Lesson 3 – Initiation, Self-Dedication & Wicca

Lesson 3
Initiation, Self Dedication & Wicca

You would already have heard the term “initiation” in lessons 1 & 2. But what exactly does it mean within the context of the Wiccan tradition and how is it applied in the tradition?

Traditional “Gardnerian” and “Alexandrian” covens, as well as other derivatives which follow a Wiccan initiatory structure will typically have three degrees. These are usually:

o First Degree – Initiation as a “Witch & Priestess”; “Witch & Priest” or “Witch”.
o Second Degree – Initiation/ Elevation as a “High Priestess”/”High Priest” or “Priestess” / “Priest”
o Third Degree – Initiation/Elevation as a “High Priestess & Witch Queen” or “High Priest & Magus”

These titles are only used in regards to the tradition and only the REALLY pretentious and egotistical go around calling themselves anything of the kind all the time!

Some covens also have a stage before first degree which is called “probationer” or “neophyte” or “trainee” or “dedicant”. It is usual that a person starts their journey with a coven with a simple ceremony in which they pledge to study and walk the path towards initiation – this is done to both the Goddess and God, as well as to the coven they are working with as a sign of their commitment. Typically a period of “a year and a day” is spent in this pre-initiation stage of training, allowing time for the trainee to see whether or not Wicca is something they wish to pursue further and also for both the trainee and coven members to get to know each other, so that they can be sure that they wish to continue working together.

I like to describe the probationer stage as “dating before marriage” – for some it is immediately apparent that is the right thing, where as other relationships may take longer – so although the “year and a day” is the norm, it is not unusual to find that some people may be initiated sooner where as for others it may take several years before they are ready to take the step!

What is the purpose of initiation?
Initiation is one of the ways in which mysticism is expressed in Wicca. Those who undertake first degree initiation aligns themselves with the tradition through the experience knowing that everyone else who is of the same tradition has undergone the same experience too. Without the shared experience, alignment to the “current” (a term used to describe the energy of the tradition) is difficult, although not completely impossible.

Initiation is an entrance into the tradition and a commitment to it. It is also a commitment to the Gods and to oneself. Of course it is possible to make these pledges as a solitary, but they would take a different form – a process which is usually called “self-dedication” and at times incorrectly “self-initiation”.

Explore this subject further by also reading the following articles on this website:Self Dedication

Exercise 3
a) Consider the idea of initiation. Is this something you think you would wish to pursue at some point in the future? Why? Again make notes for yourself in your notebook.
b) Consider the idea of self-dedication. In such a ceremony, which is personal by its very nature, you will make a pledge to yourself and to the Gods to continue your learning and practice. Is this something which appeals to you? Why? Again make notes for yourself in your notebook.
c) What are the differences between initiation and self-dedication? Can you think of any other differences which we did not mention?
(c) Avalonia 2000
Made available here for free distribution.
The Free Wicca Lessons
www.avalonia.co.uk (2000-2008)


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. (weave)
    Dec 09, 2010 @ 14:24:38

    I am very interested in this subject

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