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The Witches' Voice made the decision from day one to evolve this web site based on your input. What does our community think about... Spam, ethics, commercialism of the Craft, politics etc. So many questions are hotly debated. In this chapter of WitchVox we simply ask hard questions directly to the community itself. New surveys will pop up from time to time and be announced on the WitchVox home page.
 Author: Pagan Community    Posted: Sep. 27, 1999   This Page Viewed: 11,168  


WitchVox Survey #1 - Working with Groups

  • Participate IN this Survey - Click HERE for TAKE this Survey
  • 1st Duration: 9/12/99 to 9/27/99
  • 1st Results: Posted on 9/27/99 - Click HERE for the actual results of this survey.
  • 2nd Duration: Through Samhain 2000
  • Community thoughts on working with Groups... ONE - TWO - THREE - FOUR - FIVE - SIX


Community Comments on Working With Groups
Page #2



I much prefer working in a coven but am perfectly capable of working alone. I think what I miss the most about a coven is the intense sense of community about it that is lacking in more generic forms of pagan worship/get togethers. - Sierra



I have never worked with a coven activly, but have listened to others describe their experience or participation. It has never appealed to me. I have always felt that when people attempt to worship in a group each persons individuality is weakened and, even thought that can be a strength for a common good, to me it has never been right or comfortable. I am a happy Solitarie by choice and circumstances and loving it. I serve the Lady and the Lord in my own way, the way of my heart. - Sara Sheats



I have not yet had the opportunity to work within a group- however I would like to. self dedicated as of 2.99. learning of the craft as of 2.98. I think working with a group on occasion would be benefical not only for my further teaching but personal growth as well. - E Jones



I've participated in mostly shamanic drumming circles. I have to say it is very rewarding with the right group of people. I enjoy being with others and I eventually would like to be a member of a coven. I am a solitaire now because i'm still fairly new at this,and I can't seem to find a good teacher. Reading books just doesn't cut it for me any more.Figuring out the right path is also difficult. i'm sure when its my time i'll find what I need.As well as the right group of people. - ann102399@aol.com



I have only been a solitaire, but have been seeking others pagans for fellowship, and might consider celebrating with a group. -



I have just started on my path this year, and have not found any groups to join. I don't believe I will formally join a group, though, as it does not suit my temperament. I do like to socialize & learn from others, tho . . . - Ashlan



I do mostly work alone or, occasionally, with one or two others. I did attend one larger gathering of about 20-30 people once in SC for ostara that was incredible! I am currently investingating groups here in Memphis that welcome people who don't necessarily want to join a "coven". That sort of defined group makes me uncomfortable. - Holly Deal



working in groups would probably help me to develop a new way of looking at magick and practicing it. Has a solitary practitioner you have more freedom since you make up the rules but it can be loonly sometimes. I guess a little of both is what I am aiming for. - Iseult.S.AubČ



I would love to do more magickal working with groups, but the pagan community here in Ashland is so diverse that some are Thelemic, some Wiccan, some just pagan...No one can agree on the proper anything in ritual. We meet for discussion, but no magickal working, no raising of power. It is lonely and I would much prefer a coven I could trust. - Heather Wales



New to Wicca and learning. Have only read information up -



The political threshold for any group, coven, circle, club, whatever is five or more active (full time) members. Add relationships in to this, and it is often a recipe for disaster. An experienced pagan will have worked with a group and as a solitaire throughout their pagan 'career'. Both are needed, IMO, and both have their advantages and disadvantages. - Ravan Asteris



I like being a solitary. I am a very opinionated person, and my ideas, although drawing, of course, from common sources, are my own in the end. I do enjoy having others to talk to, though. Connection is an important thing. Brightest Blessings/Blessed Be The Bard -



