JaguarMoon is similar to many traditional coven structures in that we have three degrees of evolution: First, Second, and Third. Because of our emphasis on teaching, we also have two “pre-degree” ranks: 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 Deity by becoming their Priestex or, if they do, it will be within JaguarMoon. To become a Seeker, one must participate 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. We see this as the beginning of a long journey, but this is the starting place for new group members after completing the Art of Ritual class in its entirety. We are a teaching tradition, and we know that those who spend time teaching what they’ve learned show far better understanding and knowledge retention. Therefore, all Dedicants act as Mentors for new students.
As a Dedicant, individuals are expected to make a serious attempt, through classes, assigned exercises, meditation, ritual, and reading to deepen their understanding of themself as a spiritual, intellectual, physical and emotional being. They need to seriously consider whether witchcraft is their spiritual path and whether JaguarMoon is the proper place for them to undertake further training.
Within JaguarMoon, we understand initiation as a commitment to the coven and the tradition. Initiations create karmic ties between the initiator and the new initiate. Each potential initiate is expected to have acquired basic skills before being granted their First Degree. These skills are:
1. Able to tangibly create sacred space.
2. Able to tangibly call the four quarters.
3. Able to enter trance (which requires competence with relaxation and meditation) 4. Able to create a complete ritual.
5. Has led at least one group ritual (includes handling group energy, focus, and visualization).
4. Have a visible and obvious connection with Deity.
5. Have a visible and obvious connection with their inner self.
6. Lives in a manner consistent with their beliefs – walks their talk.
7. Keeps accurate records of their magickal work.
8. Has basic knowledge in the following areas: mythology, herbs, divination, Wheel of the Year, ritual components, Craft-specific terminology, ritual tools, visualization, meditation, reflection and contemplation, moon phases and their effects, trance, spells, magick, and some correspondences.
Additionally, we ask:
If someone comes to you for magickal help, can you do so? Could you feel comfortable deciding what type of assistance – secular, spiritual, or magickal -- they need? Do you know how to teach them to do a working for themselves? If you devise a spell for them (or you) to do for the situation, would you know all the proper correspondences and timing?
First Degree (1*)
A 1* 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 1* knows that they are a witch and seeks to further their knowledge throughout the remainder of this lifetime; they are considered a Priestex of witchcraft. (This initiation may not be binding past the current lifetime.)
Second Degree (2*)
A 2* initiate is a Witch and Priestex of our tradition. In becoming a 2* they are given the power to act as a High Priestex under the guidance of a 3*. This person has completed their apprenticeship, is fully committed to the craft, has integrated craft ways into their life, and has reached a level where they are ready to accept a higher level of responsibility. They give service to the coven and their community, shares themself in a healthy manner, acts as a mentor, leading and guiding others to the best of their abilities.
Most people never become a 2*, because they understand themselves well enough to realize that it is not a promotion, or similar to getting a master’s degree in education. A 2* is an obligation and a karmic agreement that you make that will follow you through many lifetimes. It is a permanent commitment to the priesthood and the services of Deity.
Third Degree (3*)
A 3* is a Witch, Priestex, and Clergy of our tradition with the authority to use the power acquired with the 2*. They are fully qualified to hive off from the core group and create a daughter coven and lead all rituals and govern in the absence of the High Priestex. They may act on behalf of the HPX in every way and may perform all Initiations, including those to the 3* and are trained in all aspects of group administration. They may hive off and form their own group, although are not required to do so. The significant difference between the 3* and 2* is the level of leadership administered.
With the 3* the journeyman stage is complete, and they are considered an expert (albeit, always learning) in witchcraft. A 3* is fully committed to witchcraft and has integrated it into their life, giving service to the coven and community, sharing themself in a healthy manner, acting as a mentor and example of pagan clergy, leading and guiding others to the best of their abilities.
For most people, the 3* initiation occurs when they feel ready to lead a magickal group and have acquired the skills necessary to do so. This degree is not a promotion but an acknowledgment of the achievement of a particular skill set. The 3* indicates an awareness that the Self has transformed, and a feeling of total acceptance is operating. A 3* serves the needs of others, but never at their own expense (or, not for long periods of time).
By my hand,