be different here and there but for the most part it’s fairly basic and, as we said, most anyone with a Pagan background should feel fairly comfortable and at home with it which is how we like for things to be.

Dedicate or Initiate?

At our temple there is a difference between these two concepts and we would like to go into some explanation as to how these differ.

Dedicant – At our temple we believe in the concept of a Pagan laity. In other words, we recognize that there are people out there who desire the social and spiritual aspects of participating with a group but they are not necessarily interested in becoming clergy and entering a training program. That’s perfectly acceptable. It’s not like, if you go to a Christian church for example, that everyone who is in attendance necessarily aspires to be a pastor someday. Why should all Pagans be expected to become clergy and pushed to attain a high enough degree to go form another group of their own? Maybe they are happy right where they are. We are offering a path by which people like this can have a dedication ceremony to make this temple their spiritual home and dedicate themselves to the gods in whatever way they conceive of them. We are working to put together an e-book for our Dedicants with a collection of Pagan prayers, chants, blessings, devotionals, spells and other things to help them live a Pagan spiritual life in their day to day practice.

Initiate – An initiate is someone who has been called to and decided upon becoming clergy within our temple. We don’t do instant initiations, so if we’ve only met you once we’re probably going to be a bit hesitant if you express interest in initiating right away. We like to get to know you and have you get to know us a bit before taking this step. Our initiated clergy is a very tight knit group and see one another as literal spiritual brothers and sisters. Our initiation rite is intended to depict a birthing into this new life. Our initiations and our Esbats are only open to clergy and spouses for attendance and are fully skyclad. All who attend must be able to do so in perfect love and perfect trust. The only exceptions to the clergy and spouses rule is invited candidates who are coming to be initiated into the temple clergy. In order to be invited you first must express your interest in initiating and you should have attended at least 5 temple events. Then the temple elders will discuss and determine your state of readiness. A vote is cast and if it is favorable you will know because there will be bells.

Temple Dues

We’re not in this thing to make a bunch of money but putting on rituals, holding events and buying items for the temple does cost money. For this reason, we do ask our members to “Chip In!” a suggested monthly donation of $10 to help with incidental costs like candles, incense, charms for initiate cords, etc. If you’re able to do more then we will promise to put the money to good use providing better things for our temple. If you are under economic hardship, don’t fret, we feel it is more important that you’re here on the path with us and sharing your energy while we all seek spiritual enlightenment and wisdom.

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