Sword of Dyrnwyn On-Line Magazine
Volume 6 Issue No. 3 Spring Equinox, Issue March, 2011
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From "The Word" by Rhuddlwm Gawr
Welsh Witches worship in a sacred space or temple which we call The Circle. The Circle is a gateway, a door, a psychic opening, a place where one opens up oneself for what is inside the psyche. It is the sacred grove of Ceridwen and Cernunnos, located between the worlds of the visible and the invisible. It is the meeting place for the Gods and the Children of the Gods. Respect for the Gods must ever be observed! Creating a Circle is creating a sacred space. We define this sacred space and sacred time whenever we cast a Circle in the Craft to begin a ritual.
The Circle exists outside the boundaries of ordinary space and time. We say it is between the worlds of the seen and the unseen. It is a space in which alternate realities meet, in which the past and future are open to us. Casting the Circle is an enacted meditation. We create an energy form which serves as a boundary that limits and contains the movement of subtle forces. In group work, it is the High Priest or High Priestess who casts the Circle.
Casting the Circle is the formal beginning of the ritual. It is the complex cue that tells us to sw
switch our awareness into a deeper mode. In ritual, we suspend disbelief just as we do when we are watching a play or reading fiction. In the permanent stone circles of the Megalithic era, where rituals were enacted for hundreds of years, great reservoirs of power were built up. There was no need to outline the circle as we do today, because the stones defined the sacred space.
Casting a temporary circle as we do today began during the time of persecution when tearing down stone circles was a popular sport of Christian mobs. To further the destruction of our circles, the church ordered that Christian churches be erected over the old sacred spots in the countryside. That is why we say that a Circle is part of the magickal temple.
Although there are many sizes of circles (generally it is Ceridwen's measure - 9 feet in diameter), they may be of any size convenient to the worship of the Gods. The Circle binds the magical power raised within it, and only the Witches themselves can release it. The Gateway to the Circle should always be in the North or Northeast to draw forth power from the midnight power source. The circle should be marked visibly on the floor or ground, commonly by stones, chalk, salt or any other natural material. In times of persecution, we are told, witches used common objects to mark the circle, since these could easily be moved to allay the suspicion of unwelcome visitors. If stones are used, 13 is an auspicious number, since these mark the 13 full moons of a greater circle, the year itself. The circle is a multiple of three feet in diameter. The most auspicious size for a circle is 9'; after that, multiples of 9' are most auspicious.
The altar should always face toward the North. It's southern edge is aligned with the Watchtowers of the East and West. None may enter or leave the circle until it has been properly cast and then only by the North-eastern gate. Never enter a Circle or approach an altar with any form of malice in your heart. A Circle is complete only as a circle.
There are two kinds of Circles: the Indoor Circle, which may be outlined with white chalk, salt, flour, meal, paint, or carpeting; and the Outdoor Circle, which may be outlined with stones, bricks, sticks, tree branches, sand, flowers, fruits, or vegetables.
Anyone who breaks the circle during the rites must perform the banishing process. They must recast and re-purify the entire circle, reinvoking the mighty ones. Anyone wishing to leave the circle during the rites must cut a doorway with their Athames and then reseal it after they have left. This also applies when they re-enter. Always remember, the circle is there until it is ritually dissolved. However, if it is improperly broken, there will be a leak of power, and this is not good if magic is being worked.
When the circle is being formed, all participants must stand quietly and wait for instructions. In our tradition, we cast the circle first and then summon the powers of the watchers of the directions. If you are fortunate enough to be in the circle as it is being cast, envision brilliant blue flames rising from the floor or ground as the Priest or Priestess walks around the Circle. With each step envision the flames leaping higher and higher, until they arch over your heads and meet over the center of the circle, completely enclosing you and sealing off the circle from the world.
When the directions are summoned, all participants turn and face that direction. Visualize a flaming pentacle of colored light being cut in the protective blue flame and the Guardians of the directions entering through the pentacle. Reach out your arms in a welcoming gesture.
