Page: Profile: Group
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Formed?: June 8, 2003
New Members OK?: Yes
501* Cert.?: No
Group Id: 30426
Poster Id: 212770
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Opus Aima Obscurae (OAO)
Age Range/Type: Adult
Located in: Missoula, Montana
Key Contact: Raven Digitalis
Spiritual Path: NeoPagan/Occult/Hindu/Thelema
Status: Established Group
Community Support: Open Circles... Legal Clergy... Teaching Available
Group Overview: Opus Aima Obscurć Mission Statement:
1) Serve as a multicultural resource center for ancient and modern Pagan cultural histories and mystic tribal traditions through the esoteric practice of Thelema and open-source education promoting free will and independent thought.
i. Offer to the public remunerative Temple memberships to our Religious Library, Cooperative Farm, Coven and/or Occult Training Order, granting participants varying levels of access to resource materials, courses, earth-based commodities and events.
ii. Explore the self and our global religious community through all mystical paths and cultures of the world using committed matriarchal spiritual practice and dedication to support public works that serve the greater community through activism, volunteerism, civil rights outreach and multicultural cooperation.
iii. Become modern polytheists engaged in western shamanic animism through our commitment to environmental accountability, sustainability, permaculture, spiritual consciousness and freethinking.
2) Sustain a Temple-based Training Order to achieve a balance of ceremonial ritual & prayer in our professional daily lives as civic delegates of modern global polytheistic religion.
i. Create all actions as ritualistic devotions of Spiritual Will, or one’s personal “Great Work, ” committing to observe personal vows with each year of qualified esoteric study (called Marks or Degrees) .
ii. Sustain remunerative religious services, items of spiritual significance and earth-based spiritual commodities for the general public, specializing in the performance of ceremonial observances for ancestral, seasonal, astrological and necessary life rituals. In addition, Clergy offer personally accredited ruminative services including spiritual intuitive consultations, religious counseling, mentoring and referral or guidance in progressive natural healing, metaphysical art and alternative spiritual therapies.
iii. Celebrate and study all known deities in our world to learn effectively how to invoke and channel the higher levels of divine consciousness proficiently within daily life as we aim to discover patron and matron deities, spirits, and personal pantheons.
3) Living this sacred life, driven by transcendent purpose, eminent transformation and individual progression.
i. Focus on and commit to giving back by developing social consciousness through community volunteerism, civil rights direct-action campaigns, fundraising for other progressive nonprofit groups, and offering our time and energy to the preservation and maintenance of spiritual diversity. As modern animistic Pagans, we extend this sense of karmic awareness and guardianship to the conservation and sustainability of biodiversity and natural order with regard to public and wild lands across Gaia, our shared mother planet.
ii. Organize public events to promote diverse Neopagan and multicultural awareness to inspire positive change and civil rights in global society, the greater spiritual movement and oneself.
iii. Manifest both individual and group intent with a commitment to proactive magick, meditation, and mindful choice as an exercise in transparent accountability.
~~~ The OAO Trinity: Who is OAO? ~~~
OAO: The Community
- The OAO community, or "outer court, " consists of anyone who comes to the public events we host. Everyone is welcome to come-and-go as they please; come one, come all! Our community welcomes anyone and everyone with good intention, and encourages people to attend as many public events as they'd like, including Sabbats, holidays, Dark Moons (women) , Dark Suns (men) , Open Library days and other public gatherings. Most gatherings ask a $5 event fee, but if one would like to become a Supporting Member of the community they are welcome to pledge $75, which covers all event fees for the year.
- Event attendees are expected to bring potluck food or drink to share with the community at every event.
- Beginning after Beltane 2013, events will meet at 8pm and begin promptly at 9pm on any given evening, and additional information is sent out in the emails that precede any public gathering.
- Please note that one must attend a public holiday or Sabbat before they are eligible to attend a Dark gendered event.
- One must be 18 or older to attend an event, or should have an approval letter written by a parent or guardian.
- All attendees agree to the Temple Haus Code of Conduct, which is posted on the door to the Temple Room.
- OAO Clergy are more than happy to write a professional letter of reference or explanation of a holiday or event if it will help you acquire necessary time off from work in order to celebrate your chosen religious holiday.
