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By: Alex Rigel
Source: "Lid Off The Cauldron. A wicca Handbook", Patrica Crowther,
        1992, Samuel Weiser inc., Maine. pp.34-


  To become a witch you must have a natural inclination to worship the
Old Gods. It must be a feeling which springs from the heart and carries
you on towards your goal, in exactly the same way it happened to the
first witches thousands of years ago.
  The approach must be in this manner. Any other attitude, such as
vulgar curiosity, a desire for power over others, or the selfish
intention of using magic to gain material ends, will only end in failure
and disillusion.
  The Old Gods are ancient archetypal images of the divine powers behind
all Nature. They are the oldest gods known to man. Pictures of them are
painted all over Europe and show the great influence they had, even at
the Dawn of Time.
  Just because they are so old, is no reason to believe they are in any
way 'out of date'. Our ancesstors were no fools: their way of life and
their culture is gaining more and more respect as the years go by.
Continuous discoveries about their skills and beliefs growing admiration
and amazement.
  Their deities were a Mother Goddess and a Horned God, representing the
twin forces of life: male and female, light and dark, positive and
negative, Sun and Moon, etc. These complimentary aspects in nature are
'fact' and cannot be disputed. And, because the Gods are true
representations of the divine powers behind all manifestation, they have
endured through millennia, and will always endure.
  Unlike many other religions, where contact with divinity is sought
through prayer and meditation, witchcraft teaches development of the
soul through the Eight Paths of the Witches' Wheel. These ways are part
of the Western Mystery Tradition. The West and the East are two very
different places. Eastern religions teach their followers to look
'within' for enlightenment, and although the West uses this method in
meditation, it is only 'one' of the Eight Paths. The Western mind looks
'outward' and seeks spiritual grace by helping others. Thus, the witches
use their powers to help those in sickness or trouble.
  The Awakening can begin as an urge which rises from the depths of the
soul. A state of boredom or despiration, which every human being comes
to at some point of incarnation, can become as a beacon to the spirit.
  It is born to the struggling soul and to the complacent alike. Many
lives may be endured before it is realized that the true self must
take the initiative and begin to fight its own way out of the Cycles of
Incarnation, which, without the control of the Higher Self, may continue
indefinitely. Once the realization is born, and the quest begun, the
soul is on its way from manhood to godhood.
  Regarding the Craft, it is wise to seek initiation from a 'genuine'
coven. This is not as easy as it sounds, as genuine adherents do not
seek converts, and therefore do not advertise for members. they believe
that if a person is sincere and determined enough in their desire to
belong to the Craft, they will, sooner or later, make contact.
  There are, however, various ways of speeding things up a little, such
as contributing to one of the privately printed occult magazines, which
are usually run by people 'in the know'. Or even placing a small advert
in one of these papers. You can also write to the author of a book on
the subject, and send the letter via the publishers. It might then be
forwarded to a coven in your area, although I must add here that even if

this happens, and you are invited to meet someone from a coven, it would
not be indicative of entry.
  There are certain conditions which have to be fulfilled, such as
blending in with the personalities of the members, having read widely on
the subject, a willingness to submit to a waiting period, usually a year
and a day, among others. Yet these conditions are valid ones; you cannot
expect to be accepted quickly, but you will know that the witches you
meet have undergone similar obstacles themselves.
  The ways of the witches are those of caution, especially where
strangers are concerned. After all, who would admit a stranger to their
home without an introduction, let alone to a temple of the Mysteries.
  Care must be taken, too, in finding a coven which is in close
'rapport' with your own life-style, culture and character. But, once
contact is made, there is hope in finding a group where conditions, on
both sides, can be fulfilled.
  Although some covens wear robes, the traditional way of working in the
Circle, is to be sky-clad, or naked. When you are brought into the
Craft, yoou enter as you were born, without clothes or ties of any kind.
The first initiation is virtually an introduction to a new way of life.
You are made a 'Child of the Goddess'; you are shown the tools of the
Craft; told the ways of working magic, and made to swear an oath to keep
the secrets of the Art. This is called the First Degree.
  The Second Degree is the initiation proper. Thsis involves the concept
of symbolic death and symbolic resurrection, when you are re-born with
the new magical personality. A new name (of your own choice) is given to
you which represents the transformation, and by which, henceforth, you
will be known when in the Circle.
  The drama of this mystery play implants its ideas firmly in the
subconscious mind of the adherent, and the mystery, which is enacted
on the material plane, sets the seal on the future.
  It is not to be supposed that by initiation and teaching you will
automatically be 're-born'. A way will be shown, and knowledge
imparted, yet the journey is always 'alone' and the true 'will' tested
to the very brink of breaking point.
  In a sense, when initiation takes place it is very much like daring
Fate to do its worst. One has taken a stand: "I announce to all creation
that I will endure to progress."
  In witchcraft the soul develops a deeper understanding of 'being'.
This entails practice, which is why the Craft has grades of advancement.
The highest grade is the consummation of the mysteries, where ritual
yields to what is termed, 'The Secret of the Silver Wheel'.
  There is also the imparting of certain 'secret' words, which, in
themselves, convey very little, but their secret intention 'is'
important and gently 'nudges' the aspirant onward.

Next: Altered States and Ritual (Web of Wyrd #7)