10 Bizarre Spiritual Groups You Can Join
Mundane life can be a bit bland for some. If you want to add some spice and (according to popular belief) gain some control over your life through spells, knowledge from masters or a specific type of exercise there are numerous beliefs and theories out there that you can study or join. From the harmless to the downright bizarre, here are ten suggestions for those who need a new interest. Let’s see what these modern day groups are all about.
With its center situated at Clonegal Castle in Ireland, the Fellowship of Isis has a global community of over 24,000 members, of any religion. The Fellowship’s aim is to promote the ‘divine feminine’ and educates her members about the relationship that can be formed with a Goddess. Members can be ordained into priesthood through ritual (long distance is not a problem, as members of the fellowship can ‘ tune in’ to you) and can be as active as they want to be. There are ‘ College of Isis’, centers through which you can learn more about a particular goddess, and many sub groups in which members combine their own faiths with the principles of the Fellowship of Isis Manifesto. Overall the fellowship appears to be a friendly bunch, formed around founder Olivia Robertson.
David Bowie knew about voodoo when he appeared in the film ‘ Labyrinth’ in leggings and a cod piece. The Voodoo Authentica Cultural Center know more than he ever did. Voodoo spells are explained and advice is given for those who pinned their doll in the wrong places. In the voodoo religion there is one God and a pantheon of gods. There’s a lot of confusion about the difference between voodoo and hoodoo, but hoodoo is mainly a collection of Cajun magic rituals and spells whereas voodoo has a lot of rituals, rules and traditions.
The Druids are still alive and kicking today and appear to focus on creativity and care for the environment and their wisdom. Druids see themselves as personifications of three types: the singer, shaman, and sage. Singers focus on the ancient bardic knowledge, storytelling and creativity, the shaman focuses on healing and the sage aims to develop inner wisdom. There is a different path that is chosen by every druid, whether the aim is to care for the land and raise funds for charities, or to work on magic. You don’t have to get involved in constructing a wicker man to burn people in nowadays, you can even focus on animal lore!
Asatru, the Icelandic word meaning ‘to believe in gods’, is the name of a Scandinavian religion that, according to its followers, covered most of Europe in ‘ ancient times’. This polytheistic religion is based on many gods from different traditions within scandinavian mythology and appears to be rooted in a strong idea about racial superiority and evil. Hitler and his Nazi party were deeply interested in Asatru, took many symbols such as the swastika from it and founded many of their Holocaust ideas on it. Main gods that members of Asatru follow are are Odin, Thor, and Frey, and runes and their meanings are used in rituals and spells.
Wicca is a modern religion based on witchcraft, rituals, spells, magic and a god and goddess. The basis of this religion can be found in folklore, and most witches quote the ‘Book of shadows’, a book with rituals by Gerald Gardner as their major source of inspiration. In 1939 Gardner supposedly started a coven (a group of witches) from which the modern traditions are derived. Wiccans believe in a triple goddess, the virgin, mother and wise woman, connected to the phases of the moon, as well as in a horned god. Wicca is popular amongst Buffy the Vampire Slayer type teens and adults living mainly in the USA and Great Britain. The focus is on magic that is connected with nature and its flow, with the main rule being ‘ do what thou wilt and harm none’.
Geomancy means ‘ divining the earth’. Geomancy is based on the belief that the earth energies (ebb and flow) run throughout the landscape, where these lines of course also may cross each other. These energy lines may influence our daily lives, according to geomancers. Personal success, the home and work can be changed or improved when a connection is made with the earth and its energy lines. It is believed by many geomancers that geomancy can be a great tool in resolving cases of technopathic stress (changes in the geomagnetic field of the earth that may cause psychic disturbances in the home). The geomancer throws rocks, sticks or sand on the ground and interprets the pattern formed by these. Geomancy has been around in Europe since the Middle ages. One of the best known practitioners is American author John Michael Greeg, also known for being a druid.
The Church of satan was founded on the 30th of april in 1966 by Anton LaVey. Of course he gave himself the fun position of high priest. In 2011 Pete H. Gilmore took over this position from Blanch Barton who led the church after LaVey’s death in 1997. Gilmore defines satanism as a way of thinking and sees atheism as the foundation of satanism. There is no god or devil, and people are responsible for their own actions in the church. Satanists don’t believe in spells either. Basically the whole exercise seems pretty pointless.
The Aetherius Society was founded in 1955 by George King, taxi driver, to uplift humanity, and you! By use of karma yoga and by listening to the wisdom of spiritual masters, you can heal and evolve and help the greater good. If you want you can join in with a power circle meeting (apparently they’re everywhere). With a slogan like “Service is the Jewel in the rock of attainment”, one of the society’s Nine Freedoms, surely you can’t go wrong. Through the society the wise cosmic masters from other planets are trying to convey important knowledge to us silly humans. As political and spiritual leaders have ignored the masters, it is up to us to sort it all out. So help, join, listen to their online radio and uplift everything! Maybe George would have reached more people if he had stayed with his day job.
Raëlism is the second largest religion based on a belief in aliens and UFOs. The first one is of course Scientology. Life on earth was started by the Elohim (a group of extraterrestrials) who were pretty bad and lied to humanity and said that they were angels. According to Raëlism this group included Buddha and Jesus. But in fact its all about the aliens you see. The group offers seven levels of initiation and its members strive towards peace and democracy through a web of alien-belief-induced ritual and ‘ knowledge’. The religion was started by Claude Vorilhon, also known to his followers as Raël. He even started a business venture connected to the religion in 1997 (the venture was called Clonaid). In 2002 Clonaid claimed to have cloned an American woman, who then had a daughter called Eve. If all this does not tempt you, the Raëlistic Sensual Meditation techniques may.
If you feel drawn to water based activities such as swimming and boating, and a pantheon of water deities, you may just be a Mami Wata child! Mami Wata deities are mostly female and half human, half fish. Mami Wata (you may have guessed) means “water women”. Her followers may be abducted and taken to her under water lair of joy and gifts. She will then leave you some shiny trinkets and reappear in a dream (of course you have taken the gifts, who wouldn’t?) and demand them back. If you really want to keep them she will demand your sexual faithfulness. You would think you would see her only close to water, but no! Mami Wata can take on any form and could even appear in the shape of a man. She likes to go drinking in bars and she likes busy shops as chosen locations for her abductions. This sounds downright creepy to me. I wonder how many Mami Wata followers have gone home with some strange fishy looking dude who gave them a plastic pearl a a gift.
If none of these groups and religions took your fancy, you may like this one. Join the Yaohnanen! Much has been said about them on the Internet and you may have to move away from your snug home to the Pacific to enjoy this religion to its full extent. If you can wholeheartedly agree that Prince Philip of England is a joyful overlord, and you feel happy worshipping him, try to join this tribe. The South Pacific island Tanna has a legend that says that a powerful white man emerged from a volcano and travelled to marry a powerful monarch. Currently Yaohnanen chief Siko is still waiting for Philip to return to his home base. I wonder if they would change their mind if they knew about his little racial joke-faux-pas situations.
Sabine Bevers is a freelance writer with an interest in all things weird.