I must say, I’m very pleased with how my coven is coming along. It’s not easy for people who were basically strangers to come together in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust, to make themselves spiritually vulnerable to each other, and to flourish. Each time we meet the group mind becomes stronger, more stable, more comfortable. We are becoming more sensitive to each others’ energy. Truly, it’s a beautiful thing.
Today I am very grateful that I instituted a policy that everyone would have their own chalice for group rituals for cakes & ale. I actually didn’t think much of it until my aunt and I went to church during flu season, and she made a casual comment that the point in mass where everyone hugs/shakes hands bothers her as a healthcare worker because you have no idea who is sick, hasn’t washed their hands, etc. Then there’s the communion cup where, yeah, the brim is being wiped in between people…but still.
Last week I took care of a patient briefly who definitely was suffering from some kind of viral infection, likely influenza. At my husband’s workplace people have been sick with viruses and even strep throat. Saturday he was home all day with nausea and a migraine, and Sunday all the viruses ganged up on me and sent me home early from work (which I hate doing, but it was good I did because the skin sensitivity, chills, muscles aches, and headache all set in within an hour of getting home).
I am no germophobe. I keep a clean home, but it’s not spotless. Some exposure to pathogens is important to help build a healthy immune system, provided you are an otherwise healthy person. However, there is no reason for us to engage in activities that purposely increase our risk of catching communicable diseases. This is why I have our members bring their own chalices for cakes and ale. There is no need to share a glass amongst half a dozen people–you can bless the “ale” (we usually use juice) in one main glass and then parcel it out. As a coven leaders, I believe we need to be conscientious of our coveners needs. As a further example, I have one neophyte who has asthma that is set off by many incenses. I have only ever burned it in a large room with good airflow when she is present, using only one stick that burns minimally. I never use charcoal blocks around her, and we will likely use heated oils in the future for her. It serves the same purpose as traditional incense. If, however, we were to be outside for a ritual, incense would be fine because it would disperse thinly enough not to trigger her asthma. I have a couple with back problems– so soon I am hoping to start accumulating folding chairs so they don’t have to struggle with sitting on the floor.
Being a leader is multi-faceted position. Not only do you have the obvious responsibilities of teaching and performing rituals, but you are also a counselor and care-taker. You have to listen, be attentive to the needs of individuals in addition to the group. It’s a balance between guidance and control. While the word of the High Priestess is Law in the circle, it is a position not to be abused. This is true of any leader–I don’t know a single person who likes a boss that watches their every move, dictates every minute decision.
Isn’t that always what it comes back to? Balance?