Watch your mouth! The worst four-letter words known to humanity and Paganism!

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My teacher and Pagan Clergyman Wade Mueller once told me, “Hope is the most dangerous word in the English language. By hoping something will happen in your mind, you’re not working to make it happen in the real world.” At the time, I had struggled with a huge fear of success and expressly seemed to embrace failure as if it had been my best friend. I had always been taught to use the word “HOPE” and because of that, I relied heavily on things happening by chance and not by my own efforts. I was a victim to my own toxic mindset. Wade Mueller of Deeply Rooted took away my hope and helped me discover for myself the kind of person I am capable of being. With that said, this article builds on his original work so please refer to him for more information on the topic.

And it was with that train of thought from my mentor that got me thinking about what other four letter words exist in much the same way as hope. What impact do they have on myself and Paganism in the larger scheme? Well, one of my huge struggles in becoming a Pagan was overcoming the pull of emotions that had me spread thin and usually exhausted from my efforts. Those emotions were expressed in three four letter words, “Love, Fear, Hate”.  In much the same way that hope is dangerous, so are these words and the emotions they can illicit. Words are incredibly powerful things. By invoking certain emotions, we open ourselves up for successes and failures alike.

Before I sound a little too much like a Vulcan from Star Trek, let me explain. I don’t think emotions should be purged from humanity in an attempt to create a more peaceful world. That isn’t realistic nor feasible at this time in our development as a society. One of the ideas I’ve been embracing is that emotions are tools for certain situations. They are never meant to overrun us and destroy the accomplishments and achievements that also go along with the failures and downfalls. We have to be a whole person and accept the darkness in our personalities as well as the light.

If you’re a Pagan, you might associate with the common-held belief that water represents those emotions. A little bit of rain is helpful for a crop of plants, yet an entire dam bursting is chaotic and destructive. Love, Fear, and Hate all fall into the category of dangerous emotions that can turn that nurturing rain into a deluge of epic proportions. The question I had to dig deep to find within myself was just this, “Is this situation worth feeling love, fear or hate towards? Is this something I *hope* will get better or do I have the ability to make this happen on my own or with help from friends?”

Is every Pagan out there looking at humanity and saying to yourself, “What the hell is happening?”

Love, Fear, and Hate all have different definitions to us. There is no single definition of these words. To each of us, they have a very different meaning and on top of that, there is no scientific evidence that PROVES these emotions exist. Emotions do not exist in “nature.” You can not go out and find “love” you can only see the evidence that the thought exists by actions expressed by people. Then, on top of that, you need to determine if the intent of the individual’s actions was really lining up with the emotion that YOU assigned those actions.

Ask a person with mental illness to explain what love is and you’ll hear a myriad of different responses from the normal associations to things that will curl your toes. Fear? Fear of what? Once you accept death, being afraid of anything is actually kind of ridiculous. Death is going to occur, and you will most likely not know the time and manner of your death. You can not escape it. And hate? That’s probably the most laughable emotion of all. Hate can be expressed by a species called humanity that seems to have social amnesia in regards to the value it assigns historical accuracy and so bored of being lonely that it has to compete against it’s self in RACES.  Race doesn’t exist. The only race is expressed by the genetics of people who have survived war, disease, famine and have bred healthy offspring. Genetics is scientifically proven, some abstract idea of people of varying skin pigments and other cosmetic features as being inferior is hilarious to me.

These words are the ones we’re taught to worship in our childhood. Why do you hate those neighbors? Why do love that boyfriend who hits you? Why are you afraid of that lesbian couple being married? So many people work like machines with predictable patterns because of the environment in which they were raised. It doesn’t have to be that way for Paganism. We can’t change the world over night yet we can change ourselves and thereby sending reverberations of that change to our community. We’re magickal folk and we can make this happen!

The first step for me overcoming these baneful thoughts was to diminish my ego. I had to completely redefine who I was and why I felt certain was before I could ever see the truth. When I asked my Gods to help me find that truth, they led me back to my past, to my future and how all of that culminated to create the present. Letting go of my love, fear, and hate helped me overcome years of pain and heartache. Sometimes I backslide and returned to old ways, yet it was only to remind me that I was just afraid of succeeding. I already had the tools buried deep within my personality, they were just turned inwards instead of projecting the person I really am to the world at large.

So watch out for those four letter words. They’re powerful, they have meaning to you that is hard-wired into your subconscious. You can overcome any subconscious programming if you work hard enough and accept what the truths lay at the root of your old ideas. If you work hard and discover you really do hate yourself and have valid reasons, write them down! Make a plan on how you can fix these toxic behaviors and why you have them in the first place. Maybe you aren’t a nice person yet you love yourself and no one seems to like you. If you are alright with accepting that you’ll never be more than a nasty soul, than be content in that personal expectation and turn that hate where it belongs. Yourself.

This world is much like the magickal world as expressed in “As Above, So Below, As Below, So Above.” Be careful what you invoke in your life by the words you choose to assign situations. You never know when you might have to redefine what something means to you because of the actions of others or something else life throws your way. Don’t let love, fear and hate define those situations. YOU can define what emotions you assign these situations. If you work hard enough, you will be in control of yourself as long as you are working on being in control. So mote it be!

Deeply Rooted Clergy Training Manual Draft #1

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This is my contribution to the Clergy training program that is in place at Deeply Rooted Church in Athens, WI. This is only a draft and all contents of this document will be agreed and voted upon by the members of Deeply Rooted Church. It is my wish that everyone has a chance to contribute towards it and that this copy is meant to be a template. Right now, the document is 8 pages. I would love for each and every member to add their needs, dreams, and wishes for Deeply Rooted’s Clergy into this manual.

