Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thoughts on Solitares and Initation

My egroup recently devolved into a very heated discussion of what is wicca. That led to a discussion of solitaires and initiates, with plenty of toe stomping to go around. I finally took a deep breath and posted my own thoughts. Having been through training three times before initiating, and now working as an eclectic solitaire, I felt like I needed to share my experience. So here it is:

In my thirties, following the most emotionally, physically, sexually abusive relationship of my life, I found the goddess religion in a metaphysical bookstore parking lot. Several years later, I had finished my training (2nd time around). I challenged for initiation. Because of the foul things said by another member (who was my fiance), my HP refused to initiate me into the group. She said she would initiate me as a solitaire only. She said that I could not be trusted to work group energy. It was one of the most painful things ever said to me. And she was wrong. She was being manipulated by a very dangerous man. I refused to initiate as a solitaire and realized I was with the wrong group again.

We each had a crystal that we put in a small sandbox for ritual each time that psychicly focused in a group mind. I turned mine in and walked away. It's still wrapped in silk in her alter. She's invited me back to be reinstated and initiated. I will never go. My trust is broken. The motherhouse offered me a place, but I had decided to move.

Instead, I went to yet another HP, waited another year and a day, and finally initiated. So I went through the process three times before initiating. It was worth waiting for. The ritual drama Lady Moonkist arranged changed my life. Initiation can be one of the most amazing experiences of our lives. It also can become a political/social/spiritual crisis. Having gone to such lengths, I confess, I was arrogant about initiation and the value I thought it lent. Then I met a few ladies who were self-initiated as solitaires. After "sniffing" them over, talking "shop," and working with them, I came to understand that their spirituality is as valuable and real as my own. They may lack group experience, or not currently working with a group, but that did not reflect on their value as Witches.

In discussing community, and the need for pagan to situate themselves within a community, Cat Chapin-Bishop wrote:

Because real community will hurt you, betray you, let you down. And that’s a feature, not a bug. Oh, I’m not saying we should welcome betrayal into our communities, or cultivate disillusionment as a path to wisdom. But there’s a way that compassion and love and mature spiritual vision will not thrive in an ideal world. We need to be buffetted a bit by the kind of storms that are inevitable in an imperfect group of humans.
I am now a eclictic witch. The four covens I have been a part of all have all exploded or imploded over the last dozen years. Some of the local covens would like see me start over again from scratch (not willing to do that again--see previous emails), or are too unstable for me to join. So I am part of a loose association of eclectic somethings (witches, pagans, voodon, and mystic christians). For lack of better words, we call ourselves a counsel of Elders. It sounds fancy. It's not.

Within our loose eclectic community of eclectic Elder somethings, when energy work is called for, we call in the 3rd degrees of or various traditions (we honor Cameron as one of our 3rd degree in christianity). I think the current youngest of our Elders is in her mid to late thirties (Voodon). Now that should just about offend everyone--but that is our group of community elders. Frankly, many of these Elders have been so badly burned in covens or other groups that they refuse to join another. Yet they will answer a needful call. And we all see each other fairly frequently. Indeed, this community conferred my 1st and 3rd degrees -- and it was a 3rd degree Wiccan who wrote both rituals (the second degree was within a more traditional coven).

I believe we need community, but I don't believe all regions of the country offer the kind of community we need. So we each will seek whatever community we can find. My online elist is an awesome part of community. The women's group I circle with as well as the group of elders we occassionally call in also form a powerful community for Cameron and me. They also keep us accountable for our actions. My service to my community is currently limited because I work full time and go to school (and am completing the practicum portion of my grad program, meaning I spend 10+ hours a week doing psychotherapy). My intent will be a gay identified, Wiccan/Christian therapist who will of service to a larger community.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Dreamweaver for addressing this. Just listening to you, no one can say that you are not a TRUE ECLECTIC SOLITARY WITCH as, in my heart, soul and Spirit, I know that I am also. In the Catholic Faith it's like one Priest telling another Priest: "I am more of a Priest than you!"
    Spirit knows who, and, what we truly are! That is all that matters to me!