Seeker Safety

in NeoPaganism Groups, Covens, Communities and etc.

Predators are hard to spot in any community.  In religious communities that can be additionally challenging. While some of the major Christian churches have had their own very public scandals, this is something that neopaganism and witchcraft are not exempt from.

Honestly this is not my favorite class, it feels like a disclaimer or a warning label.   I always having it as one of the first classes that I teach in a new session because, if you learn nothing else at least your eyes are open. I wish I could just dig into the fun stuff, but all religions and systems of witchcraft are, inherently, human– so here we are…

TLDR: Remember that you ALWAYS have the right to leave if you are uncomfortable, at any time, without excuse.  

Humans have a track record of abusing positions of power for their own ends.  This can take many forms, though often it is either financial or sexual exploitation.

By it’s nature, neopaganism and witchcraft inherently inhabit spaces where secrecy, oathbond, trust, and vulnerability are potentially exploitable. Because of power differentials, people do not always know what is and is not acceptable.  Unfortunately, people get into teaching and positions of power for a variety of reasons, and it isn’t always benevolent. Add in our informal clergy structure, and lack of governing body, and it kinda makes sense that issues occur, and can be missed by the general community.

Not only do we miss recognizing bad-actors, even if we do know about them, it can be challenging to prevent the perpetrators from continuing to cause harm. Elders don’t have authority over other practitioners which makes this area particularly frustrating and difficult to handle.  People don’t always share their experiences, and victims disbelieved.  Involving the authorities can be humiliating, frustrating, and challenging as we are still often considered a very fringe population.

The good news is that forewarned is forearmed.  There are certainly people to go to if you are in a situation of exploitation.  Lets make sure you know ways of getting in touch with other witches in your community to vet practitioners.  You also have a lot more power to walk away than it can feel like.

Important Readings

  1. The Wiccan Rede
  2. The Advanced Bonewitz Cult Danger Evaluation Framework
  3. The Seekers Bill of Rights

 

Questions to think about: 

Who would you contact to vet a practitioner?

What would be a big red flag for you?

What is something you read in the ABCDEF or Seekers Bill of Rights that was surprising?

How is it possible to misuse “An harm ye none do what you will?” How does the meaning change for that statement when you add “Perfect Love and Perfect Trust”?

How can you fortify yourself to walk away?

Class 2 Handout

Overview

    1. Introductions & Checkins
    2. Visualization Exercise 1
    3. The Rede – “An Harm Ye None do What You Will”
    4. ABCDEF
    5. Seekers Bill of Rights
    6. Visualization Exercise 2
    7. VII.Homework
    8. VIII.Questions
    1. For those who have not been at a previous class: 
    2. Expectations
    3. Syllabus and Book List
    4. Calendar

Homework Due Week 3 Meeting- 

PLEASE EMAIL TO WYNNE@WPNOD.ORG OR POST IN THE COMMENTS

CLASS 2 Assignments: 

  1. Without looking at your stone, visualize it in your mind, and write out a new description for it.  How does this change from your initial response? Are you visualizing the stone or simply remembering what you wrote about it?
  2. Write out your own version of what boundaries you think are appropriate in a craft teaching/coven setting 
  3. Read https://brainworksneurotherapy.com/what-are-brainwaves and then do Do Exercise 1 from Matt Auryn’s Psychic Witch –  Printed below:

    Exercise 1 from Matt Auryn's Psychic Witch
    This is the first exercise in Psychic Witch by Matt Auryn; a book on the reading list

Hint:

The Alpha brainwave state is a quiet meditative state; being able to count down in your head without being distracted by your thoughts is the main goal here.  Try this exercise as much as possible, if not multiple times a day, and record the lowest number that you get to. 

 Be honest with yourself about getting distracted; better to have multiple attempts and be stuck in the high numbers rather than thinking you’ve completed the task. 

  1. Spend some time outside 

CLASS 1 Assignments (if not already completed):

  1. Sign up for the Discord, WPNOD.Org, and be sure that Wynne has your email and phone number.
  2. Self Transcript (if not completed prior to first class) 
  3. Find a stone outside, study it, write its description, be able to describe it to someone else so that they could pick it out of a pile of stones.  Take a couple of photos of it, and upload them with your homework.  
  4. Bring 3 snack items with you to the next online class.  One should be a fruit, one a savory snack like a cracker, and one should be chocolate or a hard candy. 
  1. Start Journal 
    1. Doodling in your journal – Draw something, on a whim, and don’t judge
    2. Go outside for at least 10 minutes during the day time, take off your shoes, take a deep breath, make
      some observations. Write, draw, etc. Try to include information like what direction you are facing,
      what wildlife you saw, what you are smelling, what you feel.
    3. Do the same thing at night, at least ten minutes.
  2. Reading
  • The Seekers Bill of Rights2
    • -https://www.amtrad.org/seekers-bill-of-rights
  • ABCDEF – Advanced Bonewits Cult Danger Evaluation Form
    • – http://www.neopagan.net/ABCDEF.html
  • How to spot a terrible coven- Thorne Moony- 
    • https://www.patheos.com/blogs/oathbound/2015/04/
      how-to-spot-a-terrible-coven/

 

 

 

 

 

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