I had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine today. We were discussing Orders and such that we are familiar with, and that we are part of. As part of that discussion we spoke of the Sibylline Order and the degree system therein. I told her that I was not even initiated, but had several friends who were/are. Then she inquired as to whether I had any sort of degree of advancement recognition.
The question got me thinking. I have never been much into recognition from others for something that is deeply personal. My path has always been very much my own. I have never felt the desire to lead or be led by another Human. I am well aware that Spirit acts through others, at times, in order to guide us, but no human acting alone knows what path is best for me truly.
Hierarchy is an issue for me. I do not believe in it, and I will not subscribe to it. I do believe that there are dynamic personalities, which lead well, but they lead by Consensus. This is much the way our rituals within the coven are held. Often we collaborate on rituals. There have been times when one person led a ritual, but for the most part, we are all very experienced witches with a distaste for hierarchy.
I do realize that there are others out there who are more wise than I. There are many that I can learn from. In fact, I believe it is possible to learn from each and every spirit I come in contact with. It is a matter of being open to the experience.
Another very important reason that I do not join other traditions is that I am so,… how shall I put it…. Eclectic. There is a degree of specialization to my studies, but I draw from traditions as far sweeping as Vodou is to Sufism or Buddhism is to Hermeticism. Funny thing is, they don’t seem so glaringly different to me.
Sure, I do understand how very beautiful it can be to take part in an initiation ceremony. For certain milestones I completely see the value in this. For instance, the Croning Ceremony I took part in recently. It was amazing, and I definitely want to have such a ritual when my time comes. However, I see this as different to an initiation with degrees.
I am not against initiations, or degrees. In the academic field I see the benefit to them, and plan to go ever further in my academic pursuits. For that, eventually a Ph.D is needed for the work I plan to do. I am also ordained so that I may be recognized to conduct such important rituals as marriage and funereal rites. And yes, I am proud to be an Eastern Star from a very long line of Masons and Eastern Stars. I just don’t see the need, nor do I have the desire, to justify my spiritual growth to anyone at this point in time.