"Man's ultimate concern must be expressed symbolically, because symbolic language alone is able to express the ultimate" Paul Tillich
Year 2 Suffolk Witchcraft Training
5th March 2015 Covens- Roles of officers- Why join one?
We shall be looking at the roles of High Priestess, High Priest and Maid. We shall discuss what a coven is and the advantages and disadvantages of joining one. We shall be doing a Candlemas pathworking and the coven High Priestess will be visiting.
12th March 2015 Death and Dying
What would you say to death? Despite being one of the last taboos, death and mortality is still a fundamental part of life. Witchcraft is about life and so we shall be discussing death and grief. We shall examine the concept of a good death and the ethical debate surrounding assisted dying. As a way of engaging in death the trainees will be planning their own funeral. We shall be pathworking the wasteland. Barry shall be leading this session.
19th March 2015 Death and the Myth of the Afterlife
Why do most modern religions have the concept of an afterlife? Is the historian of religion Karen Armstrong right when she says that belief in an afterlife is a red herring? What is meant by reincarnation, is it meant literally or metaphorically? If it is a metaphor what is it a metaphor for? What is meant by the soul? Is it the modern notion, influenced by Descartes, relating to consciousness or is it something else? We shall be doing a Spring Sabbat pathworking.
2nd April 2015 What is evil? Social forces and the decent into moral evil
What is meant by evil? We shall discuss supernatural, natural and moral evil before looking at the social forces highlighted by social psychologists which influence people into performing evil deeds. By understanding how social situations have an influence on us we can then make more informed choices about how to act.
9th April 2015 Morals and ethics
What are morality and ethics? Is there a difference between the two? Do morals only come from religion? We shall be examining the evolutionary origins of morality and touch briefly on normative ethics. We shall look at Wiccan ethics such as the Wiccan Rede and discuss whether initiates should be adult enough to decide on ethics and morality for themselves.
15th April 2015 Jung and the Shadow
Continuing with the theme of the darker side of the Craft we shall be looking at Carl Jung's concept of the shadow. This is the side of ourselves of which we are unaware. We shall be discussing techniques (and pitfalls) during the lifelong and occasionally painful process of owning the shadow. We shall be discussing why this work is essential for undertaking a mystery tradition and the role of the shadow in mythology. We shall be undertaking a pathworking to begin to gently unlock awareness of aspects of our shadow.
30th April 2015 Individuation a modern mystery tradition?
Continuing on the Jungian theme we shall recap the necessity of self knowledge and personal development in the mysteries. As the Sufi say, "to know yourself is to know God". What do we mean by the Self? We shall also discuss the stages and the archetypes associated with individuation, the life long process of becoming and identifying with your Self. We shall be doing a Beltaine pathworking.
7th May 2015 Signs and Symbols – Talismans & Amulets
What is a sign and what is a symbol. We shall discuss what Paul Grice meant by natural and non-natural meaning and Dretske's threefold categorization. We go onto discuss the role of symbolism in the Craft. We shall discuss how symbols point to experiences beyond themselves and the glamour of mistaking the symbol as an end in itself. We shall discuss metaphor and how it relates to cultural and archetypal symbols. Why do we 'get' some symbols easily, but others we don't? Are some symbols more apt than others, are some symbols just empty? We shall finish off by discussing talismans and amulets.
14th May 2015 What is myth? Myths of the Craft
What is a myth? What according to Professor Joseph Campbell is the function of myth? Why should myth concern us? How do they relate to the Jungian model we have been discussing and what are the myths of the Craft? Is myth a collective psychology? We shall be looking at the interpretation of myth- myth has multiple interpretations- and have a go at interpreting a myth ourselves.
28th May 2015 Joseph Campbell and the Hero with the Thousand Faces
DVD from the series the Power of Myth. This is an interview with Prof. Joseph Campbell discussing the hero's journey. According to Campbell this mono-myth underpins the world's mythology and provides us with a pattern for life and the experience of the mysteries.
4th June 2015 The Mono-Myth
The mono-myth is important to understanding the mysteries and is also a useful guide to life. We shall be initiating you into the stages of the hero's journey and you shall be writing our own personal myth.
11th June 2015 The Masks of Eternity
Another DVD from the series the Power of Myth. This time Campbell discusses the mystical function of myth. We shall also be creating our own mandalas as a tool for personal discovery.
