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.