On intitiation…

What to do with the past deities

Initiation is a big part of Wicca. Traditionally, one had to be initiated into a coven to be considered Wicca, but in this day of Internet searches and multitudes of books, anyone can perform a self-dedication ritual. The validity of the self-dedication is sometimes called into question, though realistically it shouldn’t be. If you need a coven to feel you’ve fully become a Wiccan, then find a coven. If you can commune with the Goddess and God solo, then follow that path. They all lead to the same mountaintop.

Regardless of which path you choose though, initiation is a big step. Most of us coming to Wicca today are coming from other faiths, predominantly Christianity. Coming completely into Wicca, without the fear of damnation and evil instilled by Western faiths, is hard and sometimes takes many years to overcome. One of the things new initiatives struggle with is what to do with their past religious lives, and past deities.

Christianity teaches that there is one and only one god, and all others are idols to be cast out. When coming into Wicca, new initiates often feel that this idea ought to work in reverse as well, that now that you follow the Goddess, there is no room for that god. Even if your feelings are not that black and white, it is still hard to reconcile such opposites. What do you do with god? Do you just put him aside, hide him in a box in the back of your mind and move forward? Or should you try to mesh him with the Goddess? Obviously the answer will differ with each individual, but you can see the dilemma being faced.

The start of my own journey dealt with this somewhat, though by the time I realize the Mother existed, I had already drifted far enough from god that he weighed very little in my mind. For the first few weeks of secret reading, I did wait to be smite for my unfaithfulness, but I persevered and followed my heart. And I found that when I become truly comfortable with a female deity, the god I had been brought up to revere just sort of fell away. He’s still out there, but he leaves me alone as long as I give no reason for offense. I am the Goddess’s child now, and he will not cross Her.

If you are struggling with the transition, essentially what you must remember is that embracing the Goddess and the God doesn’t mean you must cast out the god(s) you believed in before, though it often feels that way. Once you reach a place where you are confidant in your faith in the Goddess, other pieces will fall into place. You should never seek to destroy or discredit whatever god you came from, for not only is that an honorable part of your past, but to do so would incur negative karma. Let sleeping beasts lie; acknowledge that you believed that way once, but it is now in the past, and that is where it belongs. You have taken forward the lessons you needed to learn, the knowledge you needed to acquire and now you followed the Mother.

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About Ayslyn'sCorner

I am an eclectic Pagan bordering on atheist who has made her way through a number of different spiritual spaces. You might wonder what a person self-identifying as an atheist has to discuss in a religion/spiritual context – and, well, so do I. That’s one of the things I aim to explore on Ayslyn's Corner. Check out Ayslyn's Corner at http://www.ayslynscorner.wordpress.com Check out Invisible Ink Blog at http://www.whitneycarter.wordpress.com Check out wombs in rebellion at http://wombsinrebellion.wordpress.com/
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8 Responses to On intitiation…

  1. hazellayne says:

    Hi! Thank you for your comment on my blog. This is a lovely post! My difficulties with “coming out of the broom closet” are more due to the reactions of those at work and school — I was actually raised a Pagan, but my mother told us never to talk about our beliefs to anyone. I suppose I was raised to hide it, so it makes it harder for me to deal with allowing my faith to enter into other parts of my life. Great post! I also love your page layout — beautiful colors! Have a lovely night! 🙂

    • Now I’m immensely curious! How did you like being raised as a Pagan? What kind of things were you taught about organized religions? What made you decide to come out of the broom closet to your co-workers and classmates? And thank you for the compliment on the page layout. 🙂 I’ve been playing with it a lot lately.

  2. Lady shardae says:

    I have a couple of questions. One, why do you say Wiccans instead of witches? Do you not identify yourself as a witch? Also, there is the God in Wicca. He takes on just as many faces as the Goddess and is just as important but you seem to identify with only the Goddess. Do you follow Dianic tradition?

    • There’s a difference between a Wiccan and a witch. I self identify as both, but for the purpose of this post, I was dealing with the religion side, which falls under Wicca. I am aware of the God within Wicca as well, who I tend to think of as being as all-encompassing as the Mother. But the god I was specifically talking about coming from, Christianity’s god, is more narrowly defined, and not accepting of variations. My own experiences were that while I was in transition between the two faiths, I had three distinct deities in my mind, and I had to work to reconcile the two gods.

  3. Madison Woods says:

    I guess I’ve come to a place where no one religion encompasses all I *believe* and all contain aspects of which I do *not believe*. So I’ve become a fringe-dweller. My approach to spirituality is eclectic and intuitive, as it is with my herbalism. I’m enjoying your blog and the memories of my own exploration it’s bringing back to surface 🙂

    • Madison,
      Thanks for your comment! 🙂 What you described is where I was for about a year, but I felt I needed to identify with a label. It’s fascinating to me to see how different people can walk similar paths and reach different ends.

  4. evercircle says:

    i enjoy reading your blog; it’s well written and both objectively and subjectively informative. i came from a Christian upbringing as well, which often tends to be narrow and strict. now i feel that the face and image of the Christian God (Yahweh) in whom i was taught to believe (and fear) is yet another facade and personification that we as humans attach to the supreme being(s) and their multiple facets. i don’t know if one would have to “mesh” him with the Mother/Goddess, but to be able to see that possibly it was not the god himself that you or i needed to move away from but the construct placed upon “him” by primitive/narrow-minded, fearful, and patriarchal followers.
    compare it to being afraid of – horses (i know, but follow me here) – after an upbringing that taught you they were dangerous. well, they can be, if you don’t know what you’re doing around them and have no knowledge of their nature or respect for their power. once you get to know the real thing behind the stories you were told, you may find yourself loving the freedom and the taste of the wind that riding – moving as one with the animal – brings. 🙂
    Yahweh may have gotten a big, bad rap because his followers (as a race and species) were infantile at their point in time. look at the religion of the Egyptians, much more complex, although existing at the same point(s) in time as early Judeism (correct me if i’m wrong)….like understanding your parents better once you become an adult. they’re still your parents, but you see them and the life they lived differently than you did as a kid.

    • Evercircle,

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your experiences! I feel like this kind of communication between people not only helps the individuals but also removes the negative energy and ideas that follow religion of any kind. I appreciate your analogy with the horses–that is an excellent way to look at it!

      I hope you continue to follow and comment here. It’s always a pleasure to get feedback. 🙂 Blessed be!

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