These bylaws pertain to the Circle of the Silver Phoenix,
founded in Laurel, Maryland on September 18, 2005.
The Circle of the Silver Phoenix (CSP) is an Eclectic Wiccan
organization with a focus on in-person teaching. We have the following purposes:
- To facilitate members religious experience and to provide an opportunity and environment for growth and self-discovery, and space to encourage an individual’s connection to the divine;
- To develop and nurture a relationship to Nature and its cycles, via celebration of Esbats and Sabbats and other appropriate activities;
- To teach CSP’s Eclectic Wiccan tradition of beliefs and skills to students;
- To educate those who take on a personal calling to minister to others within the Wiccan experience;
- To celebrate the God and Goddess in their many aspects;
- To do our best to act in accord with the Wiccan Rede; and
- Where appropriate, to educate the general public about Wicca
The CSP may not discriminate for membership on the basis of physical disability, sexual orientation, race, political ideals, past religious history, gender or age, with the exception that we have a minimum age of 21. However, we do have standards of conduct and expect members and guests to reasonably adhere to the Wiccan Rede and to our philosophy. Members may be asked to leave CSP or a particular event if their behavior and/or beliefs reflect negatively on Wicca in general or CSP in particular.
Membership is voluntary and members may choose to terminate their association with CSP at any time.
Because CSP is a teaching circle, degrees are tied to levels of the curriculum. See the section on Classes for a discussion of the curriculum.
Membership categories are:
- Seekers/Guests – these individuals attend full moon rituals and other open events but are not currently enrolled in a class, nor have they completed a full year of classes. They may not attend Council meetings and may not vote.
- Neophytes – these are individuals currently taking the first year of coursework. They may attend full moon rituals, Sabbats and open events. They may attend Council meetings but do not vote.
- First Degree (Apprentice) – these individuals are currently taking the second year of coursework. They may attend full moon rituals, Sabbats and open events. They may attend Council meetings and they can vote. This is the first level which is considered full membership. In order to become elevated to First Degree, students must have successfully completed the Neophyte year curriculum and been approved by the High Priest(ess) and by his or her teacher. See the
curriculum for the responsibilities of the student related to ritual participation.
- Second Degree (Journeyer) – these individuals are currently taking the third year of coursework. They may attend full moon rituals, Sabbats and open events. They may attend Council meetings and they can vote. In order to become elevated to Second Degree, students must have successfully
completed the First Degree curriculum and been approved by the High Priest(ess) and by his or her teacher. See the curriculum for the responsibilities of the student related to ritual participation.
- Third Degree (Adept) – these individuals have successfully completed the entire three year curriculum. They may attend full moon rituals, Sabbats and open events. They may attend Council meetings and they can vote. Adepts may also teach classes using the standard curriculum. In order
to become elevated to Third Degree, students must have successfully completed the Second Degree curriculum and been approved by the High Priest(ess) and by his or her teacher. Third Degrees may hive off to form a daughter group and may be ordained. See the section on Hiving/Ordination for more details.
- Associates – Members of the Chantry of the Silver Veil (the Mother Coven) may be considered Associate members of the Circle of the Silver Phoenix at the level they have achieved at the Mother Coven, with the exception that they may not vote at Council meetings. Associate membership status is at the discretion of the High Priest(ess). Associate Adepts may act as guest
teachers, counselors, etc. as needed. Members of other groups that hive off from the Chantry of the Silver Veil (sister organizations) or of groups that hive off from the Silver Phoenix (daughter organizations) may be considered Associates at the discretion of the High Priest(ess). Associates may choose to become full-fledged members of the Circle of the Silver Phoenix at the level
they achieved in the mother, sister, or daughter organization at the discretion of the High Priest(ess).
- Clergy – Members who are Clergy will overlap with either the Adept or Associates categories. Clergy are individuals who have been ordained by the Circle of the Silver Phoenix or by the Chantry of the Silver Veil or another group in the Silver Veil family. Clergy may act as celebrant for marriages, handfastings, Wiccanings, funeral services, and any other rituals, particularly those that require formal and/or legal ministerial recognition. The Council, as a group, bestow legal clergy rights and privileges on members who meet the criteria of this category. Council voting rights are dependent upon the individual’s status as Adept or Associate and is not changed by status as
Clergy. For further information on the requirements for ordination within the Silver Phoenix, see the section on Hiving/Ordination.
Members at any level who do not participate for a year or more will be considered Inactive. They may be considered active members again at the discretion of the High Priest(ess). The exception is Inactive members who have taken a planned sabbatical of more than three months and less than two years. They will be considered active members again by attending two events. Absences of three months or less do not require taking a sabbatical. Inactive members may not vote on the Council.
CSP has a standard three year curriculum. It is expected that the first year of coursework will correspond with the Neophyte level of membership, the second year of coursework will correspond with the Apprentice degree and level of membership, and the third year of coursework will correspond with the Journeyer degree and level of membership. Someone holding the Adept degree and level of
membership will have successfully completed the entire standard curriculum. If there is a delay in the actual elevation, coursework may continue into the next year’s curriculum in expectation of the elevation occurring.
