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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: 12,924  

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 #4

I've been alone for a long time. I'm just shy. I plan on going to the fort hood open circle possibly some day... I'm just.. pretty damn shy. - Rev. Lisa Ann

I haven't ever found a group that I've been comfortable working with. - Starscryer

I just "self-converted" as of July, so I'm new to all of the actual life of a pagan, but I've had pagan friends and been involved in the pagan community for years and years now. I am a solitary in general, but I've attended a group ritual or two (and was asked to lead one recently, I did tolerably well). I hope to learn and grow more as I go further along my path. Groups can help to do that, though they need to realize that even pagans can be "fundamentalist" about some things and to keep an open mind. - BirchGroveDancer

I would like in formation on different groups in the sacramento area preferably,downtown that are looking for more members. my E-mail Is thank you for allowing me to participate in this survey. blessed be. - John Scholes

Group working is great for Sabbats, but I prefer to be solitary for esbats and other rituals. That's just me, I'm a private person. - Hippiewitch

I have had fantastic success with the circle I have formed here in Kentucky (The Long View Earth Circle). It is a "Path Neutral" social group and it is growing faster than I ever imagined considering our location in Kentucky. Its success to date is that we recognize all earth spiritual paths and not just one or two. The individual's path has not been an important issue, but what each person's path has in common with the others in the group. Eclectics are the largest group, and by far they are the overwhelming majority. This approach enables them to unite together in Peace and Harmony with those on a more formal path, fosterig a family atmosphere over all. I firmly believe that such circles should unite under some form of common banner, at least within their respective states to demonstrate strength,unity, and common purpose. Pagan Unity is nescessary, possible and higly enjoyable, if everyone trys and wills it so. Brightest Blessings to you! - Ron Cole

Now I feel there are few true Solitaire Pagans, unlike when I started in the early 70's. With the internet and other sources of information today, you are not alone, In the Los Angeles area we have a strong Pagan Community centered around Raven's Flight and many different groups do rituals there. - Dave Finnin

I have primarily worked solitary but have on occasion attended gatherings (sabbats, equinox). Working with a group has been, at times, very good. Advance notice of gatherings has more often determined my attendence. More often, I already have something planned (solitary) which I look forward to doing. - Susan Williamson

I was a solitary practitioner for about a year before deciding that I felt I needed to learn from someone else. I find that, if you find the right Coven, it can be a wonderful experience. Lucky for me, the first people I made contact with were wonderful. I enjoy my Coven, our gatherings and spending time with the people in the Coven. I have also seen another Coven disband. It was close to ours, but I understood the reasoning behind it...which reinforces my belief that you just cannot join any coven. you need to feel at home with the people in it. - Sheriam

I have worked with a few groups on certain occasions, and was a founding member of the Coven Y'Draig in Ohio. However, the Y'Draig disbanded due to ever broadening geographical locations of its members. I find working with groups to be especially powerful, and an excellent opportunity to learn about other traditions. I am currently solitary. I consider myself to be Wiccan and Witch, and to some degree, Hereditary, as my maternal Grandmother was also a Witch. She was born in Scotland, north of Edinborough, and her family's traditional path was that of the Old Ways. However, I am somewhat ecclectic, as I have added elements of other paths, like Shamanism and Druidism, to my personal belief system. I find that this broadens my horizons quite a bit, as well as my overall world-education. I am also gay, which throws yet another spin to my personal path. - Nitewing

I currently 'work' solitary, but will watch others and ask for advice now and then. - john_writer

My "work" in ritual tends to be our music. I recently left our little CAW nest, partly because I couldn't take the rit seriously, partly because we met a non-religious poly group that felt closer to "family" than the forced feeling that came to because the nest is "supposed" to be family. In find lately that the smaller group rits are downright useless for me - our annual Samhain rit (125-150 people)seems to be the only one that works on a cathartic level, and we're playing music for it. Maybe music is my "magickal" path. I find the occasional lighting of a candle, placing a bowl of water / salt on an alter more than enough ritual for me these days, outside of performance. - Christopher Bingham

