Spellcraft for Beginners – online (zoom video) course facilitated by Mani Morningstar & Freya Witch – initiated Wiccans of the Gardnerian Tradition of the Craft. We have been running Spellcraft courses outdoors (in woods) and indoors (Atlantis Bookshop) for many years. Now with circumstances making us stay indoors, we’re designing this Beginners course to be held online. And for the first time, we are adding the Craft of doing Herbs & Oils in spells, to our existing line up of teaching you the basics of magic with Candles, sigils, cords & knots! (Rune magic is now one of our special extended course in its own right).
You’ll learn about 3 different techniques of doing ritual magic for your self. Using candles for magic, using Cords & knots for magic and using a selection of Herbs & Oils.
Mani will give an introduction to different types of spellcraft , and take you through the basics of candle-magic, colour correspondences, preparations, what sigils/ symbols to use. He will also cover cord magic (using knots on cords).
Freya Witch will introduce you to working with herbs & oils, give explanations, and then talk you through 2 actual spells that combine easy to obtain herbs & oils – and show you how to do a protection spell, and Banishing spell.
Date: Friday 13th November 2020.
Visit my meetup event to book for this. use link/ click this below
Our psyche in knots: Remembering & releasing our Dead .!
Moon in Cancer today… so it’s not surprising to see some posts here from few friends.. someone’s father died few days ago and she is having an astral farewell. someone else is suddenly remembering her mother passed away 4 years ago this time. And someone else is trying not to remember when their mother passed away.. around this time.
All these are painful.. and those memories stay deep within our psyche, getting buried deeper and deeper each passing year.. and causing the individuals discomfort, trauma, inner pains…. if they are not `opened up’ and eased, faced and released.. !
Am not at all being all `wise’ or `preachy’ . I know this pain very well. After my father died in a road accident, I went into some denial mode ..(slotting into `man of the family’ mode). Gave up University residence..moved back home .. The first 2 years were fine.. then my University grades started to drop..fails..repeats.. even an actual kind-out. I was not into parties, no relationship during the entire university time.. Just small stuff.. fitness, writing novels, painting.. yet life went down down down.. I missed my father much (though the end of his year was not good at home.. fights etc due to his flaws). But so many regrets.. I’d look at this funeral photos regularly and privately..(would not show it to mum or sisters but I’d be reliving it.. again and again).
This went on for almost 5-10 years!!Through it all, my spirituality took a dive. I became anti-religious.. then suicidal due to all my educational failures.. and somehow pulled through and found pagan spirituality.. and life started a positive upward spiral.. (and here we are).
I recall a point where I said enough was enough..and sealed his photos.. threw away some of his small precious possessions..(Only kept his broken wrist watch that had stopped at the time of his crash/ death and one ball point pen.. that I had placed in his hands for a short while in his coffin! Oh believe be I got dark in those years that people can not imagine.. After seeing some tribal film, I even thought I might drink his ashes in water!)
My Life only took off for me, after I released my father’s death from my psyche. I had thought to finish his life’s work.. his scholarly studies.. his Phd.. but then finally chose that I have my own work..and life to live.
In case people don’t know.. I was 5 years old when I saw my grandfather pass away.. and while his body was in the house for few days in a open coffin.. I lived in that house.. and played as a boy. My uncles and aunt kept me busy (mother was far away having just had my 2nd sister and was with her parents.. Father was busy with whatever her needed to do.. I only remember my uncles and aunt keeping me busy those days..)
Since then I have seen many relatives pass away before me.. As priest, I’ve even performed `pasing rites’ to terminally ill comatose loved ones.. and they then passed within hours.
As much as I don’t like to.. death defines my life.. (and this is perhaps why when it comes to do Dark Lord / veil stuff in pagan rituals for autumn/ samhain.. my energy clicks in fast and deeper than anything else).
I chose few years ago to click into Life.. and only `open up’ the Dark Lord energy in me at very specific seasonal times.. And as The Doctor (who) once said, `the name we choose is a promise we make to be who we are’…. and it’s no coincidence that the name I have currently on facebook (Mani Morningstar) is chosen for this time.. I may keep it or I may change it in a few months.. we’ll see how far I need to work that energy ..for my self and for the world. I don’t preach ..well I do..but with a lot of explanations.. like this one, so people know where I am coming from.. Not from a metal egocentric place of power and control.. but from a heartspace of compassion, empathy and love to want to help others in inner-turmoil.
