The Circle of the Dark Moon Study Group Curriculum

Course Descriptions & Overview

This curriculum addresses deficiencies that I have noted in other tradition's curricula. Most curricula have the standard degree systems (first, second, and third) and some even have neophyte or dedicant outer circles that have study requirements students must meet before inclusion in a first-degree program.

All of that is okay—as far as it goes. However, these programs inherently lack flexibility in allowing a student (to a degree) choose their course of study (as a university or college would offer) and quantifiable metrics for measuring student progress. Too often the decision whether to confer a degree is left to some (even to the teacher) subjective and indefinable requirement that may or may not have been covered during class or study times. In the days when true student/master relationships existed, this subjectivity was a good thing and even expected if not required. Nowadays, meetings with teachers may be infrequent and the type of student/teacher immersion experience of prior times is not available.

Such a condition can leave students and teachers frustrated. The proposed system of a credit-based class system, while not revolutionary, allows students and teachers a touchstone for evaluating a student's progress and ability to retain material.

Another deficiency this system addresses is the apparent disregard (or rapidly brushing over) of fundamentals such as meditation, building mental skills of concentration, focus, and visualization, and physical preparedness. While it is not interesting or entertaining to sit quietly and empty your mind, meditation is the one skill, which must be mastered before a meaningful relationship can be formed with Deity or for successful execution of magick. The same is true for visualization and general physical fitness (both as a health aid and as a team-building exercise.) Magick is a demanding and strenuous task and requires at least moderate physical fitness. In addition, the Lord and Lady, the Moon Mistress and the Wild Huntsman, both of whom are perfect, find it pleasing to be emulated. Besides, especially if working skyclad, wouldn't you want to present to your gods the most physically pleasing form possible?

A Note on Classes & Instruction

While it is true that the student is first and foremost a teacher to themselves and their instructors, in the spirit of offering the best training possible, occasionally, we will direct you to instructors outside the Circle of the Dark Moon whom we feel have greater expertise in a given area than we do. We see no reason to limit yourself to a single set of instructors and we of the Circle of the Dark Moon are secure enough in our own capabilities to not be threatened by a referral. Afterall, enlightenment isn't a competition, it's a cooperation.

First Degree

Goals of the First Degree Curriculum or What is a First Degree Witch and What Should They Know

The goal of the First Degree Program is nothing less than to turn cowans into witches. Or, more correctly, to turn seekers into witches capable of practicing solitary or continuing their studies into the second degree program. This curriculum accomplishes that this task by equipping the student with the necessary basic skills to be a successful witch.

This degree program is a two-pronged preparatory program for solitaires (and those wishing to remain so) and seekers who hope to become dedicants to a coven. In addressing these two types of individuals this program had to be flexible. In addition, and this concept is somewhat new, this study course allows the student to choose some of their own classes—just as a college or university would. And like a college or University, there are core classes which must be taken.

Admittedly, the class list is a bit daunting in the number of classes and breadth of subjects but this is necessary to produce well-rounded and articulate witches. A first-degree witch should possess the following skills:

•  Be able to meditate and or maintain a trance state for at least 30 minutes.

•  Be able to visualize the results of their magick.

•  Be cognizant of their heritage

•  Be able to converse intelligently about the major traditions in Wicca

•  Know the major historical figures in Wicca

•  Understand that while Wicca may have sprung into existence in the 1950's, that it's roots lie with Goddess worship and witchcraft techniques which extend back to at least Paleolithic times.

•  Be passably well read on the heritage of their life-path and be able to discuss Wicca intelligently.

•  Have an awareness of Deity

•  Know what Deity means to themselves and others.

•  Have a passing familiarity with differing religious pantheons in order to better define their personal relationship to Deity and to further understanding of others on a different path.

•  Be aware of their God and Goddess.

•  Know the steps to take to further their spirituality.

•  Be able to function as a competent solitaire.

•  Understand how Wicca is a lifestyle and not just a religion.

•  Be familiar with the laws of Karma.

•  Understand at least in a limited fashion the concept of living lightly and deep ecology.

