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House of the Wind
Age Range/Type: Adult
Located in: Florence, Massachusetts
Key Contact: Joshua
Spiritual Path: Wiccanish
Status: Group Forming
Community Support: Legal Clergy... Teaching Available
Group Overview: House of the Wind - Vision Statement
There are two types of witchcraft that we should define here and we follow the scheme given in the Farrars' A Witches Bible. There is religious witchcraft, what most people would probably call "Wicca, " and operative witchcraft, magical means for practical ends. House of the Wind sees these two types as inextricably bound, however different, and walks the ways of worship and magic simultaneously. Additionally, witchcraft can be solitary or practiced in a group. While our goal is to work as a group to combine our power, we do not neglect the development of the individual. All of our witches should be able to practice alone just as well as in a group.
Relationship with God or the Gods is an important element of the religious side of witchcraft. House of the Wind teaches that, ultimately, all is One Goddess, the First Dark, who manifested all of creation out of nothing. This Deity is singular in essence and multiple in revelation, holding all gods and spirits within herself from before the beginning and revealing them in the context of creation at the appropriate times and places and to the appropriate oracles. While you are free to work out your own theology for yourself, our coven assumes that the gods are both real and personal. That is, they are not figments of our imagination or "thought forms" or "masks" which we have projected onto the Ground of Being. Rather, she has projected them into and through us. The gods of our existence are inherent in our existence, immanent in nature. The sun would exist with or without us. True, it may not be called the sun nor would it be called anything, but it would exist and so would its spirit. Any path to true power must necessarily be in recognition of these forces since they are the sources of all power.
As a magical practice, witchcraft is not overcoming natural law but working with it in harmony. This work brings the witch personal power, specifically enabling her to govern her life as she sees fit while avoiding - and indeed preventing - the harm of others. Additionally, the work is collectively empowering, gathering like minded individuals together to achieve even greater ends, collective healing and the steering of the human race toward harmony with creation. In our vision of witchcraft, our path is one of universal justice as much as it is a way to individual agency.
House of the Wind is a somewhat traditional coven in terms of liturgy. We adhere to a basic, Gardnerian ritual frame as reported by the Farrars in their aforementioned tome. However, we also draw on the inheritors of Gardner's work, and use material from Doreen Valiente and still more recent witches. We do not claim to be specifically Gardnerian or to belong to any tradition in particular and yet we are also not "eclectic" in the sense that word is used today.
Here are the more significant changes we have made to the traditional way: We are a "robed" coven and do not work skyclad when together. Individual witches may work nude in their private rites if they so chose. We do not practice a sexual Great Rite in circle. Sex magic is again left to the privacy of the witch's home, though it can be argued that witchcraft is inherently sexual. We have created a kind of neophyte degree that comes before First Degree Initiation. This is called Dedication and dedicants are admitted to most of our circles. Finally, we have done away with working partnerships and certain elements of the gender binary. A person of any gender may initiate a person of any other gender and we fully realize that there are more than two genders to be spoken for in our rites.
There are some ideas that locate us in the more traditional end of the spectrum. While the mythology of the coven is more vast, our working Goddess and God are Aradia and Cernunnos, just as they were for Gardner. We do not pick different gods for each holiday or circle, but stick with these in all our workings. Individuals are, of course, free to worship as they see fit at their own altars.
We are also somewhat traditional in our avoidance of incorporating traditions that are not germaine to our heritage. We do not use smudging or meditate on chakras nor do we take significant material from Jewish Qabbalah as so many other witch traditions do. We have a commitment to social justice which means careful consideration of our privilege and power socially, not just magically.
When it comes to the elevation of the feminine, we are again more on the traditional side of things. We call the Ground of Being "she" and even identify her with Diana Trivia as did Charles Leland. She is the original emanator of all else including her companion, Lucifer, god of light with whom she coupled and gave birth to Cernunnos, god of the sun and wild nature, and Aradia, goddess of the young moon and savior of witches.
One final point about our coven which is not clearly traditional or untraditional is the usage of printed books. It is certainly the case that the past fifty or so years of witchcraft was a prolific time for religious publishers. Many witches today come to the Craft as intellectuals, as hungry readers. We also know that this cannot have been the case before the 1950's when what witches did exist learned everything by doing. House of the wind has a split approach to learning that is at once traditional and new. We strive to present the basics in oral format and by showing and doing together. Witches training for the Second and Third Degrees will have some reading to do as leaders and teachers of future witches, but no one should be held back because of an inability to read endless pages or even a distaste for doing so. Ours is a craft of the wise, yes, but there are many ways toward wisdom and the way of books is not in any real danger. On the other hand, the way of ritualized oral transmission is all but extinct. We witches can prevent it from dying if we just look up from the paper for a moment and talk to each other.
Degrees and Training
The degree structure of our coven is slightly different from the traditional model. It is built to encourage deliberation before commitment and to make space and time for experimentation. Seekers are introduced to the House of the Wind by reading this vision statement and attending a number of informal meetings with a senior member, someone who can answer questions and explain differences between our practices and the practices of other groups. These meetings also serve as a low pressure interview. At some point, usually after 2-4 meetings, the seeker will be invited to a dedication ritual.
At the dedicaiton ritual, the seeker takes a vow of secrecy and is admitted to the coven as a member. The coven does not officially consider this person, now a dedicant, to be a witch. In fact, it is suggested that dedicants put off calling themselves witches until initiation so that reaching that benchmark will feel like a significant change. The dedication ritual also marks the formal beginning of the training of a witch. A personal teacher will be assigned (ideally with the dedicant's consent) and the period of one year and a day of training begins. Training will look different for each individual, especially for those who come in with a lot of experience in the Craft already.
After a year and a day of training, a dedicant may be initiated to the First Degree with the consent of their teacher and the coven leadership. Ideally, the coven should be unanimous in confirming their new witch sibling. Initiation makes the dedicant into a witch officially and this comes with some responsibilities, chief amongst them is the responsibility to keep one's own book of shadows.
Witches may prepare for Second Degree initiation by studying with a senior witch. This stage in the process also includes significant reading, the development of divination skills and a specialization project of the witch's choosing. A Second Degree witch is called Priestess or Priest and is admitted to Dark Moon Esbats. Second Degree witches share in some of the responsibility of teaching and initiating new witches.
After Second Degree, a witch priestess or priest may decide to pursue the Third Degree, enabling them to establish their own coven. Of course, anyone can establish a coven if they so choose but having the support of their birth coven and participating in the expansion of our tradition requires a formal course of training. There are other reasons for pursuing this level of education than just forming a coven. Deeper work and study increases the witch's agency over self and quality of contribution to the group.
If you have read this vision and are interested in exploring membership in House of the Wind, get in touch using the given contact information. Your contact with the coven will ask you to share some details of your spiritual journey so far. They will also be available to answer your questions about witchcraft and our particular style of practice.
Please keep in mind that we are a small, closed, working group. We are very serious about the privacy and comfort of our members. In the interest of keeping our coven a safe and comfortable place to practice the Craft, we reserve the right to reject a member or initiate for any reason whatsoever. If we find that we are not the right place for you, or even if you decide that, we are happy to offer an alternative course of action with a local teacher or another group.
Telephone: (774) 2741987
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