But we must return again to Freemasonry for clues about other aspects of the practice of initiation in the Wiccan tradition. Freemasonry has three main grades, which is also true for Wicca – although the names given to each degree differs completely. For the stripped-down ceremonial form of Wicca three degrees is much more appropriate than the tenfold Qabalistic system of orders such as the Golden Dawn and Ordo Templi Orientis.
The vows made in the Golden Dawn Neophyte ritual can be seen to have clearly influenced those in the first degree initiation ceremony of the Wiccan tradition. Elements can be seen to have been drawn from vows such as:
“I now ask you, are you willing to take a solemn Obligation in the presence of this Assembly, to keep the secrets and Mysteries of our Order inviolate.”
“I, [Name], in the Presence of the Lord of the Universe …. Do, of my own free will … most solemnly promise to keep secret this Order … from every person in the world who has not been initiated into it … Furthermore, if I break this, my Magickal Obligation, I submit myself, by my own consent, to a stream of Power.”
The vows used in the Ordo Templi Orientis first degree initiation ceremony, whilst clearly influenced by the Golden Dawn and thus being something of an intermediary, can also be seen to be moving towards the Wiccan first degree initiation in the wording used.
“I, [Name] in the presence of the Powers of Birth, visible and invisible … most solemnly promise and swear never to reveal … unless it be to a true brother … or else in session of such a camp as this within whose border I stand.”
<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.