I find the most common denominator in the breakup of a ritual group, or in people leaving the group, are outside influences which are not discussed. Over time, it becomes assumed that the others in the group: 1. believe as you do, 2. continue to believe as they did in the past, 3. know that you (or another in the group) would never do whatever was rumored you did, 4. trust you enough to talk to you about the problem(s). It is easy to do ritual with people and assume that you know each other well; however, if you don't spend time together outside of ceremony, it becomes an assumption that you all think alike on a topic. Amazingly enough, about half of the "witch wars" I have experienced were started because a group ritual worked. It was almost as if the power of the ceremony was too much for one of the participants and therefore s/he became fearful. This fear was transferred to the leader of the ceremony and the judgment spread outward until people demanded others to take sides. Note that in all cases the rituals were for positive reasons. Other "witch wars" began when there was a power struggle within the group. Yes, it has affected my perception of pagans and of people in general. In the past I believed that somehow, because of the interconnectedness of pagan beliefs, pagans would be less apt to behave in separatist ways; now I realize that we all, including pagans, have much to work on in the areas of honesty, intolerance and fearfulness. Walk in Beauty. - Lillith Lewis



I have found both to be rewarding. When working as a solitary, I find the rituals to be very intimate and sacred. When working in a group, I find the rituals to be electric and exciting. Both are wonderful in different ways. - Lerah



I have not tried working with groups, but I do like solitaire. I get to move at my own pace and worship as I please. :) - Kelly Miller



If Pagans are going to greet the next millennium with a modicum of self-respect, we need to set about on getting SOME concensus about what are beliefs are and if we are going to say something is historically acurate, we need to rely on historians and research, not flights of fancy and TimeLife books. Also, you might want ot add to people that this obsession with just doing positive magick is quite repugnant. Most branches of Wicca stress balance, yet in this area, there is none? Remember the old saying, "What goes in one way will go in the other way." -



I think that a lot of groups CAN work, if the members only focus on bonding, and staying together. However, a lot of people can be having troubles finding groups in their area, especially if they live in far off places where there may be NO pagans, or only a small group --and they may not even be of your tradition/religion. Solitaires never, or rarely, have the problems of a group in need to decide things, but may according to a few traditions be less powerful. It is requested above in the survey that I answer the question of what I am considered (tradition wise), as I checked other. I am a Cultural Reconstructionist Pagan (Celtic). - Emma



Working with a coven only works when everybody is truly dedicated to making it work. If someone is only doing it to fit in, or please friends who are in the coven, or is only "testing the waters" of this faith, then it won't work out. Likewise, if only one person in the coven is doing the work of getting everyone together, organizing meetings, and deciding what to do, then that won't work, either. I'd rather not be solitaire, but at least I can trust myself to be dedicated to the effort and I can attend/participate in public rituals. - Sanna Silverthorn



I have yet to chose a path. So I am still reading and attending events to determine which I like best. - Windy



I would like to work with groups in the future but only when my knowledge is as up to scratch as everyone else's! How abou starting some kind of online coven(I know thats kinda what you do already!) - Ravenshadow



I've been studying Wicca off and on for about 15 years, but only in the last 6 minths have I consciously studied with an eye to actually practicing. I know in my heart I was meant to be a solitary practitioner, though I have enjoyed celebrating a couple of festivals with a small local group. Because I am a naturally independent person, the thought of practicing in a group is distasteful to me. The local group I have celebrated with are very nice, but they insist on certain "rules and regulations", which I find too reminiscent of organized religions, specifically catholicism, from which I broke away many years ago. What I would like to do is study with someone practiced in the healing arts. I have always felt that I have a calling for healing, but besides doing a lot of reading, I have never worked with anyone else in these studies. I would be interested in studying with someone, but without joining a coven or organized group of any kind. Apart from the rules and regulations (like secret names for the goddess, which I personally find ridiculous), I admit to a fascination for group magick. I am still finding my way, through study and meditation, to my own personal power. The earth's power, and that of the goddess, I do feel. I have read with interest the amazing abilities of a group to focus their energies and power to a specific end. When I think of the healing and good that could come from that, THAT's when I think group magick would be a good thing. But long before I try to involve myself with group magick, I need to find my own. That's why I will always be a solitary, for the most part. One thing I would like to mention. I read a lot about the proper way to meditate, to create a circle, to invoke the powers that be, to call the quarters, etc. I truly feel, in my heart, that any sincere effort, no matter how clumsy in terms of physical practice, will have the desired effect as long as the mind and will are focused to that end. But it has been helpful to learn and understand the significance of many parts of rituals. That helps me to focus. - Becky



