Not sure where to start?
Interested in the Ara tradition but have a bunch of questions? Here’s a great place to start!
We recommend that you first do some research to ensure that Ara is the right fit. We recommend you read a few of our blog posts, starting with our Ultimate Guide to Making Magic with the Sacred and then downloading (and experiencing!) our free meditation: Wisdom of Mother Earth Meditation
Then, get clear on your why -- and to do that, we have a really helpful blog post along with a very effective workbook: How to Choose a Spiritual Community.
Last but not least, it's easy to try us on for size. Join us for one of our seasonal celebrations, Full Moon rituals, or Shamanic Journey Circles. To RSVP, click on this link: Temple of Ara Events
The Temple of Ara offers initiation experiences unique to our Tradition. In keeping with our practice of deconstructing, we looked to the initiation ceremonies of indigenous shamanic cultures and ancient mystery schools to find the core principles and practices that resonated with our values. And so, we devised initiation experiences that are cathartic rites of passage, acknowledging transformations of birth, death, and rebirth. But Initiation is not the end of the metamorphosis; rather it is a catalyst, the beginning step in a new spiritual journey.
Preparation for Initiation can take several years of challenging, transformative work. Participants are required to complete certain recommended workshops and self-study to prepare for the intense, psychological, and spiritual changes that can manifest both during and after the Initiation itself. Initiation is a very personal experience and for some it will lead to an ongoing commitment to the Temple of Ara as their spiritual home and community. For others, it will serve as a rite of personal transformation as they continue their own, unique quest.
The view of the Ara Tradition is that Initiation is a personal choice made at a pivotal juncture in an individual’s spiritual journey. The Ara Tradition recognizes that the events of life may, in fact, “initiate” one. But Rites of Initiation are usually facilitated by a community (such as the Temple). Only persons who have successfully undergone the Ara Initiation rites and maintain an active membership in the community may call themselves an Initiate of our Tradition.
While communion with the Divine often happens spontaneously, such a relationship can also be cultivated using spiritual practices which requires training, skill, and right motivation. One of the primary roles of Ara clergy is the teaching of these practices. Ara Priestesses and Priests are guides who, leading by example, share their experiences and wisdom with those who are committed to learning and being in harmonious relationship with the Divine.
Ara clergy fulfill other important roles within the community and in the broader culture. Ara clergy create and conduct personal rites of passage including births, comings of age, Initiations, marriages, crossing over rites and funerals. Ara Priestesses and Priests may also provide spiritual counseling and facilitation of healing mind, body, and spirit. Ara clergy also conduct public rites, celebrations and Sabbats and conduct workshops, lectures, and online classes.
Because it is a public declaration of readiness and responsibility, the Temple of Ara only bestows the title of Priestess and Priest on those who have undergone special training and have demonstrated, through experience and commitment, a willingness and ability to undertake the serious responsibilities of guiding others on their spiritual quests and to nurture and cultivate the community. In addition to leading and guiding the community, Ara Clergy oversee the administrative workings of the Temple.The Temple bestows the title of Elder High Priestesses and High Priests on those clergy who have proven, through deep and continued service to the Temple, a willingness and ability to take on the serious responsibility of upholding the Temple’s standards. Ara clergy that have reached Elder status are instrumental in guiding the spiritual development of the Ara Tradition as a whole
Ara focuses on spiritual practices devoted to the wisdom of the sacred Earth as our greatest spiritual teacher. Those ancient and modern practices are taught in our study programs and are the focus of our monthly membership meetups. Our practices include core Wiccan and shamanic practices such as reconnecting with sacred space or casting circle; communing with the sacred elements; grounding, centering and breath; meditation; working with energy through such acts as dancing, chanting, drumming, and journeying; altering consciousness to commune with the Sacred; and working with spirit guides. And, of course, working with and learning from the Earth. We also work with divination techniques to engage in dialogue with divinity and much of our current work is devoted to working with Spirits of Place.
Many things make our Tradition unique. Our central spiritual and ethical precept is that we live in a sacred world and so we seek to live in a sacred manner. We achieve spiritual insight through living in harmony with the Earth, and with Nature, with ourselves and with each other. We work to live in accordance with the spiritual principles embodied by Creation, and to attune ourselves with the natural energies of the Earth, Moon, Sun and Universe as a means of connecting with the Sacred. Our Tradition is devoted to experiencing that divinity within the world and in ourselves, and to living lives guided it.
In more practical terms, our general membership program offers you an opportunity for personal transformation while also developing a relationship with Mother Earth. Because we are a national organization, we attract members from all over North America and Europe.
In an era of environmental crisis that threatens our survival, the Ara Tradition provides a way of living in harmony with the Sacred, and therefore of living in harmony with the natural world. This ethos is at the heart of creating a new relationship between humanity and the Earth.
The Ara Tradition has a tremendous amount to offer those who live and work in urban and suburban environments. In fact, the Temple of Ara was founded in one of the largest cities in the world - New York City.
Because our high stress lifestyles cut us off from the natural world and often separate us from the Sacred, it is in urban centers that we most need to reconnect to the Earth, to that which we instinctually know we need to feel good, rested, healthy, and happy. And it is in urban centers that the genius loci, the Spirits of Place, are most often neglected and in need of sacred relationship with us. The Ara Tradition offers a simple, sensible, and accessible system of techniques and practices that enable us to connect to the natural world no matter where we live.
And lest we forget, Nature is everywhere.