By Hallowed Dame Dove Lightwing
What is Transformative Education?
The Order of the Red Grail COTW offers transformative education to those who seek personal spiritual discovery. Krishnamurti’s teachings, especially in the area of education, speak of transformative education. The entire notion of adult education is based upon divergence from the teacher-as-authority to the practice of the teacher-learner partnership. Krishnamurti describes the philosophy of transformational education which drives the Pillar of Personal Alchemy in the Order of the Red Grail. When asked by the student, “The world is full of callous people, indifferent people, cruel people, and how can you change those people?” Krishnamurti replied:
''Why do you bother about changing others? Change yourself. Otherwise as you grow up you will also become callous. You will also become indifferent. You will also become cruel. The past generation is vanishing, it is going, and you are coming, and if you also prove callous, indifferent, cruel, you will also build the same society. What matters is that you change, that you are not callous, that you are not indifferent. Change yourself and test it by action … really, we do not want to change, we want others to change, and so we remain callous, indifferent, cruel, hoping the environment will change so that we can continue in our way.''
Pillar of Personal Alchemy
The Pillar of study known as Personal Alchemy addresses areas of personal development necessary for spiritual growth, to avoid the continued callousness, indifference, and cruelty of which Krishnamurti spoke. To fully implement and utilize Wiccan or any other life-affirming spiritual practices in the most ethical and effective manner, an individual must possess a firm sense of self-esteem and self-efficacy. The world in which we live is filled with negative influences as parties who own a version of Truth war with each other and spread misinformation and disinformation about those who do not walk their same path. Wiccans and other Pagans are at risk of being challenged about our apparent lack of faith, and we are at risk of personal or public discrediting if we cannot articulate who we are as humans in this world, as well as why we chose the Pagan route toward spiritual fulfillment.
Seek Oneness, Embrace Diversity
There are as many individual paths toward enlightenment or oneness with deity as there are human beings on Earth. Eastern philosophical thought teaches us that to transcend the ego (our base self) the ego must be healthy (not suppressed as some traditions teach). The Order of the Red Grail seeks to offer paths of study which augment an individual’s natural path toward emotional, spiritual, psychic health, and oneness with deity by whatever name or shape such is known.
Personal alchemy involves change – change of base matter (our ego-driven lives) into gold (the transcendent Self). Change is accompanied by confusing feelings such as fear, sorrow, grief, or feelings of loss. Coping with change is necessary at many levels of our lives, from learning new
technologies to coping with loss or with new opportunities.
Personal growth of any nature, including spiritual, requires that an individual move out of a known, familiar state of being, however comfortable, into an unknown state of being. An uncomfortable psychic or emotional state known as cognitive dissonance can occur when the Student, either before contacting the Order of the Red Grail, or after beginning a course of study, reaches a point where the old ways of being are no longer suitable and a new way of being has not yet been developed by the Student. During this phase, the Student is particularly vulnerable to leaving the new path to attempt to go back to the old, but this cannot be, since the old has already been found to be unsuitable. The Student can then drift, or bounce, from path to path, finding only temporary comfort. Traditional churches often have strong support for new converts. Adult groups and social events can help the vulnerable person from drifting away from the membership. The Order of the Red Grail does not seek to “hold on to” Students, believing that the self-directed learner makes the Student commitment not to the Order or to the clergy, but to themselves as a commitment to self-development toward individuation.
Reflection is an essential element for growth. Students of the Order are encouraged to reflect, both in a standard environment such as class and as an individual activity such as regular journaling. Questions may be posed which are meant to serve as food for thought and topics for personal reflection. Instruction in effective journaling practices is included in the Pillar of Personal Alchemy.
Development of the Self, or personal growth, requires several steps. Each Student begins with a unique history of education and experience. Thus, no one begins study with identical goals, expectations, or needs. These serve as filters through which learning is translated by the psyche into the growth of the self.
Carl Jung, psychiatrist and scholar, mused that an experience of God (Deity, Goddess) is similar to an experience of self. The experience of the self, he said, is said to be the experience of the “God within us.” Speaking of projection, Jung said that “the self, when no longer projected, operates as a union of opposites, and such a union constitutes an immediate experience of the divine (the numinous). To attain the self is to attain individuation, which, according to Jung, is to find Deity, or connection to the deity archetype(s). The process of individuation, then, is essential to the finding of Deity.