OAO: The Coven
- The OAO Coven is a group of practitioners who share common visions and goals. We embrace one another as a type of neo-tribe or spiritual family. Coven members have a commitment to one another in Love and Trust. A willingness to engage in open communication is required, in order to use direct dialogue to resolve any issues or fears that may arise.
- Coven applicant must have been a participant in the practicing OAO community for approximately one year prior. One must have attended at least 1 public holiday, 1 gendered ritual (Dark Sun or Moon) and 1 other event (such as a CottageCraft or Open Library Day) over the course of the preceding year to be eligible to apply for Coven membership. We encourage everyone to come to as many public events as possible leading up to and following Coven initiation!
- Coven members are expected attend a simple OAO Ritual 101 class, which are offered on Open Library Days beginning after Beltane 2013.
- Applying for Coven membership is as simple as alerting a Clergy member of your intention. One should then seek sponsorship by a Coven member so they can experience Coven involvement to determine if it is right for them.
- During a year of Coven involvement, pre-Samhain counseling is required weekly throughout the month of October, which can either be reciprocated financially ($30 per session) or by volunteering your time to the OAO community service program (by committing to volunteer 3 hours per spiritual counseling session) .
- In addition to the October spiritual counseling sessions, members of the Order, including Coven members who are aspiring to join the Order, are also required to attend weekly counseling sessions throughout the month of April, in preparation for springtime initiations.
- Attending major holidays/Sabbats as well as Full Moons are the only definitive attendance requirements of Coven members. Only those in the Coven can attend Full Moon ceremonies, whereas the general public is not eligible unless a Coven member sponsors an individual, who must additionally be approved in advance by members of the Order.
- We hope members will attend as many public events as they are able. Coven members are also invited to attend any holiday-prep meetings, which occur each Monday directly before a major holiday.
- One should be willing to help with Farm work when the need arises; this is especially dire during the time of the annual harvest (Paganism is an earth-based lifestyle, after all!)
- Year fee: $100 as a Coven Member (allows you to come to all events for the year without paying an event fee, and receive a ritual robe) .
- Coven initiations happen on one day per year, occurring on or around the 15th of May.
- Coven membership must be renewed annually.
- One must be 18 years of age or older to join the Coven.
OAO: The Order
The following information pertains only to those who wish to join OAO's Order, or system of spiritual study. One may apply to attend our seminary courses to deepen their understanding of esoteric spirituality within our Order. Only people who are seriously considering devoting their personal and professional lives as a member of Neopagan Clergy, as a Priest or Priestess, should apply for training with the Order. (Many other classes and events are available for the Coven or general public, and one does not need to join the Order to have access to OAO's courses, classes, or invite-only rituals.) Our training years begin on Beltane (May 1) annually. In order to be eligible for initiation within the Order, one must have been a member of the Coven for one year, and must have received weekly spiritual counseling sessions throughout October and April, and must be in good standing, having either paid or performed volunteer work-trade for their spiritual counseling sessions.
--> Year 1: Aspirant Year: Welcome to the Order! This low-impact year is designed to introduce a person to Temple life. As an Aspirant, we ask that you attend all Monday training lessons for a year and a day, as well as all public Sabbats, in order to familiarize yourself with OAO's structure. Monday lessons focus on introductory metaphysics and magick. We ask that Aspirants strive to attend Dark Moon or Dark Sun events as well, though only the Monday lessons, Full Moons, and the large public events (approx. 8 per year) are required. Aspirants (and above) are required to have and wear ritual robes at all ceremonies; details can be arranged with members of the Order. Aspirants are asked to clean up after ritual (as the "Walla") , answer the door, collect event fees, and be a 'bridge-builder' between the Inner and Outer communities, which will help one gain a more objective perspective of community involvement. As with all levels, Tarot and spiritual counseling from OAO Clergy is available by appointment at any time. This year is centered on getting to know the community and learning the operations of OAO as a ceremonial and social group. Aspirants receive weekly training videos and are expected to attend weekly lessons. Aspirants are asked to bring tea and appetizers to Monday lesson nights for all guests to share. Aspirants are additionally required to attend any holiday-prep meetings, which occur each Monday directly before a major holiday.
