There are many milestones that we take note of as we go through our lives. Births, deaths, puberty, adulthood, middle age and old age. Some we have no choice about their occurrence and others such as marriage, education, vocation, etc.. are those which we select, fine tune and choose as our goal or life’s work.
I was reminded of one of those milestones of choice yesterday as I stood in witness to an initiation within our Tradition of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel. The young woman who was the soon to be a Third Degree* initiate entered the carefully prepared sacred space fully aware, fully present and eager to take up the work of the High Priestess and all that this would require. The 2-hour ritual represented the sum total of years of hard work, dedication, service and putting one’s free time towards the work of self growth to be more effective in the tasks that would come.
As I drove home, I thought back to my own Third Degree initiation 10 years ago when I too stood at that place of choosing. I thought back to the steps I also had taken, beginning with my dedication to Oak and Willow Coven and the ASW, that led me to a First Degree Initiation in 1998. I thought on all the work- both physically and spiritually, done up to this point; much of which has made me more human, more understanding and acutely aware of my actions and the interconnected nature of all life. And, in looking back at these various milestones that were self-selected it brought to mind the other self—selected milestones I had celebrated. Marriage, children, graduations and more flooded my thoughts and with each came a deeper sense of the crossroads and options that presented. I felt a sense of pride for those choices which had produced success and remembered the lessons learned from those that had failed. I realized that the greatest growth had come from creating many of those chosen highlights and although all were not always the final chapter of a particular goal, they propelled me forward, whether for positive or negative, in a way that would not have occurred had I sat idly by.
So, sit in reflection on some of those things you may not have realized to be milestones at the time, but definitely had impact on who and where you are now. Sit in excited anticipation and plan those milestones that will be the markers for your future experience. The important thing is to begin the process and enter it fully aware and fully present and eager to take up the work needed to create that turning point- a marker- a milestone that gives history to the work you have done as you’ve traveled the course of a lifetime.
* Within the ASW we have 5 degrees of Initiation. The First Degree is that of dedicating oneself to walking and connecting more fully with this specific spiritual Path. The Second Degree is that of refining and defining the Magickal Persona and deeper knowledge of oneself. The Third Degree designates the initiate as leadership/clergy or High Priest/Priestess. They serve as leadership and teachers within their covens and are responsible for providing the foundations upon which their membership may grow. They are upholders of the Tradition’s values and serve as example of the potential we all hold. Each initiatory experience builds upon the other and together the represent a considerable amount of work, effort and commitment to the Tradition and the larger pagan community. The Fourth and Fifth Degrees (Elder and Craft Father/Mother, respectively) relate to the continued growth of the Tradition, its support to the larger community and leadership guidance towards all the covens within the Tradition, rather than one specifically.
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