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The Three Experiences of Initiation

By Donald Michael Kraig

Initiation is one of the most valuable experiences in any person’s life. Many religions have initiatory rituals such as Confirmation, Baptism, Bar Mitzvah, and so forth. Generally, initiations are one of two types: initiation into a tradition and initiation into a group. For example, a person might be Baptized into the Christian tradition, but not align themselves with any particular church group. A person could be initiated into a fraternity or sorority which makes them a member of a group, but not of any spiritual tradition.

Occult traditions are filled with initiations. Some of the more famous initiations into groups can be found in books such as Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft or The Golden Dawn. These tend to be for initiation into both a tradition and a group. Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition includes initiation rituals into the tradition but not into any specific group.

I remember when I was sharing an apartment with Scott Cunningham that he obtained an advertisement from a teacher of Wicca who promised that when you finished his course you would get an identification card that would allow you into any Wiccan coven or ritual. We laughed at that because no coven (and we actually contacted several in order to check) had heard of this teacher or would have honored his ID card.

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