We are like many traditional coven structures in that we have three degrees of evolution: First, Second, and Third. In addition, there are two "pre-degree" ranks of Seeker (Student) and Dedicant. We do not have time limits associated with the different stages of evolution -- each one takes as long as they take, no more, no less.
Seekers are the students who take part in the Art of Ritual Class. We make no assumptions that Seekers will choose to serve the Lady and Lord by becoming their Priest/ess or, if they do, that it will be within JaguarMoon. To become a Seeker, one must take part in the annual application process and be accepted into the class.
A Dedicant is one who has begun to sojourn into the Craft and has decided that JaguarMoon is the gateway through which to explore further. This is the starting place for new coveners after they have completed the Art of Ritual class in its entirety. We see this as the beginning of a long journey, and Dedicants act as Mentors for students.
As a Dedicant, individuals are expected to make a serious attempt, through classes, assigned exercises, meditation, ritual, reading, and intellect to come to an understanding of her/himself as a spiritual, intellectual, physical and emotional being in this world. S/he should seriously consider whether the Wiccan priest/esshood is the correct spiritual path for his/her life to follow; as well as whether JaguarMoon is the proper place for him/her to undertake the training for the Wiccan priest/esshood.
Overall, a Priest/ess' training covers three general areas:
(a) Class work and a study of a core area of specialization;
(b) Active participation in rituals;
(c) Personal work on the Self.
A First Degree is a witch who has been initiated into the Craft and specifically JaguarMoon Coven. To receive First Degree initiation is to have committed one's life to the craft in general and specifically to JaguarMoon Coven. The First Degree Initiate knows that s/he is Wiccan and seeks to further his or her knowledge throughout the remainder of this lifetime; s/he is considered a Priest/ess of Wicca. (This Initiation may not be binding past the current lifetime.)
A Second Degree Initiate is a Witch, Priest/ess, and Elder of our Tradition. In becoming a Second, s/he is given the power to act as a High Priestess under the jurisdiction and authority of a (Third Degree) High Priestess. This person has completed his/her apprenticeship, is fully committed to the craft, has integrated craft ways into his/her life, and has reached a level where s/he is ready to accept a higher level of responsibility. S/he gives service to the coven and to the community, shares his/herself in a healthy manner, acts as a mentor and example of Pagan clergy, and leads and guides others to the best of their and his/her abilities.
A Third Degree is a Witch and a High Priest/ess with the authority to use with the power acquired with the Second Degree. S/he is fully qualified to hive off from the Mother Coven and create a ‘daughter’ (or ‘son’) coven, as well as to lead all rituals and act as the vessel of the Lady when the High Priestess is absent. S/he may act on behalf of the HP/S in every way, save for banishings and bindings and may perform all Initiations, including those to the Third Degree. The major difference between this level and the Second Degree is that the Third has completed leadership training and is deemed fully able to create and lead his/her own coven , hiving off at any time., although hiving is NOT required.
The "journeyman" stage is complete, and this Elder is now seen as a Master or Mistress of his/her Craft. Like the Second Degree Priest/ess, s/he is fully committed to the Craft and has integrated Craft ways into his/her life, giving service to the Coven and to the community, sharing him/herself in a healthy manner, acting as a mentor and example of Pagan clergy, and leading and guiding others to the best of their and his/her abilities.
By my hand,