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Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
The Dark Side of Leading: Covens, Groups or Groves
Article ID: 13191
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,718
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Author: Lady Abigail [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: March 22nd. 2009
Times Viewed: 4,029
Perhaps the biggest challenge in any group is in understanding the people you work with. In search of the perfect solution, most people become oblivious to those of differencing opinions. It is not negative; it shows passion to their beliefs. But be careful, passion can sometimes lead to wishing and hoping for things to be different than they truly are or thinking that you have the only answer. This can set up problems when things don‘t go your way.
Gaining the respect of a group is paramount as a leader. Respect comes from knowledge, understanding and accomplishments. You must also show your credibility and reliability within the group so that there is an awareness that you will always do what is in the group’s best interests.
For effectiveness in leadership there must be trust and humility. It is a mistake to try to "become an authority" in all matters. Know when to ask the right questions and be able to test the answers. Your greater knowledge within any group is the freedom to rely on the other members and respect their input.
However, this is different than trying to find answers that will make everyone happy or allowing the personal opinions of anyone to overshadow what is best for the group.
Over my many years of leading groups, I find that people join a group for many different reasons. Some join to learn, some join for community and meeting others of like-minded spirit. Some join for the energy they find working in a circle with others and some join to come together on and give honor to the Gods.
But, far and above, the number one reason I hear is FAMILY: the need to be accepted and comfortable with others who understand who they are, being a part of something greater than themselves.
As a High Priestess of a coven (Ravensgrove Coven) , I find that all of these reasons can all be good as long as there is also an understanding that your reasons may not be the same as the person standing next to you. Yet theirs are just as valid. That is as long as each member can work well with the other.
Nevertheless, problems can arise. Hurt feelings, anger and even jealousy. These must be dealt with as they happen, quickly, personally, privately and honestly. Discretion is honorable is such matters. We are not children who need to be scolded and made example of, nor should be pick sides. We are adults and Pagans; therefore, we are to use wisdom and consideration, not the emotion of the moment.
Once a problem is seen, it is the leader’s place to handle it quickly and as they believe best for all concerned. Those with experience within a group will tell you, when there is any discourse in any group; working together in circle or for magickal intention is not going to happen. Anytime, whether in circle, in life, home or job, you try to work with someone you are angry at … you know it will not succeed. Unpleasant or angry energy is not going to give you any positive results, only negative. Plus all those who have been working within this circle have been drawing the negative energy in and that is detrimental. There must be harmony within any circle, be it for magickal working, healing or energy work. This is for the positive nature of the circle and all its members.
It is not always easy being the leader, since with every decision there will be some that are going to be disappointed once it is made. That is why on matters of great importance you, as the leader, may want to ask your group to vote or give their options on certain issues. Yet, when all is said and done, you will be the one making the finial decision. Good or bad, you will also be the one held accountable, and that is because it is your responsibly to make all decisions in the best interest of the group. On the group as a whole, not your friends, not even your family but for the group as a whole.
I have found that whenever you have more than one person in a room you are generally going to have more than one opinion. The more people in a group the more likely that someone is going to disagree with the decisions made. It is nature; we all think different and have different concerns and outlooks. But when all is said and done, it is the leader’s decision that must be final.
Once the decision is made, everyone within the group must uphold the decision, whether they were in agreement with it or not. This is part of the trust you promised, and gave, to your group and your leader when you joined the group. This is the trust that any decision that would be made would be in the best interest of the group as a whole. Remember: ‘in perfect love and perfect trust’ is not always as easy to implement as it is to say.
Everyone should try to understand that it could be difficult for any leader to continually deal with internal problems between members. If you are having a problem with a member, remember most likely, the group leader is hearing your problem from two sides.
Dealing with constant turmoil can spiritually and personally drain anyone, even a group leader. For some, it can leave them wondering if they should keep the group going if it is a continued drain on energy and not the energy building force any group should be. Sometimes people forget that even your group leader is human, with human emotions and limits. Unfortunately, this is the reason so many new groups fail and the leaders walk away.
*Therefore, here are some of possible problems within any group. To be aware of them may help you or your group to avoid them.
One extremely detrimentally problem within any group is a lack of honest communication. There is nothing more frustrating to any leader than hearing that people are afraid to talk to them. Or that people are worried the leader will get mad. How can you work to heal or fix problems within a group if those within it don’t know that they have one?
Then there is what my Great Grandmother would call the chicken pen syndrome. Where those in a group believe that it is somehow better to talk to someone else about what they consider wrong, or their worries within the group, rather than talk to leader.
If you cannot talk to your leader, directly and clearly, then you cannot trust them. Trust is one of the greatest parts of any group leader’s job. They are your clergy unto your traditions as a whole, so where are you without trust.
When someone feels they need to talk to someone else as a go between with their group leader, this is not only detrimental to everyone in the group but also extremely upsetting to your group leader once they find out. And they will find out, since people love to talk. And if you have a group of people who love to gossip and back bite, do you really think that what you say is going to be confidential?
Any group leader is both a human and an emotional being. They get hurt, angry, sad, and happy. Sometimes within their emotions they will say more than they should. It is called being human. So, you need to remember they are the representation of the Deities, but they are still very human.
A.) When anyone has a problem with anyone or something they believe is wrong, then talk to your group leader.
B.) If you have a problem with someone, then you need to privately talk to that person and handle it. If that does not work then, and only then, you go to the group leader and then you both go and talk with who ever your issue is with together.
C.) If someone comes to you and wants to talk about anyone else (including your group leader) … you to tell the other person that you will not listen (and you need not to listen.) Tell them they need to talk to the person with whom they have a problem. If it is a group concern then they need to talk to your group leader.
D.) Once something is over, finished, or fixed, stop rekindling the fire by rehashing it over and over with others. This just brings it all up again and causes everyone to think they need to pick sides when there are no sides to pick. When it is done, let it be done and put it behind you.
Don’t expect the world when you see childish behavior that seems to come to every group at sometime. Remind each other of the reasons you are there. The friendship, community and energy of being in a group of like-minded souls.
Don’t get disheartened because you think the group should be all about magick or spell work or whatever. There needs to be a balance in all things. Energy work, magick, blessings and power work. Remember your Rituals are a time of honor and worship first, then a time of magickal and energy work.
Let us never forget the honor we give unto our Deities first.
Many groups set up a round table just to deal with any concerns that might arise within the group. It is a time set aside to talk and work together and decide what is best for everyone in the group. You have an open forum for discussion that everyone has a change to speak up and out if need be. But once you leave the table the issues are closed.
Again, once it is over. Let it be truly over. Once a group has made a decision together even if it was not what you wanted, the vote is made and you need to honor the vote.
Everyone must be willing to completely clean away the old rubbish, or as some say, ‘DRAMA’ of the past, and leave it behind or it will destroy any group.
Respect the elders. Teach the young. Cooperate with the pack.
Play when you can. Hunt when you must. Rest in between.
Share your affections. Voice your feelings and Leave your mark.
Blessing be unto all,
High Priestess of Ravensgrove Coven
Copyright: Copyright © 02252009
High Priestess of Ravensgrove Coven
Greenfield, IN area
Location: Greenfield, Indiana
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