Working Solitaire has it's place, but to worship together is a wonderfull experience. The reflective times for your own thoughts and the openess and power within a group both need to have a place. I think anyway :-) - Dalamar



I was dissatisfied with the limitations or lack of boundaries I found with most Traditions or Eclectic Paths. I wanted to find a Path that was structured to insure order but balanced with limitless potential for spiritual and magickal education. My solution was to found my own Tradition. The Tradition I have begun is called Morgana Wicca and is based upon a Circle of people who start from a solid Wiccan base. Those that choose to may continue to study Shamanism, Druidism, or Hermetic Paths while staying within a supportive Pagan community. A second reason I felt compelled to begin my own Tradition was directly related to the Coven break-ups and Witch Wars of my past which kept me Solitary and licking my wounds for years. I thought a structured community with built-in safeguards to insure balance and fairness was needed. Written guidelines for everyone to follow that clearly demark responsibilities and prevent unjust power-mongering or burdensome workloads was the answer that I sought. I came to this conclusion from my observation of the Witch Wars of my past which were caused by status seeking individuals trying to solve problems in a usually vague or despotic power structure. Creating my own Tradition with its own guidelines has been and continues to be fantastically challenging. However, I have been blessed with unimagined success. My Circle is thriving and we all get along as friends and not just associates. New people entering are amazed and delighted by what we are doing. Instead of Witch Wars, we are reaching out to other groups in our region and teaching them our techniques which has resulted in a promising new community in the Pacific Northwest. I am humbled and astonished myself. I had an idea and with the help of some long time friends and my husband it was able to manifest into reality. There IS a way to work in groups and get more out of it than you put in. Other Pagans CAN be your best friends and not your worst enemies. I did not believe it possible myself at one time and I have proven myself wrong. - Crimson Wing



I try to attend rituals twice a year. There are major gatherings at the Quarters that are open to the entire pagan community. They are advertised by word of mouth at the pagan bookstores, etc. I have been going and taking my daughter to the Beltaine and Yule rituals for 10-12 years and we have always loved the group energy. These rituals are designed and planned by whatever group of people sign onto the local committee. They are always very eclectic and different from year to year, season to season. The gatherings when weather is good tend to be campouts in national forest within driving distance of the major cities of the state. My daughter and I haven't been very active in the community, but now that she is a teenager, we are both looking for activities and/or groups to join. - Kelly Eagle



i don't feel that ether is better after all intent and sincerity are whats most important. - stringdancer



I am both a Solitary and part of a Coven. The Coven is just starting out and so far includes only myself and my Soul-sister. I do what feels right for me in rituals and magick, and work mostly alone except for the times I can get together with my Soul-sister. Note: The last name I put down, McCabe, is not my real last name. I feel it suits me better and am proud to have McCabe blood flowing through my veins (my great-granmother was a McCabe living in Quebec). - Kelly "McCabe"



I enjoted the group energies. The discussions and idea sharing. The sharing of the ritual work load. I do not miss the backbiting. I do not miss the crankiness of a few who use their constant critism and complaint to force their sisters into doing what they want, dispite group desires. I do not miss their power trips. The very things that broke up the group, though some of us remain friends and still have the discussions. I do enjoy being able to work rituals at times convienent for me. In places and using ritual forms i choose. That is a valuable need for me. - Nadine



My personal thoughts on the matter are I think biased. I was initiated into a coven in 1980, long before it was 'fun' or 'politically correct' to call oneself 'wiccan' The coven was well run with a tight-knit group of people of varying ages, length of membership and background. You could quite truly say of them that the sum of the individual pieces exceeded the whole. It was a wonderful uplifting fantastic time of my life. Having now (due to relocation) been a practising solitary for a number of years I find myself often longing for those days. As I once remarked to a friend, working with a coven was like riding the rapids in a rubber boat everyone working together to reach a common (yet very individual) goal, whilst being solitary was like punting on a quiet lake, with a hole in the punting boat!!! It takes allot more energy to work with a coven, but the results are outstanding. Working as a solitary takes less energy and the reults reflect that. - Paul "Pagan" Secrett



