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Core Beliefs of
The Living Tapestry Tradition

This is an essay that is currently in progress
that the members of our tradition are working on together.
Herein, we hope to outline exactly what it is that our tradition
collectively believes and practices that distinguishes us from other practices.

When trying to define what ties LTT together, there are a few basic things
that spring to mind. There are some obvious things such as the Samhain gathering,
the 5 stages of training with 4 formal degrees, the color of our cords,
the similar offices we have, a similar philosophy on the type of work
done in each degree, the references to the tapestry and threads in our language when we discuss ourselves,
the use of Lord and Lady for those of a second degree or higher, The Spinning Wheel,(our tradition newsletter)
and a bit more emphasis on the sabbats/solar year than on the lunar,
or so it would seem. But though these things provide a foundation
and do contribute to our cohesion, they do not put flesh on the bones of a working philosophy in a
comprehensive mystery tradition across all boarders.

Below are some things that might be considered part of our working philosphy:

•First and foremost, there is a focus on family.
It has always seemed important to us that people get to know each other
as much as possible and to forge true bonds of love and trust. Communication, openness and honesty
with others (not to mention with the self) are a priority, as well as integrity and respect in interactions.
We also strive to lend support to one another, sharing what we have, what we know and our affection.
In other words we strive toward maintaining a family atmosphere and a “tight knit tapestry.”
This includes an acknowledgement that one coven or tradition cannot be all things to all people.
Some will find their home with us, others will not and there is no need for hard feelings about this.

•Secondly, there is forever a sense of the importance of ethics.
This includes emphasis on personal accountability for words and actions, an examination of
motivation and needs in the self, a belief in some sort of consequence for behavior be it
understood as karma, the three fold law of return, or
just the physics of every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

•Also there is an emphasis on the importance of the Delphic Imperative: “Know Thyself.”
Much of our work centers somehow on this principle. We encourage ourselves toward
thoughtful introspection, expecting each other and our students to keep working toward
self-discovery and indeed – evolution to become and fulfill our potentials as human beings, but
also acknowledging the beauty and worth of who we are in this moment,
even if we are in the process of change.

•Related to this is a dedication to being aware of
both the “light” and “dark” in ourselves, in life because both are instigators and healers,
one is meaningless without the other. Also we seem to admire questioning – the stance of taking nothing
for granted or at face value and not holding onto things because it’s just the way things are.

•We desire to learn to live our lives in harmony with the natural cycles
of our world, to learn to embrace the wisdom in both expansion and rest,
fertility and decay, change and hope.

•We have a very real respect for personal gnosis –
believing that everyone’s truth is equally valid for that person and that everyone’s path to Spirit
is a solitary road and no one may intervene in that process.

•Conversely this means that we have a belief in the need
for a Witch to be doing that gritty solitary work to walk this path in addition to
coven work, and our requirements often reflect this idea.

•We place importance on the idea that all living
things share a common divine spark within them that inspires and
demands respect, which leads to a general feeling that - -

•the divine resides inside and outside of ourselves.
The confusing thing is that there is an apparent paradox in our work. Many of us seem to hold a mixture
of polytheistic, duotheistic, pantheistic and animistic views.
Deity is at once archetype, inside us, outside us, distinct and separate
entities from us and each other, as well as facets of a singular or at least maybe a dual type whole.

•There is a very real environmental consciousness
among us, as many involve themselves in movements and take
personal/group measures to honor and connect with nature as well as live in a way that does as little
ecological damage as possible. Many of us even talk about earth stewardship
as part of taking personal responsibility.

•Related to the above is a sense of a belief in social justice
and politics with a very leftist leaning tendency, as well as an acknowledgement of
politics linked to spirituality even if not implicitly so,
as in the Reclaiming fashion for instance.

•We also have a willingness to explore the meaningfulness
of other paths and the wisdom in similar paths of different cultures – but also taking
care to do the necessary research and learning to avoid haphazardly and disrespectfully
appropriating bits and pieces of whole systems
out of context without understanding.

•We acknowledge the importance of working to honor and accept change
and to build the courage necessary to initiate change in our own lives as necessary.
A life without change isn't life at all, that's called being dead.

•We put emphasis on the idea that we must strive to
live our beliefs every day, to exemplify them in our words and actions, not just read or talk or
write about them or put them into action on a sabbat or esbat.

•We have an elemental focus to our magic and ritual
which leads toward a down to earth magical and ritual styling and a respect for
shamanistic methods of exploration and growth seeking.

•We have an understanding of the place of meditation in our work
as well as the importance of a wide variety of grounding and healing techniques from
Reiki and chakra work to nutrition and herbal knowledge.

•We honor and expect both academic
and hands on experiences in training.

•We value creativity such as poetry, creating music,
art, and the craftiness of the kitchen witch.