If I can help.. I will do my best.Even if I or anyone else can’t help you.. YOU should go deep within.. (like the late Maureen helped me do in pathworkings and meditations back in 2001-02) to those key issues of loss of a parent.. and face them.. and resolve them. (I once cut of the head of my own father in a pathworking.. That was not malicious.. it was resolving a sub-personality or an energy that had consumed me for so long).
so take what you `Will’ from this.. and make your inner-samhain journeys… Don’t let the beloved-Dead sleep long within you and leach your energies and powers and live as zombies and vampires within your psyche. Let them go with love and light.. to the divine.It frees your heart to love again.. your self..and others.
The LBRP – Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram – is a ceremonial piece of magic performed at the start of any major magical work. It’s aim is to clear / banish *all* energies from a particular working space – so that the magician can then create sacred space, consecrations, and fill the space with energy of their own – for invoking Deities or angels or other works.
LBRP has 5 components/ stages:
1. Grounding & Reaching High to Deity.
2. Kabbalistic Cross.
3. Banishing Pentagrams & Circle.
4. Calling 4 Archangels at Quarters for Protection.
5. Kabbalistic Cross (again).
I’ve written detailed blogs and taught LBRP at courses. And finally, in this video I give a personal introduction, and give a demonstration on how to perform the LBRP. I’ve created graphics & short animations to help show you what to `visualise’. The video was filmed in a woods near my home in 2018.
In a forthcoming video (LBRP video2), I will be giving full explanations of each of the sections of LBRP, as well as verbal guide (like a guided pathworking), so that you can play it and practise the LBRP your self. Look out for my LBR video-2 soon. For now I hope this video gives you all the basics you need to learn about LBRP. It really is a short piece of magical work, but profound, nevertheless.
Back in 2001, when I was an Elected Equal Opps officer in the Home Office Union, we had a period of internal committee wrangles.. lots of frosty faces, and many internal e-mails flying about. Accusations, counter-accusations. Justifications. Rights and wrongs. And on one side the President, Vice President, Treasurer, and about 10 others…and on the other side was just me, and my mentor/ Branch Secretary Peter R.
Peter would say to me, `Mani, we are here to serve the members. So just do your duty to them’ And it took so much effort for me to park my ego aside, ignore the taunts by other officers, and keep working only on members’ cases!
Funnily enough, about the same time, as a newly made Wiccan High Priest, and a coven-free wiccan, I ended up as a Guest at the late Maureen’s coven.. and was eventually made the Coven High Priest.
And I can tell you …it’s not easy being part of an existing coven of super-transpersonally trained Witches, let along being their coven HP. Once there was an internal `trial by fire’ period that lasted 3 weeks (every Friday).. where I was throwing my `authority’ about, and Maureen and the whole coven spent hours and hours talking and debating and discussing with me.. (Ritual kept getting postponed 3 weeks in a row). Each Friday we’d gather at 7pm and the talks went on till early hours…Exhausted we’d either sleep over or go home.. at 2..3..4..5am and next Friday gather again..and it would carry on. None of us ran away.. None of us disrespected one another..but they all stayed…to help me understand some fundamentals.. of how to become a Good coven leader! And its never about exerting authority or teaching the highs and lows of magic. It’s about serving!!
In the end I learnt a valuable wisdom.. that a Coven leader does sit on the tip of a pyramid.. not at the top like a boss stepping on Initiates below. But the inverted pyramid tip at the bottom.. holding the weight of the entire coven and all the members.. and serving them!!
I once tried to offer my 1-2-1 ritual help to a wiccan and was told that am being possibly divisive and power-over. Another time a wiccan wanted my sword, and then wanted me to fight her. When I backed off, I was told by Maureen that I had dishonoured the member.. and as HP, I needed to heed her wish and battle her so she can work through her own issues ..
Coven running is never easy. Looking after initiates and trainees is never straight forward. Each person and indeed each event/ situation is unique.
And we struggle.. we struggle on and on .. to do what I often say.. `the right thing’ !!
I pick just these mere 2 situations to make a simple but profound point. That Since those days..I have worked really very hard… to serve!! Be it Pagans who contact me or wiccan initiates or trainees. Along the way, I have had to make sacrifices.. it has even once cost me a relationship.
And here I am again.. with a number of Wiccan initiations in the horizon, juxtaposed against the well-being of my personal life, the interest of family, partner, other initiates and more.
It’s painful at times.. times when the timing of crisis is never good.. Times when we have to put aside our breaking hearts and taunted minds, and reach for inner truths guided by our gods…and do the `right thing’. Yes we all agreed at our initiation that “we are willing to suffer to learn” but sometimes.. it’s just a near impossible situation. No one else will understand.. and everyone will try to criticise you or pull in different directions and loyalty-battles.
Do you know what… ? I’ve had this for over 20 years in my role as High Priest. This is not the first time… and this won’t be the last time. And I marvel at the Elders of The Craft who have been doing it for 30.. 40.. 50.. 60 years.
