By Sarah Thompson, November 2010
The concept of working consistently with a particular magickal partner — a working partner — is characteristic of the Gardner-derived witchcraft paths, including the Alexandrian tradition. Though we inherit this approach, and find it to be both useful and effective, we don’t require it, nor do we require a gendered pairing.
A Working Partnership
In essence, a working partner is a person with which you carry out most, or in some cases all, of your magickal workings. Though it is entirely valid to work solo, or indeed in larger groups, there is a particular utility in working with someone that you really fit with. Partnerships that combine skills and specialisms can result in a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts, and this really is the key. A working partner can be a sounding board, a co-conspirator, a provider or channel of energy, or anything necessary to compliment an individual’s talent.
Forming a magickal bond
Working magick regularly with another person, or with a group of people, typically results in a strong connection between those people, stronger often than that of biological family or even that with a lover. This typically follows as a natural consequence of doing the work long-term, and seems pretty much inevitable. Therefore, choose your partner(s) wisely — you will be bound to them, and them to you, and undoing that connection can be nearly impossible.
Working with a partner in carrying out divination is particularly effective. It can be difficult to read for oneself, because hopes, fears, aspirations and preconceptions tend to get in the way of the message. Reading for someone else is generally much easier, resulting in rather clearer results and more effective readings. Readings carried out for or by a regular working partner are particularly effective because of the bond that is created between the partners.
Since an initiated witch of our line has the right to initiate anyone up to their grade, it is both natural and expected that working partners would initiate each other. This may be done outside the context of the coven, though obviously it is far preferable for an initiation to be carried out by the coven as a whole. In the Alexandrian tradition, it is common for working partners to receive initiation together, and we recommend this.
Working with a Lover
There are different schools of thought as regards working with a lover. Some traditions recommend against it, even to the point of banning in-coven relationships. We follow the Alexandrian approach of allowing it, for the reason that the bonds that naturally exist with a lover actually extend well to working together magicakally. Of course, there are risks — breaking up with such a partner can damage the cohesion of a coven, but the benefits, at least for us, outweigh that particular risk. Rev. Gina and Sarah are both a working partnership and a handfasted couple, and all we can say is that it works for us.