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To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.pagan,alt.religion.wicca,alt.magick From: email@example.com (mordred) Subject: Initiation Roles (Was Re: ETHICS: Fence-Straddlers) Date: 4 Mar 1995 09:32:38 -0800 Kali Yuga 49950304 firstname.lastname@example.org (Rain) writes: |...commitment and identity. Where does one draw one's personal lines, |and how? Also, how can 'drawing personal lines' be a discipline/tool all in itself. Another topic for another thread. |For those of you in traditions where "apprenticeship" is for a year and |a day, what becomes of the would-be initiate who would like to be in, |but balks at the border? If halfway into an initiation, they get cold |feet, what do you do? One can't really take them, but then what happens? 'A year and a day' is taken a little too literally for my tastes. I tend to interpret the statement to mean 'for as long as the relationship shall be accepted by both individuals'. Given this, I'll answer your question. Initiation is, to me, not a ceremonial affair, though I've dabbled in a bit of ceremony both within the context of magical groups and amongst my kin. The only 'border' is some place beyond which the initiate will not go at that time, and ceremony fairly requires absolute trust or a 'one shot opportunity', especially if the contents of that ceremony are to become the cement within the magical group itself. Exposure to *some* of the contents and a desire to eject will usually be taken as a sign of insuf- ficient trust and usually 'rejected application', though not always. Many groups base it upon intent and circumstance, allowing one or more 'retries' as long as there is incentive on the part of the *initiator*. The way I'm seeing it now, wherever an initiate (and I rarely make such distinctions within my environs, especially based on my initiative) feels a need for a boundary then I will respect that as I'm able. Personal boundaries are very important to me, having had mine flexed and trampled at various times in my life. Within the kraft of wizardry, as I under- stand it, each initiation is likely to be different and therefore there is no problem with stopping and starting according to the needs of the particular initiate provided that this does not violate the initiator. |I'm assuming that one personally supports the person in their choice, |then lets them have space and so forth, but what happens if they ask for |initiation more than once, then balk? Is there a limit to patience? You are merely asking about each initiator's qualities, which will vary tremendously, I think. Patience is a scarce resource, and for this reason, or perhaps because of it, patience is considered a virtue. |...Has anyone had an experience of having |such a person where after a while it seems like one is throwing good money |after bad? Is this always a case of LaVey's "psychic vampirism?" I don't tend to think in such black and white terms, though I do find that it is valuable to know my own boundaries and limitations and prevent continued dependency where I am not willing to give. LaVey's psychic vampirism is based upon someone who *also never truly gives in return*. While there are definitely unbalanced relationships in which one person gives more than another, this does not conform to LaVey's concept as I understand it. The individual in question must be absolutely manipulative, using us as a source for some resource and intending no good will or exchange of any sort. My impression is that part of the problem with 'defined assistance relationships' (guru/chela, initiator/initiate, therapist/client, doctor/patient, etc.) is that there develops on the part of the person who *assists* some notion of superiority rather than a mere difference of obtained resource. The teacher begins to think 'this student is not worth teaching' instead of 'I do not feel comfortable continuing this relationship'. This can lead to some very nasty repercussions and is one reason that I tend to forego such identified roles. |How have people dealt with it, or how do they think they would, if faced |with someone who would like to be a "pagan/magician/witch" or whatever, |but only in the dilettante/dabbler/fair-weather way? The rigidification and focus upon ceremony/recipe as a means of social acceptance carries with it certain advantages and disadvantages. Too often the latter are overlooked or considered benefits where actually they may lead to the disintegration of the entire value of the path. Some of the advantage of using very clear and distinctly defined rela- tionships is the security of the group in question. If there is some hostility toward witches in the greater culture, for example, then a very strict initiation schema functions as a filter. If there is some *social prestige or power* given to those within this group then very specific initiation (as well as fulfillment of prerequisites) affords a safety-mechanism by which unreliable individuals may be weeded out from that group (e.g. any military or government). The disadvantages may be harder to see. They include a greater emphasis upon roles generally and stratified, cemented relationships (especially when the initiator does not see this as a temporary function she may fulfill within the ritual but as a permanent office wrt all those who are not of the same 'level' within hir particular enclave) can sometimes develop and become obstacles to all involved. Another potential disadvantage is the division between 'those who are dedicated to *the* path' and 'those who are dilettantes'. We stop just accepting that people have their own particular way and that this may include varying tremendously from path to path, weaving things over a great deal of time, and we begin to classify them by what can only be called 'alien' or 'disharmonious' or 'insincere' behaviors. The ossification of any social roles can lead to this type of prejudice, and when it comes to practicality it may serve very important short-term needs. In the long-run it can support tyranny and the devolution of the path in which it occurs. |Assuming that one discontinues training, how does one deal with such a |person afterwards? Well, that is the problem with defined relationships like this. You've defined the relationship wrt 'training' and so when that activity stops so does any relationship, requiring a complete severing or redefinition. Personally I prefer to leave all those roles blurry, presuming myself as much initiate as initiator, chela as guru, patient as doctor. In this way I develop a true *friendship*, a connection which outlasts any sort of temporary activities we may engage. After all, today's 'apprentice' may be tomorrow's 'Sorceror Supreme'. Presuming defined roles to begin with tends to post obstacles to such meteoric development, especially when my teacher-ego gets in the way. tyagi nagasiva (email@example.com) ____________________________________________ All the manifested universe is my teacher. Here is a small white square, blinking on my screen. Here are people's words, those who struggle with the same qualities of existence as I. Here are the traces of life such as the shooting stars of the autumn sky. The trees demonstrate their wisdom. The clouds move without moving.
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