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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: 12,839  

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 #5

There are so many of us who are seeking *shelter* from our non-Pagan surroundings and need to know that others have the same outlook on life. As for myself I first entered Paganism on my own beliefs and feelings but did not completely know how to put it all in perspective. Working and learning with other PagansWiccans has helped me to learn grow and accept my own insight. Im not saying that working with a group is the best thing for everyone but it was a great deal of help for a lost soul. -


If the right group should come along you bet your besom Id be inclined to work with it even if only occasionally. I am a Solitary mostly because of the lack of a group within reasonable driving distance--i.e. less than half an hour--and because of oddball schedule type stuff in my boring mundane life. But should that right group come along Id be happy to check it out. One thing Ive never understood is some of the snobbery displayed by a few unsavory groups toward Solitary self-dedicated Wiccans. Last time I checked you dont become Wiccan because another human being says you do in a ritual. You become a Wiccan through your own desire and commitment to honor the Lord and Lady. Everything else is just gravy. . BB and Fnord The Right Mostly Honorable Lady Chaobelle -

blessed be i am a 24 yr old feale exployr of information..i have studied in books and have reckognized i have a power of sort.i want it to come forth i wnt to come forth.i want to really know the gift i have inside me.There is one..i feel it i know it.That of the Aphrodite........i hold in my all being.i want to begin..i want to break through this barrier.i am not afraid.....because i know theres nothing to fear...its all around us...i feel its time..and what i ask is i starthow do i come forth and ak for the cleansing i needi want to be set free..i am wanting my strength...i know.....pls help me..... -

I am a closet witch but still find it more intimate to work alone. I feel intimidated by others due to a lack of experience. Also I have not found many to talk to about the craft. -

I primarily stay Solitary. I find it is the way I work most effectively. Ive only just recently become a casual member of a local group not coven. We dont meet reguarly. We meet when we can as we are only a group of 3 including myself. Weve only done a few magickal workings together and mostly use the group as a way to help each other spiritually. Ive learnt alot of others and their opinionsviews on magick and other esoteric type areas since becoming involved in this group. The other good thing is that we are small and that we knew each other beforehand. Ive been actively involved in the Pagan community for near 2 years now and through this active participation I have experienced and learnt alot about human dynamics. Ive learnt that our faults are human faults and have nothing to do with what spiritual path someone professes and whether we belong to a group or are solitary. -

I think interaction between groups and/or traditions is educational as well as socially necessary. Much of my path has been enhanced along with our knowledge after interaction with various people of various faiths. As well as education, networking and social circles (such as the Mystic District in Washington DC) help to solidify and stregnthen the Pagan Community as a whole. If a Pagan feels that they need to hide, that is their choice, but there are others waiting to meet and interact with them in a safe, social environment. - Morlith Dargaard

Fundamentally "new" religions like this always bring out the kooks, and the real battle is finding the centered folks. - Aspen

I have worked as both a solitary and as part of groups. I have also previously been a member of a "formal" tradition. My time with that overly authoritarian tradition (the leader could pass for Jim Jones or David Koresh, no I did not use the cult threat scale before joining them...) really did change my perception of Paganism, but for the BETTER. Following that experience, my wife and I worked to forge a new group which is now growing rather well. We have taken the heart of paganism: the love, the joy of nature, the sense of community, etc. and created a new coven. We still include some of the ritual forms of our old Trad, but removed the authoritarianism and the constant internal backstabbing. And I and my coven sisters (I am the only male in the group) are all better for the trials we have faced and the victory that we won: our own path that we share with each other in love and joy. - Obsydyan Eicher

There aren't words to describe how fulfilling I find coven work. My coven, Compass, is celebrating it's 10 year anniversary this Mabon, and it fills my eyes with joyful tears thinking about how our excitement and joy, love and trust have only grown thoughout the years. I've also worked in open circles and closed circles with members of many different traditions. Though the dynamics are myriad, I felt it that it helped us realize that we are all part of the same whole; all able to come together to celebrate and worship the Gods, no matter what our tradition. :) - Sheri

