Talk Thelema: Gather

Article: Splitting a Group
We don’t believe in “splitting groups” just because they reach some arbitrary limit of attendees. While there is an upper level of people suggested for a group, this is not about limiting people but encouraging two things:

  • Larger, less intimate/more friendly groups; and
  • Growth through the multiplication of coordinators rather than groups.

The first reason seems counterproductive. Don’t we want to encourage intimate groups?

Without diving into the psychology underneath it all, HeartFlame Ministries encourages these small groups to be social functions more than counseling groups.

Briefly, Kaaba House Fellowship, local O.T.O. bodies, etc all offer a sense of public space for groups to gather. Groups such as Talk Thelema offer a place for the social space. This includes both “insiders” and “outsiders.” It is a place that welcomes all types of people in pursuit of a common theme, in this case, Talk Thelema. Personal space is a much smaller group and includes only “insiders” who are familiar with each other on a regular basis. Intimate space happens with just one other person present at a time—though it can be created, of course, with more than one person—and is with someone who is far more than just a friend. It might be a local priest or priestess, local Body Master, minister, or other confidant.

Talk Thelema encourages the social space in order to encourage friendships within the group. It also provides the buffer to the “creep factor” that can happen in any group. One of the largest areas of deficiency in the Thelemic community is in the area of social spaces. We like to believe that we have these open opportunities, but, in reality, we are creating personal spaces that are much too large—and therefore far more superficial—and require more commitment to a group of people than most individuals can handle at one time.

The second reason sounds counterintuitive. Don’t we want more Talk Thelema groups?

Of course, but the goal here is not to run out and create more groups. The goal is to create more coordinators. While this has a very specific place within the HeartFlame Ministries playbook for small groups, for Talk Thelema the goal is similar: coordinators build groups around people of similar interest and appeal. Just because someone was active and productive in one Talk Thelema group does not mean they would have the same flavor and temperament in hosting a different Talk Thelema group. There is the old adage about birds of a feather and all that.

The idea here is to raise up coordinators from within existing groups. They have become intimately familiar with the methodology of Talk Thelema and are willing to strike out on their own to build a group in a new area. What we want to avoid is the idea that a group must split in order to maintain a specific attendance size. If some attendees move on with the new group because of a more convenient location to them, then we certainly want more people to be encouraged to participate than feel like they have to be locked down to a specific location.

What happens when we encourage the multiplication of coordinators rather than the multiplication of groups is that we are building a strong foundation of leaders that understand and value working together rather than “splitting up” groups based on arbitrary numbers and expectations.