In Wicca, at initiation, we gain 2 titles.. Witch & Priest / Priestess. At first it may seem like some cool titles.. that we can flash about for added credibility on social media or some TV interview. BUT those titles come with heavy responsibilities.. The first part (Witch) is a magical one.. The other – `Priest / Priestess’ is one of service! Serving our Gods & Goddesses, serving people.. and serving the land.! In the 2 decades of my time as High Priest, since those Maureen coven days, I’ve never ever forgotten that.. !
Hi all.. here is an infographics showing full details of the dates/ durations / signs of all the Retrograde Planetary motions for 2020. Note I’ve omitted January’20 when Uranus ended its previous retrograde. But shown January 2021, when Uranus ends the upcoming retrograde motion. Feel free to keep a copy of this graphics in your devise for quick reference.
Dates of Planetary Retrogrades 2020
17th Feb (12’52 Pisces) – 28th March (28’13” Aquarius)
18th June (14’46” Cancer) – 12th July (5’30” Cancer)
14th October (11’39” Scorpio) – 4th November (25’57” Libra)
9th September (28’08” Aries) – 14th November (15’14” Aries)
13th May ( 21’50” Gemini) – 25th June (5’20” Gemini)
14th May (27’14” Capricorn) – 13th September (17’24” Capricorn)
11th May (1’57” Aquarius) – 29th September (25’20” Capricorn)
23rd June (20’58” Pisces) – 29th November (18’10” Pisces)
26th April (25’00” Capricorn) – 4th October (22’29” Capricorn)
Please give credit to me if using this in any of your shares/ works as I created this graphics manually using am art software. All data obtained from Raphael’s Ephemeris. Background (space) pictures from NASA site.
One Penumbral Lunar Eclipse may have culminated on 10th January 2020 (in the Moon’s own sign of Cancer) but we have 5 more ..yes FIVE more Eclipses to come in 2020. So here are the details. There’s a lot of data and discussion on this matter.. so I’ll star this blog with basics ..and will periodically update it with more details, times, graphics, animations and more. Remember to bookmark this blog page, and check back before eclipses..! -Mani Navasothy (Author of `Eclipse Magic Workbook’ published in 2012).
**All times are UT = Universal Time (approx equivalent to GMT)
Basic info (in date order)——–
5th June 2020 – Penumbral LUNAR Eclipse (Greatest Eclipse at 19:26 hrs UT)
21st June 2020 – Annular SOLAR Eclipse (Greatest Eclipse at 6.39hrs UT)
5th July 2020 – Penumbral LUNAR Eclipse (Greatest Eclipse at 4:31 hrs UT)
30th November 2020- Penumbral LUNAR Eclipse (Greatest Eclipse at 9:44 hrs UT)
14th December 2020 – Total SOLAR Eclipse (Greatest Eclipse at 16.13hrs UT)
Extended data ——-
For Each Eclipse, details will be given for Penumbral contact times P1,P2, P3, P4 and Umbral contact times U1, U2, U3 and U4. (all data learnt from NASA site for Eclipses, calculated by Fred Espenak – now retired Astronomer).
5th June 2020 – Penumbral LUNAR Eclipse
Ecliptic Conjunction at 19:13 hrs UT
Greatest Eclipse at 19:26 hrs UT
Duration : 3 hrs 18 min
P1 = 17:45 hrs; P4 = 21:04 hrs
Visible in Uk at time of Moon rise (evening).
5th July- Penumbral LUNAR Eclipse
Ecliptic Conjunction at 4:45 hrs UT
Greatest Eclipse at 4:31 hrs UT
Duration : 2 hrs 45 min
P1 = 3:07 hrs; P4 = 5:52 hrs
Visible in Uk at time of Moon Set (early morning).