I hope AUS is the correct code for Australia, because that's where I'm from - britt

I found solitary practice to be immensely rewarding. I still practice private rituals when I feel moved to do so. As a member of a coven, the energy we raise is dramaticly increased. The community we've formed is now my primary family group. There is a comfort about being around other witches that can't be found in other areas. Even if we're discussing non-spiritual matters, I find myself more relaxed with pagans. - Joe Propper

I am solitary because I never have the worry of having to rely on others, or be wary of those who are not serious. The way I see it, I can totally trust myself. - AutumnWolf

I enjoy both working within a group and solitaire. When working with my VC I find that the love that we all share for eachother builds up the energy that's needed even more.The bond that we all share also reminds us that we're not alone in this world, that we do have those of like mind there for us and with us throughout the whole ordeal. When one is in trouble, or having a rough time everyone pulls together to assist.You become a family, make lifelong friends, and it makes things on a mudane level easier. These are just some of the important things, and I wouldn't change it for anything in this world. Blessings & Love! - Brigid

I am solitary not by choice. I live in a Pagan Desert. - RiverWillow

I have attended a few group rituals, and they were all sponsered by CoG. There were quite fun, and I think they were planned to perfection! However, I do not find them spiritually fulfilling. My solitary practice makes me feel like I get in touch with the goddess and god, and aside from being done alone, the important thing is the completely different feeling it gives me. My pseudo-Buddhist, pseudo-monastic private rituals are like the church service, and the CoG rituals are like the big family dinner afterwards! However, it's the other groups I've been involved in that have affected my perception of Pagan groups. I am personally president of a Pagan discussion group. The charter of my group spells out clearly that it is only a discussion group, and is not for rituals. This idea is one of the many things I clash with some group members over, and sometimes they have started rituals at gatherings without my consent. The result is that others -- non-Pagans who are just as welcome in this "Alternative Religions" discussion group -- become uncomfortable and leave. In fact, solitary Pagans like me get very uncomfortable, too! Therein lies my reasoning for it being a non-ritual group, and one of many, many examples where the Pagans in my life tend to go against everything I believe and proselytize like there's no tomorrow. This is why I don't do many things with groups. Too often, I've heard opinions on exactly what I'm doing wrong, and how I can change it. Therefore, I prefer to keep my Pagan group interaction to things like TWV -- non-ritual, discussion groups. When the details of my practice are not torn wide open, inspected, and picked apart by such a group, I know it's one I'll stay involved in. - Lori L. Peterson

Tradition: Celtic Taoism - Tom·is ua Mhuirghis Weinstock-Blair

I hesitated on answering some of your questions.I am trying to be honest,however I have had no experience on working with groups or of coven life.I am a "newbie" to the Craft.I have however been reading for the last 2 years and studying and have just recently decided to make it my life's path.I find you site to be very informative and I am glad there are people out there who are genuinenely interested in helping us wannabees out.I myself like helping others too,a very good trait to have.Anyway I have provided you with what info I can and I hope it helps out.Keep up the good work! - Scatha

I prefer Solitary practice much of the time. It enables me to commune more directly with the Lord and Lady and means that I can take my time with meditations. With larger groups I find that I don't always have the presence of will or skill to as quickly enter the proper mind set and quiet myself - as a result I sometimes don't get much out of a ritual when with a group. However, there are times when the communal songs, energy work and commoraderie is not only beneficial but supportive, energizing and needed. For everyone, I recommend that they study where and when they can, practice making perfect over time. However, don't remain solitary always; mingle the elements and learn what you can from whom you can. For times, see if coven or group work suits you. Flexibility can be the key to true personal development. - Sylvan SilverNight

Question #1 under working with groups required an answer to submit the survey, but none of the answers applied to me. I am a solitary, who on occasion works with a group. I've never been only in a group, only worked as a solitary, have gone from group to solitary or solitary to group. - Janeen

