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The Living Tapestry Tradition

This is an essay I wrote for The Witches Voice for their traditional and spiritual path description section.
The e-mail address is mine, so feel free to use it to mail in any comments or questions.
The essay is awaiting web publication, and hopefully will be up there before too long.

Living Tapestry Tradition By Silver Mercaeant – Koohns,
HPS Living Tapestry Circle


The Living Tapestry Tradition began as a single coven,
Living Tapestry Circle, late in 1998, in Richmond, Indiana.
We began with eight members meeting in a hotel room with the goals of being a coven
focused on training clergy and fostering fellowship. By the summer of 1999, due to a few
members moving to different parts of the country, we had distance training set up
and new covens getting started and growing up. The new and old
members maintained contact over the next few years, more covens
began popping up as people started moving through the degree system until today, when we
now have seven covens in four states with common lineage that have maintained very
similar practices and banded together to become a fledgling and happily growing tradition.
We work hard at maintaining the bonds between groups, no matter how far apart we
physically are, through mailing lists and visits. Once a year, the whole tradition
gathers for our annual Samhain celebration which rotates between the covens each time.

Core Beliefs

We are a tradition based on the core goals of creating
magical family and a place to train those who wish to become clergy. We are
multifaceted in our goals, stories, backgrounds and approaches. While we acknowledge
our eclectic roots, we are working together to build a tradition that will be a foundation
for personal and group growth. Each coven in the tradition is seen as completely
autonomous, but we acknowledge that we are all threads weaving a larger tapestry together.
Because of this autonomy, each coven may have a slightly different
individual focus for their working; however we have a strong focus on individual
responsibility for the realities that we create and our spiritual growth. We strive to reach
the ideal of perfect love and perfect trust in our undertakings and interactions. We come together to
learn, to teach, to celebrate life, to mourn losses and to do the work of the sacred in the world. We provide
a structured path of initiation and mystery, both in a literal, action based sense, as well
as in personal spiritual evolution. We seek to work together to weave our tapestry and
honor each individual thread and their own personal paths. We seek to attune ourselves
to the natural cycles of life, death and rebirth in the world, and to live our lives
in such a way that reflects these mysteries in the everyday.

Role of Clergy

Because of the focus on training clergy in our tradition,
the main role for our clergy members is one of teaching and service.
Our clergy are present to help structure and guide the training program,
as well as to continue their own learning, as there is often no better teacher
than the students themselves. Clergy are also present to help facilitate
group growth and communication, ritual construction (though all members do prepare and lead rituals)
and to lead by example. We take the clergical role very seriously in our tradition, and
much time is spent preparing the seeker for this position.

Organization of Groups

Each coven in the tradition is often referred to among members as “threads”.
Each “thread” is made up of members of varying degrees, among them being
Candidates, Neophytes, Student (Priest/ess 1st degree), Priest/ess 2nd degree, and High Priest/ess.
Those who have fulfilled requirements beyond the last degree may become Elders. Offices include
High Priest and Priestess of the coven, Maiden, Summoner, Bard, Training Coordinator, and Vibes
Watcher. (Though these do vary a bit between the different covens.)
Even though there is hierarchy, this is mostly for training and operation purposes,
and we strive to work as democratically in daily practice as possible.

Standards of Conduct

Threads in the Living Tapestry, though quite varied in our individual approaches,
all hold to some version of the Wiccan Rede when conducting our daily
interactions, both magically and mundanely. We stress the importance of being honest
with oneself to be as aware as possible of motivation behind action, of honesty
with others in order to create integrity in the self and that shining ideal of perfect love and
perfect trust in the group, of being willing to take responsibility for the things one does, good or ill,
and of owning the words we speak. We take very seriously the idea that a Witch’s word should be
impeccable and when given should be followed through with in any way possible short of causing harm to the self or others.
We recognize that we are only human, and as such cannot ever be “perfect”, but we also
strive to own up to our faults and work as honestly as possible at working through said faults and
owning them as much as the things that we consider to be strong points. We stress the importance
of treating all living things with the utmost respect, as we are all living representations of the Divine.
Diversity and the acceptance thereof is also an important concept in our groups.
Discrimination and bigotry is not tolerated, nor is
emotional, physical or sexual abuse. We are striving to create a safe haven
for all who come to learn about themselves and grow, and for such things to
occur, the sacred spaces we create must be safe and secure to all who attend.
We believe in KEOA: Keeping Each Other Alive: emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Ways of Worship

Living Tapestry groups celebrate the eight standard Wiccan Sabbats,
and also the Esbats. We stress that coven worship should in no way be used as a
substitute for personal practice, and greatly encourage (and often require for training purposes)
personal spiritual work. Each group has their own way of doing things,
though we all follow a very similar basic ritual format that has changed very little over time and space.
Rituals are always carefully constructed, though we emphasize the importance of spontaneity
and “speaking from the heart” during invocations and other ritual speeches to allow the Deities
to move in ritual as they would. The most important element in any of our rituals is
remembering Who we are honoring and working to facilitate contact between coveners,
and between the coveners and the Divine. We follow no specific
pantheon or cultural tradition, and there are groups/members who have
dedicated themselves to a wide variety of pantheons, from Irish/Celtic to Egyptian.
The main stress is knowledge and understanding of a wide variety of ways of worship so that
individuals may make informed decisions for themselves, which is often done through a combination
of hands on experience and academic style work.
Above all we strive for our worship to be a joyous bringing together of the mundane and the spiritual.