Year fee: $100 as a Coven Member (allows you to come to all events for the year without paying an event fee, and receive a ritual robe) , plus an additional $100 for access to as-needed spiritual counseling with Clergy during times of hardship, including the weekly counselings throughout October and April (= $200) . Additionally, in exchange for the weekly spiritual training lessons, we ask that 3 hours of community service be given to OAO weekly, which may be scheduled by appointment each week with HP or HPS. Aspirants are expected to financially contribute to the large public events, including a minimum contribution of $30 for each large public holiday event (approximately 8 per year) .
--> Year 2: Second Aspirant Year focuses on Community Service. One is required to attend ALL PUBLIC rituals and events, including the Full Moon and Dark Moon (if female) or Dark Sun (if male) , as well as one Full Sun ritual of your choice. In exchange for weekly lessons, one is required to give 3 weekly hours of Community Service to any nonprofit organization excluding OAO rather than giving these hours to the Temple Haus. One is required to act as "Chaiwalla, " grabbing tea, answering the door, and highly interacting with people at events (keeping spiritual focus on conversations, etc.) . This Year Two Aspirant mainly acts as the Temple Haus tea-server and is responsible for helping guests feel welcome at events. Aspirants are asked to bring tea and appetizers to Monday lesson nights for all guests to share. Aspirants are additionally required to attend any holiday-prep meetings, which occur each Monday directly before a major holiday.
Year fee: $100 as a Coven Member (allows you to come to all events for the year without paying an event fee, and receive a ritual robe) , plus an additional $100 for access to as-needed spiritual counseling with Clergy during times of hardship, including the weekly counselings throughout October and April (= $200) . Aspirants are expected to financially contribute to the large public events, including a minimum contribution of $30 for each large public holiday event (approximately 8 per year) .
--> Years 3, 4 & 5 are the Neophytic years, which are meant to introduce a person to pre-Clerical training, though one is NOT required to proceed as Clergy; these years are meant for a person to see if becoming a Priest or Priestess of OAO is right for them. Neophytes are required to attend ALL events (private and public) and participate both in OAO vending and fasting cycles. These Neophytic years study world history, magickal operation, and deeper occultism. One is required to attend weekly meetings and Neophytic lessons, to assist the Order as needed ("Walla/Chaiwalla" work continues, without required Community Service) . Neophytes are responsible for explaining the public workings and philosophies of OAO to those who have questions in mind. Neophytes highly assist the Clergy and receive in-depth weekly lessons in preparation for potential Clerical years ahead. OAO asks that Neophytes and initiates learn to prioritize spiritual progression above physical attachments and desires. A necessary step in this process is opening the Self to the universal vibration of Perfect Love and Perfect Trust. We encourage students to excel by exploring their True Will while also reciprocating in the support and development of others around them who are working toward similar goals. This entails Crossing the Abyss: examining the mind, pushing the limits of regular modes of operation within reality, and doing away with the heavy burden of shame/guilt/fear/etc.
Year fee: $100 as a Coven Member (allows you to come to all events for the year without paying an event fee, and receive a ritual robe) , plus an additional $100 for access to as-needed spiritual counseling with Clergy during times of hardship, including the weekly counselings throughout October and April, as well as a contribution of $50 for a year of weekly lessons (= $250) . Neophytes are asked to contribute food as needed to Monday Order Meetings. Neophytes are expected to financially contribute to the large public events, including a minimum of $75 for every major holiday aside from Beltane and Yule, where $150 contribution is required due to the week-long event (this is because multiple meals are provided throughout these weeklong events) .
During the Neophytic year, Neophytes draw a sacred, personally-attuned symbol on the tops of their hands and feet (each morning) and are expected to uphold a high number of various prayer, ritualistic, and research-oriented tasks. Years following are the "Year-and-a-day" Marks or Initiatory levels. The year-and-a-day commitment pattern is drawn specifically from British Traditional (Gardnerian) Wicca and is used in conjunction with occult training principles and global philosophies, which incorporate astrology and Tarot. The years of OAO Clergy consist of a series of year-and-a-day Marks rather than Degrees, which are aligned to a number of ancient metaphysical patterns; these are revealed to the initiate who completes both his or her Neophytic years and the First Mark (entering the second) , which is meant to align one as a Priest or Priestess upon entering the Second Mark. Each Mark is aimed at mastering a certain facet of one's reality as a professional Clergy member serving the spiritual needs of private clientele as well as the general public.
