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Author Topic: Creating a "Tradition"  (Read 3432 times)

dragonfaerie

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Creating a "Tradition"
« on: July 06, 2011, 08:13:23 pm »
How do you go about creating a tradition in your current path? What are the various steps involved? What's really important to include?

I've been turning this over in my head for a while. My own tradition of eclectic Wicca allows for a lot of freedom in creating a personal path... which got me thinking that if I intend some day to lead my own coven, I should be thinking about what makes a good tradition, not just for me, but for a group.

I know Shad's done this with her Flamekeeping... anyone else got any insights to offer?

Karen

Sage

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Re: Creating a "Tradition"
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2011, 08:22:44 pm »
Quote from: dragonfaerie;2247
How do you go about creating a tradition in your current path? What are the various steps involved? What's really important to include?


Quote
My own tradition of eclectic Wicca allows for a lot of freedom in creating a personal path...


Mine, too. Theology is pretty much left up to individual group members, which is both a blessing and a curse.

At the moment I primarily identify as "druid" and have been working with others at the Neo-Druidry SIG to hammer out exactly what that means. Though I'm not creating an entire path by scratch, I have had to sit down and figure out what I want and need out of a religion. Here are some questions to get you started.

  • What do you believe?
  • What do you want to believe? Or what do you think makes sense, but you haven't examined too closely?
  • What is the nature of Deity? Does it matter? Do god/desses even play a role in your everyday life?
  • What are your moral standards? What will you never, ever compromise on?
  • What do you believe about sexuality? The environment? Interpresonal relationships?
  • How much free time do you have in the day? How much time do you need to devote to religion to feel satisfied?
  • Do you enjoy meditation? Ritual? Chanting? Art? Research? Reading?
  • What do you not want in a religion? What are triggers for you?
Maker, though the darkness comes upon me,
I shall embrace the light. I shall weather the storm.
I shall endure.
What you have created, no one can tear asunder.

-Canticle of Trials 1:10

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Devo

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Re: Creating a "Tradition"
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2011, 10:07:13 pm »
Quote from: dragonfaerie;2247


I know Shad's done this with her Flamekeeping... anyone else got any insights to offer?

Karen

 
*points to the Kemetic SIG* bunch of upheaval and trying to figure things out there lol.

For my own personal practice, it was kinda easy. I read as much as I could, created a daily practice, and that was that. Creating something on a larger scale is so much harder. Because AE was so different from today, and we've lost the entire political structure- it's almost impossible to recreate anything like it was back then. So it's almost like starting from scratch. We have information from AE, yes, but trying to format it to today's lifestyle without losing the point of it all... creates a headache.

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Darkhawk

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Re: Creating a "Tradition"
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2011, 11:40:18 pm »
Quote from: dragonfaerie;2247
How do you go about creating a tradition in your current path? What are the various steps involved? What's really important to include?

 
I don't waaaaaaaaaaant to.  Sigh.  (Do you hear the sound of divine laughter?  I hear the sound of divine laughter.)

Exoterically is actually fairly simple, if a lot of work.  What does one do, when, and why.  I'm primarily interested in the "why", which I feel gets neglected a lot in recon circles, or only addressed superficially, but I feel that the rest flows from it, and it becomes easier to see where adjustments can be made that don't disrupt the flow of things.

(I was actually explaining to my Celt today a theory about thunderstorms.  Set was responsible for rain, but unlike other storm gods, was never associated with fertility, because fertility comes from the Nile in Egypt.  He was 31 flavors of scary shit, and rain itself can fall within the category of "scary shit".  Because the Egyptian cosmos is a tiny bubble within the vast ocean of chaotic nonexistence.  If it rains, that means the roof on reality is leaking, the heck?!.  Never seen a text-based backup for this, but I would lay good money that it was an aspect of ancient belief, because it flows naturally from the 'why'.)

Esoteric stuff is harder.  There's expressing the Mystery.  There's evaluating how to lead up to the Mystery.  There's building the scaffolding, procedures, and safety structures that make it so that people can encounter the Mystery safely.  This is a cast iron bitch.

I don't waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanna.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

Devo

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Re: Creating a "Tradition"
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2011, 11:44:10 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;2379
I don't waaaaaaaaaaant to.  Sigh.  (Do you hear the sound of divine laughter?  I hear the sound of divine laughter.)


Divine laughter? Never.

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Jenett

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Re: Creating a "Tradition"
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2011, 10:38:54 am »
Quote from: dragonfaerie;2247
How do you go about creating a tradition in your current path? What are the various steps involved? What's really important to include?

 
I think the trick is in figuring out something that holds together, but that also has space to grow and develop - if you don't have the first, you won't last very long, but if you don't have the second, you won't last long either.

For work involving other people, one of the most basic questions is "Who is a member of this group/tradition, and what does that mean?" (What can they expect from the tradition, what are their responsibilities to it, and at what points, if any, do either of those things change?)

The next most basic question is "What are we doing together, and how do we know if it's working?" For some traditions, that's something like "We celebrate the seasonal changes, and support one another, and we know it's working because the celebrations happen, and we feel supported." But for other traditions, it's much more complicated.

For some related processes (carving out a new coven within the larger traditon), I used a model that went like this:

- Get everyone to sit down and talk about what the core of the tradition is, what things shouldn't change in ritual practice, what things could change, and how. (For example, I use a different circle cast, but our agreement is that that's fine, as long as it follows the same basic model and method used in the one I originally learned.)