I am still determining my path. The American groups to me seem to be evolving the religion around American "ideals" and straying away from our ancestors practices. I'd love to go to Europe (in particular Lithuania, Scandinavia, and Rumania) and experience that "old time religion". Blessed Be -

Is it possibly to work exclusively one way or the other? I guess some folks have no others which whom to work/celebrate, but given the choice I would always want to have both in my life. - Fenriss

1) The Witch War phenomenon had a lot to do with my taking an hiatus from religion in its entirety for about three years. It's helped considerably to discover that this wasn't just an isolated aberration. (Subsequent similar experiences in Mensa have helped me more readily discern similar problems when they've arisen.) I'm now in the process of getting more religiously (perhaps magically, eventually) involved with others. I'm hoping that the generally higher maturity level (mine and theirs) will help with this. 2) About rituals -- About two years ago I was finally diagnosed with what apparently have been life-long migraine headaches. (I discovered only about seven years ago that not everybody sees little flashing lights on a regular basis, for one thing.) They can get pretty intense, and occur (at this point) anywhere from every two days to every two weeks. My triggers include an almost constant sensitivity to noise, and some scents. I also have seen patterns of what the AMA has called "the inability to respond normally to rapid changes in the environment." Sooooo, I'm been piecing together what may well have been a source of considerable discomfort in some rituals. I'm also finding I have to be very careful in the ways and degrees I run energy. And, I make a definite point to avoid those four-hours-straight-in-the-center-of-the-room drum circles. I've led rituals in the past, and participated in quite a few (not always successfully), and feel the need at this point to choose very carefully what I do -- both for my own health, and to avoid "dropping the ball" in the middle of a work with others. I've developed some workings -- mostly biofeedback without the wires -- to help prevent or deal with the headaches, and have a lot of cues and techniques I use when working on my own. And, if anything can help a person deal with changes in the environment, ultimately it's Witchstuff. I mention all this here because this is directly impacting the way I work. I almost feel like I'm assembling a new tradition -- Witchcraft for Migraineurs? Anyway, I'm still in the process of seeing how this is going to work out, and to what degree I'll be able to work with others. - Kell Brigan

I have been studying Wicca, Paganism in general, and various other paths for several years now. Just recently (in the past several months) I have dedicated myself to the Goddess and God in the Wiccan path. I have never had the opportunity to practice with a group of any kind. I have contacted a few (there are only a few in my area), but have received little or no feedback. I am a Solitary Wiccan only by happenstance.:) Though I do feel a strong connection with Them, I think my experience would be enriched with a group. I'm hoping my trip to AutumnMeet '99 this fall will help! Blessed Be! - Rowan

I'd like to add that some of the questions don't really apply to Asatru; in particular, we don't have anything equivalent to "initiation". I picked "self-dedicated" for the initiation question, but only because the survey insisted I pick something; "none of the above" would be a better answer! Also, a lot of Kindreds (definitely including mine!) are rather looser confederations than are typical Covens, Groves, etc. I put myself down as belonging to a group, but I'm not sure my response implies the same thing as a similar response from, say, a Gardnerian Wiccan would. The question about working with other groups doesn't specify whether those groups are part of the same tradition, so my real answer is "it depends". Working with other Asatru groups I consider "different but still satisfying"; working with other types of Pagan I consider "interesting because it is different" and also "a source of education on the different Paths", but I do not find such rituals as personally effective as Asatru rituals. - Ann Groa Sheffield

I have been eclectic solitaire from the time I started on my journey. I would loved to join a coven but I have not found one yet. - Willow (Rose)

I started as a member of a coven in Boise, ID. I moved to Portland OR where I have not yet found a group that I am comfortable joining. I still travel back to my Idaho group for Samhain, and Litha. It is difficult to change from one area and find a group that has the same dynamic as the one I was in before. I have found myself at some rituals that have been disturbing to say the least. The energy of working with other individuals is something I miss a great deal. - BrigitRose