In-person training is mandatory; we cannot assess or guide a person as accurately as possible over the phone or via written correspondence. (If you are not local, we would be happy to refer you to others whose training systems may be more suitable for your needs, including distance-training organizations who work on the Internet or via written correspondence.) Please also note that we are not accepting sexual offenders into our system at this time because we haven't the healthcare network in the community to accommodate those needs; however, wrongly-accused offenders are welcome to appeal with verifiable proof of consent submitted by their alleged victim (s) . Additionally, sexual relations between teachers and students of the Order are not permitted.
Please contact us if you have questions or would like to discuss personal specifics; we are happy to answer any questions, and we thank you for reading about Opus Aima Obscurae
There Is No Part Of You That Is Not Of The Gods;
Attain Perfection Through Diligence;
Every Man And Every Woman Is A Star, *
Estha McNevin, HPS
Raven Digitalis, HP
Opus Aima Obscurae
PO Box 2666
Missoula, MT 59806
opusaimaobscurae [ AT ] gmail.com
*Quotes: First line from the Gnostic Mass; second a quote by the Buddha; third a quote by Aiwass (via Aleister Crowley)
PUBLIC RITUAL SCHEDULE LISTING:
Opus Aima Obscuae (a combination of Latin & Hebrew, meaning "Work of the Great Dark Mother"ť) can be termed an "Eastern Hellenistic" or "disciplined-eclectic" esoteric system founded by Estha McNevin and Raven Digitalis in 2003. The OAO structure or spiritual system was primarily channeled and aligned by Estha McNevin, and is designed to be a Clerical training structure for those wishing to devote their lives to becoming Neopagan Priests and Priestesses. It was formally born on June 6th, 2003 and has been growing and evolving ever since as a 'living tradition.' OAO borrows from a multitude of sources (particularly Witchcraft, Thelema, Hinduism, Hermeticism, Esoteric Qabalah and core shamanism) and retains the idea that disciplined devotion, self-sacrifice, intense study and self-reflection serve as mechanisms for actual spiritual development. We consider ourselves a matriarchal Binah path that is attuned primarily to Saturn. OAO works to benefit oneself and the community, and its outer court/public circle group has held benefit projects for nonprofit groups such as Ars Terra, Greenpeace, the Food Bank and various civil rights organizations.
Discovering answers to life's Great Mysteries is a lifelong process. We all exist to assist one another in our development as spiritual beings. More than a tradition in the traditional sense of the word, Opus Aima ObscurĂ¦ serves as a support system and initiatory structure for those who the path resonates with. OAO is focused on both Inner and Outer Work and prides itself on its structure as a Neotribal family. OAO is not a cult, nor is it a fundamentalist or rigid ascetic system. Its practices and requirements may seem foreign to those who have not had exposure to multicultural spiritualism. In no way does OAO claim to be better or more advanced than other training modules, as OAO recognizes that its esoteric system may work as a complement to other dedicatory traditions, Covens, Groves, Lodges or Orders that any given member may be additionally involved with. We believe that everyone on this planet is a spiritual being in the process of both healing and awakening to the deeper truths about themselves and reality (93, 93/93) .