•  As a Wiccan, know your responsibilities to society.

•  Understand the Wheel of the Year.

•  Know the lore connected with the Sabbats and be able to observe the Sabbats and Esbats.

•  Be confident in their ability to conduct rituals.

•  Have a passing familiarity with numerous magickal systems so that if they should decide to pursue further experience in magick the student will know how to proceed.

•  Be ready for the time when a seeker approaches them for advice.

While this list is daunting it is not impossible. The students will find their learning material in an instructor-designed reading list of books and articles. This fact will hold in most cases except for classes coded in purple, which signify mystery courses that are taught from instructor materials.

Even if a student were to take all hours of available instruction, this amounts to only 2½ to 3 hours of instruction per week. Any student not willing to make this time commitment has already failed the first test of sincerity in determining whether Wicca is their life path. For instructors as well, this is a nominal amount of time, as most class time would be spent in answering questions, practical demonstrations or labs, or lecturing from supplementary materials. There is no need to restate what the students have already read.

Below, is a brief description of the classes available. The electives listed are available each year of study as long as the student has met the prerequisites or has instructor permission for entry into the class. These classes are representative of the subject matter covered and do change and evolve at the discretion of the teachers and coven members of the Circle of the Dark Moon.

Core Classes

Meditation I

This class teaches meditative techniques. The student will learn how to quiet their mind so that they might achieve a trance state for communing with Deities, astral travel, and as an aid in creating and maintaining focus for magickal workings. Meditation is the main part of the bedrock upon which all magickal systems are built. Even those students who do not desire to practice magick need mastery over meditation in order to attune themselves with their chosen Deities.

What is Wicca (Overview of the Wiccan Path?)

This class discusses what Wicca is what it is not and introduces Wicca as a way of life as opposed to just a religion. Students upon completing this course shall be able to judge more clearly whether Wicca is their path.

Comparative Overview of Traditions in Wicca

A course that compares the major traditions in Wicca (Gardnerianism, Alexandarism, Seax Wicca, British Traditional Witchcraft, et al.) and discusses their similarities and differences.

Comparative Overview of Pantheons

This course discusses and compares the major religious pantheons throughout time. This class is meant as a beginning point for the seeker, dedicant, or first-degree student to who is searching for a group of Gods with whom to forge a personal relationship.

Group Fitness (optional)

Fitness is another part of the threefold bedrock principle of mind, body, knowledge that forms the basis of Wiccan study. If you cannot think, or maintain concentration then you cannot understand or practice magick. This concept dovetails with the witches' pyramid. In addition, the student should want their body to be in the best possible condition for presentation to the Gods. Finally, group activities foster camaraderie and team bonding. Covens are made and not mere happy coincidence that a group works well together. Group activities such as exercise help build students into a cohesive whole who may individually be considered for membership in a coven.

Sabbats / Esbats

This class discusses the eight major Wiccan holy days and the lesser lunar holidays.

Ritual Tools I

This class describes ritual tools and their uses. This class is a prerequisite for more advanced ritual classes.

Rituals I

This class serves as an introduction for the student to rituals for the eight major Wiccan holy days and the lesser lunar holidays. The lore behind the rituals is discussed as well as the seasonal implications for ancient pagans. In addition, the mechanics of ritual are covered including circle casting and calling of the quarters. Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to write and lead a ritual. This class is prerequisite for more advanced ritual classes.

Comparative Overview of non-Christian Spirituality

This class examines non-Christian religions including but not limited to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism.

Visualization I

Mastery of the ability to see, that which is not necessarily there, is essential to being successful in magick. This class teaches the student to create, see, keep, and project an image with their mind's eye.

Occult Sciences I

This class is an introduction to the occult. Subjects covered include an overview of clairvoyance, clairaudience, channeling, and other psychic abilities. This class is a prerequisite for higher division courses in occult sciences and higher-level divination courses.

