by Karen Ainsworth
7:00 pm, Salem, New Hampshire. Midnight, England. As the clock struck the witching hour, many gathered for Initiation night. Students completing their first year of study at Grandview, home to the Temple of Witchcraft. And students, High Priestesses, Priests, and Ministers around the world, conjoined on the astral, in a Temple beyond all time, a Temple beyond all space, a Temple that stood in circle, holding sacred space for every initiate, of every degree, one through four.
To say the experience was profound is an understatement. As we lit our candles with thoughts only of the ceremony before us, you could hear every breath, sense the blood, the life-force of your very being, pulsing through your body, and the body of community alike. You could touch the tangible holiness of the moment, wrapping it around you like a glorious sacred shroud of deliciousness. The time had come, not only for initiates to say their vows to those both seen and unseen, but for every person present, to consider and reaffirm their own vows, as they stepped back just a little to make space for new brothers and sisters to take their place in the same circle created by our Founders, Christopher Penczak, Steve Kenson, and Adam Sartwell, along with High Priestess Alix Wright and other volunteers and lead ministers, so many years ago.
By the light of the candles, I spoke with my witch-brother, also a High Priest and Minister of our Tradition. We read sacred verse to each other, recalled poignant moments throughout the years as we completed our own training and walked the path together, and remembered all those moments we thought we had forgotten; the magick, the ritual, the gatherings, like the Eternal Sabbat of the Witches, the meeting place that is forever there for all to visit. We spoke of the fun times, like braiding our cords together and making incense. We spoke of the challenges in absorbing some of the teachings that now we often turn to in a heartbeat. And we spoke of the tears of the shadow-work that helped lift and shift so much energy from the life experiences that held us back.
The act of dedicating yourself to the Craft is one of great beauty. To honour the land on which we walk, to see divinity in every aspect of nature around us, to step up to become a caretaker of that world. To honour the Goddess and all she has created, and to honour her consort the God, for without both, all would not be possible. And to equally honour yourself and all of humanity, for within us all, Divinity lives. And with that honour and awareness, we nourish our soul, the soul of mankind, the soul of the world.
We often ask just what good can we do in a world that seems to be spinning out of control and I say there is one thing, just one thing that could help in that moment of time: Step up; remember who you are; embrace your dreams and aspirations; and learn to really live through the eyes of the Goddess in whatever way that means to you. Protect her, hear her stories, feel her pain, but especially feel her joy, happiness, and unconditional love. They are the gifts waiting there for you for the taking. Your path will widen, doors will open, your world will blossom, and your life will flourish. As it is, as it was, as it always shall be.
If we are truly wise, we are never done with the training, the soul-crafting, the lessons of life. The waters of the Cauldron run deep, but the wisdom and healing it brings is second-to-none for those who dare to step in and immerse themselves into the womb of the Goddess, the abyss. In the darkness, the light awaits you. In the darkness, the stars shine and the heavens glow. In the darkness, we are reborn.
Blessed be the Witches. Blessed be the Craft. Blessed be the Temple of Witchcraft, for in your heart, I found my home.
Karen Ainsworth is based in Lancashire, England, a healer and eclectic witch, with a love of crafting, kitchen magick, crystals and plant spirit medicine. Karen is a High Priestess and Ordained Minister of the Temple of Witchcraft, working within the Sagittarius Ministry. She is a trained Reiki Master-Teacher and Advanced Practitioner of Integrated Energy Therapy®. Along with other certifications, Karen has completed training in Medicinal Aromatherapy, Professional Spiritual Healing, Life Coaching, Crystal Healing, and Incense and Magical Oils. She has further trained for Celebrant Ceremonies with Glennie Kindred, for personal and community ceremonies. Through her love of the Temple community, and in addition to the Chalice and Thyme retreats, Karen also offers classes, crafting workshops, and healing sessions in the UK. She is open to invites to guest teach and collaborate in the United States.