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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in leadership
Facilitating an Effective Feedback Session: Part 1

 

I recently wrote two articles on how to give--and how to receive and work with--feedback, particularly as a ritualist but also in general as a Pagan group leader. I mentioned feedback sessions and a few folks asked me what's a good way to run one of these. It's a good question, because getting useful feedback is difficult, and the details are often in how you facilitate the session.

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Pagan Events, Trash, and Environmentalism Part 2

 

 

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
BNPs, PPPs, & Leadership

Ever since I’ve been on a Pagan path I’ve heard of BNPs.  The acronym was told to me to indicated Big Name Pagans.   Over time, as more people found their way to one Pagan path or another, or began to create their own paths more specific to their particular worldviews, the term BNP took on a negative connotation.  I started to hear it explained as Big-Nosed Pagans.

Most of those referred to as BNPs had published a book or several and were known for that.  Of course, when I was coming up, there were few books, and those there were tended to be elementary.  They lacked depth, refinement, and nuance.  Today, thankfully, creative Pagans have explored Paganisms in much greater depth.  They’ve done academic and historical research, as well as incorporating anecdotal evidence for their theories – good ol’ UPGs.  Practitioners of reconstructed traditions of many kinds have explored the traditions they’re reviving, and thereby have advanced this learning tremendously.  As well, walkers on more personal Pagan paths, including “hard polytheists,” have contributed to our growing body of resources.

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  • John Halstead
    John Halstead says #
    Thank you Macha! I'm honored by your mention. (And I love new acronyms.)

My Coven was tired.

We had been busy--for years, actually. Between leading public rituals and attending festivals, there was a mess of parties thrown by other Coveners. Several members were performers of different kinds and had shows. A couple of people started teaching locally. Then there was our standard working group time. Like "good" Coveners, we traveled to the festivals together, attended the parties, formed cheering sections at the shows and dutifully attended the classes our members led. We somehow still found the time to offer rituals and work as a group, but not a lot. I felt badly offering Coven homework when we were already such a busy group.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Philipp Kessler
    Philipp Kessler says #
    Two things. First, I just received a copy of your book from the publisher. Looking forward to reading it. Second, an earlier art
  • Courtney Weber
    Courtney Weber says #
    Hi Phillipp! The earlier article you mentioned was not written by me, but by Hilary Parry. Thanks for stopping by!
  • Philipp Kessler
    Philipp Kessler says #
    Ah, my apologies. I had misremembered who wrote it. I do hope that you get a chance to read what I write anyway. And looking forw
Effective Feedback: Giving and Receiving (Part 2)

Any leader or rituallist is going to get feedback. In Part 1, I addressed some methods to discern what feedback is useful and what isn't. It's also important to learn how to give good feedback, which is what I'll go into here.

While I love hearing, "That ritual was great!" what this primarily tells me is that this person (or the people telling me this) had a good time. It’s not, however, specific. “I loved the chanting!” or, "I've never experienced a ritual like that, I was able to connect to my ancestors in a way I couldn't ever before," is more specific and thus, more useful. 

I've facilitated rituals where I had an equal number of people tell me, "The energy in that ritual was great!" and, "The energy tonight really kind of sucked." So what makes good feedback?

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Effective Feedback: Giving and Receiving (Part 1)

Just weeks ago I had the honor of leading the main ritual at Paganicon, a Pagan conference in its fifth year taking place in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I felt the main ritual went really well, and over the course of the weekend I received a lot of positive feedback from people who had a deep, transformative experience during the ritual. I also heard from the convention staffers that fully a third of the feedback forms positively mentioned the ritual or one of my other workshops. 

As a teacher and ritual leader, it's always really exciting to hear that my work has had a positive impact!

However, after I returned from the event, I was directed to a blog post from another presenter at Paganicon who really disliked the ritual I facilitated. In fact, this presenter also had some problems with my presence on at east one of the three panels I spoke on. And it made me think a lot about feedback and leadership.

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  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    This is super helpful, thank you for being so open and sharing this!
  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    You are most welcome! The issue of feedback is, I think, a crucial one. So often folks go into the knee-jerk place. They're either
  • Sable Aradia
    Sable Aradia says #
    Good article. You and I have a lot in common; similar issues for similar reasons, including our ego issues and their source; and
  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    Glad the article is of use. I just posted part 2, and I'm thinking of writing another just on how to run a useful feedback session
  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    Oh, the ball dropping. People have such cool projects and I want to support them...and then I look at my to do list and I weep.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Identity and Leadership Failure


So many of the leadership problems that I see in the Pagan community come down to issues of our personal identity. There are leadership techniques for building healthy communities, models for understanding group dynamics, and tools to mediate conflicts. But the truth is…all of that stuff is a house built on a faulty foundation if we don’t also do our personal work.

To do that work, we have to understand identity.

And we also have to admit that all of us need to do this work. Unfortunately, the way identity functions can make it hard to change our own bad behaviors, and ego is pretty good at denial. When a group blows up you’ll often hear, “It’s just too much ego.” They’re sort of right, but it’s a little more complicated.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Charles Harrington
    Charles Harrington says #
    Oh man I have a few things to work on: Not making decisions because I want people to like me Gossip! That turns into... Toxic
  • Shauna Aura Knight
    Shauna Aura Knight says #
    You all have inspired me to do a few posts on gossip. I'm thinking at least one on discerning between information sharing and mali
  • Power Before Wisdom
    Power Before Wisdom says #
    I did the exercise and posted it above. Then I took it to turn into a paper to post over my desk... Here's what it looks like:
  • Irisanya
    Irisanya says #
    Wow. This is timely. I've been engaging in mirror work around this, and have found: 1. Overcommitment, which leads to... 2. Poor
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    Over committing is a big one for me and I must admit that I will entertain gossip.

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