Please excuse the grammar and language in this document, as I said, it’s only a draft. The entire contents of this manual belong to Deeply Rooted Church and may not be replicated anywhere without express written permission by the organization.

 

Deeply Rooted

Clergy Training Manual

Draft #1

Clergy Council Mission Statement

The goal of this training manual is educate and guide prospective members of Clergy towards active service to Deeply Rooted Church and ordination. It provides a path filled with diversity, ethical standards and personal growth that is reflected in the applicant’s personal “Book of Roots” and is reviewed and evaluated by a team of dedicated individuals with a passion for spiritual leadership. Grooming individuals for such leadership extends beyond our community and has a very direct impact on the larger Pagan society. If Paganism wants to advance, then we must have very dedicated Clergy in place ready to build connections to our land and assist us to restore our connection to the Gods, magick & positive values of our ancestors.

The demand to have individuals who are well-versed in social skills, anthropological and historical knowledge and counseling remains very high as we enter into the dawn of Paganism. Applicants will be immersed and challenged in all areas of Deeply Rooted’s existing culture, philosophy, traditions, rituals as well as an education on the basics and more advanced work in the field of magick. Deeply Rooted is a varied community of folks from many spiritual paths that make up the modern face of Paganism today, it is our wish to have leaders that inspire, teach, and mold the future of our still-developing traditions. This training manual was written to provide a very specific method of teaching such traditions so that the applicant will be as completely prepared as possible to serve our Tribe and also the Pagans that exist outside of Deeply Rooted’s sacred land.


Preparation

  • Application

    • This application will be submitted to the Clergy Council & the Board of Directors for review and approval. It will also be posted to our membership on the Face Book group. Members of our community can always their concerns about applicants to the attention of the Board of Directors or to ordained members of the Clergy Council.

    • The application will consist of questions relating to legal information, experience, prior background in Paganism and other questions relating to the applicant’s pastoral goals.

    • Applicant will review and sign the “Clergy Code of Conduct sheet and submit it to the Clergy Committee along with their application for acceptance.

    • Applicant will be a paid member of good standing for at least one year prior to applying for Lay Clergy.

    • Applicant is expected to uphold the “Clergy Code of Conduct” during the entire duration of their training and also after their acceptance into Clergy via ordination. This will include a social media policy on a separate document. If an applicant fails to uphold the Clergy Council’s Code of Conduct, they will be warned three times by an ordained member of Clergy before removal from the training program.

      The applicant will be allowed to resubmit an application after a period of six months however they will have to provide additional support in the form of service to the land and the community in order to be considered for re-acceptance into the Clergy training program. If any disciplinary actions have resulted from their deeds as deemed by the Deeply Rooted Board of Directors and the Clergy Council, re-admittance into the program can be denied without further discussions.

  • Pre-Course Assignments

    • What is your definition of Pagan Clergy?

    • Why do you want to become Clergy and what would you like to improve upon in the community? What are your goals?

    • What is your definition of service and how can you best serve Deeply Rooted?

    • What is your spiritual path and what pantheon, if any, do you serve?

    • Self-Evaluation of experiences, strengths, and opportunities for growth.

  • Expectations of Lay Clergy

    • Meeting with ordained Clergy on expectations.

      • Lay Clergy will be expected to complete all assignments for the year in a timely manner.

      • Lay Clergy will be expected to regularly attend major sabbats and the equinoxes (may miss up to 2 without excuse, more absences will require a reevaluation of progress by sponsor.)

      • Lay Clergy will be expected to attend and work (2) work weekends for the year on the grounds of Deeply Rooted or another approved sister community. If there is a reason that this can not be completed, it can be discussed with the teacher of the student beforehand to ensure that that accommodations are met to to the standard of the community.

      • Lay Clergy must remain a member in good standing as it is defined by the by-laws during the entire course of the training program. If there has been any sort of grievance filed, it is at the discretion of the Clergy Committee and the Board of Directors to remove the student from the training program with or without explanation.

      • Applicants with current disciplinary actions against them in progress at the time of submission of their Clergy application may be denied acceptance into the training program. The Clergy Council and the Board of Directors shall meet either in person, over the phone, or over video chat to discuss entrance into the program and any challenges that might arise from acceptance.

      • Ordained Clergy will also go over points such as confidentiality, pastoral counseling, and other matters that may come up during the course of the training program.

      • Lay Clergy will be expected to work as harmoniously as possible with previously ordained Clergy, other applicants to the Clergy training program, and all other members within Deeply Rooted. If there is a conflict that arises, the individual in training will be expected to bring up their concerns through the appropriate channels. Lay Clergy represents Deeply Rooted and Paganism in every action and that includes dealing with social challenges as maturely as possible.

      • Lay Clergy is expected to act appropriately on and off the premises of Deeply Rooted at all times. Lay Clergy represent the community and are expected to act accordingly on-line, at non-Deeply Rooted events or any other forum where Deeply Rooted is representing the larger Pagan community.

      • Lay Clergy applicants are expected to be “self-starters” and it’s encouraged for them to do extra curricular work to express their dedication to the progress of serving both Land and Tribe.

