Alexandrian Witchcraft & Wiccan Vouching: Ring of Truth or Ring of Fire?

She was the third High Priesthood Finn to join us for an afternoon meeting to verify her lineage — in other words, to obtain a ‘vouch’ for the integrity of her initiatory status. Not, however, before Maxine extolled her utter disdain for this ‘vouching business’, as she often calls it.

Indeed, I lose track of the times Maxine’s said ‘Alex and I could tell within five minutes if someone was initiated; or, as another elder she likes to quote said ‘they smell right.

Back in about 2014 when I first arrived on the ‘Alexandrian Network — aka the Ning’, there was a stringent protocol of ‘vouching’ required which demanded that anyone who wanted to join not only that platform but also certain ‘Initiates-only’ FB groups, had to submit their lineage and the name of someone who could verify their initiatory status.

This was understandable given there are now so many downlines with multiple generations of descendants spanning the globe from both sets of Gardnerian and Alexandrian ‘originals.’

The vouch process was therefore born of necessity and for valid reasons; and criticism of its function as a ‘safety key’ is not the aim of this post; rather, it is to hi-light some of the collateral damage that can occur if an iron-fisted ‘baby out with the bathwater’ approach is applied.

Thankfully, in the case of the these Finns (who I will come back to), the insightfulness of those who set aside inter-Wiccan politics and referred them to Maxine, led to our Northern Kin’s Alexandrian initiatory status and lineage being verified.

Before I elaborate, however, allow me to digress.

My first encounter with this vouching dilemma was when I was a 1st Degree Priestess and a then 69-year old woman who claimed to have been initiated some 30+ years prior in the North of England asked if she could join our fledgling coven.

She knew the name of her initiator but having only worked in his coven for a short time before life took her in another direction, she could not now locate him and did not even know whether he was still alive.

Besides his name and few other details, all she knew was that he said he had been initiated by Maxine and Alex. She searched as much as she could, as did I with what info she had, all to no avail.

Asked if she had a Book of Shadows, she explained that her ex-husband had thrown it in the trash along with a number of other items — not inconceivable.

I asked her a series of ‘test’ questions about her initiation and spoke with her at length on several occasions. Each time, the ‘ring of truth’ reverberated.

Unbeknownst to me, she had previously tried to join the Ning, only to be turned away due to the ‘no exceptions’ policy with which the vouching requirement was enforced.

This time, when her background was re-presented along with my input, the response was akin to ‘heard it all before, they always have a story — the initiator died, everybody else is not locatable or died; and of course, they never have a BoS for some reason or another.’

That casual disregard plagued this lady not only from the Alexandrians but from the Gardnerian side as well where a stalwart elder had dismissed her outright. Hence, all avenues seemingly exhausted, it was yet another Gardnerian elder who referred her to us.

It was at this point that Maxine came into the equation:

Vouching! Admitting defeat is nye.
In the purest of intention the Alexandrian Old Ones did not know your surname nor your address and telephone number.
We did not need them, we had seen your face and knew your presence. This practice is difficult for me to stop perhaps because of the importance of the need to trust so instilled in the psyche of the witch in the sixties.
The nature of our Craft work develops the senses that society and civilisation have dulled. These senses, nowadays called gifts, were part of our training although we in our simplicity did not know it; not knowing often enables.
The awakening of these senses was an experience that is different within every student. Some would have sensations and visions that were almost painful whilst others took to this development with ease.
Our teachers would test our ability thus proving to us and them that we were able to see the aura even though we may not be able to interpret its movements and colours. We were taught to be aware of the scars in the aura that take time to heal.
There is however, one mark that can fade but rarely disappears completely and that is the mark of Initiation situated just above the head.
Alexandrians have three questions that when answered correctly verify Alexandrian Initiation.
Apart from the three test questions and their Book of Shadows, there is always the circle where the non-Initiate stands out like a sore thumb.
There are few who would try to enter the circle’s realms under false pretenses and many who would try to gain entry to the shadows of the mysteriously secret pages off facebook. Hence, I sadly suppose, the need for vouches.
- Maxine Sanders

After meeting Maxine, this lovely lady who, by the way, also suffers Rheumatoid Arthritis, uses a cane — and can dance the pants off any a nubile, agile witch, offered to be re-initiated if we required.

We didn’t.

We prefer not to re-initiate for reasons that are a topic for a separate post, but we will in certain circumstances or if the Initiate insists. In this case, she simply joined us.

The Finnish High Priestess drew out her Book of Shadows from her backpack, inspection of which revealed a variety of treasures from different sources; what quickly became clear to Maxine, however, were the roots anchored in the Temple of the Mother workings, the essence of which fed their Tree of Knowledge and affirmed their lineage.

In places, Temple of the Mother descended rituals and invocations were sympathetically tailored to their culture and characteristics.

The result was a mutual ‘Temple Loot’ (yet another post) the next day wherein the trove of books were opened and a delightful exchange ensued of Alexandrian interpretation, new and old, which enriched both short and long-lineaged progeny.

Time is Round’ is another Maxine maxim and witnessing the joy it brought to both her and the Finn Priestesses in recognising original Alexandrian teachings and workings come full circle, was a treat.

It is fortunate indeed that all three Finn Priesthood were referred to Maxine and can now be ‘vouched’ for.