The Unicorn Tradition
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Article ID: 3336
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 5,142
Times Read: 29,200
Author: Lady Arden [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: March 3rd. 2001
Times Viewed: 29,200
Established at the Summer Solstice, 1980 c.e. by Lady Galadriel and Lord Athanor in Atlanta, Georgia. The Unicorn Tradition is essentially an eclectic one, rooted in the family tradition through which Galadriel and Athanor received their training and initiations.
We honor both Goddess and God as being essential to the sacred dance we call life, and the One Source from which the universe is created. We are a working/teaching tradition which celebrates the eight Solar Festivals, the New Moons, and the Full Moons. We are an initiatory mystery tradition, with a 5 level, three degree system of training and attainment. However, within the structure of the Grove the temple is run on a mostly democratic basis, with all initiates having voting privileges, with the High Priest and Priestess reserving the right to veto, and to have the last word on certain subjects, such as initiation.
In 1976 Galadriel and Athanor met Lady Rhea and began taking classes with her in the Atlanta area. At this time she was working with priests from two other Celtic Pagan groups, and the classes offered comprised subjects common to all three Craft traditions. Following the end of classes, Galadriel and Athanor moved to Florida, where they were later married in 1978. Following the birth of their first child and their move back to Atlanta in 1979, they began training once again under Lady Rhea. At this time they also began teaching classes under her direction.
Galadriel and Athanor received their priest and priestess initiations at Litha, 1980, and the Grove of the Unicorn was established as a blending of the family tradition and the modern Witchcraft revival movement with Lady Rhea's blessings. Galadriel and Athanor received their Eldership from Lady Rhea in December of 1984. After Galadriel crossed the veil in 2005, Lady Arden, a Unicorn Tradition elder, was chosen as the next Tradition Matriarch.
Currently there are over 30 third degree initiates, priests and priestesses, within the Unicorn Tradition with 5 tradition elders and 6 or more active groups in the United States and in Europe. Lady Arden serves as Tradition Matriarch with Lord Athanor as Tradition Magus and in consult with Lord Lugh, her partner, Lady Rhea, and the Tradition Elders.
Individual Unicorn Tradition members and groups are active in activities and organizations in the community, such as Covenant of the Goddess, Pagan Pride Day, Witch's Ball, round table meetings, Our Freedom, and many others. Autumnfest is an annual harvest festival and gathering that is sponsored by the Unicorn Tradition in the North Ga mountains, and as of 2011 the Unicorn Tradition is a sponsor of Atlanta Pagan Pride Day.
It is the retention of several core teachings from the family tradition that sets us apart from the many other traditions of Wicca. These practices include:
Astrological Dating of the Sabbats
We celebrate the solstices, equinoxes, and cross-quarter Sabbat days when the sun reaches certain degrees within its astrological circuit. For the solstices and equinoxes this date varies no more than 24 hrs either side of the calendar date. For the cross-quarters this often creates a week or more difference between the calendar date and the astrological date. According to our teachings the sabbat dates are as follows:
- Samhain - Sun at 15 degrees Scorpio
- Yule - (Winter Solstice) Sun at 0 degree Capricorn
- Imbolc - Sun at 15 degrees Aquarius
- Ostara - (Vernal Equinox) Sun at 0 degree Aries
- Beltane - Sun at 15 degrees Taurus
- Litha - (Summer Solstice) Sun at 0 degree Cancer
- Lughnasadh - Sun at 15 degrees Leo
- Mabon - (Autumnal Equinox) Sun at 0 degree Libra
We teach the annual circuit of the sun as the Wheel of the Year. Therefore, with the astrological dating of the sabbats, which are the stations of the sun, we get an eight-spoked figure, with the space between the sabbats equidistant. Both symbolically and literally we feel this helps the Wheel to turn more smoothly.
The Elemental Attribution of the Quadrants
In our tradition we teach that Earth belongs to the East, Fire to the South, Water to the West, and Air to the North. This is different than the majority of both Wiccan and Ceremonial Magick traditions. There are several reasons behind our particular symbology.
First, both female elements (earth and water) are placed upon the horizontal axis of the circle. Both masculine elements (fire and air) are placed upon the vertical axis of the circle. The horizontal axis is traditionally ascribed to the feminine, and the vertical to the masculine. At the center, where they are joined together, we find the crossroads of the spirit.
Secondly, when starting in the east and going deosil around the circle, you alternate polarities (feminine, masculine, feminine, masculine) thereby creating a smoother and better flow of energy.
In addition, our tradition teaches that all things begin in the east. To be incarnate on this planet one must be born through the gate of the earth and the east in order to wear a body and make the journey known as life.
The Elemental Attributes of the Tools
Another tenet held by our tradition is that a tool cannot be consumed by its own element. Therefore Wands represent the element of Air and Swords the element of Fire. A wand, as part of the living tree, participates in the process of creating oxygen from carbon dioxide, and is therefore a fit representative of that element. Scepters, as a glorified form of the wand, represent the Law and measure. Swords and knives are forged and created in fire, therefore representing the process of the will and its tempering.
A Grove Initiate has a responsibility to interact with other members of the group, to volunteer to help with ritual work or needs, to regularly rituals, and to seriously take oneself as a part of a group mind and to behave accordingly. They are expected to conduct themselves in a manner becoming an initiate—to embody as best as is possible the 13 Virtues.
Once they have attained second degree they are also expected to take a higher level of participation in both inner and outer court ritual, and may begin working as an assistant teacher under their High Priestess' direction.
All initiates are expected to maintain an altar and the necessary tools for their personal workings.
Third degrees (Priests and Priestesses) pledge a minimum of five years of service to the Craft (which may take a variety of forms, depending on calling and talents) , and to replace themselves (i.e. to teach and initiate at least one other person to the level of third degree) .
Third degrees must remember that they hold stewardship over the element of spirit, and that they are the living representatives of the Lady or Lord, as well as this tradition and their group, and to act accordingly.
Elders agree to serve as a tradition "contact" while in between lives, via the element they work with best. They agree to solve traditional disputes, and to work with and train third degrees where needed. They mediate the power of the stars, and counsel all within the tradition who seek their aid. Tradition Elders work with the community in service to the Lord and Lady, for the good of the Craft and our brethren.
Lady Galadriel has written four books:
- The Tarot: Esoteric, Psychological and Divinatory Symbolism, 1981;Moonstone Publications, Atlanta, Ga.
- A New Wiccan Book of the Law, 1985; Moonstone Publications. 2nd edition revised and expanded 1992, White Light Pentacles, Salem, Mass.
- The Magick of Incenses and Oils, 1986; Moonstone Publications, Atlanta, Ga.
- Scented Gifts, 2000; Moonstone Publications, Atlanta, Ga.
More information about the Unicorn Tradition can be found at our website http://www.unicorntrad.org
Copyright: the Unicorn Tradition, Inc.
Location: Atlanta, USA
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