Wiccan Friend

Just your friendly neighborhood Witch. Thoughts on Wicca, Witchcraft, Tarot, and Paganism today.

Tag Archives: Initiation

A Witch’s Initiation

When I started on this pagan path over 10 years ago I certainly had a different outlook on Paganism and Wicca.  In the small town I grew up in everyone was Christian.  If there was a pagan presence in that small town it was well hidden.  So much so that I gather it probably didn’t want to be found.  This compounded with the mentality that seemingly strikes all small town folk that your town is an island.  It is the idea that since everything you need is all located with 15 square miles that traveling any distance outside of that is rare and is a hassle.  I didn’t know when I first started studying Wicca that there was an established community maybe only 30 minutes away that had worked hard for Pagan rights and awareness.  The internet was still young, hand written notes were common, and stopping by a strangers house to use the phone was perfectly ok.  Cell phones, email, and broadband internet were definitely around but life moves slower in small towns.  People had free time in the evenings to sit and listen to the Earth move.  Finding a book about the craft was special.  I still could never find one in my town, but had to go to the neighboring town that had a mall to find such things.  It was still only a 15 minute car ride.  I remember how I felt the first time I read about Initiation in a book.  It talked about coven initiation primarily but that really wasn’t an option for me.  I had been studying paganism for just over a year and hadn’t met any other pagans.  Just like my town, I had become an Island.  My only contact with other pagans were angelfire websites that would load on the family’s dial up connection.  A coven was far to foreign for initiation but still once I decided that I was pagan I knew I wanted to initiate.  I also knew that at that moment I wasn’t quite ready.  The want was there but  I felt like I hadn’t earn it yet.  I needed to live as a pagan and learn more before I gave myself over fully to this path.  I started a Book of Shadows, studied correspondence, read about the religion, and slowly came to a point were I had affirmed this faith I had enough to present it to my newly found Gods and Goddesses.

I looked up into the night.  My senses on fire and my energy through the roof.  I didn’t know what to call them so I referred to Deity as my Lord and Lady.  I proclaimed, “Lord and Lady, my name is Keegan.  I come to you in humble service. So Mote it Be.”  I’m sure there was more but that was all improved and ramblings of a star struck teenager.  I remember the warm breeze that night.  I remember crying, and finally feeling free.  I felt accepted, not by myself or friends and family, but rather acknowledged by the Gods that I was heard and that they were going to hold be to that vow… a vow of service.  If anything I felt humbled, and when I took that first step away from my make shift circle and came back into this world and this life I knew things would never be the same.  I was no longer an island.

Now I start another beginning and I find myself again at Initiation.  Tomorrow I will be initiated into Rose Hollow Coven and will haveDwennimmen, symbol of strength and humility. earned my First Degree.  It is as it should be, an acknowledgement of service to my Lord and Lady.  There is benefit though to being a part of a coven.  I have a wiser HP and HPS to help me walk through it this time and I can offer the coven my service.  With their help I hope to become a better pagan and well rounded High Priest.  I also hope that I am able to teach them a few things.  Knowing the kind of people they are I know they appreciate all of their coveners and are constantly growing as people and pagans themselves.   I feel ready at this point to be apart of that relationship.  I know I have much room for growth, but also know that will come with further diligent study and time.

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Thoughts on the God and Goddess and artwork to honor them

I feel their presence everyday.  Sometimes it is a nudge and other times a gentle reminder on the breeze.  There are even times that they take me over with anxiety or fill me with peace.  The Lord and Lady that I know, and that knows me, are more then All-knowing deity held out in front of me at prayer’s length.  I know I could never be atheist because of the personal experiences I’ve had while sharing my life with the Lord and Lady.

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Often times She is that wind that kisses my face.  She brings a wisdom to my heart to remind me of my promise to Her and affirm Herself to me.  When I was younger she would remind me of my lost true love by subtle hints of vanilla on the air.  I should have listened more closely because now I understand She was speaking through scent, and if I would have had the wherewithal I could have heard a much deeper message.  Other times She is the raw emotion that overcomes me, or the spirit of nurture for my loved ones.  She comes to me in the form of Awen to help creative pursuits, and lives inside my guilt when I hurt those closest to me.  I look out into this world and see Her represented in the feminine, the creative spark, and the nurturing Earth.

My Lord is a rock.  He motivates me with His example.  He is able to show me how things could be and what it takes to earn and achieve.  He provides a pillar of strength to both push me forward and to hold me up.  He is both giving and firm like a velvet brick.  He holds his values like a shield.  They keep him true and right and protect Him from lies and falsehoods.  When my Lord speaks life itself listen to his wisdom and takes care to heed his words as they are the foundations of truth.  He is the warm sun on my face and shoulders.  He is the voice inside me that yearns to be a better Man, Husband, and a wiser person.

