There is a treasure, beautiful, a natural resource, that deserves to be cherished and nourished. This treasure is in plain site and is hidden by those who should see it and who don’t know what to look for.
If I can say how great my experience was at my first Sacred Space Foundation conference this last weekend, April 6 – 9, 2023 it is due to the following.
Every Elder of any tradition, Priest or Priestess needs to make the pilgrimage to it. Do it soon. It would behoove every coven, group or conclave by any name, to make it affordable for at least one of their leaders to be there.
The reason isn’t for the great rituals, classes, presenters or simply communing with people related faiths. It is for getting a feeling for and seeing Community, Leadership in action and in service to the community, and the Hospitality of not only the conference but the whole Egregore that they are part of.
They are in my every estimation the birth of a tribe. I proposed on giving a paper of the need for and understanding of what a tribe is, as well as, how it is needed for building a societal model for the future of mankind. Not just for pagans, local communities, states, but it should be for nations and the world. I explain how we as a people, from the beginning of civilization have been poisoned by corporate, feudal mobocracies. I have published it as a previous blog here. https://archonstone.wordpress.com/2023/04/11/tribes-for-the-future-a-pagan-perspective/
What was it that had me see a tribe there? https://www.sacredwheel.org/ The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel. I was in one class, on Thursday: Falcons & Gryphons: On Using Orders within Groups. They spoke on these orders being seen to be needed by their “Leadership“. Here are things that I have seen pagans treat as an Anathema: Leadership, Organizations, Structures. And here it is working, evolved into and still growing strong since 1984. Not having been living in the Mid-Atlantic states, nor been at these covens, conferences or part of its inception, I am an outsider. I have been working to wrap my brain and heart around this need. Pagans have been looking for these and at the same time fighting against them. And here it has evolved.
Tribes are comprised of clans of families and communities of people. There are collections of different religious beliefs and practices. There are Guilds and orders that intersect these clans and religious societies (covens). There is a warp and woof a weaving of community, practice and organizations by need. There are respected leaders, humble and serving the community. That is the core of it. There is a core group of Elders and Leaders trusted by their service and integrity. They serve without hubris, they walk in their power. This is why people so inundated with corporate western culture don’t see it. They are on the lookout for “power over”, selfish, power self-serving people, and organizational control, and they implode. People don’t look for something they have never seen, never anticipate, and with the lack of definition or understanding, we don’t see what we don’t understand. This is why coven and group leaders; priestesses and priests need to see it in action. They need to feel it, commune with it and the people.
See it, feel it, be it.
The opening ritual, not only invoking Athena and Thoth, to bring wisdom, they invoked an egregore. This egregore is part of the people of the Assembly of Sacred Space and Between the Worlds groups, but more. The egregore for the conference includes the ancient and tribal ideals of hospitality, wisdom, leadership, and our sacred right of sacred people for apotheosis.
The main ritual was a pageant. I have seen really good powerful rituals. This was on another order. It was more than just power, and the gods. They invoked the universe, the powers, the sun and moon, sacred teachers, and five virtues, Love, Truth, Honor, Courage and I think it was Wisdom. It is to say something that I was overwhelmed. But we all participated. We wove our will into the navel of the world, with all this intent, into the world and back into us, to claim our power, our crowns, our apotheosis, to go back to serve the world and the virtues.
Back to the class of the Orders of the Gryphons and Falcons. The leadership at the time saw a need for a group of powerful magicians with the ability to move and exercise energy to protect the Assembly. They have a charter, a set of rules, and this prevents people from exercising hubris, ego that would destroy it. It has survived. I have watched their members in action. In the Main Ritual, the Gryphons cast the circle, contained it and protected it. I have not seen anyone or group to do it so well, ever. It was more than I could have managed. I have had to balance out elements of rituals and add to the circle to make them effective, even if I was not one of the officiants. They protect from energy vampires. They serve the community, to help others, with clearings, dealing with entities, and they do it willingly with advisement. This brings in the Order of Falcons. The Falcons are the seers and psychics that get the sight to an excellent degree to divine or psychically understand situations. They communicate with each other and the Gryphons, to understand what things may be: Good, Bad and Indifferent. They come to a conclusion on what to do about situations magic people and pagans run into. Granted, they steer clear of personal drama. When Therapists and Counselors are needed instead or in addition to, they make those recommendations. There is common sense, humility, yet a commitment to the community and each other to do it right, not only for themselves but also as a reflection of the community as a whole.
Between the Gryphon and Falcon you see the traditional working pairings of Magician and Seer, but in a group format.