Neither is better than the other. Working solitary puts you one on one with the Gods and is very intense, but educational. Working with a group may mute the contact with Deity, but enhances the flow of energy. Both are learning experiences that every pagan/Witch/Wiccan/Whatever you choose to identify with should experience. -

The group I am in, The Coven of the Horned Moon, is a failry new group and I have only been a member of it for two months. In the short time that we have been working together, we have all become a second family to each other. We all follow different paths (2 Egyptian, 2 Celtic, 1 Norse, etc.), btu the support network of the group, the security that coems form knowing other people who share similar beliefs and live in the same area and deal with the same problems is amazing. I liked beign solitairy, I love being in a Coven :) - Olivia Gafford

I was a solitary for eleven years before venturing out of the broom closet after my daughter turned twelve and she could choose whom to live with should her father try and take her away. For the first eighteen months it was very fulfilling. My involvement with that group (not a coven) was a casualty of "playgroung politics". But hey, I survived, began conducting open circles and run a coven now. I prefer the term run rather than lead. I think we all take responsibility for leading ourselves, and sometimes that may mean following someone else and at others it may mean leading. I think if we limit ourselves to one or the other or simply being solitary, while it can be satisfying, it does just that, it limits us and what we can accomplish as well as the sphere of influence we travel in. For four years I have been active in my local community and though sometimes, especially lately, I resent the fact that others don't seem as dedicated as I think I am, I still think it important for me somehow to keep plugging away. The more refused to be quiet about the way we are perceived, the more we seek to correct myths and misconceptions, that brings us that much closer to being considered not only a viable spiritual path, but a worthwhile resource for other community needs. Hunger, war, prejudice, disease..none of these care what religion you are. And the only way to combat those things that threaten us all is to stick together. Unity has become possible because we have made it so. While I sometimes miss being solitary, I can't justify keeping the things I have to offer to myself because I can't deal with people's opinons or political machinations. I'd rather do what I have to do to see that we keep the rights we already have and keep trying to secure the rights we deserve. I don't care what the next guy is doing unless he's trying to do the same things. Working with a group keeps me strong. It helps to have a group mind and group energy to work with and through and have the protection of if need be. I have seen wonderful things happen in the last year or so, and I wouldn't have been able to see those things happen if I hadn't come out when I did. That's been worth everything I've been through and I dare say it will continue to be. There are merits to both group and solitary work, but increasingly it's becoming more clear that it will be the groups who secure the rights for solitaries to finally stand up and say "Me too", without fear. I think that's just about the best reason I can think of to keep on keeping on. - Lynda Logan aka Gaia IvoryWitch

I am primarily a working solitarie. I do have a good friend who is frequently my working partner. I(we) attend a many of the public rituals and events as we can. We attend "Beltaine in the Park" every year because we find it a wonderful and uplifting experiance to meet others in the community that we either don't already know or those we only see occasionaly. I am interested in coven work. I have very much enjoyed group workings and feel I have a great deal to learn from other paths and traditions. - Tarfawn

I'd like to work with a group, even if only occasional, but I'm only 17 and my mom doesn't know the religious path I've chosen. Since I can't lie to her about where I will be I am remaining in the broom closet for some time yet. Then I will try working in a group. - Riana

Although I enjoy the energies created when doing rituals with others I feel that sometimes "too many cooks spoil the soup." Being a recovering Catholic I have an aversion to organized religions which is what pointed me towards Paganism/Buddhist/Hindu/Native American beliefs. I do, several times a year, gather with some of my pagan female friends and do rituals, but they are very free-flowing and everyone is involved in some way. No hierarchies. - morning dove

I work mostly as a solitary, although I have done some rituals with others; I can't say that I like either better, because they are too different to be compared. I haven't yet attended any large public festivals, but I plan to make my first one BBMMDC on Samhain! - Aidenaire

I find that working with groups tends to lead to a better or more fun energy flow. I enjoy the groups because each person has something they can give the group and it feels more like a family of sorts. I was with a coven that was Dianic based (and I was initiated into the Dianic Tradition). I was the only male in the coven and the HPS eventually told me that anything I do in my life is her decision. The resulting battle ended up with the coven falling apart. One person stayed with the HPS but the rest still have ritual with me even though we are not officially a group any longer. I feel that the breakup was a personality problem and has nothing to do with the Pagan community at all. - Jon Edens

