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#1 anasuya

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Posted 03 May 2004 - 05:24 PM

How necessary are they, and what are your views on internal hierarchy within a religious organization. I'm currently a member of two very eclectic groups. One incorporates a degree system and some leadership roles, while the other is a free for all. Both types of administration incorporated are needed by that particular group. Group # 1 doesn't have many strong-minded individuals who are very sure of their path, so having respected leaders might help them find their way and create a bit of discipline in their practice. Grou # 2 is nothing BUT very strong-willed independant men and woman who are quite sure of who they are, what they want, and where they are going, therefore, leadership seems moot in the long run.

Do you agree with a hierarchy? Why or why not?

Ana
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#2 Paul_G

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Posted 03 May 2004 - 05:37 PM

I'm against hierarchy in religion. What often happens is the leaders take their own interpretation of whatever the belief system is and pervert it for their own means. There are dozens of wars which have been caused by this sort of thing. Hierarchies also make it hard to question anything bad that the leader does, which sometimes goes to the extremes that you see in some cults. Religious leaders have WAY too much power, because of the nature of what they do.

People should be able to practice their religion in whatever way they see fit. Why should they need 'leaders' telling them what to do?

I'm assuming, of course, that you aren't just talking about Wicca.

#3 anasuya

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Posted 03 May 2004 - 05:41 PM

No, I'm really talking about ANY religious organization. But, of course, in small groups, such as covens, for instance, you get a hodge podge of crap going on all at once if there isn't at least one person keeping things organized. What about designated secretaries or treasurers? Are positions such as those acceptable, while... Priestesses, for instance, are not? I'm SO curious to hear everyone's take on this as it pertains to a great many problems I'm dealing with within the two groups I'm a member of.

Ana
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#4 Vampchick21

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Posted 03 May 2004 - 05:48 PM

hrmmm...I'm solitary, with occassional loose 'group' rituals, etc, with some of my like minded friends.

I grew up Catholic, and I think that in and of itself is the reason I personally chose to work solitary for the most part.  

So in answer to your question, I honestly have no answer.  I suppose it depends on the group, and so long as those with the leadership roles don't let it go to their heads.

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#5 Lamuris

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 04:26 AM

I know what you mean Anasuya, i've had experiance with both types of groups also. My feeling is that hierarchy is important when you are trying to teach a specific path, so that everyone is on the same page. Having said that, I personally have grown more from belonging to an eclectic group where exposure to other varying Magical people has widened my experiances. Although mostly I am a solitary practitioner.  

#6 hawkerdriver

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 04:50 AM

I imagine you guys sound just like the very early Christians! :o
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#7 Vampchick21

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 05:30 AM

Heh...based on what I've studied on the very early days of the Christian Church, yeah, it's very similar in terms of questions and issues on development.

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#8 mellilotflower

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 11:06 AM

I think more than anything you need balance, a mix of both.  If that's possible.  People need some guidance- for instance if a fourteen year old approached you for advice about telling their parents about their chosen path, you'd be more than willing to tell them your experiences.  The problem comes when those experiences become the expected thing, which could happen if they come from a similar background and know only others such as you.  This then sets up a sort of rule, and a rule easily becomes an institution and institutions very often fail individuals.
But what was better- was it wrong to share with that fourteen year old? no, you just have to keep an eye on things and always question... if someone doens't let you question it will often be because they don't have the answers.

The point which I should first wish to understand is whether the pious or holy is beloved by the gods because it is holy, or holy because it is beloved of the gods.

Sonnet XCIVBut if that flower with base infection meet,The basest weed outbraves his dignity:For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds

#9 anasuya

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 11:14 AM

That raises a good point. A "newbie" just joined with us at our last ritual. He is primarily a solitare practitioner, although he spoke of  a year or more with a specific teacher whom he seems to revere. After our ritual, he goes on and on about how "wrong" it was. The circle wasn't cast the right way. The quarters weren't called the right way.  The God was invoked before the Goddess, so forth and so on. All because his teacher told him the "true" way to do these things. And no, he was not Gardnerian or Alexandrian or ceremonial, although this teacher was a part of group or coven. I can see how this kind of leadership/training can do more harm than good. Thanks for the responses.

Ana
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#10 shellas13

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 12:38 PM

Yeah, I think I like Mel's take on this...the whole 'balance' issue. Really for me, the deciding factor is the group ITSELF...how mature or knowlegdable they already are. If they're mostly novices or youthful, I'd say that a stricter hierachy is in order. But if we're speaking about an older/wiser crowd, then I say it's perfectly alright to tone down the authoritive overtures, and have a circular leadership going...basically every takes a turn at the helm for a specific period of time. As for me, I wouldn't mind having a bit of structure, lol. That way, I find it easier to approach with my problems and personal issues. And I've always enjoyed the presentation of a HP in attendence because if you are lucky enough to choose someone who's a good leader, then that just makes it easier for YOU to grow in turn. But that's just my take on the subject, lol.

#11 Ectoplazzum

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Posted 04 May 2004 - 03:24 PM

How necessary are they, and what are your views on internal hierarchy within a religious organization. I'm currently a member of two very eclectic groups. One incorporates a degree system and some leadership roles, while the other is a free for all. Both types of administration incorporated are needed by that particular group. Group # 1 doesn't have many strong-minded individuals who are very sure of their path, so having respected leaders might help them find their way and create a bit of discipline in their practice. Grou # 2 is nothing BUT very strong-willed independant men and woman who are quite sure of who they are, what they want, and where they are going, therefore, leadership seems moot in the long run.

Do you agree with a hierarchy? Why or why not?

Ana



Too bad you can't combine the two.   ;)

Seriously, though, unless a coven is very small, say no more than four people who all have the same beliefs, I think a heirarchy in a coven is the way to go.  The High Priest/High Priestess positions can be elected ones so that everyone has a say as to who the leaders are, and that way it doesn't end up being clique-y.  When a coven has a heirarchy, IMO, it somehow seems more "official", if that makes any sense.  I have never belonged to one, but I have been a guest at several and they all had a chain of command and everything ran smoothly.  

Elle




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