      • Lay Clergy are expected to assist with, write, or conduct at least 9 rituals in a three year time period. This could be solely performing the ritual, helping out existing Clergy with their rituals or writing rituals to be performed by other applicants or folks interested in rituals. The amount of rituals performed by the applicant can exceed 9, yet this is a minimum amount. It could be broken up into 3 rituals per year or all at once. This ensures the applicant is familiar and comfortable with performing public rituals for the community.

      • Lay Clergy will be expected to perform “field work” outside of the premises of Deeply Rooted. This includes attending non-Deeply Rooted events, visiting members from within our Tribe, or attending workshops held at other communities. If an event costs more money than the applicant can furnish, Deeply Rooted may provide a scholarship for that event or workshop depending upon the cost and transportation involved. The scholarship may cover all or part of the sum needed and will be awarded through hard work done for the community.

      • Periodic sabbaticals will be required from time-to-time to allow students a break from coursework and the ability to study or reevaluate themselves. This is not disciplinary or “personal” to anyone and remains at the discretion of both ordained Clergy or the Board of Directors based upon the situation. This also ensures that students are not burned out from the work that has been placed upon them.

      • Upon ordination, Clergy will only be recognized as ordained Clergy for Deeply Rooted unless it has been discussed as otherwise.

      • Acceptance into the training program and completion of the assigned materials does not guarantee ordination. This will be determined by the Board of Directors and the Clergy Council.

    • Review of previous assignments and application.

    • Selection of Sponsor / Teacher.

  • Sponsorship

    • Selection of a teacher / sponsor will be approved by Clergy committee.

      • Sponsor / Teacher must either be ordained Clergy or another clergy committee approved individual with at least 2 years of regular membership at Deeply Rooted.

      • Sponsor / Teacher will be in charge assignments, communication with their student and overall direction. They will also be instrumental in the evaluation process needed to determine the readiness or eligibility of the student.

      • Sponsor / Teacher will follow conflict of interest rules when chosen for a student. Teachers can not be romantically or otherwise involved with their students. If a relationship or something else develops, another teacher / sponsor can be found to eliminate a conflict of interest.

      • Sponsor / Teacher will also be assigning some work for their students that is relevant towards that student’s particular spiritual path. For example, a student who is passionate about the Kemetic path may be asked to write and perform a 2.0 Ritual after the major sabbat ritual has been performed. This ensures that our students will be challenged from time to time and be keeping a focus on their chosen pantheon. It also provides the community with a diversity in rituals.

  • Clergy Council & Board of Directors Approval

    • Meeting with the Clergy Council, consisting of the ordained Clergy, lay Clergy and Clergy Committee members as well as a meeting with the Deeply Rooted Board of Directors for final approval for training.

    • This provides the community with a “checks & balance” system for the Clergy Training Program.

  • Oath to serve Land & Tribe

    • Swear an oath to serve both the Land of Deeply Rooted and also the Tribe. The Tribe may bringing up expectations of their own during this time as well as well wishes or other challenges. This experience should give the student an idea of what will be required of them in the future.

    • Begin “Book of Roots” to store assignments, evaluations and other relevant coursework. This will be a wonderful way for both student and teacher to review the progress a student has made over the course of their three year training.

    • Lay Clergy applicants will be expected to chose a shrine or circle to manage and maintain. During the course of their training, they will be expected to provide upkeep for this area such as mowing the lawn, cleaning, or upgrades. This ensures that each of our shrines has some one to take care of them and also helps the applicant develop a relationship with the land.

Year 1


Theme “The Basics”, Public Ritual Work & Connection with the Land

Required Reading List (Teachers may assign additional)

1. True Magick by Amber K

2. Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymond Buckland

3. To Light a Sacred Flame by Silver RavenWolf

4. Living Wicca by Scott Cunningham

5. Sabbats by Edain McCoy


Field Work

1. Managing and maintaining a shrine on the grounds of Deeply Rooted. Student will be expected to help with mowing, gardening or any other physical help needed to maintain the circle or shrine of their choosing. They are also encouraged to upgrade the existing shrine as long as any changes to the shrine are approved by the head of the Buildings and Grounds committee. They will also be encouraged to write and perform a ritual at that shrine as either a main celebration ritual or additional side ritual.


Assignments (One for Each Sabbat / Esbat)

1. What is Paganism? When did you decide to become a Pagan?

2. How do you define and view mental illness in the Pagan community?

3. What are the responsibilities of Pagan Clergy?

4. Who is the most influential Pagan in the course of our history?

5. Why is it important to build a connection with the land?

6. How are rituals important for the development of Pagan communities?

7. How is Paganism represented in Pop Culture? Is that view of our spiritual path accurate or skewed by fantasy?

8. Where and how do you see yourself in the future of Paganism?


Extra Credit

1. Read Coven Craft by Amber K

2. Write or perform a public ritual at their chosen shrine.

3. Read Taking Sacred Back: The Complete Guide to Designing and Sharing Group Ritual by Nels Linde, Judith E Olson-Linde

Evaluation takes at Yule and will determine progression to next level.

Year 2

Theme Diversity, Ethics & Service to the Community

Required Reading List (Teachers may assign additional materials)

1. Legitimating New Religions by James R. Lewis

2. The Truth about Witchcraft Today by Scott Cunningham

3. Hereditary Witchcraft by Raven Grimassi

4. Jambalaya: The Natural Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals by Luisah Teish

5. The Secrets of High Magick by Francis Melville

Field Work

1. Visit a non-Deeply Rooted Pagan event and write a report about your experience to share on the Deeply Rooted website.

2. Attend 3 different Christian denomination Sunday services. Write a report about the differences and similarities between these denominations.
Assignments
(One for Each Sabbat / Esbat)

Assignments (One for Each Sabbat / Esbat)

1. What are the responsibilities of a Magickal Practitioner?

2. Pick a Path that you have never researched and answer the following question. What are the principles of that particular spiritual path that make it unique?

