Monday, August 14, 2006

Undesirable Behavior in Covens & Circles: Group Discussions of "Dysfunctional Behavior & The Pagan Scene"

Posted by Picasa We sometimes get requests to print out copies of certain articles for group discussion. This note came into our office today:

"I just reread “Dysfunctional Behavior and the Pagan Scene”, and I must say that I've been urged to share it with my full moon circle. They are a group of lovely people however it is open to the public and we have had some problems when dealing with undesirable conduct. I was hoping to get your permission to print out copies of this essay to distribute to the group in hope that it will open a few eyes and empower others to say "that's enough". I would be more than happy to inform everyone that it is copyrighted material and to not copy it again without the author's permission."

I have to turn down requests to make print copies (or post entire articles on other websites). That said, I also offer an alternative to those groups who really are interested in having a serious discussion on these issues, and I note that a print versions of these essays – with discussion questions and a book list – will be forthcoming.

I answered her thusly: (1)

Dear -

I'm so glad that you liked the essay and that you find it helpful. Unfortunately, I must decline your request to make print copies for your group. I do this for three reasons. I also offer an alternative to those who are interested (see below):


1. These essays are legally promised for print publication, elsewhere.

2. I do not believe in stating the problem, without offering a solution, thus Part II is also vital reading. It is titled: Healthy Pagan Groups & Individuals.

3. The links within these essays are important reading and simply printing out a copy of the one essay in it's current form will not allow access to those.

Allowed Alternative:

My suggestion to group leaders and organizers who ask this question is that they send an email to their group, citing the links to both Part I and Part II at my list of articles at The Witches Voice. Ask the group to read the essays before the next gathering, and to bring their notes and questions. (By the way, if they can't be bothered to do that, you might also find that they can't be bothered to address this issue, either).

Links to: It's a Mystery:

Part I: Dysfunctional Behavior and the Pagan Scene

Part II: Healthy Pagan Groups & Individuals

Your group can read these, then gather for discussions at a later date. I recommend that the organizer use the chapter headings in these essays as topics to start the discussion. I've been told by several covens and circles that this is most effective.

Try to set the meeting within two weeks time of each reading, as this will keep the essays fresh in everyone's mind. I recommend two separate meetings, one per essay.

When you discuss these essays, don't just talk about the problem. Decide what you want (i.e. what does your group really stand for?) and figure out mutual ways to support that.

If you wish, a third meeting, what is called “A Group Conscious”, can be held in which the active members of your circle agree upon and then sets boundaries for the circle/coven as a whole. Include boundaries and consequences for violation of same. Make these clear to all members, and to any newcomers before they enter the circle. You'll find that many troublemakers "self select" themselves right out of any group that holds healthy boundaries and standards.

Those who wish to continue the healing process are welcome to join the members at an Earthwise Support Group called Spiral Steps.

FYI: A basic print edition of these collected essays, with notes for discussion and a book list, is in process. Look for it in 2007.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

All good things,

Council Leader & Founder, Full Circle
Honor the Past, Celebrate the Present, Create the Future

cc: files


1. I have always wanted to use that word in a sentence. Now I have.

Note: The photo (taken by Gene Blyth of AP) for this news story is of a fresco titled “Flora” which was rescued from the ashes of ancient Stabiae. Flora reminds us that we reap what we sow.

A tour of these artworks is coming to the U.S.

This lovely image is also used as basic for the logo for my favorite boticanal oil company, Primavera Oils. A more detailed version of this fresco can be found here.

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