By: Lady Rhiannon of Serpentstone, Lady Cassandra of the Temple of Hecate Triskele, Lady Grey Cat of Northwind, Lady Silver Ravenwolf of Black Forest and Grandfather Michael Ragan
Today's Craft community is ever-changing, and dynamic. However, many of its' members are also mobile and the connectedness of a local Coven or Grove sometimes is lost.
Widely varying training requirements and ways of conducting affairs makes it difficult for both membership and Priesthood to function efficiently and effectively. As a result, the strength of a disciplined long-term training program is often unavailable to an individual. Further, a gaining Priest/ess may have difficulty in determining just what training an individual coming from another group has had and what further training is required. So it is that individuals are, at a seemingly increasing rate, being initiated and/or elevated without having a truly solid background in training or experience.
The loss of proper training and too-easy elevations and initiations has been of common concern to many of us in the leadership for some time. Because of this concern, Lady Rhiannon of Serpentstone, Lady Cassandra of the Temple of Hecate Triskele, Lady Grey Cat of Northwind, Lady Silver Ravenwolf of Black Forest and Grandfather Michael Ragan have put together a consolidated general guideline for training and coven administration, as well as a skeletal Law structure, that can be of considerable aid to the Priestesses and Priests of our community.
What we present here is not all-inclusive and we have tried to leave sufficient lee-way to satisfy individual Coven and Tradition requirements. However, what we have included is an amalgam of concepts and requirements that are fairly common throughout European and American Craft traditions. Not all traditions observe exactly the same standards, but the stronger more historical traditions are very similar in requirements. Thus, we have not tried to include everything, but have tried to include the more important items.
Our approach to requirements for the degrees is in accordance with the time honored Craft admonition of "To Know, To Do, and To Be." As a 1st Degree, the individual should Know (especially his or her self). As a 2nd degree, the individual should Do. As a 3rd degree, the individual should Be.
The individual must be of the age of accountability (generally 13). If under legal age, written parental approval must be obtained before individual may join any training group or allowed to attend ritual.
1. One must be adept at meditation.
2. One must thoroughly understand the basic symbology of the Circle including,a. The Quarters and their calls of the Tradition in which being trained. Here, some teach the standard Gardnerian first. Following initiation the teach the ones particular to their Tradition.
b. Altar Layout and position.
c. Robe and badge of position (where used).
d. Circle protocol and etiquette.
3. Know the sacred elements.
4. Know the Coven and Tradition totems.
5. Know the history and philosophy of the Craft.
6. Know the pantheon of the Tradition in which being trained. Knowledge of other pantheons can be follow-up teaching.
7. Know the Sabbats
8. Know the Esbats
9. Have an introduction to healing arts.
10. General knowledge of the power of symbols. (May include runes).
11. Know how to cast sacred space and perform basic ritual.
12. Be knowledgeable of one form of divination.
13. Have a thorough knowledge of both Universal Law, Coven Law and live it to the best of their ability.
14. Know and adhere to the Code of Honor.
15. Should have served as a dedicant for a year and a day.
16. Be adept at conduction ritual.
17. Be free of substance abuse.
18. Be Capable of self-sufficiency in life or actively pursuing such goals (FC 101).
1. Be able to write a complete ritual for all Sabbats, Esbats and for Magical workings, including healing, prosperity, etc.
2. Be adept at one forms of divination and knowledgeable of another.
3. Know and adhere to Universal and Coven Law at all times.
4. Know and adhere to the Code of Honor at all times.
5. Be adept at teaching.
6. A basic understanding of Astrology is recommended.
7. Know the theories of magic.
8. Have a basic knowledge of Herbalism.
9. Has completed advanced psychic development program.
10. Be adept at one healing art.
11. Should have served as a 1st degree for a year and a day (some traditions require a longer period).
12. Has received basic counseling training.
13. Has completed a paper (or equivalent work) on the history, metaphysics or other aspect of Wicca.
1. Has demonstrated proficiency in all requirements of 1st and 2nd degree.
2. Has demonstrated the ability to serve as High Priest or High Priestess during the illness or other absence of the High Priest or High Priestess.
3. Has successfully trained dedicants to their 1st degrees.
4. Has demonstrated proficiency at conducting ritual.
5. Should have served as 2nd degree for 3 years. Again, some traditions require longer training periods. The majority who have time requirements believe one should have served in the Craft for a minimum total of eight years to earn a 3rd degree.
In the case of those who began training at a very early age, training usually takes a bit longer. For an exceptionally bright and dedicated young person, it still is not wise to elevate before they reach majority.
6. Is adept at personal counseling.
On those trained within ones own tradition:
1. Only an Elder can confer another Elder.
2. An Elder can confer all degrees to properly trained and deserving candidates.
3. A 3rd degree can dedicate novices and confer 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree with approval of the Priest/ess.
4. A 2nd degree can dedicate novices and confer 1st degree with approval of the Priest/ess.
On those trained outside of ones own tradition.
1 - 4 above pertains. In addition,
2. The candidate must pass a written and oral examination that demonstrates their thorough knowledge of all areas of your training material, methods, protocol, etc. In other words, they must demonstrate that they are equally trained in all things just as if you had trained them yourself.
REQUIREMENTS FOR ELDER
In departure from historical practice, a few Traditions today consider any 3rd Degree to be Elders in their tradition. Such practice may provide some benefit in focusing available leadership within a certain group. However from a broader Craft perspective, a 3rd Degree does not a "Craft Elder" make. What we delineate here is what we believe is required of a "Craft Elder."
