Someone, somewhere coined the phrase, “You think you know but you have no idea.” I think this is quite possibly the most apropos statement that can be ascribed to new initiates of the Craft. Different traditions, pantheons, coven or solitary – one can never be fully prepared for truly living Wicca.
Every initiate has a story, all beautiful, all harrowing, of finding themselves placed in the path that would eventually lead them to the service of the Goddess and God. Mine begins with a near-death experience (I am always amazed at the fact that I meet a great many fellow witches and pagans whose story also begins this way) and comes to a middle here, nearly a year after my first-degree initiation.
What My High Priestess is Telling Me
One of the things that stand out in my mind is my High Priestess telling me that She (meaning the Goddess) would rearrange my life to suit her needs. Again, I suppose with the attitude of enthusiastic naivete, I accepted this at what I thought was face value at the time. I know now that She, who I lovingly call Big Mama, is a greater force to be reckoned with than I could have ever anticipated. I find myself being pulled in directions I never would have dreamed of, and am often left with that bemused, lost look that I imagine Bottom must have felt when coming face to face with Titania and her faerie court. She has Her reasons, and, as I have often learned the hard way, there is a lesson in everything.
Her one great lesson to me thus far has been this: Big Mama ain’t easy.
I watch the uninitiated, the outer court, and have to smile at how much of myself I see in them – the people who’ve read a few dozen books and are now experts in living Wicca. Once upon a time, I believed; that if I read as much as possible, then the knowledge was mine. While that is, to some extent, the case, there is so much life knowledge out there that I remain daunted by all the lessons yet to be learned – all the karma that needs to be worked through for each individual – including me. How will I ever get through it all?
Balance in Her ways
There is balance in Her ways, and that is perhaps one of the toughest lessons I am learning. Living Wicca is a world of blacks and whites and shades of grey so numerous that they boggle the mind. Big Mama has held up a mirror to parts of myself that I had never known existed, some pleasant, some not-so-pleasant, and some so downright frightening that I can hardly believe that that’s me. But it is, and She is not letting me turn away. Learning self-acceptance is to accept even the Shadow parts of ourselves that we would just as soon never see, never admit to. There are parts of myself that need to be cleaned up, others dealt with, and still, others that may never change, and it is my task to accept that.
Somewhere my inner-self is whining and wanting to continue along its merry, albeit lazy, way and put all those things away again. But, She does not suffer fools gladly, and I’m learning it’s time to get a smart and clean house.
One of the reasons I had a problem with the Judeo Christian religions I was exposed to growing up, was the idea of instant forgiveness. Just say you’re sorry and, in the blink of an eye, your slate’s wiped clean. It couldn’t be that easy, could it?
A witch Keeps her own Conscience.
No, it most definitely is not. A witch truly does keep her own conscience. And while I sometimes wish I could go back to the happy times of just saying, “Whoops. Sorry.” and going back to my life as though nothing had happened, this can no longer be the case. If I err in one way or another that falls on my head, and while I can be remorseful and apologetic, there is that voice that says. “Okay, you’re sorry. Now, what are you going to do about it?”
The most surprising fact about this came when I realized that that voice wasn’t always Big Mamas. It was my own – the witch conscience that surfaced to chastise and guide. I was holding myself responsible. I had to accept the karmic debt for things I had done – that I had chosen – yes, chosen to do. The fixing of things has not always been easy, and sometimes it feels like it would be better to take an easier road than continue on the rough path I’ve chosen for myself. But that, like all other things in the service of Big Mama, is just another way of teaching me about myself about who I really am.
And the lessons continue. As initiates, even as elder members of the Wiccan community, I believe the Wiccan life is a continuous learning experience. I look back on my time as an initiate and still wonder what else could possibly lie ahead. I wonder what other lessons Big Mama has in store. Whatever they may be, I know they will have to be faced, and more knowledge and self-discovery lie in the distance.