Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Initiations, Why I don't think you need them, and how I came to think that way...


My response to a discussion on initiation pros and cons:

I'll start out by saying that "self initiation" and "self dedication" are not interchangeable phrases, any more than "dedication" and "initiation" are. I know that doesn't stop people from using them as interchangeable, but I think that it is this misuse of words that is causing some folks to question the results/changes they got/felt.

I'm questioning the irony between the word "dedication" and not remembering the name of the god you are "dedicated" to. I think maybe that was the problem (you just picked a god at random and not one you were actually dedicated to serving.) The dictionary definition of dedication, is after all "loyal devotion and servitude".

For example a man and a woman get married and they vow to be dedicated to one another, but one of them starts cheating (and is thus not dedicated to the other) and the relationship falls apart (usually, unless the other is so dedicated that they overlook the cheating as a flaw they must live with).

So, that's the way I look at dedication in a religious sense as well. You dedicate yourself, not because it's fun or cool or because everyone else did it first, but rather you dedicate yourself because you are truly, deeply, passionately committed to devoting every fiber of your being to your chosen path and/or god.

That said, when I hear folks, like yourself, who say the "self dedication" was nothing spectacular and you feel away, or as you said even forgot the name of your god, I think this is a case of "too much too soon". I think what it means is that you were not ready for it yet. It doesn't mean you did anything wrong, it just means you were not ready for that level of dedication, that's all.

What would you do to ensure that you are ready next time (if there is a next time)? Well, I can only tell you what it is I would do, which is this: I would find a god whom resonates with me, a god whom I could talk to on a one on one personal level, a god I could trust, a god who's values match my own, a god who I feel a kinship for. (for me that was Damballa) Than once I found a god who felt "right" for me, I would study everything I could about him/her, find out the culture and history around him/her, and get to know him/her on a personal level, including to build him/her an altar, and start holding weekly services to him/her. All the while I would pray and listen for guidance. After a few years (in my case 15 years) of such study and service, than and only than would I feel that I was ready to dedicate myself to this path/god. Why? Because, if I have already devoted 15 years of faithful service to him, than I know without a doubt that he is the one I am dedicated to serving the rest of my life.

This is how I see it anyways. So, yeah, I would agree with you, when you say you feel it "wasn't to be". It is a learning experience for you though, because now you know what doesn't work for you in your life and you can move on to finding something that does work in your life instead. There are many paths to choose from, you just have to keep looking until you find the one that's right for you.



I've mentioned initiations elsewhere (a forum, forget which one) and got "attacked" by several "holier than thous" who went all hooting nanny because I included my childhood Christian baptism on the list. They did the whole "baptisms are not initiations" and "Christianity doesn't count" thing. :(

That said, I am glad to see that such a response is not so here, and several others include childhood baptisms in their list. {{{huggies}}}}

Why? well, because even though I'm not a part of it now, it was a big part of my life for 27 years and it shaped who I ultimately became, resulting in who I am today. Sure I "chose" to be baptized at 8 years old and everyone (parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, Sunday School teachers, elders, bishops, missionaries, etc)  went off on the whole "it was her choice, we didn't force her" bit. I mean, I was 8 years old and I did not know one single solitary person who HAD NOT been baptized at the age of 8, so OF COURSE I chose to get baptized, because I thought it was what I was supposed to do, not because I had any idea what it was or why I was doing it. But like I said, I spent the next 27 years utterly devoting my life to it (Mormonism, btw) even though I never really fit in. I knew I didn't fit in, because over 750 people/members of the congregation/family/relatives were very vocal in saying to my face "Wendy you don't fit in, you are not like the rest of us, you need to get on your knees and prayer for forgiveness and repeat.". Though I was never quite sure what it was I needed to repent from as while everyone was telling me I needed to repent, no one really gave any details about what it was I had down that required repentance.

Well, than after 27 years of faithful service, never missing a meeting (many each week), doing all the required volunteer work and rituals, bakes sales, yadda, yadda, yadda, the bishop comes out and says I'm being excommunicated on grounds of witchcraft.

