The Ara Tradition and the Temple of Ara
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Article ID: 10228
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Author: Phyllis Curott and the Temple of Ara
Posted: November 6th. 2005
Times Viewed: 12,824
The Ara Tradition is an innovative, pioneering, and profound spiritual tradition, a spiritual path, and a community that is constantly rediscovering the wisdom of our ancestors and creating relationships with our Mother Earth with one another and the Divine that dwells within.
Inspired by her work with the Brooklyn Drumming Group, the first shamanic drumming circle based on the work of Dr. Michael Harner, Wiccan High Priestess and Ara’s founder, Phyllis Curott, deconstructed Wicca to its core principles:
- The Divine is both the source of creation and the energy which binds all of Creation together. For us, that means treating ourselves, others and the world around us with respect, reverence, reciprocity and gratitude. From this we have derived the foundation of our ethics: we seek to live in a sacred manner because we live in a sacred world.
- The natural world embodies and reveals the presence of the Sacred and its wisdom. Because we experience the Divine as embodied in the world, Nature is our most important spiritual teacher or guide.
- The Mystery of the Sacred is hiding in plain sight for those who are paying attention to the magic of everyday life.
- By living in harmony with Nature, we live in harmony with the Divine. And so we use spiritual practices and rites to bring our selves – mind, body and spirit – into harmony with the natural cycles of the Sacred.
- Observing the wisdom of Nature as holy, we seek to live according to the spiritual principles embodied in the natural world, such as honoring the interconnection and interdependence of creation, living in balance and harmony with the natural world, maintaining that balance by giving back as we are given to, honoring the feminine as well as the masculine aspects of divinity and seeking to rediscover our place in the web of life by engaging the world with open and loving hearts.
With weaving of core shamanic techniques into its core Wiccan practices, the Ara Tradition was born.
Many things make our Tradition unique. Our central spiritual and ethical precept is that we live in a sacred world and so we seek to live in a sacred manner. We achieve spiritual insight through living in harmony with the Earth, and with Nature, with ourselves and with each other. We work to live in accordance with the spiritual principles embodied by Creation, and to attune ourselves with the natural energies of the Earth, Moon, Sun and Universe as a means of connecting with the Sacred. Our Tradition is devoted to experiencing that divinity within the world and in ourselves, and to living lives guided it.
The Ara Tradition is the result of our deconstructing many of the traditional and often patriarchal teachings embedded in Wicca to distill a system of essential principles and practices, including core shamanic techniques. We don’t subscribe to the traditional definitions of magic as the mechanist projection of will. For us magic is about communion and co-creation with divinity. We use a divination not just to “see the future, ” or even to understand one’s motivations, but to engage in dialogue with the Divine, and thus to guide us when we “make magic.”
One of the most distinguishing features of our Tradition is that we do not subscribe to the Threefold Law. As Phyllis Curott detailed in Witch Crafting: A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic, this so-called “law” is a remnant of biblical punishment and inconsistent with our cosmology. Instead the Ara Tradition has adopted an ethos rooted in the central spiritual tenet of our cosmology: that the Sacred is immanent, or present, in the world itself and therefore we seek to live in a sacred manner. The Earth itself, as an embodiment of divinity, is our guide in learning how to live in a sacred manner. Gradually, increasing numbers of Wiccans and Pagans from many traditions are beginning to agree with our Tradition’s critique and with the ethical precept to which we adhere.
The Temple of Ara, which began in 1983 as the Circle of Ara, was organized to formalize and maintain the Ara Tradition across the globe and to support active Ara communities growing in North America and Europe (one of the first US tradition to move back there) . Legally recognized as religious organization, Ara is one of the oldest and longest running Wiccan congregations in the United States.
Our purpose is two-fold: to provide practices and tools designed to help you take off the blindfold that keeps you from seeing the Divine within and all around us and to provide opportunities for people to join together in making the transformative sacred magic to creativity and love. The Temple of Ara celebrates seasonal and lunar holy days that help our community and each of us as individuals synchronize our minds, body and spirit to the tempo and rhythms of the natural and divine world in which we live.
Because we value the sacredness and interconnectedness of all, the Temple of Ara has been active in its general community since its inception. Seeking to dispel the false and negative stereotypes attributed to our religion by outsiders, Ara has welcomed the public to many of its celebratory rites and has been frequently profiled in national and international media. Likewise, Ara has championed our religious rights, including the rights of Wiccan clergy to perform legally binding marriages, of Wiccan congregations to hold rituals in public parks, and of Wiccan students to wear the symbols of their religion. In it goal to further the dialogue between various traditions and religions, Ara has, throughout its history, taken on leadership positions in such inter-tradition organizations as the Covenant of the Goddess and interfaith organizations including the prestigious Parliament of the World’s Religions, the Harvard University Religious Pluralism Project, the Interfaith Consortium for Ecological Civilization, and Women of Faith and Spirit.
Reading and Other References
Phyllis Curott, Book of Shadows: A Modern Woman's Journey into the Wisdom of Witchcraft and the Magic of the Goddess (Broadway Books, 1998) .
Phyllis Curott, Witch Crafting: A Spiritual Guide to Making Magic (Broadway Books, 2001) .
Phyllis Curott, The Love Spell (Gotham Books, 2005) .
Phyllis Curott and the Temple of Ara
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