The Mystery School is the heart of the Church. Sometimes it is very busy, oftentimes it is less visible, but always moving forward. Collectively we are the Sunday Circles and the Rituals and we are the old-timers of the volunteer working staff.
This has been a curious year in many ways. Two perspectives from our long 40 year history came to me on several occasions. One was a few years ago. A new student commented that there were so many Novices and First Degree Initiates saying he would have thought there would be more advanced students.
The Tradition of Lothloriën is a specific Wiccan religion, one originally modeled after the tradition of Rev. Paul’s Priest and Priestess but which has been created and shaped by Rev. Paul over the past 40 years. It has a complex and challenging educational programs.
What we see emerging from their years of study within secrecy as they learn how to reach and embrace the Mysteries, are individuals who embody wisdom.
Within the Mysteries of our Tradition of Lothloriën we also learn how to prepare and be prepared for our own transition through death and rebirth.
In more detail:
Within the larger structure of The Rowan Tree Church, behind a veil of secrecy, is The Mystery School. Providing Initiatory training for students, The Mystery School follows the traditions of the classical mystery schools which existed during the Changing Times when we moved into the Age of Pisces and those of the Himalayas, in which training was serious and only for those with dedication.
The Mystery School is our Church’s very foundation. Our work is religious education: we train clergy to serve our Church’s future needs. Created in 1980 to provide the medium through which the Tradition of Lothloriën would be passed on to future generations, the next decade was spent developing the Pathworking, culminating in the publication of A Wiccan Bardo, Revisited. In some aspects it is a way of life, not unlike some Buddhist traditions.
The Mystery School is not a building. It is the Pathworking; it is both its students and teachers. An inner Circle of Initiates provides a core of dedicated workers, helping our Tradition both as volunteers and sustaining its spiritual energy. We always welcome new Initiates.
With the major changes in our Church structure instituted 1988 and 1994, we entered a new phase for The Rowan Tree Church and are now in the process of training our second generation of teachers. Those working within The Mystery School today are those who hold the future of our Church. In 2016 our Mentors have an average of more than twenty years each working to further The Tradition of Lothloriën.
Students are taught the intricacies of The Tradition of Lothloriën, taught to work within the astral. They learn the skills it takes to bring our Church together in unity during simultaneous ritual. Training is individualized. Each student works with a Mentor. Advanced students work with our founder, Rev. Paul. Mentoring is by letters, telephone and, when possible, in person. A Mentor is a resource waiting to be tapped. The Mystery School is ideal for the self-motivated student enjoying solitary investigation combined with the advantages of peer contact, interaction, and expert guidance. Within The Mystery School each student gains both the wisdom of the solitary and the joys of group experience.
“Why would anyone want to become involved with The Rowan Tree Church? I can only speak for myself, but I certainly know what attracted me. I had been doing some reading on Goddess religions and it sounded and felt comfortable – like home. I was ‘hooked’ on Wicca. I became associated with a Wiccan organization which offered information but no formal, structured training. Time passed and I acquired a copy of A Wiccan Bardo. Here, at last, was a well established Church which offered in-depth, structured training for its Priest/esshood! I had no personal, intimate knowledge of any Tradition other than Lothloriën, but I knew that this was for me.
“The training and Tradition of Lothloriën and The Rowan Tree Church draw upon not only paganism and Witchcraft/Wicca but also the teachings and philosophy of the Eastern religions and Native American spirituality as well. It is an inclusive Wiccan Tradition. The training within the Church includes all the Mysteries and how they work together in our lives – not just one or two aspects. There is also a very high standard of ethics.
“I joined The Rowan Tree Church and entered The Mystery School in 1993. I have learned much, grown, found new perspectives on life. As an Initiated Priestess I can safely and with certainty say that I would not change any of this. Not only have I found a home but a also a beautiful, caring and loving family.” – Ravenhawke, Initiated Priestess [Oct. 1948 – June 2010]
Study within The Mystery School is not for everyone. Students must be self-motivated, accepting a Mystery Tradition style of training. To enter The Mystery School is to acknowledge a religious vocation, a desire to shape one’s life into a religious vocation and to offer one’s self as a tool in service to the Earth and to all Her peoples. Students might note the following penned by The Mystery School’s founder:
“Do not come to The Mystery School if you seek to be nurtured and sheltered. You will find no comfort, for each who becomes a Priest/ess is like unto a tree: offering protection for others from the ravages of the world, providing healing from pain caused by the lessons of life. Enter The Mystery School only if you are willing to be made strong, with full knowledge that such as these Mysteries are not without pain. You must be taken through storms and shown that, to endure strong is to become a bulwark for others. To stand brave in the face of lightning is to become a source of courage and inspiration for others. To shelter the newborn lives and future generations is to be a source of nurturing and protection. The Mystery School teaches that balance between mercy and severity. The Mystery School is the future of Lothloriën.”
Pathworking in The Mystery School
A student begins working the Path to become Dedicated as a Novice. Secrecy is observed by all students, a classical discipline observed since ancient times by the mystery schools of many cultures. Secrecy is a tool for the student, teaching the conservation and use of one’s inner power; providing the student with “safe space” and control over that space. Secrecy teaches many of the Mysteries essential in communicating the larger Mysteries of Magick and of Wicca. We believe your Pathworking is personal and a process through which you learn to explore your own Mysteries.
The curriculum includes creating your personal copy of The Book of Shadows of Lothloriën and the completion of study guides (for comprehension and communication). The Book of Shadows of Lothloriën provides the written Tradition, but there are other works, such as A Wiccan Reader.