Together the God and Goddess represent all things manifest in this mundane world and provide guidance and care to experience this life and the next.  For me the greatest lesson they have taught is that as long as I am alive, I can change the situation I am in.  This is the very basis of my belief in Wicca and Witchcraft.

So in my Wiccan tradition one of the requirements we are given to allow us to initiate and receive our first degree is to complete an art project.  It is to represent our relationship with the God and Goddess.  As simple as that sounds it becomes a huge undertaking.  You have to plan the media, and the subject, and search very deeply for an answer.  An answer to the question, what is my relationship with the God and Goddess.

Interestingly enough my answer would have been different a few years ago.  I think that is becauseall relationships change and grow in different ways.  Even in the last year, there have been so many things that influence how I view and interact with my Deities.  Even the way I define this relationship has changed based on new ways I have found of expressing it.

For me I knew fairly early that I wanted my art project to be a mask that represented both the male and female aspects of nature.  To me it gives not only a easy visual reference for the Lord and Lady, but also a very deep comment about our relationship given that it is a mask.  Even in my youngest thoughts as a child I can remember seeing the masculine and feminine in my world.  It was always right in front of my thoughts.  It is one of the reasons I couldn’t reconcile my beliefs as a Christian. The world was polar and all people, objects, even ideas had aspects of male or female.  So i set out in my mask to visually represent this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you look at it the Left Side being Feminine and the Right side representing the Masculine.

Left:

  • There are more pieces making up this side of the mask, they represent the ever unfolding layers of the feminine.  Complex emotions, and deep passion.
  • There is moss present on this side to represent the Earth.  The most nurturing and growing substance the we see and come in contact with nearly everyday.
  • The vines that cascade down the side of the mask really reminded me of flowing hair and gave the mask a more feminine quality.
Right:
  • Here you can see the bark is bigger in both size and weight.  I wanted something heavier and robust for the masculine side.
  • The main feature of this side being the feathers to represent animals.  The beast and foul being of the God I thought I would fit nicely within the God theme.
  • Lastly are the leaves and wood itself which reminds me largely of the Green Man and God of the forest.
Why a mask?

It at the moment accurately represents how I feel about my relationship with the Lord and Lady andsort of my purpose on this earth.  I feel I am here to experience life through the eyes of the God and Goddess while at the same time I’m and charged with the God and Goddess experiencing this life through me, my actions, and my eyes.  I am to live the best I can, experience this marvel of existence, and bring it back to the Lord and Lady upon my return from this life.  A mask was the best way I could illustrate the dual nature of this concept of putting on the God and Goddess so they can experience what I see through their eyes.
How it was done:
I thought I’d add here how I actually made the mask for anyone who is interested in making their own.  It was really simple, and uses both natural materials and craft store materials.
What is used:
  • Bark found from downed limbs or washes ashore on a lake after a storm.
  • Paintable mask foundation bought at craft store.
  • Foam sheet bought at craft store.
  • Plastic vines bought at craft store.
  • Reindeer Moss bought at craft store.
  • Plastic leaves bought at craft store.
  • Bird feathers bought at craft store.
  • Glue Gun
  • Crazy Glue
I first took the paintable white mask and added on to it with the foam sheets.  I had a basic idea of how big I wanted the mask to be so I cut out a bigger mask pattern and crazy glued it on top of the original craft mask.  I used crazy glue because I really wanted this part to be a strong foundation for the rest of the mask.  For starting out it gives you a larger canvas to plan out what your mask will look like.  Later on whatever you don’t fill with the mask design can be easily cut away using a sharp knife or box cutter.
I then started breaking up my wood.  I needed several smaller pieces for the cheeks and forehead, and also a rounded piece of bark for the bridge of the nose.  I then took all of those small pieces and started to piece them together like Tetris.  I literally had all of the wood pieces trying one and then another until I found a pattern that suited me.  I then started gluing down the largest pieces of wood to “frame” the face of the mask.
After some of the larger pieces were down I inserted the moss into and under those large pieces and glue them down to the mask surface or if they were under a piece of bark gluing the bark on top of the moss.  This gives the illusion the moss is growing from under and around the bark and gives a simple transition into the smaller pieces of bark.  That way your bark edges dont have to match up perfectly and you have a bit of wiggle room to get the form of a human face down.
After all the bark and moss were placed I wove in the vines for the hair.  The vines are made from a metal wire painted dull green so fixing them to the top of the mask was easy by weaving it through the top of the bark carefully.
I then shaped the feathers and glued them to the part of the mask I had left uncovered.
All that was left was to fill in some of the empty space on the right side with leaves.  I secured those down with some hot glue and was done.
The final result is a really special result that I will keep around for many years, as a reminder of how I related to the God and Goddess during this time of my life.
What has been your favorite Pagan art project?  We Pagans tend to be quite the artsy folk and I would love to see what else is out there.  Link in the comments below!
Blessed Be.