When the circle is cast, we all join hands. The communal energies begin circulating. For some rituals, you will be requested to join hands at first and then let them drop, still maintaining the psychic energy connection. This enables us to do other activities, such as dancing, ritual movement or using musical instruments. Nothing is as frustrating as trying to dance with hands joined and finding that you cannot concentrate because your arms are being pulled from their sockets.
Remember that the circle is a sacred space because we have made it so. Maintain your focus and concentrate within the circle. Silence is an essential part of the ritual space. Talking or whispering during or just before the ceremony is very rude and magickally disruptive. We really don't want to ask anyone to leave, but the purpose of the ritual must be preserved.
If you need to leave the circle for any reason, please use your hand, Athame or staff to part the aetheric circle, step through and then close the circle after you. Repeat the process when you return. DO NOT just walk out!
Concentration is a required part of ritual. If Magick doesn't seem to work for you, perhaps you need to focus yourself a little more. If you are not sure of the intent, ASK! Good Magick comes from a solid understanding of the "Whys."
You may find that some parts of the ritual move very slowly while other parts don't seem to have anything going on. But there is much Magick taking place. Making jokes, whispering, or just plain drifting off is not only rude, but can be psychically painful to other people in the circle. Habits that can break the concentration of the circle such as yawning when it is quiet or cracking your knuckles, should be controlled. Keep your musical instruments out of the way until needed.
Your body, breath and robes should all be clean. We often work in small confined spaces and body and clothing odors which might not be objectionable outdoors can be very offensive in a circle.
Never bring anger/resentment etc. into a circle. Drop your emotional garbage outside. We often do grounding exercises before actually entering the circle to aid in achieving this cleansing.
Each person within the circle is expected to openly address their concerns and needs. The willingness to communicate honestly is essential. To that end, after every ritual, we usually talk among ourselves and go over what happened. If you need a new job, we will expect you to tell us so that we can put it into the circle and work on it. If you are having problems working with any individual in the circle, we need to have that out in the open so we can work on the conflict and resolve it.
Envy, Jealous, concern and curiosity make rumors natural and inevitable. Discussing people with whom we share intimate relationships is not only natural, it is beneficial in that it promotes understanding. We can effectively ignore or confront and deal with damaging rumors from without, but damaging rumors coming from within the group are despicable. If you are angry with anyone, tell him/her, and try to work it out.
We count on your being on time at circles. Witchcraft is not like passively attending school, church or synagogue, where you may arrive late for the service. We are counting on you being here. If you do not show up and haven't called in advance so that we can make advance plans, your absence can hurt. We need your physical presence as well as your good intentions. Everyone has special events that may take precedence over Circle or Class, but if you find that 40% of the meetings are being missed because of other obligations, you do not belong in the Grove.
Witchcraft is not mandatory, you must choose it freely. You can walk away whenever you wish. There are many "brands" of Witchcraft. If the rules and structure of one group does not suit you, it is perfectly legitimate to leave and find another group. But, once you have chosen, and been accepted by us, your loyalty is demanded.
Ritual dress is a good way to step out of the ordinary. Special clothing and jewelry, used only for ritual purposes, helps us transcend the boundaries between the sacred and the profane. Sometimes we wear robes. Sometimes however, we work "skyclad", which means that we wear nothing at all. This may feel uncomfortable to you at first, but the point is not the nakedness of the body. Skyclad prohibits you from hiding anything psychically or emotionally from each other. It also does away with the concept of style or fashion. If you have trouble working skyclad, ask yourself: "What do I need/want to hide?" When you get the answer, ask yourself "If I trust these people enough to do Magick with them, why do I want to hide from them?"
In the North, air and the God Boreas. North is the magnetic center of the universe. All gifts come from the north quarter, true light. To the east, earth, the god Amaethon, the symbol of life. To the south, fire, the god Govannan, the fullness of knowledge and wisdom. To the west, water, the god Dylan, the second quarter of the life cycle.
