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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in initiation

Don't be deceived by personal presentation. Some will bite on the front end and you'll never see the kindness coming. Some will bite on the back end - where you expect sympathy you will suddenly get steel.

That is the way of it. Do not confuse softness with powerlessness, harshness with lack of solace.

Do not coddle your own weakness. Listen deeply, and open. There are teachers are all around you.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

At the time of writing, several friends of mine are engaged in formal initiation proceedings, leading me to consider my own experiences with initiations.  It was easy to pinpoint those formal initiations such as being initiated into the National Honor Society, or being initiated into a co-ed social group at my college that I can only explain as being modeled on the Merry Pranksters.  But the experience that first came to mind when thinking of initiatory experiences was working the Twelve Steps.

Anyone who has a desire to stop using can become a member of a Twelve Step group.  You do not have to work the Twelve Steps.  However, the process of working the Twelve Steps is the manner in which one draws closer to the program or becomes truly initiated.  It is how we begin to view fellowship as family.  Since we work the Twelve Steps with a sponsor, we are forced to reach our hand out and ask for help.  No longer are we able to sit in the back of the room, not talking to anyone.  We must make connections in order to move forward.  As we reveal ourselves to our sponsor, we learn how to become open and more vulnerable.  We become open to taking suggestions, and learn about humility.  These are essential elements for being part of a society instead of being a party of one.  Not only does the process of the Twelve Steps change us into better people, but we also learn how to be with people as we work the steps.

The many tales of underworld descents provide a poetic structure through which to understand a program of recovery. Much of what we do is painful, and involves spelunking around in some of the darker neighborhoods of our psyche.  If we persist, at the end of the experience we are reborn.  As in the Sumerian tale of Inanna’s descent, there are seven gates (steps) we must pass through in the Recovery version of the Underworld, and at each of them we must turn over some part of ourselves just as Inanna was required to turn over a symbol of her power and wealth.  In Step One, we hand over our attachment to the idea that we shall ever be able to exercise any power over our drinking or drugging.  In Step Two, we give up the specter of self-sufficiency.  In step Three, we turn over our will and our lives.  We hand over denial and self-delusion in Step Four, and in Step Five we part ways with our pride.  In Step six we relinquish our attachment to our character defects, and then in Step Seven we actually ask for them to be removed. As Inanna became stripped of the symbols of her holy priestesshood, so too do we become more naked and vulnerable as we go along.  When we question, as Inanna did, why we have to do this or that, our sponsors or old-timer’s might snap at us as the Chief Gatekeeper, Neti, snapped at Inanna, “Quiet Inanna, the ways of the Underworld are perfect.  They may not be questioned.” We’ve all met the Big Book thumpers who talk like this!

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
The Cailleach Initiation

Since moving here to the depths of rural Ireland I've found that the seasonal and circadian rhythms rule me very intimately.  This winter I have been truly initiated by the Cailleach.  It's not that we have been snowed in.  We are having the first flurries as I tap this blog. No, it's that when the dark descended, the cloud cover rolled in, the skies lowered, I settled into a long womb time.

I came to a full stop.  I needed to just sit. Yes, there was activity happening but I felt at a bit of a remove.  The real happening was the silence that descended inside me.  The words wouldn't come.  If I tried to force them they were clumsy. It felt as if even Spirit was incommunicado.  Feeling directionless, without a sense of 'true north' I hunkered down into my still centre. In this space I sank into a powerful place of deep trust where I allowed myself to let go of some attachments.

Danu has always felt like an ancient Grandmother to me. Some people say she is Brigit's mother, but my personal encounters tell me she goes back further generations.   For me She is one manifestation of the Hag Goddess, or Cailleach (say that Cal-yuck).  I have an affinity to stone and there are many glacial erratics mimicking chairs that are known as The Hag's Chair.  In a field about twenty yards from my home we have the Cailleach's Chaise Longue.

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For a recording of this Vision working, please click here: 

 http://templeofwitchcraft.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/13-Yule-2013-Day-13.mp3

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  • Oak
    Oak says #
    Will thank you very much Christopher! I got so very much out of these workings.More than I can even Express. It had been a very bu

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Calling In Death

'Everything in me knew I was dying. Memories of my life started flooding by. I realized in that moment how much I loved. Loved my dear ones, the earth, this life. So much time had been wasted in fear!  I started a ritual and invited everyone to say 'I love you'. I shared everything else that needed to be shared'.
At the point of near death the veils are lifted. You suddenly see, know, are. Things that you have been closing your eyes for all your life suddenly become crystal clear.  For instance: your mission in life, love, how to live together with all these people on our beautiful Earth.

 

When the Christian church started portraying death as something outside of you, which decided for you whether it would be heaven or hell, depending on past actions,  they stole something essential from us: the potency of this moment near death.

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  • Mea English
    Mea English says #
    having had a near death experience i can attest to the fact that dying is much easier than watching death happen. my familiar died

Last year a young man approached me at a sabbat and told me he was "of my line."  Huh?  I didn't know I had a line.  Then he told me he'd recently been initiated and one of his initiators was an initiate of one of my initiates.  My initiate had been a student of mine (and of others) for some years before any oaths were sworn. 

This incident brings up lots of questions, especially since it arises from a tradition (Reclaiming) that requires no initiation in order for people to participate as fully and completely, prominently and authoritatively (teaching, public priest/essing, et al.) as they choose.  An obvious concern in this scenario is accountability -- to students, to community, to tradition.  Another is whether, or how, one can assume a shared knowledge and capability.  Those are questions for another rumination; for now, let's stick with lines and lineage.

What do we mean by lineage?  Why is it important to us?  Or to those of us who may think it is important?  Or to anyone?

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  • Evylyn Rose
    Evylyn Rose says #
    Just wanted to share a quick, friendly message that the URL for the Ordains linked to in this article has changed and can now be f
  • Ro Reyburn
    Ro Reyburn says #
    I guess that I have to opt for a [i]functional[i] , for lack of a better word, definition. Lineage, to me, is the line of connec
  • Joseph Merlin Nichter
    Joseph Merlin Nichter says #
    Most teachers offer the answers, the wise ones simply ask the right questions. And you are asking the right questions. I think th

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