Here are Full moon & New / Dark moon dates for 2020. All times are local British Times. (ie all are Winter/ summer time adjusted). There is a Blue moon on 31st October 2020 (Samhain/ Halloween night!!! yikes ). I’ll be adding astrology details of signs/ degrees for each of these soon. Book mark and check back.. Thanks. Blessings. – Mani
ALL Times are LOCAL British Times
Full moon -10 January 2020 19:21 hrs (20′ Cancer 00″)
New moon -24 January 2020 21:42 ( 4′ 22″Aquarius)
Full moon -9 February 2020 07:33 hrs ( 20′ 00″ Leo)
New moon -23 February 2020 15:32 hrs (4′ 29″ Pisces)
Full moon -(Supermoon) 9 March 2020 17:48 hrs ( 19′ 37″ Virgo)
New moon -24 March 2020 09:28 hrs ( 4′ 12″ Aries )
Full moon -(Supermoon) 8 April 2020 03:35 hrs BST – (18’44” Libra)
New moon -23 April 2020 03:26 hrs BST – ( 3’24” Taurus)
Full moon -7 May 2020 11:45 hrs BST – ( 17’20” Scorpio )
New moon -22 May 2020 18:39 hrs BST – ( 2’05” Gemini)
Full moon -5 June 2020 20:12 hrs BST – ( 15’34” Sagittarius)
New moon -21 June 2020 07:41 hrs BST – ( 0’21” Cancer)
Full moon -5 July 2020 05:44 hrs BST – ( 13’38” Capricorn)
Indigo Moon New moon- 20 July 2020 18:33 hrs BST – (28’27” Cancer)
Full moon- 3 August 2020 16:59 hrs BST – (11’46” Aquarius)
New moon -19 August 2020 03:42 hrs BST – (26’35” Leo)
Full moon- 2 September 2020 06:22 hrs BSt – ( 10’12” Pisces)
New moon- 17 September 2020 12:00 hrs BST – (25’01” Virgo )
Full moon -1 October 2020 22:05 hrs BST – (9’09” Aries)
New moon- 16 October 2020 20:31 hrs BST – (23’53” Libra)
Full (Blue) moon -31 October 2020 14:49 hrs – ( 8’38” Taurus)
New moon- 15 November 2020 05:07 hrs – ( 23’18” Scorpio )
Full moon -30 November 2020 09:30 hrs – (8’38” Gemini )
New moon- 14 December 2020 16:187 hrs – (23’08” Sagittarius )
Full moon- 30 December 2020 03:28 hrs – (8’53” Cancer)
Article originally written on 9th March 2012. eBook `Coven Guide: How to become an initiated Witch’ published on 13th November 2012.
If you are reading this article, then I imagine you belong to one of the following categories:
You are seeking initiation, or are just interested or curious about initiations (non-initiate).
You are against initiations and want materials to argue against (non-initiate).
You have been initiated already (or you have initiated others) and want to know what I may have to say.
All of these supposes that the `initiation’ we are talking about (about to) is one of those formal, human engineered initiations. That is to say – one that is created by one or more Priests/ Priestesses for the purpose of an individual going through them. It can be pat of a solitary working, or as part of joining a Wiccan/Witch coven. (Discussions and thoughts about differences between Wicca & Witchcraft are found in another article, so I will use those terms loosely here).
Let me address the second category first! Whatever I am writing in this article comes from my personal experiences of about 15 years of participating in initiatory Wiccan covens in the UK. I have also initiated a number of people into Wicca. I am qualified to write about my experiences and thoughts, and opinions. And before anyone jumps on the matter of me revealing `secrets’ of initiations, they really should just visit a big bookshop (for real) and browse through the shelf on wicca / occultism – because hundreds of other people have written about it all. Even novices who have never run a coven or initiated others and taken responsibility for guiding others, seem to write about Wicca these days.
If you are one of those who has been initiated recently, then this article may have additional insights for you. You really should book time with your initiator(s) soon to go through your experiences, insights, questions and thoughts on your personal experiences. It is a valuable meeting that will benefit you, and them! Gone are the archaic days where initiators act like walking-gods (or Dictators) and `ride’ their initiates hard. We don’t put up with that sort of behaviour in the modern world. Ancient or modern, initiations and the people involved reflect and must also move with the times. Hierarchy that worked 200 years ago in ancient Greece or even covens in 1950’s just won;t be applicable in the modern era.
Coven leaders used to `give’ the `witch name’ to their initiates at initiations in the early covens of 1950’s, 60’s (or even in recent times). But this is something I personally do not agree on! Leaving aside arguments and logic-chopping about Fatalists and what’s `fated’, my insights on the matter is that- the first conditioning we human beings ever get from the moment of birth (or even before) is our very name! We don’t choose it. Our parents, relatives, guardians, foster-parents, social service officers, adopters and others name us! And we grow up with the energy of that name that has been given. And unless you are one who chose to change your name legally by deed-poll, you are still bound by that conditioning. And choosing your own `witch name’ or identity is possibly the most liberating and empowering act one could ever do! So if an initiator is going to give you a name, then they are not giving you freedom, but more slavery! And in any case, freedom can not be given. It is a right, and when it fails, it must be taken!
Let’s get back to initiations! And the first category of people reading this: You are interested in, or are about to go through a Wiccan initiation.
If you are about to go through one that a coven or individual is preparing for you, then I hope you have had plenty of time to think about and explore your reasons for this.
Why do you want to be initiated?
Are you fully aware of the expectations the coven or that initiator has from you, once you go through it?
