Thursday, August 25, 2011

True Blood (the ties, not the show)

Is it important? Is it necessary? I've been asked these questions often lately. Yes it is important. No, it's not necessary. How can both be correct?

Generally speaking, and never speaking for everyone,  a magical family is exactly that- a family. No matter what issues come between family members, blood is blood. You are literally tied together through your dna despite how you feel about each other. This is also true for in-laws to a lesser extent; It's easier to ignore your in-laws because you don't directly share dna, but you can share descendants. Two grandmothers can't stand each other? Too bad- they still have to deal with each other because of their combined dna, embodied in their grandchild. In adoptive families, you share everything but direct dna. You still share the family obligations and the family "karma" by virtue of having the Ancestors and Patrons of the family conferred upon them. You still share the family ties. Even if you can't stand Aunt So-n-so, you still have an obligation to deal with her, at least minimally. 

When working with la famiglia, you've known them your whole life- you know what you can trust them with, you know what they bring to the table and you know that no matter how you feel about each other, if some straniero comes along and starts something, your annoying ball-breaker of a cousin has your back in both the mundane and magical realms.

There are politics in every group and families are no exception. Family politics can last through generations, and get deeper and dirtier than the backrooms of the US Capitol. It's up to us as descendants to untangle what we can. I've talked before about "the black book" I've inherited- it's not just the accounting of who gave what gift and showed up where, it's also everyone who has ever called vendetta and who responded to the call, who slighted whom and in what way, and so on. Sometimes it feels like the burden of what it really is- the family karma- decisions and their consequences. But I don't have to carry all of them out. Some of it is obligation, but you can discern between the petty bullshit which has outlasted its use/relevance and the grudges which rightfully need to be upheld.

In a magical group that is not family based, it is the work, or the path, which brings people together and the social and emotional ties that keep them together. If you don't enjoy each other's company, why be there? If you don't trust each other outside of sacred space, how can you trust each other inside of it? What happens when the social ties lead to petty politics and the emotional ties are merely cliques of people jockeying for position? There's nothing to fall back on, nothing to tie the group together. It's a risk to take. Is it worth it? Ask the creators of the Golden Dawn. These people came together to work, something came between them, and it imploded (exploded?). Was that a bad thing? I'm sure for them it wasn't fun to go through, but as a forest fire releases new seeds, the end of the Golden Dawn (as it was first formed) planted the seeds of several other organizations which are still around today. Of course it's worth the risk. It won't always be fun, but it will surely be memorable.

When I look at bringing someone into my magical family, it isn't just about folks I'd like to work with, tho that's definitely part of the equation. It's as serious as who I want to adopt into my family with all of the rite and obligations thereof. Many of us have those friends who are so close that they're considered family; That is the kind of relationship I'm talking about and it doesn't develop overnight (unless They tell you it's a nownownow imperative, which has happened too! lol)

I've rambled a bit and I'm going to leave it here and call this a part 1. I'm sure you'll forgive me since Mercury will be stationing direct soon! We're in a mercury storm and I want to save part 2 until after we're back in the swing of things.

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