Wait? What? Witchcraft? Me? Seriously? I laughed at them. I thought it was a joke. Me a witch? That was just too funny. They weren't joking. They were very serious. They were so serious that  they burned my house to the ground claimed that "God told them to". in order to "get rid of the witch". Wow. I was stunned. And I started asking every one I met (even strangers on the street) "What is a witch?" I didn't know. I had no idea how to tell if I was one. (I had no prior contact with non-Mormons, media, TV, movies, stuff that would have told me, never been to school, never even been off the compound till I was 31 years old!) I had been so dedicated to Mormonism that I had no idea what anything outside of it was (I have Autism and OCD which explains how I was able to get so narrow focused on one thing). So when they suddenly kicked me out for being a witch, I was just totally confused.

One thing lead to another, and eventually I set out to studying witchcraft, and low and behold, they were right, I WAS a witch, and never knew it. Huh. Well that was just weird. Turns out, I was actually pretty deep into witchcraft too. I had to think about this one. It caught me off guard. My whole life I was surrounded by Mormons who were careful to not let me (or any of the other children) have contact with any non-Mormons, with one exception: my two grandmothers, were not Mormons.

My dad's mom was from Scotland, had more superstitions than you could imagine and had a cure for everything - though I did not realize it at the time - she was a Hoodoo Rootworker and much of what she did was steeped in Voodoo. My mom's mom was a Native American, a devoted Seventh Day Adventist, a practitioner of Huna, and weather woman/rainman/shaman. It is no secret that in my childhood I was terrified of the dogmatic (often physically violent) men in my family and thus spent nearly every waking minute in the company of my 2 nature loving grannies, who taught me the names and uses of every plant, herb, and root in the area, taught me how to talk to the spirits of animals and trees and how to communicate with the "Little People" (faeries), what offerings to leave where, how to read gemstones-shells-cards, etc, etc, etc.

The deaths of my grandmothers (both from cancer, a few years apart) was highly traumatic to me, not just because of their deaths, but because of the huge, joyful celebrations their deaths ignited among the rest of the family (a celebration that included family members gathering together to sign "Ding, Dong, The Wicked Old Witch At Last Is Dead!"). While other members of the family had been given huge funerals with fancy gold plated coffins and lots of solemn mourning, Grammy Eva was buried in a cardboard box, and there was no funeral because "the old hag didn't deserve one". The days following her death were spent with relatives partying, rejoicing at "now we can baptize her a Mormon", and telling stories of all the nasty names they had made up for her over the years (including one 4 year old who got up to preform a "poem" which started out "Nanny Banana, the big fat bofanna..."). The festivities really got going after one of her sons got up and gave a toast which regaled on how great he was, because it was his prayers that she would die that got her sorry existence out of their lives.

I was shocked and appalled by the blatant display of absolute hatred, and I said as much, and was promptly accused of being a witch, because "only an evil witch would defend that old hag, you witch scum stick together". :( In the years to follow I was subjected to exorcisms because as they put it: "She's been possessed by Grammy's evil spirit".

The deaths of my grannies was an eye opener, and made me question: everything, including to ask: "What ever compelled me to get baptized into this?" Which lead to "Is there any point in getting baptized ever?" Which eventually lead me to write an article AGAINST initiations in which I said:

<i>"And you say to me: Who initiated you? By what authority do you do these things; what laying on of hands gave you this power?

By what authority do you ask this question? Irrelevant? No. Logic. Authority is one person's way of deluding himself. Authority is just another word for power. Power is another word for ego. Ah. Initiation is one man's ego trying to control another man. So let's re-ask the question:

By what egomanical megalomania power do you do these things?

By the authority given to me by the God of Creation. God created me. God made me what I am. Only God has the power to do anything. No human has the power to lay hands on me. No human has the right to assert control over other humans. No human has the power to give another human power. Humans are just humans. Only this and nothing more.

Any Human who comes to you and says that you can not do a thing, without them first using their authority of laying on of hands to bless you, initiate you, baptize you, and endow you with power, is nothing more than a power hungry, pompus, self-rightious, deluded ego driven jackass, hiding behind God, and pretending that it is God demanding authority when God doesn't give a rats ass about authority, because God isn't a respecter of persons. God's authority is the only a authority, and any religious anyone who says otherwise is nothing more than a bully pushing his weight around as a way to gain control of another. I'm sorry, but I'm not a religion crazed creep like you.

By what authority, does any man claiming to have a authority, get his authority?

The man who claims to have the authority to give you authority, got his authority from another man claiming to have the authority to give him authority and in turn got his authority from another man claiming to have the authority to give him authority who likewise got his authority from another man claiming to have the authority to give him authority, who also got his authority from another man claiming to have the authority to give him authority, all of which leads us to ask, who gave the first guy the authority to give anyone else the authority? Answer: nobody. He crowned himself king of giving others authority and declared no one else had the authority, because he wanted to boost his own ego, and others, stupid sheep that they were, went along with it and let themselves be lead around by a ring in the nose, because they were too weak mentally to question how authority got it's authority.

