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June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
My Father, My First God
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
The Fear of Witchcraft
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
The Evolution of Thought Forms
Magic in Sentences
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
Native American Spirituality Myopia
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
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Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Sex, Lies, and Witches: Love in a Time of Wiccans and Atheists
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
My Concept Of Grey
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
A Microcosmic View of Ma'at
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
September 20th. 2014 ...
GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
September 7th. 2014 ...
Deer Man- A Confounding Mystery
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
A Strange Waking Dream
August 24th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
August 10th. 2014 ...
As a Pagan, How Do I Represent My Path?
The Power of the Gorgon
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Article Specs |
Article ID: 2498
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 6,136
Times Read: 8,253
Author: Moonspider [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: September 13th. 1999
Times Viewed: 8,253
Initiation, another controversial topic. Is it important? Oh yes, quite definitely so. To borrow a phrase, it separates the men from the boys (my apologies to the ladies). It is a challenge, it is transforming.
Among other things, people today are mollycoddled with wall-to-wall carpeting, central heating and a box which emits brightly colored pictures designed to keep the mind comforted-and for the same reasons that a baby is given a rattle! On the whole, this is done to keep people quiet and to stop them interfering in matters that do not concern them. It is no wonder that some teachers have decided to water-down initiations so that newcomers will not be unnecessarily alarmed at "unseemly" goings on!
As a result, most initiations have lost the vital ingredients of joy and terror, which made them initiations. Ö Fortunately, there are pockets of resistance, and souls who demand a lot more! I hope that you are such a soul!1
This life altering aspect is what makes the process initiatory. You are not the same person from when you started the journey. That is the most important piece to this whole discussion.
When you pass through, you see with different eyes, feel with raised awareness. You've graduated to the next level of awareness. You have gone up the ladder. You are now ready to face new challenges and experiences in life. You've matured to a new level.
This is tantamount to spiritual growth. Its imperative to your growth and evolution. Without any challenge there is no growth and we stagnate. This is a living and growing religion.
You can call yourself whatever you like-but be prepared to pay the price. The Craft is not an easy life, it is not for everyone.
Self-initiation is an oxymoron. By definition it is impossible. How could you challenge yourself?!
However, does this mean that a solo cannot be initiated? No. How so? Why the God and Goddess of course. They can challenge you like no other person can. This will be your true initiation.
Interesting enough, while doing some quick research for this piece I ran across a reference to the peorth rune. Some of its meanings are secret, mystery and initiation. Its the 14th rune in the Elder Futhark. If you look at it, it resembles a dice cup--how fitting. For in initiation you do not know how you will come out the other side; this requires faith.
Illness can be initiatory. To explain this I will share part of my story. You see last year I had brain surgery. I'm a librarian, my brain is my tool.
I can shift gear on myriads of topics, speak to all kinds of professionals on their levels, to provide them with the proper information to do their jobs. So, the last thing I need is someone fooling around up there in my head.
In a nutshell I had a sinus infection move. It was able to jump the blood-brain barrier and form an abscess the size of a golf ball. This barrier exists because blood and its products are caustic to brain tissue.
But getting back to the point. I took ill on a Thursday afternoon, first losing my ability to move then to speak. Then fortunately I lost consciousness after I was placed on the stretcher. When I next awoke it was Sunday, Mother's Day to be precise. I felt like my head had been run over by a Mack Truck. Soon to discover a strange bandage resembling half a yarmulke on the left side of my head.
This was one of the worst dreams I ever remember having. Then of course when this nice young nurse started asking me the strangest questions like what year it was. I guessed 1996, it was 1998. What month, told her I hadn't a clue. What day, I said, "Really, if I didn't get the other two what makes you think I'd get this one." Oh, and who was President. Through the murk I did remember Slick Willy.
For the next 3 days, while in Neuro ICU I kept hoping this was a dream I'd wake up from. I gradually began to realize that, this isn't a dream. You are in the hospital and you did have brain surgery. Deal with it.
My first steps out of bed were like baby steps, really rediscovering myself, my balance. Literally being reborn on several levels. You've no idea the simple joys of life until some are taken away, albeit temporary.
Now some of you may be wondering, what does this have to do with initiation? A great deal. I had to have extreme faith, faith in others, the Gods, myself. I had to trust others to help me, because I couldn't do things myself. I needed to let others work magic for me, many times before it was the other way around.
And most importantly, I had to face every single fear and demon that I'd ever had. Literally facing my true self laid bare to myself.
However, I was able to face each demon and deal with, conquer or neutralize each one. We all have them. What are you hiding from? Sooner or later you will have to face them.
Was it terrifying? You bet! But in all honesty it was easier to face them and realize the demons existed in my mind and only had power over me because I let them.
This process allowed me to wipe the slate clean, to be truly free of all the rubbish that clutters our mind and have hold over us.
Now mind you this is extreme, and it is mine. Not everyone is going to have emergency brain surgery, this was my choice. What could possibly be more challenging to someone who uses and lives in his head for a living than to threaten the vital tool of that existence.
It also pushed me into using my tool more. Well, perhaps better. Several people have suggested to me to write, specifically about the Craft because of my unique perspectives and experiences.
So as part of my recovery I did start, those are posted here on The Voice. The experience changed me in that, before it was something I thought about doing, now I'm writing. Use it or lose it goes the phrase.
Was this my first initiation? No. But definitely the most profound. For all the trauma of the experience I am grateful for it. If you've not had a profound experience you may not understand that. But know that all experiences presented to you can be life altering.
I now sport a "j" hook scar of several inches atop my head. It was originally held together by 26 staples. It is a scar I wear proudly, I earned it. It reminds me of my experience-as if I could ever forget it.
Remember that initiation is the ritual transition form one status to another, with attendant ceremonies and ordeals. A dominant theme of death and rebirth. Testing the initiate's worthiness to enter the new status, it often involves special instructions, restrictions, seclusion, and/or mutilation. Among the most important social institutions of traditional, preliterate societies.2
Pass through your doorway, and face yourself, if you dare!
Location: Bridgeport, Connecticut
Author's Profile: To learn more about Moonspider - Click HERE
Bio: Mark MoonSpider Sosnowski, has been on this path most of his life. Life has dealt him many twists and turns, and usually says he came into the Craft through the back door. He loves books and reading and makes his living as a librarian. Numerology is his main form of divination having worked it for over 15 years. But, his Gemini mind, never at rest, has studied astrology, crystals, runes, I ching and whatever else strikes his fancy. His previous ramblings have been published on The Witches' Voice at:
1Crowther, Patricia, The Zodiac Experience: Initiation Through the Twelve Signs (York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1992), p. 7-8.
2The Concise Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 3rd ed. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), http://aj.encyclopedia.com/articles/06373.html
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