As Willow has function since 2012, like all groups it has and continues to develop its own language. The most enduring phrase is The Big Five Rules. Vetting officers have often repeated these rules with explanation to guests and candidates to Willow. For clarity sake, here is a written version of the Big Five Rules and what these Rules mean to guests, candidates, and General Members.
Guests, General Members and Candidates do not bring drugs to events, rituals or special events where WDSC General Members or Candidates are participating officially or unofficially. Guests, General Members and Candidates do not use drugs before events or rituals. Guests, Candidates and General Members who use drugs or possess drugs will be uninvited to all future WDSC events.
Drug use or possession at WDSC events, rituals or special events will result in a General Member’s revocation of membership. Candidates and General Members who use drugs or possess drugs will be uninvited to all future WDSC events until they can provide a three-month sobriety chip from Alcoholics Anonymous or some equivalent proof to the The Willow Council and High Priest or High Priestess of Dragonstone Family Coven. The person will return to WDSC as a Candidate.
This policy should not be seen as a political statement about the rights of persons in the United States to use marijuana for medical purposes or recreational purposes. In order for Willow to maintain its 501(c)3 status, this policy must be enforced because in the State of Georgia (where Willow’s Articles of Incorporation are registered), marijuana is currently illegal for any reason. Further this policy is not statement by Willow or Dragonstone Family Coven about the ethical or moral implications of drug use. As a family oriented community, we have a responsibility to ensure that families do not suffer repercussions (loss of custody of children, questioning of their parental rights by the Department of Children Services) because of a policy by Willow that permits drug use and possession at events.
In the event that Georgia determines that medical marijuana use is legal, then this policy will be amended to permit medical use by Guests, Candidates and General Members. For the family oriented reasons sited above, if Georgia determines recreational drug use is legal, the policy will stand that no possession or use of marijuana will be permitted with the same limits and expectations as the Number 2 rule below.
Guests of Willow events will not arrive at Willow events already intoxicated and will not partake in alcohol to drunkenness at any events.
General Members and Candidates do not drink alcohol in excess or become drunk before rituals, at events or during rituals where WDSC Guests, General Members or Candidates are present, officially or unofficially. Drunkenness at any event can result in a General Member’s revocation of membership. Candidates and General Members who become publicly intoxicated may be uninvited to all WDSC events until they can provide a three-month sobriety chip from Alcoholics Anonymous or some equivalent proof to the Willow Council and High Priestess of Dragonstone Family Coven of three-months of sobriety. The person will return to WDSC as a Candidate.
Guests who take violent action on anyone at a official or unofficial ritual or event where Willow Candidates and General Members are, will be banned from attending any WDSC or DSFC event. Guests who threaten violence toward anyone at a official or unofficial ritual or event where Willow Candidates and General Members are, will be banned from attending any WDSC or DSFC event. Guests who disparage Willow or her General Members or Candidates with vicious or malicious words through social media or through substantiated behavior, will be banned from attending any WDSC or DSFC event.
General Members or Candidates who threaten violence or commit violence toward anyone at a official or unofficial ritual where Willow is in attendance, will have their membership revoked and/or be uninvited to all WDSC events. They are not permitted to return to WDSC events unless the person can present to the Willow Council and the DSFC High Priestess a certificate of completion of an Anger Management Course, convince the Willow Council and the DSFC High Priestess to sponsor their return to WDSC, and then have a unanimous vote of all General Members to allow their return. General Members or Candidates who are found to have been convicted of assault, battery, domestic violence, sexual misconduct, rape, molestation, murder, attempted murder or other acts of violence will be dealt with by the Willow Council and the DSFC High Priestess on a case by case basis.
Paganism is fundamentally a fertility religion. The majority of pagans and, in deed, Willites believe that sex and sexuality is a natural part of the human condition and should not be viewed as sinful or wrong. Further, sexuality and sex, in it’s many manifestations should not garner the judgement of guests, General Members and Candidates. It is not for individuals to judge others because of the sexuality or the ways they choose to express their sexuality in the privacy of their lives away from Willow and DSFC.