3. Write a ritual for cultural pantheon assigned to you by your teacher.

4. What is the view of Christianity as defined by a Pagan?

5. What is Christianity’s view of Paganism? Does Christianity feel that there is competition or any real spiritual threat?

6. Who was the most influential ancient Pagan society and what was their impact on our present?

7. Why is it important to practice Magick ethically?

8. Do you interact with Deities? If so, how do you view your chosen Deity?

Extra Credit

1. Read Shades of Faith: Minority Voices in Paganism by Crystal Blanton

2. Perform a 2.0 ritual from assigned to you by your teacher.

3. Help with hosting a Paganicon suite.

4. Run an event weekend by yourself, such as Women’s Weekend or Games, Crafts and Curry.

Evaluation takes at Yule and will determine progression to next level.

Year 3

Theme Pastoral Counseling, Death & Dying, Rites of Passage & the Future

Required Reading List (Teachers may assign additional materials)

1. On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

2. Circle Round: Raising Children in Goddess Traditions by Starhawk & Diane Baker

3. Witchcraft Today by Gerald Gardner

4. Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Wicca And Paganism in America by Chas. S. Clifton

5. Evolutionary Witchcraft by T. Thorn Coyle

Field Work

1. Visit or volunteer at a hospice or attend a workshop on death and dying.

2. Sit in on pastoral counseling as along as there is consent from all parties. All confidentiality rules must be followed. If no real counseling is available, folks from Clergy can role play a scenario with help from members for the sake of the lesson.

3. Lay Clergy must perform or assist in 1 Rite of Passage ceremony for at least 2 members that year which could be anything including Wiccanings, funerals, handfastings, etc.


Assignments (One for Each Sabbat / Esbat)

1. What is American society’s view on death and what are the challenges Pagans face in preserving our beliefs?

2. How does Paganism view death and the dying process?

3. Why is confidentiality important when dealing in pastoral counseling?

4. Rites of Passage: Why are they important to the longevity of a culture?

5. Why is is important to preserve ideas from our past? What lessons have you learned from ancient human history that apply in your own life?

6. Where do you see yourself as leadership in the future of Paganism? In what direction would you go if you were ordained tomorrow?

7. What do you think is the most valuable asset in the development of modern Paganism?

8. Why is it important to support other spiritual communities? What impact does the longevity of other communities have on Deeply Rooted and Modern Paganism?

Extra Credit

1. Visit or volunteer at a NiCU

2. Invent your own modern Pagan Rite of Passage and perform that ritual publicly.

Evaluation for Ordination

  • Evaluation for ordination occurs when the third year of the training program finishes and all assignments have been reviewed. A meeting with the Clergy Committee will take place to put forth a final vote. After that process, the applicant will be put before the Community. All paid members of Deeply Rooted will have a chance to voice their concerns or approval of the applicant. The applicant serves the Deeply Rooted community, so their approval is paramount and completely necessary to proceed to the next step. If no one from the membership voices any concerns, then the applicant may choose a sabbat that they feel connected with to become ordained.

  • The applicant will be assigned a 2.0 ritual to conduct after their ordination performed on the Sabbat of their choosing.

Ordination

As stated previously, the mission of Deeply Rooted’s Clergy Training Program is to provide the future of Paganism with honest, ethical, knowledgeable and compassionate leadership. The most important principles from this entire course are as follows.

  • The applicant involved in this course has seen it through from beginning to end and has put forth their best effort possible.

  • The applicant has demonstrated a knowledge of basic, intermediary, and advanced knowledge of a wide variety of different cultural beliefs and magick.

  • The applicant is a motivated self-starter who can take an assignment to the next level.

  • The applicant is a good representation of what Paganism is at Deeply Rooted. They are familiar with the culture, philosophies, traditions and values of the entire Tribe. They have grown as a person through their various interpersonal interactions and research.

  • The applicant realizes their potentials, strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. They understand the need to take sabbaticals and have realistic expectations of themselves.

  • The applicant has demonstrated the compassion and objectivity to effectively resolve interpersonal issues within the Tribe.

  • The applicant has grown as a person. In doing so, they have effectively changed who they are and the course of their destinies. They are now Deeply Rooted Clergy.

Continued Education

The Deeply Rooted Clergy Training manual and program is only the first step. Even Ordained Clergy realize that they can not possibly know everything. They understand the need to stay relevant in order to effectively communicate to their community. Deeply Rooted Clergy makes every effort to attend whatever workshops are offered, read whatever books may be relevant to issues ongoing throughout the community and stay open-minded to the many teachers that life presents. Experience is the teacher that the lesson of life affords us. Mistakes captured by wisdom are seldom repeated.

