“When two or three or many people gather together in one place to perform certain actions, to think along certain lines, and to experience emotional influences, there is a buildup, in connection with that group, might be termed a composite group-consciousness, wherein the emotional and mental forces of all the members of the group are temporarily united in what is known in occultism as a group -thought-form, or artificial elemental.”
-by W.E. Butler, from his excellent book: “The Magician: His Training and Work
The word egregore seems to be an occult buzzword that has become popular again. On a personal level, I prefer the terms “thought-form,” or “elemental” as more people understand what I am saying when I speak about it.
Every religion, order or political party has an egregore or artificial elemental behind it. Small, tight-knit covens that have been around for quite a long time have very strong thought-forms, formed by the group that is behind it.
So how does a group egregore or artificial elemental come about by a coven or group?
1. Thoughts that are brought together behind a goal
2. Emotion placed behind that goal
3. Words or actions performed by coven or group.
Common interest of a group of two or more people typically bring together people under the banner of the thought of something. For us as witches, an interest in the subject of magic or witchcraft may be that first thought that brings a coven or group together. Under that banner, they may unite and coalesce to become a cohesive whole if all members are in like sympathy.
The second step is the emotion placed behind the goal – or the emotional involvement. Each coven and tradition and even coven under the banner of a tradition will have a slightly different emotional bond behind the group artificial elemental. This is because each group tends to work for various different aims and goals: Each witch and coven of witches has different aims and goals…. Some very practical needs and some more of a higher nature.
Each group itself may have slightly different conceptions about their gods or other keys that connect them into the concept or group think that exists behind a particular group or coven. These even small changes will make a difference.
The third key feature to this is the words or actions performed by a particular group. This will typically be the style of ritual, the major steps that are behind the actions, words and gestures that each group performs. For those who are part of the Wicca, this will typically at first be based on the handed-down and shared traditions that have been passed down to us – learning the core tradition itself.
That does in no way mean a group within a tradition cannot innovate and create new rituals at some point. In fact, it is probably healthy you do and know how to craft rituals and spells that are tailored to very specific needs…. As long as you learn and integrate yourself into the base tradition first, which happens through initiation and through practice of the tradition itself, you will tap into it.
Groups wax and wane over time. Some groups and covens may not be meant to last through the tests of time and some are. Some take off with a bang and go out with a bang. Some slowly grow and evolve over periods of time.
It is interesting to see what happens to an artificial group elemental when long periods of inactivity occur. When this happens, the elemental becomes a bit more flexible and magnetic – for like all things, even beings that exist within the astral light have a “will to survive” and carry on.
When activity comes back up again, when the original rituals and actions are performed again after so long, there may be a slightly different version of the artificial group elemental created: Enough small differences that it is slightly different. But because the thought-form itself is very much “in sympathy” with the old, original thought-form, they do have a tendency to coalesce and permeate each other. These thought-forms then envelope themselves around the people and become one.
The astral light is much more fluid than we realize. It is possible for old group-thought-forms that have been created to evolve over time. If the evolution itself is an organic one, following natural laws, the “egregore” will slowly adapt as well.
At times of initiation, I have heard folks say things like: “Now this person is tapped into the over-arching lineage behind the group.” Some of what they are describing is what could be described as the artificial elemental behind that coven.
Some folks may ask, “What about the Guides and Mighty Dead?”
The Guides and Mighty Dead of a coven also link-up thought-forms into the group coven thought-form as well. Many witches invoke them in their rituals, calling the “Watchers” and “Ancient Ones” to their rites. These many and various beings also pour thought-forms into the over-arching artificial coven thought-form.
So an egregore or artificial elemental of a coven could be described as the collective thought-form of both physical and non-physical beings that are united by a common goal, have emotional involvement in that collective goal and increase in power by shared words and actions by the collective group that re-emphasizes the shared goal or cause.