27 March 2006

Helpful Advice from Pandora

I had a lovely time at the 3Rivers spring ritual, and I was proud to have been awarded a job in it, which was to lead the trance. (I had another job, too, which was to hold one end of time; I do believe that's going to have major impact on my little daily life. I don't think you can go around holding one end of time without being affected by it. I'm waiting to see how this manifests.) So right before I left for the ritual, I went back to the email which had told me what the ritual was about, which I hadn't paid attention to before, so that I could think up the bones of a trance.

I wasn't worried about putting a trance together -- I work quick -- but I saw that I was going to have to work REAL quick, because the agreed upon focus for the trance, as reported to me in my email, was that we would be breaking the chains that bind us so that we could plant the seeds of passion and growth and health.

So I mulled this over, and when I got to the ritual, I said, please explain. What was this about? Cause I'm trying to put a trance together here, and the best I can come up with is, we're all farmers, and we find ourselves in the barn, and criminals have come and tied us up with chains, and so we can't get to our seed bags to plant our crops. So please explain. Cause I don't think I can do this.

Well, it turned out that mostly it was the feel of the energy that was important, and not the specifics, though we DID need the chain imagery cause we were going to actually break paper chains. Ok.

So I had us be seeds in the earth, the cold earth, and we ended up needing to break the heretofore safe and helpful seed cases which surrounded us, on account of they'd gotten too BINDING, and indeed, had become just like CHAINS, and there we were, and we broke them and grew and what not and it all turned out all right.

So that was ok.

But my advice is, when putting trances together, you should watch out for the mixed metaphors. I'm just saying.

But a side note -- torn up colorful paper chains? Excellent. Just like confetti.

15 March 2006

Approach With Caution

I had a treat yesterday, when an old friend came through town and stopped by my workplace to say hello. We had only 20 minutes to catch up; what do you focus on if you haven't seen each other in years and you have 20 minutes?

Well, state of the children, sure. Brief reminisces about the past, sure. State of partnerships, sure.

And what was most pressing, given the circumstances -- teaching the craft, passing on our tradition, making decisions about how to use our energy.

When I first got out here to where I am now, I tried very hard to put a community together. I was on my own; I taught a couple of Elements courses; I worked with some friends for a while; nothing held, nothing worked, nothing stayed. It became clear to me that I was to focus elsewhere, and work, essentially, as a solitary, and that's what I've been doing, till recently.

What I learned the most from, though, was a situation wherein I'd been asked by an existing circle to come and teach them the Elements course. So I met with them over the course of weeks, and handed stuff on over. I'd asked at the beginning -- does everyone agree to this? Is this what the whole circle wants?

And the answer had been, yes it was. They'd been meeting regularly for a few years at that point, having full moon rituals, and they wanted to learn some structure for making their work deeper.

The group held together for the whole time I worked with them -- but they shattered soon after. This was because they all wanted to work more deeply, but what "deeper" looked like, what that word meant, was different for them all, as of course it would be.

So that they shattered I now understand to have been inevitable, though I thought at the time it was something I'd done wrong.

No. (Or, at least, though I may have done things wrong, teaching them my tradition wasn't wrong in and of itself.) What I was handing them was very intense -- "intense" being a crucial part of "deep," for me; but hey, that's what you get if you mess around with the Feris. So, no matter how well the classes went -- and they had gone well -- not everybody wanted to work the same way. Some of the women in the group wanted to work in an ecstasy tradition. Others wanted the gentler feasting they'd been doing for years.

Both were fine -- but they weren't something that could coexist. So the group was headed for splitting before they met me; I was simply the mirror they used to figure out who they were, which was a group that some people needed to no longer work in.

This would be why I'm staying out of the daily work and decisions and ritual planning done by my new cohorts, goddess love 'em. If they're going deeper (read "intense"), not everybody who was there at the beginning will be there for the next stage. Now that I know that's how things work, I'd like to let them work this out for themselves.

My old friend agreed. Yep, it's happened to him, too. But we're all the time getting into trouble. People get attracted by what we're doing, they want to get closer to it, they invite us to rituals, we go, we feel the energy and move with it, the whole thing gets intense, and then we hear later "We weren't ready for that." "You pushed us."

We need to walk around with a bunch of Caution Disclaimers, I suppose.

Approach With Caution: Contents Under Pressure.

06 March 2006

Group Trance

So, I had more advice for my new cohorts, and the more advice was, "group trance."

Cause there's nothing that'll either explode a group or cause it to cohere than group trance.

Hell, even just setting it up the first time gets a LOT of work done. Somebody won't want to do it, and nobody really thinks it'll work, and somebody else has trouble with trances in general, and several people will mostly want to drink coffee and TALK about group trance, but not really DO it, cause, hell, if it works, it's too scary, and if it doesn't work, it's too scary.

But oh, I do miss it. That's what I miss the most, not having a coven in the flesh these days (I've got several old friends I work with on the astral, or occasionally in three-dimensional space, but no coven where I live). I loved the way the group place shifted whether or not we were there; I loved the way my coveners were recognizable in trance, but not quite the same as they were "topside" -- one of them regularly knit in our group place, for instance, but wouldn't touch the stuff in real life.

I loved the way trances worked if there were just two or three of us, and how they worked if there were fifteen of us, and how they worked if we knew each other well, and how they worked if we didn't.

Sometimes we would have visitors and friends from other covens, for group trances at high holidays -- the living room would be littered with semi-comatose bodies of people and dogs. Once, in the long ago, a phone went off when many of us were in the middle of a Samhain trance. All the house phones were off; this was one that a visitor had brought in a coat pocket.

It was the first cell phone I'd ever seen -- when I did see it; it took us a while, naturally, to find it. About fifteen people, trying to discover a tiny ringing phone, all the while acting like they were on acid.

Woah, dude. A phone.

When we did finally locate the phone, the caller had given up. This was just as well.

And then we all lay down on the floor again and went back into trance.

Yep. Miss those days, sometimes.

Anyway. Yet another group of people is now loose on the world, having discovered that you can invent, and be invented by, trance work, several of you all together. Look out.