“Why would you want to be initiated into a tradition and try to change it, instead of letting it transform you?”
This was a question that my teacher posed to me early on in my training. We were discussing the tendency of seekers and new initiates, particularly those with a background in paganism or neo-Wicca, to try and fit and browbeat Alexandrian Witchcraft and its teachings to their preconceived mold- one which is usually rather incompatible. Experience usually counts a great deal in different aspects of life, yet the Craft might be one of those rare exceptions, where past experiences, especially faulty training, could really be a hurdle in the aspiring initiates development.
One can hardly blame them. The amount of badly written occult pulp and unsound teaching far outweighs quality information and solid training. Yet, one can argue that this may indeed be the first task of the seeker- the first stirrings of discernment- a quality and trait that will serve the practitioner for the rest of their life.
In our coven, once the individual is deemed an appropriate candidate for initiation, we require that all other magical training and involvement cease for at least a period of a year. This may be misinterpreted as controlling to some, but once the training commences, it becomes very obvious why this is a requirement. The level of dedication and perseverance necessary in a training coven leaves no space for any other magical venturing.
There is another reason for this. It is especially important in the beginning stages of training that the initiate refrains from “mixing their drinks”. Traditions have magical currents. It is like a pulsing power that runs through the magic worked within that tradition, and each tradition’s current has a particular frequency. The new initiate is immersed into this current through initiation, and it is important that the magic of this current should be allowed to do its work. Mixing this with the workings of other traditions of magic is strongly discouraged within our coven in the beginning stages of training. This may change later as the initiate becomes more discerning and aware of what works and what does not.
This can become a rather difficult task for the seeker who has an ingrained practice, far more so for the type of individual who wants to pursue as many spiritual paths as possible within one lifetime, whether it be crystal healing, becoming a Sangoma, or training in some other African diasporic tradition, or even some forms of ritual magic. It is usually realized that a lot of these individuals are what is called “initiation gatherers”, with the notches on the belt seemingly conveying some unwarranted authority. It is expected that by the time the seeker requests initiation, that they are certain that initiation into the Craft is what they really want.
Before one enters the temple through initiation, it is wise to consider what one is willing to sacrifice. Besides endeavors in other traditions, one also needs to consider how to manage time for training and coven meetings and daily magical regimen. What would have to change in your life to become Priesthood and Witch?
Alexandrian Witchcraft is a priesthood that requires dedication, vocation, and discipline, as well as heavy doses of joy and laughter. It is a transformational mystery tradition and opens the doors to the profound sacredness of life. The requirement, however, is that one leaves all lesser baggage on the burning altar of sacrifice before the temple door- in perfect love and perfect trust that the magic will transform you for the better. Otherwise, what good is magic after all?