I have been having some interesting conversations of late with various Witches and Pagans in Wellington, some from here and some from not here. One that struck me as being quite interesting was one about what the various levels of witchcraft, although levels is not quite the right word, and the different aspects of Druidry, namely OBOD Duridry, and not surprisingly these aspects and levels come in threes. Perhaps within witchcraft and Wicca there should be more emphasis on aspects as opposed to levels as to me that just smacks of elitism with judgemental pants and hierarchy hats, whereas aspects is more about following where your own heart and skills take you. Anywhoo I have not heard the various levels and aspects explained this way, and it struck a chord, thus I thought I would share some of my ponderings, which start like this.. If I was ever to create a ‘tradition’ what would this aspect of it look like?
I think for me there would be three aspects, as well in a way three levels, but without the overtness of the nasty hierarchy of your doing it wrong.. gosh that sounds difficult.. let’s see.. To start at the beginning..
The first level would be Witch, when a person first starts out, when they are finding their feet and learning about magic, witchcraft, and the basics, so to speak. The grounding framework for this type of path. This would not necessarily take a year and a day, for some it might be longer and for others it might take less. I believe this obsession with things taking a year and a day is for some quite unrealistic. Sure its fine if you like formulaic styles, “and by the word of the god and goddess this first phase will take a year and a day as they have decreed”.. blar blar blar. It’s not really me, I am much more of a person who is comfortable to go with what feels right, and for me, this initial stage of being a witch for me personally, was well over a year.
Before I learnt anything or perhaps it is more accurate to say that before I stepped? Found? Was pushed *cough* onto this path, I was a seeker. I knew that there was something out there calling, but could not find it, however I was defiantly looking. From the ages of about 16ish to the age of around 24 I was seeking, I went to the theosophical society, various talks on various spiritualties, talked long hours with a naturopath, and homeopathy practitioner and various other ‘alternative’ healers and thinkers. It was not until I was 24 and a friend gave me a deck of cards that my feet start to find this path of the Witch. My years as a beginner where fruitful and full of the wonder of discovery, reading, experimenting, talking, formulating ideas and then reformulating them as I learnt more and then having all that change as I experienced things that are difficult to put into words.
The second step if you will, is a more conscious one and for me, although I did not think of it as such until recently, is that of the priestess or priest if you are a boy. As I said this step is a more conscious one, as opposed to the sometimes foundering around that I did in the first step, I did not and have not lost the Witch aspect, as it is very defiantly who I am and how I live my life, but I am also priestess, and this came about during an odd spontaneous dedication ritual, where I made myself known to the divine, and that I was open to the divine will, but at the time I perhaps didn’t see it in those exact words, but then on one level I am currently wondering if I did.. *ponders this*. Anyway, I can remember the dedication, me standing in front of my altar, with my naked self, just me and the divine, stating firmly that I was purposely stepping on to this path, I was making a very conscious choice to continue on this path that felt so much like home.
The third step? Aspect? Is that of teacher, or what I am calling teacher because this is how my path has formed. Just over a year ago I did a self witnessed dedication, some might call it an initiation, but as I do not belong to any tradition as such, I have come to see it has a dedication, where I once again dedicated myself to the divine, and my community as Witch and Priestess, this was a couple of months before is started to ‘offically’ teach others in small classes, to impart knowledge and what I knew and also encourage others to figure out what and where their path lies. I have come to realise that it doesn’t matter what style, tradition, formal or informal path you chose to walk on, if it is not speaking to you, if it doesn’t raise your spirit, move you, then it is not for you, and I am happy to help those who are looking to find what path that they are crying out for, no matter if that is pagan of whatever flavour, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, whatever.. just so long as it speaks.
Now the thing about these levels is that they are also aspects to, because I have not forgotten or forgone what came first, I am still a Witch, a Priestess, and now a Teacher, and while I have and am experiencing all three, I also can see that each is important in its own right, none is more or better than the other, they are aspects as opposed to levels. Which neatly brings me to the second three aspects of my imaginary tradition. These three are much stronger aspects and not so much level as they are quite important in their own right. Now Ali from Meadowsweet and Myrrh sums up these three aspects quite beautifully, so instead of me bumbling along you should go along there and read what she says. *nods*..
Druidry I have been told recently is not so much about the levels in a hierarchal sense but more in the sense of giving a space and framework for people to try out all manner of things that they may or may not have any talent in or draw to. And that this is so that they may find that aspect, that talent and that calling which is home and become a mastercrafts person, so to speak.
Right back now, ok so when you mix both of the threes together, I find that this path becomes less about who is grand poohbar and who has reached the highest level, nor is it about the race to the top to see who can get there the fastest because, to do or believe any of the afore mentioned I believe means, that the message of this path has been lost. However for me the mixing of these three aspects, these three learning stages, these levels if you will, is more about understanding and learning where your or in my case my talents lie. For me it was about teaching and ministry but not in the sense of healing, or counselling but more in the way of helping light up someone else’s way, or as I was to learn, helping them light up their own way, these things are and have been much more important to me than being at the top or having teh official initiations of “insert tradition here” tradition. But having said that, if that is your path, and is what speaks to you, being and or finding a tradition to belong to or to initiate into, then I am more than happy to help you find that, more than happy to help you understand what that means to you, because that is my path as Witch, Priestess, and Teacher.
Of course I wonder if there is further steps, and if I really did have a tradition how that would work in with other things that I believe traditions have or need.. hmm.. *ponders*..
What would you tradition look like if you equated your journey so far to one?