So, what Mark V couldn’t do to Seax-Wica the practitioners of Seax-Wica will do to themselves. Not through a desire to preserve the Seax-Wican tradition, oh, no. They are doing it because they feel they need someone to tell them what standards are Seax-Wican and which are not.
In other words, Buckland is the crux of the matter.
Well, he was always going to die at some point. The only way to preserve the tradition is to adhere to his teachings through The Tree and the Big Blue (which from Buckland’s Own admission, is the seminary training course slightly modified).
And how is he honored? “WE NEED A STEWARD!!!!” “We need to set up the Church and School of Seax-Wica.” “We need to have a mail order course to teach Seax-Wica and we need to get 501(c)3 certified!” “We need to ordain people!”
Let me knock these down:
We need a steward: No we don’t. Setting up a position like “Steward of Seax-Wica” only encourages heiarchical structure. Pretty soon, probably within the year, there will be an assistant to the Steward, then a secretary then others to help him. From there, it’s a very short step to setting up regional directors, then going to certified teachers and so on. And then we have a heiarchy WHICH IS THE VERY THING SEAX-WICA WAS SET UP TO NOT HAVE.
It was tried twice. The first time, the Stieward was so good at remaining in the background that most noone knows who he is or what he did. I certainly didn’t. The second time we got a meglomainiac who was going nuts with his desires to be THE MAN. Neither of these are good.
In order for the position to work as they want it to, the Stieward would have to be out front, speaking for all Seax-Wicans everywhere. He would have to make personal appearances, go around, promote Seax-Wica and do a lot of work. But that’s not going to happen because it’s too much for one person.
So the other option is to work in the background, but then how is Seax-Wica served by that? Yeah, it’s okay when there are a bunch of people who are all working toward the same goal, but that’s not happening. So one person trying to carry the whole trad on his or her own shoulders is silly and irresponsible.
The Church and School of Seax-Wica: This one frightens me the most. I can understand the need to teach, the need to pass along what we spent SO much time learning and coming to know, but to set up a school with “The official corricula of Seax-Wica” is stupefying. Like “The Tree” isn’t enough? That’s all you need. It’s all right there. From the rituals to the gods to the structure of covens to the holidays to the rituals… one book. Plus, it’s even got REFERENCES to read. Wow….
I’m not a fan of one book solutions, but I think in this case, it is absolutely fine to have a one book tradition. Anything else that is added to it is extra. Most of those who come to Seax-Wica come there because they want a tradition that has some personal responsibility to it, ones that mean you have to do some research on your own. They are mature and tired of struggling to find in the mazes of books the one thing that they need to have to answer a question, knowing it’s there, but not being able to find it.
In many ways, Seax-Wica is the Jesuits of Wicca. It is a group of people who are more likely to say “do you feel this answers your question?” than to proscribe someone’s actions as heresy.
But appointing a school goes counter to that. It will codify and ossify the dogma into an imutable form that will KILL it as surely as the creation of a “Grand High Pooba of Seax-Wicca” would.
Then there is the whole “501(c)3” status. Know what that does? Gives tax exempt status for a Church. That’s it. It gives no legal rights other than that, but it is usually used as benchmark to determine a serious group from one that is just a cult. Generally speaking, getting the tax exempt status is HARD to do, and therefore it takes years. The Government figures if you are serious enough to persue it and actually attain that status, you are serious.
But it does nothing other than put some money back in your pocket. That’s it. It is not a church. A church is anything that says it is, and those rules vary from state to state. And those laws carry absolutely no weight outside of the United States of America. So having that tax exempt status for the Seminary of Seax-Wica won’t matter a hill of beans to the government of Japan, the government of Germany, the government of Canada. They may use it as a benchmark again, but that’s probably it.
Know what a church is? An entity that is collected together for the purpose of worshiping together. It doesn’t even need an ordained minister to lead it. If it takes money up in collections, it has to pay taxes on that unless it has 501(c)3 status. It has to keep membership records. Tha’ts it. Outside of that a Church is anything it says it is.
Know what an ordination is? a piece of paper that says you passed the minimum requirments to be a minister of this faith. That’s it. That’s how the Universal Life Church was able to ordain anyone who asks, they simply set their benchmark very very low. Want to be a Seax-Wican coven and have an ordained minister lead it? Get one of the members of your coven to design a certificate of ordination for you, have someone sign it and go through the hoops your state put up to become legally recognized as a minister of Seax-Wica. That’s the process.
If being able to legally marry someone isn’t a high priority to you, or if being able to go into hospitals and prisons or into a funeral home and so on isn’t on your list of minsitry requirments, then don’t worry about this. It never stopped anyone from preaching.
Heck, I’m ordained through the Universal Life Church, but I have never taken the steps necessary to become recognized by the state, and it has never stopped me from being Seax-Wican or celebrating or ministering to those who need it or anything else I wanted to do. And if I needed to legally marry someone, the process is pretty easy for my state, take about a day.
So all this “we have to be a legal church because….” is bogus.
It’s fear, nothing less.
Seax-Wica will continue long after Buckland is dead. It will continue through the hearts and minds of those who adhere to it. It will continue through The Tree and the Big Blue Book. IT won’t die on the death of the founder, mainly because it is designed to be a very solitary and personal tradition. The only thing the tradition gives is a basic framework to do the rituals on, a structure that is consistant. YOU are supposed to fill in the rest with your spirituality, with your belief, with your reverence. That is what Seax-Wica is supposed to be, and it will continue to be so.
All the rest, Stewards, seminarys, is trappings, the structure of what a church should look like, and it’s institutionalizing a way of belief, a faith in the eternal everything. It’s a way of controling those who believe something that can’t be touched.
Seax-WIca is to Wicca what deism is to Christianity. It is the group outside the structure, where the free thinkers, the humanists, those who don’t like established codified and predigested faith can come. Seax-Wica is fine just how it is, and it doesn’t need any of the rest.
Okay, so we don’t create a Steward, what about a Council? A council to do the duties of the Steward, but not have the meglomania or the potential for abuse that a Steward would.
That would certainly be a good response, IF we were dealing with theoretical people instead of real people, but a tradition that is anti-heiarchical having three or FIVE people who are “more equal than others” is a recipe for disaster. Instead of one person having a power trip, you now have five that can. What what happens if this lone solitary doesn’t choose to follow this council? Do they declare him anethema and a heretic and hunt him down? If they are to keep
Seax-Wica pure they do.
Raymond just poined out to me that this won’t affect the whole of Seax-Wica. And did it ever occur to anyone that one reason why Seax-Wica looks so small is because we don’t know everyone who has decided to tread this path? It’s one of those times where that’s good. For if Seax-Wica is to survive, it’s in the hands of the solitary who has no internet access, the hermit in the hills. It’s not in “the official dogma of the Seax-Wican tradition” no matter how rewritten and codified or disguised.