In truth, no one has the authority to give any one else the authority in anything. All any of us can do is research and study and learn all we can to find out more about a subject. We than become an "authority in our field" by virtue of knowledge, not by virtue of "laying on of hands". Being an "authority in your field" only means that you studied more and learned more than the next guy, it doesn't mean that you have the power to pass authority on to the next person. No one can do that.

By what authority do I heal the sick? By what authority do I feed the hungry? By what authority do I provide hope to the downtrodden? By what authority to I preach scripture? By what authority do I read cards? By what authority do I cast spells? By the authority of having devoted my life to serving God and helping others, by the authority of 12 years of Bible seminary, by the authority of 27 years of scripture study, by the authority of the God given gift of the desire to help those in need. No man can give me this. Why should I take orders from a man instead of from God? I have free will. I don't answer to no man. No one bosses me around. No church tells me what to do. I am not the slave of some coven priest. Why would I require initiation? I am not the slave of some church priesthood. I am free, just the way God made me, why would I want to tell God he made me wrong when he made me free? By giving up my freedom to some church, coven, or religion, I turn my back on God. By becoming part of some church, coven, or religion, I tell God he didn't know what he was doing. By following the leaders of some church, coven, or religion, I tell God he ain't good enough for me to be my personal Lord Almighty. By joining some church, coven, or religion, I tell God that I believe men have more power and authority than he does. To be initiated into anything is to insult God and bitch slap him right across the face. If you want to bitch slap God and tell Him you'd rather obey the ego of a man than Him, fine, you do that, but don't expect me to follow you down that risky patch of road."
</i>

My thoughts on initiation has not changed much since I wrote that article. (about 10 years ago). (The excommunication came a few years after I wrote this article) One thing that has changed since writing it, is my perception of God. At the time I wrote the article I had this "one God" mindset which I no longer have today, because I started asking questions like "well if God created us, than who created God, and than who was it that created God's creator? and does that mean that God is just the name of some guy who made life on this planet and if so who made life on other planets and is his name God too?" My questions just kept leading to more questions.

The deaths of my grannies started a lot of questions, but it was being excommunicated that really got the ball rolling and started me asking a lot more questions to a lot more people and a lot louder than before. One of the things I questioned was the validity of the baptism. What value did my initiation into a church have, if I did everything right, obeyed all the rules, did everything I was told to do, and was kicked out for leaving Swiss Miss pudding cups on a stump in the words for a local Faerie (which was the reason I was excommunicated - because I left pudding cups on a stump in the woods, which the Bishop called "evil dark magic and proof that I was a witch" - the bishop also claimed that by leaving said pudding cup on a stump in the woods, that I was in fact casting a death spell, which he farther claimed was how some local kid came to drown in a bathtub while his mom was yapping on the phone in the other room). The church council excommunicated me claiming that I had used pudding cups to cause a kid to die, and than tried to take me to court with that evidence  but thankfully the judge had a brain in her head and threw the case out of court, while ordering the bishop to get psychiatric help.

But this lead me to ask: what the heck difference did all my work in the church make? The baptism, the sacraments  the temple work, the rituals, if it could all be taken away because I put a pudding cup (Tapioca) on a moss covered stump in the woods. I mean, I could have been feeding squirrals for all they knew! I could have been leaving it for a homeless guy! I was leaving it for a FarDarrig (water spirit), but even when I told them this, they said, "Nope, nope, don't lie, we know what you were doing. You were casting a death spell to kill little Craig Thomas." I was asking him, "Who the heck is Craig Thomas?" They told me he was a kid who lived in Utah, well, no wonder I never heard of him, here I was born and raised and still living in Maine!

I came to the conclusion the judge was right, the bishop was crazy, but than I still had the question: What was the point of my initiation into this religion, if it could be taken away for something so stupid?

