Friday, September 18, 2009

Initation, Status, and Eclecticism

This question was recently posted on my favorite elist:

I will also add that if you are an eclectic Wiccan than I truly don't understand why you care - if you don't believe you need an initiation to be Wiccan, than why worry about what other people say?
Hmmmm..... I consider myself to be eclectic because of having had each of my initiations with a different coven. In fact, my third degree, while conducted by a priestess who had been present at the previous two degrees, was more my elder than my "teacher". I was mentored my several priestess, actually, amidst several groups imploding/exploding. The little fledgling grove we are forming, which Cameron will initiate with, is the last remnant of any of these groups. We are not gardinarian, fairey, or any other "tradition" although we will borrow from whatever "works". If our group grows and survives, I hope it will become a tradition of its own in due time. Until we can be a tradition (meaning one of our members eventually carries our ways to another group of people), then we are a gathering of eclectic witches who have formed a grove.

Why is it important to be known as a grove, coven, etc and to have had the initiatory experience beyond the personal experience associated with initiation? I hate, hate, hate to say this, but initiation confers status. Of course you'll have to prove yourself with new people, but the simple statement "I initiated with" opens doors.

I'm not forgetting that you want to be part of the wiccan community at large, and be respected, then you better know your stuff, have some sort of credentials, be verifiable and have name recognition. I am suggesting that when we go to Goddess Fest, I want our group to be treated equal to any other group. I want our group to be a stable presence in a very unstable community. I want us to teach workshops, be present on Pagan Pride Day, help the homeless, and serve our community in whatever capacities the Goddess provides. I want the people we mentor to be able to say "oh, I got my degree/initiated with the Sacred Pathways Grove" and the folks at Goddess Fest, Autumn Fest, or any other gathering think "Oh, they know their stuff over there". I want us to be able to teach a workshop and participate in our community without a whole lot of "cat sniffing butt" behavior that usually occurs.

Right or wrong, there can be a lot of arrogance in the wiccan community. Since I want to be a part of that community, because change can't occur if I don't help work at it, then I've got to meet them on their terms. And honestly, we wiccans have to be suspicious. There are some crazy people out there that can cause a great deal of harm. And that's the end of my rant/thoughts/reflection.

1 comment:

  1. Sad isn't it? A group can rant about openminded acceptance of religon and path...then turn right around and exhibit the SAME narrowmindedness that they rail against the Christian community for.

    Unfortunately it's part of the human condition.... we group up (maybe I should say herd or pack because in a lot of ways we tend to exhibit both herd and pack behaviors) and as soon as we're all happily packed/herded up the problems starts