25th June 2015 Essential Oils and Ointments
Martika shall be discussing essential oils, aromatherapy and how to make ointments. She will discuss how essential oils and smell can affect consciousness. We shall be doing a Midsummer pathworking.
2nd July 2015 Spirit and Character/Spirit of Place
Continuing discussions for year one we shall be exploring the connection between the terms spirit and character. We shall be examining Dennett's intentional stance and Sperber's meta-representation. Given that spirits are not 'out there' but are socially constructed entities in culture, do they still have to ability to influence people. We shall be discussing how that power can be harnessed and the ethics of doing so. We shall also be discussing spirits of place, the subjective character of our environment and how this meaning is experienced.
9th July 2015 God Forms and perspectives on Gods
Continuing the discussion from the week before we shall be looking at God Forms. We shall be discussing how local Gods reflect the spirit of place. The concept of 'Gods' is not a simple one and we don't see them as literal people. Rather we examine Lamond's different perspectives as memes/thought-forms, as archetypes and as 'gateways to cosmic forces'.
23rd July 2015 Becoming the Divine- Invocation and Apotheosis
We shall discuss the Goddess and God of the Craft and what they represent. We shall also be discussing the process of invocation and the experience of being overshadowed. The Occult is reverse engineered mysticism and one of its goals is apotheosis and as such we shall discuss what this means practically to the Craft. We shall be discussing numinous/divine in terms of firstly Rudolph Otto's conception and secondly the mystical ground of being; the metaphor for 'oneness' that transcends language.
30th July 2015 Circle etiquette and Coven Expectations
To lighten the mood after some heavy sessions the coven maid shall be discussing the important topic of circle etiquette. She will be discussing how to behave in a coven and codes of conduct for working in the magic circle. We shall be doing a pathworking for Lammas.
6th August 2013 The function of Ritual
What is the function of ritual? Is there a difference between rite and rote. We shall examine how rituals are used in day to day life ranging from religious to secular occasions. We shall be discussing how ritual is the enactment of myth. Why do Witches have rituals and what makes for an effective one. We shall discuss the structure of rituals in the Craft. We shall also be exanining how to write effective rituals, with some tips on how to perform them.
27th August 2015 Enacting Ritual
In this session we shall be enacting some of the trainees's rituals.
3rd September 2015 Natural magic and incense revisited
In this session we shall be testing out the trainees incense. We will also be discussing magic and spells and enacting one of the trainee's rituals.
10th September 2015 Living magic- deciding magic
We shall be discussing magic in more detail. We shall be looking at three categories of magic and discussing how the first two work and speculating on the the third one. We shall examine the process of deciding whether to undertake magical work and the importance of quality assurance- i.e. checking that it has worked. We shall examine why it is important to keep silent and magical pitfalls like interpretative drift. We shall also be discussing the importance of acting in accord with magic.
24th September 2015 Ethics of magic & Craft and the Law
We shall be considering ethical considerations when doing magic as well as how the law stands in relation to magical acts. We shall discuss some ethical problems. We shall also be enacting a trainee ritual.
1st October 2015 Witchcraft and the Brain
We shall be taking a look at the science of neuro-theology. We shall be examining what happens in the brain when people have religious and mystical experience. We shall be discussing the implications of these physiological changes and the experiences they underpin. We shall be enacting an Autumn Sabbat pathworking.
8th October 2015 Lesser Mysteries
In this session we shall look at the lesser mysteries. These are those experiences that we can't adequately put into words. We shall be relating to these experiences to wonder and relationship to the horror, beauty and majesty of nature. We shall be enacting a trainee's ritual
22nd October 2015 The Mystical Experience
In this session we discuss the mystical experience which is one of the goals of the Craft. We shall be looking at what the mystical experience is as defined by William James in 'Varieties of Religious Experience'. We shall also examine the kind of conditions and techniques that eventually lead to such experience and the transformational affects it has.
29th October 2015 Wyrd
A lecture on the Anglo-Saxon concept of Wyrd. We shall examine how the interconnectedness and the unfoldingness of the universe captured by this concept is similar in many ways to complexity theory in mathematics and deep ecology in environmental philosophy. We shall also discuss how Wyrd is a grown up's version of Karma and its implication for magic.
5th November 2015 The Meaning of Initiation
We shall be heading to Brandon where Dave and Tricia will be discussing the meaning of initiation. We shall also be doing a Halloween pathworking.
12th November 2015 End of Training Dinner
Going out for an end of training meal