Oct. 15th, 2008

heron61: (Dragons & Magic)
Unlike the vast majority of the pagans, otherkin, and other magical folk that I know, I'm a trained priest, which to the people who taught me means that I am both a teacher and a representative of the gods. However, after a fairly impressive meltdown of a magical working group around a decade ago, I haven't done all that much with this training. I've done my own spiritual work, and at times quite a lot of it, but I've only done a little work teaching others and have run very few public rituals.

However, I ran a large and exceptionally successful public ritual at Crossing the Thresholds, and both [personal profile] teaotter & [personal profile] amberite mentioned that I should be doing more as a priest. They are correct, and that set me to thinking about what I could do. I finally have a community . I no longer consider myself to be Wiccan, and I have little interest in the larger pagan or magical community, but the otherkin community is home to me.

However, this brings to mind several different issues. The most obvious is what exactly would I do. I can certainly run public rituals and hope to do so regularly. However, I'm not only no longer Wiccan, but my spirituality is at this point highly personal and idiosyncratic and is not something that I see any need or really any possibility to share with others. At that point, instead of teaching religion, I could do any or all of the following:
  • Teach techniques for performing magical work in groups.
  • Lead a magical working group, where members gather to pursue various magical goals that can be best accomplished in groups.
  • Share spiritual experiences and attempt to gain greater spiritual understanding (and perhaps form something like a shared spiritual paradigm).
This all sounds interesting, but it also sounds like the sort of thing that would only work if (to use academic analogies) it was more in the format of a graduate seminar rather than the format of a more traditional and authoritarian class. The problem with this idea is that all of my previous experience with magical study groups has shown me that attempting to run anything other than a moderately structured set up of 1 or 2 teachers teaching a larger number of students either fails utterly (mostly in the sense that it falls apart) or reverts to a teacher student dynamic quite rapidly. So, I'm far from certain how to make anything else work.

There's also the even more difficult issue that I have a number of people who I'd greatly value as colleagues (and in some cases students) in such a group, and with the exception of my two partners, all of them are members of the otherkin community who live on the other coast. There are people in the otherkin community that I know and like out here, but I'm not as close to any of them, and I don't think I'd work well in a group with any of them except my two partners. [livejournal.com profile] shadowmorphic suggested attempting some form of long-distance teaching and working group, which sounds possible, but also very far from easy. Also, a long-distance community feels a whole lot less like a community, and that would make the entire process far more difficult and somewhat less rewarding.

Alternately, I can attempt to meet more otherkin out here, which suffers from all the typical and fairly intimidating problems of attempting to find total strangers to join a magical working group. I have been to several otherkin meet-ups in Portland that have attracted a number of interesting individuals that I might have been able to work with. However, separating the people I wish to work with from those I know that I can work well with is definitely not a simple process, especially since I wish to avoid hurting the feelings of some people I know, but don't think that I could work with.

So, at this point, I'm both uncertain what sort of group to create, how to organize it and who would be in it, which is a far from easy place to be for considering such things. I would definitely appreciate thoughts and advice.

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