"Open the door - the door that hath no key,
the door to dreams, whereby men come to thee"
(Prayer to Pan - Dion Fortune)
- Initiation is a rite of passage, a death and birth, a transformation.
- Initiation is opening the door to the Mysteries
- Initiation is the forming of a powerful and magickal connection to the Gods, their cycles and symbols - and allowing ourselves to be moulded by them
- Initiation is entering into a fellowship and a community - not as a follower but as a Priest, and with all of the responsibilities that entails
1. Initiation is a rite of passage...
All forms of initiation are a stepping from one life to another: a rite of passage - the beginning of a journey from our old selves to a new Self.
All major religions have some form of initiation: naming, baptism, Bar mitzvah, consecration, Apostolic anointing. These rituals play a double role: they are pyscho-sociological - marking entry and acceptance into a community or a stage of life; and they are also metaphysical: providing a moment of Divine Grace, the transformation of the human life by the touch of the Gods.
Almost all Occult Initiations take the form of a symbolic death and rebirth: we die to our old state of ignorance and mortality, and are reborn as Children of the Gods (the Hidden Children of the Goddess) - under their protection and dedicated to their service.
Initiation in our form of the Traditional Craft comes mainly through four different rituals - each one marking and celebrating part of the journey from seeker to "Magus and Witch Queen". As a Mystery Tradition, each Initiation brings the seeker to a deeper experience of those Mysteries; as a Priesthood, each Initiation also marks the seeker for deeper dedication and Service to the Gods.
2. Initiation opens the door...
Each Initiation draws the seeker deeper into The Mysteries. The Mysteries, being non-rational, are also experiential: each ritual takes the Initiate through a process by which they come to understand on a deep level the nature of the Mysteries as reflected and manifest in their lives.
Our Initiation Rite may mark a time and place, but like a signpost its true worth is in guiding us onward in our eternal journey: our lives are cycles, and our metamorphosis an ongoing process.
Initiation also gives us a framework both symbolic and metaphysical by which to understand the internal transformative processes which we will undergo. The ritual, and the training given before and after, give the Initiate a framework by which to structure and understand what is happening to them.
3. Initiation is forming a connection...
Through Initiation we are changed by the touch of the Gods upon our lives - they plant a seed within us which will eventually flower into true knowledge and wisdom. Through their touch we are made truly "like men, yet not mortal".
In Initiation we are brought to the door of the Temple of the Mysteries - and we stand on the threshold between our old life in the "world of men" and that of the "Realm of the Gods". The way is hard and Secret - and only those who have walked before can lead us there; they must also be able to Vouch for us to those who guard the way - and that we enter with Love and Trust: for ourselves, our Initiator, and the Gods...
As we enter the Realm of the Gods we are challenged: "Art thou willing to suffer to learn?" are we truly ready to open ourselves to Wisdom?
Suffer here has two meanings - Both Suffer as in accepting that growth and change can be painful, and Suffer as in to permit something to happen: to allow ourselves to be moulded by the experiences we undertake. We must allow the Gods to place their hand upon us and guide our path to Wisdom.
4. Initiation is entering into a community....
Those who seek initiation in the Traditional Craft are seeking entry into both a personal relationship with the Gods, and consecration as one of their Priesthood.
Within the Traditional Craft we have no congregation - we are all Priests and Priestesses, friends and Kin. A coven is a deeply connected family - and entry into the family must be through a form of adoption. Through Initiation we show ourselves Trustworthy and Loving - we swear fealty to our new kin, and as such are brought into the Family of the Coven, the Fellowship of our Tradition - and the wider community of all our "Brothers and Sister in the Art".
To enter this family we must be "Proper Person, Properly Prepared". We must show ourselves to be One who has been touched by the Gods and called to their service - but a calling is not enough in itself: the land may be fertile, but it must be prepared before it is ready for the seed to flourish...
In preparation and training for our entry into the Priesthood, the Initiate must show a dedication to learn and commit to the knowledge of the Craft and have a great desire to learn the ways of the Goddess. As a Priest or Priestess it will be our sworn duty to keep the knowldge and rituals of our Craft, to pass them on to those who are worthy, and to manifest the Gods in our lives. For the Gods need us just as we need them, and the Craft itself must grow.
But, Initiation is only the start - the door is opened, and we take our first step - but the path is not an easy one, and we must work long and hard to attain our goal - for we, the Wytches, are forged in fire...