Our coven had a beautiful Summer Solstice ritual this past week. Our theme for the ritual was “Becoming”. We asked each other how has what you planted at the Spring Equinox helped you to become who you are today? As things are want to happen, this planned ritual evolved into not only our becoming, but our ripening. How I love that word.
As witches we can’t stay green forever. We need to learn, grow, advance, ripen or we shall merely rot on the proverbial vine, But how can we gauge where we are in the process? How can we identify if we are green, ripe, or somewhere in between? I’d like to share my thoughts on this.
A green witch is a newbie, a beginner. This does not imply that the witch has just found the Craft, but may also designate one who may have been practicing for a few years but has never moved past the beginning phases.
The beginner, the green, unripe witch does only basic work. They feel uncomfortable delving into shadow work and the mysteries. Ritual work is minimal and why they may follow the cycles of the year they are doing so rote, without actually delving into why we do so, they neglect to learn about their meanings, their core. Spell work is their main focus, but the outcomes are hit and miss. They understand that they need to do more, may even want to do more, but lack the proper instruction and/or motivation. While many may feel the lack of instruction others are perfectly comfortable with the level they are at. This is not necessarily a bad thing. If you are comfortable at this level, then stick to it. But when has witchcraft ever been comfortable?
Next we find the burgeoning witch, the witch that is in the process of ripening but still has time on the vine. The majority of witches I know are in this stage. Here, we are constantly learning, taking in the nutrients of hard work, dedication and practice. We are delving into our shadows and dealing with the crap that is holding us back from reaching our potential. We are understanding that the mysteries take years, decades to understand, if we ever truly do. Spell work is done when there is a need, not just for the sake of performing a spell and when we do so it is with the knowledge that our skills, through years of hard work and trial and error, are such that our outcomes are 98% favorable (sometimes what we want the Gods know we don’t really need).
In this phase we may begin to share our knowledge with our covens, circles and groves. We may become teachers, priest/priestesses, and counselors. Still, we require the support of our sisters and brothers in the craft to aid us in moving into the more advanced aspects of our journey. Trance work, thought forms, advanced sigil magick and divination work all are made easier when the witch in this stage leans heavily on her/his guides and magickal families to aid them on their journeys into ripeness.
The ripe witch, the crone, the sage, the adept, is what we all aspire to be and desire to emulate. The ripe witch is the one we all seem to go to with our questions, our stumbling blocks, our magickal failures as well as successes. They have mastered themselves, have delved into their shadows and come out whole. They “know” without seeming a “know it all”. A ripe witch is one that has done the difficult inner work, has delved beyond the veil and back, has a deep relationship with their chosen deity(ies). He/she understands the web of life and how each and evert action we make affects us all. They are simply themselves, strong, capable, bad ass witches. They live their magick each and every day. They ARE magick.
Where am I on this journey? Somewhere between burgeoning and ripe, I think. I do know that there is so much I still need to learn and experience, so many of the mysteries I have yet to delve into. My inner work is on-going and my skills can always be improved. No matter where I may be on this adventure we call witchcraft, this is the path I wish to be on. But today I will just enjoy the summer sun and then, one day, I too shall ripen and become the adept witch I know I can become.