The Falcons foresee where Gryphons are needed, and they do the work. I am an odd duck energetically. The work of developing my skills, I will radiate power in my aura, or it is hidden. If you detect what is hidden you become wary. One Falcon was keeping an eye on me all weekend. The one class that should have been labeled a ritual, was on Nagas as the fifth elemental. I guess it was a way of presenting conceptually beings that don’t fit definitions of Gods, Wights, Angels, Demons nor Ancestors. In my tradition we do work with beings that exist on other planes and these types of beings that exist through many planes. They are interdimensional or multiplanar beings depending on your definition. When she presented the being to commune with us, that would or should put peoples hackles up. It didn’t for me. However, I present myself in multiple aspects, each of which can function as a multiplanar being. As an individual if you do that you will draw these beings’ attentions. As the ritual progressed, I resided in my aspects adjusted to commune with the beings that she presented. This drew the attention of at least one of the Gryphons. This gentleman went to the side of the room where my main aspect of that time was working from. I made a point to have it identify as friendly, wishing no harm, and to be part of this ritual. The Gryphon was satisfied and went back towards the entry of the classroom. In the past, people would mistake me and my aspects as other things, usually fearful, and ineffectually attacking it or me. This did not happen, and the ritual went on as expected. I was glad to chat with the presenter, that I and my teacher work with beings like this and identified cultural precedents briefly. Identifying them as multiplanar beings we had an immediate understanding and agreement. All of this interchange was beautiful.
Here is the big question. How old and what was the size of the organization when it was mature enough and the Leadership trusted enough to recognize the need of these orders? Off the cuff answer was about 18-20 years of age, with 7 covens. The orders are at least 8 years old. The covens today number 14 with 4 – 21 coven members each. One generation, about 20 years with trusted leadership, and this exists, evolves and grows. This was grown from the start organically. What can people do if they took notes and created it in larger urban and multi-state areas? People take time to develop and evolve their cultural awareness and it takes just about that long. Can it be done more quickly? That would take a lot of pointed shadow work, and evolutionary internal alchemy to get there.
Byron Ballard has spoken about the groups in Asheville, where they recognize that they might not worship together, but they did learn to work together. Elders and leaders of groups, covens and organizations need honest internal reflection and development.
The ability to be at a conference, uncloaked to a certain degree, without being psychically harassed by well-meaning people or vampires was a complete pleasure. Hospitality is in that hotel and conference egregore, and it is true to its word and intent. Again, this was and is a pleasure to experience.
There was another class that exemplified what a society is within a tribe and extends beyond it. Here is a group of magicians who come together with a common goal. They presented Master Magician Level of technologies. This is a tribal outreach at a master level with other magicians, whether you are part of this group or not. Good tribes have outreach practices and societies that can and do span from tribe to tribe through other competent and committed individuals. My teacher was part of an inter-tribal group of medicine people. Sharing techniques with fellow magicians shows that this tribe is not insular and can grow and evolve as they come in contact with incipient tribes of pagans and individuals. A society can be selective of who they work with. As in this case, they can be discrete and be respected as such.
Now we must create them.
Another group or organization for ecstatic and or possessory work is:
http://globalspirits.org/ Universal Temple of Spirits.
This is the third or fourth time I have had the pleasure of being in their ritual space. It has evolved over the past decade. I have in the past been very wary of possession and or mediumship. If you have had to be an exorcist or do soul retrieval work you would have a healthy concern about it. The environment was safe, not only for those who use this for ecstatic communion with Oriesha or Lwa, but also for those who work with other beings of other pantheons. Some pantheons have conflict. I saw conflict resolution. I saw communion. I called on aspects of my past selves becoming like ancestors. A being who rode two people gave me a consistent message on how to facilitate it. One of my aspects even possessed one of the attendees for a short bit. I got some great feedback. This organization should be learned from, from those called to do similar work. Our societies and our connections to pantheons, spirits and egregores are overlapping. This method seems to work in an excellent fashion to be a steppingstone for people of many walks to commune with the spirits of their calling.
This isn’t my calling, but I do recognize it being needed in many pagan communities.
I got to talk shop with some special people into the wee hours of the morning. I was buzzing into Monday following the conference. I had a long drive back to Atlanta from Baltimore and it gave me plenty to think about.
It was a pleasure to be my authentic self. It was a pleasure to not have to be an Energetical bolster and balance a large ritual or protect it. I learned new information, techniques and saw things from other perspectives.
To the facilitators and board members of Sacred Space Foundation and Between the Worlds, I extend a most heartfelt, Thank You. To everyone who exemplified the hospitality, Thank you as well.