Jung stressed that a critical psychological perspective must be maintained when exploring the notion of Deity. An experience of Deity is described by Jung as “nothing less than to divest the self of the false wrappings of the personal on the one hand, and the suggestive power of primordial images on the other … becoming one’s own self … coming into selfhood … self-realization.”
There are six types of episodes of individuation, or chief characteristics of individuation described in the individuation literature:
1. Discovery of Newness represents the discovery of talents, attitudes, feelings, and interests that exist within one’s self;
2. Empowerment means an increased sense of power and autonomy, a new affirmation of self-worth and confidence;
3. Turmoil is the manifestation of an inner state of confusion, chaos, and pain, the severity of which depends upon the situation;
4. Self-responsibility results from the decision making that shows one is taking a new responsibility for and interest in one’s self and one’s future;
5. Integration comes with the experience of a togetherness (where there was none before) within oneself and / or with parts of one’s world;
6. Interiority represents the deepened relation to one’s inner self.
As an individual journeys through these “episodes,” individuation is experienced, resulting in a healthy self which is akin to experiencing Deity. Those who study psychic maturation can find a home within any religion. The need for empirical proof or psychological explanation for a religion can find a suitable path. Those who are not on a path toward psychic maturation can still find a home, for psychic maturation begins somewhere.
Spiritual seekers who contact the Order often state that they have been solitary “forever” and now feel called to share in a group setting. This common theme fits the four premises of traditional Jungian theory of individuation which stresses:
1. That interactions with other persons can facilitate individuation;
2. Realization of the self occurs as the individual pays attention to the dialog between the inner voices and the outer circumstances;
3. Psychic death-rebirth experiences can be identified in an individual’s ongoing reflective activity, and
4. Progress toward individuation comes not steadily but cycling round issues as the individual’s reflections invite.
It is by understanding these premises that the education facilitators within the Order of the Red Grail can guide Students along a path toward individuation. Never attempting to fit a square peg into a round hole, the Order offers the self-directed spiritual seeker skilled guidance in Personal Alchemy.
© 1995 Order of the Red Grail, Church of Transformational Wicca
Q: I want to join your coven!
A: Please read our statement on membership here
Q: Do you have any public events I can attend?
A: Yes, we do! You can view our schedule here-- Full Moon Circle Schedule .
Q: I am student researching religions; can I talk to a member of the clergy or attend an event for my project?
A: Yes, you can! If you’d like to do an interview via e-mail, please feel free to e-mail redgrailinquiry at gmail dot com and a member of the clergy will be in touch with you shortly. If you’d like to attend an event, you’re certainly welcome. Please see the above link for our schedule.
Q: I don’t want to participate in the ritual, I just want to watch; is that allowed?
A: We strongly encourage you to join us in ritual in order to get the full experience; however, if you are uncomfortable, you can sit it out. We ask that you sit outside the Circle if you choose not to participate.
Q: Okay, I’ll try to participate in ritual, but what if I get overwhelmed, scared or uncomfortable during ritual?
A: We understand, and want to make sure you feel safe. If at any time during the ritual you feel uncomfortable, please signal to a member of the Inner Court and we will be glad to talk to you and escort you out of the Circle if needed.
Q: What should I wear?
A: Street clothes are fine; with the exception of some of the clergy or in the event of a Sacred Theatre ritual, we aren’t usually cloaked, robed or in costume. We suggest comfortable clothes that you can move in as it typical for us to have energy raising rituals and you might be compelled to get up and dance; alternatively, you might want to sit on the floor for meditations. For the annual Games of Lugh, we suggest you bring a second set of clothes as there is always a water balloon fight. We respectfully request that you refrain from wearing moon crowns as these are reserved for our High Priests/Priestesses (individuals wearing white cords. Our Knights and Hallows Knights (silver and gold cords) may choose to wear swords, so we also request that guests and members not of those specific ranks refrain from wearing or carrying swords on their person.
