Studying the Occult can be fascinating, it provides the seeker with much to grasp, many concepts to understand and ultimately allows them to grow on many levels, but starting out on your Crooked Path can be frustrating, there is so much you don’t yet know or understand that it can be almost impossible to know where to begin, or to even understand how little you know and grasp personally.
Seeking to learn is good, but how to go about it, of course, there are plenty of books, websites, blogs and FB pages and groups where one can join and learn from other like-minded souls, but how do you know that they actually know what they are talking about, and how do you know where your feet lie upon the Path?
One way to find out can be to attend a Moot and physically talk to people face to face, allowing a better understanding of them as individuals and allowing you to judge whether what they say has merit, but even this can only take you so far. A seeker can stay solitary, learning from where they see fit and practising alone, or they may choose to approach others to tutor them, again, how to decide who or which group can be daunting, but any decent group will provide some information about themselves online and prior to starting a teaching course will seek to meet you and to ensure that you understand what they are offering and whether you will fit in with them.
At this stage both sides can choose not to proceed, in fact it is better to trust your gut instinct and not to proceed rather than to find yourself in a position later where you have regretted your choice. Any decent group will lay their wares open for your inspection and not push or coerce you to make a decision. Once you have decided though, then show your honour and stick to your commitment, those offering tuition will normally do so for free, giving up their time and energy to share their Lore and knowledge with you (ok, you may be asked to contribute to a refreshment fund or to bring along some food or drink, but generally that is all), it is not good practice to mess those who are offering to teach you about, if they have offered you a place on their course and you have taken it, and you drop out shortly after starting, then you could have denied another that place. Be sure that the group is for you before committing, and if it later feels wrong, then talk with your tutors before you make any decision to leave.
Traditionally any Neophyte Witch engaging in formal training personally commits to a minimum of being trained for a Year and a Day (YAAD) with the group they are being trained by, this does not automatically mean that the training lasts only a YAAD, nor that once trained they will be offered membership of the group, but that this is the minimum time frame that they must complete, the actual time required depends on the individual, but even with an adept student a minimum of a YAAD is recommended to ensure that all concerned get to know one another well, that alignment is achieved and that all concerned can form the required group mind. Many groups do not specify a time period, but instead adopt the Student and their progress is completed at their own pace, I know of some groups where 7 years is considered normal for induction to happen correctly and completely.
Once the period of training required for the individual is completed, then this can then lead on to some form of Initiation, possibly into the state of Being known as Witch, possibly to Initiation into a Coven / Family / Cuveen / Group, or for those whom identify as Wiccan it can mean Initiation into a certain level of ‘Degree’ that mark their training and personal level of experience. Within BTW it is much more down to the individual group and the people within, some groups have different levels of training, some do not, generally though it is agreed within most BTW Families / Covens / Cuveens / Groups that Initiation at a YAAD is where a Witch is believed to be competent and safe to work alone, has undergone the necessary learning, spiritual and psychological growth and has / is attaining the state of being known as Witch Incarnate (see the Witches Incarnate page for more details). Attaining this state of being can be prior to, during or after the individuals actual physical Initiation Rite, as although we perform the Rite, it is the Gods not us that actually Initiate the individual Witch, we merely Instigate the process (see the Initiation vs. Instigation page for further details).
So, why has the Hearth of Albion decided to open our Gates and provide a YAAD teaching course in our blend of BTW Witchcraft? Well, for Uhtred and myself (Breaca) our Crooked Path has led us to this point now where we have reached a certain level of knowledge and confidence, and after receiving training in different types of Witchcraft and having looked for a place that felt like we fully belonged for many years now we reached the point where in no uncertain terms we were told by the Old Ones to get on with it and form our own group. 2 Others seemed to be aligned in the same manner, and so the 4 of us formed the Hearth of Albion, our goal is not only to form a well aligned BTW Coven, but it also has to be to grow the group and to share our knowledge to prevent it becoming lost once more. Lore hard won should be shared with those who are prepared to put in the effort and are worthy of the Lore, hence why we are opening the Gates, if folks wish to learn then they are welcome, if they then pass through the YAAD, then they will be eligible for membership of the Hearth, and if we reach a point where numbers have grown to a point of becoming unwieldy, then we will hive to form multiple Hearths, linked and following the same format and practices, but each Hearth a Coven in its own right.
As with many others of the BTW Persuasion we do not seek personal or group fame, infamy or publicity, we prefer to work from the shadows, however, if none of us come forth from the shadows to share what we know and to train those who are following on from us, then our knowledge and Lore is destined to be once more lost and forgotten in the mists of time, hence why we have stepped forth with this website and other Online presence in order to reach out to those who seek training and seek to awaken the Witch within, once a Year we will be running a training course, the 1st 6 months are a primer we call ‘The Gates of Albion’ and are suitable for those who wish to learn more, the 2nd six months are for those who seek to become Witch Incarnate, those who complete the whole YAAD successfully will be offered Initiation to the State of Being known as Witch Incarnate and if they so wish will be considered for entry to our group.
Below is a screenshot of the 1st Draft of our Syllabus for our Basic Level of Training, the First Year and a Day (YAAD), which is designed so those that are coming to us to Learn are able to do so in a structured format designed to ensure that they progress at a good rate, that they are proficient and competent and able to hold Sacred Space and be Safe. This will include fortnightly face to face training sessions in the form of talks, lectures and discussions / q+a, but also practical Ritual, Magickal Workings, basic bush crafting and also Practical and Academic assessment. The training syllabus also allows for several ‘road trips’ where the Coven travels away together for a day or weekend to visit certain Sacred Sites and to experience more than just their local environment. There could also be overnight vigils, trials, ordeals and tests to allow you to show your commitment and intent and to ensure that those who seek entry into the Hearth are as committed as the rest of us who are within.
Details of forthcoming Training Course Intakes will be posted on this website and on our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/AlbionHearth
Our first full YAAD Training Intake commenced at Beltane 2015 with the Intake of students for our Face to Face 13 Moon course, 8 started the course, all interviewed beforehand and vetted, and as expected most dropped away within the first 3 or 4 months, leaving only 1 to actually make it through to Initiation.
Please contact us via the Facebook page with all enquiries!
If you are seeking Training in the Arte of Witchcraft, then please take note of these few words of advice….
Check that the Group you seek to Learn from have a Syllabus with Competencies and do actually measure you against these through impartial assessment, otherwise it becomes nothing more than the opinion of one as to whether you are competent.
Beware of anyone who seeks to retain personal control over Ritual and Casting, or makes decisions without consultation.
Ensure you feel right with those who are seeking to teach you, if you have any feelings of concern, then raise them or walk away.
Stay safe at all times!