On Coven Leadership

I wrote this poem years ago and discovered it in my files. I thought it would be interesting to pass on to those new to *this*part of the path.

Bed of Roses
I am but a humble gardener
Learned in my Craft
I’ve studied how to sow the seeds
To cut the stem and graft
I know the ways to coax new growth
And stymie evil weeds
Long as the rose accepts my care
I’ll give it all it needs

But growing roses isn’t bliss
Despite their blessed smell
For every rose that’s blossomed full
Three more have gone to hell
And I know not to fertilize
With grade A bull manure —
The average stems may flourish
But splendid ones grow fewer

Sometimes as I tend my greens
Thorns may prick my finger
The hurt has always gone away
But memories still linger
And when I think I’ll just give up
And turn it all below
I recall the oath I gave in love
And trust some years ago

Some day I hope to give my Queen
One dozen blood red stems
Though it may take years to find
And grow those brilliant gems
For all the joy and pain it brings
It’s not as one supposes
A coven leader’s job it seems
Is to sleep in beds of roses.

The Power of the Circle

There are times when one feels so very alone in this world, and then a personal crisis occurs, and one realizes just how supported one is.

This past weekend, I had a small personal crisis occur. As often happens, my attempts at working toward a solution were clouded by emotion, anxiety and concern for the “mundane” solution. However, I had my mobile phone with me and was able to post to my social networks. Within an hour or so, people were assisting in many simple ways. And as I felt the efforts of my covenors “click in”, my anxiety reduced, the path became clearer, and in time, the crisis resolved. (Incidentally, it resolved within minutes of speaking to one coven member, which makes me wonder if I should not have made a voice call to the circle earlier!)

A coven is a family. Like a family, we celebrate and play together, we argue and make up, we love each other even when we don’t really like each other, and when the shit hits the fan….we work together and protect one another. The power of the coven is more than the sum of its parts. This is the power of the circle!

Coven Corporate Culture

I had the opportunity the other night to attend an event locally where one of the founders of GitHub, Chris Wanstrath was speaking. He spoke mostly on the amazing wonder that is git (which has nothing to do with the theme of this blog, except that it is nearly magical).

When he was asked about entrepreneurship and making money, he said something that really stuck with me. He said that every time they (he and the other founders) chased after money, it blew up in their faces, but when they made something awesome that they loved and enjoyed creating, the money followed. And even when the money wasn’t amazing, they were happy, so it was a win-win.

This is good advice for many areas of life: follow your passions, and do really awesome stuff, and your needs will be met. Focus on the destination instead of the journey, and who knows what bitterness will happen!

He also talked about the growth of the company. Doing what they were passionate about created growth, not *trying* to grow. He said that he wouldn’t mind being the head of a company with thousands of employees if he did it well, and everyone was still doing great, passionate work.

This sounds a lot like where I come down on the growth of my magical family. I am not opposed to growth, by any means, but I don’t feel comfortable with expansion for the sake of expansion. My concern is to follow my heart, to do what I feel passionate about, and to surround myself with wonderful people who feel similar. Growth may follow, but that is a side effect of creating a positive energy that connects all those involved.

Keeping this purity and positive culture is a challenge. Chris mentioned that as they grow they have to be sure that they can fire people; it’s imperative to maintaining the culture. It’s much the same in a magical clan, therefore there is much testing before someone becomes a member of the Sphinx. Not only knowledge and ability, but also personality compatibility, energy balance fit, etc. This ensures that the “culture” of the clan is always as positive and beneficial as possible!

Cookie

I often post to forums of various types when I have something to share, and find them endlessly helpful when it comes to debugging some bit of code (day job!) But it’s a rare thing for me to become involved in a forum about magic, especially on spell-slingin’, “wicca is what you want” type sites.

Our national clan head recently relaunched her website with the help of some of our magical cousins, so I thought I’d check it out. And I got drawn into the conversation and posted a couple of items there. I thought I’d share them here for discussion as well.

In a thread on cookie magic:

I saw this thread and had a pipe up. My husband swears I nabbed him with my “Damn Magic Cookies”.

The situation: I had recently begun a new job where I had been told I would find someone who would be very special to me for a very long time, if not for a lifetime or more. About 2 months in, I can see that there is definitely potential for this with SEVERAL individuals, but the place is also a bit of a meat market, so I want to sort out the “real feelings” people from the “just wanna getsum” folks.

I baked two batches of sugar cookies, using appropriate* herbs (in small amounts), colored frostings and cut-out symbolism and imbuing them with the following intents: 1) Intensify *existing* feelings and 2) create a great desire to communicate emotions. I put the tin of cookies out in the break room the next day. Most people took 2-3 and it was certainly an interesting day at work! A great deal of “clearing the air” got done that day.

One young man, however, ate nearly two dozen of the bite-sized cookies. Then he asked me to lunch. And spilled his handbag.

It’s eleven years later and we’ve been together pretty much ever since.

Notes of caution with this one:
1) I did a dangerous thing, leaving them cookies out in public. I think I was prepared to take any blowback. This is part of being a witch: you break it you bought it. Go fix it.
2) The feelings had to already be there. My intent was simply to figure out who was for real and who was pure hormones. Another thing you learn about magic pretty quickly: *intent* is not the same as *how it will play out*. The Universe takes the path of least resistance, and that path is often ineffable.
3) This was NOT a love spell. It intensifies ANY feelings and creates communication about them. This can be a very good thing. It can also lead to hurt feelings, breakups, job losses, etc. Fortunately only my husband has enough of a sweet tooth that he got the mega dose.

You could use a formula like this for almost any intent. See “Like Water for Chocolate”…beautiful book/film and very instructive on magical cookery.

*Do the research and search yourself. Often the appropriate item is what *feels* right. Don’t be a lazy witch.

Refreshed & Renewed

The Sphinx recently returned from a weekend of song, ritual and bonding with our extended Black Forest Clan Family. We aren’t all rugged camping types, but the time out in Mother Nature healed many rifts and reminded us of the strength and power of our family. As Clan Head, I came back with a renewed interest in reaching out to the community, and almost immediately transformed our website into this blog.

I hope that our musings and sharing here spark some interest in our Family and among the general Pagan community. We will all grow together in this way!