We are a Circle

From Under the Editor's Rock

By Sheik_Sebir

As Pagans, we're supposed to be familiar with Circles as ceremonial gatherings, but when I first started 2RN I was somewhat shocked that many of the people who came to our meetings had no clue as to what a Circle was, how it was to be governed, or what would be expected of them as part of one. I was the obvious Leader to most participants; and some rather pushy people had me in their target-lock mode as they made their social rounds to wheedle me into giving them what they wanted, hardly realizing that I wasn't the one making the decisions or setting the policies - the Consensus was ! The other people around me in the circle that they tried to so hard to push aside or circumvent were the very people who would be approving or disaproving what they wanted ! As often as I tried to explain what the "Leader of the Consensus" meant, someone would attempt to get me to make the final decision on everything from what the Circle would do as a group, what forms we would use in our nest magickal workings, and whose agendas we would follow - much less whether we should have a fixed agenda at all ! I was determined that they wouldn't be following mine, and said so ! Gods ! I had control of the 'Rap and was the only person that attended every meeting - no agendas, hidden otherwise was going anywhere if I didn't want it to, regardless of who thought they wanted one. The Nest was for the people who were in it, not for glory of the Scions in general, or me and the other Scion in particular...

Three Main Worldviews

There are three main Worldviews or subcultures in the U.S.: The Traditionalists, who want to return to the values of small town 'Merca of 1890-1930; the Modernists, who give great praise to capitalism, technology, materialism and science in general; and the Transmodernists (Third Culture), who often ride the bleeding edge of the latest social- psychological- spiritual movements. Democracy often becomes a dictatorship right after the elections are held. In most cases money, power politics and influence - not people's values decide things. ". A Circle is a council of ordinary people who convene to to create a sacred space and from that space accomplish specific tasks, supporting each other in the process.

Because it has a sense of containment, the Circle process has a Beginning, a Middle and an End that are framed by simple rituals that are appropriate to the group and setting. The circle has a shared, verbalized intention so that everyone knws why they are gathered. The [formal] circle is self-governing and it corrects its course thorough the adoption of common sense agreements of behavior beforehand. When confusion arises, or the Way is momentarily lost, everyone agrees to fall into reflective silence, refocus on the group's highest purpose and follow protocols for problem solving that reestablish trust and cohesion." "Calling the Circle" by Christine Baldwin" Often the person incharege of balance simply yells "FOCUS !". Objects like talking- sticks are used to make sure everyone has a say, and no one is left out.

Hierarchies do offer an efficient means for organising huge systems, and can be thought of as a Triangle, with the Leaders on top and the masses below. In many cases the Circle and the Triangle forms of decison making are not antagonistic to each other - the main problem with the Triangle is the hidden or overt aggression behind it. It's been turned into a weapon that systematically destroys preexisting social and spiritual structures and processes the dregs as profits for Greedheads. As a product of technological culture it often reflects the worst aspects of it - the desire to obliterate or enculturate native peoples so that indigenous cultures are lost or forgotten as alternative ways to live.

The circle is a form of structure that locates its leadership around the rim - everyone is a leader, and it provides an inclusive means for consulting, delegating tasks, acknowledging the importance of the individual, as well as honoring the spiritual. The circle is a useful form for learning, governing, creating community, providing services, envisioning, and stating longterm goals; and can be extended beyond the ceremonial to everyday experience. Besides, it can withstand the imperfections of human interaction and survive tremendous social shifts. As much as we thing we know about the nature of being human the Circle knows more. If two heads are better than one how about fifty heads ? Like most institutions it has both strengths and weaknesses. Circles do break up, and sometimes the honesty IS too much...

But do do all of this, we have to learn how to behave with respect towards one another and toward our Earthly resources and towards Spirit. To use this form we must change how we interpret and interact with others around us. Don't blame me, taalk with me/ don't withdraw form me, step towards me/ Don't shun me, embrace me; don't sue me meditate with me Don't assume question, and don't let our differences blind us to our commonality.


To The 'Rap