(revised) by Ellyntari and Dorcas
The guidelines set forth in this article are Web policy, effective Beltane 1994. This is the most up to date version of Amazing Graces' Guide. The original Guide is printed in the Web Council minutes for July 7, 1990. As always, Web policy may be made or modified at any Web event.
Since a sponsor is someone who is responsible for a newcomer, it is probably a good idea to talk about what a newcomer is before talking about the role of a sponsor. A newcomer is someone new to the Web, not a character from Alien Nation. A newcomer is either someone at his/her first or second Web event or someone who must be sponsored at a Web event. This could mean anyone on the following list:
Any of these people needs a sponsor to attend a Web function. Note that newcomers who are not interested in joining the Web and everyone younger than 18 will always need a sponsor, no matter how many Web events they have attended.
Also note that anyone who is over 18 and interested in joining the Web and who has attended two or more Web events in the past does not need a sponser anymore but may not necessarily be able to sponsor others. See the qualifications for sponsorship below.
Some special considerations for sponsoring minors: know the parents' feelings about the child's attendance, and know your guest's personality, maturity, and likely behaviors in a ritual setting. (This is always important, but especially so if your guest is young.)
Before you can sponsor someone, you must:
Some Websters do not need sponsors, but may not be sponsors yet. Check the above guidelines to see if this fits you.
The sponsor's job is to make life easier for the newcomer and for Web members. As a sponsor, please keep these things in mind:
Sponsorship is not something to be taken lightly. It is a big responsibility. It's more than inviting someone to a party or just giving them a ride. As a sponsor, you are responsible for this person's behavior. Sponsorship is risky. Know your guests. Interview them. Make sure they understand what they're getting into—and vice versa.
Don't assume that just because you know someone—family member, boyfriend, wife, etc.—that you know all of their ideas about magic and ritual. Nice people make faux pas too. Your brother from Jersey may be great at parties and meeting people, but he might get the wrong idea at Beltane. Remember that every situation is unique. Before sponsoring someone, know how they feel about magick, feminism, nudity and religion, not to mention other individuals who may be present. Be aware of any factors that could pose a problem, and make sure that your guest is prepared to deal with them. Communicate directly and clearly beforehand about your expectations. Don't hint and don't assume.
Be specific about problems. Remind your guest that a social mistake that one might make elsewhere could be much more serious and tense in a ritual context.
Here are some very important basics for sponsors to cover beforehand:
Introduce your guest. While it is each member's responsibility to greet newcomers and find out who their sponsor(s) are, you should be available to answer questions and to smooth things nonetheless.
Please remember that as a sponsor, you must be free to be with and be aware of your guest. You are responsible for dealing with your guest's behavior. If your guest needs to leave the ritual or be taken out of the ritual, it's up to you to take care of it. Use your judgment, then act accordingly.
If unsponsored newcomers show up, interview them and/or find them a sponsor. There may or may not be someone whose job this is. If so, introduce them. There are very few situations that can't be handled as they arise with good communication and thoughtfulness. Most guests are there because they want to be. They are guests, not intruders, and will usually respond to polite suggestions.
If we've made sponsorship sound like a drag, remember that discussing magick with a friend before ritual can be a lot of fun. Most of the not-fun parts of sponsorship are the results of misunderstandings and lack of planning. Planning together is part of the fun—sharing information and learning about each other in all of our diversity.
Because of the special significance of Samhain and Beltane, some extra consideration must be given to the issue of sponsorship on these Holy days. Sponsors on any holiday need to be available to their guests. Because of this, HPs for Samhain and Beltane who wish to sponsor need to also find a co-sponsor. Use discretion about who and how many you sponsor. Be sure to explain the special significance of these holidays to your guests.
When in doubt, ask. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do," is a good rule. Be open-minded, and, if possible, listen more than you talk. A mouth that is closed can't get a foot in it. Don't be afraid to ask questions, especially before and after the ritual. If you are criticized, remember that it is not necessarily an attack on you personally. There was a time when triangulation and indirect communication were the common procedure in the Web, as they are many other places. These never worked, and normally led to worse problems than the situations that triggered them. For the most part, we've cleaned up our act. Expect directness. Take advice in the spirit it's given; nobody is out to get you.
We could list suggestions or rules 'til the cows come home, but what it all boils down to is this: communication and coutesy are the only really helpful guidelines. We hope that sponsors and newcomers will find these suggestions helpful. We think using them can help prevent problems we've experienced in the past. Blessed Be!
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This file was modified 12/21/04 04:11:10 PM
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