Q: What should I bring?
A: We always conclude ritual with potluck, so bringing a dish to share and dinnerware are encouraged. We take donations of canned goods to the local food pantry, so your food donations are always welcome. If you can make a monetary donation to help us pay our rent to the Unitarian Church, or make a donation to our Avalon project (which you can read about here) is always appreciated.
Q: Are you a real church?
A: Yes, we are 501 (c) 3 non-profit church. Not all churches are non-profit, but we happen to be.
Q: Do you have clergy available for (insert service?)
A: Yes, please email us at redgrailinquiry at gmail dot com with your request. For non-members, we offer the following services only: Baby Blessings, Funeral Rites, Handfastings, and House Blessings. Fee are negotiable.
Q: Why do some people wear cords and what do they mean?
A: Green cords are worn by Scions who are members of our Outer Court and are considered advanced Students. The following cords colors identify our Inner Court members: red cords are worn by our First Degree Initiates, blue cords identify Second Degree Initiates (priest and priestesses) and white cords identify our Third Degree Initiates (High Priest and High Priestesses.) Copper cords identify our Squires, silver cords identify our Knights, and gold cords identify our Hallows Knights.
Q: I want to become a member; how do I go about that?
A: We ask that you attend Circles and get to know everyone to make sure you are comfortable. We have what is known as the Seeker Program, which you can find out about here-- Seeker Program. If you have further questions about the program, talk to our High Priest, Crow.
Q: What is the difference between a Student and a Seeker?
A: Seekers are members at the church level. Students are a part of the coven, at the beginner level. In order to become a Student, one must be an active Seeker (showing up to classes, completing homework, etc.) for period of no less than a year. Currently, the position of Student is available by invitation only.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
We of the Order of the Red Grail are deeply troubled and saddened by the neglect and willful abuse asylee seekers are receiving due to the "zero tolerance" policies enacted by the current U.S. administration. The asylee seekers are fleeing horrible conditions in their homelands only to be greeted by violent actions and rhetoric used to denigrate and dehumanize. While laws are necessary for any society to properly function, it is imperative to understand that the needs of the people change over time; so too must the laws.
Crises happen; natural disasters, corrupt governments, political coups, and highly organized criminal organizations have driven these people to seek out a better life for themselves and their children. America has broadcast itself as the place where dreams come true; where hard work, dedication, and a freedom seeking spirit is all one needs to achieve success and comfort.. America competes to be the best at everything; government, military, economy, etc., How can we as citizens express shock and anger at people from other countries who come to our borders, believing in that very dream?
Quite simply, tearing families apart is immoral. The disregard for the health and wellbeing of children is appalling; those who are involved in these reprehensible acts will surely answer for it in this life and the next. These actions echo America's history of slavery and indentured servitude, Indian boarding schools, and the internment camps of World War II; all great stains upon what America would claim to stand for in the eyes of the global community.
We join in the call with others of conscience; we raise our voices in protest and in prayer to Columbia to put an end to these misdeeds; we are embarrassed and ashamed of the tyrannical, bigoted racists that praise and wish to emulate dictators. We search for ways to heal the Wasteland and assist the disenfranchised, in service to the Great Mother, under which we are all children.
It has been a week since the horrific events occurred in Charlottesville. The Order of the Red Grail has been searching for the right words in which to address the aggressive and terroristic actions of the so-called "Alt-RIght." It is not enough to mourn the victims and give the standard offering of "our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families." We fully and unequivocally condemn Nazi and white supremacist ideology.
The Order of the Red Grail is comprised of clergy, members, and attendees of diverse genetic and spiritual backgrounds. We believe there are many paths leading to the Divine. As such, our Full Moon Circles serve as safe, sacred space, regardless of race, color, creed, class, sex, sexual orientation, gender, age, and ability. We recognize and honor the differences in all of humanity, but do not perceive said differences as divisions. We view humanity as people of the stars and of the shared, sacred earth. Hate and violence are unwelcome and will not take root nor bear fruit within our walls.
The Order of the Red Grail is deeply committed to the support and safety of all who would join our community. Our church has non-denominational clergy available if you or someone you know needs to speak with someone.