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Elderwood Grove Clan & Outer Circle
Age Range/Type: Adult
Located in: O'Fallon, Missouri
Key Contact: Jennifer Cox
Spiritual Path: Celtic/Nordic/Witch/Druid/Sham
Status: Established Group
Community Support: Legal Clergy... Teaching Available
Group Overview: We are not out to be the most popular or the best party to attend! Yes, we have fun but not what most cowans (non-mystical folk) would consider as fun.
We DO NOT TEACH! Those that wish become a part of the Elderwood Grove Clan must be already well on their way as becoming an adept of his or her own Craft as a mystic AND whose spiritual path is indeed close to being aligned with the EG Clan’s ideals, practices, and beliefs mentioned below. However, everyone teaches and learns from each other. If someone finds him or herself stumped or need a good direction to find an answer then we can help each other—that is how a mystic’s guild works.
We are NOT Neopagan, Wicca, or any other type of New Age spirituality or religion that began to make its appearance in the 20th century. We are practitioners of the Olde Wise Ways, which are from indigenous occults of Celtic and Norse areas of the world prior to Christian and Roman indoctrinations. Indigenous people around the globe, primarily operate in what is known to sociologist, anthropologists, and psychologist as egalitarian or feministic in that there is the concern for the wellbeing of all instead of egocentricity, which dominates the United States cultures.
PRIMARY DIRECTIVES OF ELDERWOOD GROVE CLAN
FIRST AND FOREMOST: Elderwood Grove Clan defines itself as a mystics’ guild or consortium, which is reminiscent of the Celtic druidic colleges that graced our ancient lands [such as Anglesey in Wales] before the Roman’s invaded them. Therefore, our stages of “initiation” reflects this overlying philosophy. What hinges on each level of “initiation” is: 1.) the creative learning and exploring one’s own personal spiritual path; 2.) the building and maintaining interpersonal relationships with other members; and 3.) participating and in depth involvement of our visions, philosophies, practices, and beliefs as a Clan-family unit. An interested individual must first be accepted into the Clan as a Seeker, which begins the process of relationship building into the Elderwood Grove Clan. Seekers are allowed to come to most of the Full Moon Rites, (which are skyclad) , Sabbats/Gorsedds, and other Clan events that are deemed acceptable. The minimum length of time as a Seeker is 2 years depending on how well the new individual gets along with others and shows what we call our Principle of Interest, which is active involvement. Once an individual is initiated as a neophyte is when it “gets real” as far as being “adopted” as a Clan-family member. Initiated neophytes then follows as the next phase of this transition and is then followed by the initiated/adopted members (e.g., sisters and brothers of the Clan) . The minimum time as a neophyte is also 2 years. Thus, there is plenty of time to discover if someone is right for us as well as if we are right for them. THEREFORE, active participation and old school corresponding etiquette is imperative!
We align with the Pagan Federation definition of Pagan/Paganism, which is “a follower of a polytheistic or pantheistic nature-worshipping religion” and “polytheistic or pantheistic nature-worshipping religion” (from http://www.paganfed.org/ ) . Thus, we do NOT believe that all gods are one god or that all goddess are one goddess because each pantheon is indigenous to the culture and region from which it was or still is practiced. We stress the importance and respect that one must have for these forces because we must become one with these forces to truly work Their will—The Powers That Be—and the will of the individual to create magick. We do not decide that this-or-that don’t exist because history has been severely censored, altered, and destroyed. We are walkers between the planes of existence; therefore, we hold that anything can be a possible truth that could be as part of once that was lost.
We align with the ancient, indigenous traditions and practices of the Celts and Norse, which are much more far reaching than what most individuals realize. According to the Oxford Dictionary (2015) . “Celt/Celtic” is or relating to the Celts or their languages, which constitute a branch of the Indo-European family and include Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Breton, Manx, Cornish, and several extinct pre-Roman people such as the people from ancient Gaul, who were from West Europe comprising the region now occupied by France and Belgium and at one time also the Po valley in North Italy. “Norse” refers to or relating to medieval Norway or Scandinavia [the North Germanic language of medieval Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and Sweden up to the 14th century, from which the modern Scandinavian languages are derived. Also, see Old Icelandic] or their inhabitants or languages (from oxforddictionaries.com) .