While I have a group I do rituals with, I have been a solitary and found that to be satisfying as well. You get out of it what you're willing to put into it.... - Lori R. Coulson

The title I best prefer is "Pantheist". I had a little group once but we graduated and moved separate ways. I now currently do not belong to any group, merely because the ones I have come across either are already well established and going strong, or are full of silly people who fight over silly things rather than just getting together and loving our differences. i am currently Solitaire who attends public rits, and Maybe one day will form her own coven... Love and Light, Shoshin - Shoshin

I enjoy working alone, but we all need that input that only others can give. - Hawthorn

The only group environment i have ever experienced is working with my mother. Usually on or around a few of the sabbats we get together and plan our celebration or use something from a previous year that we liked so much we recorded it in the BOS. Otherwise, i am primarily solitary. I enjoy working both ways and have the desire for more group like work in the future. - Sapphire Angelica Brennan

"He travels the fastest who travels alone" - Rat Dog Unfortunately, I often find that the group "we" tends towards it's meaning in Ayn Rand's Anthem - the inability to make any progress at all because of an overinfatuation with consensus. For example in the minutes of a recent XXXX meeting: "volunteers are needed to start thinking about the Witches' Ball". The only thing which seems to prevent this social gridlock is a strong willed "leader" who runs everything, but that generally ends up as a worship clic which can be even worse. So I follow both paths: consensus and leader, and since I'm the only one in my group I can do both at the same time. Which brings me around to my "primary magickal path" which is to follow my life and absorb whatever learning can be had from whatever sources. Some Celt, some Norse, some Egyption, some Jesus, a healthy share of Bokonon and a massive dose of Subgenius and Bill & Ted. BTW, question 1 of "working with groups" does not include my situation. Solitary but sometimes working with groups. NOT a member of a group. (but it won't let me save the survey with a blank answer) - Trickster

I think that I'd like to try working with groups, but at this point in time I'm still working on my knowledge of the craft and don't think I'd be able to contribute much, if anything to a working/ritual. In fact, I think I know so little that I'd be embarassed if I was asked to participate with any more people than my best friend, and even that is uncomfortable for me for now. - Siara

I have only been a solitare. mostly because I was still learning, and then because I prefer the ecclectic way. I wouldn't mind an informal circle, and if I ever found a coven that wasn't too set in a certain structure, I would consider it. But I have been at 2 online rituals, and I must say, one was quite powerful. In any case, I know there are benefits from both, and right now, I believe I prefer the persoanl growth stage I am going through now, so that in the future I would have more to offer if I did join a group. - Rhiannon Daughtermoon

I am a solitary (primarily). I have no "official" dedication to any group or specific path/tradition. I guess that makes me a solitary who does occasional group work with friends and others of the craft. I like the diversity of the group I currently attend circles with, they encourage new ideas and learning different ways of conducting rituals. (I understand some groups are not like this.) I'm primarily solitary because I'm new and still working out my own little quirks, I don't want to get involved with a set of specific "rules" until I've learned my own path. Bright Blessings to All. - AylaLee

I only recently (Lammas 1998) formed a coven with several friends. Some of us had practiced Witchcraft and some had practiced Vodoun, but all of us were interested in integrating the two. I guess it's a new tradition, but I don't think we're doing anything that dramatic. It is just the correct path for the nine of us right now. I am the female elder (none of us felt truly qualified to be priestess or priest.) I sort of got pushed into it by default, and have held that position despite attempts to pass it off. I am more comfortable with it now, and am grateful for the opportunity to experience leadership. For sabbats, we meet with my boyfriend's coven, and I cede leadership to his much more experienced high priestess. Sometimes a third coven and/or stray solitaries join us. We've gotten very good at "consensus rituals". Since most of us are converts, it's wonderful that we can share our holidays with others. I still do many personal, private rituals, so most of the time it's hard for me to remember that I am no longer solitary! I have the best of both worlds--I can work alone, or I can work with others. I am thankful that I can be independent, and very thankful that my independence is by choice. - Jayelle Lukash

