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.

Lettuce Prey

As I leave the house at an ungodly hour, it is refreshing to feel the chill kiss of the coming Autumn in the air. We stand in the season of harvest, and the hunting season is about to begin. That always puts me in a philosophical mood! As such, let us let the stream of consciousness flow.

I have an acquaintance who has recently gone vegan, in his case solely for the experience, but some choose to avoid animal products based on moral reasons. Now, I am not one to be critical of another’s religion, my own being in the minority, but I have to take exception to the attempt to paint dietary choices an ethical light.

Being omnivores, we only persist from one day to the next by consuming other life forms. Whether plant or animal, only by killing and eating others do we draw breath! Now in our modern refrigerated society the vast majority of the population is divorced from the death we deal every day. Our meat is separated from the big brown eyes, and furry skins that mother nature packaged it in and is substituted with Styrofoam and saran wrap. That separation from the slaughter our meals requires all to often takes our minds away from that stark fact.

For my vegitarian friends, the half cow, pig, 25 chickens, and 40 fish my life costs every year is small death in comparison to the generational genocide consuming piles of fetal bean plants, handfuls of rice babies, and boxes of alphalfa seedlings at each meal.

I would encourage you all to be mindful of the creatures great and small, green and fuzzy that fall to allow each of us to persist. Thank them for their sacrifice and the gift they offer. Take a moment before you toss the steak on the grill, or that ear of corn in the boiling water to consider what has happened to bring that nourishment to the table, and then relish it! Relish your position as the alpha  land predator for that is how you were made!

For those willing to take the next step, I encourage you to hunt for food this fall. It is a heart wrenching emotional experience to embrace your Nature and defer the second hand killer shroud that we all wear for the majority of the year. Get some blood on your hands. Work for your food and take the responsibility to bring your meat from the field to the table. I have to say in light of my experience, hunting is not just an activity, it is an act of worship. Participating in the circle of life is tremendously more moral than the circle of groceries.

So in the coming months my Brethren, encourage the Wolf within you. Stalk the food our Loving Mother has placed in the wild for our benefit. Pass the hot sauce, and Lettuce Prey!

Akin to a Fine Wine

So after a, regretfully, much needed swift kick in the arse, and getting all EMO (I detest EMO,)  I had an interesting conversation with my spouse, reflecting on our big camping outing.  This little group is not made up of speed racers.  I feel the need to preface.  We are not a bring-in-as many-as-we-can-and-let-the-Goddess-sort-them-out kind of crew.  It may work for some, but us… not so much… I don’t seem to understand how clergy can be trained lickity split.  Yeah yeah, every one is different, and it isn’t a race, but seriously.  From dedicant to third in anything less than 3 years seems insane.  Another notch on one’s belt, sound good, is exciting and fun, but like a quick mead, all that fuzzy and bubbles and sweet covers up little more than shallow purposeless alcohol.  To truly develop a well grounded, fully rounded, strong, confident, leader takes time.

You can do it faster BUNK!  I channel a dear friend and raise my little fist of defiance and extend my middle finger.  Insert choice words here….  ok now that that little rant is out of the way…

Let me tell you how we do do it here.  Much like a fine single malt Scotch, or small-batch, aged red wine, we take our time.  Sometimes we take a little long developing certain flavors and need a sound shake… but I digress.  There is so much more than just getting through material that happens here.  We are a training group.  We read, we study, we let information ferment, and develop the subtle flavor that only thought, experience, reflection and application can provide.   Could we plow through material at lightening speed? Sure!  We are everyday folks with everyday busy lives.  We could give material a cursory skim, dot the i’s and cross t’s to finish assignments, regurgitate what was presented in a test and hurry on to the next unit.  However, just as quickly as the lesson is finished, the information is lost and replaced with the next bit.  (inner teacher preachin’ here)  To truly gain a meaningful experience from the lesson it must be experienced.  I am not talking about whipping up a crafty bit to make a perfunctory shrine, speak some words over it, make up some bunk about “oooh that just did it for me” and go.  I am talking about, doing research and meditation to determine what that shrine should look like.  Taking the time to get in the brain-space to focus the intent as it is created.  Truly evoking the intent, emotion, etc necessary to invoke the Divine and give them their rightful Hail and Welcome.  The latter will forever hold a much more rich and deeper meaning than the former ever would.

