Temple Sahjaza

Written by: Zane Robinson
Link to original: http://awakeanddrink.org/?subpages=guide/covens&pages=templesahjaza

Beginning as a coven led by women, for women in the early '70s, Temple Sahjaza is one of the oldest Houses/Covens/Temples still around today. Taking its inspiration from various female-dominated cultures throughout history, the founding members saw women as the, "...[embodiment] of life an death itself." (source)

This ideaology was carried by the members up until 1997, at which point it was decided that their Coven should branch out. What began as a Vampyre-Witch Coven then became a much broader organization with major presences in both Toronto, Canada, as well as New York City. At this point in time, the Coven was renamed as, "House Sahjaza." (source)

What is Sahjaza?

The word, "Sahjaza" is a derivation of the Sanskrit, "Sahaja," meaning innate or natural. Prevalent in early forms of Hindu and Buddhism, it is essentially the same concept as their idea of "nirvana." Nirvana is the theoretical state of pure bliss and enlightenment, and is attained once an individual has accomplished all that they are supposed to achieve throughout their lives (yes, that is intentionally plural, as the Hindu and Buddhists both believe in reincarnation). According to House Sahjaza's official site, the word, "sahaja," was chosen as the root word because,

"Sahaja [means] "together born" – a medieval term denoting the fact that the transcendental Reality and the empirical reality are not truly separate but coexist, or with the latter being an aspect or misperception of the former; often rendered as "spontaneous" or "spontaneity"; the sahaja state is the natural condition, that is, enlightenment or realization," (source).

At some point unkown to me along with everyone else I have asked, it was decided that "House Sahjaza" would then become "Temple Sahjaza," (source).

General Thoughts and Perception

Temple Sahjaza has a lot of history behind them, and I suspect quite a bit ahead of them as well. Where they are headed, however, is anybody's guess. My own thoughts on this Temple are generally disfavorable. Although their online presence is fairly unexciting, they are an extremely active in-person group. There have been numerous reports of some...unruly members of this group; however how much of that is the individual, versus how much is the Temple is questionable. While I doubt that the ranking members of Temple Sahjaza go out and say, "Hey, let's start a vampire turf war with this other coven," I can't say with any degree of certainty whether they do anything to discourage it either.

There really isn't much to be seen about House Sahjaza/Temple Sahjaza from the outside looking in, simply because it is such a guarded society. In their own words, "Most of their teachings are private and remain a mystery to those not initiated into the Temple. [...] Membership is private and by invite only," (source), and, "We are not a secret society, however our ways and inner Household workings shall remain unknown and in secret regarding the specifics of our Family," (source).

They do, however, have a brief list of a few of the core contributors to Temple Sahjaza. Father Todd Sebastian, for example, was in House Sahjaza when The Black Veil 2.0 was collaborated upon with Michelle Belanger, (source).

The Good

On the positive side, they are strong believers in self-improvement, and highly encourage individuals to strive towards a perfect co-existence of one's "nightside" (vampyrism) and "dayside" (mundane life) which are both things that all of us should strive towards anyway. Their "Philosophy" is also a very good document that, in many cases, I almost wish people would follow it as opposed to whatever other "rules" they typically follow. They also state that:

"House Sahjaza members will honor and respect their donors who willingly allow us to partake in their precious gift of their life force. We will not tolerate unlawful abuse of any kind on donors, nor drugging or coercion used to gain a donor or sexual partner. We do not allow animal or human sacrifice or mutilations of any kind," (source).

The Bad

On the negative side, there is a lot of question as to how much the members of Temple Sahjaza are influenced by the so-called, "vampyre subculture," (not real vampyres, but individuals who fancy the 'mystique' of the vampires of fiction). Their close ties to the Sanguinarium are also of concern, especially considering the Sanguinarium's reputation for taking heavy cues from roleplaying (e.g. the mass concerns of copyright infringement by Father Sebastian Todd –founder of the Sanguinarium– from the popular roleplaying game, "Vampire: The Masquerade.").

Also of concern is the indecisive attitude in regards to whether or not/how much they want to associate themselves with the Sanguinarium and vampyre subculture. For instance, here are two statements from this page:

"We will only accept those who come with a desire to maximize their potential and who can make a significant contribution to the Family, the Sanguinarium and the Vampyre subculture."
"The Sahjaza, as a Family, do not hold involvement in the politics of other organizations or games of individuals of the sanguinarium and vampyre subculture. "

While I understand where they are coming from with this –that they don't want to be taken down with all the other idiots out there by those idiots' actions– you just can't have it both ways; you either want to be associated with these groups or you don't. You can't pick and choose if you will be buddy-buddy with them one day as opposed to the next (although judging by their gallery, my bet is a lot of them are pretty darn into the scene/subculture already).

Here is the URL to the Home Page: http://www.housesahjaza.org (Don't worry – clicking the pretty pictures doesn't seem to get me anywhere either. Instead, I just use the below link.)

Here is the URL to their Welcome Page: http://www.sahjaza.com/assets/php/main.php?sec=welcome

This is their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Temple-House-Sahjaza/318188971551542