Daily Archives: March 22, 2004

Division Of Labour

I just got a call from my publisher. My bid to rewrite the current book for which I’m consultant has been accepted — sort of. They’re splitting the book up: the regular copyeditor answers all the obvious (and justifiably snarky) queries she put in for the author to clean up, and I get The Ultimate Chapter From Hell to change, alter, rewrite, and otherwise make professional and appropriate.

It’s not the answer I was hoping for, but I’ll take it. This abnormally long chapter constitutes a third of the book, after all. Dividing the rewrite gets things done twice as fast, and this book is already late; it ought to have been in production by now.


Any time Philip Heselton’s Wiccan Roots wants to stop quoting and re-hashing Jack Bracelin’s 1960 bio of Gerald Gardner, it can go right ahead. I’d rather read something original than a secondary text. Heselton acknowledges in his foreword that Bracelin’s book is a key text and that he quotes frequently, but really, the first two chapters do nothing to advance the scholarship of the field. So far the analysis is weak and pointless, and it’s just a string of quotes from other books.

This book is supposed to be ground-breaking. I keep waiting for the ground-breaking part. I may only have finished two chapters, but readers are gained are lost through a first chapter alone.

Hail Spring!

In another one of those synchronous miracles that really isn’t because I believe that we create our own coincidences, I taught a class yesterday that compared and contrasted group work with solitary worship, and the students asked very perceptive questions about the group mind and how it forms. Then I came home to a ritual with my new still-gelling group which celebrated the group mind and the wonders of being an individual, while simultaneously being a part of something greater.

It was a fabulous ritual which took the concepts of balance (Vernal Equinox, equal day and night, God/Goddess), co-operation, frolic, and reverence, blended them together, and created a terrific experience through which everyone learned something about themselves and each other. And all this came from an individual who had never written/led a group Sabbat before. (I might be wrong, but I am fairly certain I’m not. If so, then the individual had certainly never written/led a Wicca-based rit for a group.)

Heck, yeah. The invocations raised chills, the raising of energy focused on control instead of quantity, and the whole thing took less than half an hour. That, dear readers, is a sign of a well-managed ritual. Focused, moving, thought-provoking, engages emotional-mental-physical levels, and doesn’t drag on.

And every single one of us walked away with a new understanding of the words “spring” and “balance”.

The group mind. It’s the greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts entity/identity that arises independently from the regular interaction of a group of people. Your clique in high school had a group mind. Your family has a group mind. Your softball team has a group mind. A group mind takes a while to form while everyone gets to know each other socially and within the context of the group’s performance, but when it’s there, whoa baby, it’s a powerful thing. Yesterday’s exercise in circle did a lot to demonstrate that a group mind can not only be formed sooner with intention, but refined through attention and careful management.

I’ve also discovered one of the uses of a coven Book of Shadows. It’s a HPS’ brag book and scrapbook. Years from now we’ll go back over it and say, “Do you remember the day so-and-so led such-and-such ritual?”

So yes: spring. The celebration of new beginnings. One of the affirmations used in yesterday’s ritual was, “I’m glad you’re here.” I’d like to take this opportunity to say to my coven dedicants who have chosen to study with HRH and me: I’m glad you’re here.

And, dear readers, I’m glad you’re here too. After all, what’s a regular literary exploration of words and ideas without an audience?