Assisting our Siblings with Addiction Issues

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

We recently had a “design thinking” workshop to better understand the problems in our community due to the pandemic, and to brainstorm solutions. (You can read about the workshop here and here.)

One of the things that some participants noted, was an increase in siblings struggling with addiction issues.

This increase in addiction not limited to Ordo Templi Orientis. Many healthcare professionals are already talking about and researching this aspect of the COOVID-19 pandemic. In June of 2020, alcohol sales rose 27% from March 7 before lockdowns began.

Soror Promethea, head of the U.S.G.L. Psychology Guild will present a workshop to assist local leadership to help members during this challenging time.

Please note, the limit of 16 participants. If there is need, perhaps more sessions can be scheduled in the future.

I would encourage you to ask yourself if you see a need in your community and if “no”, but you’re still interested, ask to be on the waiting list.

Love is the law, love under will.

Assisting our Siblings With Addiction Issues: A Workshop for Local Body Officers, Ordained Clergy, and Chapter Members

Hosted by Soror Promethea

This has been a difficult time for all of us and many people in our community are struggling in various ways.  Nationwide, substance use and related issues are increasing, and it is not surprising to see addiction problems increasingly impacting our Order members.  You may wonder how you, as a local leader, can best reach out to, talk with, and assist those in your community who are struggling with substance use issues.  

Letting someone know you are concerned about their substance use can be a difficult conversation, and it is not always clear how to help.  Soror Promethea is a licensed psychologist with a specialty in substance use and addiction. She currently supervises an outpatient substance use program for a major regional health system.  Her research-based approach to difficult conversations on substance abuse, can help move the bar. Studies show that even one conversation with a trusted person such as a primary care doctor, pastor, or friend can make a difference for someone who is struggling. 

You will learn positive approaches to difficult conversations that you can put into practice with someone you may be concerned about. She will draw from her training in methods for encouraging others toward positive behavior change.  She will also provide a general discussion of substance use issues, discuss common misconceptions, and provide ideas on engaging with resources in your local community. She will discuss ideas for making your local body a friendly place for those who wish to abstain from alcohol and those in early recovery.  You will have time to practice skills discussed and talk about your questions and concerns.

This class will not certify you in any formal method of therapy or counseling or intervention, nor will she provide any professional opinion or advice on particular issues within your local body.  But she will assist you, as a lay person, to have a productive approach to conversations about substance abuse with your local members.

The meeting link will be sent to registrants closer to the date of the workshop.

Date: Saturday, January 9, 2021

Time: (1.5hrs)  beginning at 9am Pacific, 12pm Eastern

Registration is Limited to 16 attendees, first come first served, future iterations are planned

Please email sororpromethea@gmail.com to register and include your civil name, local body affiliation and/or role or role in the Order, and the email you would like the link sent to. 

 

Soror Promethea

President of the Psychology Guild

Asherah Chapter

Song of Freedom Oasis

 

Meet the U.S.G.L. Education Committee

This guest post is from Br Scott, the Education Committee Secretary.
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The mission of the U.S. Grand Lodge Education Committee is to research, discuss, and recommend instructional materials and classes for local bodies. But what, exactly do we do?
First, let’s start with our course materials. One of our services is the production of high-quality course outlines which should make it easy for anyone interested to lead a discussion/presentation/lecture on a variety of topics.
Current offerings include a discussion on the Eight Limbs of Yoga, Exegesis in Theory and Practice, a discussion of Liber Resh, an introduction to O.T.O., and a discussion on Little Essays Towards Truth. We have several modules which are presently in the development/approval stages, and for the most current list of our offerings you can always check our courses page at:  https://edu.oto-usa.org/courses/
On this page you’ll also find our bank of fonts as well as a host of other offerings including a spreadsheet for tracking local dues, an image pack for Liber Resh, flashcards for memorizing Hebrew and correspondences, and a selection of useful bibliographies from Don Karr on Cabala, Solomonic Magick, the Zohar, etc.
Please note that while the font banks and bibliographies are available to everyone, the courses and other specific materials are only available to local masters and organizers who can email the secretary of the committee at:  education@oto-usa.org
A more recent function of the committee is the organization and scheduling of online presentations, both public and private. We’ve hosted a number of these presentations which have been recorded and uploaded to U.S. Grand Lodge’s Youtube channel, which you can find here.
These presentations are announced via local leadership channels and are also posted on our news page, which you can follow here:  https://edu.oto-usa.org/news/
We’re always looking for new presenters, so if this is something that you’d like to discuss then feel free to email us at education@oto-usa.org
We also maintain a calendar of local body public events, where you can always find an online event to check out on nearly any given day. It’s a great way to meet people from all over, and an even greater way to learn about some pretty amazing topics. Study groups, book clubs, social gatherings, Hermetic practice workshops, Pagans in recovery, Qabalah… I could go on and on or you could just go check it out for yourself at:  https://edu.oto-usa.org/usgl-local-body-public-events/
Finally, the committee maintains a database of traveling presenters who (once the current pandemic is over) have indicated that they are willing to travel to local bodies and lecture on various topics. Different presenters have different requirements and offerings, so take a look at the list and see if there’s something that you’re especially interested in or someone whom you’d really like to bring to your local body!
If you have any questions about the committee, who we are, what we’re doing, or how you could get involved then please feel free to reach out directly to us. Thanks!
Love is the law, love under will.
In the Bonds of the Order,
SCTT PLLR
Secretary, U.S.G.L. Education Committee