I have been a solitary witch for as long as I have been practicing...I am very eclectic in my belief patterns, and find that when I do start vocalizing my beliefs to other Pagans, I get a lot of raised eyebrows. I have conscientiously chosen NOT to seek out others to practice with. I will learn from them, incorporate some of what seems good for me into my own system, but that is as far as it goes for me. I am just glad to be able to network with others, because though we may believe differently, we usually tend to have some similar beliefs in the large picture, like tolerance, and a love for nature. It is good to find those who are not hypocritical, and actually live their beliefs. - Bethany Goodine

ON questions 4 and 5, I have heard of a "witch war" (Don't know if the internet counts), but have never experienced one. But as far as either of them coloring my perception of Pagan groups, It would be No b/c all humans will interact differently to things. Now, "Cross Wars" I used to see on a weekly basis, but that's another story..... Dooney Forestwalker. - Dooney Forestwalker

While I enjoy meeting with a circle or participating in a festival it is a great and constant pleasure to walk to the grassy circle at the rear of my property, light candles and enjoy the company of the goddess and god with a contingent of squirrels, hummingbirds and the occasional deer. Despite living in a populated area on a 100 foot by 200 foot lot, we are blessed with a strip of undevelopable woods to the rear. The gifts from this are significant. - Shadowcatcher (Mark S. Schlachter)

The group i refer to working with is actually my family. I do most of my working and celebrating alone, but its not at all unusual for my family to work and celebrate together. I have never worked or celebrated with anyone outside of my family as i have only been active a few years. I am some what different than other family taught witches though, my mothers philosophy was that she should not give us a religion but allow us to find it ourselves so we were not actively taught her religion outside of the absolute basics. We were introduced to it by her but had to research it and learn it ourselves as well as dedicate ourselves. After our dedication she began to work with us. I am going to be attending my first group experience outside of the family this year for Samhain. I am very excited and a little anxious. I have been in contact with other pagans so i have a clue, but still its a first :) - DNysa

I find that working as a solitary during the teenage years is very enlightening to yourself, as you discover more about yourself and what you beleive. To me, it has opened my mind to myself, and I feel that this will help me when it is time for me to join a group. - DragonMoon

I work alone because I don't know others near me. I also find it my personal escape, something for only myself. I don't know if, given the opportunity, I would want to belong to a Coven. I've always been a loner. Blessings, - annie

I found solitary work rewarding but unfullfilling at the same time. When I found others to learn from I thrived. I felt more of a connection to The Old Ways through not only sources of literature, group ritual and practice but through the oral tradition as well. I still do solitary work for some sabbats and moon phases, but on the whole I find much satisfaction through celebrating with my brothers and sisters of The Craft. - Willow

I appreciate my coven always, and particularly for things like handfastings, house blessings, and baby blessings. I also enjoy planning and participatig in public ritual. Sometimes, though I do miss working alone. - Ariadne Luna

I like working alone best, because I do not like others judgements clouding my workings. - Neith

Although I like working with my Coven, I also find it rather gratifying to work alone sometimes as I do enjoy my personal space. - Phoenix

It is my personal opinion that modern Pagans of any stripe should do solitary work if they are involved with a coven/group. I think this helps build stronger skills, and also allows the individual to experiment on the personal level to find what works for *them.* I started out solitary, but soon found a group. About a year later a Witch War broke out so I went into hibernation, doing solitary stuff. Then some folks started working together again and we formed a new group that met for several years. During the time that I was part of a group, I also did solitary work. I also am part of a women's only group as well as a mixed group. Again I think it is important for women and men to be able to work on the mysteries that are relevant to their sex. - urth

Question #1 in "Working With Groups" is a little inaccurate; it's not that I never work with groups, or that I was once Solitaire and am now part of a coven. It's more like I'm a Solitaire who likes to get out of a Sabbat evening. :) Is it considered coven work when you always work with your spouse? Or is that Solitaire By Partners? Dunno. Most of my workings are alone, spur-of-the-moment. If it's important enough a cause or big enough of an occasion, my husband and I work together. Each year, for instance, we renew our handfasting vows in a Summer Solstice ritual. And when we can, our best friend (who also played an important role in our handfasting) joins us, and that's the best. I've done no actual coven work, aside from that, though I enjoy attending community Sabbats and full moon celebrations. - Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

