First Degree Goddess Initiation Essay
Lorinna 10/24/09

My path to goddess started when I was very young. I didn't know why I was different but I was. I could see things, sense things and often understood things far beyond my small years. I went with my family to a catholic church for many years and listened to the preaching and even took communion but I never felt at home there. I found that after several years of feeling like an outcast I could have a religious experience. I saw a baptism at a lake in Rand Colorado with my family while we were camping in the summer. As the priest held the baby above the cold water of the lake it didn't even cry. The wind picked up and the trees sang as the preacher poured the water over the child blessing him and saying sacred words. I was more moved then I had ever been before. Until this moment I almost gave up on God, Goddess or anyone. With renewed conviction I tried once again to fit into the archetype of Christian religion. I did not however fit. So I left the church and began to search.

My search only led me in circles unsure about what to believe or who to go to but I remembered the powerful feeling I had had by the lake and sought it out. Not until I was pregnant with my daughter did I taste the power of faith. This time in a church of Christ though I am convinced it was not him who heard my prayers. After a long pregnancy, I was walking with my husband on a very cold November night hoping to start the labor so that my daughter would come, tired and cold I had to go to the bath room and was too far from home to make it. Sitting in a lavatory inside a church in our neighborhood I found my self praying harder then I had ever prayed before. I called out to any who could hear me. That very night I went to bed only to be woken a few hours later by later, by the next evening I had been blessed by the birth of my daughter.

Soon I left my husband and started down the lonely path of single parenthood. I found that being alone was harder then I expected and again I began the search for my true path. I found it first in books about paganism and Wiccan and then I finally met my Goddess. She came to me in a dream and called me her daughter. She told me that my gifts for sight and tarot were to be used and that I was loved even when I was alone. I sat there with her in the dream for hours talking and learning. Finally when I woke up I knew the path I must follow. I began to devour the traditions of the Wicca, and started to gather my tools as a solitary witch. I got my first pentacle and empowered it as I sought my magick name. I then began to realize I needed more then to be solitary and wanted sisters, to be a part of a circle and be taught by those who have sought the path before I did. I found this one night after a very hard few weeks of great loss and sorrow I found a website that led me to a circle, the coven of the Goddess. I came to ritual and could not explain the wondrous feelings I had experienced nor could deny that I wanted to know more. I continued to come to ritual and class as I could and found that I had not only gotten my connection to learning but that I had found a community of sisters I could live, laugh and cry with. I was home and I dedicated to the coven to start my true path towards my first degree. I have been with the coven almost two years now and want nothing more then to be with my sisters as I travel further down my path of self understanding for I am home now with Goddess.

Sacred Space
Creating Sacred Space is one of the key elements of witchcraft. Sacred space gives a place that is free of fear to work on magical things. This space can be made by a practitioner or come from an already consecrated space in nature. Graveyards, churches, historical sites, and peaceful outdoor locations can all be sacred space. It is wonderful to be able to go out in nature to work but it is not always practical. Thus every witch must learn how to take the elements and create circle and sacred space to work inside.

The four elements are a key part in creating sacred space. This is a way to bring the outdoors in. Along with creating an atmosphere the elements help ground and cleanse the space. Using the elements is also key in creating circle. Using the elements in cleaning includes using smoke which is a combination of Air and Fire, and holy water created from Water and Earth. These elements will remove the physic remnants of any negative element in the space thus creating a place that is clean physically, emotionally and mentally. Using a Besom to sweep the space before creating circle will also remove unwanted energies and begin the process of drawing in good positive energy for the work to be done. Finally oils are often used for consecrating the objects to be used in ritual. This not only adds sent and natural essences but helps to prepare the objects for their purposes and block out negative energies. Preparing sacred space is an important task that takes cleansing on the physical and spiritual level. Don't forget the body temple as this can also be cleansed, anointed and prepared for sacred space.

After preparing the space for the ritual, meditation or what ever is planned it is time to create your circle. The symbol of creating circle is most important. The circle is not ending representing the continuity of time. Sacred space is often used to move beyond the physical realm and into that of the spiritual it must be created with forethought and trust. The circle protects the individuals inside creating the shield and rampart of protection referenced in the blessing of the circle done by coven. Circles also help to maintain and raise energy for special work. This allows the practitioner to wait for the best time to release this energy into the universe in the way they wish to, by sending it away through breaking down circle, letting it dwindle, or asking that the energy remain in place until its purpose is served. Another benefit of circle is that the practitioner may decide what to allow into the circle. Quarters, guardians, helpers, spirits or any other important element or being may be allowed to enter for the purpose of the magic, or based on specifications may be blocked out for the good and protection of the witch. The versatility and incredible usefulness of circle has left this tool an important part of creating sacred space though it is not required for a space to be sacred.

Sacred space is determined by the person creating it. A room, an alter, a tree, a lake, some place deep in the soul can be sacred space. Sacred space is only sacred because it is believed to be by the person using it. Intention and purpose give the sacred space its feel and importance. Setting up a space that makes a person feel good, relaxed and open to the love and trust needed to complete important magic. Perfect love and trust will create sacred space where ever a witch goes making it easy for them to practice anywhere, anytime.

The Four Pillars of Coven
The coven of the Goddess is built on the foundation of the four pillars, these pillars Growth, Balance, Responsibility, Unity not only bind this coven but lends strength. Each member of the coven must respect, honor, and work to keep these pillars in place so that the coven may continue to provide for its sisters and the community.

The first Pillar growth is important because if a person or a coven one could not possibly hope to succeed while remaining stagnant. The faith of Wicca it's self is considered a path indicating that to learn and grow through Goddess and self is a journey. People enter the path at different points but along the way changes are made growth occurs. It is important to learn from past mistakes and to grow in self and wisdom of Goddess so that our paths can reflect who we were and are now but also to be an example for those who come after us. Certainly this doesn't mean that change is easy. True growth comes from faith in ones self and Goddess and the wisdom to know that no matter how painful the fruits of growth are well worth the effort.

