Dear readers, considering how much I trust you to keep a secret, the time has come to reveal the truth about the Wiccan-Masonic complex, the hidden hand that has controlled and influenced historical events from behind the scenes. Wait for it… There’s no such thing.
I tell you this as an insider. I assure you, Masons are collectively great organizers if the task at hand is to respond with financial aid to disasters, or to aid the sick. Unfortunately, our influence in the moral/political arena has diminished since contributing many of the tenets embodied in our Constitution (the last President who was a Mason was Gerald R. Ford, and you may remember how the 1970’s went). As for the various groups that identify as Wiccan, they would certainly lend a hand… if they could only coordinate their schedules and focus. There’s really no time left over to run shadow governments.
So why do I even bring up such a subject?
The simple reason is to discuss what they do share in common, and what they in fact do, which is provide a modern initiatory experience that provides a common experience for their adherents. This is a much more satisfying task than say, suborning the Federal Reserve.
The other reason that I bracket Wicca and Masonry is that the ritual structures of Wiccan initiations are based on those employed in Masonry (while the spiritual values and esoteric content are quite different).
Our species likes developing smaller, special affiliation groups, whose members share a collective, transformative experience that distinguish them from the greater whole.
As any undergraduate Anthropology student can point out, there’s a wide range of events and behaviors, forming an alphabet with which to compose and organize ritual behavior. These patterns can differ quite a bit, and some elements that are vital to certain groups at one time or in a certain place will at other times or in other places be quite repugnant (I leave your fertile imaginations to decide what they might be). The fact that the structure of one group developed out of the other has significance
In England in the 19th century, the respectable initiatory experience (outside of the sectarian faith of one’s parents) was Freemasonry. As members of the various Lodges explored their own occult interests, founding such notable groups as the Order of the Golden Dawn, the structural framework of Masonic initiation was utilized to form their own work. It was out of this shared culture the early proponents and promulgators of the Witchcraft revival emerged. And the way they would organize the spiritual experience which they were hoping to bring into being was by adapting their prior experiences to a new purpose.
Without violating any oaths I’ve taken, I can explain some particulars. Both groups have a public face, there is no proselytizing. The individual needs to have both the desire and the inclination to seek out this experience. Once accepted, they will (generally) be requested to appear at a certain time at a particular place. Masonic Lodges have their own physical plant in place; for Wiccan groups, location varies. Regular street clothes will be replaced, and a place for preparation and reflection will be set aside. With both groups, the initiate will be blindfolded in some way, as well as bound in some way. After a time, they will attempt to enter the ritual space, and be challenged about their intentions. After stating their desire to proceed, they will be led clockwise around the space, stopping at significant points of the compass, their conductor answering questions to which the initiate does not have the answer.
After the perambulation, the initiate will be placed in a certain position, and swear an oath. After the oath, restraints and blindfold are removed, the newly initiated member can then see what they need to see, and are instructed on the meaning of what they have undergone. In this way, one moves to a new state of knowledge.
And then we have a meal, and rehash what we just went through, and eventually get to bed way too late; but it’s worth it. A happy May Day to all!