Re-Envisioning the OTO in a pandemic – part 2

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

On Oct 25, 2020 e.v. 12 local leaders gathered together to work to figuring out how to navigate member needs in the midst of a pandemic that is spread by social contact.

Part 1 gave a description of how we structured our conversation and the problems we identified.

As anyone should expect, there are no magical answers within the constraints of current conditions. The real solutions will happen based on advances in medicine (vaccines, treatments, etc.)

The solutions that are easiest to reach for, are those that feed the mind. Classes can be consumed in person or online. Online may even have better reach due to lack of commute time.

But spiritual and emotional nourishment are harder to figure out in a socially distanced world. Full sensory experiences are also limited to mostly sound and sight.

Yet, some local bodies are finding ways to navigate within the current constraints. Some are finding ways to thrive. And others are trying to find a path forward.

This article is a collection of ideas, and includes the solutions and ideas generated in our workshop, as well as some things that some bodies are already doing.

In this article, we will share the solutions and ideas we generated.

Nourishing social connections

Social distancing has left many people feeling profoundly alone and isolated. This isn’t limited to our membership, but in an organization built on fraternity, distancing chips away at some of what is at our core.

Webinars and spending time with others on Google Meet, can often feel like a cheap facsimile that barely touches our human needs to connect with like minded others.

Many local bodies are exploring ways to spend outdoor time together in ways that are in accord with health department guidelines.

Some of these things may not seem to be directly related to O.T.O. in a core way, but each of them helps facilitate contact and fraternity.

  1. Outdoor campfire (perhaps with marshmallow roasting)
  2. Camping with social distancing
  3. Check in calls to members (asking if members would like to opt in to such may be helpful for some people but others may prefer to not participate)
  4. Watching a movie together, each in their own homes, but with side chat (press the start button around the same time)
  5. Watching magick oriented youtube videos together with side chat is similar but more focused

Facilitating play

We think of play as being something for children. But the power and pleasure of play can help strengthen a sense of connection and well being. Few things in life are better than sharing laughter.

Some of our local bodies are already doing activities like the following:

  1. Geocaching
  2. Snowball fight
  3. Sledding
  4. Croquet (no shared mallets and easy ability to maintain distance)
  5. Cemetery walk
  6. Scavenger hunt

Inspiring each other

  1. Art exchange (either local with centralized drop off or by mail)

Spiritual nourishment

This one gets closest to some of what is at the core of our existence. And without mass or initiations or even group ritual, it’s deeply impacted.

  1. Local bodies could send Cake of Light by mail or geographically smaller Valleys, may be able to leverage a centralized pickup place
  2. Participants identified a need for new eucharistic rituals that may have resonances with Liber XV: O.T.O. Ecclesiæ Gnosticæ Catholicæ Canon Missæ Perhaps these eucharists could be shared via Google Meet in order to commune together while socially distanced.

Intimate connection

  1. Some local leaders have found that when only 1 person shows up for a class, something unexpectedly positive can happen. That 1:1 conversation can nurture new members or potential members, and provides opportunities for personal conversations in addition to mentoring.

Support

Food insecurity and substance abuse are both up within the United States. Our members are not immune to these nationwide changes.

  1. Golden Thread Oasis is running a food bank where people in need can come and pick up food. (This may become its own blog post if there is interest.)
  2. Dove and Serpent hosts a Pagans in Recovery weekly meeting. You can find it every Friday, posted on the U.S.G.L’s shared calendar hosted by the Education Committee.

Ideas that are beyond individual local bodies

Some of the ideas and asks would require Grand Lodge support. Stay tuned for follow up on these items.

  1. Centralized place to find speakers for Google Meet calls. This is partially fulfilled by the Education Committee’s list of traveling lecturers. In 2020, “travel” could mean hopping on to a meeting with others.
    If you are a member in good standing and want to be added to the list, contact the committee directly.
  2. Crowd sourcing course content. This is central to the Education Committee mission but local leaders may not know enough about the program. Courses that are available are listed here. Contact the Education Secretary if you have ideas you’d like to contribute.
  3. Centralized place for rituals. There is a desire to have a repository that may help inspire people in their practices. Any rituals optimized for a Google Meet call would be especially valuable.
  4. Centralized Discord or Slack channel for all members in good standing.
    (Order wide social media has always been tricky. If you have a proposal, feel free to run it by the Electoral College).

Love is the law, love under will.