We align with the spirituality-based practices of Druidry, Witchcraft, and Shamanism from the ancient to medieval periods of indigenous Celt and Norse traditions. “Spirituality [in the Pagan plural sense] is defined as an awareness of beings or forces that transcends the material aspects of life and gives a deep sense of wholeness or connectedness with the universe. A distinction is made between spirituality, a broad concept representing one’s personal beliefs and values, and religiosity, a narrower concept that refers to institutional beliefs and behaviors and that is a part of the broader concept of spirituality (Ingersoll, 1994) . Religiosity is a public matter, often expressed in group religious participation, whereas spirituality is a more private issue that may or may not be expressed publicly (Hinterkopf, 1994) . Spirituality is conceptualized as the core characteristic of healthy people (Seaward, 1995) and the source of all other dimensions of wellness (Chandler, Holden, & Kolander, 1992) ” (from Myers, Sweeney, and Witmer, 2000) . Examples of mainstream Pagan religiosities are Druidism (not Druidry) and Wicca (not Witchcraft) .
We believe the mind normally operates outside of normal awareness. Dreams and hypnosis are examples of this, which are within the subconscious and are the many automatic functions of the physical body such as respiration and digestion.
To the Clan, magick is defined as “Action in accordance to Will;” (or Actualization of Mental Energy) making something happen by willing it to happen. Magick encompasses many things -- science and art; philosophy and metaphysics; psychology and comparative spiritual paths and religions. The Gods often work with humanity as they see fit; thus, our rituals take the form of dance and song...a celebration of life, in which we give our thanks to the Gods; for if the Gods are to help us, we must help them in the spirit of sharing, giving, friendship, and relationship. This often is in the form of Magick that can be used to obtain that which we need or desire, as long as it is not used out of greed or infringe on other person’s will so long as the person does not try to harm someone else or his or her self. We believe that with the proper training, human minds and hearts are fully capable of performing most of the magick they are ever likely to need. This is done through the use of what we perceive as natural, divinely granted psychic powers. The practice of magick is a central part of most of our rituals like most of the indigenous Celtic and Norse Clan traditions. However, we do not assume an automatic connection between a person's ability to perform “miracles, ” and his or her spirituality.
We advocate for what is very prosocial, egalitarian, environmentally sustainable, and natural; thus, sexism, ageism, racism, gender-role discrimination, things that harm the natural fauna and flora of this planet and solar system, and so forth is where we call each other to fight for these causes. We do not turn the other cheek or hide our faces in the sand when truth, justice, and understanding are at stake. We follow the philosophies of the ancient Irish Brehon Laws, which are highly humanitarian AND environmentally conscience. We believe that everyone should have liberty and equal rights. Even if it doesn’t affect us, we believe in standing up for those whose rights and liberties are in peril because sooner or later our rights and liberties may be on the chopping block. We are strong liberals when it comes to gender equality, social equality, and religious equality, and environmental activists as well as defenders for the preservation of plant and animals alike. We believe, that since the ancient Irish Brehon Laws are quoted as being “humanistic, ” based on prosocial values, and existed in the Celtic lands long before the domination of masculine cultures (e.g. Catholic church, Christian clergy, Roman Empire) , the social multicultural research that which Geert Hofstede and historical accounts (e.g., Boudicca, ancient Greek philosophers, Norse traders) are the untainted sources and more exact examples of what the Brehon Laws truly stood for because much of the written Brehon Laws were and are accredited to the tainted writings of Christian clerics. It is on these lines for which the Clan bases its structure, philosophies, and practices in what is a closer resemblance of the Olde Wise Ways.
We are not vegetarians or vegans but we believe as the ancient philosophies in regards to taking game for food; thus, only killing and using what is needed and not let any part of it go to waste.
We believe in the scientific natural laws of nature, of evolution, and reincarnation, that helps us to be aware of the wonder and the possibilities of the known and unknown that are infinite.
We honor the Guardians, which the primary ones are of North/Winter, East/Spring, South/Summer, and West/Autumn as well as the duality and equal importance of the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine, which jointly and comparably create the Divine Union and the Great Spirit; and our relationships with the Guardians. We emphasize Their creative aspects as well as the destructive aspects, which always causes a balanced union and that you cannot have one without the other. For this reason, we see our deities in all things, Nature and Spirit are linked. Without this relationship, there would be disharmony and imbalance. We believe it is necessary to have a respect and love for Nature, which is divine in their own right, and to align ourselves as a part of Nature and as stewards of the land—not as their "rulers."
