17 February 2012

Call me by my True Name

The following has been inspired by the poem of the same name by Buddhist monk and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh in light on what seems to be an increasing number of people who commence their blogs with the preface "I am not a Wiccan but ...", largely in response to what seems to be an increasing misunderstanding that what can be classified as a Pagan spiritual/religious practice also automatically makes one a Wiccan.

I have an increasing interest in Hinduism, or more appropriately an assortment of the numerous Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu pantheon, even to the extent that I am in the process of organising a puja later in the year - yet, I do not classify myself as a Hindu. Around every January full moon, I organise a beach ritual where offerings are made and songs sung to Yemaya and Le Sirene, but that does not classify me as a Vodouist. I have not undertaken the 21 years of study or worked myself up to ranks of Ovate and Bard to call myself a Druid.

I am a Wiccan. I have been initiated a priesthood of a relatively modern version of the ancient Mystery traditions that was brought to light in the 20th century by a retired British civil servant, Gerald Gardner, and which subsequently branched out in the 1960s through the works of Alex Sanders.  I am fully aware of the history of this tradition as well as many of the antidotes surrounding the lives of the rather charismatic key figures.

The training of this Mystery school priesthood cannot evolve out of a book, nor can it be learnt from an on-line school or correspondence course.  The majority of what is out in the public forum being classified as "Wicca" can be related the outer skin and layers of an onion, if that.  To be exposed to the deeper levels, one needs to be initiated into an associated coven that honours the value in these teachings, and whilst these may ebb and flow with the changing consciousness of each Wiccan coven, there is an underlying essence that remains true throughout.

It takes a considerable amount of time to truly understand the Mysteries associated within the Wiccan tradition - anyone who considers they can be progress "a year and a day" in this modern age of contradictions and overload of additional (both relevant and irrelevant) information is simply kidding themselves.  The teachings and dedication needed to walk this path is not for everyone, and if this makes my Tradition perceived as being "elitist", then no apologies are given for there are numerous other spiritual paths available for those who are not prepared or able to undertake the amount and degree of work (both inner and external) required.
Yes, I am a Wiccan and I am proud of the tradition I was initiated into, my forbearers and lineage.  I wear my badge of rank with honour, and am constantly aware of the oaths I have undertaken.  To those who seek to criticise my Tradition, I ask this:  Prior to casting any form of judgement, where is your source of truth?  For if it is based on hearsay, rumour or even urban myth as opposed to personal experience, then some opinion may be best kept to oneself.

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