I recently made up an entire mystery school. I didn’t set out to do this. All I wanted to do was to write a full-moon ceremony for the use of the women’s full moon circle that I’m starting up this month.* I’ve written a bazillion of these and have a pretty good idea about what does and doesn’t work, ritual flow, and what I wanted to accomplish. I expected this to be pretty much the same, tweaked a bit for this group. Instead I wound up composing an entire system, what I might call a “tradition” if I didn’t think that was completely the wrong word for something I just made up. It all came out very quickly and is surprisingly coherent. It is flexible, practical, and designed for groups of women from two to nine members. It has no leadership but requires all members to take an active role in making it all work while avoiding the consensus-paralysis trap that non-hierarchical groups are prone to. It works with deities who all came out with Welsh names (except one) but makes no pretensions to being “Celtic spirituality” – it in fact has no pretensions at all and is completely open about the fact that I just made it all up. It has similarities with other systems I’ve worked with and is clearly drawn from modern Pagan spirituality, but it’s not Wicca and it’s not Druidry – it’s just this practical system I came up with for working magic with a group of women.

So far, I’ve shown it to two people – one liked it as a system (though she doesn’t care for group work and is not geographically near enough – I ran it by her first in part because there wasn’t much chance of her actually joining in, regardless of her feelings) She was uncomfortable with one aspect of it (and it was the one aspect that I thought might cause some discomfort, and because of its nature I will probably emphasize as being encouraged for those who are OK with it but adjustable for those who aren’t – it is a flexible system, after all, and it’s something I have no right to insist on from anyone.) The other person, who is even more spiritually adventurous than I am, liked it, even the potentially controversial bit, and is ready to dive right in at the next full moon and give it a go. I haven’t had a chance to discuss it with my other potential circle members.

How can I take this before a group of women, some of whom have as much or more experience and education in this kind of thing, and say “Hey, I made this thing up – now let’s all do it!” It would be so much easier to say, look, there’s this book I read by an Ancient Elder that talked about this, doesn’t it sound neat? Or “Here’s an ancient parchment inherited from my grandmother and passed down my matrilineal line from the ancient witches of Thetford – let’s follow it!” Fake claims to authenticity have never seemed so appealing (though in case it’s not clear, my tongue is firmly in cheek here – I never seriously thought of being anything but honest about my source.)

Why is that? Why do I feel like I should distance myself from it? why do I think this would be simpler if I had some other source? Anyone? The right answer certainly isn’t “because I’m timid and/or insecure,” because, oh, hell, no. Any other ideas?

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*let me know if you’re interested (and female, and local to Philadelphia). we’ll talk…

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