To begin, you must purify the circle with consecrated tools. For your first circle, you will consecrate your tools at the altar before you cast the Circle, and so have them to use the next time. It is auspicious to mark the quarters with candles. They are placed a few inches outside the circle. The ritual implements are set out for cleansing. Each person should participate in some small way. A small bench or table is set next to the altar for this purpose.
The altar should be two thirds of the way out from the center toward the North; the celebrants stand in a circle around it. The Adept should stand at the North of the circle.
A ritual bath should be taken beforehand. If so, the room should be candlelit. Incense is appropriate, as are aromatic herbs in the bath. The bath should be a quiet moment to collect one's thoughts and cleanse one's aura. You may use the same water for all baths; urge all not to linger, but hot water may be added if the bath gets uncomfortably chilly.
WORKING THE PENTACLES
Coveners lie down in pentacle position, and the Silver and Wood Pentacles are chanted by all present, by drawing energy down to the head, then around the pentacle as follows, 13 times:
"In the name of
Sex, Love, [Head]
Passion, Law, [Left foot]
Power, Knowledge, [Right hand]
Self, Wisdom, [Left hand]
Pride Power [Right foot]
Ring bell for each point. This should build to a frenzy.
PREPARATION FOR THE RITUAL CIRCLE
Let all be clean before the gods, being properly purified with the ritual bath. At the beginning of the ritual, each shall kiss their partner of the opposite sex. The Circle area is cleared and an altar set up. This altar should be a table which is comfortable to work from. The following items are arranged on the altar:
A pair of altar candles, one at the east and one at the west.
The Chalice of wine to the west.
The Pentacle to the east, with salt in the middle.
A red candle to the south.
A Maiden Candle.
The un-sheathed laid down in front of the Altar.
The scourge (if ritual is initiatory).
A Chalice of water in the west.
The White Handled knife.
The incense burner in the North.
Supply of incense.
the Bell in the North.
A dish of cakes.
The cords (if ritual is initiatory)
The High Priest/ess begins by lighting a maiden candle and placing it on the altar. Then the High Priest/ess places a white candle on each corner or point of the magic circle. A Maiden or a Candlebearer who has permission from the High Priest or High Priestess, may officiate if necessary. There should be no money collected in the circle, but all must do equal to the needs of the Grove.
PURIFYING THE ELEMENTS AND TOOLS
Performed in the following order: Salt: Hold the container of salt in your left hand, and place your right hand (palm down) over the salt and say:
"I exorcise thee, oh creature of salt, that thou cast out from thee all impurities and uncleanliness and the spirits of phantasms. In the names of Ceridwen and Cernunnos."
Fire: Hold your right hand (palm down) high enough over the candle so as not to cause discomfort and say:
"I exorcise thee, oh creature of fire, that thou cast out from thee all impurities and uncleanliness and the spirits of phantasms. In the names of Ceridwen and Cernunnos."
Water: Hold the chalice of water in your left hand, and place your right hand (palm down) over the chalice and say:
"I exorcise thee, oh creature of water, that thou cast out from thee all impurities and uncleanliness and the spirits of phantasms. In the names of Ceridwen and Cernunnos."
Air: Hold your right hand over the burning incense and say:
"I exorcise thee, oh creature of air, that thou cast out from thee all impurities and uncleanliness and the spirits of phantasms. In the names of Ceridwen and Cernunnos."
Then transfer three measures of salt with the tip of the sword or Athame into the water and stir in a clockwise direction three times and pronounce:
"I consecrate this Athame to the work of the gods. May all impurities and uncleanliness of the spirit be cast out and become as nothing. In the names of Ceridwen and Cernunnos."
The elements and Athame or sword are now purified and ready for work.
