Sanctuary of the Phoenix Overview is an introduction to our Sanctuary. It is intended to be a brief explanation to many aspects of our Sanctuary.
At the time of this writing, our Testament of Shadows is still being drafted for its first edition. This article addresses that lack of information in the meantime.
The Sanctuary itself is the all encompassing aspect of our Religious Institution and organization. We use the term Sanctuary for any building, land, or digital presence we maintain. We use the terms Sanctuary and Temple interchangeably for any sacred space we maintain, but prefer Sanctuary.
The Coven, is our organized religion aspects and services. It is where one observes what is taught by SotP in a serious and devout manner. Where one can begin to work towards becoming Clergy. The Coven is where a sincere spiritual commitment is made.
Members of Clergy are the spiritual backbone of SotP. They have made a spiritual commitment to become Clergy. Our ordained Clergy are those who provide and lead services for SotP. There are many titles of various levels in Clergy for our ecclesiastical government.
Our Community is built from the General Public and the Coven. It is our congregation. It is not run by rules, but by guidelines of mutual respect.
For many members of the Community, no spiritual commitment has been made to SotP.
Individuals of the community can be of any number of paths or mix of faiths, as long as Paganism is the focus of discussion.
As our Clergy is integrated into the community, the community is a space where those may learn about many aspects of Paganism, and it is also where the concepts of our Spiritual Mission are to be first introduced.
It is a space of growth, where one can make a decision if they would like to be a member of the Coven.
It is also a space for those who wish to be solitary practitioners, or those who just want to be around others in the spirit of community in Paganism.
Many in the community may also be curious on Paganism in general, or on how we instruct Paganism.
Sanctuary of the Phoenix’s Organizational structure is a Directorship. It is not a Membership Organization. There are currently no dues one must pay.
Membership is a term used loosely to describe if someone is in the community, clergy, or coven, hence a member of the Sanctuary.
There may at some point be optional dues or a donation quota that imparts additional benefits or perks.
We believe people will give what they are able in volunteering and financial support if we are a benefit to them.
We have no desire to part from this model.
However, we have yet to test the viability of this model once we have buildings, and we may have to make sustainability revisions.
At no point, will there be any kind of admission fee to any of our religious services.
If a religious service is provided during an admissions event, there will be free access to religious services for the general public, and “members” alike.
Testament of Shadows
Our Spiritual Mission is fully communicated in our Testament of Shadows. Since that is not yet available, we are providing some key points.
When it becomes available a link shall be made to it in this section.
Our values are shared by our Coven members wherever they may be. It is a set of universal principals we invite the community to join us in if they so desire.
Some of our core values are part of our Community Respects to ensure our Sanctuary is always inclusive of these values.
There are other aspects to our values including our Tenets, Aspirations, Universal Virtues, and Moral Virtues.
Our Sanctuary believes in being devout to Paganism and only Paths of Paganism in a Spiritual Truth within our coven.
As Eclectic Pagans, we believe individuals can be of any individual Path, or mix of Paths in Paganism.
A major difference with SotP is our focus on devotion, reverence, and a sincere approach to observing only Paganism.
We work to reconstruct and reform Paths ancient and new. To modernize while maintaining our Core Values.
We do believe there is no singular Path or Faith leading to Salvation, we simply stick to our Spiritual Mission and Teachings.
SotP has a strong stance against spiritual exploitation of the faithful.
We have Zero tolerance of anyone offering any spiritual services for personal gains.
We do not include provisioning, workshops, and charged admission community events with either no religious services or free access to religious services as exploitation.
Faith itself is not a path of self enrichment, but a path of community, life, and spiritual enrichment.
Sanctuary of the Phoenix is a Religious Institution liberated from influence of any and all Abrahamic faith, practices, and teachings.
We are strictly Pagan.
We observe and promote the safe use of Magick. This means not using Magick one does not understand or to cause undue harm.
However, we maintain that we are rightful to defend ourselves, even with Magick.
Sanctuary of the Phoenix does not condone living sacrifice or use of bodily fluids in our practices.
We do allow the use of a safe and humane proxy. This is reflecting of our value to cause no harm to oneself or others.
We observe a dynamic of Divine Energy discharged as Masculine, Feminine, and Unisex.
Inclusive to all biological sexes and gender identities. Inclusive to observing Gods, Goddesses, and Nature.
However, we operate in balance of divine energies discharged, regardless of Clergy title.
There are no singular Feminine or singular Masculine discharges of energy, and when working with nature a unisex or balanced energy is discharged.
This is to be in harmony with our values that no biological sex or gender identity is superior and we are all equal.
Though we respect mixed faith families, we promote the modern Pagan Family, devout to Paganism, and Pagan values.
There is Zero tolerance for any discrimination outlined in our Community Respects, this is further outlined in our Testament of Shadows.
