We started out completely captivated by the dance of the Lady and the Horned God. Our hearts beat faster, life spinning with colours! A homecoming! Then as the days turned to weeks and the weeks to months and years we tried to go deeper into the Mysteries of our awakening. The Divine is immanent; God and Goddess are alive intertwined within the Sacred Earth. The question we asked ourselves was how can we go deeper?
First we studied the books, any books, excited by the smell of incense in the Occult Book stores. We learned how to cast a circle, how to connect with the Elements, how to call them into the circle. We learned the names of the Pantheons and how to cast a spell. The books gave glimpses of the Mysteries and in our Circle things were happening. We went to Public Rituals and met other beginners; we formed study groups, joined the Women’s Circle, the Men’s Circle and learned new ways of doing things. We read more books and joined Wiccan correspondence courses searching for that wise Witch who could be our teacher. We studied Shamanism, meditation, yoga, martial arts, gardening and anything else that seemed to be part of the Mysteries. But still we did not feel the dance and the Mysteries eluded us.
Finally we met a High Priestess and eagerly bowed at her feet asking to be taught. Daily practice and study, learning the Tarot, casting circles, working with the Elements, reading more books! The years were passing and our quest was fifteen years long. Then the day came when we received first degree initiation, we started learning how to run a Coven and be Priest and Priestess, we received 2nd degree initiation and learned how to be Elders. Third degree initiation was bestowed and we were supposed to be Elders….the beginners were eagerly bowing at our feet asking to be taught. And still the daily practice and the study, reading more books, going to workshops and searching for the key to the Mysteries. Did we know anything? Was it real? But we could not find the Dance within the Tradition we had studied. Somehow we were not satisfied with where we had arrived.
In the Coven things were still happening, a Presence bringing joy and laughter. We didn’t want to leave the Circle and go home to our beds! Out of the muddle and chaos of all the books and the workshops and the teaching and the daily practice a pattern was forming. The pattern solidified and we realized that all the things we had learned created a spiral path and at the center was ourselves. Then we finally understood that what we were searching for was within us all the time and that the Goddess had been with us since the beginning! Could we map this path and teach it to others? In the Coven each Witch seemed to be learning his or her own lessons although we were studying the same thing, but there was a brightness to it all and we were changing. It seemed our bodies were becoming light and our hearts were becoming ecstatic. Shadows came and went and the learning was deeper and not from books. Inspiration was our guide now and we felt the truth.
We decided to make a test, to try and teach the pattern to others and see if they could move into the brightness and the joy with us. At first it seemed as if we weren’t teaching them anything, that they were just remembering things. It was as natural as breathing. Some of the people that came to us left when the Shadows on their paths appeared. Some battled and befriended their Shadows and learned from them. Some of them started to see the Pattern that we had created and touched the essence of what we had learned in our hearts. One day we woke up and realized that we had created a Wiccan Tradition, different from all the other Traditions, and yet with the same resonance. We cast circles, like other Traditions; we called the Quarters and we invoked the Lord and Lady; we danced and raised power and did magick and laughed a lot! We saw the people walking the pattern we had created were becoming brighter and their hearts were becoming joyful. It seemed we were evolving into a new kind of being and we felt the Presence and it brought tears to our eyes. We started to see our Life’s Work…the need to send peace from our Circles into the world. Could we really change anything?
Sometimes there was conflict between Sisters and Brothers in the Circle and darkness clouded our minds. We cried and felt guilty and angry. But we held onto one thing: if there cannot be peace in our own circle, there will never be peace in the world. As above, so below; as within, so without. The conflict between us was another Shadow and maybe even a test! We worried that we would lose what we had learned; lose the brightness and the joy if we did not tread carefully when holding each other’s hearts. Then we understood what an Elder was…the Witch who can love without judging and judge lovingly at the same time. Witches who nurtured the hearts of the beginners so that they felt safe in Circle and could dance the pattern of the Tradition; Witches who held people while their Shadows beat them and shaped them into something completely new. Transformation is birth and it can be painful! We were the ones who did the dishes and cleaned the toilets, sacrificing our time on the altar as our hair turned grey and our faces became lined. We learned that only sacrifice can bring us deeper but the sacrifice was joyful.
Now our quest is twenty long years, the Book of Shadows a thousand pages, and more Witches dancing the pattern of our Tradition. But where do we go from here? Is the pattern set now or is it organic and growing, metamorphosing like us? What will happen to us when we have finished all the inspired work that has been given to us heart to heart from the Lord and Lady? We have found the Presence in the Circle and discovered that we were the doorway. Each day seems a ritual as the sun lights the windows and the wind makes the willow tree dance. We wash dishes mindfully and we feel we could love everyone. We ask: Is this real? Will it last? We have become as simple as light and as elusive as the moon. Where will the dance lead us now?
Meri Fowler was inspired to start the Greenwood Celtic Shamanic Wiccan Tradition with special help from Ronin, Hawk Oberon and Setanaya. Also many thanks to Highland Coven and Anam Cara, Red Hawthorn Coven, Tuatha de Daanan Coven, Cauldron of the Yew Grove, Silver Hawk Coven, Tre Stelle Coven, Willow Coven, Willow Moon Coven, and Misty Meadows for your love, dedication and support. For more information on the story of the our Tradition please see www.thewicca.ca