AIMA ELOHIM (AMA ALHIM) ~ OAO utilizes AIMA ELOHIM as the matrix and creatrix of the tradition, and a central figure of our dark moon divination practices. AIMA ELOHIM is a Semitic deity of Mesopotamian origin, and a principle figure associated with the Matriarchal lineage upheld within Judaism. In Hebrew, the term AIMA means "Mother." This was adopted within Graeco-Roman and Coptic cultures as well, and applies archetypally to Mother Nature. ELOHIM, a Hebrew name of God, combined with AIMA, deifies this maternal principle as the Mother of all Gods. Within occult/esoteric branches of Qabalah, AIMA is the name of the Supernal Mother who rules BINAH. The history of AIMA is obscured as a result of the tribal Diaspora of the Mesopotamian Fertile Crescent during the 6th century BCE. As Jewish tribes pushed North and South, various deities were adopted and syncretized into the Semitic tradition. AMA of the Phonecian virginal deity of war and raw aggression became closely linked with the Jewish tribal peoples' fight-for-survival in a changing political landscape of Imperial powers. The Sumerian and Persian AIMA, associated with Astarte and Ishtar (as well as Aphrodite and Venus) was adopted as a more benevolent and nurturing feminine aspect. Over time, these merged into the greater theme of BINAH within Jewish Orthodoxy and the Rabbinical school. On the Qabalistic (Kabbalistic/Cabalistic) Tree of Life, the sphere BINAH is ruled by the planet SATURN and the element WATER, and represents not only the womb of life, but the throne from which all governance and political power are executed. (BINAH's balancing opposite is CHOKMAH, of whom ABBA (not the band) , NEPTUNE, and FIRE oversee.) She is the ultimate understanding of the blood connection of all living beings to one another. AIMA, in gematria, equates to 52 and is often said to represent the bright and fertileť aspect of the Holy Mother. AMA, on the other hand, equates to 42 and represents the severe and sterile aspect of the Holy Mother. The name AIMA is chosen within this training (and community) structure to represent light and fertility, whereas AMA would carry destructive or desolate connotations. However, Obscurae is used as a representation of Divine Paradox: not only is the word Latin rather than Hebrew, but places a shadow upon the light of AIMA. Our Opus is to manifest personal empowerment within the duality of these forces. In all ways, OAO is a system of both shadow and light, understanding the importance of all Paradox. Within our tradition, we would say that our Will is driven by AIMA, and our initiations reflect the empowerment of AMA. As we strive to receive the purification and understanding of BINAH in our daily lives, we also work a path of consciousness, education, and manifestation for others as an enactment of our vows to the Universe.
EASTERN HELLENISTIC NEOPAGANISM ~ OAO, as both a training system and community group, strives to follow an Eastern Hellenistic Neopagan approach to our magickal and spiritual pursuits. This approach attempts to use the unifying philosophies and principles of the Hellenistic Greeks to unite various Western, Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Asiatic traditions to the seasonal Wheel of the Year and modern Pagan structures of worship. Combining Graeco-Roman planetary deities with the gods of the zodiac and other Egyptian and Asian deities, this approach views all gods as valid and worthy of proper veneration. The term Hellenism refers to the ideology present in the Hellenistic Period of world history in the fourth to first century BCE. The process of Hellenization was marked by the conquests of Alexander the Great, an aristocratic Greek general and political strategist who conquered the Achaemenid Persian Empire, including Egypt, Mesopotamia, and even extending to the Punjab regions of India. As a result of the cultural sensitivities taught to him by his tutor and mentor Aristotle, Alexander approached the lands and cultures of the people he conquered in a whole new way, adopting foreign gods and ritual practices in an effort to aid him in global conquest. The principles of the Hellenistic period reflect this open cultural expansion and shared symbolism under unifying archetypal principals. As the Greeks attempted to spread their gods and culture throughout the world, they absorbed many foreign principles into their own practice under these themes of cultural and religious syncretism. For example, it is during the Hellenistic period that we begin to see the fusion of multiple deities such as Hermes (Greek) , Mercury (Roman) , and Thoth (Egyptian) as ubiquitous archetypes recognized in different cultures. Eastern Hellenism, in our view, does away with a strictly-Western approach to the Hellenistic ideology. Instead, it carries forth the idea of Hellenism to apply to Eastern pantheons and schools of thought including branches of Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto and Taoism. The spiritual philosophies of ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Persia, India and the Mesopotamian Fertile Crescent are integrated and validated, and a particular importance on archetypes is emphasized. This East-meets-West ideology necessarily considers and upholds many ideas of proper worship, prayer, and veneration to any given deity or spiritual force being worked with. This also allows a spiritual freedom to practitioners who may have their own pantheon. OAO doesn't consider Eastern Hellenism to be a type of Reconstructionism, seeing as no particular pantheon is upheld above another. Instead of following a singular or non-inclusive path, the Eastern Hellenistic approach blends the brilliancy and beauty of the world's cultures to fit the twenty-first century: the unique moment we find ourselves in.
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