Article ID: 2497
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 5,201
Times Read: 13,352
Author: Stephanie Arwen
Posted: September 13th. 1999
Times Viewed: 13,352
So, you want to be initiated, do you? Why? Can you give me a good reason? Can you tell me what you have studied? Can you tell me what work you have done so far? Initiation is not membership in a club. It is not joining a sorority or fraternity. It is a point in your magical life where you realize that your call to the Gods is that strong. So, before you can be initiated by a human or by Themselves, you must have reached that point.
In my Tradition, there are actually five degrees. There is the Dedicant level, which is when you dedicate yourself to The Old Ones and the Old Ways. Then there are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degrees, and, finally, Eldering. My training has led me to the understanding that degrees are merely bookmarks in your travel diary. I know that someone who is in the same Tradition as I am, Keltic Wicca, will have a similar knowledge base if they are at the same level I am.
For instance, to be elevated to First, the applicant will know our basic Circle form by heart, have helped to write at least three Circles, know basic forms of protection and will have their four basic tools. Elevation to Second builds upon that and requires more in-depth learning. This includes being able to Draw Down the Moon, know the Charge of the Goddess by heart, read a basic astrology chart, know advanced protection work and be able to craft spells using specific bases of knowledge such as knot work or candle magic.
So, it is about what grade you are in school in a way. And this is the main reason that I have no use for others using my title of Lady. Lady means that I have achieved 2nd degree in my Tradition. Unfortunately in today's world of naming ourselves, we have far too many Lady and Lord types who have been studying all of two weeks. So, the title is meaningless unless the person using it knows the work involved. And it is the reason I choose to not address someone as Lady or Lord unless I know them within the Craft as people who have earned that title.
Perhaps if you change the word initiate to apprentice, you can have a clearer concept of what an initiate is in my Tradition. You have dedicated yourself to learning a Way. And the Way is the Old Ways as we know them today. And, no, Arwen doesn't think anyone's great great granny passed down her Tradition via her handwritten grimoire. I know my Tradition was begun in this century. Having a clear idea of where you are coming from helps you know where you are going.
So, you still want to be initiated? Why? What is your reason? What if initiation is something more than learning something?
I believe that initiation can best be described as a moment that marks a change. That change may or may not have happened yet. For whatever reason, initiation is a BIG bunch of hoodoo for many. Why is that? Do we all crave validation so much? I have to wonder if we are seeking validation when we seek initiation and if we are, then Whom are we seeking the validation from -- The Gods or our peers? To seek validation from our peers is probably one of the most normal things in the world. And I honestly don't think it is a bad thing unless everything you do is for that validation from others. At some point, we must learn that the most valuable validation comes from hearing our Gods through ourselves. When you are validated in that manner, it really is a very small thing to have received that recognition from your peers, isn't it?
I was coven initiated and hold a 2nd degree in the Tradition. However, my High Priestess, Lady Lhianna Sidhe, told me at my 2nd that it would be a roller coaster ride afterwards. She made sure that I understood that 2nd degree initiation from her was a celebration of something I might not have fully attained yet, but was ready to. I didn't quite understand her meaning and perhaps the only way for me to "get it" was to experience it. She also told me that the Gods would show me the way. So I had a full fledged 2nd degree initiation as I had had a full-fledged dedication and 1st degree initiation.
But what were the changes that happened? I can tell you now what they were, but at that time I was unable to recognize them happening. Much like I wouldn't be able to describe a tornado hitting my house with me in it, but would be able to recall things afterwards. And that is very much what my 2nd was about...a tornadic change in my life. Nothing could have prepared me for it, but change I did! And I mean fundamental life changes similar to a Saturn Return.
When someone else initiates you, that initiation may mark somewhere that you got with or without them! You have to recognize that moment. Sometimes you can be years down the road and think "oh...that was my first degree" or whatever you want to call it. I think that there are many solitaries out there who are 3rds and beyond, but they question themselves because no one in a black robe held a scourge over them and pronounced them "all grown up". There is something in us that wants someone else we respect to say, "Yes, you are as you think you are". But, at some point we have to learn to recognize that moment of change.
And that recognition is something that is unteachable, but not unlearnable. When you absolutely positively know your inner voice from all those other old tapes in your head, then you are a step closer to that recognition of your own process.
So my final word would be; stop doubting yourself. Look back on your magical life and see where your changes occurred. And, if you have just begun, then blessings on you! For I envy you in many ways...you are at the beginning of a very satisfying journey. Remember that the journey is the important thing and stop pushing the river. The end is merely another beginning.
Location: Austin, Texas
Author's Profile: To learn more about Stephanie Arwen - Click HERE
Bio: Arwen Nightstar lives in Griffin, GA with 1 husband, 2 dogs, 5 cats, and 1 cockatoo. She has been on this journey since 1981. She has been previously published in Circle Network News. She was dedicated to the Old Ways in 1985 in Toledo, Ohio where she was a loving member ofChildren of the Laughing Greenwood. Arwen maintains that networking is the key and is teasingly called the netwitch queen among her friends.She maintains Stir the Cauldron and Arwen'sStone Gallery as well as designs sites for a hobby. You can find her on several email lists including the two she runs which are Magic, Lust and Mirth and the Pagan Table. Both of these can be located at Onelist. She has hosted Member Chats for Sixdegrees also. She is outspoken for a Pisces, but her Scorpio moon and Aquarius Rising with Aquarius Mercury make up for that fishy quiet.
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