A good coven is wonderfull beyond words. A bad one you will do anything to get away from. "Working" solitary is the pits. - Ken Ra



I Feel that working in groups is great as long as someone doesn't try to "RUN" the whole thing. (for example not letting other oppions be heard - Zacquel



I find great personal satisfaction working alone, as I feel very closely connected with the Goddess. But my few experiences in a group setting really impressed me with the level of energy possible and the feeling of togetherness and power. I am actively looking for more public rituals to attend, large Sabbat celebrations to be a part of and am doing more small rituals with a friend. I think this kind of group work will enhance my overall walk with the Goddess, and compliment my still mostly solitary practice. - Gillian Silverheart



i think in a way working by yourself is better. - michael hanna



I have only ever been a solitaire, being new to this life path. I would one day be interested in working with a group, if I could find one that I fit into well. - Curtis



I've been kind of isolated the last couple of years, but would love to participate in more public rituals. The priestess who taught me the elements swore off public rituals a few years ago (after our group scattered), and I moved and lost touch with the bigger groups in Texas. My experience with covens is that they are more process than product, and lately my process has been solitary because that's the lesson for now, and we'll recognize each other when the time is right. I've been meeting a lot of people who talk witch/pagan and don't have a clue. Anyway, I love y'all, and I'm glad to participate in these surveys. Merry Merry Merry - Robin Flipstick



Persoanlly I prefer working on my own. I meet with other pagans and discuss issues and rituals. However, I do not perform rituals with any of them. For some, groups are a wonderful thing. They provide support and education. For myself, though, I like the freedom of doing rituals on my own; honoring the devine in my own personal way, unencumbered with the dictates of a group. It also allows me to incorporate any tradition I feel drawn to, not only a specific tradition of a certain group. - Sara



My tradition is Celtic Faey Stregheria with Jewish overtones.I know,commonly known as eclectic,but I like to be different. :) I am mainly Strega,but I work with Faey and am studying/slightly incorperating Judaic beliefs in there somewhere.Of course,not the monotheism aspect,but it really is a beautiful religion. Just wanted to explain that. :) I am Solitairy for the most part,however I work with an "unofficial" coven.That is,we never have a definite number,routine,or positions.We meet for sabbats and esbats,and for special requests.I like it that way,because it's very laid back,but it's also nice to be in an elaborate ritual now and then. - Storm



I think that a coven should make an effort to meet outside of Sabbats/Esbats whenever possible. Solitaries have the advantage of doing whatever they like. I also think that covens should make themselves more available to those looking to join one. Blessed Be. - Amuia



Have a small (10 person) coven which is very tight but do large rituals with about 100+ people for sabats - Myrddin



Hello everyone! I think that it is up to the person as to whether or not they work with a group. I have 3 wonderful teachers and great classmates, so I am blessed. I was solitary for 10yrs and I was lonely. I'm grateful that I was picky though, I don't take classes in a shop. My priestess is like my mother and my priests (yes plural) are like two long lost gay uncles, LOL. I have gained the ability to have several different point of views at any given ritual, which is helping me to fine tune my circle edicate and skills. But like I said before, if someone is disposed to working solitary I don't believe that they should be looked down upon for doing it, we should all embrace each other..no matter what. That's the difference for me since I was raised orthodox irish catholic. I have a vast family of pagans now, most of which accept & love me no matter what. Blessed Be! - Kristine



I am relatively new to my study of the Craft (about 7 months), and have only recently considered, and been invited to join a coven. I have not been holding regular ritual, and feel that it may be a good experience for me at this time. But the way some of these questions are worded, it is difficult for me to convey my limited experience. I have done the best I can. - Michael Mongeau



I have not enough experience with groups to really say anything. My sister and I have worked together. A few of my dear friends and I have done some workings. But all of us (friends and sister) are fairly solitary, prefering to work it alone, and come together once in a great while for something larger. It just the way that we are all most comfortable. There is a community with us, but no need for anything formal. When the time comes that we get together, it is a loose situation, leading us to each take a small part equally and create the whole. Such is our way...and I honestly seek nothing more, nothing less. I have been given what I need in this moment, and I cherish it. As things change, I accept them and learn from them. Should we ever feel the need to make a formal grouping, or should I ever feel the need to join a formal grouping not with those that I currently occasion with...then I will take that lead and learn it. So be it... - Twilight



