Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Open discussion on banishment and void of coven

OK well after a web search I found almost nothing that explained this in great detail. So I'm offering an open invitation to witches and Wiccans to discusses these issues. And of course regular readers can join in.

Here is what I believe to be true given what I've been able to read please correct if I am wrong:
  1. There is no distinction between "excommunication" "banishment" and "void of coven". Banishment is the preferred term.
  2. The high priestess has the authority to banish from the individual coven
  3. For those in traditional lines there may be a higher authority that recognizes the banishment and thus people can be cast out of the "tradition".
  4. In general the community at large judges the actions, after the banishment has occurred while the coven judges before the banishments.
  5. Some covens are well known for frequent scapegoating and banishments and thus people can move quickly from those covens to a new one. In others banishments are very infrequent and the community sides strongly with the high priestess
  6. The most frequent reason for banishment seems to be speaking about coven activities publicly.
  7. The community is currently heavily divided on issues related to child sexuality (for example can minors participate in a circle where sexual magick is performed). This issue is dying in intensity as actual sexuality is being more and more replaced with symbolic reenactment, like lowering of a knife into a chalice.

So obviously I know close to nothing. Please tell me if I basically got the mechanism of banishment correct and the sorts of things persons are banished for. In particular what I couldn't find was any discussion of restoration (unbanishment) other than changing covens. I get the impression that once banished from a coven the person is out of that coven for life, is that true? Any personal stories are welcome and any topic related to banishment or witch-wars are welcome in this thread.


Lady Rose said...

A complex issue to try and address in a brief comment, but here is my 2 cents. I have been a practicing wiccan for over 30 yrs. - member of a circle, priestess of my own circle, and currenlty solitary.

The basics you have covered are very general. As far as I know there is no "formal" banishment policy - it would be up to each circle (based on their traditions) to decide what to do about some one who did something that was hurtful enough to be asked to leave.

The circles I have been involved with are usually small, close friends or family so problems and situations are handled in a healing way as much as possible.

However, if you open a new circle, invite people in you don't know well - than problems could arise.

Of course any one is welcome to practice as a solitary or to find a circle that suits them better, regardless of what one circle says about that person.

It would be impossible to give a "blanket" policy type answer.

When a new circle forms, there is usually a guideline for what is expected, and if the founders of the circle decide breaking these rules means the person is asked to leave - then that is what happens.

A cirlce that is run by elders, who have experience and training in dealing with people would be better equipped to deal with problems and issues as they arose.

However, a group of young people forming a circle on their own, and opening to the public may not be able to deal with vast majority of personalities, relationship and life issues that can come up.

As a priestess I would expect the members of any circle I ran to be respectful of each other. If someone was a consistent trouble maker, such telling lies, lots of gossping, if after speaking with them they continued the behavior I would ask them to leave.

I don't feel any one has the right to "banish" someone from a spiritual path - but as one human being to another, we all have the right to set boundaries.

Before this becomes a small novel, let wrap it up.

Bright blessings, Lady Rose

CD-Host said...

Lady Rose --

Please feel free to write a novel, thank you for all the good information! There were several references to covens respecting one another's discipline are you saying that is not the norm, or generally because circles are so close it just doesn't come up?

In your experience what causes banishments in circles you are aware of? How does the person banished react? How does the circle react? Are people ever restored (again in your experience)? How often does this happen?

Have you been part of a more traditional line (where the covens seem to have a hierarchy) and do the same rules hold there?

So please go on!