Training in The Derby Coven

The following is a piece written on training specifically within the Derby Coven.

Training within the Derby Coven follows along the same concepts, practices and philosophies as that of the London Coven and the later Temple of the Mother in London, United Kingdom.

An initiate is expected to master amongst other things, the following after the first degree initiation:

~Copying the Book of Shadows which is traditionally only allowed for an hour at a time;

~Developing and using the Golden Cross of Equilibrium (not to be confused with the ‘gold cross’ as that term is used in other traditions and orders);

~Making contact with the Altar;

~Working in unison with the other witches in the circle;

~Casting the circle;

~Invoking the Quarter Lords;

~Consecrations;

~Invocations;

~Drawing, sensing and feeling energy;

~Various methods of raising and directing power;

~Ritual movement and the meaning of each and every movement;

~Banishing;

~Ritual voice;

~Group Mind;

~ Acts of Worship;

~Acts of Magic.

After considerable experience and training, the Witch may then decide to embark on the preparation for the Higher Degrees and the subsequent inner workings and deeper knowledge and gnosis that go along with this.

Training within the First degree takes -usually a minimum of 2 years.

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The Alexandrian Tradition is composed of men and women who have dedicated their lives to the Priesthood and service of the Ancient Gods. Every coven is completely autonomous and there is no central authority within the tradition.

The structure of the Priesthood of the Tradition is the same as that observed in the Gardnerian Tradition, being First, second and Third degree,but there are a couple of notable differences between practices .

The degrees indicate the spiritual progression of the individual. Each degree contains its own mysteries to be experienced and the Mysteries are both revealed and discovered, as the Craft is a initiatory and experiential tradition. This implies that the mysteries will have to be experienced by the individual to be understood and internalized.

One of the fundamental characteristics of the Priesthood is the fact that they should be aspiring to the quality of ‘beauty’. ‘Beauty’ here means ‘a greater  beauty’ applied to everything; The way they speak, the way they compose themselves.The initiates who undergo Alexandrian training, should act and behave in a dignified and priestly manner, since they are representatives of the Goddess and God and as such, every step they take should always take this into account.

“Magic itself is simple and direct, it is the rituals that lead us to acts of magic that require years of student practice and discipline.” – Maxine Sanders

In order to work a Circle of power effectively, takes years of practice and discipline. There are several components in the creation of a circle that have to be taken into account and each moment in this process has to be mastered in a concrete and efficient way. The Magic Circle is one of the most important components of a rite. Without the Circle, none of the work can be done and the Witch who has not been properly trained to do so, will fail. How to create and work an effective Circle of power and all that this entails, is the work of the first degree. To master this Circle, is the work of subsequent

At higher grades, there are no profound  “revelations” or “secrets” that make 2 or 3 special grades. At these levels, there is only a clearer perception, and accumulation of techniques and responsibilities that are developed and exercised. Philosophically and hermetically, there are levels that are reached,  but evolution never stops and in the end, degrees are only representative of levels of development. The Work is more important than any degree that has been obtained.

Lady Zara and Lord Azaradel (both High Priests of the Alexandrian Tradition) wrote the following in a 1987 text entitled “The Alexandrian Tradition – an Initiatory Way” :

It is expected that an Alexandrian Initiate can demonstrate magical proficiency and competence in the use of psychic abilities and a complete knowledge of the inner and outer works of ritual practice. This allows a High Priestess or High Priest in the role of Initiator to pass information, ritual protection and power, certain that in this way , the training will not be used in an erroneous or inconsistent manner. It is an integral part of the philosophy of the Alexandrian Tradition that our initiator assumes karmic responsibility for the actions of the initiate after initiation. Therefore, to obtain the degrees of High Priest or High Priestess requires many years of training, dedication, and loyalty. ”

Training in the Alexandrian Tradition of Witchcraft may take several years and depends on the dedication, loyalty and consistency of the work of the Initiate, and whether there is progress or not in his training. Alex Sanders writes in the book “The Alex Sanders Lectures” in Chapter IV titled “The First Degree of Initiation in Wicca”:

 “Why does anyone want to be a witch? It is a question that most people ask. Do they seek sensation or home from home or do they really want  or spiritual progression? The answer is that people come for all these reasons. Neither does the reason matter, for one gets out of the Wicca as much as one puts into it. “- Alex Sanders

The High Priesthood should be like “strings on a harp, which produces a clear note, and when played together, sympathy shall form a beautiful symphony” (Alex Sanders, The Alex Sanders Lectures, 1970).

Book Excerpt, “The Chalice and the Blade – On the Alexandrian tradition of Wicca” of Karagan Griffith

All Rights Reserved (c) 2016

Translated from wiccaalexandrina.com

On Lineage

 

The concept of lineage has been a rather big headache and a cause of great confusion for a lot of people in the magickal community, especially in South Africa. There has been quite a bit of misunderstanding about what it is and how it works. This is understandable, as Traditional Wicca, as far as what is known, has only come to South Africa very recently.

Note that this statement is not referring to the many wonderful and diverse new traditions and lineages that sprang up on South African soil over the years, neither to those that may be based on Traditional Wicca, but specifically referring to legitimate Alexandrian and Gardnerian lines.

The thing is that; if you are a practicing Witch or Pagan, but not initiated into a lineaged form of Wicca/Witchcraft, there is no problem. This does not mean that these practices of a more eclectic or different path and persuasion in the great big world of modern witchcraft are any less valid. Lineage however DOES become important when some claim to be practicing initiates of traditions of, which quite frankly, they are not.

But what is lineage anyway?

At its most simplistic level, lineage is a way of confirming who initiated who, and how this initiatory line can be traced back to the founders of a tradition.

Lineage, in Alexandrian Wicca, is transmitted through the initiation rites, and would also be effected by the subsequent training. These are specific rites, containing the specific core liturgy, and specific methods of initiation into said tradition. It implies that a person was brought into the Wicca, by an already initiated member of that tradition, and that the initiator was brought into the mysteries of the tradition in the same way. As already mentioned, this also implies that this line of descent can be traced back to the founders of that tradition. In the case of Alexandrian Witchcraft, that would be Alex and Maxine Sanders.

Now in theory this should be simple, but in practice can bring quite a bit confusion.

For example, let us say A was initiated by Alex Sanders into Alexandrian Wicca. Now A works the Craft for a couple of years and initiates B. B works the craft a couple of years but then goes on to form a completely NEW tradition and changes the initiation rites, changes the names of the Gods, the components of the rite, that now barely resembles, if at all Alexandrian Craft, and initiates C into this new tradition.

Now, although B originally has Alexandrian lineage, C does not, as she was not brought into the original tradition but a completely new one. In this case, B would be the founder of a new tradition, with a completely new lineage. A good real world example would be Raymond Buckland, who brought Gardnerian Wicca to the USA, and then later found Seax Wica. A person initiated into Seax Wica CANNOT claim Gardnerian lineage, just because Raymond was one. This is the same in the case of Ordine Della Luna and Alexandrian Craft.

Another important thing about lineage that is often not realized, or perhaps not known, is that when it is transmitted properly, it would also transmit the magickal current of the tradition to the initiate, which would in turn be passed on. Without digressing into this topic, anyone who has some understanding of occult principle and the work in occult groups and traditions should realize the significance in the matter, and why it would be important in a tradition.

I hope this clarifies some of the questions about what lineage is and how it works.

Brightest Blessings