Students will be elevated from Neophyte to Apprentice as a group, that is, when everyone in the class who wishes to be elevated has successfully completed the Neophyte year’s curriculum. Elevation from Apprentice to Journeyer and from Journeyer to Adept will occur on an individual basis, based on the
student’s meeting of the requirements for that level, at a time period of no less than a year and a day.
The curriculum is under the jurisdiction of the High Priest(ess) and any Adepts that are teaching. Standard curriculum classes are only taught by the High Priest(ess) or an Adept.
As part of Open Houses or other events, CSP may present seminars on items in addition to the standard curriculum. These seminars may be taught by anyone at the Apprentice level and up, as approved by the High Priest(ess). Attendance at these seminars will be open at various levels, at the discretion of the seminar teacher and the High Priest(ess), based on prerequisites needed for the seminar.
With the exception of High Priest(ess), all offices may be filled or left vacant. More than one office may be held by an individual. Offices may be filled by volunteers. If more than one person volunteers, the job may be shared or may be filled by the individual voted to the position by the Council. It is requested that volunteers be willing to fill the position for a term of one year, renewable to multiple terms. Additional temporary or permanent offices may be created and filled as the Council deems necessary.
The High Priest(ess) votes on and chairs the Council; coordinates the teaching program; provides counseling as necessary; leads rituals as necessary; performs student elevations; represents the CSP to the Pagan community and the public at large; provides overall guidance to the work of the CSP; enhances the CSP as a safe environment for the growth of the individual members; and exercises final authority regarding ritual, initiation, ordination and other religious matters.
The Summoner makes sure members are aware of event schedules and keeps track of who is expected to attend events. Works with the Scribe to make sure that contact information for members is up-to-date. A Summoner may hold the position for the entire CSP or individual Summoners may be assigned for each individual class.
The Scribe keeps all written records, including but not limited to: minutes of the Council meetings, formal correspondence, CSP projects, rituals, and activities, and contact information of the membership. Membership contact information is kept in conjunction with the Summoner.
The Quartermaster keeps track of all financial activities for CSP, including supplies. The Quartermaster is also responsible for seeing that post-ritual clean up occurs.
The Contact Coordinator is the first contact for Seekers and Guests. The Contact Coordinator explains the activities of the group, interviews interested parties for matching interest and suitability, filters out individuals who are not good matches, and introduces those who he or she deems suitable to the group.
The Council consists of the High Priest(ess) and any full members with voting rights as described in the section on Membership. Any Council meeting attended by more than 50 percent of the voting membership, rounded up for odd numbers, is considered to have a quorum.
The Council shall make decisions by consensus. When consensus cannot be reached, the Council may refer the decision to the High Priest(ess), who shall consider all that has been discussed and make the decision.
Council meetings shall take place a minimum of quarterly.
The scope of the Council is as follows:
- Program planning and activities
- Finance and budget
- Community contact, networking, and affiliations
- Other administrative areas as required
The requirements for hiving off and for receiving ordination are listed here under the same heading because they will often occur in conjunction; however, the requirements are different and are delineated separately.
The official hiving off and creation of a new group is only available to an Adept. In order for an Adept to hive off, the following must occur:
- The Adept must have at least two students or members for the new group, in addition to the Adept.
- The Adept must have taught a minimum of one year of the standard curriculum or a minimum of six seminars in addition to that required by the standard curriculum or demonstrated teaching skills in some other fashion acceptable to the High Priest(ess).
- The Adept must submit a written petition to the Council, outlining the new group’s structure and format and documenting the completion of the other requirements. The group’s structure may be documented in the form of draft bylaws or something less formal. The Council cannot reject the group’s structure, but may make recommendations.
Ordination is only available to Adepts. In order for an Adept to be ordained, the following must occur:
- The Adept must have demonstrated continuing education in applicable skills from outside of CSP.
- The Adept must write their own personal code of ethics in regard to duties as clergy and submit the code to the High Priest(ess) for approval.
- The Adept must submit a written petition for ordination to the Council, describing the skills he or she believes are required for clergy and documenting how those skills have been developed. The petition should also document how the other requirements were met.
- The Adept must have an interview with a quorum of the Council and be approved by a two-thirds vote of that quorum.
- The names, addresses, telephone numbers, and other information relating to individual members and prospective members shall be considered confidential and may not be disclosed to non-members without express permission of the individual involved.
- Disclosure of confidential information may, at the discretion of the Council, be ground for being barred from membership and group events.
- Members agree to indemnify and hold harmless the CSP as a whole, against any loss or damage, including theft or damage of personal or public property, injury, real or imagined, including but not limited to physical, mental, spiritual, social or emotional resulting from membership within the CSP.
- Members agree to indemnify and hold harmless any individual(s) within the CSP against any loss or damage, including theft of damage of personal or public property, injury, real or imagined, including but not limited to physical, mental, spiritual, social, or emotional resulting from
membership within the CSP.
Oath of Secrecy
The CSP does not require an oath of secrecy beyond that implicit in the Privacy Clause. The goal is to protect and respect the privacy of individuals, rather than to restrict the dissemination of information.
These bylaws may be amended by a vote of the Council.