Every Coven around the world has some sort of hierarchy set up to let others know who is in charge and who is a beginner. There are even ranks that denote those that are somewhere in the middle working their way slowly up the ladder of change in the greater part of the ways of coven life. There are those that are happy being leaders, and there are those that are happy being followers. It just depends on the structure of the coven as to when, how, and why a person can advance in the ranks of said group. Each group is unique in how they promote their members. No one way is right or wrong. It's just the way it is. If the underling feels he isn't being treated fair, then it is his or her option to find another group. When it is all said and done, it is the discretion of the High Priest or High Priestess to judge whether the acolyte has earned a rise in the ranks.
The Ranks of a Coven
This is the standard that Dragon Moon Temple, Dragon Moon Coven, and all of her affiliates work. In all of my research, I have never come across a 14th generation, 13th degree Priest or Priestess. In all of my searches, the ranks stop at High Priest and High Priestess. The most beyond that is what personal groups make. We as an organization goes beyond, but only to Elder status and High Elder depending on how long they person has been with the group.
All members who are visiting with the intention of becoming a full-fledged member is known as an Initiate. They are your members that are going through the trial and error segment of the process. They wear nothing magical on their person as they are without a normal rank. They are not allowed to carry an Athame or any other type of magical item on their person. They are there specifically for an observation purpose. They must go through at least 2 Esbats, 2 Sabbats, and 2 classes. Once they finish their necessary attendances, they are then to go to the person that is assigned as their mentor or tutor for their Welcoming Packet. Once they understand that, they then get their Wicca 101 Lesson Plan and so forth and so on until they have them all. They must complete one full portion of a lesson before they are allowed to get the next. This save the hosts, hostesses, the guest instructors, or the one that is doing the teaching from spending a lot of money on full packets that costs a fare bit. Once they get all of that, they are instructed to attend the next ritual so that they may dedicate.
To become a Dedicate, the individual must complete all necessary aspects of the Initiate role. They must complete all 6 attendances, have gotten their Welcome Packet, Temple Laws, and their Wicca 101 Lesson Plan and have started working on it. From there, they are instructed to bring an item to place in the Coven Box so that they may show fealty to the group. The item must have strong sentimental value, but must be something the person can live without while knowing that their item is safe in the Temple. Certain people will want to dedicate on a certain Holy Day or time of the year. This is acceptable provided that it is within a certain time frame. As an Initiate you don’t have any duties to attend, but as a Dedicate, you do. A Dedicate is responsible for making sure they start watching closely how the ritual and classes run. They are to make sure that if something goes wrong, they will be there to assist when needed. They are also the “grunt and run” guys and girls. When something is needed that isn’t in Temple, they are the ones to go and retrieve the necessary items. All Dedicates will wear a black censer (coven cord). Other than that, they also have no magical items on their person.
The Training Packet
The Training Packet of Dragon Moon Temple is broken into 12 sections. By completing a certain amount of section as well as attending a number of different classes, rituals, extra-curricular activities, and projects around the city to volunteer and such, they can advance into the Degree section of the Ranks. My 12 Chapter Training Booklet turned into a whole bookcase of research over the years. Now I’m sitting here working with you all to help you achieve the same.
I used to give the whole packet at the same time, however I noticed that the students tend to differ in their work styles. Some will work through the written aspect without any trouble and have problems in the physical aspects of the group workings. Some will be able to be out in public donating time and other things while not showing any interest in the research portion of the lessons. Therefore, I suggest just giving them one at a time and let them work at their own pace. This way you aren’t spending a lot of money on booklets only for some to not show any interest and then leave without ever opening the pages.
1st Degree Priest or Priestess
To obtain this rank, one must have achieved the rank of Dedicate. They will have done what their scholar, teacher, or mentor has suggested to them to do in order to rise in the ranks. Normally, this will mean that they are to attend 3 Esbats, 3 Sabbats, and 5 classes. In addition to attendance, the Dedicate must have completed the following lessons from the Booklet. Wicca 101: The Basics. Wicca 202: The Sabbats. Wicca 303: The Pantheons. Wicca 404: The Prayers and Worships. AND Wicca 505: The Intermediate Research. When they have this done, they will be eligible to obtain the Rank of 1st Degree. Upon obtaining this rank, the member is to donate their Black Censer and obtain for themselves a Yellow Censer. This will tell anyone who is in our group who is who by what color censer they are wearing. The 1st Degree Priest or Priestess is allowed to carry certain magical items on their person. They are allowed to obtain and carry an Athame, but it must stay on their person and sheathed at all time. As a 1st Degree Priest or Priestess, all alters are off limits to lay their Athame upon. They may also have on their person a wand or staff. About this time, a 1st Degree member will start learning different forms of divination if they haven’t already. The staff or wand will be good for grounding the member when they obtain too much energy or they need a channel in which to direct the flow of energy.
2nd Degree Priest or Priestess
To obtain this rank can be sometimes daunting. The member must complete the first three ranks before they are able to obtain 2nd Degree. If everything happens by plan, this will be about the anniversary of the member. The requirements other than the first 3 ranks is that they must attend all 8 Sabbats, 8 Esbats, and 10 classes’ minimum. They must also have completed the following lessons. Wicca 606: The History, Wicca 707: The Set Up, Wicca 808: Hosting, Wicca 909: Divinations and Crafts, Wicca 1010: So You Want to Lead. They must have completed any outside activities (volunteer work, etc.) that is required of them. Once they member has done all of that, they can be nominated 2nd Degree. They will donate their Yellow Censer and obtain a Green Censer. As a 2nd Degree they will have the right to lay their personal Athame if they chose on their elemental alter. They are ONLY allowed to lay their Athame on their own elemental alter. By this time, each student should know what element is what and so forth. From here, the work gets even harder for the member.
3rd Degree Priest or Priestess
To obtain this rank, the student must be have obtained the rank of 2nd Degree Priest or Priestess. They will have completed all 20 tasks that has been given to them by the HP/HPS. (These are kept from the student until the previous lesson is complete) The student will also have the two Elemental Lessons done. (This is also something that is kept from the student until it’s necessary for them to know what the lesson part is)
High Priest and High Priestess
To obtain this rank, the student must be have obtained the rank of 3rd Degree Priest or Priestess. They will have completed all 20 tasks that has been given to them by the HP/HPS. (These are kept from the student until the previous lesson is complete) The student will also have the last three Elemental Lessons done. (This is also something that is kept from the student until it’s necessary for them to know what the lesson part is)
The reason we are keeping some of the lesson plans from the student is to ensure that they can handle the unknown. It’s never easy working in the unknown, but to get the reward, they work must be done.
Please keep in mind that this is just how Dragon Moon Temple arranges their ranks.