2009 Mar 13, Friday the 13th – No longer Alexandrian?
Originally posted on my previous blog archive site
Friday the 13th – No longer Alexandrian?
Yesterday on the Amber & Jet Yahoo group Branson (a List moderator and NOT an Alexandrian Elder (Moshian, I have been informed) declared that I am no longer a Proper Person because I “have deliberately left the prescriptions of that Tradition”. “That Tradition”, of course, refers to the Alexandrian Tradition. He posted, “Knowing this, you may no longer sign your posts as Alexandrian”. Although he can enforce that on the list that he moderates, it’s a bit silly to think that makes a difference anywhere else.
So, what caused this? Well, it’s against the Terms of Service to repost yahoo group messages but you can join the A&J list and go see for yourself. What I can do is describe the events leading up to the situation from my perspective.
Over the past few years, there has been a number of discussions in the Alexandrian community as to what “is core” and what is or isn’t acceptable practice. Of course, no resolution was reached and many of the discussions fell to the inevitable default “I’m correct and this is how it is.”
Some of these same issues recently came up on the Amber & Jet list and seemed to center around the fact that I was outspoken enough to say that there ARE certain things that ARE within the bounds of the Alexandrian Tradition even though some Alexandrians state that they are not acceptable as Alexandrian practices. Of course, to actually discuss HOW and WHY they ARE within the bounds of the Alexandrian Tradition would involve delving into an open and honest discussion of the Alexandrian Book of Shadows which can’t happen on a public list since the BoS is oathbound. I had originally assumed that the discussions would end with the usual “agree to disagree”.
Instead, some of the more vocal and conservative Alexandrian drew a line in the sand and basically stated that certain things were forbidden. This time, I was fed up with letting a few people make proclamations and dictating the public view of the Tradition. I believe that no one person or limited group of people has the authority to do that, only the collective body of Initiates of the Tradition. Until that happens, as Elders, we should be able to agree to disagree and hold honest and open conversations, at least ideally.
Although there are many issues that have been discussed in many different forums, I believe that the biggest that contributed to Branson’s action included things like .. changes and/or additions to the non-core lore of the Tradition, gender roles and understanding of polarity, differing opinions to what constitutes the core of the Tradition, and acceptance of same sex initiation either as a regular practice or as a valid exception to regular practice.
Some folks expressed that if I felt that strongly about those things, that I stop calling it Alexandrian and just call it something else. The problem with that is that there is an entire branch of the Alexandrian Tradition that holds lineage back to Alex Sanders, whose core lore is based on the earliest version of the Alexandrian Book of Shadows, and up to now (when I pushed this issue), was considered Alexandrian. The Line of which I speak is the Ganymede/Chthonioi line. It is one of the oldest (founded in 1974 or 1975) Lines in the US and holds unbroken Lineage back to Alex Sanders from the then until present day. It is large, diverse, and prosperous. Something to consider though, if you will:
* I received Alexandrian I & E’s (Initiation and Elevations)
* I’ve been vouched for my numerous Alexandrian Elders, even the conservative ones
* I have M-F-M-F lineage back to Alex and I have the original version of the Alexandrian BoS.
That makes me Alexandrian regardless of anything else.
If my practice takes me in a different direction, the conservatives can claim that my *practice* is no longer solely Alexandrian but they can’t question my right to be an Alexandrian. It’s hypocritical. I find it sad that even when meeting the stated requirement of Alexandrian Initiation, the shit hits the fan when I still dare to disagree and want dialogue.
So for now, I’m willing to call myself Chthonioi-Alexandrian and to describe my Line as in that way. FYI, this is specifically in regards to my “Chthonioi-Alexandrian Lineage” and has nothing to do with my Stregheria practice or lineage.
Let me clarify something The Amber & Jet list is not mine and I am not a moderator on it. It is an egroup/elist which is a finite thing and is run by moderators and owners. I believe that they have every right to define terms used on the list however they want - but only on the list. There is often some wonderful discussions that happen on that list - more so on many other lists.
UPDATE - oh, I've just been informed by Branson that I am now "beyond the Pale". I think that I just lost what little respect I had left for that attitude. Whatever.
Comments posted on the original Blog post:
Hey Sweetie -- just read your note to me (et al) and came here to read your post. [JOINED to read your post - !] There is just oh, SO much to be said about this, and none of it flattering to Branson and his ilk. Our Family *so* has the A cred that it's...well, rather mind-boggling to even contemplate the audacity of a small handful of A&J people deciding to anathematize us! Symbios plans a lengthy discussion of this at our usual meeting Sunday night; would you like to join us? Big, big hugs in the meantime, and BB! Arachne
Posted by Arachne on Friday, March 13, 2009 - 1:25 PM
Jayson Derwin -
Sigh. Same old crap. Ego's with nothing to do.