CASTING THE CIRCLE
Begins by drawing the Circle from east, clockwise, holding the Athame or sword with both hands and at shoulder level. (As the High Priest/ess draws, participants visualize power pouring from the Athame as a stream of blue fire, creating a sphere around them; when extremely strong protection is needed, green fire may be used). Mark the physical boundaries of the Circle, all the while visualizing the blue flame shooting from one end, creating a blue dome of pure energy. Draw a nine-foot magic circle, or smaller or larger, as required. The circle is cast with a single revolution in the deosil (clockwise) direction. Begin casting your circle in the East and finish in the East. The East from which the sun rises which is the concept of illumination. No circle may be held without a High Priest or a High Priestess present. As S/he draws the circle she chants:
"Three times around, three times about,
A world within, a world without."
At each Quarter, S/he stops and says:
(North) "By the Earth that is Her Body,"
(East) "By the Air that is Her Breath,"
(South) "By the Fire that is Her Spirit,"
(West) "By the Waters of Her Womb,"
She returns to stand in the North before the altar facing South; holding the Athame or Sword at heart level, and says
"Is the Circle made."
PURIFICATION OF THE CIRCLE
Take the salt to the east (the circle always begins in the east) and make three revolutions about the circle taking pinches of salt and casting them about the perimeter of the circle while saying:
"Creature of salt, where thou art cast, no spell or adverse purpose last, not in complete accord with me, as I do will, so mote it be."
Return the salt to the altar. Take the maiden candle and offer same to the east. Walk to the south and make three revolutions about the perimeter of the circle while saying:
"Creature of fire, this charge I lay, no evil in thy presence stay, not in complete accord with me, as I do will, so mote it be."
Return the maiden candle to the altar. Take the bowl or chalice of water and offer same to the east. Proceed to the west and make three revolutions about the perimeter of the circle while saying:
"Creature of water, where thou art cast, no spell or adverse purpose last, not in complete accord with me, as I do will, so mote it be."
Return the container of water to the altar. Take the incense and offer same to the east. Proceed to the north and make three revolutions about the perimeter of the circle while saying:
"Creature of air, this charge I lay, no evil in thy presence stay, not in complete accord with me, as I do will, so mote it be."
Return the incense to the altar. The High Priest/ess next takes the wand from altar and goes to the Eastern edge of the Circle, and walks deosil, aggressively banishing all negative energy saying:
"Avaunte! Avaunte! Maleficum defense!
Honi soit qui mal y pense!"
The High Priest/ess takes up the cup of water and salt in one hand and the aspergillum in the other; The Priest takes up the censer. They asperge & charge the circle, at East, South, West, North, Zenith, and Nadir, two times, once for the Lord and once for the Lady saying:
"By water and earth (by fire and air),
I hallow (charge) this ground
In the name of the Lady (Horned One),
Full once around.
Before Her (Him) must all evil flee.
As I do will, so mote it be."
The High Priest/ess returns to the altar and asperges the altar and tools. S/he replaces the cup and aspergillum on the altar, and takes up the Athame. S/he breathes three breaths of power into the Athame, rings the bell thrice, then draws a pentacle over the altar with the Athame, saying:
"Be a guiding star above us; Be a smooth path beneath the Athame of steel."
CREATING THE DOORWAY
Now a doorway must be cut in the body of the circle so that the other participants may enter. This is generally done in the north or northeast, because north is the magnetic center of the universe from whence all gifts come. When this is not possible, as in a ritual room where the doorway is in another direction, it may be cut in a different location. The doorway is cut with the Athame, in a widdershins (counter clockwise) motion. The doorway should be cut along the floor, and must be large enough for the largest member of the coven to come through. Visualize a doorway of intense blue energy in the body of your circle.
ADMISSION OF THE GROVE/COVEN
As each member of the coven is admitted they are greeted by the Priest or Priestess. Males are greeted by the Priestess, and females are greeted by the Priest. Following the purification of the circle by the High Priest/ess and the lighting of candles, (Left to Right) plus purification of any tools or material, the High Priest/ess stands in front of the doorway to the circle. The High Priest/ess challenges the members with: "Halt, who goes there?"
