A Pagan Circle is sacred space, the same as a church or synagogue is. Therefore, the same basic rules of behavior apply:
1. While there may be time set aside for socializing (usually during the “Cakes and Ale” part of the Ritual), the main purpose of a Pagan or
- The purpose of a particular Circle should be made clear to all participants at the beginning of the rite.
- If anyone has any objection to the purpose of the Circle, they may raise their objection without fear of reprisal. If the objection is overridden and that person doesn’t agree, he/she should respectfully leave immediately. (They can always meet up with their friends later on, after the Circle has ended.)
2. Out of respect for the other people in the Circle, there should be NO chatter or commentary while others in the Circle are speaking, singing, meditating or otherwise engaged in spiritual work.
- If there is an emergency, it should be brought to the attention of the Guardian or Gatekeeper of the Circle immediately, as discreetly as possible so as not to disrupt the ritual any more than absolutely necessary.
- This may be enforced by the use of a Talking Stick or other device, at the discretion of the leader/s of the Circle. Only the person holding the item may speak. All others must listen quietly. On the first pass around the Circle, everyone must be given a chance to hold the item and speak their piece if they wish. After that, once a person is finished speaking, the item may be passed clockwise around the Circle to the next person who has raised his/her hand to speak. This continues until the session or Circle is over and everyone has had a chance to speak. This does not apply for Esbats or Sabbats Circles.
3. If anyone must leave the Circle for any reason, that person must inform the Guardian or Gatekeeper of the Circle, so that a doorway may be “cut” in the Circle to allow that person to exit without disturbing the flow of energy around the Circle. This also goes for people wishing to enter a Circle after it has been cast.
- In general, it’s best to remain in Circle once the Circle is cast. The less the energies of the Circle are disturbed, the better.
- If a person really cannot wait for the Guardian to cut a doorway, then he/she can do it him/herself. That person must remember to seal the doorway behind him/herself after going through the Circle! This involves visualization and pantomime and should only be done by experienced magic-workers.
i. The Guardian should find out at the beginning of the ritual who else knows how to cut and seal a doorway effectively, just in case the Guardian is not available to do it. That person/s could be asked to assist the Guardian in this task, which can be helpful in large circles.
- Very young children (under age seven) and small animals can normally pass through a Circle without affecting it. Children age seven and above should be instructed in proper Circle etiquette, including how to cut and seal a doorway in a Circle, whenever possible. WFT as a group is there to assist whenever possible parents with educating their child on circle etiquette. If however, a child is 10yrs and older and persists in disruptive behavior, parents will have to cut themselves out of circle with that child as they are held responsible for keeping the children from disrupting the circle.
4. Wiccans and Pagans are generally tolerant of differences. WFT’s public Circles are open to everyone, regardless of race, class, creed, age,* gender,**disability or sexual preference. Our goal is to meet and work together “in perfect love and perfect trust”; to create a place of safety and welcome for all our attendees. So that these may not be empty words:
- Please do not invite or bring anyone into Circle whom you do not trust to behave appropriately. Also, do not pressure or coerce anyone into attending Circle who clearly is not interested in doing so. This includes your own child/ren, if applicable. Please get a sitter for them instead, until they are ready, willing and able to participate.
- Please refrain from doing some of the things you would do at home while in a public open ritual “in perfect love and perfect trust” applies. That includes drawing invoking pentagrams at quarters.***
- Please do not sit during ritual unless you have an injury, it is the same as not cutting yourself out of circle it disturbs the flow of energy around the Circle. If you do not have an injury and this is intolerable for you then please have yourself cut out of the circle and sit outside of the circle, until we are finished.
- We have a “Zero Tolerance” policy towards discriminatory behavior. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but when circling with us, please keep it to yourself as it might cause disruption or disharmony within the Circle.
- Anyone found to be engaging in discriminatory, disrespectful and/or criminal behavior while in Circle AND who does not desist when asked to WILL be escorted out of the Circle by the Guardian of that Circle.
- Whether or not that person can re-enter that particular Circle is up to the discretion of the Guardian. Sometimes a short discussion is all that is necessary to clear up the problem.
- The behavior of the offender will be discussed among the leadership of the
Wiccan Family Temple (and ONLY them) and a decision will be made as to whether or not the offender may attend any more WFT gatherings, and when he/she will be allowed to resume attendance. The offender will be informed of this decision as soon as possible.
- If the offender wishes to appeal this decision, they may either:
i. submit a written rebuttal to the WFT leadership; or
ii. ask to arrange a face-to-face meeting or telephone conference with the WFT leadership to discuss the matter.
After this process is compeleted, the final decision rests with the WFT leadership.
5. Circles are community events. They involve participation by everyone attending the Circle. As such, attendees are expected to pitch in and help out as much as they are able. It is this spirit of good will and active participation that builds and sustains a community. Therefore:
- There are no “free rides.” Suggested monetary donations are given for every event and Circle we hold; these are the bare minimums we must receive from each person in order for us to continue to hold these events and Circles on a regular basis. Please contribute the suggested donation.
- If you have a little extra, please feel free to give it. It helps to offset the lesser amounts we sometimes receive from others.
- If you have a little less, you will not be turned away. However, there may be other ways in which you can donate; contact the WFT leadership and we’ll try to work with you.
6. Unlike other mainstream faiths, many Wiccans and Pagans are not yet out of the “broom closet,”
due to fear of misunderstanding or reprisals. Thus, discretion is important both within and outside the Circle. What occurs in Circle, remains in Circle. All participants are expected to adhere to this policy.
- Please use discretion when discussing your own experiences within Circle with others who were not part of that particular Circle. Do not give identifying information about anyone who was in Circle with you without their prior consent.
· We do hold some Circles and events that may be inappropriate for some age groups, i.e., Samhain. On those rare occasions, we may ask that people in that age group refrain from attending that Circle. Also, we might occasionally hold special-interest or closed Circles, such as women-only or men-only. In those cases, we ask that people who are not members of that special-interest group refrain from attending those Circles. (Transgendered people who identify with the gender of the attendees of that Circle may participate; transvestites may not.)
· Some people may or may not be experienced in ‘invoking pentagrams’, those in circle does not know that, nor do they know your practices. With that in mind it is best not to do so in public open circles as ours.