A Covenant of Reciprocity
When exploring the covenant of reciprocity that every member commits to upon joining the Wheel of the Year, we want to take this opportunity to ask you to consider our culture’s training on value: what we are taught to value, or undervalue in the context of modern life.
The Wheel is committed to providing a proper home for people who are both politically and spiritually motivated to protect what is sacred: the earth and all of creation. We see this as inseparable from re-creating a context in which feminist spiritual practice and leadership are recognized, honored and endorsed. Developing sound and ethical training in feminist spiritual practice and leadership has the power to address, and remedy, core issues of a fear-based culture. This is no small task, and we believe wholeheartedly in the importance of this contribution to society.
In accordance with our values, we make every effort to put our money, our time, and our energy where our mouth is, and when we extend an invitation to the Wheel to someone, we offer you the opportunity to do the same. Modern Western culture is a violent cultural model and, being reared in it, we all have a lot to learn, and unlearn, about reciprocity and balance. Over the decades of extending feminist spiritual education, we have found it to be incredibly important for community members to be willing to challenge some basic internalized assumptions about what is valuable, and where we put our resources.
In nature-based cultures the world over, there is a universal and entirely different understanding of exchange of resources and/or reciprocity between human beings, and between human beings and the natural world. The birth right to exist in absolute authenticity is so intrinsic to life that human “rights” are not something that requires much attention, instead the emphasis is more on our responsibility to each other and the rest of creation. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall-Kimmerer talks about how white, Western culture views a relationship with land as a “bundle of rights” (water rights, mineral rights etc.) whereas in Native, or nature-based culture, relationship with the land comes with a “bundle of responsibilities”. The responsibility to love, honor, respect, support and cherish. In the Wheel, our community is our “land”, the holy ground on and in which our lives unfold, and this is an important perspective to keep in mind as we decide what we will each extend into this relationship.
This way of looking at reciprocity is a total reconfiguration of a worldview. Stepping into the Wheel is choosing to decidedly tend, and value, a collective dream of a better world. A world in which your own well-being is entirely more possible because of enormous work that your beloveds have done, and continue to do, on your behalf. There is a very practical return on investment and while we do ask that each member be generous with the financial component of the commitment, we also want to make it clear that, even when we contribute generously financially, money is only one component of what is asked of all of us in order to properly tend this dream.
When considering the ways that the Wheel asks investment: participation in programming, community service, or financial contributions, we ask members to be generous and to bring willingness to honestly reconsider inherited assumptions about what is valuable and most worthy of our devotion and resources.