Initiation or Dedication ?
The second cohort of The Schools “Craft” course is approaching its conclusion and once again we are thinking about the celebration of completion in terms of an ‘Initiation into The Craft’ – but is this the correct terminology.
The word INITIATION is interesting in both its meaning and the emotional ‘hooks’ it can have.
Initiation is a rite of passage marking entrance or acceptance into a group or society.
In an extended sense it can also signify a transformation in which the initiate is ‘reborn’ into a new role.
Examples of initiation ceremonies might include Hindu diksha, Christian baptism or confirmation, Jewish bar or bat mitzvah, acceptance into a fraternal organization, secret society or religious order, or graduation from school or recruit training.
In terms of The Craft, our course on contemporary Witchcraft and Wicca, we see it as a celebration of completing the first phase of magical training and the dedication of the individual to continue their mystical journey.
Since in our course we focus not on the dogma of any particular tradition, but the willingness to explore and adapt ideas with understanding and personal intuition, perhaps the word initiation is not really the best word.
In the final sessions of our course we reflect upon what an initiation or dedication represents.
We share the following:
Whether you choose to call yourself a Witch or a Cunning Person you have undertaken a specific course of preparation, instruction and sharing which has led to your initiation into The Craft.
You are now part of a lineage which has drawn inspiration from Hedge, Alexandrian, Druidic, Spiritual and Magickal tradition.
How you continue along your path is up to you.
However you have made certain promises which we ask you to keep at the fore-front of your mind whenever you present yourself as a member of The Craft.
They are simple promises.
RESPECT – yourself and your path.
Your truth is reflected in everything to say and do – so your attitudes and behavior towards others is a measure of your truth.
Not only are you ambassadors of The Craft but you are the only ambassador for yourself.
Respecting this implies that your words are thought full; your actions are compassionate and your desire to understand rather than blame is foregrounded.
Respecting the opinions and paths of others does not mean you have to agree with them; it does not mean you cannot discuss with them BUT it does mean that you have to listen to them if you want them to listen to you.
Your discussions with those you disagree come from a place of clarity, focus and never a personal attack.
Respect and care for the Earth, the embodiment of the Goddess
Celebrate the differences of tradition
RESPONSIBILITY – for your actions
Such can come directly from an attitude of RESPECT but requires that you are seeking to become aware; to learn and grow wise.
The un-knowing cannot be expected to show responsibility, yet the Witch is wiccae – wise and as such strives to be fully aware of their motives, behaviours and the consequences of them.
We have a duty to care for those who cannot care for themselves.
In essence ….
“Neither transfer your emotions onto others nor be the foil for their projections”
“Walk softly, sometimes silently, to notice the impressions of your footfalls and the effect of your words”
LOVE – empathy, care and compassion
From RESPECT and RESPONSIBILITY will come behaviours that are not motivated from self or for power but from a desire to bring balance, harmony and peace – these things possibly best covered by the words well-meaning, well-being and healing.
Love needs to be extended to self as well as to others. In actions such love can be described as seeking to develop personal inherent gifts and abilities; bring healing and the light and love of the Goddess and God into their lives and the lives of those in their community.
SERVICE – from the heart to the hearth
How you go about using the skills, knowledge and understandings you have gained over the last year is for you to decide however your forthcoming initiation asks you to make some of promises which we really want you to take seriously.
These are, simply put …
To always use your skills and talents to support others
To always keep your own counsel and not engage in disrespectful or damaging actions with others
To value the idea of magic in personal, emotional, psychological, practical and mystical terms
To never do harm through intention, omission or ignorance
To continue to explore your own personal development
To serve your hearth or community in whatever way is appropriate to your skills, talents and abilities
To know your own limitations when it comes to offering service; to seek guidance from others to overcome them and be willing to defer to those with experience or expertise in any given field.
To never promise that which you cannot deliver – that includes your time, your confidence as well as the results of your work.
Remember by demonstrating Respect, Responsibility and Love you will be educating others in the ways of The Craft and those who follow a similar path. Perhaps, in view of the injustice, bigotry and prejudice we see around EDUCATION can be seen as being one of the most valuable services we can offer.
(source: The Craft by Sue Edwards and Alan Jones)
So perhaps the Initiation is into a way of thinking whilst the Dedication is into a way of being.
The Initiation is about becoming part of a group; and individual within a collective who share similar ideas and attitudes towards life.
The Dedication is the commitment to self and the spiritual path being explored.
As far as we are concerned both related to a shared Commitment – on behalf of the dedicant to themselves and of our promise of continued support and mentoring.
Above all it is a Celebration of one cycle of 13 months of discovery within the path of The Craft.