Seeker: "(Craft Name) a Seeker."
Priest(ess):"(Craft Name), what are the passwords?"
Seeker: (Whispers Level Password) "I come in perfect love and perfect knowledge."
Priest(ess): "Merry Meet! Enter! I have a third for Thee."
Seeker is then anointed with the (sign of their level) upon the forehead, kissed on the lips or cheek, and the third password is whispered in their ears. They are then directed deosil into the circle.
CLOSING THE DOORWAY
After all members of the coven have been admitted, the Priest or Priestess will close the doorway in the circle by tracing the outline of the circle previously cast in a deosil (clockwise) direction. Visualize the doorway disappear, and the circle is once again a complete sphere of blue energy.
EVOKING THE GUARDIANS OF THE WATCHTOWERS
The concept of the quartered circle is basic to the craft, as it is to many cultures and religions. The four directions each correspond to and resonate with a quality of the self, to an Element, a time of day and year, to tools of the craft, symbolic animals and forms of personal power. These correspondences are usually set down in a table similar to the one in the back of The Quest and provide the basis for visualizations throughout the ritual. Constant visualizations of these connections create deep internal links, so much so that physical actions during ritual can trigger the desired inner states.
The Guardians of the Watchtowers are energy forms. They are the Spirits of the four directions and bring the elemental energy of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water into the circle to augment our human power. The vortex of power created when we evoke the four Quarters guards the circle from intrusions and draws in the higher powers of the Goddess and God. "To Evoke" is defined as "to call out of with earnest desire."
The Priestess takes up the Wand from the altar and goes to the East. All turn to face in that direction and do the Salutation to the East, lead by Priestess with the Wand, as follows:
Hold your hands at the heart level, palm to palm and visualize the Guardian. Extend your arms straight out above eye level and call the Guardian psychically. Bring your hands back to the heart level, bow forward slightly from the waist, cross hands over your chest, and thank the Guardian for answering your call. You must repeat this action at each quarter of the circle.
Open your arms out in a V position, with your eyes centered on an infinite point, feeling the divine power of the Guardian concentrated in the center of your forehead and moving down to the center of your body. Fold your arms over your heart chakra and bow deeply, pressing the energy into your chakra.
All participants must now raise the tips of their Athames to the sky, repeating the name of the Guardian three times led by the Priestess. The Priestess then recites the Evocation as all participants visualize the Guardian of the East:
"All hail be to thee, Lord Amaethon, Guardian of the watchtower of the east. Thou art Lord within the Realms of Lugh. Thou art the source of light and wisdom. May thy lifegiving rays shine forth to enlighten thy creatures, and nourish that which is reborn. By the call of the Wise owl in the night, may we rejoice in thy return at dawning. Lord of the Mountain, Guardian of the Deep Well of Space: We Evoke you. Join the children of Ceridwen within the sacred grove. So mote it be."
With the tip of your Athame draw the proper Pentagram. Do this by bringing the Athame from the top, down to the bottom left, up to the upper right, over to the upper left, down to the lower right, and back to the uppermost center. Now, from this uppermost point, draw a deosil (clockwise) circle about the perimeter of your Pentagram.
At this point salute the Guardian of the Watchtower by bringing the Athame to your lips, kissing it, and then bringing it back to the top of the Pentagram. This is the seal, by which you maintain the presence and attention of the guardians. By this you will define the boundaries that must be set in order to benefit, and not be hampered by the guardians presence. Light the East watchtower candle. All participants now go to the southern quadrant, and repeat the above but instead say:
"All hail be to thee, Lord Govannan, Guardian of the watchtower of the South. Thou art Lord within the Realm of the Serpent. Thou art the golden lights of the flaming one. Thou art the glowing eyes of a thousand cats. Through the spotted serpent who is sacred to the goddess of retribution, quicken that which is reborn, that strength may banish weakness. Shining Flame, Burning Whirlpool of Hope and Destruction, Scarlet Flash of Fire, Guardian of the Liquid Flame: We invoke you. Join the children of Ceridwen within the sacred grove. So mote it be."