Practising Witchcraft and/or Wicca does not require one to be initiated into a coven or wicca by others! Once you embark on that path, or awaken to that path by a series of coincidences and synchronous events, initiatory experiences start happening for you! I guarantee that!! It may be little things or big life-splitting events! There will be challenges, hardship and difficulties, in equal measure to all the harmony, depth, spiritual insights and rewards. (but most humans tend to only notice the `problems’ ). What I am trying to say here is that fate itself (and the Gods and Goddesses) will put you through initiatory experiences! You don’t need a man or a woman in a Priest/ Priestess /leader/ guru role to do that.
And here’s an important thing to be aware of: even of you are going through an initiation that is devised by a coven leader or a High Priest/ High Priestess, they can not engineer the experiences. The initiatory experiences will either being to build up –before- you have your initiation, or it will stat to happen –after- you formal initiation ceremony or ritual. A word of warning – sometimes you might go through weeks or months before these start to happen. It’s like a lit-fuse. You don’t quite know when it will explode and start to manifest. Another word of warning: the `euphoric’ experiences you may get during a coven initiation, while giving you a feeling of spiritual well-being, are not always going to be the only things you will experience. Don’t fall into a false sense of spiritual security. There will be challenges ahead- and every single oath you have taken will come back to test you in the months and years ahead! In fact, you will always be challenged and tested. It’s not a done deal. It’s an ongoing partnership – with the deities!! (You have been warned!)
So why do you want to get initiated? To learn more; to get deeper wisdom; To serve the world; To teach others… Ah, the responses are endless and many. Trust me, I’ve given many of them myself (I went and looked at my old magical diaries of pre-initiation days!). Some of those responses make me shrink with shame and embarrassment. Oh, no one else has seen them, but I know. It’s amazing how I was trying to pull the wool over those Gods of mine! Oh, they knew all along, am sure, like a parent who can see through the lies of a young child.
So I ask again – Why do you want to get initiated? Be utterly honest with your self now. Write it down. And them read what you wrote, and burn it if you have to. But be honest 100% with your self. Then, if you have to, go ahead and create those `other’ reasons which everyone else will accept and applaud you for!
Am I being harsh? Yes, probably. Okay so let me ease up a bit.
Reasons – real ones – for initiations vary. Here are some perfectly valid personal reasons.
Initiation is attractive and scary at the same time. (mystery of the Craft).
Initiation is (currently) the only way for you to join a coven or a magical group (joining a group). (there are training groups you can join and explore spirituality & magic, without getting initiated, by the way! I know, because I myself have run many of them).
It’s a deep-rooted calling and you just can’t explain it (intuitive).
Serious magic can only be learnt after initiation (or so you believe).
Your friends / partner have been initiated – and they either want you to be initiated, or you don’t want to be left behind.
You are writer / Journalist, looking to learn some things and then write about (this has happened many times!). Warning: Many who start off this way have ended up `really’ being pulled in to the mysteries and become `genuine’. Initiation is a door and anyone who walks through it –be in genuine Seeks or attention seeking Fools – are going to find their lives transformed sooner or later for real! Gods can wait a very long time!!
There’s plenty of other reasons, but I wanted to highlight some, to give you a feel of the cross-section of reason. Whatever your own reasons, know that they are valid for you! (That applies even the journalists, and wannabe get-rich Gurus !)
Expectations of your initiator is something you must be fully aware of – so please have a good long genuine discussion. Coven leaders and initiators are not gods or goddesses (unless you fancy them that way, in which case, you should read my article on `Sexuality in Wicca & Paganism’). You should be able to sit and talk to them freely. By all means, learn from them, and respect them, (and even love them), but for Heaven’s sake, don’t get into the pit-fall of putting them on a pedestal (even if they want that!).
So talk to them – about what they expect from you, once they have initiated you into Wicca and/or their coven. Initiations have many purposes – one of them is joining individuals into the group-mind magically. Initiations are not to be treated as one-night-stands in wicca! It’s a long-term committed relationship – between you and the coven.
Most initiators in Wicca will expect you to attend coven and coven socials regularly, and for long periods. We are talking about at least the 8 festivals, a number of full moon/ new moon rituals (total of between 12- 20 rituals per year), training sessions and/or meetings (once a month – either in coven set-up or as one-to-one with your initiators) and of course coven/group socials – where members meet together at coven-home, or meet-up and go to pagan events, moots, festivals etc.
These things may not be exclusively stated or even expected – but trust me – there is highly likely to be these expectations. Initiators expect the people they initiate to stick around, working magically with them and coven for a good 3-4 years. In that time, they not only teaching and training them, but also investing their magic, hopes and ideals in their initiates. It is all about passing on knowledge and wisdom. That is part of the magical contract. And that is also how the wiccan lineage and magical current continues.