We accept what has come to be known as "the Gaia hypothesis, " that our planet is a living being who deserves all the love and support that we, her children, can give her. This is especially important in our modern era, when 3000 years of a monotheistic belief that “mankind is to have dominion over the Earth” is coming close to destroying the ability of the Earth to maintain herself. Thus, we consider ecological awareness and activism to be sacred duties. We believe that since the dawn of postmodernism, the ecological awareness that, Gaia, our Mother Earth for the most part has been recovering. Studying Her past, She has full capabilities of destroying what She created and recreating different life forms that are more agreeing to Her needs. We believe that the Universe, the Solar System, and the planet Earth, form the primary revelation of the supreme mystery from which all things have emerged. We believe that the Universe is an interacting community of beings bound together in an inseparable relationship in time and space. The unity of the planet Earth is especially clear: each being on the planet is profoundly involved in the existence and functioning of every other sentient being as well as other ecosystems and biospheres on the planet. We believe that the capacity of the universe for ordered and especially chaotic self-development, for self-expression, and for intimate presence-of-being was an element of the universe from the beginning. We believe that the three basic laws of the Universe are: differentiation, subjectivity, and communion. These laws identify the reality, the values, and the directions in which the universe is proceeding. We believe that the universe has a violent as well as a harmonious aspect, but it is consistently creative in its development. We believe that the Earth, within the Solar System, is a self-emergent, self-propagating, self-nourishing, self-educating, self-governing, self-healing, self-fulfilling community. All particular life systems, which live upon Her surface, must integrate in their being and their functioning within the community of other mutually dependent Earth Systems. We believe in the importance of celebrating the solar, lunar and other cycles of Nature. We see ourselves as a part of Nature – not above it or below it but sharing our interdependence and inter-coexistence, and we know that repeating patterns can give meaning to our lives. For this reason, we pay special attention to astronomical and biological cycles. By consciously observing the solstices, equinoxes and points in between, as well as the phases of the moon, we are aligning ourselves with the movements and energy patterns of the external world, and continuing customs that reach back to the original peoples and beyond.
We believe that “the power-hungry and greedy ones behind the curtain” concerning governments, main-stream religions, financial institutions as well as other widely accepted practices have agendas that does not support humanity, spirituality, or the Earth.
We believe in prosocial, interdependent, intrapersonal, self-actualization, interdisciplinary actions, and activities that promote healing, wellness, prevention, and resilience to everyone that we welcome and for the longevity of the Elderwood Grove Clan & Outer Circle.
We believe people have the ability to solve their current problems, both personal and public, and to create a better world. What is necessary is a new spiritual consciousness in which shortsighted greed; power mongering and violence are seen as absurd, rather than noble or prosperous. This utopian vision, tempered with common sense, leads us to a strong commitment to personal and global growth, evolution, and balance by using ancient practices and technological advances that promote this type of vision and practices for future generations.
This human interdependence implies community service. We encourage our members to use their talents to help others, inside and outside of Pagan communities. Some of us are active in political, social, ecological and charitable organizations, while others prefer to work for the public good primarily through spiritual means (and many of us do both) . As Pagans, we have the right and obligation to actively oppose those forces, which would kill our planet, oppress our fellow human beings, and destroy our freedoms.
The Elderwood Grove Clan & Outer Circle is based on a devoted, empathetic, supportive community. What is said or happens here stays here. We hold kinship, loyalty, duty, honor, love, peace, understanding, and the truth in all matters sacred and are the cornerstones of our existence.
Nudism, Naturism, Skyclad, and Human Sexuality: We believe and practice nudity, naturism, skyclad or ritual nudity, and the true act of the Great Rite, which is often scary or shocking to some New Agers, however, IT IS EXPECTED within a specified time limit with gentle steps that help ease this process. Often it is overcoming the dogmas of this society and the patriarchal objectivity and subjectivity towards what is perceived as masculine or feminine is normal issues towards nudity. To reclaim our Pagan heritage, we must reclaim our own sensuality, sexuality, and claim our own definitions of ourselves, which is important aspects of the spirituality and wholeness of the ancient paths of the Old Ways. Our lunar rites and for most initiations are done skyclad. Please see: http://www.druidry.org/…/clothed-sky-spiritual-form-naturis… and http://www.druidry.org/…/druidry-other-pat…/naturism-druidry. If ritual nudity is a spousal or partner issue, especially if it is because of his/her insecurities, this is not a Clan issue but a personal issue, which is not accepted as an excuse to not participate as expected. This is something that must be addressed long before someone is accepted as a Seeker into the Clan.