Wiccan Sociology I

Explores the Wiccan's role in society. It also discusses how Wicca as a religious and sociological force affects socio-political systems. This class further defines how Wiccans can use these systems to further pagan causes and how to deal with the inevitable injustices that they will find as thoughtful members of society that will see them as second-class religious citizens. This class is a prerequisite for higher-level sociology courses.

Personal Spirituality I

This is a personal development class for the student wishing to enhance their spirituality and develop a personal relationship with their deities.

Magickal Systems I

This course is an overview of magick from sympathetic magick practiced in Paleolithic times through the Druids, Golden Dawn, and modern day magicians and witches. This course is a prerequisite for higher-level magickal systems studies.

Magickal Alphabets I

This course is an overview of magickal alphabets in use today and in the past. This course is required for advanced runes and other classes, which build on this foundation.

 

Electives

Some of these courses most likely will be taught by outside instructors.

Tai Chi Chuan I

This course is essential to understanding chi, raising energy, and directing it. If you cannot think, you cannot move and if you cannot move correctly then you will have limited success with magick or communing with your gods. This course is a prerequisite for more advanced Tai Chi Chuan classes.

Yoga I

If you cannot think, you cannot breathe and if you cannot breathe correctly, you cannot move and if you cannot move, you cannot raise energy, and if you cannot raise energy, then you will have limited success in magick. Yoga teaches the student discipline, breathing technique and focus. This course is a prerequisite for higher-level yoga classes.

Group Fitness II

The student must be concurrently enrolled in Group Fitness I. Group Fitness II is an extension of the course, Group Fitness I.

Herbology I

This overview course covers use of common herbs for healing and magickal purposes. This course is a prerequisite for higher-level herbology classes.

Magick I

This course serves as an introduction to non-ritual magick: an overview of spell-casting, sympathetic magick, shielding, protective magick, ethical uses, and other subjects chosen by the instructor. This class is a prerequisite for higher-level courses in magick.

Gemstone Crystal Magick I

This class covers basic crystal/gemstone magick and is a prerequisite for entry into higher-level gemstone/crystal magick coursework.

Candle / Color Magick I

This class covers basic candle/color magick and is a prerequisite for entry into higher-level candle/color magick coursework.

Divination I

This class is an overview of and introduction to divinatory systems including but not limited to the tarot, runes, scrying, astrology, and dowsing. This course is required for further study in divination.

Oils, Tinctures, and Potions I

This class covers basic recipes and procedures for making oils, tinctures, potions, and incenses. It is recommended that this course be taken in concert with Herbology I. This class is a prerequisite for entry into higher-level potions coursework.

Healing I

This class covers basic magickal healing techniques including but not limited to laying of hands, gemstone, and energy or chakra healing techniques. This course is required for entry into higher-level healing courses.

Magickal Creatures I

This course examines magickal creatures of myth and reality. Are fairies real? Do gnomes exist? If we believe in extra-planar entities such as the elementals, must we necessarily believe in unicorns? The previous questions are typical of the subjects covered in this course. If other magickal creature classes are added to the curricula for degree students, this course will be a requisite for entry into those courses.

Talismans / Amulets

This is an introductory course to crafting magickal protections. This course is required for higher-division courses in crafting magick.

Metaphysics I

Is a course which takes the student "beyond physics" into the unknowable. This philosophy class deals with first principles and seeks to explain the nature of reality and the origin and structure of the world. In recent times, metaphysics has come to include the study of phenomena such as reincarnation, astral travel, psychic people, chakras, auras, etc. Some topics in cosmology may also be introduced. This course is required for further study in higher division metaphysics and cosmology courses.

Basic Astronomy I

This course gives the student a grounding in astronomy from a Wiccan perspective.

Remedial

Chemistry Review (remedial)

Mathematics Review (remedial)

Physics / Science Review (remedial)

Basic Nutrition (remedial)

Remedial classes are taken solely at the student's discretion as to whether they feel they need a little “brushing up” on a subject. As such, remedial courses have no credit value but that does not mean that they have no credit effort. These courses are roughly equivalent to 3-5 credit hours apiece in terms of required effort for student and teacher. A student my wish to take remedial courses so that they may best apply themselves to other required and elective courses.