A few years ago, I got involved in the Sanctuary of Maat as a proctor. (RIP SoM.) One of the things that I found nice about the SoM was the fact that the members could look around and see who the fellow members were in their general area. And I ended up with a small list of where people were--the list is out of date and misplaced--but it is the inspiration behind a project that I am kicking around doing this coming year...or maybe I should say, "I am doing it with or without your help--so deal with it!"
Several study groups and lodges actually formed from the SoM membership simply being able to locate each other--and I understand a few of these groups still exist. In addition, in the Denver area, we used to have a Pagan Purple Pages (unfortunately, that directory has ceased to exist...or so I believe) where one could look up the local pagan and Wiccan groups that chose to be listed.
And considering I just attended a local pagan/Wicca group meet and greet today--well, today is as good of a day to toss this idea out into public, so that the wolves can debate its merits and argue about how I am going to completely wreck the idea, and probably how someone more trust-worthy than me should do this instead.
Oh the idea?! Glad you asked.
Over the last few years, I have noticed that a lot of people ask a set of basic questions about Golden Dawn groups:
Where are the lodges and study groups located?
What group/Order is the lodge/study group affiliated with?
What is the email address of the local contact person?
In other words, they could care less about politics, trade-marks, and the claims of super-secret information that only certain groups have. All they are concerned about is location, location, location.
Therefore, I want to create a directory of where the Golden Dawn lodges and study groups are located.
Please note that this is NOT a ratings book--it would be up to the user of the directory to google the group to see what's its reputation is--if any--and to meet with the local contact person and/or membership to decide if they want to join that group. Yes, I know that some people will protest that only properly vetted and authorized lodges and groups should be included--and to them, I say, "You do not have to include any of your lodges and groups in this project if you do not want to be associated with unwashed riff-raff." Yes, this means that Robert Zink, David Griffin, Chic Cicero, and Nick Farrell would get to have groups listed in this directory, despite the fact that at least one party would argue that they should be barred from the directory.
But there is a catch--each group actually has to have a LOCAL contact person. Therefore, for instance, Nick Farrell can only act as the contact person for his local lodge or study group--he cannot act as a contact person for a group located in Denver, Colorado. If Farrell has a group in Denver, there has to a local contact person here in Denver, Colorado (or within the Denver metro area).
If I get a report that I trust, or multiple reports that the local contact person does not actually exist--I will delete the group's listing from the directory. Period. End of discussion. Likewise, if I get trusted reports that the group consists solely of the local contact person and/or just one more person, the listing gets deleted. Period. End of discussion. There will be one exception--and that is for a group just forming; basically, they state up front that they are just forming, and they will have six months or a year (I am undecided on that one) to bring their membership up to three people...there will be a notice someplace in the listing that the group is just forming.
Please note that I plan on emailing the contact person once every six months or year to ask them if the group is still active, and confirm that they are still the contact person. If no response to the email--yes, that is right--the listing is deleted.
The contact person can be listed as just a first name and a motto (if they want their last name to be kept private).
Why email addresses? Because I think that the local contact person should not have to give out their phone number to anyone that they do not want to. And we all have more than one email address, right? Likewise, the listing is for the city and general area that a group is located in. (Please note that means that one of the local so-called Denver groups would actually be listed under Lakewood and not Denver--local residents will know the general geographical difference between the two groups. If I get information that you are actually located in different city than your listing, I will adjust your listing, so be honest about the general location of your group--remember that this directory is all about location, location, location--it is not personal; we are just trying to give the applicants a general idea of what part of town you are really in.) Note that this is general area--not the exact street address (again, that information is up to the contact person to give to the applicant if they feel like it). A single web address will be optional for a listing (it can be a free blog that you update twice a year--because let's be honest, web hosting and domain names can get expensive). And there would be an appendix in the back of the directory for simple Order listings.
So as an example of a lodge listing:
USA: Colorado: Denver: North City Park
Bast Temple (lodge).
Contact: Morgan Drake Eckstein
Email: email@example.com (Subject line: Membership inquiry)
And in the back, the Order listing would look like:
EOEW/BIOGD/BIORC: Evolving Order of Eclectic Ways/Ba Iset Order of the Rosy Cross (Golden Dawn in the Outer).
Correspondence course: Yes, available though ebook retailers in early 2014.
Principal agent: Morgan Drake Eckstein
Or at least, that is how I currently think that the listings would look like.
As for the question of expense of a listing and cost of the directory itself--actually both would be free.
On the assembling end, I am going to call this a contribution to the greater Golden Dawn community...bascially, I am donating my time and energy to create the directory.
And on the applicant's end, I picture the final product as a free ebook that is distributed though Smashwords (and therefore, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple's iBook store, and the other outlets in the Smashwords distribution program). I would like to upload it to Amazon also, BUT Amazon does not allow perma-free ebooks--therefore, that is not going to happen. The fact that it is not going to be available though Amazon is minor issue; after all, you can download your preferred ebook format from Smashwords without the hassle of creating an account (or at least until they update the site--we will have to see if that is still true after the upcoming site update).
So now that I tossed this idea out there, let the feeding frenzy of how wrong I am occur in my comment section (try to keep the language clean).
As if you want a listing despite the fact that the project is flawed, and my rules unacceptable, just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org (Subject line: Directory listing) with the necessary information.