Balance the second pillar has many meanings. First one must strive to achieve balance of self. This task is difficult and requires much attention and learning of self to achieve. People are both spiritual and physical beings and both sides need care. To achieve harmony with ourselves true understanding of ourselves is needed. Another form of balance that is important is learning to balance our lives. Creating a balance between the world and ourselves takes work too. Often in coven rituals are designed to help with this but other times it is necessary to leave the outer world completely behind. Understanding and knowing when to use what aspect of ourselves helps us exist not only in the world but with in the coven. In a centered state those present for a ritual can achieve far greater results from working with goddess and help each other learn and grow more then if we are out of balance. Though this is not always possible a person should always be working to maintain balance especially while on the path with Goddess.

The third pillar Responsibility is very in tune with Goddess and coven both. Responsibility is about knowing ones place with Goddess and in coven. Being responsible for the tasks given to us to fulfill in coven, working towards our degrees or otherwise being responsible to our Coven is important. Responsibility has also been called into question recently as it reflects behavior. Being responsible for our behavior and how we represent ourselves to coven, our sisters and as a coven. This is important as we do rituals on the Mountain or in public we are responsible for the image the coven represents as well as bringing the message of goddess to our sisters. There is also a responsibility to self that comes with being a part of coven too. If a sister finds that she is not being true to herself at rituals or in coven it is her job to understand why this may be. There is a responsibility made to ourselves when dedicating to learn and grow but should coven ever become something that is not a part of our path we are responsible for leaving coven in the manner we came with open heart and perfect love and trust. We swear on our first degree to protect the knowledge of Goddess and to keep it from being lost but we also vow that should we leave coven we are to do so with out malice or ill intent. In making these oaths sisters of the coven become bound to the coven and even more responsible for reflecting the image and beliefs of Goddess and coven.

Finally Unity the last pillar is important because of the diversity of Coven of the Goddess. High Priestess Journey started this coven as a way to reach out to women and share goddess. The coven has open circles allowing women from all different backgrounds to join us for a night or a lifetime as they see fit or have need. In this tradition the coven must stand strong and hold true to unity. Those in the inner circle of coven must help guests and new comers to understand ritual and our coven's views on goddess. The inner circle holds together the rest of the coven helping to make sure that the traditions and vision of Goddess and our High Priestess are followed and preserved. The coven also doesn't dictate to one set of worship or even one pantheon of Goddesses thus there is incredible diversity in rituals, messages, and activities. This lends to the experience of coven for most of us. It is important to have a core to hold onto in the coven helping to keep us unified. This core is the belief in Goddess, the worship of Goddess, the Praise of Goddess, and the magical work of self that each of us is doing. The four pillars of Coven of the Goddess are the foundation for the work the coven does together and helps to keep the members working towards the goals of the coven. To learn through goddess is to grow, learn balance, understand responsibility and to accept and preserve the unity of the coven. Taking time to reflect on these pillars is just as important as creating spells, writing rituals or working towards degrees. Only with a strong foundation can we as people and the coven move forward and build.

A Witches Tools
There are many tools that a witch may call upon to create her magick and hone her craft. Though the number of possible tools are too numerous to count there are certain traditional tools that no magickal tool box could be with out. As a first degree it is my rite not only to possess and use these tools but may duty to understand their sacred meanings and uses.

Mind: The greatest tool a witch has at her disposal is the power of her own mind. The mind gives us thoughts to empower and ideas to create. With our mind and desire we can do and be anything with in this universe and if we have nothing else to use the mind and drive the will to bring forth big magick.

Sword: The sword is an ancient tool used by the witch to cut circle and cast intent. This tool is related to fire or earth depending on personal believes. For me the sword is fire as I see the flames rising from the tip as circle is cut. This symbol is sometimes considered masculine and for me it is a symbol of strength and protection.

Athame: The ancient witch had only a few possessions and one of them always included a knife. Though it is not traditional to use the Athame for cutting physical things this dagger is often used to strengthen intent and cut astroral bonds. For me this too is a symbol of fire and strength. It is used for cutting the quarters and making doorways in already cast circles to allow people to pass through safely.

Boline: This knife is traditionally white handled and has a cresent shape to the blade. It is a true working tool as it is used for cutting things in the physical plain. Preparing potions, creating tools needed to work spells and cast circles. Though this is also a symbol of fire for some because of the cresent shape for me the boline is female and earthlike. I use it to guide intent when my Athame is not close at hand or my wand.

Wand-This is an extension of self and for a witch it is a powerfull tool made from a tree or stone. This is a symbol of earth and helps the witch focus energy and intent. The wand can be used to cast circle, cut quarters and bless things such as cakes and wine.

Broom(Besom)-Matilda, my broom is for cleansing. I use her to dispel bad energy or to raise good energy. I use her to cleanse my sacred space so that I may work in total trust and security. I keep my broom in my room so that it's energy is always close to my alter. This is a symbol of the feminine and air for me.

Cauldron-a cauldron is a symbol of the mother, the womb and has very special power for a witch. Also the cauldron was something that every one even in the olden days would have on hand for cooking. It was easy to use because it could hold many things and be heated to very high temperatures. The cauldron is used for holding fires, making potions, working spells, and cooking for family and friends. As it symbolizes the belly of the goddess it is earth in nature and used to protect the contents and intent poured into it's depths.

Feather-A symbol of air often collected where ever birds can be found. The feather can cleanse people and spaces of bad energy or bring in new and good energy to a space depending on the will of the witch. The feather is used to dispel negative energy as people enter circle too.