Posted by Jayson on Friday, March 13, 2009 - 2:47 PM
Intuitive Life Network -
Your integrity is intact, and that's all that matters, ultimately. Maybe this Branson does not see beyond the veil. & he has no idea who you are...
Posted by Intuitive Life Network Productions on Friday, March 13, 2009 - 5:37 PM
Peter White -
Vinny, one thing I have discovered is the online pagan community is, generally, filled with close minded, my way or the high way, ignorant fluffy bunnies. You don't have to look much past the 'elders' of our local Boston pagan 'community' (such as it is) to see that, and you know whom I am speaking of. Just like the local idiots we have to deal with here in Boston they crop up elsewhere sadly and it seems the A&J list is no exception. Bottom line, it is what it is, and not worth wasting any more time pondering over it. People like him are going to be irrational and illogical and all you can do is nod, pat them on the head and go your merry way. For what its worth you have all my respect and I know many others. Blessings.
Posted by Peter on Friday, March 13, 2009 - 5:58 PM
What exactly does Branson mean by "beyond the Pale"? Does this mean you've been given the boot? Good riddance. I actually feel very comfortable with the idea of being Chthonioi-Alexandrian because it means I don't have to spend several paragraphs explaining what my actual affiliation is.
And, just so you know, your downline loves you!
Posted by Jen on Friday, March 13, 2009 - 8:37 PM
Ugh this BS was strong in that discussion! Anyway we at least know what..s going on. I think ego is definitely playing a role on Branson..s part ... who appointed him grand poobah of proper personhood and who may call themselves what? The sheer audacity of using your privilege as a moderator of an online list to tell someone what they may or may not identify themselves as is unfathomable! Especially in a religion that prides itself on having no central governing body. Lawdy. Big big hugs Vinnie, I..m glad you..re in my family. Thankfully we have an abundance of common sense.
Posted by Gina on Friday, March 13, 2009 - 10:00 PM
Luna Calante -
Uh I've been on that list for over a couple of years - mostly silently, ever since my first vocal introduction - and I know exactly what you mean. By the way, Branson is neither Alexandrian nor Gardnerian: he is Mohsian, or so that's what he claimed to be when I questioned him offline about some Alexandrian tradition business. So I really don't know with what authority he can speak on whether your practice can or cannot be defined Alexandrian. All he knows about Alexandrians is what he hears from Adam and Juniper. Most of the time, the picture painted about tradition on the A&J list (and I can only speak for the Alexandrians here) does not reflect reality. Branson & Co. have done several blunders over the years in regard to Alexandrian Initiates around the world. The fact he hasn't learnt from his mistakes just goes to show how little he knows about Alexandrians which are not many but are quite close-knitted, and how little his opinion should weigh on what you know to be otherwise. If it's any consolation our HP had a run in with Branson when he first joined the list. I come from an ultra conservative line here in the UK which goes undiluted direct to Maxine (who's still alive and kicking and ready to put things straight when needed) and I can reassure you nothing and nobody can take your lineage, initiations and elevations nor in public once you've been accepted as such nor in private, not even from ultraconservative perception and certainly not from a non Alexandrian. So you sign yourself as you have always done, keep your head high and disregard his nonsense.
BB & kind regards.
Posted by Luna Calante on Saturday, March 14, 2009 - 8:56 AM
thank you for your kind words.It's reassuring!
Raven, who sorta started the whole thing on A&J.Oops!
Posted by Raven on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 10:15 PM
Arsenic & Old Lace (Vinnie Russo) -
So, he's not even Alexandrian and he's claiming to speak for our Tradition? Ye Gods. Now his opinion means even LESS than it ever did in regards to this issue.
Posted by Arsenic & Old Lace (Vinnie Russo) on Saturday, March 14, 2009 - 10:56 AM
Black Label Raider -
Well said, as for only being a 1 Alexandrian from the DBG line it saddens me to See so many of us that dont get along. We have lost the message to Love, each other, regradless of are differances. Goddess Bless -Radulf
Posted by Black Label Raider on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 - 7:16 AM
elisa coppola -
I think Peter sums it up........ I believe affiliations are merely an outline not something to be caged in. No one knows "the whole truth"...our path is to evolve...find new ways.....explore....and it sounds like that is what you are doing..... sorry, but their loss
Posted by Elisa Coppola on Friday, March 20, 2009 - 9:43 AM