Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Four Cornerstones of Circle of Fountains


You wrote something about the "cornerstones" of your group. Would you elaborate on this if you feel comfortable? Thank you in advance. River in TN

My coven, Circle of Fountains, was formed back on the Spring Equinox of 2014 as an alternative to more standard coven hierarchy.  We strive to be a circle of equals, both in responsibility and leadership.  Each Primary Member leads one sabbat and one full moon esbat ritual every year, teaches two of the twelve Novice classes and takes on one responsibility to the group, such as inventorying or pot luck coordination.  All of this ensures that no one member is taking on the bulk of the responsibility to the group, with minor exceptions to the Circle Coordinator (myself).  I've talked extensively about our membership roles and expectations in the past.  It was in the latter that I was asked about our cornerstones and I'm certainly happy to elaborate!

Because Circle of Fountains is relatively unprecedented in its structure and formation, our cornerstones developed over the first year of our creation as I asked my coven what was most important to the heart of CF.  What was our focus?  What did we want to achieve?  What should each member or potential member strive for?

The following is a summation of the four cornerstones of Circle of Fountains:

Non-Denominational

Circle of Fountains is a witchcraft coven but, in that, we serve no one denomination.  We welcome members of all paths and religions (or non-religions as the case may be) as long as witchcraft is the core of their practice.  In our coven, we laud differences in beliefs and practices, emphasizing the wide variety of traditions as an integral part of community and togetherness.  This acceptance allows us to experience the whole of what witchcraft is and can be by our natural structure; each member that leads a sabbat or esbat leads it in their own style of ritual, stretching our members beyond their standard boundaries and opening them to a variety of life experiences and customs.

Positive

Members of Circle of Fountains strive to bring about positive changes in their lives through self-acceptance, progress, togetherness, ritual and community involvement.  It is expected that each member is both inward and outward focused.  Inward, coven members should be goal-focused and driven, striving for growth in their practice as well as their personal life.  Our rituals follow this path of positive growth, encouraging it through energy work and spells, shadow work and mindfulness. Outward, members are expected to participate in the local community, be it through public ritual, classes or other volunteer work.  Circlemates are expected to give back to the community that helped us come together.

Practical

Practical covers two key points of our circle: Physical world changes and safety and comfortability.  The former recognizes that magic is not a replacement for physical world efforts.  Science is at the core of Circle of Fountains and its members are expected to be aware of how their spiritual practice coincides with it.  This includes things as mundane as applying for a job and as essential as emergency medical attention.  In that, safety and comfortability supersedes all other attributes of our circle.  We expect our members to be careful, take the appropriate precautions and know their limits. If we feel you are being unsafe in some way, we will ask that you take action.  If you cannot take action, we will take appropriate action for you if needed.  This includes calling 911 if we feel you need it or relinquishing you from the group if you are putting other members in danger.

Transparent

The final of the four cornerstones speaks about the open nature of our circle and rituals.  While our circle is private attendance, we strive to be open online in an effort to educate and be inclusive towards other pagans and witches who may not have access to community or who may not be open with their beliefs.  This is something all members agreed that they wish they had access to when studying early on and is essential to who we are as a circle.  Because of this, all members naturally must be over 21 years of age, consent to being photographed and consent to those photographs being posted online.

Admittedly, as a relatively new circle having just rounded our third anniversary, we are still building on our functionality.  Next year, we'll be buckling down to evolve our group and our Noviceship courses.  As we evolve, things certainly may change.  All of that being said, our four cornerstones will always be an essential part of who we are as a circle.


A special thank you to Kaiulani, Jocelyn and Lauren as my top Patreon supporters this month!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

May Day Altar 2017


This post will cover my May Day / Beltane altar for 2017, complete with a full description, photos and a correspondence image.