We also believe that it is perfectly fine if someone isn’t monogamous as long as he or she is open and honest about it. Open relationships are definitely welcome, if done with honesty, integrity, and transparency and does not cause disruption within the Elderwood Grove Clan & Outer Circle. For anyone to needlessly upset the inner spiritual balance of someone’s household or individually brings shame and resentment if it is not for a worthy cause in many cultures around the world, which is a practice we try to instill into every member and possible future member of Elderwood Grove Clan.
Familial Practices: We also believe that intelligent and unselfish, family planning, should be practiced by all peoples, which also does not align with Christian beliefs of “be fruitful and multiply!” Just because the majority of us are physically capable of producing children does not mean we should!
NEW: In 2017 we now include The 10 Principles of the Burning Man https://burningman.org/culture/philosophical-center/10-principles/ 20. Conditions of Acceptance: What the Elderwood Grove Clan & Outer Circle looks for are those individuals who want to actively participate, contribute, and nurture and well as learn and enjoy common bonds. Anyone that would like to become a Seeker into the Elderwood Grove Clan or become an Outer Circle member,
• MUST be 25 years old or older;
• MUST have living and breathing the life of a mystic of an indigenous spiritual Earth-based culture for at least 5 years;
• MUST be willing to work hard and hone his or her own skills as a mystic and dedicated to constantly working to become better enlightened on his or her spiritual journey;
• AND must be comfortable with the spiritual practice of ritual nudity—skyclad.
SO WHY A “CLAN?”
From the beginning, Neal and Jennifer Cox, Elderwood Grove Clan’s founding High Priest and High Priestess, wanted to create a Celtic Pagan group that held the Olde Wise Ways as cornerstones for the organizational structure to the entire group. First and for most, the words “clan” and “family” have been used traditionally and interchangeably; thus, the word “clan” was adopted, which both interpersonal and intrapersonal mindsets are implied. The clan system and the ancient Irish Brehon Laws are highly egalitarian; thus, provides an excellent template for Pagan-based groups for which many Celtic nations still honor the traditional clan system and there has been a revival in Celtic heritage. In addition, the basic tenets of the Ancient Irish Brehon Laws are making a comeback among many egalitarian and environmental sustainable nations. Neal and Jennifer’s familial bloodlines are rooted in the Irish heritage, as with other Celtic nationalities, including the Norse and Germanic influences, which form the traditional base of the Elderwood Grove Clan & Outer Circles’s focus towards practices and rites.
Secondly, many individuals experience alienation among their own families when he or she discovered his or her Pagan spirituality and no longer embraced Christianity. Under the forthright directives, Elderwood Grove “Clan” intends to unite many family names and individuals, which may or may not have Celtic, Norse, or German heritage nor linage BUT those who embrace the ancient Pagan traditions and practices of Celtic, Norse, and Germanic practices AND the spiritual paths of Witchcraft, Shamanism, and/or Druidry from these areas of the world.
Traditionally, these families were and still are called “septs” in the clan system, which are differing from the chief’s clan familial name. The sept families unite under a specific clan’s banner and take oaths of allegiance. The intention and practice of adopting members whom is thought to be deeply trusted and those who would hold their oaths to keep with Elderwood Grove Clan & Outer Circle until his or her dying breathe (unless they would want to relinquish their ties) .
Uniting many different families and/or Pagan groups would have the benefit of unification under the banner of Elderwood Grove Clan & Outer Circle would be giving the full right themselves and of their Pagan relatives a haven for not only "to always be accepted as family" in the Olde World sense BUT TO ALSO follow the Celtic, Norse, Germanic, Shamanism, Druidry, and Witchcraft, which will hopefully help us to continue a legacy for future generations. The ruling body is called the White Robe Council, which consists of Elders of the Clan, and jointly acts together with the traditional clans’ chieftains are the High Priest and the High Priestess. One of the benefits as a Seeker, Neophyte, or Member includes a Clan “mentor” who helps him or her to learn the Elderwood Grove Clan’s ways and act as an advocate during the final initiation process to become an actual member of the Clan itself.
Another idea that was preconceived was the possibility of the purchase of land for complete, sustainable, egalitarian living suitable for Paganistic lifestyles, as a nature sanctuary for reconnection with the land, and possibly as a campground and/or event campus. If land should ever be group purchased, then those that helped paid for it under legal contract would of course have his or her portion passed on to another family member as long as he or she of the deceased keeps agreement with Elderwood Grove LLC or allow the counsel to buy this family's portion and not sell it off to some stranger. New membership would be acquired by asking certain individuals and or families that exhibit or would respect those other adopted members and families within the Clan.
