Beliefs & Practices
From a theological standpoint, we are not dogmatic, and we put our focus into working within a framework that most Pagans would be able to find a place within. As a tradition, Wild Thorn Hollow embraces what could be described as a panentheistic view, in the concept that there is an energy or a presence at work in the universe that surrounds, permeates, and binds all things. It is a part of all of us, and we are a part of it. It is creator and creation, sacred and divine, but beyond personification. It is bigger than the Gods, though they are a part of it, just as we are. It is bigger than the Earth itself, though its presence in nature and in all things is recognized and respected. This presence, or something like it, has been known by many names in many cultures…such as Logos, the Great Spirit, the Force, the Absolute, the Creator, the Maker, the Infinite Spirit, the Aether, the Cosmos, the Divine, the Universal Life Force, and so on. In the Hollow, for the sake of giving us a universal term to work with, we call it the Breath. It is the Breath of Gaia, the Breath of the Universe, and the breath that sustains us, connects us, and moves us forward.
We operate from a polytheistic standpoint, and believe that all Gods are valid, as all Gods are a part of the Breath and a potential way to connect to it. Therefore, it is not important to us which Gods our members connect with and work with. We believe that any connection with deity is deeply personal and should always be genuine and never forced. Sometimes we seek these connections out, and sometimes they come to us without being sought. Sometimes we may find a solid home within one particular pantheon, sometimes we may fashion our own pantheons or even our own deities through the connections we form, and sometimes we may find that deity just isn’t how we connect. The deities that we connect with may evolve and change as our paths do, and in the Hollow we embrace this as a part of a spiritual journey that is ongoing.
The culture in Wild Thorn Hollow is generally down to earth and practical. We operate like a large, spiritual family, and we try to support one another in both our spiritual and our personal lives. We try to foster intimacy and connection between our members, to be real with one another, and to be there for one another even beyond the sabbats and moons. The majority of our members tend to be open about their Paganism, and to have it fully incorporated into their daily lives. For the most part, our members do not do things like utilize a magical/Craft name or develop a spiritual identity that they keep separate from the rest of their lives. However, we do have some members who utilize aliases to protect their identity for personal and professional reasons, and some members who are not fully open about their spirituality in all parts of their lives. The way that our members deal with their spirituality in their personal lives is up to them, and as long as it does not require any of our other members to put themselves into an ethically compromising situation, we are happy to support whatever the individual member is comfortable with. We simply ask that when you come together with us, you come with your whole and real self, prepared to genuinely welcome us in, and not to place us in a box that you keep disconnected from what is going on in your real world.
Our ethical stance applies to all areas of our lives…spiritual, magical, mundane, and just generally how we live day to day. Our ethical standards are more about an overall philosophy, and less about a set of rules or a system of reciprocity. We do not adhere to things like the Wiccan Rede or Threefold Law, and even the belief in things like karma may vary from member to member. What we do live by is our own set of values, which you can view on the Values of the Hollow page.
Wild Thorn Hollow identifies as a Pagan community. Some of our members identify as Witches, but not all do, nor are they expected to. To us, a Witch is someone who works to cultivate their Craft in their unique style, and who uses that Craft to affect change and impact in their life and in their community. We have a great deal of respect for Witchcraft, and for those members who walk this path and contribute to our community in this way. However, we do not push the expectation that all members should or need to be magical practitioners. We would rather remove that expectation and leave the magic to those who are passionate about it. This prevents us from alienating awesome members who do not feel a pull to the Craft, and from over-utilizing a term where it doesn’t apply, contributing to its watering down.
In order to keep a consistent and predictable calendar, on the tradition level, Wild Thorn Hollow holds gatherings for the eight sabbats on the Pagan Wheel of the Year, and these are held open to all members. These gatherings are the main times when we try to all come together and connect on a regular basis, and this gives the opportunity for solitary members and members of subgroups in the Hollow to all share in our community and get to know one another better.
Additional events are also planned by the tradition, but these may be on a more "one off" basis, and may include anything from bonding social nights, to workshops, to spiritual retreats. Many of these events - particularly those that are open to the public - will be posted here on our Events page. However, registered Wild Thorn Hollow members will have access to our private networking groups where all of our events are shared.