There are many resources available to Mystery School students, including the extensive Church library (fees included in the tuition) and limited use of the periodical library. Each New Moon is set aside for simultaneous ritual with communication by cassette tapes and letters. Students learn creative skills, contributing original work to the Church publications. To provide a well-rounded education (students are expected to develop knowledge in a variety of occult sciences, including astrology, tarot, herbal healing, etc.), Mystery School students are provided with memberships in The Hermit’s Grove. Students have an environment in which to begin developing skills to take into the Community of our Church. The quality of students and their research coupled with stimulating dialogue within The Mystery School creates an exciting environment. But this joy is found only when the student turns the key and opens the door.
The Path of Lothloriën
Our Church has been created to extend beyond this incarnation. We provide ritual forms which carry you through the passages of life. We see the major rituals of your life as forms of initiation. In A Wiccan Bardo, Revisited both marriage and death are described as ways in which your astral self can be assisted along the spiritual path through the ritual forms.
The mystery schools of Himalayan and Mediterranean cultures shared important similarities. Students were trained in a variety of disciplines and cultures. We believe that our Wiccan clergy, those trusted with our spiritual lives, should be trained as carefully as are the clergy of mainstream religions. We believe that our religious community, which includes all Members of The Rowan Tree Church, deserves no less. Our High Priest/ess training includes the skills of counseling, teaching, divination, healing and many other skills. The roots of modern Wicca and neo-pagan practices found in the temples of India, Tibet, China, and the stone Circles and ancient sites of Europe are considered part of our heritage, and religious history is part of the student’s research. There have been Wise Ones in many cultures and many ages and through studying how they expressed the greatest of Mysteries do we grow in our own wisdom.
Students are taught how to make changes in their lives, in order to flow with the natural cycles of the Earth and the Universe. The Universe exists through its manifest nature of constant change. Students are taught to connect themselves with the Divine, manifesting change at the seasons, learning to channel that energy and make it available for the community. The Mystery School guides the student in learning to work both “above and below,” coming to understand the astral and its interrelationship with the manifest world. Through ritual, meditation, visualization, and astral work, the student learns to become one with the Earth, the Moon, and Sun as they dance their Circles. Students are trained in a variety of ritual forms, learning to craft their own rituals and balancing freedom with form. They learn to unfold their own creativity, opening it as the bud of a flower and bringing it to bloom. And above all, they are trained to pass on the Mysteries of Initiation, of Handfasting, of life and death.
An ordained Priestess or Priest is one who maintains individual style yet is able to keep our Tradition intact and instill it in future generations. There is no mold other than your Highest Ideals. The amount of time leading to Ordination can be as little as three years for a devoted student who consistently spends two to five hours a week, yet may take years longer for the ‘part-time’ student who juggles a full and busy lifestyle.
Upon completion of the Second Degree Initiation the new High Priest/ess receives credentials which may be filed in her/his state or province of residence. S/he is now an ordained minister, a representative of The Rowan Tree Church, working with the community in turning the Wheel of the Year, and a Mentor of The Mystery School. Our goal is to be one Church with many local Communities. The future is unknown, but much of it lies within the hands of those who will become the College of Mentors. More extensive information on the training of our clergy may be found in A Wiccan Bardo, Revisited.
We are a unique Tradition, one which is not linked nor bound to a specific geographical culture. Through our work with the images of Lothloriën, we work through the astral and seek unity with all religions giving honour to the Earth.
Who may apply for study in The Mystery School?
You must have been an active Voting Member of our Church for at least six months, reading The Unicorn & Lantern,. sending in your monthly forms and voting in the elections. You should also obtain a copy of the ‘Book of Legislation’ from the home office and examine it. Candidates must have carefully read A Wiccan Bardo, Revisited and The Holy Books of the Devas. In addition you are asked to study the Church publication of ‘The Ritual of Lothloriën’ and to have begun performing this ritual as a solitary; ‘The Wheel of the Year,’ ‘Eight Sabbat Journeys,’ and begun reading ‘The Child of Light’ when the healing rituals are scheduled. Contact with the Galadhrim should be well established with the intent of becoming an active member of this service organization. Preparatory study through the Lay Ministry program is considered appropriate.
Study within The Mystery School is much like pursuing a college degree at home. Be prepared for self-motivated home study and be reasonably certain that Lothloriën is the Path for you. Basic tuition is $25.00 per month (with some barter options). A student must be able to acquire the necessary tools and supplies for study and ritual, whether incense or email. You must be able to play digital audio files. Interested Church Members may request an application form from the College of Mentors.
If reading this appeals to you and you wish to pursue this training, write Rev. Paul. The Mystery School accepts new students on one or more occasions each year. Pathworking is not easy, but the personal growth and satisfaction brings one to embrace the Highest of Ideals. Information on the expectations and preparation we ask of a prospective student is available.
“Then you shall be taught to be wise, so in the fullness of time you shall count yourself among those who serve the Ancients…
“And you shall grow to love the music of the Woodlands, to dance to the sound of His pipes, in step with cloven hooves and the forest song…
“And you shall learn the Mystery of Rebirth, filling your heart with Her Moonlight, growing in harmony with the Earth, as Her child, protective of your Mother…”
From “The Charge of Lothloriën”
The Mystery School provides the Initiatory Pathworking into the Mysteries of Lothloriën and is but briefly touched upon in A Wiccan Bardo, Revisited. It is one of the most challenging and comprehensive training programs of all Wiccan Traditions and guarantees Lothloriën’s future. If you have a serious desire to become one prepared to teach others The Tradition of Lothloriën, if you wish an initiatory path, if you have a desire to become an ordained Priest/ess, you may request the packet of information. The printing and postage cost for this information is $3.00 if you already have this catalog, $6.50 otherwise (to include a copy of this catalog).