The Value of Initiation

It’s interesting to see what seems to be a dialogue among bloggers on this topic. There are varying and valid views out there. As a hedgewitch myself I also don’t see the importance of ranks or hierarchy, as long as nothing stops me from practising my craft I’m happy. 🙂 However, I see that the ceremonies are very important to a lot of people and can enrich the spiritual experience.

(Here are a couple of posts discussing different views on the topic by Spider Goddess and from Witchy Ramblings)

I’m looking forward to the Initiation ceremony we’ve planned (see post entitled Initiation). Why? Well I’m one of those who sees great value in it. It’s like going to the cinema – you know you’ll love it when you go but you can always watch the film on DVD. Ok, that’s a very mundane way of describing it. In case I’m not making myself clear, what I mean is that an initiation is a valuable experience whereby you can accomplish much spiritually and truly connect with others although it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy spirituality (or Avatar, or Smirfs, or Despicable Me, or Tron) and be spiritual without it.

Some things I heard others say/imply that I thought were interesting:

You cannot ascend without initiation. I have a couple of things to say. Anyone can reach ascension (with or without ceremony). However, what I think might be what the people who seem to think this means is that you cannot reach ascension without spiritual progression. In our craft, because of its diversity (rich, beautiful diversity), we have a problem – paradigms. A paradigm is a way of describing, interpreting, thinking about the world around you. This is something wonderful because we can say to other because of this “do what feels right to you” because we appreciate the different angle that everyone takes everything and we’re also recognising that the world is as you choose to see it. Back to the point, maybe a lot of us are seeing initiation differently. (That’s Great!)

That initiations and degrees mean there’ll be a hierarchy. Ok, we have people we like to appoint sometimes. For instance a High Priestess. But I personally believe that if you view the role of High Priestess solely as leader and decision maker then you are being misled. To me, it means you are denying the actual spiritual dimension of the role. The High Priestess has a responsibility to be a spiritual doorway for others – conductress of rituals rather than dictator! Although I still believe you can manage without… Just like an initiation, but with one you can experience something very unique. Another point I want to make about the ‘hierarchies’ aspect is that actually there’s no smoke without fire. That’s because some people do choose to use their initiations and degrees like badges on their sashes. It’s these people who’ve gleaned nothing spiritual from their experiences, in my opinion.

Ok, something I’ve not seen expressed in the discussion but have experienced (really through being one of the perpetrators!) is the attitude that you can’t work together without being in a coven. I’m guilty as charged. I was desperate to be in covens and to be initiated. Honestly, a study group is what they should have been called. Covens should be with people you really really want to experience the craft with (not just because you all love the craft but you really want to work together and celebrate together and learn as much as you possibly ever could from each other). A coven should be a nurturing environment full of encouragement and learning. 🙂

And another thing I haven’t seen others discuss yet – initiations aren’t all about belonging to covens! Just thought I’d make that one clear and it doesn’t really need an explanation. 🙂

My very very personal views on initiations and all rites of passage rituals are that they are unique in that they’re aim isn’t fertility, to bring love into your life, get a good harvest, acknowledge female or male aspects etc. … but to celebrate and encourage spiritual progression. I also believe that it builds up energies that you don’t send out of yourself but you use to take you through to the next spiritual level. They’re acknowledgements of experience, development and learning new lessons.

This means you’re probably doing things like this in your own way without the ritual or ceremony as a solitary. The value of that is no more or less than that of initiation ceremonies.

Spiritual development is very personal and cannot be universally measured! XD

Thanks for letting me stick my spoon in the discussion cauldron and stir!

Blessed Be

Rowan

x~x

Advertisements

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Raine
    Oct 15, 2012 @ 22:58:45

    Firstly, I want to thank you for liking my post on High Priestesses: http://rainewater85.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/shes-a-priestess-or-isnt-she/
    Secondly, I’d like to throw in my two cents on the topic of initiations here. My status as a solitary practitioner is not by choice. I used to seek out teachers to help guide me as I’ve always felt informal self-training to be aimless and random. Also, without the validation of initiation and the degrees to mark my progress, I’ve never been able to gauge how far I’ve come and how much I really know, and with that comes a lot of self doubt. There’s something to be said about a solid, structured curiculum from a knowledgable elder and the ceremonies of initiation that come with it. As long as one maintains humility and gratitude instead of climbing up on a high horse and looking down on me, then I can admire them for having that advantage.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: