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Thoughts on Initiation

By Caroline Tully

I am naked, blindfolded. I can’t see a thing but my other senses are heightened. I hear whispering, I feel my wrists chafe against the cord that restrains them. The smell of incense invades my nostrils and my mouth is dry with anticipation. I am disoriented, but I know where I am. No, not in the midst of a bizarre sado-masochism session as it might first appear. Nor am I a prisoner of any sort, here against my will. In fact, I have come to this place voluntarily, eagerly, with an attitude of perfect love and perfect trust. Although bound, paradoxically I am free. I am in the process of being initiated into modern Witchcraft.

Initiation is somewhat of a controversial subject in Witchcraft these days, different Witches holding attitudes toward it which range from the idea that you must be initiated by a recognised lineage, to the belief that a Witch can perform their own self-initiation. Some say that the initiatory current must pass from woman to man, others say that it’s ok to be initiated by someone of the same sex. Several traditions have multiple levels of initiation, whereas others have only one, and some Witches dispense with it altogether. With the explosion in popularity of Witchcraft as a spiritual path, the manifold Wiccan traditions all using similar terminology, and the often bewildering spectrum of techniques and styles, an aspiring Witch could get more than a little confused. What goes on during initiation? Is it scary? Is it safe? And most importantly, is it necessary to be initiated to call yourself a Witch?

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