However, Willow does not want to become a breeding ground for persons (guests, General Members OR Candidates) to seek casual sleeping or dating partners. When persons involved and dedicated to the same group choose to enter into a relationship that includes sex and expressions of sexuality, it is inevitable that one of those involved will not feel comfortable returning or participating in the group. That said, we have had General Members who have found through Willow stable relationships and/or marriages. Willow’s word of advice is extreme caution.
When it comes to leadership positions in Willow, it is against the rules to convince someone to have sex with you for pleasure or ritual. This type of sexual congress is, by it’s nature, one of a power imbalance. The person who is not in a leadership position (Candidate, guest or General Member) may feel they must have sexual congress to advance in the group or maintain their position. This is why sexual initiations are not part of Willow’s rites of passage or degree initiations. Further this is why skyclad (being naked) in rituals of any type is not permitted in Willow.
Although it should not be required to clearly state, Willow does not permit guests, General Members or Candidates to have sexual congress with those who are not of a legal age of consent. In Georgia the age of legal consent is 16 years of age; however, the imbalance of power mentioned in the paragraph above should be kept under consideration. Those whom a 16 year old may see as an adult, and therefore having more power than themselves, may agree to sexual congress out of a misconception that they must. Consent must be viewed in the power exchange that sexual congress in the modern era has become.
Guests who are found to be disparaging Willow or her General Members and Candidates on social media or by substantiated verbal maliciousness or gossip, will be asked to not return to Willow events. Guests are expected to keep private and sacred the events at Willow rituals, rites or Full Moons. This means that Guests will not reveal who members of Willow are.
Photographs are discouraged. Should guests wish to take photographs, permission must be obtained by the persons being photographed. Separate permission must be given to publish on social media. Separate permission must also be given to use on websites. It would benefit guests to obtain this permission via text message or email. These guidelines also apply to General Members, Candidates and Leaders of Willow.
For the sake of brevity, Lady Dia (Lydia M N Crabtree, Dia) grants permission for her likeness to be used on websites, social media and in photographs as long as the image is not use to disparage Willow, Dragonstone Family Coven or herself.
The By-Laws currently state: General Members and Candidates do not discuss personal information discovered during classes, events, rituals, through social media, through the restricted website sections, or rites held by WDSC, General Members, or Candidates to persons who are not in attendance or part of WDSC. General Members and Candidates do not reveal the actual identity of other General Members and Candidates on social media, by email, or in any way to those who are not part of WDSC. General Members and Candidates do not reveal personal information, social media information, email addresses, physical address, phone numbers, pictures or other private information of other General Members and Candidates with anyone without express permission. General Members and Candidates who violate this policy will be dealt with by the Willow Council and the High Priestess of DSFC (Section 2.2.5).
What this very clinical and legal definition of verbal maliciousness or gossip doesn’t reveal is the energetic consequences of being a dedicated member of any spiritual group and then spending significant time verbally tearing down members and leaders of that group. It sets up an energetic “us” versus “them” or “me” versus “everyone else in the group.” Unwittingly, those who gossip can actually energetically separate themselves from the group or, when they include others, create an energetic “group within the larger group” that can be viewed as a form of cancerous tumor. This group has all the benefits of the energy of the group without providing positive group sustaining energy. This is why Willow has a very clear Mediation Policy (Link Forth Coming) set up that General Members and Leadership is expected to abide by. It should be stated that in the event that Meditation does not resolve issues, the members of the Mediation Committee, Lord, Eochair and Lady Dia will have the final word about whom in the conflict must leave the group.
General Members and Candidates are counseled when faced with another General Member, Candidate or guest who is trying to engage in gossip about other General Members, Candidates or guests, to refuse to listen to that input by stopping the gossiper from continuing. This can be achieved by saying, “I’m sorry I don’t like how this conversation is going;” or “Gossiping is against The BIG 5.” or “I am really uncomfortable right now. Could we talk about something else?;” or “I hear you are upset with [person] you should go work that out with them. Running around complaining to other members doesn’t look so good on you.” or “I hear you are upset with [person] but that is not about me, so let’s talk about something else.”
Gossiping by a person about members of a group they belong to should be a signal to other members of that group that the person is untrustworthy. Today, they are allegedly only unhappy with someone else, but what are they really saying about you when you are not around. Consider how many persons in the gossipers life that they say disparaging things about.
When does it stop being others that is the problem and become the gossiper who is the problem?
This is something worthy of consideration.