Pythonic Wicca might just be the newest and most misundertood traditon of Wicca. Let us start our introduction of the Pythonian(Pythonic) Tradition with its brief history.
It started with the formation of the Crafter's Coven on September 11, 1992 C.E. Thirteen people came to that first circle and even then we suspected we had something...different. There were all the jokes that floated back and forth. Everyone had common references to movies and shows, to comedy sketches and routines. This did not make up the majority of the ritual nor was it any formal part of the rite. But everyone was comfortable with the light atmosphere.
Sometimes this comedic aura was a point of concern to some of the members who came from more hard bound traditions, but even they couldn't argue with success. And the success could be measured in many different ways. Success could be looked on as numbers, the Crafters' ranks once swelled to 18 members at one time, its open circles attracting up to 30 people, their community Spring Equinoxes have had upwards of 100 people (and they are starting to do other community based sabbats). Or success could be counted as the cooperation thay have shared with other groups, such as GLPC, MECAA, Circle of Wonderous Stories, and the Red Cedar Coven in Lansing. But there were even more personal examples of success, like the prosperity spell in which the 'Money Song' from Monte Python was used that netted everyone what they needed. Or the depression banishment that brought several people out of blue funks and downward spirals. These showed us the power of humor in rituals.
About a year and a half into the Crafters history the terms Pythonic Wicca and Pythonian Tradition began to creep up. Inside jokes about a first initiate needing to memorize half of Monte Python and the Holy Grail were common and probably contributed to misconceptions outside the Crafters.
Many people think that Pythonic Wicca is all jokes and paradies, that the only kind of ritual we do is like the Chocolate Ritual (note: although we have participated in said ritual, we did not originate it. Others use lightheartedness also.) Actually we simply observe that part of the Charge of the Goddess which states, "mirth and reverence".
We've done many different techniques of raising power such as chanting, singing, dancing, cords and trance. But we've had such good results using laughter to raise power. Laughter and good humor makes for something inside oneself that turns the bad into good.
Yes, we do not take ourselves or situations too seriously, especially when it would lead to arrogance and self serving egotism or even too much self reflection that runs into ourselves, nature or our dieties. Pythonics have our quiet times and our serious times. Times when we journey to dark cave for inner reflection, and it is our humor that helps us through the dark times.
Now there are a few traditional aspects to this...well tradition. We usually cast the circle, call the quarters and the God and Goddess in older more accepted ways. However, one distincly Pythonic element stems from having 17 to 30 people crammed into a mobile home livingroom. This made drawing the circle around the outside of those assemble rather impractical. So the circle was drawn by one standing in the middle of the circle and casting the circle over the heads of the people...with a long sharp sword. This started the Pythonic practice of yelling, "Everyone, Duck!", just before the casting.
Also there is the use of a joke being used as a parable or a lesson. Just stating a punch line froma joke ("there must be a pony in here somewhere") can help remind us to look for a positive aspect. Pythonians know, for instance, that we are not necessarily witches just because someone, "dressed us up as one." But on the other hand we don't carry it too far. We know, for another instance, that we do not weigh the same as a duck.
So, to sum up the experience of Pythonic Wicca, we do not call up the spirit of Eric Idle or John Cleese (former players in the British Comedy Show, 'Monte Pyton's Flying Circus') but we might start singing "Every Sperm is Sacred" from the same show at a fertility rite. We do call upon the Moon Goddess and Her Consort with reverence, but also laugh along with them at their jests (whos idea was the platopus anyway?). We see ourselves as perhaps living out a sitcom, but we do not expect life's answers in a half an hour.
People have come and gone in the membership of the Crafters (There have been 31 members, past and present at the time of this articles writing). All I hope, had some positive uplifting experience with us. Some have started other covens, gone back to older traditions, or gone on to other things. There are new members just beginning Wicca or just learning Pythonic Wicca, however briefly. But, you may say something in common about all these different and diverse people... They have all been a little touched.
(Article typed in...Omega:8/20/97)
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