Additions to the Yule 2017 Agenda

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Proposal for five new shrines, which include:

  • Ma Kali Shrine by the Hemlock Grove (previously approved by the Clergy Council back at Lughnasa 2017 however due to the events of Mabon 2017, I’d like to run my idea by the board as well.) The idea is that She would stand at the Gateway of the Hemlock Grove for the Gate Ritual as a devourer of the excess Chaos that arises. She might also be incorporated into the Gate Ritual beforehand or afterwards with an offering and a small personal ritual of intent. If you offer a sacrifice, are you willing to strip away the ego to accomplish what you’re personally trying to succeed in doing?
  • Ancestor Shrine – separate however not excluding the addition of the Labyrinth proposed by Mary Frampton. The location of this is fluid. I understand that Wade Mueller has proposed a spot and Kim Frank would like to help facilitate the building and consecrating of the sacred space intended to honor ancestral spirits.
  • Expansion of the Faerie Grove to the land just across from it. A place for members to sit and interact with the Faeries without disturbing the original faerie shrine. The original shrine is not really intended to be sat in directly so this would allow parents to safely bring their children in the audience of the faerie folk without causing harm to the main area. It should also be offered that we could hold the children’s rituals in this area as children have a strong tie to the faerie kingdom. More plants, possibly herbs and some benches.
  • Pet Cemetery – With future prospects of creating a human cemetery at Deeply Rooted. Members would have the opportunity of bringing the cremated remains of their pets to Deeply Rooted, with offerings and the ability to ask a member of Clergy to perform a small ritual in honor of their pet. Also a good place to teach small children about the delicate balance of life and death and an introduction to the death and dying process of humanity.
  • Aurora Shrine – Meditation / Healing / Centering area by the apple tree across from Grandmother Apple. The purpose of this shrine is to help new members build a connection with the land by having a quiet spot, away from gatherings to reflect and form a bond with Deeply Rooted. Established members are also encouraged to use this shrine as a way to center themselves before ritual take place. A way of calming down the “coffee house chatter” before entering sacred space. Before rituals, attendants would be led to the meditation area and sit around the tree. There could be guided meditation or a discussion of the ritual following led by Clergy or a volunteer. After the meditation, attendants would be lead back to the main ritual circle.
  • Kim Frank maintaining and also building the shrines as part of her service to Deeply Rooted in the interest of becoming future ordained Clergy.
  • More shrines to act as tools for centering and orientating people along their spiritual path.

Proposal for a “Year Theme”

  • The next year theme will be proposed on Samhain.
  • Voted upon by Yule.
  • Imbolc would mark the beginning of the year theme. Clergy could tailor rituals and events to the theme so that the Wheel of the Year’s energy helps complete an objective. Examples to follow.
  • Proposing that the 2018 year theme be “Sacred Land” and tying into the use and maintenance of the shrines and the land of Deeply Rooted. Sacred Land gives a hands-on approach to how we see our purpose at Deeply Rooted. Members are encouraged to add to this idea.
  • Sacred Land being the theme of Paganicon and will alter the experience provided by Deeply Rooted during the event. How does the connection of Sacred Land affect the journey of the individual in their spiritual path?
  • At the following Yule, a special ritual to geared to incorporate the rest of the year’s journey, centering around the theme, to accomplish a specific task. With Sacred Land, it might be a fund raiser for more land for Deeply Rooted to acquire locally with the idea of expansion. This is only one example of how we could tie in a year’s worth of raising energy and hard work to accomplish a specific goal or idea. It also acts as a bonding of individuals who have attended all of the rituals and contributed to the year’s theme.

Proposal for a short-term “Paganicon” Committee separate from the “Events” Committee

  • Committee would be short-term, forming on Yule and ending just after Paganicon.
  • No requirements to join. Anyone who is willing to help with whatever talents will be appreciated.
  • The group would be responsible for helping to get resources together such as pictures, literature and relics from Deeply Rooted to represent what our community stands for and it’s mission.
  • Coordinating with our web administrator Mary Frampton to ensure that our web presence reflects our desires during the event such as etiquette for members, carpooling and lodging for those who are interested in donating their time and resources. Alerting existing members and prospective members of our event and ensuring that people have all the information needed to attend.
  • Members of the Paganicon Committee would be in charge of decorating the room, providing meals and also staying in the room in shifts. Shifts will be written down and followed to ensure that EVERYONE has time to enjoy the event privately as well as publicly.
  • There would also be coordination with fund-raising for the event in the interest of voluntary donations centered around what is offered by the room.
  • Coordination with Clergy to provide the sumbuls. Also would like the entertain the idea of setting up a community alter with a specific goal involved, such as honoring ancestors or helping with health related maladies of the self, friends or family.
  • Committee would have a meeting before Paganicon to ensure that the event is flowing smoothly.
  • There would be a wrap-up session which includes breaking down, cleaning up and transporting the goods after the event.
  • A member of the committee would provide a report to the Board of Directors on the event so that future events could be more successful each year going forward.
  • A member of the committee would provide a recap of the event to share with members and our on line following.

Proposal for Deeply Rooted Health and Wellness Group (On line / Off line)

  • Part of Deeply Rooted’s original mission was to help facilitate sustainable living which includes sharpening of the mind, body and spirit. While we have done well in the past to focus on the sustainability of the land and the work of the spirit, we have not always focused on health. This group would be there to encourage others on their path.
  • Face Book Group and also a presence on the Deeply-Rooted.org website.
  • We have many members who struggle with health issues, this would be a tool to help encourage personal development of the body and mind (mental illness.)
  • On line board that promotes the sharing of weight-loss goals, quitting smoking or other destructive health habits and offers support to those going through hard times.
  • A quarterly health challenge – Members can state a goal and then post the results.
  • Healthy recipes, invitations for walks, suggested reading for healthy living offered in the on line forum. This would include some books related to help with mental illness.
  • Coordinate with Clergy to provide healing rituals and also resources to professionals such as Pagan / Poly friendly counselors, dietitians, and holistic-friendly health care professionals.
  • Deeply Rooted – Walk for Health (Not committed to this name) A fund raiser walk to raise funds for Deeply Rooted and promote physical health and wellbeing. Possibly to take place in the late spring or early summer?
  • Outreach to have massage therapists, Reiki practitioners and other alternative healers to hold workshops or events during the year.

