Today I get initiated. I know a lot of you are tired of reading about this and ready for me to go back to talking about other things. I respect that and will be back to other topics soon. For those who find this interesting, here is what will happen to me today:
First of all, I have fasted for two days. Not a strict water fast, but I’ve drastically modified my diet. I’m trying to push my body without crippling it. Today all I will have with me is water and some nuts, and I’m going to try not to eat the nuts.
Even though I’m not being initiated until this evening, I have to be at the covenstead before noon. I know I will be making some ritual tools and speaking with my elders, but I’m not entirely sure what will fill my day.
As the evening wears on I will change into a robe and cingulum. When I enter barefoot into the circle, that’s all I will be wearing. No makeup, perfume, oils or jewelry.
I and the other initiate will be sequestered from everyone else. We will meditate until we are summoned, and that could be a few minutes or a few hours. We will be summoned one at a time, sometime after 9 pm. I don’t know which of us will be called first. I will be free to use the restroom if needed, but once sequestered we’re not allowed to speak to anyone.
Up until I reach the entrance to the Circle, I can change my mind. Although doing so would be a serious thing. Considering all the effort put forth by my elders and coven-mates, it would be akin to saying “I don’t” at the altar of a wedding.
I believe I will be blindfolded as I am led to the Circle, but I’m not certain.
Once I enter the Circle I honestly have no idea what will happen next. I know I will be outdoors and surrounded by members of my tradition. I know it will be chilly out. Weather forecast calls for a low of 50 degrees that night. Whatever happens, it will be irrevocable and binding for the rest of my life.
There is a joke that every initiate loses a toe but it grows back. At the moment I don’t see the humor in this.
Afterwards there will be a big feast. Every initiate gets to choose how to break their fast. My choice is my friend’s fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Since we will be tired, bewildered and cold, someone will be assigned to fix our plates and make sure we have a drink.
The feast will be a big party. Lots of food and lots of conversation.
After eating, we open gifts. Like a bar mitzvah or a communion, initiates often receive gifts to celebrate their milestone. I’ve carefully picked out a gift for my fellow initiate. Someone will be assigned to help us with this as a scribe. They will make a list of what we received and who gave it to us so we can send thank you notes afterwards.
I was a scribe for someone last year and helped make plates and fetch drinks for freezing and tired elders. Even though I wasn’t in Circle I still enjoyed being there and being of service to my Craft brothers and sisters. It’s part of the experience.
And then? I will be an initiated Witch. What will have changed? I don’t really know, but I expect it will be similar to the old Buddhist saying:
Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.
I’m actually a shy person, so I expect this will be a very awkward evening for me, but I also expect it to be a rewarding memory. Initiations are supposedly really amazing rituals and current initiates do their best to attend them for that reason.
At any rate, I imagine I will sleep in on Sunday and be vociferously hungry when I finally wake up.
And then, I will back to regular blogging goodness.