OUTER CIRCLE OF THE ELDERWOOD GROVE CLAN AS OF JANUARY 2017:
I [Jennifer Cox] had a vision over 8 years ago [2008?], where I was traveling down an old dusty road and my car over heats. So, I pulled over to let it cool. I lift the hood so passers-by might stop when I notice a winding lane that curved back into a row of what looked like cedar or juniper trees from the distance with the second story of a big farm house rising up from behind them. As I was walking up the lane to see if I could get some water, a little old man in bib overalls who I didn't know came walking toward me happy to see me like a long lost friend. Once he got close to me he said that they were waiting for me to come so that I could take over what was started a long time before he and his wife he met at the compound took over so many years ago. At first, I thought this man had dementia or something like it but no he was completely competent and wily as a fox. So, I asked him who he thought I was and he knew my name, 9th child, 5th daughter, had 3 kids, down to where my birth marks are. The place was a commune and completely self-sustaining completely base on Celtic Paganism and egalitarian values and practices, which began a long research and formulation project based on environmental sound and thriving of the human condition. This place had many dwellings. Many people where polyamous, some were not, and nudity was the norm as long as weather permitted. This place was known for the faery folk with deep woods and old growth trees springs and ponds. Everything ran off of wind, water, or solar power. In a bird’s view, I can still see how it was all laid out and how these people lived and worked in harmony with each other and with the land. Most of the food and clothing was made by people living on the site of 20 to 30 people and had been living there for over 2 centuries carrying on the Celtic Pagan traditions.
After that vision, I deepened my research into the Olde Ways and I discovered how the ancient Irish Brehon Laws, the multicultural research by the social psychologist Geert Hofstede's team, the human and other sentient beings need to thrive in natural environments converged and reflected the same ideals and practices, to which was the basis for the Elderwood Grove Clan thus setting these practices in written form and is now the Clan's Dragon Tooth Parts I, II, and III. We've asked and received a great deal of consultation from the Guardians (the Powers That Be that were around long before the Earth was formed) numerous times to which we tweaked our practices to align with Their requests. This in turn lessened our numbers from 4 people down to 1 person. Last fall (2016) , it was decided that plans to wait to resume events as a Clan and with other Clanmates (Initiated Seekers, Neophytes, and Members Aka Sisters and Brothers within the Clan) until I was done with my education and provisional licensure as MFT to focus again upon it. However, in January 2017, it was conceived that perhaps this vision of Elderwood Grove Clan is not intended for a community in one place but in those individuals near and far who we especially akin with. Those little pockets of people who, if all hell broke loose and civilization as we now know it, was lost for whatever reason to which very little or no communication was available, would welcome us lowly kindred travelers that need to find refuge and rebuild their lives after being forced out. The Elderwood Grove Clan & Outer Circle, and especially the Dragon’s Tooth Parts I, II, & III, could be a template of sorts to recreate communities regardless of size intended. This vision could also include mini chapters for this very reason; which the inclusion of an “Outer Circle” in November 2016. I [Jennifer Cox] keep sensing that Neal and I need to make at least one more big move from the Guardians but I'm still not sure exactly what form this will take place.
THEREFORE: The Outer Circle will consist of individuals who are too far away to actually participate in person and only Online, specially, on Facebook BUT have been researched by the HPS' to be in alignment or close to alignment to the Elderwood Grove Clan's tenets and practices of the OLD WAYS. These individuals, for all intensive purposes, already embrace and practice the OLD WAYS in similar accord to how "the Elderwood Grove Clan" does and who take their spirituality as a necessity for their own ever evolving spiritual growth. Those that belong to the Outer Circle of the Elderwood Grove Clan are kindred spirits that ONLY the White Robe Council and the High Priest and High Priestess invite to join and can also be in the "in kind" nature. Those that belong to the Elderwood Grove Clan & Outer Circle will expand our individual resources by 1) having the ability to raise high magick and healing when called upon to do so; 2) help provide assistance if social and/or environmental disasters should individuals need to relocate and reestablish a new life; and 3) provide a greater sense of community that contributes constructive knowledge, wisdom, and experiences as well as an interpersonal and nurturing supportive group that is indigenous to humanitarian mindsets.
We do not yet have membership fees or tithing so the offering your time and devotion is imperative; however, we may require fees for events or gatherings to disburse costs and small donations are accepted. In a time when many people are looking for something solid to hang-on to in the midst of rapid changes, we offer a natural and creative alternative to the repressive structures of mainstream religiosities. Our alternative is a complete lifestyle – one with concern for the problems of every-day life, as well as the grand cosmic questions. We are on Facebook and on MeWe.
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