This week’s I post for the Pagan Blog Project is a little late. Mostly because The Bad Witch Crafts were sold like hotcakes at a local art and craft fair. But I’m late partly because I can’t bring myself to publish the post I originally wrote on “Innocence.” 
Let me tell you, being The Bad Witch isn’t easy. And if you think the Witch Hunts are over, all you have to do is look to your nearest Pagan community and *voila* – there is inevitably someone there just itching for someone to burn. The Bad Husband keeps reminding me that “The Truth Will Out – it’s a natural law.” So, rather than dragging testimony into the blogosphere, I’m going to put it off (at least until next Friday’s final *I* post) and hope that nature takes it inevitable course.
So, instead, I is for initiation. You cool with that?
With the number of solitaries out there, this is a sticky subject. Keep in mind from the getgo that I am not bashing solitaries, I fully believe that solitary work has its place, hell – I worked alone for a full decade and still don’t work within a “group” in the traditional sense. So I hear ya –I know; it’s hard to find a mentor. I lucked out. Twice a mentor was brought to me. Those who are less fortunate, know that I have your back too. I think that working as a solitary is very hard – it’s tough to be diligent when you don’t know what the expectations are; it’s hard to find “good” information without experienced discernment; learning by trial and error seems to be “initiation” enough.
Various traditions have various initiations. Duh. But many Wiccan initiations seem to be very similar and, in my experience, many Ceremonial Magic initiations seem kinda-sorta the same. But there is this other thing that I’ve seen happening over the past three or four years – and it’s really, really different: initiation without trial.
See, I told you I was going to forgo talking about Witch Trials, but I’m talking about a different kind of trial here. Not an ordeal by water or fire to determine guilt or innocence, but a trial to determine readiness. A trial of discernment. In my experience, those traditions worth their merit do not simply usher a Seeker into the temple where s/he is blessed by the High Priestess and given a place among the acolytes. But then again, my experience here is pretty limited (har-har).
Most initiations are about proving strength of mind and willingness to submit to authority while sublimating ego which illustrates readiness to learn and to become a different kind of person. After all, that’s what magic is all about. We strive to make ourselves better. Those who go into magical arts in order to gain material or to manipulate others or (gods forbid) harm and control other people, places, or things, are barking up the wrong tree.
I was listening to a Poke Runyon’s Hermetic Hour concerning “Evil” Black Magic the other day. He argues that anything that tries to manipulate another (like a love spell) is Evil Magic. I argue that the magic itself is not “Evil” – it can’t be – I see it that it’s the practitioner (not, in my opinion, a “magician”) that has evil. Notice I didn’t say “is” evil. Real magicians (Ceremonial, Witchcraft, whatever) realize that we are the microcosm; in changing ourselves we change everything. The only thing of which we are in control is, then, everything. But only is we strive to change ourselves. Without initiation, too many come into “The Craft” without an understanding that there must be a reformation of Self.
In the end, maybe this is why I want a new mentor so badly. Maybe it’s not the mentoring, maybe it’s the initiation. Sitting on my laurels for a decade (well, not really sitting), maybe I want to be tested again. Maybe I want to have my own moment of discernment.
Now that’s a Witch trial I’d like to see.
B, Q, 93!
 Where, unsunscreened, TBW proved that Witches still burn.
 You know what The Innocence Project is, right? Folks are convicted without proper evidence, do some hard-ass time for a crime they didn’t commit, and then someone comes along and checks the actual facts and – lo and behold – the person is exonerated. You’ve heard of it, I’m sure. Typically, the problem is “Bad Testimony” or lack of DNA testing. Here, I’m not talking about doing 20-Life without parole in *The* Innocence Project, but I am talking about being falsely accused without proper evidence and attempting to initiate *An* Innocence Project.
 My opinion might ruffle a few feathers (but it may get an equal response of “Amen” and “Preach”). But I ask you to remember that it is just *my* opinion.
 I know that there is an argument about ego. Crowley-esque traditions say that we must overcome our ego. Others say that it is only through ego that work can be done. I think it’s somewhere in between. We need to rearrange the space and shape our ego takes and form it into a malleable character. This is the only way that we can become a useable vessel for creation.
This post is part of a year-long project. Rowan Pendragon’s The Pagan Blog Project is “a way to spend a full year dedicating time each week very specifically to studying, reflecting, and sharing . . . . The project consists of a single blog post each week posted on prompt that will focus on a letter of the alphabet”(http://paganblogproject.com/)