Working with groups is an educational experience. It broadens your magickal horizons and often allows you to see things you haven't quite noticed. Sometimes, it allows you to find more comfortable ways of doing things that maybe you haven't considered. The pagan community thrives on networking... so, too, should magick and events. - Selena FireSinger

It would be a worthy experience but I personally don't think I'm ready. I'm still in the "is this path right for me" stage. Not to mention LOTS of study. But come to think of it I am going to a Hindu temple in a couple of days with my moms friend. I suppose that would count. - Electrum

I've found that, as a solitary witch, working with groups can be a nice, and interesting change. There's almost always something that happens completely spontaeneously, and though the rituals are done within a framework, lots of extras are often thrown in, for good measure. However, I do find that I prefer doing spellwork, and meditation/trancework as a solitary, rather than in a group, because it is more difficult for me to focus. Bright Blessings !! - Silver RavenCat

I have always preferred to work as a solitary. This is not because I don't like or don't trust other people, but I prefer the flexibility of deciding my own work and rituals. One of the reasons I first began looking into other systems of belief, as a teenager, was due to briefly considering myself a christian, but being disturbed by other people's assertions that this meant i had to believe certain things and do certain things. I had known about witchcraft for a couple of years before I began to consider myself a witch. This was primarily because I didn't realize until I read Rae Beth's book that I could be a witch on my own. It seemed to me that joining a group or coven would mean compromising some of my belefs to fit in with the established system of the group. My beliefs and the ways in which I express them have changed dramatically over the 8 years I have been a pagan and 6 years I have been a witch. As I changed personally, my knowledge and perceptions changed, and so too did my relationship with my gods. I think if I had been a member of a group I might have become overwhelmed by the conflict this could have caused between my own and a group's systems. As a solitary I only have to answer to myself. However, although I do not feel groups are what suit me in terms of my spiritual life and development, I do think they play a very important part. Any task undertaken in unity by a group carries more power than an individual, and this is mainly how we gain respectability and acceptance as a community. And of course the sheer range of paths and traditions available provide not only choice, but a, mostly, healthy debate over topics relevent to all of us. - Andy Cairns

I like working alone because that's just the type of person I am, but I also enjoy working with the few other pagans on my college campus because: 1) it's just nice to be around other pagans, 2) I learn about other traditions, 3) I think it's very important when you're just starting out to have contact with others who you can share ideas with, get comfy with the idea of *being* pagan in a Judeo-Christian society, and finally, to get some group experience without being forced to bind yourself to a formal coven. It's been invaluable for me, and I'm a lot more confident about my beliefs and practices than I would have been otherwise. - White Wolf

Working in a Coven as the only male has its advantages and disadvantages, and I am learning constantly. - D

i like to work with groups because we share our experences of our life with others. but i like to work alone because you make all the decisions. - Sarah

I enjoy being able to work on my own and still attend group gatherings/rituals with Paganet (local group). I also may look into joining a coven later, but right now I've no time to commit to them. Blessed Be! - Fiona

The day that I realized that Wiccan beliefs mirrored my own was my spiritual rebirth. I was a Christian questioning and not agreeing with many Christian tenant to a happy Wiccan finding a community that opened its loving arms to me and embracing my personal beliefs. I am currently pledging membership with the Coven of the Rose Moon out of Toano, Va and have found true realization of my spirituality since embracing my paganism. Thank you for your wonderful and informative web site....I visit it every single day without fail. - Stephen W. Feltner

In terms of group dynamics, working with a pagan group is no different than working with groups in the "mundane" world. They are filled with human beings who have different views, different emotions and different needs. Just because we're pagan doesn't make us exempt from the joys and failings of the rest of humanity - just hopefully more aware of how we effect what and who is around us. And we must also remember that what we do packs more wallop than the average joe - dealing with the energies that we do, we must be extra aware. Having worked both solitare and in a grove structure, both have their advantages. However, working with a group reminds us that we are part of a whole and that we must be aware of this in our actions. Also, the amount of energy for workings is so much higher and more concentrated - what a rush! - Cassandra

I think groups are absolutely wonderful in theory. In practice they leave alot to be desired. I think it might work better if there was less of a need to be a part of a group and to have the group become the focus of ones work. Group breakdown is always a problem but group think is even a greater danger (IMHO). - A.C.V.

