- On August 25, 2007
- By Gavin & Yvonne Frost
Numerologically, today is a 6. That indicates strong parental love and a wish for all things to be settled. It seems appropriate for this blog.
In the past initiations were rites of passage that happened in a serial, consecutive way at certain stages of life. When Elders judged they were ready, candidate youngsters were brought through their rites of passage to become trusted members of the group. Nowadays with our diverse and fluid population, people coming into pagan/Wiccan groups are by and large strangers. How can we then trust them and work with them without insisting they go through some membership rite of passage? If we don’t do such rites, or do them without sufficient preparation, we should be less than surprised when the neophyte lets us down.
The idea of inner and outer circles has been with us since time immemorial. Sensible groups bring a neophyte into an outer circle and after some months when they’re ready the group can have them make some vows and dedicate themselves.
What criteria should we expect them to fulfill before we admit them to the inner circle? The first and most obvious one is what we might call
* consistency. Are they regular, dependable working members of the outer circle, or are they just party animals, showing up when it suits their whim?
The next question is:
* Have they reached any stage of enlightenment?
* Do they now have a strong belief system that they can more or less articulate?
* How closely does the system resemble that of the group?
Notice we do not want people who just parrot the group’s precepts. We need people who are thinking and maybe can enhance / enrich our own set of beliefs.
* If the group is attacked, will the neophyte be able to help repulse such attacks?
In earlier times this was a matter of physical, not mental or psychic, stamina and agility. Thus a part of Gavin’s initiation required him to walk around Cornwall (the Cornish peninsula) carrying his camping gear along the Red Route as it is called today — which implied genuine physical risk.
Such tests have fallen out of favor on the grounds that “somebody might get hurt”. Because Gavin passed, though, he naturally thinks it should still be used, as do leaders of some other groups. Yvonne thinks that a kinder, though just as stringent, test should be used, perhaps focused more on the mental capacity of the neophyte. Similarly, in earlier time the candidate was scarred to show that s/he was indeed an initiate. Gavin wears that scar on his wrist to this day. Currently we use a multi-level secret password to weed out instantly those who falsely claim to be initiates of our path.
If the “in” group practices a sex-magical path, then naturally the ability and willingness of the candidate to follow that path should be tested. The candidate must be over eighteen and free of STDs.
The candidate should meet these criteria. In return, the group owes it to him/her to see that s/he is fully informed of all requirements for initiation. For almost 50 years we have scrupulously, publicly followed this guideline.
No surprises! is the underlying guideline here. The second stanza of the song is,
If you don’t like it, you can’t have any.
Merry meet, and merry part. Blessed be. GY