The Sybillyne Tradition Of Wicca

Virginia Stewart, M. Ed., TP.

Our tradition is a moderate branch of Dianic Wicca, with an emphasis on equality, ecology and wo/men's mysteries. The tradition is open to women and men, over the age of 18, who have previously identified Wicca as their path. Someone under legal age must be accompanied by a parent and will not be initiated until they are of legal age.

(Yes, there is a catch: few people under 21 will have studied other religions enough to have narrowed it down this much; therefore, a person without this study must spend at least a year pursuing comparative religions before they will be accepted for training.)

The subject matter that each student must master prior to initiation is wide-ranging and intended to strengthen knowledge and interest in a number of areas, as well as increase the student's desire to "get involved" in the ecological/political issues which are important to them as individuals. This is not an exclusive tradition; one can be an initiate of other traditions and still participate. We have closed rituals only when the participating members desire it. Our initiation is open to initiates of other traditions (who would be asked to assist, no one gets to stand around.)

Sybillynes do not have degrees, unlike Gardnerians; we have three stages. The Novice (or WIT, coined by one student - it means "Witch in Training") is one who is actively studying, but has not yet been initiated. A Sister or Brother has been initiated and holds the title of Priestess or Priest (there is no High Priestess or High Priest.) The Chronicler is the one in the Coven or Circle who assumes the responsibility for making phone calls and keeping the Book of Shadows, but the position carries no authority.

All decisions are reached by consensus, and the rituals are written and performed by various members of the group on a voluntary basis (it works, it really does). After a long period of study, in which one might specialize in a particular area, one is Ordained as a Priestess or Priest in that area; for example, one might be a Teaching Priest/ess, or a Healing Priest/ess.

To become a Novice, one must ask to be taught, then show a sincere interest in the Craft and a willingness to study and learn about the various areas presented. One must also exhibit a willingness to do independent study in areas of personal interest.

The Course of study is presented in two parts. The first is lecture/discussion/reading - after which the novice must demonstrate knowledge and understanding in the following areas:

  1. Feminism and politics of Dianic craft
    1. Gaia and green magic
    2. balance of Male/female energies
    3. power over vs. power from within
  2. Feminist herstory/facts and theory
    1. Origins of the Goddess
      1. prehistoric evidence
      2. early myth (China, Sumer, Ur, India, Mesopotania, Egypt, Crete)
      3. The patriarchal shift -
        1. Theories on how it happened
        2. How to read around it
          1. Greek Myth
          2. Mesopotamia/Sumer
          3. Egypt
        3. Modern Approaches - overcoming patriarchal repression
        4. The God in Dianic Wicca
          1. prehistory evidence/belief
          2. Modern approaches
  3. Feminist interpretations on the origins of people
    1. creation Myths - world samples
    2. "star" myth
    3. birth/genetic engineering myth
    4. the principles of myth writing
  4. Goddess and Gods in Every Person
    1. Manifesting the God/dess in Everyday Life - theory
    2. Archetypal Theory and how it relates to everyday life
  5. Magic and Physics - Why Everything is Related To Everything
    1. Holographic Universe
    2. Gaia as a Living Being
  6. The Goddess and Sexuality
    1. Living in our bodies is healthy
    2. how patriarchy/Christianity perverted sex
    3. healing the wounds of sexual oppression
    4. exercises
  7. Beginning Meditation
    1. purpose
    2. some eventual goals
    3. visualization
    4. exercises
  8. Psychic gifts
    1. How they have been suppressed
    2. What they are
    3. How to develop them
    4. Exercises
  9. Festivals
    1. The wheel of the Year
    2. Women's festivals/men's festivals
    3. Creating celebration for everyday life
  10. Ritual tools and aspects
    1. Tools
    2. Symbols
  11. Creating Ritual
    1. The Structure of a ritual
    2. Creating Sacred space - theory
    3. Elements of ritual - possibilities
  12. Drawing a circle - demonstration & practice
    1. How to form a circle
    2. What to do if something goes wrong
    3. Group dynamics

Our actual reading list is two double-columned pages, and takes about a year to get through. This is the short list, with which one must show a working knowledge.

  • The Spiral Dance
  • Dreaming the Dark
  • Truth or Dare / Starhawk
  • Holy Book of Women's Mysteries / Z. Budapest
  • The Holographic Universe / Michael Talbot
  • The New Inquisition / Robert Anton Wilson
  • Real Magic / Issac Bonewits
  • When God Was A Woman
  • Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood / Merlin Stone
  • Priestesses / Norma Goodrich
  • Women's Encyclopedia of Sacred Symbols and
  • Objects / Barbara Walker
  • Drawing Down the Moon / Margot Adler
  • Iron John / Robert Bly
  • The Hero with A Thousand Faces / Joseph Campbell

The second part of training focuses on ritual and practice, as no one will be initiated until s/he can write, perform and understand ritual; work with energy in a SAFE way, and guide meditations for the others. The following are the requirements for this level of training, in which one must demonstrate proficiency.

  1. Circle Drawing
  2. Healing (different types)
  3. Energy Work
  4. Journey to Lower World (working with totems)
  5. Astral Realms (working with place of power and spirit guides)
  6. 9 Inner Planes
  7. Past Life Regression
  8. Elements, Tools, and Aspects
  9. Women's Mysteries/Men's Mysteries (5 Mysteries)
  10. Blessing of Tools
  11. Personal Belief Systems
  12. Spells and Spellwork
  13. Full Ritual (writing and performing without assistance)

Written assignments

  1. A 4-10 page paper explaining and analyzing the Wiccan Rede and how it applies to one's personal life (Ethics are vital)
  2. A 5-10 page paper explaining one's personal belief system (it does not conform to any particular standard, but an initiate must have one; this is a spiritual tradition).
  3. A 5-10 page paper explaining and analyzing the 5 Mysteries of Wicca with particular attention paid to Wo/man's mysteries, Chalice and the Descent.
  4. A 2-5 page paper explaining the Three-Fold Goddess and Her Relationship to the Three-Fold God.
  5. A 5-10 page paper describing one's personal ethics
  6. A Book of Shadows (to be reviewed by Teaching Priestess) that includes major rituals, meditations, observations and results of spell work and energy work.

The final requirement for initiation includes the demonstration of Ritual functions of Maiden/Mother/Crone or Priest without written assistance; the demonstration of ritual writing and participation in/ directing the energy in a circle. Finally, the demonstration through daily life of a sincere commitment to the Way of the God/dess.

The training period lasts anywhere from twenty-six weeks to over a year and is dependent on the completion of requirements, not number of months in training.

A Novice (WIT) will be told that they may request Initiation when they have completed all requirements to the satisfaction of the Teaching Priestess. They will be told once, after that they must ask. Sybillynes do NOT recruit members.

After Initiation, a Priest/ess may form a Circle (a loosely organized group that performs ritual together) or a Coven (a close-knit group with bonds of perfect love and trust). It is suggested that Circles be formed and allowed to evolve into Covens.

All Initiates are encouraged to become politically/ ecologically active to whatever degree that they are able. Each group exists as an independent organization - the job of a Teaching Priestess is to make herself unnecessary. Those who desire control over a coven or absolute authority within a coven are discouraged from attempting it within this tradition - the labrys, our symbol, is sharp for a reason...

We are also interested in tradition sharing, and can be found in the Hunter's Moon camp at CMA. Inquires can be made by leaving a message at Celebration! in Austin, or at the Magic Cauldron in Houston, for Virginia Stewart or Howard Gerber (sysop of THE WHEEL BBS in Houston).

Merry Meet and Bright Blessings.

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