For Prospective Members
Thanks for your interest in the Sisters of the Silver Branch (SSB)! First of all, we are located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and we do meet face to face. SSB is a multi-faith group, not a “tradition,” so we do not have “branches” outside of our locality.
We have to be up front with you — we may be nearing or at our maximum size by the time you read this or we may have several openings. Let us tell you more about who we are what we are looking for and if you still feel you might find us a congenial group, we can arrange to meet you. If not, we still may be able to give you information about other groups in the area that may be a better fit.
SSB is not a coven, nor do most of its members currently consider themselves “Wiccan” or “Witches.” We sometimes work with Celtic pantheons and mythologies more than others and we work with scholarly texts and interpretations to inspire our rituals and meditations, but, as a group, we are not “reconstructionists.” We consider that our religion(s) to late-20th/early-21st century constructions, based on and inspired by past Western Pagan practices, and believe that ancient religions, as practiced in their original timeframes, have limited relevancy to our present times and situations. Some of our group ritual practices are based on “garden-variety” Wiccan or Western Mystery Tradition practices, but we have incorporated modern Druidic and some Reconstructionist ritual practices as well.
The members (as of August 2005) are diverse. Some of our members may consider themselves Wiccan; some consider themselves modern Druids; some have strong Reconstructionist tendencies, and the rest fall into other Pagan categories. SSB is a fairly scholarly group and we are rather critical of historical claims not backed up by solid evidence. We are more devotional/communing-with-the-Gods-oriented than psychic-development- or magic-oriented.
Although SSB is a women's group, it does not focus particularly on “the Goddess,” but rather honors both Gods and Goddesses. If a predominately Goddess-oriented group is what you seek, then Sisters of the Silver Branch is probably not the right group for you.
One of our members described SSB as a “sisterhood of equals.” We aim to help each other to find the resources to promote her spiritual growth and welfare, but we do not offer training or teaching in the usual sense of these words. If you are looking for a training or teaching group, SSB is not the right group for you, either. This does not mean that prospective members cannot be new to Pagan religions. It means that you are willing to educate yourself with help of people who have a variety of experiences, ways of doing things, and beliefs.
We are like a coven in that we are selective. We want our circle to be no larger than nine people. This is partly for mythological reasons (our models are several Celtic sisterhoods of priestesses which consisted of nine women), partly because it makes for better group dynamics, and partly because our homes won’t hold more (seven is pushing it for my crowded living room).
Also, we often socialize together as well as work together on psychically- and emotionally-involving activities. This means that any prospective member must fit in with the people already involved. Prospective members must have compatible temperaments and compatible goals and philosophies with the current membership. We also don’t want to bring in too many people at once. Any new person will change the dynamics of the group and we will all need time to adapt to each other. So if we meet with you and we find that you might fit in and you still want to join, we still may delay inviting you to come to meetings until we have integrated someone we invited before you.
We are looking for people who are self-starters and committed to learning and to participating in rituals and activities. We all have busy lives and we try to accommodate “life happening,” but we have, in the past, had people who expected to be spoon fed everything and who would not contribute ideas and opinions, help create rituals, do any of the suggested readings, or even ask questions. They did not benefit from being in the group and the rest of us got bogged down. You get out of this what you are willing to put into it.
We appreciate people who have good common sense and a healthy sense of skepticism, as well as being idealists and dreamers. We seek a balance of seriousness and humor.
Also, on the practical side, if you have allergies to pets, dust and/or mold, we may not be the right group for you. I have cats and I am a terrible housekeeper.
Before contacting us, please look through our web site thoroughly, especially the rituals, essays, and book commentary. These will give you a good idea of what our philosophies and attitudes are.
When you approach us about becoming a member, we would like for you to tell us something about yourself and answer these questions:
- How do you define “Pagan”? How long have you considered yourself “Pagan”?
- What is your concept of Deity or Divine Presence(s)? Are you a polytheist, a pantheist, a panentheist, and/or a monotheist and why?
- Have you been involved with a group before? If so, what kind of experience(s) did you have and what did you learn from it (them)?
- What sources have you used to get the knowledge you have now? If you have gained much of your current knowledge from books, which ones have you used? Which ones did you like or were particularly influenced by? Which ones didn’t you like? Why? Of your other sources of information, which ones taught you the most?
- What do you want to get out being in a Pagan group? Why did Sisters of the Silver Branch appeal to you? What do you want to get from being a member of Sisters of the Silver Branch?
- What do you have to offer to the Sisters of the Silver Branch?
We would like to know more about your previous experiences and some of your interests (such as Tarot or other divinatory methods, ritual-creation, poetry, imagery-creation, herbs, etc.).
One last thing, you do need to be 18 years of age or older.
We generally like to meet with prospective members in a public place to access whether or not we have a mutually good fit. We are not comfortable with inviting people we don’t know into our homes until we have met them. And I’m sure you would be more comfortable if you were not going to a stranger’s home, either.
Still interested? Contact us with answers to the questions above and any other comments or questions you may have through our feedback form or fill out our application form. Your inquiry may be forwarded to all the Sisters for their consideration.