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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at

 By: Alex Rigel
 Source: "Lid Off The Cauldron. A wicca Handbook", Patrica Crowther,
         1992, Samuel Weiser inc., Maine. pp.34-
   To become a witch you must have a natural inclination to worship the
 Old Gods. It must be a feeling which springs from the heart and carries
 you on towards your goal, in exactly the same way it happened to the
 first witches thousands of years ago.
   The approach must be in this manner. Any other attitude, such as
 vulgar curiosity, a desire for power over others, or the selfish
 intention of using magic to gain material ends, will only end in failure
 and disillusion.
   The Old Gods are ancient archetypal images of the divine powers behind
 all Nature. They are the oldest gods known to man. Pictures of them are
 painted all over Europe and show the great influence they had, even at
 the Dawn of Time.
   Just because they are so old, is no reason to believe they are in any
 way 'out of date'. Our ancesstors were no fools: their way of life and
 their culture is gaining more and more respect as the years go by.
 Continuous discoveries about their skills and beliefs growing admiration
 and amazement.
   Their deities were a Mother Goddess and a Horned God, representing the
 twin forces of life: male and female, light and dark, positive and
 negative, Sun and Moon, etc. These complimentary aspects in nature are
 'fact' and cannot be disputed. And, because the Gods are true
 representations of the divine powers behind all manifestation, they have
 endured through millennia, and will always endure.
   Unlike many other religions, where contact with divinity is sought
 through prayer and meditation, witchcraft teaches development of the
 soul through the Eight Paths of the Witches' Wheel. These ways are part
 of the Western Mystery Tradition. The West and the East are two very
 different places. Eastern religions teach their followers to look
 'within' for enlightenment, and although the West uses this method in
 meditation, it is only 'one' of the Eight Paths. The Western mind looks
 'outward' and seeks spiritual grace by helping others. Thus, the witches
 use their powers to help those in sickness or trouble.
   The Awakening can begin as an urge which rises from the depths of the
 soul. A state of boredom or despiration, which every human being comes
 to at some point of incarnation, can become as a beacon to the spirit.
   It is born to the struggling soul and to the complacent alike. Many
 lives may be endured before it is realized that the true self must
 take the initiative and begin to fight its own way out of the Cycles of
 Incarnation, which, without the control of the Higher Self, may continue
 indefinitely. Once the realization is born, and the quest begun, the
 soul is on its way from manhood to godhood.
   Regarding the Craft, it is wise to seek initiation from a 'genuine'
 coven. This is not as easy as it sounds, as genuine adherents do not
 seek converts, and therefore do not advertise for members. they believe
 that if a person is sincere and determined enough in their desire to
 belong to the Craft, they will, sooner or later, make contact.
   There are, however, various ways of speeding things up a little, such
 as contributing to one of the privately printed occult magazines, which
 are usually run by people 'in the know'. Or even placing a small advert
 in one of these papers. You can also write to the author of a book on
 the subject, and send the letter via the publishers. It might then be
 forwarded to a coven in your area, although I must add here that even if
 this happens, and you are invited to meet someone from a coven, it would
 not be indicative of entry.
   There are certain conditions which have to be fulfilled, such as
 blending in with the personalities of the members, having read widely on
 the subject, a willingness to submit to a waiting period, usually a year
 and a day, among others. Yet these conditions are valid ones; you cannot
 expect to be accepted quickly, but you will know that the witches you
 meet have undergone similar obstacles themselves.
   The ways of the witches are those of caution, especially where
 strangers are concerned. After all, who would admit a stranger to their
 home without an introduction, let alone to a temple of the Mysteries.
   Care must be taken, too, in finding a coven which is in close
 'rapport' with your own life-style, culture and character. But, once
 contact is made, there is hope in finding a group where conditions, on
 both sides, can be fulfilled.
   Although some covens wear robes, the traditional way of working in the
 Circle, is to be sky-clad, or naked. When you are brought into the
 Craft, yoou enter as you were born, without clothes or ties of any kind.
 The first initiation is virtually an introduction to a new way of life.
 You are made a 'Child of the Goddess'; you are shown the tools of the
 Craft; told the ways of working magic, and made to swear an oath to keep
 the secrets of the Art. This is called the First Degree.
   The Second Degree is the initiation proper. Thsis involves the concept
 of symbolic death and symbolic resurrection, when you are re-born with
 the new magical personality. A new name (of your own choice) is given to
 you which represents the transformation, and by which, henceforth, you
 will be known when in the Circle.
   The drama of this mystery play implants its ideas firmly in the
 subconscious mind of the adherent, and the mystery, which is enacted
 on the material plane, sets the seal on the future.
   It is not to be supposed that by initiation and teaching you will
 automatically be 're-born'. A way will be shown, and knowledge
 imparted, yet the journey is always 'alone' and the true 'will' tested
 to the very brink of breaking point.
   In a sense, when initiation takes place it is very much like daring
 Fate to do its worst. One has taken a stand: "I announce to all creation
 that I will endure to progress."
   In witchcraft the soul develops a deeper understanding of 'being'.
 This entails practice, which is why the Craft has grades of advancement.
 The highest grade is the consummation of the mysteries, where ritual
 yields to what is termed, 'The Secret of the Silver Wheel'.
   There is also the imparting of certain 'secret' words, which, in
 themselves, convey very little, but their secret intention 'is'
 important and gently 'nudges' the aspirant onward.

Next: Altered States and Ritual (Web of Wyrd #7)