“In Latgalia [a region of Latvia] they say, 'Oh, as soon as the missionaries left, we all just jumped in the river and washed it off, anyway.'” (Sean McLaughlin)
It's the first of the traditional Three Questions asked by the Horned at an initiation (and later repeated during the Renewal of Vows):
Do you renounce the waters of baptism?
Old Craft initiations are very different from Wiccan ones. They're not secret at all. Those who wish to take the Oath must first know the Oath. How can you swear to something that you haven't had the chance to think through thoroughly? You need to know what you're letting yourself in for. One cannot join the Tribe of Witches all unwitting.
This is maybe the scariest topic for me- yet somehow I feel ready and eager to move into it. Maybe it's because the nightingales were singing so daringly this morning, or it's the storm raging outside.
There are countless books which will tell you the right way to do your initiation.I’ve read a number of them, both for covens and for solitary.None of them spoke to me.
Normally I’m a simple, as little fuss as possible, type of person.Once I felt I was ready to declare my beliefs, I decided to do a ritual – full out, go for broke ritual.I had it typed up, planned out, everything was going to go PERFECT.
All my life I went to church for others.My mother made me go when I was a child.I would sit in the church and argue with the minister in my head.I’d ask questions the Sunday school teacher didn’t want to answer.When my mother finally stopped making me go, I stopped until my children came along.My oldest daughter loved to sing, loved music.When my mother took her to church she fell in love with the children’s choir.For my daughters, I went back to church.I sat in the pews arguing with the minister in my head being more and more annoyed.However, my kids wanted to be part of the choir and the pageant, so I went.I volunteered to work in the kitchen for the youth group’s Wednesday night program because my kids wanted to be in the group.One day when the youth minister asked if my husband and I were members, I said no.He asked if we’d like to join and I laughed.It was a good conversation when I explained to him I considered myself agnostic (at the time).
When my kids stopped wanting to be in the church choir, the church group, I stopped going with great relief.After they stopped, I did nothing when it came to spiritual or religious beliefs.I didn’t believe the way my mother believed.I didn’t experience faith in the same way she did.I decided religion wasn’t for me.
As indicated in the introduction to this blog above, I discovered Jungianism and Neo-Paganism at the same time, through the writings of Vivianne Crowley, Margot Adler, and Starhawk, and the two have remained intertwined for me ever since. In fact, the first Pagan writing I ever read was an essay by Wiccan priestess and Jungian psychologist, Vivianne Crowley entitled, "Wicca as a Modern-Day Mystery Religion", in Graham Harvey and Charlotte Hardman's Paganism Today (1994). Wouter Hanegraaf has written that Vivianne Crowley’s Jungian perspective “is so strong that readers might be forgiven for concluding that Wicca is little more than a religious and ritual translation of Jungian psychology.” And, in fact, that is exactly what I believed. Even after realizing that that Paganism is far more diverse than I had originally thought, Crowley's vision of Wicca has continued to influence me.