Not many people actually talk about this, possibly for fear of new Seekers becoming afraid of commitment and never joining. But it’s best all around to be clear from the start. No point joining a group, then giving the coven and initiators the run-around with excuses and explanations as to why one could not attend a meeting. Once pr twice is fine, but when ongoing, it shows a deeper lack of commitment. And there is that magical axiom – As within- So without. If life keeps throwing distractions at you and stops you going to coven, then, the question to ask is – is it fate that’s manifesting those distractions, or something deep within you?!
That brings me to another core ideal in magical traditions. Know Thyself! And be mindful of what you are thinking- feeling – doing – sensing – at all times. It’s not easy. It’s hard at first. It may feel like you mind doesn’t stop. And that you are `on-call’ all the time. But this phase will pass, and you’ll learn to be `normal’ about being so mindful. For example, as a Physicist, I am always aware of forces and material limitations of the objects around me. And as a magician, I am aware that I am sensing (esoteric) energy all the time, but learning to either ignore some or tune into to some more actively. It’s a bit like noise in our world. If you are in towns and cities, you hear what we call `background noise’ – it’s a collection of all the sounds that are going on. We learn to ignore them, but can also choose to listen to specific sounds. (Mothers are well-tuned to crying babies. Their own, or even other babies). So returning to the point- Know thyself & Mindfulness are important.
We’re just scratching the surface – but am sure you can begin to see the depth and seriousness of initiations. Initiations are not just rituals you do, it applies to articles and books too. In these preceding sections, I’ve been preparing you for the main matter of initiation. Taking you through all sorts of hoops!! Well done for sticking with the reading. And if you just skim-read this, you really should know. I write non-fiction like fiction. I plant clues, and I write like a mystic, in cryptic clauses too. So you should read this article at least a few times, to gain maximum insights from this.
That said, let’s get back to initiations.
Your approach & relationship with would-be-initiator(s):
Here are some serious considerations and questions you may (and should) be asking your self, once you’ve decided that Wiccan / witch initiation is for you. I’ll also add the insights for each one.
Did you ask for it? This may seem the most ridiculous of all questions. But in Wicca and in any initiatory mystery pagan traditions, a Seeker must take personal responsibility for his or her own path. And if you want to be initiated into a coven, or by someone who is an experienced Witch/priest/ priestess, you have to approach them – and ask for it! Most self-governing and honourable Coven leaders/ Initiators will not approach you and `offer to initiate you’. (If they do – run!). No matter how well you know someone, and no matter how much hints you drop, or how many hints they may drop, the clinching point is – you must gather your wisdom about you, and ask them to initiate you.
Did you get to know your would-be initiator? Don’t just walk up to a would-be initiator or a coven leader, and ask for initiation! Those days probably existed, but not now. You really must spend many months getting to know them – not just as pagan friends, or acquaintance, but as a `would-be initiator-of-you’! You may have known someone for years, and they may even have talked about their coven and such. But the moment you decide that you may like to join their coven as a trainee/ initiate, the relationship shifts magically, and it must shift! A teacher-apprentice connection suddenly forms. You have to get to know that part of them from scratch. (and if you do know them well, don’t try to pull emotional strings to get initiated. Remember that the Gods are watching!)
Is it about you or the initiator? Short answer- the moment a seeker decides to go down the path of formal initiation, it becomes about that Seeker- ie you! The would-be-initiator may give you all sorts of explanations, but ultimately, even though they are the initiator(s), the journey, the need and quest is all about you! And they are then-onwards there, in your life, to aid your learning.
How do you get to know the would-be-initiator(s)? This is the easiest one to answer, yet hardest to achieve. It’s got to be a gradual process, and you have to make the effort, unconditionally! You have to ask for either time with them – formal appointments to go and chat with them, or invite them to socials (group social and/or personal) where you can converse. In addition, you have to `hang-out’ with them, by going with them to some pagan festivals, events, conferences, pub socials, open rituals etc. Don’t end up stalking them by finding out about where they are going and always turning up to the same events. Everyone needs a bit of personal space. Even would-be-initiators. So just go to a few of the events. Once you have expressed a desire to `work magically with them’ they would know you are going to do this, so don’t get too sneaky about it. Be open. You don’t have to turn up every where they go. But you are best advised to turn up at least to the Open rituals, socials and other events that they may actually organise, or publicise, as one they are going to. It’s likely a hint that they are giving you an opening to socialise with them. Be genuine and civil with them (but no bribes of excessive gifts!).
