Time flies, the Eclipse and Solstice have already come and gone, and I have already received my books for the coming semester. I am pleasantly surprised how much I have learned from a Baptist seminary. Being raised Pagan I never had an in depth understanding of Christianity, nor was I ever interested in one.
But as challenging as it has been, I have gained an appreciation for the religion and realized there's some pretty good stuff in there. It's not the religion I have a problem with, its the followers of that religion (who aren't actually following the religion).
But I love theology! And I loved my Humanities class! I really learned a lot. It gave me so many ideas and I wanted to write on some of those before I lose them in the avalanche of new classes...
Sir Francis Bacon wrote Novum Organum or New Instrument, in which he writes about the Four False Idols: of the Cave (mind), the Tribe (all humans), of the Theater (schools of thought) and of the Marketplace (language). False Idols being false beliefs. My long time readers know how I am about personal challenges, so I am embarking on a brave (Non-Scientology) self audit of my false idols. But I thought I'd warm up with the idols of the marketplace I've seen and work my way into the Cave. For this installment, I came up with three idols, hold on let me get my soapbox...
The Rede has become a Meme: "an it harm none, do what ye wilt." But it's so much more than that, there is actually 26 (or more) lines (depending on which version), and it embarrassing how many "Wiccans" I've met who didn't know this. I've seen so many people leave Christianity and come crying to Paganism, but ironically that have not left the Christian mindset and dogma behind. They have drug it kicking and screaming into Paganism. They have let go of the safely and security of the Bible only to clutch the Rede with white knuckles. But they've only switched addictions, the Rede is not Gospel, it's guideline. There is actually some really good stuff in there, which like Masonry, the greatest lessons are only alluded too. It wouldn't hurt to read into it a bit before adopting or rejecting it. I'm just saying...
Recommended reading: The Wiccan Rede, Couplets of the Law, Teachings, and Enchantments by Mark Ventimiglia, Citadel Press 2003.
THE WHITE HANDLED KNIFE
This is another Axiom of the Wiccan community, if you Google "white handled knife" you will get results explaining that it's also known as the Boline, and visa versa. But there is a difference between the two: the Boline is used expressly for harvesting herbs and other plants whereas the white handed knife is used to cut, carve, mark and engrave other objects for use in the craft such as cords or candles. However there is yet another tool called a "Burin" which is specifically used for marking candles. I don't know how this ever developed into a full blown axiom, but what the hell, apparently I don't pronounce Athame correctly either...
As a Freemason I have come to place a high value on initiation as a rite of passage. It is a life changing, consciousness altering experience, that you CANNOT do to yourself. There is a big difference between a "Dedication" and an "Initiation." You can perform a (self) dedication ritual to mark your commitment to a particular path, in fact I recommend it. But an initiation by definition is "a rite of passage ceremony marking entrance or acceptance into a group or society."
"A group or society..."
I knew someone who came to me asking about initiation, she told me about the Coven she was in before and how when she asked to be initiated she was told to write the initiation ritual, and they would perform it on her (writing the ritual was part of her test). ???????!!!!!
While the phases of initiation may vary from tradition to tradition, there remain a few necessary elements such as the chamber of reflection, the shock of entrance and the guardian of the threshold. And depending on the mystery there's probably a death and a resurrection or rebirth. None of these things can one do to ones self, nor should one attempt to do alone for the sake a safety.
Not knowing who they are or what they are about to do to you is a necessary part of the process, it forces you to question your own motivation, "what did I do to get myself into this situation? What am I doing? Why am I doing this?" Some of the biggest secrets of mystery schools, traditions and the Craft are revealed through the sacred dramas like initiation, they are an experiential necessity for unlocking the wisdom within.
I can go on for hours about the value of initiation, which is always over emphasized for the wrong reasons, but that's another idol...
Thank you Lord and Lady, here's your soapbox back.