the Art of Adjustment
A “Line” in the Alexandrian Tradition means a succession of names (man to woman to man to woman) which identify a direct connection from the Initiate to the origin of the tradition – Alex and Maxine. Interesting enough, some “lines” are thought by some to be “better” than others, or more “direct”. Lines are mirrors of identity within the Craft but they certainly do not attest for competency or training in Circle. However, it is quite clear that “Lines” or “Lineage” does matter terribly for some, even if deprived of training or even direct experience.
Lines are indeed part of a recognition process, almost like an ancestry certificate, which can and most certainly is used by initiates to attest their “true” identity as such within the tradition. For these to be recognized as legitimate, they have to contain a chain of true names of initiates, back to Alex and Maxine.
America has a rich Alexandrian history, mainly because the one initiate who brought Alexandrian Witchcraft to America in the 70’s is a historian and kept accurate diaries and chronicles about the events that took place at the time. The idea of Initiation and “quick initiation” into 2nd and 3rd without the complete training (without the advisable 2 years between the 1st and the 2nd&3rd), is sometimes detrimental for the development of the history of the Craft in countries like America. That said, there is always the exceptional exception. Because of the lack of basic training, many of the early initiates did, at the time, fill out their gaps in basic training with training from other sources, traditions or even published books. On another note, some would purposely do this because they thought that it would be a good mix which in turn would give rise to new names for the practice like AlGard. These practices, because of either a lack on basic training or the purposeful mix of other basic practices within the Alexandrian Tradition, have reflected itself in future generations in ways that probably those who did it in the past were too selfish to have foreseen.
An example of this is the initiation rites of the Alexandrians which should never be tempered with or modified as they are considered to be part of the basic set of rites that makes us Alexandrian – these should be always the same to maintain integrity and consistency of the tradition.
And what happen when a true valid lineage is paired with incorrect initiations? Initiates should be able to be identified by their own initiation rites – lineage doesn’t necessary tells us how the initiation was done. Lineage and correct basic ritual, like initiation rites, should come together as they are, along with basic Alexandrian training, what makes the Alexandrian practice Alexandrian.
Unfortunately sometimes this is not the case, and some later realize by contacting others, that their initiation was not done correctly, nor was it even similar to what a traditional Alexandrian initiation rite is. Those who want the experience will ask for re-initiation and those who think what they experienced was enough will keep what was given. Alex very rarely would re-initiate already initiated witches. The reason for this was to avoid the dilution of the experience of initiation. He would do this often with Gadnerians who would ask to be part of his Coven. A Gardnerian initiation would be accepted as a valid initiation. The initiate would be then trained Alexandrian.
There were many candidates in the late 60’s and 70’s to be initiated into Alex and Maxine’s Coven. Initiations were made and each member of the Coven would be assigned to a candidate to be initiated. Some of these Priests and Priestesses were only first degree themselves but training and learning how to do an initiation was and is part of the training of the Alexandrian Priesthood and a first degree is allowed to initiate another with the presence of a High Priestess or High Priest. Most of those who were initiated at the time, were initiated by someone else other than Alex or Maxine. Although present at the rites, they were conscious teachers who would not waste a single opportunity to teach witchcraft ritual.
That said, for some, the presence of Alex and Maxine in the rites of initiation was not sufficient to show the world. They forgot purposefully their own initiator and went on to substitute them for Alex or Maxine directly in their now brilliant and golden “lineage”. That way, they think, it would be far more impressive and powerful when presented as a visiting card in the occasional social gathering, or even in prefaces of books.
A Lineage, as with anything in the Craft in general, should be based on fact and truth and honesty. Tempering with a Lineage is tempering with your truth and your history and the truth and history of others that precede and/or will come after you.