We recognize that the traditionally small coven or group structure is not always appropriate or useful for all who wish to practice our religion. We hold that the Wiccan Inner Circle should be equated to the seminary where clergy are trained to serve the larger community. There are many Wiccans who want to celebrate the holidays together, yet do not desire to make the teaching and practice of Wicca the central focus of their lives. These are the many scattered believers who lack knowledge of and contact with each other – the neglected folk who will insure the future, the return on Wicca, the Old Religion. It is to these people we dedicate and focus our energies. There are some who believe our path must remain dark, secret, available only to the chosen few. We do not believe that anyone who honestly seeks after the knowledge and love of the Gods should be deprived of it.
Wiccans who participate generally in Tabernacle open gatherings and affairs fall into two categories: Seekers and Students. These categories constitute a church body or congregation which is voluntary and makes no particular commitment (other than as supporting Associate Members or by a Studentship Agreement) and have not been admitted to an Inner Circle congregation. Membership in an Inner Circle may be requested, but it is only gained through invitation.
Within the Inner Circle of the tradition, which requires a formal dedication and substantial training for the clergy, there are five levels of recognition, based on the individual accomplishments of the dedicants in advancing their learning of Wicca and the Tabernacle tradition of service to the community. Training is conducted by those of the Third Level.
Although First and Second Levels are considered in training, they are given expanded responsibilities and are allowed an increasing participation in, and control over, their learning process. Third Level requires a re-dedication to some aspect of community service, a Great Work selected and proposed by the individual and reviewed and accepted by the teacher and the Council of Elders, and actively pursued. Ours is an active tradition which requires continued service to the Wiccan community after training in order to maintain status. All Dedicants of Second Level or above are considered accredited clergy and may minister to others within the guidelines of the tradition. On attaining recognition of Third Level within the tradition, one is eligible to sit on the Council of Elders.
Every practitioner of Wicca is a contributor to Wiccan tradition. Times change and the traditions must evolve to follow the changing needs and demands of our Gods and our people. Solitary need no longer mean “isolated,” or “alone”. The followers of the Old Ways are everywhere, and we will be beside them, serving them and our Gods.
The Aquarian Tabernacle Church (Canada)