•We tend to be suspicious of gender boundaries and
acknowledge that a range of identities, roles and sexualities are
and should be possible in our rituals and coven structure.

•In fact, we do not shy away from sexuality
or desire and attempt to embrace our bodies as part of our
spirituality, affirming that all acts of love and pleasure are sacred.

•We have a belief in the relative autonomy of each thread
in the tradition and of each person in a coven. We aspire to consensus work
among the clergy along with a careful application of hierarchy in the covens
for training purposes and as a way of honoring individual accomplishment/progress.

•Related to above, we acknowledge that the clergy are
responsible for sharing their knowledge and experience to help provide tools to students for
their own spiritual work, however they are only tools and each student is
responsible for using them or not to do their own work. It’s not to promote “the truth” or the “right way” to be.
We share what we have to help others find their own way to wherever they are going.

•We acknowledge that physical initiation only marks what has already
occurred within a person and is used to instigate the next phase of growth and to honor the work a person
has done in our organization. It is also done to welcome a person
as a member of the LTT family.

•We are also a tradition that doesn't shy away from the
possibilities that technology can offer us in furthering our knowledge, sharing with each other
and growing as a tradition, as well as all of the magical possibilities
one can imagine through technology. Technology in itself is not harmful or "evil",
it's how you use it, just like electricity, just like energy/magic itself.
It can heal, it can bring together, it can aid in envisioning the future.

•As we are a “living” tradition, we acknowledge and
expect that both our covens and the tradition as a whole will grow and change to meet the needs of those involved.
As Lady Socean wrote in her beautiful song/chant, we are “ever becoming”. We are always in the process
of emerging as our true selves, both as individuals and as a Tradition. While some foundational aspects
of the Tradition will remain the same (or incredibly similar), there will likely be changes
in some of the specifics such as degree requirements, coven focuses, and even coven
demography over the years as members come and go, or earn their degrees, eventually
going from Candidate to Elder.

•We all learn from each other – the teacher learns
just as much from the student as the student learns from the teacher, even if the lessons are
decidedly different. We believe that we are always learning. A High Priestess or High Priest Degree does not
mean perfection or absolute wisdom, it means you are devoted to learning;
not that you have mastered every aspect, but that you are always seeking
to know more. Indeed, neither your High Priestess or High Priest Degree, nor your Elderhood,
for that matter, are the end of your training, they merely mark a new beginning. And a challenging one,
at that, because now you are responsible for both assisting others in their training,
and for continuing your personal studies and spiritual growth on your own. But you have the
incredible resource of other clergy and Elders within this tradition, which can, in and of itself, lead
to some impressive sharing opportunities and learning experiences. We encourage each other’s growth,
and, in turn, learn those lessons from each other, incorporate the work of others into
our own work, and thus spend more time learning and growing, and less time “reinventing the wheel”.

•Related to this, we believe that everyone has their own role
to fill within this tradition. For some this will be as clergy of a coven,
for some the work will be focused on the tradition as a whole or at a local community level,
for others this may be more of a one-on-one interaction, as a student or assistant
to others in the tradition, or focused in some other way (the possibilities are truly endless).
Everyone, from Candidate to Elder, from coven leader and coven member to associate member and
inactive Elder is a part of this tapestry. While there tends to be an emphasis on coven work within
this tradition, there is also room for individual/personal threads, those associate members or Elders
who have chosen to step out of active coven work for awhile (or for good, as the case may be).

•We do not charge for coven training. If teaching
outside of coven-related events, a small donation may be requested, especially if a facility has been
rented, as a way to alleviate the cost of the rental, food, copying of materials, etc. Some covens in the
Tradition do collect coven dues. However, these are not payment for training, but go collectively
into a coven account to cover coven trips, or other coven purchases, primarily supplies for rituals or
coven creative endeavours. Training or participation will never be withheld from
someone if they cannot pay dues.

•Because we place so much emphasis on working with our students
face-to-face, distance training is a very rare occurance in our Tradition. Exceptions are made, on an individual basis,
but tend to be granted to those who began training in person and had to move for one reason or another,
or are, in some other way, unable to attend coven functions on a regular basis.

•We believe in equality. Man or Woman, Black or White, Gay or Straight,
we see all as sacred beings and find no value in placing some people above others,
or diminishing the worth of others. Intolerance of any kind is unacceptable in our sacred spaces,
as is any practice that attempts to take power or worth away from others.

•Sprituality is not a race or competition and cannot be quantified.
Everyone is at different places on their spiritual journey and no two people can necessarily
be compared as further or less far along than anyone else. These things are not "gospel". They are subject to change or be added to.
They are not necessarily even things that every member of the tradition has to pledge allegiance
to or any such thing. But this is a picture of sorts of how we collectively
view ourselves and our beliefs as a traditon today.
It is not exhaustive, but it is a clear start to describing
the flavor and personality that make us who we are.