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When I decided to connect with the Covenant of
the Goddess, one of the membership requirements was that I write for
them a description of how I practice the Craft. Here goes:
I am a Wiccan, Priest, and Hidden Child of the Goddess.
I am a Wiccan because I both practice and teach the Old Religion.
I am a Priest because I preside at passages for other people: more times outside of Circle than in, some of which I am not aware of.
I am a Child of the Goddess because I like to be held and nurtured in female energy. I am hidden because, as much as I strive to share, there will always be parts of me hidden, even from myself.
I joined CUUPS, the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) in 1990. I have met many teachers along my way. Each of them had something to offer and a small something I would find troubling. I have yet to be a member of a coven, but I am a joiner. I was looking to be more connected nationally. I was welcomed into the Covenant of the Goddess in 2002.
I enjoy the company of others who seek the truth and avoid those who claim to have found it. I do not try to shrink deity to fit within my own head.
I took over the leadership of our Fort Lauderdale MoonPath Chapter of CUUPS around 1996 and continued until 2014. I maintained a CUUPS website and did a weekly email broadcast of local coming events plus my thoughts. See the Spelcastor Archive.
Around the Wheel of the Year, I celebrate each of the Eight Sabbats. I remain aware of the phases of the Moon and include them in my meditations. I facilitate our weekly CUUPS Study Group and serve as Gatekeeper to welcome many and turn away a few.
I see solitaries, especially new ones, looking for a place to connect. They tire of just reading and want to participate with others in ritual. Our CUUPS group provides opportunities to both practice and network. We regularly draw from as far as Miami and the Palm Beaches and attract 65% women and 35% men. Our fourth Annual Witches Ball and Open Samhain Ritual drew over 300. The Covenant of the Goddess published some statistics from 2000.
My ancestry is Irish with some German. My path is Celtic and eclectic. I feel a kinship. Perhaps I had Gaelic and Roman ancestors who once staffed a sleepy garrison somewhere along the Danube. At the threat of a funding cut, they would burn down a barn of someone they did not like. The stipend from Rome would then return, along with peace.
Among the authors I have read are Scott Cunningham, Silver Ravenwolf, James & Stewart Farrar, Doreen Valiente, Gerald Gardner, Dion Fortune, Raymond Buckland, Riane Eisler, Margot Adler, Starhawk, Merlin Stone, Phyllis Currott, Ann Moura, Caitlin Matthews, Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa, Mary Condren, Joseph Campbell, Robin Wood, Beth Rae, Julius Caesar, Alexander Carmichael, Rel Davis, Jean Bottero, Peter Berresford Ellis, Jean Markale, Sabina Magliocco, and the Judeo-Christian Bible.
I was introduced to festivals when Church of the Iron Oak was still holding Freedom Festivals in Fort Pierce. I became a regular at the Florida Pagan Gatherings at Boyd Hill in St. Petersburg. There, I would listen, learn, and rub shoulders with experienced and famous Craft people. I am really much more interested in how they get through their day than in any specific spells. I believe in learning by observation and teaching by example.
I was brought up on a Christian path that honored reason and tradition as well as its holy books. After college, I wandered off to California muttering about relevance and purpose. In the mundane world I rejected organizations that I found to be either pointless or cruel. Unlike some, I have no serious wounds from my religious past. I see my entrance into the Craft as a coming home, and a smaller philosophical leap than others might suspect. I am a "this world" kind of person. I do not concern myself with afterlife, but reincarnation does have its charm.
Under the light of a Full Moon, on September 17, 1997, I dedicated myself to the Craft. On my roof-top deck, I surrounding myself with symbols from steps along my spiritual journey. I embraced them all and then presented myself to the four quarters and to the Goddess.
I see two kinds of spells. In one, I connect to something larger than myself and then direct the energy. In the other, I am already connected. I deliver the magick by simple words or gestures. So what is a blessing, but a spell that bestows a gift? What is a curse, but a taking away? And I really like the power of humor, rhyme, and music when I reach into these realms. And it harm none, not even myself, I do what I will. What goes around, comes back around three times, but I will falter in that last belief when bad things are happening to good people.
As a solitary, I visualize a Craft structure of three degrees. A person of the First Degree has studied and practiced for at least a "Year and a Day." She or he is familiar with that which she does not know in depth. She is able to lead a Ritual, although she may not choose to do so often.
A person of the Second Degree has studied longer and is able to lead an ongoing group. A person of the Third Degree has studied still longer and is able to spin off a group that will survive without her. Here is a magickal skill that is enviable, even in the mundane world.