To lose a friend…to gain an understanding!

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This year, I had as many victories as I did failures. It does not matter because those failures are readily turned into lessons and those victories have been steps in the path to a better understanding of my True Self. I realize that much of my conditioning involves relationships and those relationships heavily effect my actions upon my own life. I am no longer a slave to this because through hours of self-guided meditation, introspection, my astral and physical Guides, I have identified so much of those patterns. As I felt the unfolding of yet another self-imposed trauma, I stopped myself and fully revered the engines that were powering my self towards another broken future. I’ve lost a friend in the way that I readily identified that person as a friend however I have gained new insight and understanding into myself and the driving forces that keep me locked in certain patterns.

It’s always a sadness to lose a friend, however there is joy in knowing that to recognize certain patterns frees one’s self from the ever-present prison of certain habitual patterns. It does not have to be sadness if one can readily identify the value in the lessons learned from both the external and the internal sources. One more step in the path going forward. One more brick taken from a wall of ignorance. Gasping, grabbing and ever-reaching towards a light existence.

I am in a cave created by my own mind. If I wish to be freed from it, I must step back from certain practices that inhibit my path forward. I’m tearing down the walls created by a life time of conditioning and rewriting an entire personality that will play my world persona. It does not mean that I do not have certain obligations to others, however, it does mean that I will not engage the same way in all of my present and future relationships. Friends have come and one from my life. It is only now that I can see the lessons that each of these individuals had to teach me to further my understanding and connection to my True Self.

I have the will through Magick and the life-giving and sustaining forces of Reiki to make dramatic changes that will enhance the life I already life on the outside and nourish the world within so I can connect to my higher consciousness. It’s going to take time to strip away these old habits, however, it is necessary for something else to take place. I am on that journey because of my adoration of spiritual truth and because of my outward desire to pursue Clergy. Those are the tools – the true motivating factor is connecting with something greater than myself and a will that is higher.

You can call it nature, God, the Higher Self, Magick, the unconscious mind, my dreams or whatever moniker that humanity has fashioned. I’m done playing the game created by myself and moving onward. Stay tuned.

 

 

Yule Ritual 2017 – A Connection of the Sleeping Self and the Sleeping Earth

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HP: We welcome all who have made their way on the coldest, longest day of the Wheel of the Year into our midst.

All: Hail and Welcome!

HPS: Yule is a time of sacred introspection, of merry gift giving and a time when the wits of men are are honed best as they are repeatedly tested by the Will of Nature. We often take for granted in a modern age, full of conveniences and distractions how our ancient brothers and sisters dwelt upon the Earth. A world devoid of comforts and pleasures and where nothing was taken for granted. Even the smallest crust of bread or the flesh of the wild beast who laid down it’s life so others may live was honored with respect and gratitude. Lost to us now, for modern society provides an illusion of security that dulls our wits and drives us to madness with it’s monotony.

Wade: The forefathers and mothers of the human race who dwelt in the frozen north were perpetually faced with the grim reality of their mortal existence on a continuing basis. They faced this certain coupling with their own demise with fire in their bellies hotter than any hearth. Let that pride swell up within you and restore the connection between our world and theirs. The sacred land calls to us, like a wolf howling at the luminous night orb to remind of what we have lost as a people.

It is those brave souls who survived and conquered, our link to the past which lives on in the spiral dance of our genes and in the well-known face of the person staring back at us in our mirror that we honor today.

HP: Let us listen to the words of the Bard, recounting our connection to the past, present and future of the wild Pagan heart that still beats within our breasts enshrouded only by the limit of our will. Like the hoary drums of cultures past, hear the beat reverberate upon the land, giving life to all things in the frozen stillness. Take a few deep breaths before you immerse yourself in the visions of our collective tribal memory.

Bard: Close your eyes!

*All close their eyes*

Imagine yourself in a world unfamiliar and unforgiving, bereft of the voices you call family and friends. A place where the forces of nature work against you and brought you to the brink of death quicker than the frozen wind thrumming against the hemlocks and oaks of a revered Grove of Druids. Gathered in a tight Circle, one of the Druids in the group holds out his hand to you to share in this vision. All who are gathered on the longest, coldest day of the year are fervently chanting the victory of the Oak King over the Holly King. As warmth gathers on their ruddy cheeks from the newborn sun, you can not help notice that the enduring legend of these champions brings a warmth all it’s own.

Breath in and out.

*All breath in and out three times*

Allow yourself to be spellbound in the vision of the crackling sound of ice as it crunches softly beneath the footfalls of a the leather-clad hunter. He makes his trek along a glacial river, carrying the carcasses of his meager hunt. These few scraps of meat will only ensure the survival of some of his people. Heavy is his heart as he reflects upon the many mouths to nourish with so little bounty. He does not despair. He cries out in shrill defiance at the hungry maw of death and plunges fearlessly back to the darkened wilderness – intent on retrieving more life-giving nourishment for the good of his people.

Wade: Stomp your feet!