Do they have experience? This may seem obvious, but – do they? These days anyone can `gain knowledge’ by reading a number of books, and set themselves up us some sort of coven leaders or initiators. But a genuine Initiator should have had a certain number of years experience being in a coven to learn and train to be a Wiccan, and ten undergone further training to become a self-contained coven leader (and an Initiator). In the old days (30-40 years ago), in some wiccan lineages, Witches spent a year as Initiates, and then were given their `2nd degree’ – as a High Priest or High Priestess, and thus were `validated’ as Initiators who are qualified to teach, train and initiate other seekers. In my opinion, this is not enough time. It’s like a novice learning to drive. Even after learning and passing a driving test, they the need `real life’ driving experience for a long period – before gaining expertise to be able to drive in motorways, highways and especially teach others. So why and how could someone become so competent in just 1 year to be able to teach or initiate? People generally go through a plethora of psychological and magical processes in their own rights. Sometimes time must pass, for experiences to sink in and become wisdom. As with would-be-initiators. Not only must they have `done time’ as seekers and initiates, but they mist also have spent time learning to teach, train, mentor and ultimately initiate. And here’s a pearl- someone who is very good in managing a team of 20 people in a business is not necessarily going to be good in training a seeker in magic. An expert in looking after pets isn’t necessarily an instant-expert in looking after a young child. The approach and psychology will be different.
The Initiation contract:
Not many talk about this, but once a person indicates they are seeking training and/or initiation from an Initiator (coven leader), and that initiator agrees, a magical contract exists! Dating is possibly a good analogy to explain this. In early stages (when one is footloose, wild and single), one may socialise with many would-be romantic partners, and at a certain stage, may even go-out with more than one person to explore compatibility. But then comes the committed relationship stage- where the person develops a relationship with only one person (unless they were `promiscuous’). In Wicca, when one has asked for training and a coven leader(s) have agreed, it’s a committed relationship. In romantic life, often committed relationships lead to marriage, so in wicca, a training relationship leads to initiation. Of course, relationships can fail, and engagements can break. Same in wicca. Sometimes, after a while, training relationships can break, because the Seeker and would-be initiator may find that they can not work together magically in the long term. There are many reasons why this can happen.
Their personalities do not gel better, and one or neither are willing to work to over come this.
The Seeker looses interest, or can not maintain commitment and exclusivity in working magically with the Coven leaders.
One or both parties move residence – to a location too far for travel and training in the long term.
The boundary between Seeker and trainer is breached, and quite possibly dependency, projections, or worse a sexual relationship may have developed – which in turn makes the training relationship incredibly difficult for both.
So assuming you traverse all these issues well and carefully, you will be on course for your initiation. Of course there are many more stages in between this and actual initiation. We’ve only been covering the psychological and logistical aspects here, so far. There is the whole magical development to consider – the Quests, knowledge, practise, preparations, tools, name, interactivity with would-be-coven members (or other initiates), where it all takes place, and the secrecy itself! Yes, there is the issue of secrecy!
What next? I can’t tell you, not because I am bound by some secrecy (well that too), but because what follows will be unique between you and your would-be-initiator(s).
If you have any questions, feel free to write to me – either as comments below, or as private messages . I’ll answer – as much as I am allowed to answer.. (without breaching the Wiccan secrecy oaths I have taken).
May your path be full of challenges you can conquer, and wisdom you can uncover. And may your deities always watch over you.
Note: This article was written on 9th March 2012. It was then fully developed as a book `Coven Guide: Become an initiated Witch’ (published 13th November 2012; 144 pages; ISBN: 978-0-9560746-4-5 (Awakening Publishing). You can buy the pdf version from me (this blog) directly by visiting the page here . page: Coven Guide: Become an initiated Witch’ e-book
Note: (17th May 2018).
Wicca New Moon & Wicca New Moon circles in London:
From this summer onwards, I’ll be getting back to holding Wicca New Moon’ training circles in a woods in North London.. you may wish to attend those for some practical experiences of foundations of wicca.. There are also my monthly Wicca full moon circles’ in central London by river Thames Link to my meetup is here https://www.meetup.com/London-Woodland-Witches-Pagans-Magicians/
How many initiated Wiccans or otherwise, have been using the so called `invocation and devocation’ pentagrams in wiccan/ witchcraft or magical circles? Quite many thousands, I imagine. Back in my early `initiate/ first degree’ days (almost 2 decades ago now), I was taught those invocation pentagrams, and used them (still do) when standing in one of the quarters (North, East, South or West) and calling a respective element (Earth, Air, Fire or Water).
To be honest, it was hard trying to remember which way to `draw’ those pentagrams, as they differed for each quarter/element. One easy solution was taught to me – that for Air and Water (East and West), one started drawing the pentagrams `towards’ the altar. But for Earth and Fire, this was not possible..
Well, last year, while talking about this in a shamanic ritual, I was doing a fire invocation pentagram with an actual flaming torch (outdoors, in the woods).. and explaining it to someone. An astrology friend said, `well, you know why don’t you? it’s because Leo is there!’. That’s all he said, and that’s all he needed to say. In a flash the whole thing clicked in my head, as I worked / visualised the related images. And as soon as I got home I drew it all up and looked at it to make sure – and then wondered – `why on earth had no one told me about this in my old coven days? and why have I not read about this full explanation for some 15-20 years?’