These were in my opinion stages in my learning. Being independent in life is important, being interdependent is also important. I don't believe you can truly be good at group work until you have the self confidence from having worked alone. If you start in a group with a good teacher, then your first steps should be virtually alone (even if guided). So in my mind both are important. There are some lessons you cannot learn in a group and you certainly can't learn group work alone. - Lady Sine

I have little experience with either, but it is logical to me that I must become comfortable with my own sense of what is Wicca before I go branching out into covens. I enjoy the solitude and prefer to stand apart at this time. - Icedancer

I very much enjoy the cameraderie, and the new ideas that get bounced around - everyone has such an amazing personal view of the universe! - Constance

I am mostly Agnostic leaning towards atheist. I was raised Catholic but became disturbed and disgusted with it in my teens and eventually learned about nature based religions from my sister. My girlfriend of 4 years introduced me to wicca in particular but we have studied and read about many various traditions. However, My mind wanders and I am unsure in my life. However, I feel if there is something greater than this life it is more in vein of the duality of the divine withe quality of masculine and feminine in nature. That is what I think anyway :) - Scratch

I usually only go around with groups on a superficial level, I have yet to find a group that isnt woefully poor, too bent on doing whatever the heck they want do, or have no real traditions to be satisfying. And the older traditional groups want nothing to really do with those who are not in a formal tradition. So solitary I remain until I can find some nice, normal people, that actually enjoy middle class America, and can actually be witches too. - Veronica

I currently prefer to work as a solitaire because of the many years I spent in a patriarchal religion. Always telling me what to do, when to do it and how to do it. I feel that if I am going to be truly responsible for my path I must learn on my own instead of expecting everything to be spoon fed to me. Based on my experiences that doesn't work. I do have some contacts who will answer questions or point me to resources I was unaware of but may be able to utilize in finding my own personal path. Eventually, when I have learned alot more than I presently know I may seek a group experience. Then again - I may not. It is a choice I am holding in reserve. - SillverWillow

Soltary was a good way for me to get my feet wet while still struggling with a Southern Baptist worldview - but now that I embrace a Wiccan path, I *need* community - spirituality is lived out in community - humans are *social* animals. - Brian Hearn

I throughly enjoy the contact i hyave woth others, but I am at one with aspects of wicca in my provate and corporate life. - William

Actually there were several questions which wanted multiple answers from me. I am both a hereditary part of a family tradition and an initiate of a traditional coven. I have also worked as a soliatary for many years after leaving my native England before being called to form a small coven here in the US. With the understanding that this is not necessarily the only way things are, my experience has been that covens are either teaching or guardian in nature. Guardian covens generally tend to stay together as a group in service to their guardianship, and teaching covens train witches to either go on to form new covens or practice as solitaries with coven ties. And guardian covens sometimes teach as well. My fledgling coven has emerged for teaching, but with strong ties to the guardianship of equine creatures. Hmmm what does that tell me? I find it very fulfilling to be able to pass on the knowledge I have gained to my coveners, and grateful for the lessons they have to teach to me. As the mystical paths attract more and more people things change and new ways emerge. I believe any living religion must change in context with the times it is practiced in. My one fear is that the Old Ways are being somehow diluted and Christianized...and this troubles me some. But perhaps I need not worry. Perhaps it is the natural evolution. I shall wait and see. Blessed be well. - Zyalia, the crone

I spent my first years as a "practicing" pagan as a solitare in the company of other solitares. My now wife was confused to vist one of our "rituals" and discover each of us wandering off and doing something different. After a time the members outgrew the group and we went our seperate ways. More recently I have joined a local pagan networking group that hosts weekly Open Circles. The entire group, esp. Circle,is very loosly organized and responsive to needs of the membership. Members of Open Circle particpate actively or passively as they feel the need. I have learned a great deal, though as the only pseudo-Egyptian in the group I am still largely solitairy in my personal practice. - Leonard Farnsworth

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