As most of our services and functions are are family friendly, we do not do anything skyclad.
If one chooses to do so in their own privacy that is their choice in their spiritual practice.
It is important to express that High Clergy is prohibited from entering any Abrahamic place of worship or establishment. With exceptions to attend weddings and funerals.
This is to maintain spiritual purity while respecting the unions of loved ones and respecting the deceased.
At SotP we believe there should never be a financial barrier to receiving religious services.
We do not tolerate forms of spiritual exploitation of the faithful for personal gains.
This being of great importance, all Religious Services are provided donation optional with the exception of Specialty Services.
Open Rituals and Sermons are to always, with no exception, be accessible free of charge with an option to donate, no matter the location or occasion.
Blessings that are part and parcel to our faith will always be free of charge and donation optional.
These include but are not limited to Weekly Blessings, Emergency Blessings, and Ritual Cleansing/Blessing.
Spiritual Guidance is conducted by Clergy and always available free of charge and donation optional.
These services are based on availability and can be scheduled or offered on immediate availability, in person or online.
Spiritual Instruction to Clergy (Seminary) is free of charge and donation optional. It is understood that individuals utilizing these services are our Clergy, and will contribute what they are able in volunteering or monetary support directly to the Sanctuary and its Spiritual Mission.
Path Introduction classes to the faithful is free of charge and donation optional. These classes take place throughout the year where available.
Our Specialty Services are any services outside of our Spiritual Services.
Blessings that are part and parcel to our faith will always be free of charge and donation optional.
Additional blessings include but are not limited to Individuals, Couples, Pregnancy/Birth/Child Blessings, and Last Rites Blessing.
These are free to individuals who come to our weekly services, schedule with us, remotely through an Altar Blessing, or within our reasonable ability to travel locally.
Some Blessings, Rites, and Ceremonies require distant travel and time away from Sanctuary duties or additional logistics.
These require covering modest costs of of travel, lodging, Clergy, space, and supplies.
Such services include but are not limited to House Blessing/Cleansing, Handfastings/Weddings, Last Rites outside of our local coverage areas, Funerary/Memorial Services, and Building/Business Blessing/Cleansing.
We strive to keep any and all costs to an absolute minimum, covering only what is needed to attend and/or operate, in some cases we may waive some or all costs.
Some services are more advanced and complex. These services are to the discretion, ability, and availability of clergy.
Such services include but are not limited to breaking Hexes or Curses and breaking Spiritual Oppression (Possessions, Open Spiritual Gate/Doorway, Evil Eye, etc.). These costs may be varied due to a number of factors, but in some cases fees may be waived.
Many Services, where available, are regularly offered free of charge and donation optional when not being done as a fundraiser.
These services are only carried out by Clergy.
Such services include but are not limited to Spiritual Meditation, Healing (Spiritual, Reiki, etc.), Psychic/Medium, and Divination.
SotP firmly believes only Clergy should conduct such services, and never for personal enrichment.
We firmly maintain that individuals who are independently offering such services for personal enrichment are exploiting the faithful and causing harm. The only time we charge for such services is by means of optional donation, for a more complex or advanced service, or when explicitly offered as a fundraiser at an event.
By offering these services through vetted and legitimate Clergy, it legally allows for spiritual guidance and for connecting with various other licensed professionals to address any issues that may benefit from Medical or Psychological treatment in a holistic and faith inclusive approach.
Fundraisers, Workshops, and Events
In addition to previously mentioned activities, some items may be created custom or in bulk for fundraising.
These items include but are not limited to Spell Kits, Teas, Incense, Enchanted Candles, Ritual Washes, and other enchanted or correspondence driven items.
These are for helping raise funds to cover the expenses of all the services we offer at no cost or low cost.
At times, we may work with legitimate 3rd party sources to provide items and assist in making our fundraising items.
Events at times may require admission, however any and all religious services provided will be free to general public, community, and coven access.
Workshops are often designed to teach complex and advanced skills and practices. As such, there may be times when materials are used or kits created for the attendees. Workshops are not intended to impart any religious service, but to impart advance education with included provisions. There may be fees on workshops to cover supplies and space usage.
Holidays and Practices
Saturday is our Holy Day.
Saturday is the day weekly services are held in our buildings (where available).
We observe Eclipses in local areas we are present in.
Wheel of the Year holidays are astrologically calculated based on ecliptic longitude.
This is how the Ancients calculated their Holy Days, and we revitalize those traditions.
Equinoxes, Solstices, and Cross Quarters at Sanctuary of the Phoenix are often celebrated out of sync with the majority of the Pagan community due to this.
This is because most of the greater Pagan community simply choose a repeating Gregorian calendar date as opposed to the actual date of religious significance.
We keep with tradition to ensure these practices are not completely lost in a religious sense.