1. Some believe the age of Croning should be reached for females and Elder for the males should be reached at 55 years. The Navajo believe that a person does not become an adult until the age of 57. Some identify the second Saturn return at approximately 58 years Our consensus is that an arbitrary age cannot be set. While such maturity is of vital importance, it alone is not enough. More important are the requirements of experience, demonstrated wisdom and leadership, dedication and recognition by the greater community.
2. As to experience, obviously the individual must have served the community as Priestess or Priest selflessly for a considerable number of years in exemplary fashion. During such time, the individual has gained the full range of the challenges of life. Thus he or she has that experience to pass on to others.
3. The individual must be dedicated to service of the community above all else. In other words, she or he has dedicated her or his life to the Craft and the community. The Craft comes first. Family, friends and livelihood must come second.
4. Has, through their long years of demonstrated dedication and service, achieved recognition of the Craft Leadership and members for his or her wisdom, leadership abilities and dedication in a manner that sets them apart. Only through the acknowledgment by general acceptance of the community as a leader of advanced wisdom and accomplishments that raises them above the norm should an individual be considered a Craft Elder.
Law is essentially an aspect of culture. Each society possesses its own distinct culture of standard modes of action. The Craft, as a culture of its own, came to recognize what we shall call "Universal Laws" as those actions and reactions that naturally function within our Universe. Other laws were established to specify the authority of the Priesthood, interaction of the group, and most importantly the method of operation of the Coven. Still others of the past were established as means of survival within a decidedly hostile world.
19th century Craft Law was an extensive list of does and don'ts that reflected back into the "Burning Times." Most of the early listings of Law included in excess of 250 individual admonitions. Each and every one was valid for its time. As time passed, some of the old admonitions were dropped, some forgotten, some modified according to the individual tastes or desires of this group or that. Today there are those that would recognize only the Wiccan Rede, seemingly unmindful of any other rules of order. Therein lies the problem. Many no longer seem aware of the standard set of procedures required to maintain a strong and viable community.
What we present here is what we feel are the minimum requirements for good order and continued high standards of training and community interaction. These are not new Laws. Rather they are the Laws of Old brought forward though perhaps stated in more appropriate modern terms. For easiest understanding, we shall state the Law in three sections; Universal Law, Coven Law and the Code of Honor. Coven Law as the mode of operations should be understood as both internal and external to a specific group. "Code of Honor" is how we should interact with others on a personal basis. Bear in mind that what we give is by no means "all-inclusive." Rather it is what we see as the minimum required for good order.
1. Honor is the Law and Love is the Bond.
2. So it harm none, live according to Will.
3. Whatever action you take will return three-fold.
4. Judge not the path of brother or sister for all paths are sacred.
5. Revere each living thing for all life is sacred.
6. Reveal not sacred teachings to the unworthy, lest it be used against you.
7. Observe the Sacred Days in Holy Rite.
8. In all things be truthful.
9. Observe chivalry in all things, for honesty, respect and courage are the marks of the truly wise,
1. The High Priestess (and/or High Priest) has supreme authority in the Coven.
2. The Priest and Priestess are due all honor for they represent the Gods and serve as spiritual Father and Mother.
3. The Elders are due all honor and respect for they are the teachers of your teachers and your Grandmother and Grandfather.
4. Reveal not sacred knowledge.
5. Reveal not the names and identities of those in the Coven to outsiders.
6. Leave not the Circle without the permission of the Priest/ess.
7. Heed the call of brother or sister in need.
8. If a member betrays the group they must return all sacred material and should be banned.
9. None may enter the Circle without approval of Priest/ess.
10. Enter not the Circle uncleansed. You must be clean in body, mind and spirit.
11. Persons under the influence of drugs or alcohol are not permitted in sacred space.
12. Coven business stays within the Coven.
13: Allow not dissenters in your midst.
14. Only the Priest/ess may determine when the student is ready for initiation or elevation.
15. A Priest/ess shall not seek the student of another. However, there are times when, for a variety of reasons, a student needs to find a different teacher. In such cases, generally accepted Craft protocol is for the gaining teacher to coordinate with the former instructor, in-so-far as practicable.
CODE OF HONOR
1. Chivalry must be followed by all (Honesty, bravery, generosity and kindness).
2. One's oath is one's sacred pledge. Pledge sparingly, for it must be as iron.
3. Speak no ill of another for all truth may not be known.
4. Pass not hearsay.
5. Be honest with all - and demand the same.
6. The fury of a moment plays folly with truth. Keeping one's head is a virtue.
7. Wisdom brings power. Apply discretion in it's use.
8. Pledge friendship to those who warrant. To strengthen your brother or sister brings strength to you. Pledging friendship to the dishonorable brings dishonor to you.
9. Reveal not the secrets of others, lest your own secrets be lost.
10. Have pride in self. Seek perfection in body and mind, for you cannot honor another unless you first honor self.
11. In all things, moderation.
12. Revere the God(s) and Goddess(es) of your tradition.
13. Respect the religion of others.
14. Accept the Laws of return (Karma).
15. Accept personal responsibility.
16. Respect the Laws of the Gods, humankind and Nature.
17. Be loyal to your Coven, your High Priest and High Priestess, the Elders and your Craft brothers and Sisters.
18. Revere the Natural World.
19 . Respect the inner self.
20. Honor your succession of teachers.