In this comment and analysis I want to explore how ‘service’ is interpreted in the contemporary Alexandrian tradition and what it practically translates into.
In the early days of the Gardnerian and Alexandrian Craft, the word ‘service’ was never used. Back in the days, those who trained in magic sought the kind of power who would lead, in the words of the Charge of the Goddess, to freedom from slavery. The new generation of Alexandrians seem to want to emulate the dear old Church and bring slavery back into fashion.
Neither bound not free was merely a concept tied to the binds of rebirth as an initiate into a magical self – binds that would subsequently loosen up and give way to full autonomy upon being elevated to 3*.
I categorically do not teach ‘service’ to those I initiate, simply because it was never part of the Craft, and it has been adopted from new age thought only about a decade or so, as commodity upon which many teachers rely to play mind games with their newly initiated members. Similarly, I would never initiate someone in whom I would not see the fabric of leadership and I could not envision becoming a 3*.
So in my coven, we do not serve the High Priest/ess nor we serve the God and Goddess.
The Earth is the natural abode of man and our birth-right. We are part of it and we share it with many creatures, each from a realm of their own, and that may include elementals, fairies, etc.
On a larger scale, the Earth belongs to a heavenly cosmos. Since there is nowhere else for us to go but wander on a rock suspended in space, we believe to also be part of the heavenly extended family.
With this equation in mind, the gods become just another living specie of the universe, if not our ancestors. I may revere their spirit but we do not serve them as subjugated slaves.
We form alliances with them, as we form alliances with every single member of our coven. This is for us, Perfect Love and Perfect Trust. It’s about giving and receiving with equal dignity across the various realms of existence. It’s also about honouring with dignified composure those godly heroes who fell and gave us fire and knowledge for the sake of lifting us from slavery.
It’s rather a contradiction to say that s/he who casts the circle with the sword rules it and guards it from those who enter but then capitulates in submission to whatever presents itself. It hardly comes as a surprise that many covens plunge into confusion within a year of working together and that the High Priesthood feels challenged in its authority by the initiates under their training. We seem to forget that in flesh, man amounts to merely just another mammal if it wasn’t for that spark of godhood that is ignited at initiation. Have you ever wondered why we would be horrified to eat a roasted cat but we are unaffected to smell chicken in Sainsbury’s rotisserie section? Cats are totally useless for our survival and yet chickens lay eggs. I guess that even as in the rest of nature it all comes down to nobility vs servility – with being useful you also become disposable.
I can’t imagine nothing more stupid than presenting yourself as a desperate soul in need of power or as some awe struck space cadet to an entity with whom you are planning to engage with. I should know because that’s exactly what I once did in my magical beginnings. Consciousness (I guess that’s what it can be called) is a must and it goes beyond the pre-ritual salt bath or meditation. Entities are called with confidence of purpose and intent. Priority is given to finding out knowledge – not fucking healing Francis’ leg and shoving a good dose of reiki in an Alexandrian ritual. The High Priesthood has the pivotal role to continue presiding over the circle as its host, especially after a presence has entered the sacred space and starts interacting with whoever has invoked it. That means screening the entity coming through and send it packing whence it came from if necessary. When I read some comments made by so called 3* of the new generation of Alexandrians, especially those in the States, about serving the gods, as if they were just on the way to their local parish, I just want to facepalm over and over again.
The message they are sending to seekers about what makes a Proper Person is thwarted in the self-indulging need of surrounding themselves with seekers who will fawn at their feet and without questioning their authority, they will let the Gypsy Ravishes and Karagans of the situation fleece them for as long as they can get away with, until they will eventually find a way to escape them without having learnt a single magical iota other than preserving their crushed velvet gown from catching fire while prancing around a bonfire.
I know these ‘Lexies’ and I are most certainly NOT on the same wave-length – (as if redneck stupidity did not abound already, now we even have to suffer with the indignity of this biker chick/porn star pseudonym).
Why not bring up, at this point, the contentious issue of what a Proper Person can be defined as and why some people seem to never make any progress beyond the 1* no matter what they do. I have often heard teachers whine regretfully about someone who they have initiated because he or she did not live up to their personal expectations (or didn’t shower them with sufficient gifts and cash or other favours). They remind me of those parents who ‘sacrifice’ everything for their children just to throw it all back in their face as emotional blackmail once having reached a coming of age their son or daughter shows signs of wanting to let go of mummy’s apron and pursue what they yearn for against mummy and daddy’s plans. Rather than commending them for their courage and spirit of initiative, the family and collective usually brands them as selfish and ungrateful little bastards who have let their parents down.
These teachers seem to forget – or maybe they were never taught – that a job well accomplished invariably involves a parting of the ways. I also hear that training in the Craft takes years, possibly a lifetime: yes, but not as a 1*. Let’s face it, if your 1* is still a 1* after five years training, you’re either a shit teacher or you are some control freak with insecurity issues and a hidden agenda to boot. Either way it’s more a reflection on yourself as a teacher than your 1* initiate.
I remember being told that a certain someone would never make it as a High Priest…he liked a drink. The person who passed this judgement is a cocaine addict and 3*. It’s totally pointless to descend into moralism and any other kind of –isms, because the plain reality is that our taste and preferences for decadence have nothing to do with the magical personality of an initiate. In other words, unlike the christian priesthood who aspires to perfection by ridding itself of ‘sin’ and ‘vices’, a magus and priest realises that perfection is a lifelong carousel of upheavals and errors (suffering in order to learn) and therefore some vices and unpalatable traits may well be spokes on the wheel of necessity. That is something seekers and initiates can also find comfort in when they decide to vote with their feet and leave a toxic group behind.
What the magical personality and Proper Personhood requires are qualities rarely spoken of, such as a resolute and resilient attitude, clear vision of intent, a strong will and decisiveness. Humility is something that cannot be learnt until the power of the elevation to 3* and beyond starts to earth into your every day life. In the early stages of training is an unrealistic expectation if not at all undesirable. The initiate’s progress depends on the all the characteristics typical of the Fool, including brashness and an inclination to rebel and take risks.