This past week Moondancer and I took a trip to PantheaCon–a pagan convention held yearly in San Francisco. While there we, okay, I had the chance to watch large numbers of pagans, Wiccans, witches, and magicians interact and you know what I discovered? That courtesy is passé and apparently no longer taught during the training period.
In the past we have gone over the “Grace of Etiquette” and various forms of the Ordains and Laws that various groups abide by. I will be giving you a copy of the Grace this evening but now I want to talk about how I expect you, as a student in this Tradition, to act and participate in public and private gatherings. Think of this as Raven’s Guide to Craft Manners.
- Treat everyone you meet with respect and honor. Even if they do not return the respect back to you. This makes you a better person for having made the effort.
- Clean up after yourself—pick up dishes, put trash in the appropriate can, etc. I know, I know—this is one of those that is so obvious that it shouldn’t need to be mentioned, however…
- Of money and the Craft—manners dictates that you should offer to help cover the costs. If you don’t have the money, let your hosts/Priestess/Priest know discreetly. Note, it is bad manners not to mention tacky to claim to not have money to help pay for stuff, then show up with or talk about an expensive new trinket you just got.
- When attending rituals, etc. offer to help out. Set up the area, help to break down, etc. This is always appreciated. If there is nothing for you to do, then sit and meditate on the work that will be done in the ritual and get yourself into the right headspace.
- In Coven, the Priestess has the last say on all matters. This is also true of any who are acting as the Priestess for the ritual. Give them the same respect that you would give to the Lady. Speaking of “Lady”—titles are beautiful and symbolic, but should be reserved for Craft occasions. When introducing your teachers to friends and family at gatherings, do so in a respectful manner. In public places, use discretion.
- Speaking of roles—every Tradition has their own roles and how they are fulfilled. Be aware and sensitive to other Traditions, but follow the rules and roles of your Tradition. Within our Tradition, there are several roles and responsibilities:
- High Priestess—is the Goddess incarnate in ritual. Leads rituals and rules the Coven with a soft touch (if you are lucky)
- High Priest—is the God incarnate in ritual and supports and upholds the commands of the High Priestess.
- Maiden—an unmarried girl, often the daughter of the High Priestess or High Priest. Sets up ritual space and helps the High Priestess in rituals.
- Elders—these are those of the Third Degree who offer their just wisdom to the High Priestess, High Priest, and Coven.
- Initiates—those who have stepped on the Path of service to the Gods. They have a voice in Coven matters, but the decision is always up to the High Priestess.
- Students—they are those who are still standing at the doorway looking in. They may offer their voice in open rituals, but have no voice in Coven decisions.
- Do not make sexual offers to others, unless you are sure that they are wanted. Never presume just because you may find something stimulating, that everyone else will as well.
- Personal problems are just that—personal. Your Priestess and Priest are always available for you to talk to, but they will not take sides in personal disputes, not will they mediate personality conflicts. We believe that you are all adults and expect that you will behave in an adult manner. While we have taken counseling courses, they have taught us that we do not know nearly enough to offer counsel on a regular basis. If you come to us with a serious problem, we will listen to it and then offer help as we see fit, including suggestions that you seek professional counseling.
- Group trips. Do not expect that if you have children, that everyone else is happy to watch your children for you while you go off and do something. If you have children, then it is your responsibility to watch them, feed them, and discipline them as necessary.
- Bring enough food for yourself plus others—that way if there is a potluck type meal you can contribute to it (and that doesn’t mean a bag of corn chips or a six pack of sodas). It is probably best if you assume that everyone may be in as tight of financial straights as you are. Do not be a burden.
- The Craft is a lifestyle as well as a religion. We can choose to be responsible or not, each must make their own decision on that, but as long as you study with us, you will act responsibly in any actions that reflect back on either your teachers or the Tradition. If your life is so out of control that you cannot focus on learning, then you should think about your ability to commit to the Craft. I can guarantee that if you think your life is hectic before initiation, just wait until after and the Gods decide to give you “more” to do.
- Come ready to study and ask questions—if you don’t understand something, then ask about it. We are human just as you are and still haven’t “quite” gotten the hang of mind reading—just ask our children! IF there is something in particular that you have an interest in, ask your teachers if they can give you some places to look for more information. We don’t know everything, but we do know an awful lot of bits and pieces of stuff.