Oak and Mistletoe believes that everyone has the right to the best quality of information and training for Inclusive Wicca and that your social, geographic or personal situation should never be a reason for withholding that opportunity. Having said that, it is very important that I point out, as the Principal of the school, that while we will share some of the foundational and traditional Gardnerian and Alexandrian underpinnings of Wicca with you, this tradition is essentially eclectic in nature. You will be taught the basics of both theory and practice but you will also be expected to do some of your own research and build for yourself a religious practice that while based in the absolute foundations of Wicca, meets your own personal needs. In other words, you will be taught the foundational theory and practice but you will also be encouraged to experiment a little to make your Inclusive Wiccan life and practice your own.
There are 8 lessons in the Outer Court Toward First Degree training program and each lesson takes at least a month to complete. Your training program is therefore a least 8 months long.
Each lesson has a number of inclusions;
- Theory for you to read,
- Research and exercises for you to complete,
- Practical activities for you to do,
- Questions and discussions to get involved in through the student forums,
- Writing down the results of your dreams and meditations,
- Writing down what you've noticed in nature around you,
- Repeated practice of a podcasted visualisation that builds on your growing skill each month,
- Skype, chat room, email or phone conversations/meetings with your tutor.
We don't ask you to write essays or submit assignments but instead your progress is supported with personal Skype, chat room. email or telephone conversations/meetings with your tutor. We believe that you learn best about Wicca by actually doing it, and following our lesson plan, rather than just writing assignments about it.
Please understand that it is YOUR responsibility to complete each lesson's work and make the arrangements with your tutor for your monthly meeting. There is no deadline for lessons and your tutor will not chase you for your work. If you don't log in to the school or contact your tutor for 60 days, your student registration will be cancelled.
The recommended book for the training program is The Seeker's Guide to Learning Wicca which is available either on Amazon or at the Community Church of Inclusive Wicca Inc which is our parent body. You are very welcome to do the training program without the book of course but like any course, actually having the book with you helps tremendously as you study.
Outer Court-Toward First Degree
I encourage you to read the Charter and Constitution of Oak and Mistletoe so that you can get a clearer vision and understanding of where this online school program sits within the coven itself. However, in a nutshell the Outer Court-Toward First Degree program is an eight month long, fairly intensive and interactive training program designed to enable you to reach First Degree in Inclusive Wicca at the end of that time. Depending on your circumstances, once you've finished the program, you can then elect to be initiated, dedicate yourself to the Divine or perhaps even not do anything at all until you feel absolutely ready.
Your tutor will not let you move from one lesson to another until they're sure you're ready and this is for two reasons. Learning to be an Inclusive Wiccan is not a race. It's not a case of the faster you go, the better you are. In fact it's almost the reverse. Each lesson lasts a month and includes homework, reading, research and a range of activities designed to get you 'doing' Wicca as well as learning about Wicca. Inclusive Wicca is a religion of practice and that means you have to 'do' Wicca. That doesn't happen overnight.
The second reason why your tutor won't let you move to the next lesson early is so that once you reach the end of the program, you really know and appreciate the complexity of this religion and the intensity of the decision you may choose to make to dedicate yourself to a Wiccan life. This is not a decision to be taken lightly or quickly. As part of that, we want you to know in your heart that at the end of your intensive training program that's built on quality teaching, you deserve the Inclusive First Degree and your teaching was a good enough quality program to warrant that title. A quick, half baked program will NOT give you First Degree no matter what the sales pitch might say and at Oak and Mistletoe, there's no way I'm going to teach a poor quality program.
As an online Outer Court member, you have exactly the same training program as the face to face students minus the face to face ritual with the coven members. So in the absence of that, your online training is supported with free video, audio, chat room or telephone conversations and meetings with your tutor. That gives you much more of a personal connection and helps you talk through problems, issues or events. You will also be encouraged to create rituals for yourself or locate a sympathetic coven local to you willing to let you share festivals with them.
Let's make sure you understand an important principle here. This training program is not easy. It's not a quick way to getting a Wiccan title and you won't be able to call yourself a Gardnerian or Alexandrian Wiccan at the end of it. You might elect to call yourself an eclectic Wiccan and you will most certainly be an Inclusive Wiccan, and you will have received a much broader training program than just the traditionalist Gardnerian and Alexandrian program. That's deliberately so for two reasons.
- The first is that you simply cannot learn to be, or be initiated into, either of those two traditions without learning face to face in a traditionalist coven. That's just the way it is and that's appropriate for those traditions. I was initially taught in an Alexandrian, oath bound coven and face to face teaching is the only way that tradition works. I then moved covens and was initiated into a more eclectic tradition but again the oaths in that coven were paramount. That's as it should be in those traditions but Inclusive Wicca is NOT, neither does it profess to be, Gardnerian or Alexandrian.
- The second is that our own tradition (Inclusive) believes that you have the right to choose exactly how you should practice your faith and so we teach you more than the original Gardnerian and Alexandrian traditions. We teach you as much as it's possible to teach and then ask you to modify what you've learnt to meet your own needs. So what you end up with is a Inclusive Wiccan religion and practice that's yours and suits you.
Inner Court-Toward Second Degree and Third Degree Status
Once you've completed the Outer Court-Toward First Degree program, you can be initiated (where appropriate), dedicated and admitted to Inner Court and this means you have voting rights within the coven and are actually a full member. You also have the opportunity to move into the Toward Second Degree training program which lasts at least a year. This more advanced program is significantly more in-depth, more focused and asks you much more strongly to consider your practice as a Inclusive Wiccan and promote and grow that. You don't have to take this program of course, you can remain within the Inner Court First Circle without doing more study.
If you do choose to go through the Toward Second Degree program, at its conclusion, you can then be intitied to Second Degree (where appropriate) and later move into the Third Degree training and eventually hive your own Inclusive coven off if you choose to. In doing so, you'll be fully supported by Oak and Mistletoe and the Community Church of Inclusive Wicca Inc. throughout that transition period and you'll always have your link back to your mother coven here.