In the Name of Eunomia…

In the name of Eunomia, Keeper of Rules…

jacob_jordaens-_alc2b7legoria_de_la_pauWe start, and continually come back around to, the gods the Order was named for. The Horae, or the Hours, are Greek goddess of both the cycle of the year and the natural order of society. I am not a scholar and Classical stuff is really not my thing, but you can read a good deal about them on the Horae on Theio.

Monasticism, in general, is a way of living day to day deeply in harmony with whatever your order sees as the foundational elements of their religion. Life is structured to cut away what does not directly serve that purpose, to remove the various compromises made by normal people of faith who have day jobs and family responsibilities. Each order carves a slightly different path in that regard, some focusing on the study of scripture, some on  charity, some on asceticism. When we initially developed the concept of the Order of the Horae, we had to decide where we would carve that path, knowing that this was only one possibility among many.

We talked to others who were exploring Pagan monasticism, and we quickly realized we were specifically not interested in a Pagan commune where everyone just sort of does their own thing, and does occasional rituals together. There is a place for that, but we were envisioning something more structured. Something with Rules. And yet, we felt that rules need to be kept in balance with other forces. That is really at the heart of polytheism – that powerful forces are balanced by other powerful forces, and that is what makes a coherent whole. So what are the forces that balance Rules?

It was this line of inquiry that led us to the Horae. Three Greek goddesses, Rules, Justice, and Peace, with the idea that all three are needed together, in balance. Well, you could philosophize for ages over the that statement, argue for or against each one and come to many different conclusions, but that isn’t what we did. We had already established that the foundational concept of this Order would be the turning of the seasons, the cycle of the year, so when we found this set of gods, linking the natural turning of the seasons to structured human world of an ordered society, we knew we had found our keystone.

So, we start with Rules, Eunomia. Not even specific rules at this point in the discussion, just the concept of Rules. The concept that we could come together to live in community, and decide that we want Rules in our lives, Rules that help keep us on our spiritual path and Rules that define our social contract. The concept that Rules are not merely a stifling cage we must fight our way free from. Paganism is, at this time, very much a counter-culture movement, full of rebellion and rejection of authority. A lot of people need that, and they thrive in that free-flowing, largely undefined atmosphere. The Order of the Horae is not intended to suit everyone. It is just defining a specific path, and that path involves Rules.

The line continues:

In the name of Eunomia, Keeper of Rules, Horae of the Upraised Hand, I am bound by the Law of the Universe.

There is more to say about the rest of the line, but I’ll get back to it when this line comes around again. This is enough for now.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Heather Awen

     /  January 20, 2016

    I have found that every group has rules , and the ones who won’t admit it are the ones that fall apart . Any group of people that hang out together establish unspoken understanding of what is acceptable and what isn’t as well as the procedures are for doing things . When they are not made explicit , it is very hard for anyone new to feel safe . Also groups that just assume everything will figure itself out tend to have members with very different ideas about the group’s goals and the ways that they will be achieved which can result in emotional disasters . The intentional communities that failed the most are based on spiritual stuff . Out of 100 plans for an intentional community only 10% ever start . Out of that 10% , only 1% lasts I think more than a year but it might be five years . So the odds are really against intentional community and as someone from the generation who saw end knows a lot of people who grew up in the first communes , they were psychological nightmares . The ones that were set up on spiritual beliefs , which are the ones I’m most familiar with , left the greatest scars on everyone involved . When people are being spiritual what ever that means they never want to bring up money . So when things blow up it’s usually about practical things like whose land is this ? Because ownership does have power . When it blows up it’s like a divorce with all of your friends end your religion. I have met a few people who grew up on really crazy hippy Christian 1970s communes that had Barbwire fences and security guards and dogs , two girls I know had to climb the fence with their parents in the middle the night to escape . Another woman in a different country was raised in a very famous cult and has a lot of trauma issues but because the call is so famous she can’t get anyone to work with her because they’re so fascinated to get the inside stories . But in the end with the spiritual intentional communities the success rate is incredibly low because no one wants to discuss money and everyone just wants to believe that God or the universe will somehow figure everything out . Another problem is when people start cheating on the person they joined with , meaning they claim they are in a monogamous relationship but are not in their partner doesn’t know that . That almost always happens at some point and people take sides . So I think it’s really important that especially any community based on something spiritual tackle the issue of rules , which do develop anyway and it’s better everyone thinks they are the same , head on. There was a group I really liked working with but what they formally had posted about who was in charge was not who really was in charge so I never knew who to go to to get approval for something . It was very chaotic . The group was so small and had been together for 10 years and none of them thought about how the written descriptions didn’t match how things actually worked . It was frustrating and also anxiety producing . Every group has rules even if each person thinks they are different so I’m really happy that you are bringing all this up . It’s better to be transparent than to have people flounder or feel betrayed . Rules are just the boundaries of what is acceptable and what isn’t within a community . Every healthy relationship has them , every couple has different ideas about what’s acceptable and what isn’t and the ones that never discuss that fall apart really quickly . A lot of people mistake having experienced oppressive rules that didn’t make any sense at cool or at home or at church which made them decide rules are bad . But a lot of the time rules are the same as your own personal code of honor . Like is it okay to walk up to people and hit them in the face? If people automatically say no , that’s a rule to them . So people often don’t realize that they have a lot of rules . It’s a reactionary knee-jerk to a word that like discipline has lost its positive meaning. I am excited to see what you are going to write about it next . It’s really cool to read about how you are figuring out how to set up the monastery . Learning about the process that people go through is often more helpful than hearing about it later when the project is done . So thank you for sharing the process because the how to skills are really the most lacking .

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  2. Yeah, I’m a big fan of explicit rules and explicit hierarchies. Our church is very much based on explicit rules and explicit hierarchies, largely from our direct bad experiences with pagan groups with a ton of unstated rules, or a nominal leadership structure that has nothing to do with who actually has the power, or a genuinely consensus based process that never gets anything accomplished. So we try really hard to keep things explicit, and to either stick to the rules we’ve made or at least explicitly change the rules to reflect our new reality. I know our church isn’t perfect in that regard, but it is something we take very seriously.

    One of the things Raven and I did when we were starting this monasticism project was go around the country interviewing people in Pagan monastic-type communities, and the most heartbreaking one was a really beautiful and amazing community that had been torn apart by one of the leaders having an affair. It just seemed so senseless.

    There was another one where nominally everyone is equal, but the guy who actually owns the land lives in a nice big house with his wife while everyone else lives in little trailers, and “reaching consensus” on decisions means that no one is allowed to leave the table until they all agree with this guy.

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