Rev. Terry Riley

Rev. Terry Riley
Keeping the Faith in the Biblebelt

Monday, December 24, 2012

Magic, the Art of Manufacturing Coincidence

When I came off sabbatical in Jan. 2011, I knew there was a lot of work to do within the SDCW - ATC. By the end of that year I could see the potential of what could be. I have been called an abstract thinker, a dreamer and more than often a out and out "Nut." However I have always believed the saying, "a man without a vision shall perish." So in Dec. of 2011 I began seeing a vision. I could see our Church with a Building, a Dining Hall, setting on our property just the other side of the Circle. On Full Moon that month I told everyone in Circle, "Look over there in the west, see those stakes I've driven in the ground, I don't know how; but we are going to have a 20 x 25 Dining Hall built right there!" There was 30 people in that circle and they all agreed and actually began to see the vision!
In Aug. that year my next door neighbor brought the old house and lot next door to us. He came to me and said he didn't have the money to tear the house down and offered it to me to tear down for the lumber and contents. I agreed and it took us till Feb. 2012 to complete that job. We acquired about $8000 in lumber. In March 2012 we began setting the foundation on our property for our Dining Hall. By Aug. we had the roof up and part of the walls almost completed before we ran out of materials. Then "Lo" and behold Home Depot in Jonesboro accepted us as their local Charity and started donating $5000 a month in materials to the Church. This got us the outside wall materials for the Dining Hall. Plus it helped us establish our Community Out Reach Program. In Dec. generous donations from members of the congregation allowed us to get sheet rock and paint for the inside of the building. And on Dec. 22 we had our yule celebration in the new Dining Hall and everyone was so excited and amazed at how far we had come since last year.
Now I've said all this to get to my point: "Magic is the Art of Manufacturing Coincidence" The power of the master mind principle is "when the people are of one mind and one accord; NOTHING shall be with held from them." All magic begins in the mind with a thought, a vision, with the will and desire to make it manifest. This is "The Spell of Making" So Mote it Be!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Initiations and The Mysteries

"Within the Kingdom of thine own body, shalt thou eat the bread of thine own initiation" (Alex Sanders)
Initiation has always been an important part of the Mystery Religions. But what are the Mysteries that all Wiccans/Pagans talk about? According to the Gnostic writings they are, "Teachings on the metaphysical order and inner dimensions of the reality-truth-continuum. They are methods of mystical prayer and prophetic meditations that allow the initiate to awaken the psychic and spiritual senses of his/her soul." Initiation is suppose to awaken us to a higher understanding and higher levels of consciousness. Within that processed we are Changed. We should be able to see, with unbiased thought patterns, beyond the illusions of this world. However, there are consequences if that Change is not acknowledged within our lives. The Gnostics say, "The greatest betrayal of truth and light is revealed in one's own experience. This blasphemy can only be performed by an initiate. It's one thing if I live as an ordinary person in the world and have no other conscious experience than the world. Then I act in complete ignorance, not making a conscious choice. It is another thing if I have received initiation and had some experience of truth by the Gods and then consciously choose to follow in the way of the world and live in the way of an ordinary person. For once having knowledge through experience, I cannot forget or deny WHAT I know! If I betray that spiritual knowledge it will haunt and torment, both in this life and the next."
I feel that this is one of the reasons we need Wiccan/Pagan Churches. In the old days people got their initiations from covens. Today there are a vast number of solitary practitioners who do not want to be restricted to following one tradition. The eclectic Pagan Church offers Rites of Passages and initiations geared more to the individual's choice of his/her spiritual path.

The Southern Delta Church of Wicca - ATC is a Hierarchical Church. The process for making decisions within the Church are oligarchic. We do not promote one tradition above another. We see all traditions as being equal and valid. The purpose for adopting a Hierarchy system was not for individual power; but so that the Church's identity, as a whole, would have power. An example of this is in the following legal quote:

"In the case of a hierarchical church, however, the court adopted a rule of deference by the civil court to the determinations of a church court: Whenever the questions of discipline or of faith, or ecclesiastical rule, custom or law have been decided by the highest of  these church judicatories to which the matter has been carried, the legal tribunals must accept such decisions as final, and as binding on them, in their application to the case before them."

Bright Blessings to all.