Because Beltane and May Day are a holiday of love, love-making and fertility, and typically representative of marriage in various neopagan traditions, I wanted to focus this year's altar as an ode to my marriage.  This was especially relevant because we celebrate our dating anniversary on May 4th - right around May Day.  While it may appear generic and standard on the outside, this altar, like my marriage, has deep meaning and symbolism.  Because of this, this altar is incredibly personal.  I hope you enjoy it!


On this altar, there are five candles.  Four flames are easily seen and one is hidden.  The four candles that are easily seen are the four years we dated that led to our marriage.


The one hidden is a cabbage, which often symbolizes luck and protection.  That hidden flame represents the one year prior to us dating where we chased each other much like a high school romcom.  I put it at top because it then cascades down to the other four flames.  That one year led to four years of dating.  The rest of the altar then represents our marriage!


You'll notice two maidens on the altar.  Those represent the two bridesmaids I had at our wedding.


On one side of the altar stands a polished ram's horn.  Rams often represent strength, leadership and action.  Both my husband and I are in management/owner type positions at our job. My husband is an IT Coordinator and I'm a small business owner and independent contractor.  In addition, we tend to take the reigns in other aspects of our life, as what I do with my circle.  That leadership has been pinnacle to our marriage.


The other side of the altar features a wine bottle and grapes.  Wine represents happiness and celebration, the lifeblood of our marriage, and the grapes represent prosperity.

Of course, in the back, you can see ivy lining the entire altar.  Ivy represents wedded love and eternity and was particularly fitting for this altar.



On the side of the altar with the ram's horn, the offering bowl in front contains dandelion leaves.  These represent the hopes and dreams we see coming to fruition, and were placed on the side involving pasture and animals.  On the other side with the wine bottle and grapes, I have strawberry leaves which represent love.  These were of course placed on the side with other berry-related fruit.


Finally, in the center, I set a bowl of succulents.  Succulents represent eternity and longevity, my hopes for both our relationship and our lives, as well as the lives of our pets, friends and family.


Enjoy this May Day altar as an ode to my marriage!


A special thank you to Kaiulani, Jocelyn and Lauren as my top Patreon supporters this month!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Circle of Fountains Flower Moon Ritual May 2017


On Sunday, May 7th, Circle of Fountains met for Novice coursework and our full moon ritual!

Unfortunately I was out drawing at events so I could not attend. That being said, my circlemates made a great effort to collect photos so that I could still share it with my readers!


The night started with a class on cleansing and warding with Phaedra and Laura.


Then Amy took over for a splendid Flower Moon ritual!


Corners were called by pouring a glass of golden glittery milk to fairies representative of the directions.


Amy personally wrote the quarter calls in iambic pentameter.


She also purchased these amazing offering cups and pitcher for the milk at thrift stores!


Amy then spoke about the full moon in Scorpio, a time of hidden things, and the representation of the flower moon in relation to that.  Because of the timeliness of the ritual, the fae were the focus of the evening.  With all of this in mind, this ritual would be about boundaries.


The ritual began with a mindfulness meditation.


After Amy guided everyone in mindful muscle movements, she played a song and encouraged everyone to pay particular attention to the lyrics.



The quarter faeries were then released...


And the glittery milk was given to the ground as an offering to the fae.


Then came time for crafting!


Prior to ritual, Amy purchased picture frames from dollar stores and popsicle sticks.  Using a glue gun, she created simple bases for faery doors!  What a better representation of boundaries than a door, right?  Members were asked to write what they would and would not allow on an index card and slipping it into the frame, yet another example of boundaries.  Amy then bought some crafting supplies and asked others to bring what they could to decorate the faery doors to each person's personal tastes.  Here's what my circlemates created!

And, being the amazing circlemate she is, Amy made sure there was plenty left over for me to do one of my own when I got home!


Amy's ritual was incredibly coheasive and complex for what's typically expected of an esbat ritual!

From my circle to yours, I hope everyone had a wonderful May full moon!


A special thank you to Kaiulani, Jocelyn and Lauren as my top Patreon supporters this month!