Tag Archives: virtual dynamics

Coming Together: A Look at Pagan Group Structure

Humans are fundamentally social creatures: we love to get together. We are educated in groups, we work in groups and many of us worship in groups. But what, exactly, is a group? A group of people working in the same room, or on a common project, does not necessarily make a group.

When people work in groups, there are two different factors involved. The first is the task to accomplish, teaching a class, holding a ritual, or doing community outreach are examples of tasks. The second factor is process of the group work itself, the mechanisms by which the group acts as a unit. If group members don’t pay enough attention to the process, the value of the group can be diminished or even destroyed. The synergy between task and process makes group work attractive despite the possible problems (and time spent).

Continue reading

Pagan Predators

I am opening the door to a closet, one full of pain and well-hidden enough that most of us overlook its entrance. Some Pagans fear for their safety, their loved ones, and their livelihood simply because they are Pagan in a predominantly Judaeo-Christian world, but I am more afraid of the beast in the closet: those Pagans who use our beliefs against us, who use us – physically, emotionally, or financially – for their own gain. Some of us had to learn the hard way that being Pagan does not ensure ethical behavior, and that many of our beliefs, if twisted, support predatory behavior.

Continue reading

Magick Online: A New Perspective on an Old Tradition

The world of online magick is just about 20 years old, having begun in the ‘good old days’ of Compuserve, when BBSs were the primary mode of transmitting information. Rituals were held online as early as 1985, with participants have reported highly successful results, akin to those found arising from physical rituals. Like physical covens, virtual covens (which may also be called ‘temples, ’ ‘groves, ’ or ‘circles, ’) do not last very long. So online magickal teaching has quite a bit of history to it, but stable online groups do not.

Continue reading

A History of Magick, Online

It was one of my illusions that ShadowMoon was the first coven in cyberspace, but in the course of writing CyberCoven.Org, I have discovered otherwise. Although I am disappointed at not being ‘one of the first,’ it is nonetheless a wonderful piece of news. There is a history – an established time period – of pagans, and witches in particular, being online since the mid 1980s. We have been performing rituals, sharing information and acting together in covens for a couple of decades now – an amazing piece of news if you stop to think about how many people feel the internet is a waste of time.

Continue reading

Cyber Altars: Using New Technology In Traditional Ways

I grew up in a house full of altars. My nominally Catholic mother would probably dispute my calling them altars, but every flat surface in the house had a grouping of objects that were special. Candles in unusual holders sat next to the flowering violets and small portraits of family members in the hall. Pottery forms shared space with crystals and shells in the living room. Every once in a while my mother would rearrange the furniture and the altars would be changed, moved, reformed into new combinations. I feel like I learned a key lesson about altars: they have been with us for thousands of years, bringing the sacred into our homes in personal, tangible ways.

Continue reading

Mechanics of a Cyber Coven: Tools and Equipment

For many Witches, who tend to view themselves as ‘right brained,’ psychic and creative, the realm of computers reeks of calculus, and other ‘left-brain’ activities. Computers are intimidating at first, but the world of cyberspace is a wondrous environment, and, in my opinion, the new frontier of spiritual growth and exploration. Many of the traditional tools are used in the cyber coven – but there are a few extras that are necessary. For example, JaguarMoon (my cyber coven) uses a black-handled athame in our cyber rituals, which is a traditional tool, but we wield it within IRC (Internet Relay Chat), a completely modern environment.

Continue reading

Creating Online Ritual

Most people of a religious (as opposed to spiritual) nature engage in a variety of rituals to create a deeper, personal, connection with the Deity, nature, the spiritual realms, or ‘just’ the simple rhythms of the turning seasons. For those of us online, the execution of these rituals has taken on a different aspect, which I will explore throughout this essay, but our needs remain the same.

Continue reading

Choosing to Work Magick Online: A Guideline for Seekers

A recent conversation with the members of a Pagan Clergy list led to a long discussion about the ethics of teaching and practicing magick online, particularly in the case of Traditions with a history of being transformative and initiatory (like Wicca).

The world of online magick is not quite 20 years old, having begun in the ‘good old days’ of Compuserve, when BBSs were the primary mode of transmitting information. Rituals have been held online as early as 1985, and participants have reported amazing results, akin to those found arising from physical rituals. Online covens (which may also be called ‘temples,’ ‘groves,’ or ‘circles,’) however, have not been able to last that long. There are only two cyber covens in still existence from 1997, and those are the earliest I can find record of.

So, online magickal teaching has quite a bit of history to it, but stable online groups do not. For the seeker, there is a great deal of gray area in which to fall, and potentially become damaged, or at least misled.

Continue reading