Tuesday, July 26, 2016
The question is sometimes raised about the merits of initiation into Wicca, whether initiates are worthy of respect and recognition, or whether it's all just a big wank and we all should get over it because it really means little or nothing at all. I cannot settle that issue with my own words, but here is something to consider.
Wiccan initiates can be a cantankerous bunch. There are plenty of them that I don't get on with easily, and some I cannot get on with at all. There are initiates about who honestly make me wonder how in the world we both ended up on the same spiritual path, we're so disimilar. There are people who have been initiated that make me wonder what they were thinking when they decided to get into the craft. No doubt there are plenty of initiates about who harbour similar thoughts concerning my own good self.
Whether or not I get on with them though, there's something I know about each and every one of them, which cannot be erased or diminished, and which commands respect no matter what else might be going on. Each and every one of them has voluntarily submitted to the first degree initiation.
Every one of them has reached a point where they, of their own free will, ventured into the night without knowing exactly what would await them. They ventured forth into the dark to present themselves naked and helpless to be bound and blindfolded and challenged with the bitter point of a sword. They went forth willingly, usually knowing the people they were placing themselves within the power of a little or a lot, but not completely, and without complete knowledge of just what was about to happen. They went forth under instructions which meant that no one not involved would know anything of their whereabouts or doings. They went forth to submit themselves to powers which their birth culture declared in its mythology to be a black and terrible evil, and trusted in their own choices that this was not so, or at least that the end to which they were proceeding held hope beyond hope. They went forth into the dark with no certain knowledge of how it would go or what really awaited them, in spite of how plausible their mentors seemed. Call it bravery or call it stupidity, they all went on that journey, to test resolve and courage against the press of cold steel upon their naked bodies, helpless and blind, their agency reduced to a narrow, perilous path with no real guarantee of a satisfactory conclusion.
No matter what else happens or has happened in their lives, they all went to this length to submit themselves to the service of gods they as yet had little real understanding of. They faced all the private doubts and ancient fears and stared down their own caution to perform a supreme act of perfect love and perfect trust in spite of the very real dangers they might face.
No matter what has or hasn't happened between us, when I communicate with a fellow initiate, I know this much at least; that like me, they once took that step into the dark, by themselves, and stood at the edge of the circle alone.