Mishkan ha-Echad

Friday, 1 August 2008

The Underappreciated Essentials Of Lodge Work

Morgan Drake Eckstein at Gleamings from the Dawn posted an interesting topic a few days ago, one which I'd like to highlight, since it is so often ignored in the magickal community as a whole. Firstly, you can read his post here.

To summarise it, you need the following if you are to run a lodge successfully:

Dues - a lodge or temple costs money to fund, even if we're merely talking about the rent for the building. But there are always documents to be printed, incense and candles to buy, and that doesn't even take into consideration the time and money spent on the tools and regalia in the first place.

Members - without members, there simply is no lodge or temple. This has killed Orders consistently over the last few centuries, and is why so many lodges have been forced to close. Whare Ra, for example, is reported to have suffered from lack of new members in its latter years. New members are essential if the group is to avoid becoming stale. Some people leave, while others get too old to be active, while others yet again die, and this means you need "new blood" to fill the void. While most Orders wouldn't go so far as to "recruit", it's essential to advertise in some form so that people know about the Order and know who to contact if they want to join. A website, at the very least, is essential for this. Word of mouth is also key.

Officers - without Officers, who are, in effect, leaders, the members don't know what to do, and there is no one to fill the roles in ceremonies, roles which require prior initiation and training to fulfill correctly. One of the primary things that caused the dissolution of the O.'.S.'.D.'.L.'. was the lack of Officers. There was no one qualified to fill those gaps, and it meant that most of the work was left to one or two people, which, coupled with falling membership, leads to the inevitable closure of a group. New Officers must be trained as swiftly as is possible, to ensure that there are always replacements if someone retires or, heaven forbid, dies. The lack of appointment of a Chief to replace Woodman, for example, helped create some of the early Golden Dawn problems. Likewise, in the Alpha et Omega in America, as soon as their Chiefs and Officers left, the entire Temples had to close, as there was no one to take their place.

All three of these, which Morgan explains extremely well, are very undervalued elements of lodge work. People don't want to pay (and the whole "the Mysteries should be free" thing is an excuse for selfish people to take and never give anything in return), don't want to recruit, and, indeed, don't want to take any office of responsibility, or anything that might mean "hard work". All of this leads to the downfall of a lodge or temple, which can, in turn, lead to the downfall of an entire Order. It's about time people started taking this seriously and pulling their weight, both financially and in terms of taking on responsibility and fulfilling necessary roles within an Order. If you're doing solo work, then you buy your own candles, incense, etc., and do your rituals in your bedroom or sitting-room (in a house which you must buy or rent), not to mention requiring all of your own research and training, and this requires money, time, and hard work. It's selfish to think that just because you join an Order that this means they should carry you and you shouldn't put that same amount of money, time, and hard work into the Order as a whole.
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