Years ago, I had a friend that was a member of AMORC and so I signed up for the monographs and studied them. But, early on there was a self-initiation rite. Pert of this was to be open to the universe and divinity while asking whether I should continue with this rosicrucian path. My inner voice said, “No.” Months later, I actually went through the monographs in order again, but when I got to the self-initiation, my inner voice once again said, “No.”
Well, okay then. Fine. Be that way. But how do I find the path I should be on, then?
I’ve made initial explorations into a number of other paths, including Orthodox Kemetic (Ancient Egyptian), ADF (Druidism), and ceremonial magic (Golden Dawn, &c.). For each, something suggested that it was not the right path for me, although each still hold something I admire. But when I think about it, what’s been missing in each, for me, has been a sense of belonging to the community of the work.
In 2001, I attended the spiral dance in Olympia, and had no idea that I would later be taking part in making future spiral dances happen. In the summer of 2002, I went to as many rituals as I could, a sampling, and the feeling I had of grounded ability and welcome at the Beltane done by Seattle’s reclaiming community was fundamentally different than the feeling I had at any of the other rituals I attended. It was after 2001 that I finally started to be willing to call myself pagan.
Since then I have felt like I’ve found one of my paths within Reclaiming, and have been growing along that path. Taking part over the years in many classes and participating in the planning of many rituals and starting a circle with others; I started to feel that I had a sense of belonging to the community of the work in Olympia. It was in being part of the community of witches in Olympia that I finally started to call myself a witch.
Finally both making it to Witchcamp and learning to be a teacher in the community, I’ve started to feel that I had a sense of belonging to the community of the work beyond Olympia. I’ve finally been willing to call myself a Reclaiming witch.
To be sure, I’ve felt some sense I’m received with both welcome and wariness. As a straight white male, I’m in many ways easily mistaken for the enemy. I mistake myself for the enemy sometimes too. I also have my own baggage and plenty of issues. It’s also been true that my entire experience of the Olympia community has been while in a relationship with another witch in that community, so I’ve been having trouble seeing how to separate those two things. So, it’s a family thing certainly, but through it all one identity I claim for myself has been that I am a Reclaiming witch.
Even though it’s not necessary to be initiated and it’s arguably sufficient to self-identify as a Reclaiming witch to be one, the real necessary and sufficient reason I want to take on initiation in Reclaiming is because my soul says so.
What do I want from Initiation?
My tower has been lightning struck, and I have taken a step off the cliff with faith that joy awaits me on this path of renewal. This is a milestone marking my progress and the starting gun signaling the initial moments of the future. As I begin this renewal path, I have become again the fool, with so much to learn and so much to unlearn.
I hope to complete Reclaiming initiation to mark for myself my own commitment to the path and to energetically and relationally create a connection with the idea and body of Reclaiming.
I once wrote, “I am committed to being ready, being and constantly becoming my best and fullest self. I promise to be led by my mind and heart to stand for what is true and right. I promise to live fully and participate boldly in the constant process of transforming my world into a more peaceful, compassionate and loving place.” For me, initiation is a chance to renew that vow, that promise; and, it is a way to recognize the path forward through that vow toward the promise of what is to come.
I also recognize there are other currents that keep asking for attention. I want to marry myself, which means that I need to get to the point where I love myself enough to do that and that I get engaged to myself. I feel that more study along the Feri path is important, eventually creating, as we talked about before, my own lightning path between and within the two frames. I also feel that Golden Dawn work, probably based on the open source order, is there somewhere as a skilled foundation for my own magic work and I’ve long fantasized about having a working lodge. Also ManKind Project … for stepping up to being more fully adult in my masculinity, in which I hope to engage beginning with the Feb ’08 weekend. I also have more fundamental challenges in the near future as I rebuild and start over in my life.
My soul says so, but initiation is also so that my soul knows I’m coming home and I’ve heeded the call. I’m on my way back home to my soul and I expect initiation to call ahead to let my soul know. Initiation can be, in part, the way that my whole embodied soul knows there’s meaning to what I’m doing. Like the pair of Prometheas being stuck in the Qlippoth, I need meaning to be part of my experience of where I have been, am, and will be; or else I’m merely stuck in a husk of my own life.
Like chocks and pitons used by mountain climbers, initiation is a way of both pulling oneself further and a way to solidify progress. Initiation is a marker for what has past and a calling card to the future, but it’s also a chance to create and partake of my own Mysteries. And, how apropos is that for BC’s ’08 theme of Persephone?
Like the ancient after-death spell for the initiated: “I am a son of the Earth and the Starry Heaven. Let me drink from the river of Memory.” I will be embodied and enlightened by my Mysteries and my self will remember to remember myself.