*All stomp their feet three times*

Wade: You envision yourself riding beside the Native brave as he eagerly faces the thundering of thousands of hooves during the great buffalo hunt. The roar and hiss of the earth is almost deafening and you can consciously feel the magnificent pony beneath you quake and fight his own instincts to run in the opposite direction. As you and your Native guide come closer to the swirling stampede of debris and life, he pauses for just an instant and looks at you with eyes made of sparkling copper. He turns his attention back to the task at hand, raises his bow and swiftly delivers a killing blow into the heart of the powerful beast that just narrowly misses your pony.

OPEN YOUR EYES!

Draw in the breath that is given to us by our Earth Mother and exhale that breath to give life to the trees and plants that slumber within the frigid blanket of winter. We are a connected people, timeless and not forgotten in the pages of history unspoken.

HP: These are our people! These are our gifts! We come from these people, living in many distant lands, in many guises of dress, however united by our will. Let us remember who we are and the true gift of humanity’s will as it warms us on this cold day. It is our beliefs which pull the sun chariot across the azure sky and our collective bravery which has won many battles fought to protect who we are as a Tribe. We are no longer dulled by the mundane hold that modern life has upon us. Today, we receive our gift with pride in the presence of our many-faceted Gods and Goddesses.

HPS: Call to the Gods of bygone times! Call with confidence and clarity at the Beings in which have taught us and lead us. Call to your Gods!

All: *Call to a God or Goddess of Your Choice*

HP: Today, we receive the greatest gift we can give ourselves. Let us chant and remember WHO we really are in the midst of the Chaos caused by ignorance. As light has conquered darkness upon this very hour, so have we! Let us call!

ALL: WE ARE PAGANS! WE ARE PAGANS! WE ARE PAGANS!

HPS: Remember this. Live this. Never again allow yourselves to be any less than the truest extent of your being. Today, as the fire before us spits and sputters, we not only awaken the sleeping earth beneath our feet – we awaken the sleeping self – full of potential and greatness. Wherever you are along your path, know that the greatest gift of all stems from the self to the self. And in all things, be Pagan and free.

Cakes and Ale / May You Never Hunger

Close Quarters.

 

 

 

Clergy Assignment: Afro-Carribean Voudou

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The stench of urine filling the nostrils of the people aboard the vessels was on overwhelming reminder of what had been stolen from each of them. Gone were the swirling winds and soothing bonfires encircled by the proud cries of warriors from their native land. The darkness that encircled them now had never been known to them in ages before and perhaps never fully understood in some far-away future.  Bound together in chains, forced to sit in each other’s fetid waste, and starved like savage dogs was nothing compared to the foreign language being barked at them by their European oppressors. They did not know the meaning of these words that would eventually shape their future,  stealing away their culture like a wraith in the night and transforming the mindset of their children irrevocably. The feeling of dread filled each man, woman and child’s stomach like a serpent slowly devouring a squirming rat.

“You slavers will know what it’s like to be a slave
A slave to your hearts, a slave to your head
A slave to your souls, a slave to your graves” ~Dambala by Exuma

How could anyone truly understand the kind of spirituality that is born from the psyche of a desperate mother who is shrieking wildly as her child is ripped from her arms and sold in auction? Nearly a complete attempt at the cultural  brainwashing of an ancient, sacred people into thinking that they are less or sub-human to their authoritarian overlords is the motivating force behind so many paths that arose from the politics and trade embargoes of the 1500-1800’s. Obeah, Wanga, and the various paths of Voudou provide a window to our shared human history and the condition of a displaced people in a strange new land. No words can be strung together in modern times to fully appreciate the unique culture that rose from African diaspora during the European craze of the sugar and spice trades. Those paths, like an interwoven basket, made for an interesting melting pot of new spiritual practices that differed from those that had roots in Africa.

Obeah is the focus of the path that I have chosen to study currently while immersing myself in various African traditions. Obeah is sometimes associated with having it’s start in sultry and exotic venues such as Trinidad or Jamaica. Those who are adept at Obeah ritual will tell you that the source of this power and understanding over the physical and inner worlds belongs to no single source and is free to be used by anyone who feels that their mind is halting their growth along their chosen spiritual path. No tool or teachings should be hidden from anyone who is seeking to challenge themselves to move forward and seek growth from their journey.

In modern times, we have just began to realize what slaves we have become. Tortured by the need to feel relevant, we fervently push the limits of our bodies, minds, and spirits with stress, fast food and a media-centric culture that does more harm than good. Trapped in a cage of our own creation, we can rise above the conditioning of our society and open a door to a more healthful and intentional life style. The voices of slaves crying into the night as the realization of their predicament began to solidify and twist reality can indeed be tapped into and respectfully adopted into our spirits as a way to motivate ourselves in modern times. There’s no more need to offset this karmic imbalance by feeling bad for ourselves. Obeah can help tap into our higher selves and release us from the binds we have chosen and further push us towards a heightened state of consciousness akin to the Siddhas of Buddhism.

In Obeah, nothing is freely given without immediately bearing the responsibility of the intent behind each action whether they are physical actions or actions on the astral planes. The attraction of a ‘loaded weapon’ draws many to the path of Voudou, Obeah and Wanga however, without proper deliberate thought of the entire picture, these traditions and their energies can take the participant on a wild and dangerous ride through their own minds and right past any spiritual defenses that one thinks may protect them. The appeal of accountability is what initially drew me to the African traditions as a whole. I believe Obeah can assist me in contacting my higher self and finding out my life’s true ambitions instead of concentrating on apparent distractions from this work.

