I know that I just announced my elevation to second degree all of four posts ago, and that I’ve only been a second for five months now, but with all the big life changes that come with starting a new career and moving 2300 miles away comes another one magically.
In a couple of months, I’m going back to first degree.
Obviously, one does not simply wake up one day and say “you know, I don’t think that elevation really took…I’m going to pretend that never happened and say that I’m still a first.” And that is certainly not what I am doing here. Instead, I’m jumping lines (or perhaps traditions, depending on one’s view of the California line).
See, when I realized that moving to Indiana was a sure thing, I worried about how that would impact my growth in Wicca. I didn’t jump into this new career lightly; I knew it would involve incredibly long hours consume most of my ‘free’ time. I also knew that even if I lucked into some incredible flight prices, I would not be able to fly back to Washington frequently enough to continue with my coven. I discussed the matter over with my HP and HPS, and we developed a few options. One was that I use my new elevation to start a daughter coven in Indianapolis with my HP flying in for important events until I “raised up” a local gentleman to priest. Another was to travel to Washington a couple times a year for week-long intensive trainings. And of course, there was attempting to join an existing local group.
Long story short, I knew I wouldn’t have time or energy to put into starting a daughter coven while also learning to teach more effectively. (Truth be told, I’m struggling just to find time to pray.) Long intensives were out as I desperately need to invest more in my familial relationships and my school breaks are going to be almost exclusively claimed by them. That, of course, left joining a local group. Luckily for me, I found a great forming coven run by people I adore and with students who feel like siblings. There was just one minor catch. While this new group is Gardnerian, they are from different lines than what I am. To be adopted into their line, I would return to first degree and then work my way up through their teachings.
My new teachers have checked in with me several times to make sure my ego can handle this. And it definitely can. After all, I’ve only been a second for a few months and really have no true “second” experience teaching or even really leading a circle. In a lot of respects, I don’t feel like a second, and I don’t really have the ego that would go with it. I also think I have a few gaps in my first-degree training, and–having given this group’s teaching materials a look through–I think that the opportunity to go through first again will fill those and make me a much better witch and priestess. Over all, I’m really excited about going through a new training process and think it a terrific opportunity.
And, as I alluded to earlier, my mindset going into this new group has served me well. This week I received some sad news from the high priestess of my Washington coven. Ever since I met her, she has maintained that she was Gardnerian with dual-lineage in Long Island and California. However, as an outcome of conversations held at the Portland Gather last month, she learned that the adoption of her California teachers into the Long Island line does not carry over to herself. As she and the High Priest she trained were my initiators and elevators, this means that the only lineage I can legitimately claim at this time is California line.
Because the majority of the Gardnerian community (at least in America) holds that the California line is not a legitimate Gardnerian line, this also means that until my own adoption/initiation into this new group is finalized, I cannot in good conscience claim to be Gardnerian. The fix? To completely re-do my training with another line…which, as you know, is exactly what was in the works already. So I suppose that all these huge life changes this year have been fated after all.
I’m really looking forward to working more with my new teaching grove and especially to meeting with even more new family members later this year. I think there will be lots of positive aspects to all this change.