Sunday, September 4, 2011

My final letter to the coven I used to attend (sent this time last year)

It's quite funny to look back on my past in this way.  A part of the reason I am posting this is because it was 

(a) Deleted from the forum shortly after and hardly anyone got to read it, including many people I'd spent a great deal of loving and spiritual time with;
(b) Those who did not get to read it were told that it was nasty - when it's anything but;
(c) To show those who are still within that coven my true intentions from that time as I seem to have this odd reputation with them; and
(d) In my own way I'd rather like this to be permanently available on the internet so that others can read this and understand what it's like to be a constrained coven experience.

The background to this forum post
The high priestess had, on many occasions, made me feel as though I knew what I was doing throughout my time with her and a callout had been made to coven members for apprentice high priestesses whereby I didn't require any experience to be one.  Having had many years of magickal practice behind me, I thought I'd be a very suitable candidate.  Sadly, I had bought into this hierarchical system and yearned for so much more from the coven and saw this as a great opportunity to fill that gap...  But I think that that gap would have still existed no matter what.  I had spent some time trying to unite members by suggesting events and rites which would harmonise the coven but those suggestions weren't really taken on.  I had also seen this hierarchy become tighter and tighter, with one girl assisting the 'inner circle' to organise events to be told that she was 'lucky to be this close to the inner circle' - egos started to form.  The energy of the coven was no longer particularly friendly.  Apparently, as I wasn't permitted to become an apprentice high priestess I could take the first degree course - when I was in my personal second degree already and knew exactly how to set up my own ritual space and write a ritual already - which is mostly what the course consisted of.  This course went (from memory) for about 6-8 weeks and cost about $120.....  Yep, it costed money to 'cover the expense of materials.'  Something which this Irish witch I had posted earlier this year is dead against, as am I.  

I was certainly glad to have left when I did.  People who are there now are being told that they are not 'allowed' to practice magick with anyone outside of the coven and are being discouraged from performing traditional Wicca.  Some of those who have left have been terribly harassed by the "high" priestess to the point where it's becoming ridiculous - and I'd have to say that without having stated her name on here whatsoever I am very happy to share this information freely and to the public.  I've become sick and tired of seeing people within that coven being treated badly and actually feeling surprised that it's happening to them.

The forum post
It seems contradictory to say that we didn’t need to have any experience, yet now I’ve been asked to go through the first degree course.  I realise I had agreed to do the first degree course and why you’re trying to assimilate what you’ve learnt about running a coven into that.  I just feel that if I “didn’t need experience” to become an apprentice high priestess that I would at least be recognised as having had great life experience from my teaching, lecturing and (on & off) 12 years of experience as a Wiccan.  I thought I would be taught as an apprentice rather than via a first degree course, if you know what I mean.   It’s hard for me to reconcile that in my solitary practice I’m now at the 2nd degree and I think I’ve realised that I want to concentrate on just that, because it’s a lot of hard work.

Perhaps I came here for the wrong reasons.  I had been yearning to learn from others, teach others, grow, and have a more intimate experience and I’ve wanted that since the minute I walked into the coven, and that energy has not changed.

I’m not doing this to have a go at anyone, it’s just that I have to comply to a system which I don’t naturally work with and therefore I shouldn’t hang around and contribute an ounce of negativity which works against the family feel of this coven which could throw it out of balance.  My negativity could hence be felt by others and if anyone wants to view that as my ego, I don’t mind.  Some things just don’t work for some people.

I had put up ‘ideas’ on the website to bring our coven closer socially and spiritually because I felt that we were fragmented, and to be frank: we have been kept that way.  They were, also, just ideas too, and were in mind for the betterment of the coven and not necessarily for me to perform. I have always been passionate about making sure that everyone feels equal – I’m wildly passionate about that in fact, and have been all of my life.  Whilst I understand that you can’t just let some stranger immediately into the ‘inner circle’ I come back to my first point: if I didn’t need a great deal of experience to become an apprentice high priestess then why am I being asked to do the first degree course?

If we are to be teaching one another, why can we not allow for a format which encourages that, or am I getting the wrong end of the stick?  Perhaps my expectations are wildly unrealistic and idyllic to the point of ridiculous.  That ideal seems to be what I want, and perhaps that is best achieved as a solitary witch or within a very small coven.

You're all beautiful, marvellous and remarkable people, but I think it's important to emphasise that I don't want to ruin the energy of the group with my negativity and thus am obliged to step back for the sake of others more so than myself as to not ruin the enjoyment, love and light that this coven provides for others.  I would be a coward if I were to just walk away from the coven without saying a word.  I think, too, that this coven suffers because no-one feels that they can be open and honest about the structure and the system which is handed down to them.  By keeping our mouths shut we’re spreading a very strange, restrained energy that I believe works against the magickal energy that the coven is trying to achieve.  I don’t particularly enjoy writing this, but I’m an honest person and I respect honest people.

Love and light.  In perfect love and perfect trust.  May your paths be fecund, bountiful and radiant with the power of the Goddess.  Keep on being creative and powerful darlings.

)O( Elspeth.


TheEthicist said...

The leader of this coven sounds like a egomaniac determined to maintain their ability to hold power over others, not a religious leader. Religion can be as good at attracting those types as the religious.

Elspeth said...

You hit the nail on the head there. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there using religion as a platform for some other kind of means... Particularly when someone sets themselves up as high priestess by organising the events initially, having them at her house, insisting that there is no hierarchy and then all of a sudden this person becomes the high priestess. She recently said that she was her coven's chosen leader - no one chose her, she elected herself...

Elspeth said...

And for the record everybody: the above letter has not been changed in any way, shape or form. I quite deliberately saved it on my computer as a backup incase it was deleted.