In conclusion, I’ve only scratched the surface of the true impact these practices can have upon the practitioner. It is my wish to further my studies and abilities within this chosen sect of Magick because I no longer wish to be a slave to my emotions, conditioning or the actions of others that have molded and shaped me into the individual I have become. Reaching higher and harder is much of my personality however I am often finding myself working against my own previous momentum in an attempt to right what I believe is lacking or in dangerous abundance within my mind’s private battle with it’s self. The realization that I have never been alone in this is comforting to me and also brings forth tears of what humanity is capable of in the most frantic and madcap of times. As terrifying as it is to meditate on these closed doors within my mind, and even more frightening still to open them, I do it with the knowledge that the brothers and sisters of my past faced far worse and accomplished far more. It’s refreshing to have the bar set so high by so many brave souls and that is the realization that comes to one who is a student of the African Obeah law.

 

 

Clergy Assignment: What is Clergy to You

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The word ‘Clergy’ has the potential to evoke a variety of different images, feelings and associations for each person whose interacted with the ‘people’ element of spirituality. There are some spiritual parishioners that will instantly conjure the image of priests draped in boring, androgynist robes expelling a litany of curses, political views and fear-based damnation upon an expressionless crowd or  individuals who have experienced the wilder variety of Pagan Clergy who extol the deeds of Gods and Goddesses and howl guttural warcries around a spirited bonfire of entranced onlookers. I’ve often found myself trying to mimic these behaviors in my own life in an attempt to find self-balance. Of all of the folks to best learn from, I have until recently,  found that Clergy can be the best ones to emulate because of their connection to the physical and spiritual world. On my path, I’ve encountered every imaginable kind of Clergy that one could be searching for when they are on a spiritual journey and often I’ve found myself rarely finding an individual who did not cater to the crowd of individuals that they were responsible for so that they could further push their agenda.

After this year, I found myself questioning why I was pursuing Clergy with a hunger I had never felt before. There was no longer the constant questioning mental voice asking me, “Why are you doing this? Why is this important to you? Do you really think you’re ‘good’ enough to even be trained?” I realized that the perception of all sorts of Clergy having different agendas was not something that I had imagined during one of those boring sermons from my youth. There really were people out there that would use spirituality as a platform to carry out their sinister plans however I also encountered, during this realization, that there was Clergy with an agenda that wasn’t so dastardly in nature. I realized, upon lots of self-awareness meditations, that all people have an agenda even if they seem like they are giving you something for your benefit. Not all Clergy uses their platform as a way to control people, I discovered through observations. Some Clergy empower people by placing them in situations that make them rise and shine in the face of the adversity that befalls all of us whether it’s from another source or the constant battle raging on in all our heads. That’s when I discovered that’s the kind of Clergy I want to be and not someone standing in front of a crowd telling people how they should live their lives.

The approach of trying to get people to listen to you and not to what’s best for themselves doesn’t work because people will always self-sabotage unless they have a reason to change.  Providing the right environment to inspire that change and being a support for those people as they change seems to be one of the most effective methods of building a tribe and keeping it peaceful most of the time.  The best thing that Clergy can do is cultivate their own patience and allow people to grow and explore their spiritual path and let the guides, deities and individual energies work upon them. This means that Clergy can’t always have their own identity if it means that it will impede that effort. Most of the time, in a situation that the person who is Clergy would react in a way that’s true to their own personality, they have to reign it back or make a personality change to benefit the larger picture.

This is perhaps where I saw so many Clergy-folk before fail and lose the influence they had over their group. Instead of helping these people to become more than they knew they could be by being an example of sacrifice, they greedily took for themselves and their own agendas that did not involve empowering folks. Eventually, people catch on to the idea that they are being manipulated or controlled and stray away.  That’s where the real loss comes in because as Clergy, you should be a vessel of whatever ideas, Gods or concepts that you wish to embody. If you lose that, there’s no legacy and no purpose for putting on the robs and standing before a large crowd. It’s empty and unfulfilling and therefore a giant waste of time and energy.  Clergy should be working the land, giving themselves and their time to others and also taking time for themselves to help nourish a state of mind that is productive to the greater whole of the Tribe. The concept of sacrifice and what that really meant to me as a future member of Clergy hit me quite unexpectedly when I was blogging, drawing and working on shrines this summer. In the effort of healing myself and discovering what my agenda or purpose was at Deeply Rooted, I discovered that I could inspire folks to come out of their shells and show a piece of themselves. That’s the Clergy I always want to be and over time, will develop new skills to get those folks who need the most help to finally find a legacy and peace for themselves in the process.

I can’t say that being Clergy, in reality, is something that anyone in their right mind should pursue. It might take a bit of crazy to build the kind of momentum in service that will emanate from your effort years after you’ve left the planet.  You lose a lot in the process of building your own legacy and sacrificing whatever it takes to accomplish your end goal. Pieces of yourself that slough off and die because they no longer serve you. The real reward in that process, no matter how painful or hard it is, should be looking around the room during an event and seeing people that were once trapped in their minds coming out of their shells and sharing pieces of their sacred spirituality or their sense of humor where there was once silence and awkwardness. Clergy work can be reciprocal if your agenda is understanding others better by taking a long, hard look at yourself and making the kind of changes in your life that benefit more than just the moment-to-moment goals. So many people are unwitting slaves to their own desires for reasons they are conditioned to believe are right for themselves and it takes someone strong, courageous and honest to stand up and be an example of a life lead without conditioning or slavery. Clergy provides that service with the sole agenda of fostering strength in others for when they are no longer physically present to make that kind of impact.