Now there is definitely a balance.  You shouldn’t rush through something just to say you have done it; however, one cannot just wait for the right time and head-space to come about.  We have to make time.  The seeds must be planted.  They must mature and be harvested.  They must be put through the press and and given the right blend of spice to develop the perfect flavor.  The casks must be watched so that the mix does not sour, and the bottles must be aged so that they reach their full potential.  Each wine has its own subtlety and is celebrated for its individuality.  Each member has been given the information, time, mentorship, friendship and love to fully develop into a BF HP/s and is a shining example of what our craft is really about.  We develop our gifts to our fullest potential and honor the Divine.  We are Sphinx!!

Clan Camp Impressions

So this year was my first “big” clan camp event.  I got 1* my first year at clamp, a smaller affair with a few of our Ohio cousins, and we’ve had Sphinx-centric clamps since.  Until this year, that is.  This year, all that changed.  All the clans, all the covens, five years apart, all together, all at once.

Never have I been amidst so many fantastic caring folks, around so much genuine love and mutual respect, and never have I felt so very much at home, within the larger Clan, of whom I’d only heard about and never even seen in a photo.  Those who’ve been before have said that the winds have changed, and that there has been a lot of healing and renewal, and the road is clear for growth and kinship.  It certainly feels that way to me.  I met and connected online with many names with which I now have faces to match, and formed some hopefully enduring acquaintances and friendships.  Only time will tell, of course, but I hope to keep in touch and renew the bonds in 2 or 4 years, at the next big’un.

I had a great chat with a great clan co-head from up north.  We talked about how we’d gotten to where we are in the Clan and in life, the gods, the kids, the weather, the fire,  all that.  I shared a couple of uncertainties and lines of self-questioning I wrestle with, and was delightedly surprised to learn that, even though his path has taken a much different route than mine has, he has wrestled with many of the same issues, come out the other side, and his advice was maddeningly simple and spot-on: Talk to your facilitator or clan head, and talk to the gods.   The thing most witches need to remember is after you talk, be silent and listen.

That’s the message I’m taking from my First Big Clan Camp.  Talk, laugh, yell, rant, chant, shout, ask, sing, cry… but then be silent and listen.  The best answers often come in soft voices at quiet times.  So mote it be.

.

It’s a Jungle in Here

Fine time, now that we’ve all reserved names, but here’s a list sitting on my desk of critters that are not taken – I wonder why:

  • Kestrel
  • Turkey
  • Armadillo
  • Bobcat
  • Cat
  • Elepant
  • Elk
  • Lynx
  • Moose
  • Opossum (there is a Possum)
  • Panther
  • Snake
  • Alligator
  • Crocs (coven of the plastic footwear)
  • Chameleon
  • Lizard
  • Ophidean
  • Ocelot
  • Ray
  • Shark

Thank you Priestess, may I have another?

So, surprise pop ‘skills assessment’ time today! “Bring the pain”, as an agenda topic, indeed!

Probably just what some of us needed, and continue to need, though so my gratitude as always. I’m sure I’m not the only one who works best under pressure, and there’s no better pressure than that applied with love, and a stiff-toed boot. And deadlines! Who doesn’t work to deadlines, even when it hurts? – which is why they call them DEAD-lines, right?

Passion, bringing the pain, healing, proper setting of expectation, and still time to rejoice in each others company. A good day in the Magick Kingdom, I think!  And please thank our Host-with-the-Most for the chocolate confectionery mayhem; great with coffee!

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!