I see Second and Third Degree folks alert to people of potential. I find it truly exciting to encourage another to blossom within the Craft. Although in CUUPS, there is no one path, I enjoy doing dedications for serious people celebrating either the beginning or conclusion of their "Year and a Day." However, I see the 80/20 rule does apply, and many are more comfortable just following someone else's lead. I am amused by the concept of a Third Degree Solitary, and I see myself doing things appropriate to all three degrees.
As powerful as sex magick might be, I consider offering the Great Rite to students to be distracting for them and unethical for me. I put little reverence in hierarchy and respect those who do as they say. I honor those of the First Degree who find fulfillment in serving as a bridge between the Craft and the mundane world.
In ritual, I prefer a balance of female and male energy. With a fellow priestess, sometimes I serve as senior, sometimes I am junior. I have also priested at a quickening, a handfasting, and a memorial. As the Circle gets larger, from 5 to 20 to 50 to 200, I am amazed at how everything takes so much longer and that gestures must be bigger.
The Unitarian Universalist (UU) denomination serves as a gateway into the Craft. The UUs value knowledge and its pursuit. Their Pagans groups make up a small percentage of their total membership and include others besides Wiccans. A UU church is a safe place for inquirers to seek us out, and these churches often have nice real estate for public rituals.
I like to teach a Wicca-related workshop at conferences and festivals. I show UU leaders that pagans are good church citizens and part of the same earth religion movement as the Native Americans. I have collected notes on what works for our group, published them on the Internet, and sent them to other CUUPS chapters around the country.
The academic community is seeing in paganism the birth of a new religion. I offer my story to students for their research and term papers, and I maintain a thin veil over my identity. I do not want to create difficulties for myself by troubling my clients or out-of-town relatives with details of my spiritual journey. There are some who would wish me harm for not conforming to their narrow beliefs. Likewise, I honor others' need for secrecy.
A Wizard Walks through Walls
and Reaches for the Stars.
Between Two Worlds (No. 52)
© 1990 Tim White, Paradise Farm, Westhall Halesworth, Suffolk 1P19 8RH England
|An unplanned "benefit" from our CUUPS listing in
directory is that we get contacted by prison inmates. The women seem
hungry for knowledge. The men are more cautious and perhaps looking
to play an angle. I write to them as long as either of us has something to say.
The egocentric side of me would like to boast of a long association with the Craft. In 1967 as I was walking through a bookstore, a copy of Colin Wilson's The Occult fell off a shelf and landed at my feet. I picked it up and bought it. This all makes a good story, but I found the book head-bound and boring. It was not until years later that the books I enjoy appeared.
Many years ago starting in 1950, I attended a grammar school that had a divided playground: boys on one side, girls on the other. As a first grader I would cross the yard to bring flowers to the eighth-grade girls. I have been a worshiper of the Goddess for a long time.
-- February 3, 2002
|What's so special about the Covenant of the Goddess? Cooperation is a major concept within CoG. We are Witches who choose to work TOGETHER. We do not claim to represent all of Witchdom, just those who can agree to adopt a set of Bylaws that has been working with reasonable success for a quarter century, and who can cooperate for the good of the Witch community. The Florida Local Council is known as Everglades Moon.|
chapter, Fort Lauderdale, provides networking opportunities through
a weekly Thursday Night Study Group and Open Rituals for each of the
Sabbats. MoonPath is neither a coven nor a CoG organization, but is
listed here because it's Gatekeeper was a CoG Elder. From this we have
incorporated our own Pagan church, the
Visit the Spelcastor Archives of 19 years as Gate Keeper of what amounts to
a blog that led off MoonPath CUUPS email broadcasts from
2013 back to
CUUPS stands for the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and is known nationally as a gateway into the Craft. Other CoG Elders associated with National CUUPS are the late Margot Adler, Amber K and Starhawk. CUUPS also provides a forum at which to practice teaching Craft topics and a place to send aspirants when they are not quite ready for Coven membership.
The UU Connection:
Fifteen Minutes of Fame:
|An interview with Spelcastor was included in Kristin Madden's anthology,
Exploring the Pagan Path: Wisdom from the Elders, (March 2005). I am quite honored.
It is flattering to be listed among so many Big Named Pagans.
Since I see 80% of those in the Craft to be "Un-Covened", I think this is a worthy topic starting on page 155.
© 2019 Spelcastor Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. This site was last updated 9/16/19