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Own The Book

Wiccan Initiation.

stone circle of initiation
Beyond the Book of Shadows looks at the importance of Wiccan Initiation Rituals and explores the esoteric significance of Initiation. You will find explorations of
  • Why it is necessary,
  • What happens when you are initiated,
  • What you can expect on an inner level and
  • Why self initiation is such a rare occurrence.

The source of the power behind Wiccan Initiation Rituals is explored and explained.

Below is a partial extract of the chapter on Wiccan Initiation Rituals.

Gardnerian derived Wicca began as an initiatory tradition and for the most part it continues to adhere to that style. The Gardnerian Book of Shadows contains the full wiccan initiation rituals as originally set down. It doesn't however provide much information on the how or why of wiccan initiation rituals. It is only in fairly recent times that books have appeared on how to form a ‘self-initiated’ covens or how to simply initiate one’s own self. So is initiation still necessary?

Yes. It is so now and it will always be that way. On a practical level, a Wiccan Initiation Ritual is itself a skilled and advanced magical operation and true self-initiation a relatively rare occurrence. It is not something which beginners, by definition, are likely to either achieve or experience.

Most attempts at self initiation are really self dedications, rather than initiations. Absolutely valid but very different from initiation.

Reasons For Initiation.


To look at the reasons for this viewpoint, it is useful to examine the real purpose of initiation and some of the reasons why it has evolved.

Emotional Security.
Magical groups require two components in order to work well; the building up of a group mind from its members and the creation of an atmosphere of trust and commitment to help members deal with the occasional storms of spiritual growth. Without initiation, it is very difficult to impossible, to achieve these conditions.

Working magic and undergoing spiritual growth can create powerful group dynamics. There will be times when relationships become strained during times of growth and change.

People need support from other members, they need to know they can trust other members and the group needs to have enough commitment from people that they do not leave at the first hint of anything difficult. In an open group it is difficult to build the strong bonds of trust and support which are required.
Psychology.
Without initiation there is, by definition, no clear boundary between being in the group and not being so. Initiation creates a clear and distinct boundary line. Not just between being in the group and not, but also between life before and life after. It can be thought of as a boundary and a transition both spatially and temporally. Without initiation, joining a coven (or any other group), would be just another a seamless and continuous event of life, each one running together without distinction. That is the opposite of what initiation stands for and achieves. It makes and marks a break. It brings this period of life to the full stop of before and after. Before we were that. Now we are this. There is a distinction and there is a difference. Without initiation there is nothing.

Magical Change.
This is the real kernel at the heart of initiation. True initiations are a practice of high magic, akin to invocations of the Gods. This is what differentiates them from any other joining rituals, even if they share the same name. A true magical initiation effects an energetic change upon the individual it is focussed upon. It is much more than a simple 'join-the-group' type initiation ritual.

In looking at the inner meaning and roots of initiation, we can see that what happens in an initiation is that something is added to us. We are given an open connection to a particular style of practice, with all its associated knowledge, quirks and slants. The better the initiation, the closer we will have been brought to the original insight of that path’s founder.
people holding hands in ritual initiation circle

When this seed is planted in us, it changes us. It grants us understanding and a way of perception that we did not have before. It can open doors of ability which we did not have or which were dormant before our initiation. Exposure to a current of spiritual energy can accelerate our growth beyond what we could have achieved on our own without the usual time and effort. In many ways, it is a free ride. It gives us something. A spiritual nourishment for our embryonic self. It is then up to us to make best use of this.
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