I'm part of a small, but growing, group and I'm really enjoying working with others. We're closer than family, but we still all do work on our own, so I feel as if I have the best of both worlds. And I love going to open events and festivals for large group work and varied learning experiences. - J. Thomson



I hate being able to fill in only one choice for the categories. I don't feel I can call myself a Druid although that is my personal path. The Coven I am with is eclectic paganism. On question seven of my profile I stated that I was a covener, I am an initiate of Full Moon Coven. I am also a member of a larger Church body, the Universal Life Church of Putnam. I also attend large Pagan festivals and events on my own and with other coveners and Church members. On 8, I was self-dedicated for three years before undergoing an initiation into the Coven. On 1, our coven frequently holds Circles with Women's Circle of the New Moon. They are way more into the drumming and Chanting, I love getting together with them. On ritual and you Question 3, Our coven is eclectic Pagan so we undergo a change of leadership roles everytime a solstice or equinox comes around. I have been chosen to priest until the winter solstice.I have major responsibility. Before being elected I wrote and elivered the god invocation for Lugh at Lughasadh. I have also co-authored rituals, and I usually call a quarter at the Church open circles. On 4, the church has a board and so does the coven. Anyone who wants to lead an open circle may. I am on the Boards of both the church and the coven. I am on the Mabon Planning committee this month and am authoring a play to be enacted within the circle dealing with the myth of Demeter and Persephone. On 5, I have attended events in other areas, usually only things like discussion groups, and meditation rituals. I will be in our local Rennaissance Fair, and I might be going to see Starhawk speak at UMASS this month. We will be participating in a ritual with her. One more thing I am the Chair of the Church Altar Committee, which basically I am in charge of the altar theme, offerings, cleansings, ritual, and anything doing with the public altar. Thats about it. Blessings Marky - Markus Dennison



I'll be either on my own or with my sister twin. - Asrai



I work with a group from our Unitarian church on each of the eight holidays, other than that I'm a solitary. I find it more meaningful when the connection is just between you and God and Goddess. Groups are good for energy work, though I don't always have the time. That's another thing, finding time to get with the group even on those holidays. Regarding commercialism I believe it's okay as long as it doesn't get out of control. I think the old witch commercialism needs to be changed to something that actually reflects our religion. We don't fly broom-sticks, wear pointy hats, scare children, etc. We should discourage that kind of hype and teach what we-and SHE-are really about! - Moonfire



I do enjoy the companionship of a working group and the feel of a group circle is different and interesting; however, my most profound experiences have occurred when I worked alone - just me and the Old Ones. - Ragnell



I haven't actually done any rituals within a group. I do however belong to a group of pagan friends who discuss stuff and bounce ideas off each other. Sort of like a support group. It's been nice to have someone to talk about my beliefs. Get ideas from receive understanding and acceptance. We do plan events but so far have kept rituals out of the picture. I think that some off them have been disillusioned with the coven thing. Some of them have actually experienced the break up of their coven. So think that what we have now is just what I want. Friends that accept and understand each other. - Leotie



Solitary can be lonely and creates a lot of "am I doing it right?" and "is this is what supposed to happen" mentality. - Carpe Noctem



like many i have spoken to on this issue, i am solitary not neccessarily by choice but by lack of knowledge of the community. i started pagan circle because i thought this was a problem many solitaries just starting out had or would encounter, and a problem i myself dealt with. as i met more people in the community, i beagn introducing these people to others in the group, and we have formed a loosely bound group, a representation of pagans at ucla. i think as information geared to beginning pagans becomes easier and easier to come by, more young solitaries will find themselves calling themselves pagan without ever having met another pagan. it's important to have an open community. - Celeste Christie/ Star



In reguards to "other" when answering for Magikal path, i choose only to be recognized as a healer, searching for truth through many paths, particularly through Earth/Element related spirituality. - Nokiko Dovidio

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