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Building Community Through Corporate Regalia by PaganNews.com Staff Writer
Building Community Through Corporate Regalia
By PaganNews.com Staff Writer


We spend a great deal of time in shrine and temple development classes discussing community building as a means creating the bonds that hold a group of people together. We look at outreach and activation. We spend a lot of energy discussing group identity and how to share and spread the word.

What we often miss is the power of symbols in achieving these goals.

Early in the shrine development process, we are encouraged to create a unique sigil for the group. But what do we do with it? How can this be used to build community? The simple answer is that we need to display it. And this is where corporate regalia comes into this discussion.

Corporate regalia can include many things - robes, banners, tools, decorations, etc. But for this discussion, I will limit my comments to banners and the ritual tools we use every time the group gets together to cast a circle.

I admit it. I love the show that accompanies good ritual. I believe the tools and decorations we use in ritual, particularly group ritual, have a huge impact on the overall experience of those that attend. I also believe that people in groups begin to invest their personal energies into the tools they see time and again in the groups' rituals. These tools begin to resonate with the group's energy... This is a great thing...

...until someone gets a job transfer or whatever and leaves the group and takes their loaned tool with them. To the best of my knowledge, most groups depend, almost exclusively, on the use of personal tools belonging to group members.

We live in a very mobile society and people move to new areas regularly. Naturally, they want to take their personal tools with them. I can fully appreciate this. But it does leave the group to find a new tool to borrow and begin the process of building group energy in a new tool all over again.

On the other hand, permanent regalia for the group would eliminate this potential problem. It will also create a sense of continuity for all members of the group, knowing this tool has been handed down through the various leaders and members of the group for however long. It creates a history and creates community.

I strongly encourage every in-person group - be it a shrine, a temple, even the Tradition itself - to begin the process. Obtain, create, acquire, etc. permanent regalia for your groups. And put your group sigil on everything. A chalice with the sigil on it can become a powerful symbol of sharing the group's identity. A scabbard for the group's athame can be decorated with the sigil.

The ideas are endless and varied. Each group will have different talents and ideas. This is another area where we can activate members by getting them involved in the creation of this regalia. We don't need to wait for ritual to begin putting group energy into these tools. That will begin at the very beginning in the creation phase.

Can you see the community building taking place? What a great way to share the group's identity. The power of symbols cannot be overstated here.

Some of you may be reading this and thinking, "But I'm not one of the crafty ones. I'm not good with my hands." Luckily there are a couple of resources available.

The first place to look, of course, is within the group itself. The beauty of the group dynamic involves pooled talents. A particularly crafty person in the group may be asked to lead the effort and have workshops for the group's members. More community building!

The second resource exists at the Tradition level. The Correllian Tradition has the Order of Artificers to handle regalia. Artificers are the kind of people who do their best to make everything they use. They can provide a great deal of guidance and assistance.

Now, let's take a moment to consider what we have been discussing. Imagine for minute with me… You enter the ritual area and see the group sigil displayed proudly on a banner shifting slightly as the air moves. The Shrine Keeper or Temple Head enters the area tapping lightly with a staff as they walk. You note the sigil there as well. The circle is cast and the work is done. A chalice of juice or wine is passed from person to person. Again, you see the group sigil displayed. Again you are reminded of the community you belong to and the group identity. You are reminded at every turn that you belong to something larger than yourself - your Shrine - your Temple - your Tradition…

Can you see how the magick begins to build from the very moment you enter? This is community building. This is the power of corporate regalia.

If you have questions or comments to share, feel free to contact me at silthoron9@yahoo.com. I will do my best to answer your question or to connect you with any assistance you need.

Rev. Terry Power,
HP Order of Artificers

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