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The Kingstone Tradition

by Kalisha Zahr

The Kingstone Tradition traces its origins directly to the Central Valley Wicca through both the Silver Crescent and Majestic lines.  The Kingstone Tradition was  formally established as an independent tradition in 1973, in conjunction with the formation of the New Wiccan Church. The Kingstone Tradition closely follows the pattern of the original Central  Valley Wicca, with only slight variations in form  and practice.

The Kingstone Tradition honors the Great Mother and Her consort, the Horned God. We honour and work primarily with a particular set of agricultural/pastoral  based deities, as did our ancestors in CVW. Kingstone initiates may  also choose to honour and work with additional deities as they see fit. Kingstone covens more often work robed than skyclad (unclothed).

The Kingstone  Tradition is coven-based and initiatory. Traditionally, initiation is passed only from  female to male or male to female. Same-gender initiations are not permitted in the Kingstone Tradition. Initiation into a Kingstone coven  means that, upon taking certain vows, one enters into the initiatory Priesthood of the Old Religion, the  Craft of the Wise. The oaths taken state that the initiate will protect and preserve the Craft. This oath extends to all  other British Traditional Wiccan traditions, and the commitment to these vows is for life. Therefore, in our view,  initiation into Traditional Wicca is not the same as declaring oneself "Wiccan" as is so often seen  today. To us, self-initiation is not possible, while self-dedication is of the utmost importance.

The Kingstone Tradition has a  three-degree system. The normal minimum period between initiation and degree elevations is a  year and a day. In most Kingstone covens, first degree initiates follow the Path of the Goddess. At second degree, the initiate begins the Path of the  God. The third degree (Elder) elevation marks the beginning of the journey  to unite the paths of the Goddess and the God - when the initiate begins to realize the fullness of deity. To truly become an Elder of the Craft takes much dedicated effort and personal responsibility, and one finds that as the years pass, you never really stop the process of growth if you truly walk the initiatory path.

The Kingstone Tradition is matrifocal but not matrilineal. Kingstone Elders and their covens are wholly autonomous. Either a female or a male third degree Elder may found their own coven. Ideally, however, a cross-gender  partnership is  preferred. The concerns of the High Priestess are traditionally within the circle, and the concerns of the High Priest are outside the circle (security, communication, etc.). Therefore, the High Priestess (as  Queen of the Sabbat) has the final  say within the circle. In the rare cases when a coven is founded or led by a male Elder (when a coven splits up, for example), it is his responsibility to lead the coven with the assistance  of a female. In this case, the female initiate will  act as the High Priestess until she or another is validly elevated to third degree status, at which time she assumes her full responsibilities.

A second degree may  initiate (but only up to their degree) only under the authority and  blessings of their third degree Elder. Although either a female or male may found their own coven, most Kingstone covens now have a third degree female Elder  cast the circle at initiations. This is done so that Kingstone initiates may be  recognized by our cousins in the American line of the Gardnerian tradition. Lineage is traced through both the female and the male. Lineage is a  matter of record within the Tradition. It is not a custom of the Central Valley Wicca to formally  recite lineage to those not of the Central Valley Wicca.

The Kingstone tradition has a standardized Book of Shadows,  whose copyright is held in trust by the New Wiccan Church. This standardized Book of Shadows is occasionally revised by the known Elders of the Kingstone Tradition and the New Wiccan Church in tandem with the continued research and review of the old materials that are held in trust by the Church. There is an obligation by each Elder of the Tradition to pass on the official Book of Shadows as it was given to them. Each Elder may also give out additional materials to their initiates that they feel would be appropriate and beneficial to them. A genuine or authentic Book of Shadows cannot be purchased; nor can it be obtained in any other way without the seeker's having been properly initiated.

There is a great deal of oral tradition and lore in the Central Valley Wicca and the Kingstone Tradition. Some  may think that  by picking up a Book of Shadows, one could simply "set up shop" - but in reality, this would be like having all potatoes and no meat! One can learn certainly learn the ritual form of a  tradition by rote, but the Mysteries must  be experienced by each individual. In service to the Gods, each Elder assists and guides their initiates along the Path to the Center. Our teachings focus on the development of a  personal relationship with Deity, and an keen awareness and  attunement with the cycles of Nature. We observe the Sabbats and the thirteen Esbats of the Wheel of the Year.

We use traditional techniques to gain self-mastery  and develop our skills as Witches. Experimental methods may also be used, for  our Tradition provides us with a firm foundation upon which to build and improvise! Some Kingstone Elders teach their initiates informally,  ("one-on-one"), while other Elders prefer to maintain more of a formal "classroom"  training environment. Most Kingstone covens maintain a strong sense of family.

It is a tenet of the Kingstone Tradition  (as with all Traditions descended from the Central Valley Wicca) that money is never charged for magical work, nor for  initiating and teaching our religion. Some covens have reasonable dues for basic coven expenses; others  rely on free-will donations as the need arises.

Caveat: Insofar as all third degree Elders are autonomous in our tradition, none of us may speak for all of us. As one of the founders of the Kingstone Tradition, the foregoing thoughts are my own opinions concerning the nature of the Central Valley Wicca and the Kingstone Tradition, which I dearly love and cherish. My thanks to Mevlannen for her permission to paraphrase her articles elsewhere on this site.

written by Kalisha Zahr, HPS
updated: January 12, 1998
document KINGTRAD © 1998 New Wiccan Church

For further information, look at:

A introduction to the Central Valley Wicca, written by Kalisha Zahr.
Contact information, for the Kingstone Tradition and the New Wiccan Church.

  You may also return to:

The index of English Traditions of the Craft.
The Beaufort House home page.