Ive been pondering a lot recently the concept of initiation, initiatory rites and and the transmission of Magickal currents, so I was trawling through some stuff I wrote a few years back regarding the subject, I thought I would share if I may:
Ive been thinking about initiation, not so much about the great wiccan/Wiccan debate and the validity of self initiation, but more the implications of such actions. But I suppose, loathe as I am to do it, we need to look at the purpose of initiation.
Talking to hardliners, they will tell you that you cannot access the mysteries unless you have been initiated into what ever the Trad is that you are claiming to be. Now I tend to think they are both very right and horrifically wrong. These so called “initiations into the mysteries” in my opinion is just the vehicle with which a particular group accesses a magical current.
I’ve been struggling with the term “magical current” and how to explain it. As a priestess of my chosen path, I can feel it and use it, but it is harder to convey in mere words, but I think I have come up with a good analogy.
If we consider magic to be much like the entirety of the light spectrum, some wavelengths are accessible by everybody and are there to be used, we could liken this to the visible spectrum of light. But further, with careful training and appropriate “filters” put in place it might be possbile to access the invisible spectrums, ultraviolet, infrared, microwave etc. Different groups will tap different parts of these unseen spectrums and this is thier current and “transmission” of the way to access these spectrums are formalised in the initiation ritual.
Now it is perfectly possible as a solitaire to also access these currents; in fact there is some basis for the argument that by being a solitaire this allows a freedom not enjoyed by others who maybe either through ignorance or deliberate choice are limited to a singular current and nothing else.
The problem arises as to what current the solitaire is actually accessing though; for example: Solitaire A decides to self initiate, and either through luck or hard work successfully accesses a part of (or even the entirety of) one or more magical currents, but what she has accessed is Luciferian rather than Wiccan (which is what they are after), what should they call themselves? They will know they are accessing something, they may even believe it is Wiccan, but without anybody to share the experience with they will have no clue as to what they have.
It then gets more complicated, what if Solitaire A actually accesses the current they are after, then finds a suitable Coven of the lineage they are hankering after. Should thier existing link to the current then entitle them to a “fast track” scenario, especially if it is also obvious that they have put in the prerequisite practical and academic work in?
Lets say this happens and Solitaire A quickly makes it through their neophyte grade as a result of partial access, but they also have partial access as a result of thier self initiation to an other current. How will that affect the coven they are working with, this stuff is pretty viral you know, so then all of a sudden does the Coven have the right to claim thier name as associated with that current? Or should that part of the neophyte be “purged” for the sake of lineage and purity?
Tricky isn’t it? I do not profess to know the answer to any of it, my knee jerk feeling is that self initiation is perfectly possible and totally valid, as long as you do not claim to be of a named current (after all you will not really know if the current is the right one). If you feel like you need a name, call it yours, give it, it’s own name. After all that is what most of the big names in times gone by did.
I am not in a position to run a group, but the time is drawing nearer and nearer, and I suppose at some point I am going to have to discuss this with those older and wiser than me, but as for embracing or exterminating access to other currents brought in by self initiated neophytes; my gut says that as long as it isn’t at the complete other end of the spectrum or destructive, it should be integrated in a manner that benefits all. That’s how witches/magicians grow and progress, rather than becoming stale and dogmatic.
But of course all this is just my personal opinion and your mileage may vary.