"The Glory of Creation is in its Infinite Diversity, and the way our differences combine
to create Meaning and Beauty"
The Vulcan Idic (Star Trek, the original series: “Is There In Truth No Beauty?”)
Diversity, when practiced well, is like a healthy and balanced ecosystem. Like the ecological niches of a forest, we reflect an interlinked diversity of beliefs, practices and cultures of humankind. We at SweetWood welcome folks from many paths: NeoPagan, Wiccan, Native American, Christian, Buddhist, as well as philosophers, agnostics and atheists (among others). A sampling of our community includes: ritualists, massage therapists, astrologers, artists, Trekkers, techies, music-makers, Reiki practitioners, builders, historians, writers, bibliophiles, herbalists, tree-huggers, humorists, naturists, chocolate lovers and kitchen-witches.
Some of us worship one God, some worship many gods and goddesses, and some do not worship deity at all. Most of us are voracious readers. Many of us are Cultural Creatives. We enjoy exploring the Mystery in all its wonderful variations and possibilities, whether scientific or mystical (or both!). We enjoy teaching what we know and learning from one another. SweetWood is a ‘values-based’, rather than a ‘doctrine-based’ community. We see ourselves as Gods and Goddesses and honor the divine within us.
Of course, we also welcome the free expression and free choice of love partners, (whether none, one or many), male or female, trans, or inter-sexed. Some of us practice polyamory, others are celibate. Some of us change over the years. Harming none, love who you will.
Those who practice diversity are comfortable with paradox and difference. In fact, we enjoy them! Curiosity wins out over the fear of complexity. We explore history, but we also enjoy dreaming the myths forward. Like a tree, we dig our roots into the wisdom of the past and grow our branches high into the sky of the future.
We like to laugh - it is healing and brings a sense of perspective when we take ourselves too seriously. We assume good intention, unless proven otherwise - and even then, we try to understand and empathize. It is okay to agree to disagree. We can disagree without being disagreeable. We practice ‘being excellent to one another’.We help each other, which can also include just letting them be and accept that they must walk their own path and go through their own process. We honor each other’s Sovereignty.
The balanced ecosystem of Diversity includes limits. This brings stability and cohesiveness, so that the diverse community itself doesn’t devolve into divisiveness. Diversity does not imply that anything goes. The human rights of each individual must be upheld. However, we practice discernment along with freedom of expression. Even though SweetWood holds Diversity as a value, we realize that our community cannot be all things to all people. Of course we support the right of any community to practice their path in their own ways. We also claim this right.
For example, Sweetwood does not actively oppose BDSM done in private, but does not allow this practice to express itself as a ‘scene’ at SweetWood events. Also, we do not practice blood sacrifice or blood magic in any form. We avoid any practices that cause suffering to another being, whether agreed to or not. We do not allow magikal curses on SweetWood Land. Gossip & back-stabbing are discouraged. Harassment in any form is not tolerated.
The other 4 values of SweetWood (self-knowledge, positive sexuality, deep friendship, attunement with Nature) act as part of the ‘glue’ that holds Diverse Community together. We strive to find common ground. We find ‘A Truth’, rather than ‘The Truth’. We try to nurture the seeds of Good in each other. Learning to communicate with each other is key, and always an ongoing practice. (Non-Violent communication is an example.)
At Sweetwood we have a balance of structure and openness in our rituals. Like Wicca, we celebrate the 8 sabbats of the Wheel of the Year, and recognize the balance of Male and Female energies. We honor the Sun God / Moon Goddess and Moon God / Sun Goddess every other year. Recently, we’ve added the 3 stages of life to each God/dess (Maiden, Mother, Crone and Stag, Father, Sage). We recognize the wisdom of: “As above, so Also Below. As Without, so Also Within”. We celebrate Sky-clad whenever appropriate (see ’The Charge of the Goddess’ by Doreen Valiente), but don’t require it. SweetWood is ‘clothes-optional’.
Instead of linking the 4 elements to a direction when drawing a circle, the ritual participants call IN 7 elements (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, the Ancestors, the Descendants, and Community) in their own ways. We also Honor Eris (Goddess of Chaos), giving her and her kind some whiskey outside the circle. The middle of our rituals is open depending on the season and the participants. So our rituals have some structure, but leave lots of room for other people’s contributions.
We always share water in our rituals, carrying on the tradition of CAW (The Church of All Worlds). We say: Water shared is life shared is love shared. Never thirst! Thou art God or Thou art Goddess. We close our circle with a simple devocation and release.
SweetWood Temenos welcomes other individuals and groups to use the land for their own gatherings, rituals, teachings and vision quests. As long as those using the Land respect our 5 values (and policies), we welcome them to Celebrate, Recreate & Contemplate.
“The common ground of religious practice are love, compassion, forgiveness,
tolerance, contentment, and self-discipline."
So we build harmony on mutual respect, Mutual learning, and Mutual admiration.”
Dalai Lama–September 16 2016 at EU Parliament