Wheel of the Year holidays, are generally observed in an Open ritual on the Saturday preceding the astrological date.
This is to give time to our members to prepare for any solitary or family observance.
When and where available, Closed rituals are held for Coven members on the astrological date.
If the astrological date of a holy day lands on a Saturday, the Open Ritual may be moved to an earlier date as to preserve family traditions.
Though an 8 observance calendar was well established by the 1950’s, the Wheel of the Year as most of us know it was finalized in 1974.
Though all 8 observances are historically accurate Holy Days by their timing, there are many debates as to what was specifically observed.
A great deal of lost information had lead to speculations, and often even the names of these Holy Days were met with contention and ridicule.
It is a long aim to learn as much as we can about these 8 Holy Days, and come to a Sanctuary consensus.
One name that stands out is Mabon.
Aidan Kelly attributed Mabon to the Autumn Equinox by 1974. They admittedly wanted to create a more ancient sounding name.
Mabon, however a deity, has no solid historical evidence of being celebrated at the Autumn Equinox, so we simply observe the Autumn Equinox at SotP.
We anticipate members to observe astrological Holy Days at home with their family, or with friends of a similar Path.
SotP may however offer some services, Closed or otherwise on such days.
Sanctuary of the Phoenix encourages members to observe Lunar cycles and celebrate the Full Moons if it is of their Path or Practice.
Sanctuary of the Phoenix encourages members to also observe the holidays of their Path(s).
We do not anticipate any member to participate in any observance not of their path, with the exception of logistics of Clergy.
Such as oversight, planning, discharge of duty, and organizing aspects.
The vast majority of all holidays have deep Pagan origins, either as a Festival, Holy Day, or a Practice.
We aspire to reject all Abrahamic holidays, and return to our Pagan roots.
However, we encourage celebrating any secular holiday that is not Anti-Paganic in nature.
Our Sanctuary also has our own holidays we are working on as counterparts to share in respect of our faith to surrounding merriment.
For example, we celebrate Celtic Pagan Awareness Day and All Snakes Day on March 17th.
When reviving ancient practices, there may be times where we must make reforms to some practices in order to be in line with our Core Values and the context of our modern society expectations.
Many Pagan practices, festivals, and holidays have echoed down through folk traditions and observances of other faiths.
We are trying to revitalize the Pagan respects of such matters.
Part of our spiritual mission is the restoration of Paganism to the best of our religious and academic abilities.
Many of our Holy places have been desecrated by Anti-Paganic sentiment, so new breakthroughs are rare, but we at SotP are open to including such rediscoveries learned from such sites into our Practices.
Greater Pagan Community Involvement
Sanctuary of the Phoenix is open to working with any Pagan Sanctuary, Temple, Coven or Community that is not in conflict with our Core Values.
We may at times partner with such entities, or attend community events operated by other such entities.
High Clergy and our Board of Directors have determination on which entities we work with and our involvement in any of their events.
Sanctuary of the Phoenix is hopeful of an honest Peaceful Coexistence between all faiths of the world.
We believe there is currently a partial Peaceful Coexistence.
In order to achieve a Peaceful Coexistence, a faith must not call for any harms towards any people of a different faith.
To hold and protect such hate is an act of aggression, not peace.
To ignore these issues is an act of surrender and self invalidation, not Coexistence.
It is our position that silence is paramount to complacency, and to advocate for Coexistence, one must communicate and identify the barriers to Coexistence openly to those who desire Coexistence but for any reason maintain such barriers to achieving it.
Through awareness of barriers, there can be reflective reforms taken in order to address such barriers if a faith is honest in the pursuit of Coexistence.
We maintain that we desire an Honest and Peaceful Coexistence, and present no such barriers to achieving such.
We are however aware that other faiths hold such hatred and barriers towards our faithful, and it is their need to heal if they honestly desire Coexistence.
As we fully respect the Freedom of Religion, spaces are to be set aside for the peaceful and silent observance of any or no faith, where one can connect with the divine or meditate in reflection.
These services are also important for marginalized groups, who often are cast out of their faith community for their gender identity or sexual orientation.
These services are equally important for individuals who may not have access to a place of worship in their faith within the areas we maintain buildings.
We offer Pastors of Coexistence to facilitate any Chaplain services in those designated spaces, who help provide religious guidance, services, and connecting individuals with loving and inclusive faith communities in their belief where available.
Pastors of Coexistence may provide some services to individuals of mixed belief systems to help bridge gaps between the aspects of their faith who may not otherwise have a unified faith community.
In times of great hardship for communities we are in, we are open to working with any legitimate place of worship in any faith to coordinate a response to these hardships, providing what logistics and resources we can to take care of the people who live in such communities regardless of their religious affiliation.
Such hardships could be a natural disaster or other wide reaching impacts.