First Degree Classes

First Degree initiation is granted in recognition and confirmation of a good general knowledge of a number of occult disciplines as well as of the specific traditions and rituals of NorthWind.

While it is sincerely hoped that you will develop skills; the utmost effort made to accomplish this end, you are not judged upon your ability to DO when we consider granting your First Degree. That is, your ability to actually raise power, to actually do valid divination, etc. That you know and are practiced in the methods is the requirement.

While there are basic First Degree Classes or lessons, these are not necessarily all you will be expected to learn before you are granted initiation. Each student is assigned to a teacher or study group. NorthWind Study Groups are usually led by a First Degree Initiate, but circumstances of time, availability and geography dictates the final composition.

NorthWind offers in-person and online classes. The student’s and teacher’s responsibilities and requirements remain the same, whether in-person or online. Those students working by correspondence, please read both this section and the following one on Correspondence study.

If, after reviewing all of the materials, you are interested in applying for First Degree classes, please fill out the New Student Questionnaire.

Summary of First Degree Studies

Developing Ritual Skills. A good deal of class time is generally devoted to practicing ritual skills and doing ritual. NW puts great stress on training in ritual. We tend to brag that any High Priest/ess in a bind can grab any NW initiate, hand them a script five minutes ahead of time, and the NorthWinder will do it better than the clod who didn’t show up would have! Perhaps an exaggeration, but that is our goal.

Independent Project. One of the most important parts of your First Degree work is your independent project. It may be a research paper or something not on paper at all. We expect you to choose a subject you are interested in but do not already know a great deal about. Papers must conform more or less to college rules on quoted material and bibliography. We will notice the spelling and grammar, and it must be legible. Your teacher must approve your plans ahead of time.

Journal. Many students do have trouble with the requirement to keep a journal. Most of your teachers had trouble with it too. But it is such a useful tool, we still require it. You can keep your journal on anything: notebook, steno pad, old envelopes, if you can keep them in order! It should be about your magickal work and studies–work on yourself, your emotional growth, and so on may belong there too.

What doesn’t belong there are any notes about everything you did each day. This is a “magickal” journal. The best of them include bits of poetry which made a point or would be useful for ritual, accounts of spells or other rituals done, ideas which sound as if they might be useful some day, notes on counseling (you being counseled, or you counseling), insights into the meaning of a class or of life or yourself, and other things too numerous to detail. If it seems sort of important, and it doesn’t belong anywhere else, it belongs in your journal.

Class Meetings. It is important that you make every effort not to miss class meetings. It takes a lot of time for your teacher to review a class with just one student. Should you have to miss a class be sure to call your teacher before the time of the class and let them know you won’t be there. A good reason for missing should be presented to the teacher.

Sabbat Rituals. All members of NorthWind are expected to make a heroic effort to attend all eight Sabbats particularly since the leaders often have to make a heroic effort to schedule and do them!

Pledge Gift. You should present your pledge gift to your teacher early in your studies. This gift goes to your teacher not to the chairwoman or anyone else. Your teacher will be the one who presents you with your initiation gift and is the person who puts the time, effort and worry into your training.

We try hard to be understanding if outside circumstances interfere with your progress in your studies. Please do not ask to begin study unless you are (at the moment) reasonably sure that you will have the time to devote to them. We are not very sympathetic with individuals who can’t seem to get around to reading the first class. A friend of NorthWind answers the question: “How much does it cost to study the Craft?” Answer: “Nothing, and everything you’ve got.”

Examination. There is usually a written and/or oral exam at the end of your First Degree studies. We recommend that in preparation for this you read each class several times. A set of questions covering each class may be required of any student (especially correspondence students).

Time Factors. NorthWind has no rule that you must wait (or that we must grant) First Degree in “a year and a day.” To some extent we allow each student to set their own pace. Of course, the group meeting will somewhat set the pace for students working with the group but that does not mean that all the members of a group will be initiated at about the same time! Initiation and readiness for initiation is a strictly personal achievement and your teacher is responsible for being right about whether you are ready or not.

Your own independent work, on divination, on your special project, your success with Feces Coagulation 101, and on learning the material in the classes and accomplishing the outside reading has a lot to do with when you are granted initiation.

Divination Methods. We suggest that you choose one of the objective methods of divination for your First Degree work. That is, one which uses or produces tangible symbols, information, etc., such as I Ching, Tarot, Astrology, etc. This is far easier for your teacher to teach and evaluate. (Non-objective techniques include all the scrying methods: dark mirror, crystal ball, etc.) Students choosing Tarot studies are strongly urged to begin work using the Rider-Waite Deck because of the superiority of the reference books available and the solid grounding this deck gives you in the symbolism used in most Tarot decks.

Feces Coagulation 101. FC-101 is an “everything else” category. Under this heading, your teacher will take into consideration your life skills. Everyone in NorthWind works on FC-101 ALL the time.

For First Degree, we usually only require that you appear to be more or less in control of your life and emotions, that you have arranged for some method of supporting yourself, that you have defined some goals for your life, and that your love life be slightly less interesting than the average soap opera.

For Second Degree Initiation the candidate is expected to meet rather high standards of personal organization and stability.

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