So I stopped believing in the validity of initiations, and now refuse to be initiated, because initiation, as I see it, is nothing more than one man's way of saying "I control you" and he can "unititate" you at any time, for any reason, on a whim. And if your initiation can be invalidated on one man's whim, than what actual value does said initiation have? None. It means not a thing. I explored several Christian religions after the excommunication, before I got to the point of saying "I wonder if they are right? Could I be a witch?" That's when I really shocked myself, and found out that all that stuff my grannies had taught me was in fact witchcraft (and here I thought it was me talking one on one with God, Jesus, the Holy Ghost and being respectful of nature and nature spirits!) and all that card reading, shell tossing, spirit channeling stuff I was doing was also witchcraft (magic) and here I thought magic was stuff like found in Harry Potter - wave a wand and poof you can fly. The whole experience was a really big wake up call, into what witchcraft was verse what I had thought it was. The biggest shock was probably realizing that there was no need for me to be initiated/baptised/whatever in order to become a part of it, heck, I had already been reverencing nature and talking to God, Jesus, angels, faeries, and spirits since I was 4 years old!

Well, after that I started looking into various Pagan faiths and kept being attracted to Voodoo, probably because of the fond memories of my grannies, both of whom, I now realize were practicing Hoodoo as well as Voodoo in much of their lives. I since joined into Voodoo, becoming a servant to Damballa, and currently moving towards marrying said lwa, but likewise have refused to be initiated, because I hold the belief that no one has the "authority" to "initiate" anyone, and that the only thing any of us can really do is make "vows of dedication" to a path or god. So, I no longer believe in inititations, and yeah, that's how I came to feel that way.


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Ever wonder what it was like to live with Autism?  
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I have Autism. For more of my life I rarely spoke and was considered "too crazy" to ever live a normal life. I communicated via writing instead of vocally. I did not attend school. Psychologists said I would never drive a car, never get a job, never go to college, never function as a meaningful member of society, never be able to take care of myself or live on my own. They said there was no hope for me, I would need full-time care my whole life. 
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My progression was long and slow and very hard. Things other people found easy to do (getting dressed, brushing teeth/hair, walking across the street, etc,) I found extremely confusing and hard to learn. I was prone to wandering off and getting lost (I still am). Driver's ed takes most people a few weeks to learn - it took me 5 years. 
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I determined to prove the doctors wrong, but it was far harder to do, than most people would imagine. I got my first job working at Macy's at age 30 (a very difficult job as I had to deal one on one with customers and I still at that point was not talking in a manner that could be understood by others). I got my GED at age 34. I got my driver's license at age 35. I started college at age 36. By age 37 I had become a Phi Theta Kappa Honor Student and I was finally able to speak to others in full spoken verbal conversation for the first time in my life. 
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Now you can find out what it's like Being an Adult with Autism
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Good morning Starshine! Liked this post? Looking to connect with me online? I love social networks and am on most of them. You can find me on: BloggerEtsyFaceBookGoogle+KeenMySpaceNaNoWriMoProBoardsScript FrenzySpoonflowerSquidooTwitterULC Ministers NetworkWordpress, and Zazzle Feel free to give me a shout any  time. Many blessings to you, may all your silver clouds be lined with rhinestones and sparkle of golden sunshine. Have yourself a great and wonderful glorious day!
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~Rev. Wendy C. Allen aka EelKat of Laughing Gnome Hollow

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FYI: I welcome all email! That includes arrogant, bigoted, rude, ignorant, snide hate mail many uber religious folks enjoy sending my way.  However, be forewarned that by choosing to send me a letter, email, blog comment, FaceBook comments, or any other message from any other means, which falls into any category, you thereby relenquish all ownership rights and responsibilities concerning your letter(s) and comments(s). I will post any and all letters, both positive and negative, that I feel require or deserve a response. If you don't want the world knowing your troubles, knowing you are a hater, or knowing you are a bigoted jackass, please refrain from sending me mail, because if you get really bitchy, I'll go right ahead and use your real name too. Thank you and have a nice day.
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This post was written by Wendy C Allen aka EelKat, is copyrighted by The Twighlight Manor Press and was posted on Houseless Living @ http://houselessliving.blogspot.com and reposted at EK's Star Log http://eelkat.wordpress.com and parts of it may also be seen on http://www.squidoo.com/EelKat and http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com  If you are reading this from a different location than those listed above, please contact me Wendy C. Allen aka EelKat http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=viewprofile and let me know where it is you found this post. Plagiarism is illegal and I DO actively pursue offenders. Unless copying a Blog Meme, you do not have permission to copy anything appearing on this blog, including words, art, or photos. This will be your only warning. Thank you and have a glorious day!                             
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                                                                   ~ EelKat
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