Dear Temple of Ara Elders:
Does Temple of Ara have weekly lessons prepared for a coven to learn how to become a witch? I thought that you had a study course designed for groups. My coven and I live in Arizona and would like further guidance. We are reading ‘WitchCrafting” and discussing it 2x’s a month and doing the exercises outlined within the chapters but…we need more!
Hi Patricia, Thanks for your inquiry about small group study.
Before we go on to talk about what the Temple has to offer, we recommend that you and your group do a little reflective work. What are you trying to achieve? What are you not satisfied with? What do you believe is missing for you? Where do you think your experiences are stopping short? What’s working for you and what’s not?
Doing a little reflection on the situation may help you “unstuck” yourselves. You’ll gain some clarity and maybe discover in what ways you might be holding yourself back.
Then, if you still feel like you need more support, let’s talk about how the Temple may help you grow.
But first, a word about who we are
As a very nontraditional tradition, we are organized in a way that is much different than what most people have come to expect from most traditional traditions. Because of this, we often confuse people so bear with me as I explain how we are organized.
Before I go on, here are some things very crucial to make a note of and remember:
We’re not Wicca 101
The Temple and Tradition of Ara is not a general Wicca path. Ara is entirely devoted to nature mysteries. We are dedicated to removing the veil that separates us from communing with the Sacred – whose energies, while embodied in Nature and in us, are ultimately, at the quantum level, formless. God or goddess forms are not essential to our practices, unless our spirit guides give us a god form as a symbol or metaphor. Neither do we feel bound to use altars, rote invocations, or following any recipe that any book tells us is the “right” way to “do” our spirituality. (This can be hard for some people to accept.)
Our deeper purpose is to help you see, feel, taste, smell, and altogether experience and create a relationship with the formless energies of the Sacred, of Immanent Divinity, particularly as embodied by Nature and all of her children.
Through ecstatic practices, we seek to support the attainment of insight in ultimate or hidden truths, intuitive understanding, the development our own unique symbolic language. We also seek to support your spiritual and emotional growth and transformation.
We are far more interested in developing a community of Nature mystics, similar to the shamans you would encounter in indigenous cultures.
We differ somewhat from Phyllis Curott’s teachings
While the Temple and Tradition was founded by Phyllis Curott, many people join the Temple, thinking that we will simply rehash her writings.
This is not true.
Phyllis’ books – Witch Crafting and Wicca Made Easy — represent the first stage of understanding. Those books are the point of entry that provide easy-to-understand mechanics, structure and vocabulary for those who are just starting to explore Wicca as a whole.
As Phyllis says, it’s Wicca 101 but with an Ara Tradition garnish. Her 101 books do not represent the depth and breadth of the Temple’s teachings. Instead they are an introduction (albeit brief) to the Tradition’s deeper purpose, perspective and philosophy.
Her books – and any online classes she may hold – will never be a substitute for the deeper, more transmutational, Nature-oriented mystical work that we do in the Temple.
This is what we offer:
We offer Outer Grove experiences open to all dues paying members of the temple who have successfully completed our membership program, Crossing into the Mysteries. Outer Grove meets roughly every month and our meetings are often celebrations in honor of Mother Nature.
Those who are interesting in learning more, and who want to experience the Nature-oriented spiritual path that we represent, can enroll in our 1st level program, The Deeper Wisdom of the Circle. That class allows the student to develop a better relationship with Mother Nature. It is primarily Nature focused.
Those interested in deepening their relationship with the immanent divine can enroll in our 2nd level, Communing with Immanent Divinity. This class helps you develop the intuitive skills to communicate with the Divine within All. The immediate and immanent Divine – whose energy is formless – speaks with us through symbol, metaphor, instinct, feeling, emotions, ynchronicity and visions. It’s important for you to learn how to receive these non-lingual messages to become a skillful nature witch.
The final level, in preparation for our initiatory rite, is called Dancing with Your Shadow. Here, you clear away the mental debris that obstructs communing with the Divine within All.
Along the pathway, members who reach certain proficiencies can become involved in various Temple councils. Councils include the seekers council, the membership council and so on. Council involvement is by invitation, once you demonstrate certain proficiencies.
Once you’re initiated, you can participate in Inner Grove. Inner Grove is dedicated to furthering the skills and practices that each student began to master in levels 1, 2 and 3.
That being said, the Elders – Kirsten Rostedt and myself — are available for mentoring. Mentoring includes private sessions that cover a wide range of Ara-related topics (again, not general Wicca) with assignments or field-work. In this way, you can practice and fine-tune skills. Members get 10% off all Temple services, including private mentoring fees.
The best place to start your journey with us
If any of this is something that you would like to experience, I encourage you and the rest of your group to initially enroll in our free course, Making Magic with the Sacred. It’s a great introduction to our world view and offers some super-easy practices. Nature Mysticism is not as complicated as traditional Wicca can be.
Then it might be helpful if all of you become members. Then perhaps enroll in level one.
I hope this helps clarify who the temple is, how we are organized, and how we differ from Phyllis Curott’s 101 work.
Have joyful and fruitful spring!