Beltane is starting to seem like Hartwood Grove’s time for initiations! Last year, I was initiated into the first degree near the Sabbat, and this past Saturday, W. took her first degree. I suppose I’ve only known her for a year–we met just before my own initiation–but she’s quickly become a life-long friend. I absolutely adore her. She brings a wonderful enthusiasm to our activities and meetings that lights up the room and certainly puts a smile on my face. I think I have a tendency to become too serious, and I’ve increasingly been putting on the teacher hat. W. allows me to have fun and play with my faith…and man, have I missed that energy! She’s also so open and warm and caring, I just can’t help but love her. She’s like a big sister AND a friend, and that’s an awesome combination. I’m so glad that I can now officially call her coven sister (although I’ve been doing that unofficially for ages…there was no question she was going to be initiated!)
Funnily enough, it almost didn’t happen. While W. had asked for initiation ages ago, it apparently slipped our HPS’s mind. Luckily, W. asked again and our HPS put things into full swing–with just enough time to pull it off for our HP’s visit from the Mountain States. W. performed her ritual for Z. and pulled all the oddments together just in the nick of time! I helped a bit with the cords and candle. For the cords, W. ordered some glorious Bavarian Blonde hemp rope from Twisted Monk, and together we dyed it and finished off the ends with some tassels. Let me tell you…I am mad envious of her cord. It is buttery-soft and solid. When mine wears out, I’m totally replacing it with Bavarian Blonde. For her candle, W. dyed some beeswax a dark red with Z. and added a few extra things to the mix–like a pinch of dirt from her own sacred place on Mt. Rainier and a powdered quartz crystal–then poured 9-inch tall, 2 inch wide pillar. Then, after W. and I finished with her cord, the candle had set enough for us to remove it from the mold. But it wouldn’t budge! We tried for hours, and it was just no go. Eventually we gave up and I told W. I’d stop by with another candle the next morning and we’d roll it in some of the leftover wax she dyed. But W. is blessed with an ingenious husband. That morning, he dunked the mold in boiling water, attached an air compressor to the hole in the bottom, pumped it with a bit of air…and the candle went flying 3 feet! W. repaired all the cracks and filled a giant hollow space following the wick, and then she and I rolled it in the remaining wax to make the exterior look pretty again. It turned out very well, and man–does it ever burn!
W.’s initiation was the first I’d experienced since my own, and I found the ‘other side’ to be very interesting. My particular role was largely holding the Book, keeping everyone in place, and making sure things followed a general proper flow. So I have to admit, my attention was more mundanely focused than it might otherwise have been, but I still felt that awesome sense of love I felt with my own initiation. I think it was most like waiting for my youngest brother to be born. I was almost 10 when that happened, so I can remember the flurry of activity and excitement surrounding the birth, everyone brimming with that thrilling impatience to welcome a new family member…yeah. It was very much like that.
At my own initiation, everyone gifted me with necklaces, which I thought very lovely. I wanted to pass that on to W., so I crafted her a knotted strand of rainbow fluorite and a fun little jasper that almost looks like wood. X. gifted her a gorgeous larimar pendant, and our HP and HPS gifted her with some pretty awesome ritual ware. Y. gave her a cobalt blue glass chalice he’d used as his ritual cup in what he calls his ‘fluffy bunny days’ saying that its capacity to contain enthusiasm met what W. could put out. Z. gifted her with her first athame, which she’d constructed with a Pagan smith and then–many years later–had another Pagan smith outfit it with a new, sharp, leaf blade. It is gorgeous (and enormous!), and it and W. positively sing together.
Welcome home, W.! We’re so glad you’re here!