I like working alone because I can practice certain Magicks that other Pagans may not like or agree with - but I feel confident working. I also like being a Solitary Witch because I don't have to worry about the dogmatic "fluffy-white-light" crap that can go on in a coven - and on the other hand I don't have to deal with the "witch wars" as often. - Gawen LeFae

I'm a solitary, but every Yule have a ritual with my brother, his wife, and his in-laws, who are Wiccan. So, that's what my group answers refer to. - Dolfijn Terrakiun

I have found that even in the multiplumed wings of Paganism my own views of the Spirit are still very personal and unique to myself. I am a very social person, but I find that I have been most fulfilled spiritually when I work alone. That is apart from other people, I feel Spirit is always with me. - Cuiun Silverwind

I mostly practice as a Solitare because of the inability to find others in my area. - Blue Dolphin Moon

I came to the God/dess by Divine intuition. (As a child, I always wondered why I was drawn to Witches, ancient stories and the like.) I have never had the opportunity to practice within a group. I consider myself an Eclectic Kitchen Witch. I work most simple magik w/o a circle. Use circles for Holiday rituals and Greater magiks. Although I follow no single path, I seem to be more at home w/Celtic traditions flavored w/Shamanic. W/o a coven and Elders, my growth has been slow. Currently I am studing my "roots" and developing my artsy-crafty ability. Hope to someday be talented enough to use my hand made tools for barter w/others. Recently, the Mother sent a gift to me through my husband (he is also my familiar, totally new concept!) I was given a newborn squirrel. I DO mean newborn. My precious "lil bit" hold the key to a message/lesson I need. Sure hope I get it. I feel that both Group and Solitaire have their blessings, but each should "cross-train" for further development. Hope someday to find a group. Love and Blessings, Teresa Gryder aka: Dreaming Cougar - Teresa Gryder

I consider myself semi-solitary because I mainly work on my own or with my partner and/or friends, but I am also a member of a local CUUPS chapter. I find this option very rewarding because I can make my own decisions, while also having an oportunity to work with and learn from others. - Tricia

I have not witnessed the break up of a coven as a member, but as a friend of most of the members of the coven. It was a sad, difficult time for everyone involved. But I think that this is the way the Goddess works - the Wheel turns, and with it comes changes. The groups that have grown out of the "split" are stronger and more ...unified? that the word i want? Yes, I think so. -

I am on the Council of Elders of CUUPS New Bedford. I enjoy teaching people what I know but my most satisfying work is done as a solitary. Teaching is very rewarding, and we occasionally have a fabulous circle with alot of good energy, but more often it is scattered because people in circle don't know what they should be doing. As a solitary I am able to focus everything I am on the task at hand, the celebration of a sabbat, etc. and feel all the energy completely on me. I have always enjoyed being a solitary person even before finding wicca ... it's just my way. - Christine Fox

Being a solitaire is something I continue to do even though I am now working within a group. There are some things that can only be done in a group. There are also some things that must be done alone. - Aylwyn Nightwind

I think that working with a group would be a learning experience, but I have trouble fitting solitary rituals into my schedule (I have an infant son who takes up most of my free time), so I do not think that group work is feasible at this time. - Rhiannon M.

Having been a solitare for several years, I found a group that allowed me to excel my training. Having someone available to answer questions is a great help. As well as showing me different ways to look at any situation. Being a solitare is great, if you don't mind learning everything out of books. But a group opens so many new areas in your life that you can't get out of books. Many minds working together to solve a problem is a great feeling, because you always come up with more than one option. - JM

I think both Group and Solitare work is essential to progressing along a spiritual path. Group work allows you to experience energy work greater than the sum of the parts, Solitare work allows you to become confident in your own abilities. There is a reason for this, in any pantheon, the gods/goddesses are powers unto themselves, yet in all cases, they join together to accomplish a special task. - Wade Berlin

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