This is the first in a series of posts on event planning. First, I'm going to outline some really bad event planning processes, and then I'll go into some event planning strategies and methods that are a bit more helpful. When I'm teaching leadership workshops, a lot of Pagans ask me, "Why do our teams have such problems working together?" I can tell you that poor event planning processes accounts for a lot of group blow-ups.
I've planned a lot of grassroots events. Some Pagan, some in the scifi-fantasy fandom community, and now some as a fiction author. I've seen a lot of things go wrong. Heck, I've contributed to some of those things going wrong. A lot of how we humans learn seems to unfortunately be through making mistakes of our own. Recently, I've had a few people asking me for advice on event planning. And as it happens, I've been part of a few online event planning processes that have reminded me of some sure-fire recipes for disaster.
Famine, cannibalism, disease, crime – it was widely rumored in ancient Egypt that during a terrible time in its past the forces of isfet (chaos) completely upended the orderly society of which Egyptians were inordinately fond.The first “intermediate period” between kings became the subject of several Middle Kingdom teaching or wisdom texts, such as The Prophecy of Neferti and The Admonitions of Ipuwer. These writings essentially bemoan the terrible things that are supposed to have happened, and warn readers to maintain maat (balance, justice) in order to avoid a recurrence.
Here’s the thing – there is no real evidence that the catastrophic events actually happened.Modern scholars lean towards the idea that they were written primarily as propaganda, reinforcing the importance of unifying under the king, keeping religious observances of the neteru (gods), and keeping things on an even keel.
I just posted a bit about Pagan environmentalism and the connection to Pagan leadership. It was a bit philosophical, so I thought I'd follow up with a more concrete post on specific things you can do as a Pagan leader and event organizer to reduce your use of resources and reduce environmental destruction.
Have you ever been to a Pagan festival or other event where there was a ton of trash left behind at the end? Have you ever been to a Pagan ritual where people were using styrofoam cups, or using plastic plates that just got thrown out? Have you ever been to a Pagan event where the land was left in a far worse condition than when you arrived? Or where there weren't recycling options, or where, despite there being a recycling dumpster, Pagans failed to sort their trash?
When my wife and I started the Oak Court (for those of you new to the column, that's the name of our coven, and the street we live on) we weren't setting out to start a coven. Heck, our little gathering didn't even have a name in those early days and certainly wasn't called "The Oak Court." We simply invited a few friends over who weren't involved in any other small-circles or covens and grew from there.
Many of us are drawn to ancient Egypt, and of those a small number linger to find and follow the spiritual path embedded there.Soon we find that for all the wealth of published material about Egypt, there is very little about modern spiritual practice.Egyptian Pagans are also a small minority in the wider Pagan world, so it can be difficult to connect, find teachers and gather for ritual.
My early years on this path were probably characterized by more bumbling and feeling alone than anything.But much of the first advice I received was to read the Egyptology literature, surely a daunting task for the non-scholar.After all, few have set out to simply write about religion; more importantly, there was no monolithic single religion in ancient Egypt, at least not as we understand religious affiliation today.Here are a few things I learned along the way.
I first came across the term covenstead in Uncle Bucky's Raymond Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft. In the Big Blue Book Buckland describes the covenstead as "the name given to the home of the coven (the place where it always, or most often, meets). Within the Covenstead,* of course, is found the Temple." I've been a part of several covens over the years, but most of those situations seemed to lack a true covenstead. Rituals were undertaken in several different locations: a few houses, maybe a park, etc. Those places were all nice, and my house numbered among them, but they didn't feel like a covenstead.