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Ch.4 Into the Mysteries (WMB 4.c)

Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @ https://amzn.to/3Ay4HJr.

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In addition to the medieval precedent for witch names, there is also reference to witches undergoing three initiation ceremonies. Murray referred to Reginald Scot’s Discoverie of Witchcraft (1584) when she recorded in The God of the Witches:


“In short, they were set apart to perform the duties and ceremonies always associated with priests and priestesses, and must be regarded as the priesthood of the Horned God. It is probably this body to which Reginald Scot refers when he mentions that the witch went through three admission ceremonies. The first was when she accepted the Devil's invitation to join the society.”


During the first of the three Masonic initiation ceremonies, we encounter a whole range of techniques which may well have translated into the Wiccan first degree. In the Masonic ceremony of the first degree, the postulant is tied up and blindfolded, and stripped to the waist. All of this is of course echoed in Wicca. The cord around the neck to lead the candidate, referred to as the cable tow, is used in exactly the same manner to lead the candidate in Wicca. The Masonic candidate is then described as being ’properly prepared’, again a term used in regards to the candidate in Wicca. Before entering the room for initiation, a sword is held to the bare breast of the Masonic postulant and he is challenged. Again the parallel here to Wiccan practice is obvious. At this point the candidate is given their first instructions, which could be translated into the First Instruction which is used by some traditions of Wicca today. After being admitted the postulant is presented to the four cardinal directions of East, South, West and North[1] – yet again a clear correlation of this can be found echoed at the corresponding part of the Wiccan first degree ceremony.


The term ‘properly prepared’ is likely to be one which was inherited by the Craft of Wicca from the Craft of Freemasonry. It plays a significantly important role within both traditions and particularly with regards to initiation. Within the Wiccan tradition only someone who is ‘properly prepared’ may be considered for initiation. There are the physical preparations which are made and which the candidate undertakes during a first degree ceremony, all of which may be considered to be part of the test of ’properly prepared’, a full discussion of this is outside of the scope of this work as there are variations between traditions in regards to its application.

[1] Freemasons’ Guide and Compendium, Jones, 1956



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<1> The Religion of Babylonia & Assyria, Jastrow, 1893, also quoted in The Book of Witches, Hueffer, 1908

<2> An Historical Essay Concerning Witchcraft: With Observations Upon Matters of Fact, Hutchinson, 1718

Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @ https://amzn.to/3Ay4HJr. Shared here with the intention to inspire and inform the now and future generations interested in Wicca and other Pagan traditions inspired by it.

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My name is Sorita d'Este

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Many years ago I dedicated myself to the pursuit of both esoteric knowledge, and an understanding of polytheism, the Gods and Nature.  I have been a full-time writer, author and publisher, specialising subjects linked to the occult, witchcraft, Paganism, mythology, ancient religions and magic - and all kinds of things in between since 2003. 

 

I live on a hill in Glastonbury, overlooking the marshes of Somerset,  a place of myth and legend, and a crossroad for many different religions. Here I am frequently found digging and growing, serving my fluffy rescue cat and navigating the unknown with my teenage son.  

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