Thursday, July 27, 2006

Pagan teachings and magickal practices displayed by the media generally fall into several categories, either the rites portrayed are designed for public consumption; such as an “open” ritual to celebrate one of the better known pagan holidays (Yule, Hallows Eve, Summer Solstice, etc.) or they are skewed views presented by self-appointed “experts” who have read a book or two and proclaimed themselves third-degree-something-or-others and the media isn’t savvy enough to know there is a difference. The well balanced practitioner of magick who honors the Divine in her life and uses her skills to quietly control and better her environment is not a news item. This is obviously the white and black sides of the pendulum’s swing, and there are certainly many other opportunities out there to provide for misunderstanding. The ingredient not spoken of is that within responsible training, personal ethics is one of the most important foundation elements

Within Wicca, there is no appointed hierarchy. You don’t become a member of an organization, sit on a bench and let someone stand in front of you and spoon feed you their version of divine truth one day a week. I am not criticizing that form of spirituality. There are many, many deeply devout and spiritually connected people who worship in this way without handing over the control of their soul to someone else. The flip side of that coin is the folks who follow their leader like sheep and dread the possibility of having an unintentional original and possibly sinful thought. Again, these are the black and white of examples and there are an infinite number of grays in between. But within Wicca, you are taught to be your own clergy. The first and second degree teachings are designed to instruct the initiate to connect in the way they have chosen without the help of another person. Depending on the tradition, third degree is either more personal training or training in group dynamics in preparation for leading a coven. In some Wiccan traditions, the high priestess and priest are the absolute authority and everything they do within the group is secret. The coven is bound by oaths to uphold this secrecy. In most traditions today, the high priestess and priest are administrators and have voluntarily taken the responsibility to oversee the spiritual growth of a group of likeminded people. The secrecy is replaced with an admonition to discretion, since discrimination and fear still prevail in many areas yet today.

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