We have *just* created a facebook group to meet a growing need and request for Craft instruction in the AFW style. We have been approached by students all over the US (and a few internationally) who want to work within the AFW model and would like a bit of direction from Natalie and Laurelei.
There may be a few kinks we need to work out in regards to teaching this way. Teaching Craft online/remotely is new for us, and since Craft is so experiential and personal, the best we can do for anybody (near or far) is to provide a framework for independent study, a couple of voices of experience, and the opportunity to share personal gnosis in a group setting.
Most of the work a distance student will do will be very independent in nature, and then we will discuss what that work is like as a group. The insights, opinions, and experiences of the DLC’s members will prove to be a sounding board for each of us, much in the same way that happens in real-time, physical space meetings of the coven. Each person in this group comes from a different background, with varying levels of occult experience. That variety will prove invaluable in terms of digging into the material, as long as most everyone participates to some extent in discussions.If you wish to join the group, please add Laurelei as a friend on facebook and send a request through her to join the group. (The group itself is listed as "secret" so it won't show up in search results.) Only join, however, if you are interested in serious study within *this* Tradition. Casual conversation regarding Trad Craft can happen in any one of a half-dozen other groups where Natalie and I participate.
Our plan is to post the month’s discussion topics at the beginning of each month. We’ll post relevant links to the AFW blog (and elsewhere) to serve as a jumping off point for personal research and group discussion. Each person can then post questions, insights, etc in the comments below the corresponding topic.
If you have questions unrelated to the Red Cord class topic, you can either pose it to the group in a new post, or you can write directly to Natalie and Laurelei.
We leave it to your discretion to post other assignments to the group (or to send them privately to Natalie and I.) Within the “home coven” (Coven Caer Sidhe), we share all of our assignments with each other in order to have a better mutual understanding of the topic and of our siblings within the Craft family. However, we are nothing if not Willful, and we want you to do your Will in regards to find a balance between personal privacy and group bonding.
GREENING, ADOPTION, RAISING
There are three rites of “initiation” within the AFW format. The first (Greening) is easy enough to perform on your own without much modification from the original format. It is basically an assertion by the individual that s/he is ready to begin her/his study of Craft and that s/he is giving AFW a few weeks of dedicated effort to see if this tradition is a good fit. The Greening period usually lasts about 6 weeks.
Adoption (Red Cord) gets a little more complicated. The ritual honestly looks very similar to Greening, and the intent is similar, too. However, as the name “Adoption” implies, this rite is intended to bring you into the Family. You are stating that you have given due consideration to the prospect, and you want to honor the Witch Blood within you. Within a physical working group, each member takes a blood oath with the Adoptee, and we embrace each other as siblings. In a distance learning group, though, that blood bond can really only be made between the Adoptee (you) and Tubal Cain (the Witchfather). You will be symbolically linked to us, as all Witches of the blood are. But there is a difference in the extent of those magical links (between people), as I think you will come to understand. The Adoption period lasts no less than 1 year, but can take as long as a student needs.
The Raising (Triple Cord) is the true Initiation of the Witch. It involves trials of the mind and spirit in order for a person to fully and completely claim the title “Witch.” We honestly know of no way to offer the Raising without being physically in the same space. To that end, we are willing to work with each individual, should you choose to pursue Raising. We may be able to come to you, or you might come to us, or we might meet somewhere in the middle. Alternatively, we *may* be able to develop a self-directed series of tests and ceremony that will accomplish the same ends (but look a little different than the IRL version). Raising gives a Witch the full authority within this Tradition to start a coven and/or teach others. There is no human-made Initiation beyond this point, and you can choose to continue studying with the other Raised members of the group (including participating in Red Cord discussions), or you can structure your study and practice however you deem appropriate.
COVEN CAER SIDHE
At the time of this writing, there are 6 corded members of the coven Natalie and I started in Indiana. Natalie, myself, and our Pythia are all Triple Cords. Our 13-year-old daughter and the Hearth Keeper are both Red Cords. And our 10-year-old son is a Green Cord. We also have a few folks preparing to take their Green Cords, including the Hearth Keeper’s 12-year-old daughter.
The coven isn’t large, per se, and it includes our children. These are both true because we consider ourselves to be members of a family tradition.
We don’t have a hierarchical structure within the coven. Nobody is the Maid (high priestess), and nobody will become the Magister (high priest). Natalie and I have both come from other covens where the hierarchy choked the life out of the group, and we each even have experiences in being carriers of HPS Disease within past groups. There is no rule against hierarchy within AFW (for covens you may start after your training is complete), but we choose not to engage in it ourselves. We see ourselves as Sisters and Brothers to each other within this Craft Family.
The members of Coven Caer Sidhe are encouraged to participate in the discussions happening online, and it is my hope that together we will be able to create a sense of community – of extended family.
If you happen to be in the Indiana area, we would love to have you join us for class or ritual. Likewise, you are always invited to participate with us when we attend festivals or present publicly. And if you have a festival or event in your area that you would like for us to attend, let us know. We may not always be able to afford the travel expenses for events far out of state, but sometimes opportunities open up unexpectedly when we state our needs and desires.