Sun 25 Apr 93 11:16
L> What rituals do you think I would have to do to become "legitimate"
L>...(do I have to be "initiated" in other words...)!
That rather depends on who you want to recognize you as legitimate. There's a wide variance of opinion as to what makes a witch, a Witch or a Wiccan. If you open your heart to the Lady and commune (speak with your heart, not necessarily in words) with her often, she will eventually adopt her as one of her special Children (the "inner", or Lady's, initiation). Her adoption will cause changes to your spirit and way of looking at things that will be obvious to those of us who share it, as its presence in others will become obvious to you after you've awakened to her touch (unfortunately, it's one of those things that doesn't make much sense until you've *been there*).
Most of us here accept the Lady's initiation as the mark of a true Witch (capitalized to denote the priest/ess, as opposed to the folk mage or witch). I gather that the majority of those posting here think of Wiccans and Witches as one and the same, though many of us think of Wicca as a particular subset of Witches (i.e. all Wiccans are Witches, but not all Witches are, or even wish to be, Wiccan).
For those of us who see them as different (I'm one of them), you will need to be formally adopted into a Wiccan clan to be a *Wiccan* Witch. Some traditions permit self-adoption into their clans, some (Gardnerians and their near kin in particular) recognize you as Wiccan only if you've been adopted by an authorized Elder of the clan in question. Then again, there's a few diehards who don't recognize anyone but members of their own clan as Wiccan.
Which brings us back to square one - it depends on whose recognition you're looking for. Most will accept your legitimacy *as a Witch* based on the quality of your rapport with the Lady. And the way to develop that is to spend a lot of time in her company, whether with like-minded others in a coven or quietly by yourself. A large minority will accept you *as a Wiccan* based on whether or not you have passed through a human rite of passage (confusingly, also called initiation) adopting you into a Wiccan clan. Be sure you know the family that wishes to adopt you before accepting: this time you get to *choose* your relatives <g>. Those who insist that only *they* have the Truth, and therefore only they are legitimate aren't really worth wasting your time worrying about, IMHO.
L> I was wondering if you HAD to belong to a coven in order to
L> practice, or to be "legitimate", so to speak.
As Ayesha mentioned, what matters is that you spend time in the Lady's company, and "listen" to what she has to say, "feel" what she has to show. Even amongst crusty old Gardnerians such as myself, there's no need to be a member of a coven to practice your Craft, nor does resigning from a coven invalidate your initiation(s). We prefer to work in covens, because we generally prefer the company of our brethren in Circle, but there's no law that says we *have to* if we feel like being alone, or have no choice in the matter. Gardnerian *initiations* are done by a coven, and one normally has to be a candidate for membership in that coven in order to be initiated (by us). This is by no means invariable, but initiating someone you don't want in your coven is considered tasteless at best, a betrayal of your sacred trust at worst.
So, no, you don't HAVE to be a member of a coven to be seen as legitimate. And since my own opinion is that the weakest link in a coven is its weakest solitary, I'd encourage you to continue to do some solo work, even if you DO join a coven. But what would I know, I'm just a 3rd <big grin>. Blessings on your path, whichever way you choose to go...
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