- Think about what my personal goals and interests are, and what I feel I can and can't support in ongoing work (and why: if I don't have a skill, maybe I can learn that. If I just don't have any interest in spending time on a particular thing, that's not as useful to include unless it connects directly to something I am really interested in.)

- Figure out what it takes to produce a group of people (other than me) who would be able to do those things. Work backwards from that to figure out what you need to have available as people learn. (This is where work in an existing tradition is very helpful, as you have a model to start with.)

- Try stuff. Expect that some of it will work, some of it will fail miserably, and some of it will be in the middle. Try to make sure that the stuff that fails does so with minimal damage. A "Meh, this ritual just didn't gel" is one thing if it's a esbat, and there'll be another one next month. It's a lot more problematic if it's an initiation or something else someone only experiences once or rarely.

- Leave lots of space for other people's good ideas. As you accumulate people, they'll have their own stuff to contribute: the richest and most stable traditions leave some space for that. (This doesn't mean newcomers get to reset all the parameters - but it's good to know where your empty spaces are, and what could be changed, versus what can't be.)

I describe this one as "There's some stuff decided by the tradition as a whole: it's not impossible for most of this stuff to change, but it's unlikely. There's some stuff that's about what I'm interested in doing and supporting and facilitating: I'm open to some negotiation, but there's also some stuff I'm just not interested in doing, so it won't be involved in a group I'm leading. There's a bunch of stuff where I have some solid frameworks and ideas, but there's lots of room for other ideas. And there's some stuff where the current method is there because we had to pick something, but there are several other alternatives we could explore."
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veggiewolf

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Re: Creating a "Tradition"
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2011, 10:56:04 am »
Quote from: dragonfaerie;2247
...

I know Shad's done this with her Flamekeeping... anyone else got any insights to offer?

Karen



I think everyone else has made good points so I'll just add my $0.02 about belief vs. practice.

Shad would say that she's building foundation rather than tradition...that the foundation she builds could be applied to multiple traditions and personal paths.  The blending of FK with Kemeticism (as several of us do here) is an example - Kemeticism gives me the beliefs, FK gives me a way to practice them and make them real in daily life.
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Katefox

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Re: Creating a "Tradition"
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2011, 11:56:01 am »
Quote from: Sage;2254
Though I'm not creating an entire path by scratch, I have had to sit down and figure out what I want and need out of a religion. Here are some questions to get you started.

  • What do you believe?
  • What do you want to believe? Or what do you think makes sense, but you haven't examined too closely?
  • What is the nature of Deity? Does it matter? Do god/desses even play a role in your everyday life?
  • What are your moral standards? What will you never, ever compromise on?
  • What do you believe about sexuality? The environment? Interpresonal relationships?
  • How much free time do you have in the day? How much time do you need to devote to religion to feel satisfied?
  • Do you enjoy meditation? Ritual? Chanting? Art? Research? Reading?
  • What do you not want in a religion? What are triggers for you?

 
I'm going to borrow these questions for myself, as they all sound like really useful think about.  I mean, I've been thinking about this stuff already, but haven't really sat down to formally answer questions about exactly what I believe, and I think that'll be a useful exercise.  So thank you for posting these.

For myself, I don't have any plans to make a path for anyone but me to follow.  But I do want my path to be coherent and cohesive, something that makes sense as a whole.  And one way to test that is to be able to explain it to someone else and have them understand.  So in that way, I think codifying my path so that someone else could follow it if they wished is a useful exercise, and I'm finding this thread quite interesting.

Sage

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Re: Creating a "Tradition"
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2011, 01:26:12 pm »
Quote from: Katefox;2528
So thank you for posting these.

 
Glad I could help! And even if you're just looking to make a tradition comprised of just you, getting ideas and feedback from others can be really, really helpful.
Maker, though the darkness comes upon me,
I shall embrace the light. I shall weather the storm.
I shall endure.
What you have created, no one can tear asunder.

-Canticle of Trials 1:10

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Friday Otherfaith Blogging: last updated 2/27
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CozyWitch

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Re: Creating a "Tradition"
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2011, 10:18:33 pm »
Quote from: dragonfaerie;2247
How do you go about creating a tradition in your current path? What are the various steps involved? What's really important to include?
 
[A]nyone else got any insights to offer?
 
Karen

Personally, I doubt I will ever create a tradition of my own. If someone wants to be mentored in the ways of the Craft I would be more than obliged to take them on if they demonstrate that they are there for a purpose, not to lollygag. Hekate is now giving me stricter instructions on how to take on students.
 
If those who I were mentoring wanted to do work with me, they would more than likely have to work in the format that I work in but on their own they are free to learn as they will and I will guide them in doing so.
 
If a tradition were to ever start of this, it would be interesting but as for now it is just me. I enjoy the solitary aspect at times, but being able to work with others would definitely be a welcome change. I think for me I would prefer, though, to work solitary and then during the Feasts (Quarters and Cross-Quarters) have gatherings and also on the Full/New Moons. Having a get together to discuss the Rituals that will be performed and even developing them, would be a nice change.
 
I think for myself I'd rather be Solitary and work together in a Coven setting during Feasts and Moons. But I'd have no qualms taking on students when the time is right and within the guidelines that would be set.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2011, 10:19:00 pm by CozyWitch »

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