And I resolved to share what I had learnt/ worked out openly. hence this blog post. (but even this took me months to get down and actually do.. because of my laziness of having to sit and do all that explanation *fully*).
It’s not just this stuff that is lurking in my mind as one of many `do blogs’ ..There are plenty more magical things I have learnt, worked out, reverse engineered or just created by trial and errors or experimentations (magical).. that require sharing.
This morning, I woke up and had (out of the blue) just one thought.. that my subconscious had surfaced.. and it was.. to begin that sharing!
(ps. I had since then learnt, some of this stuff comes from or practised by the `Golden Dawn’ western magical tradition practitioners).
So here it is..the full explanation…starting with astrology.. (there are still some questions..which I will pose and hope someone can answer).
1. The 3-Dimensional view of our Earth & the Sun.
Above is a graphical representation of what the Earth & Sun will look like, if viewed from space, from a point of vie `above’ the plane of the ecliptic (ie the orbital plane of planet Earth around the Sun). As you can see, the Zodiac signs are star systems far away, but they can be `projected’ onto a sheet in each of the 12 directions where those systems exist.
2. Making Earth the Centre.
In astrology, we draw charts of the Sky, as if they are seen from the Earth. So Earth is placed in the centre. You can see from above graphics, how – slightly shifting the Sun-Earth pair gives rise to this. And because the zodiac systems are so far away in relative terms to the Sun-Earth distance, the view of them do not change. In this graphics, watched from the Earth, the Sun will appear to be set against the Zodiac sign of Aries. (ie Sun in Aries).
3. Astrological Chart – a graphical representation of the Sky
In the pic above, I have `got rid of’ the details and 3-dimensional elements, and only left-in the Earth, Sun and the positions / directions where Zodiacs are. This is a `view from the `top’ (above the Ecliptic plane). And this is what it means when we see or draw an astrology Birth chart. Note: The fist sign of the Zodiac – Aries- is drawn in the `rising sign’ position at Spring Equinox.
Note: This is the starting point now, for the invocation pentagrams!
4. Elements and Fixed nature of Zodiac signs
In astrology, each sign of the Zodiac is assigned one of the 4 elements (Air, Fire, Water, Earth). I’ve grouped and shown these in the 4 corners of the diagram. (not in any order or direction). In astrology, there are qualities that are assigned to signs. The qualities are Cardinal, Mutable and Fixed. I have highlighted the `fixed’ signs.
As you can see, Leo is the fixed Fire sign. Taurus is the fixed Earth sign, Aquarius the fixed Air, and Scorpio the fixed Water sign. Note that I kept their positions in the astrological chart.
here on it gets easy to do the invocation pentagrams.
5. Fire invocation Pentagram using astrological chart
The fire invocation pentagram is drawn, by starting the first arm of the pentagram from the `midheaven’ position, and `into’ Leo, the fixed Fire sign, thereby activating the element of fire. The pentagram is then completed by carrying on the other 4 arms of it as shown in diagram above.
6. Earth invocation Pentagram using astrological chart
Here, for the invocation of Earth energy, we start from the same (midheaven) position,, then drawn the first arm of the invoking pentagram `into’ Taurus, the fixed Earth sign.
7. Air invocation Pentagram using astrological chart
For the Air invocation pentagram, the first arm of the pentagram is drawn such that it `enters’ the fixed sign of Air..ie Aquarius (as shown above).
8. Water invocation Pentagram using astrological chart
The first arm for the water invoking pentagram is drawn such that it enters the fixed water sign, ie Scorpio.
Note: I have shown these (Fire, Earth, Air water) `not in the order’ of invocation, but in a way that initially shows you the symmetry of them.
Of course in Wicca / Witchcraft circles, the order of invocation, is
I hope you found these full visuals useful and finally can see why the invocation pentagrams are drawn the way they are done. It is purely based on astrological convention of drawing the chart, relative zodiac positions on that chart, and where on that chart the fixed signs for each of the elements are situated.
The most important thing to have in mind is that it’s all just `conventions’ created by a magical system, and that in space there are only relative positions… there are no ups, downs left and rights; And that in magic, you – as the practitioner who is exercising the Will- has the choice and say in how and what you do!
Copyright /sharing note: As an artist, magician and an educator, I work very hard to create these visual aids to help others. Am happy for anyone to share this on social media/ reblog above blog, provided copyright note (c) Mani Navasothy / http://www.QuantumPhoenix.net remains. No publication of these graphics in any book /course / training allowed without express written (and magical) permission from myself. Thank you.