Draw the Pentagram as described before. All visualize lines of red Flame. Light the South Watchtower candle. All face the Western quadrant, and repeat above, except say:
"All hail be to thee, Lord Dylan, Guardian of the watchtower of the West. Thou art lord within the Realm of the Lady, silver bright and triple starred. Oh, sacred Dylan, fertilize the blessed earth with thy rays of silver, that new life which stirs within the womb of the great mother may burst forth in ever increasing abundance. Water Maker, Giver of Dreams, Lord of the deep ones, Serpent of the Watery Abyss: We Evoke you. Join the children of Ceridwen within the sacred grove. So mote it be."
The Priestess and members draws a pentacle in West; all visualize lines in shining blue. Light the WEST watchtower candle. Go to the Northern quadrant, and raising your Athame to the sky say:
"All hail be to thee, Lord Boreas, Guardian of the watchtower of the North. Thou art Lord within the Realm of the Horned One. Oh, mighty Boreas, great horned god of the Witches, on thy sacred horns do we place our most grievous afflictions. Toss them to the four winds of the world that they may be as dust beneath thy cloven hoofs. Ride the mighty north winds to the Summerlands where thou art guardian of all who await rebirth among us. Walker on the Wind that roars in the dark between the Stars, Guardian of the Rising Sun; we evoke you. Join the children of Ceridwen within the sacred grove. So mote it be."
The Priestess and members now draw a pentacle in North; all visualizing lines in shining blue. The Priestess now lights the North watchtower candle. S/he returns the Athame to the altar, brings aspergillum and charging bowl to East, inside the circle of people, and asperses everyone in the circle, including herself, moving deosil:
"Three from Me of five alive by nine makes Mine."
Returning to altar, she asperges the others, replaces the tools on altar, and stands to the west of altar. The High Priest brings the sword to the Altar and says:
"The circle is cast by air and fire;
The circle is charged by water and earth.
What is within the circle is between the worlds;
What is between the worlds does not concern the world."
He salutes the four quarters, in the order east, south, west, and north saying:
Amatheon, be our pentacle."
Govannon, be our sword.
Dylan, be our cup.
Boreas, be our wand.
He presents the sword to the maiden, brings the cauldron to center, and lights a fire in it.
"Branch, burn; fire, flame;
Govannon, forge the sword again."
Priestesses come forward and cast leaves into the cauldron
"Myrtle, willow, laurel, oak,
And vervain: all shall rise in smoke.
Willow, myrtle, oak vervain,
And laurel: all shall rise again."
They return to altar and pick up emblems: High Priestess holds wand and scourge; Maiden holds fruit and cup; High Priest holds sword and branch; Candlebearer holds Athame and Censer, and they stand in line in the west, facing east, all with arms crossed in front of chest.
INVOKING THE GOD AND GODDESS
At this point you must invite the God and Goddess into your circle. It is a time of reverence and love. "To Invoke" is defined as "to call into with earnest desire" it is this and much more. One should invoke the God and Goddess with loving fervor and yet with supplicating respect. You must call them forth in order to worship them, give them your energies, and petition for their aid. The Wheel of the Year is divided into six month intervals, God ruling six months and Goddess ruling six months. The ruling God/Goddess candle is placed on the left. Therefore, always light the God and Goddess candles from left to right. Go to the altar and face north. Men should assume the God position of arms crossed with palms on the shoulders, and women should assume the Goddess position of arms open with the palms to the sky. The Priest and Priestess goes to the Altar and stands before it, facing South. All raise their arms above their heads, palms to the sky, and repeat together;
"All Four Stars are One; by the Goddess above we invoke the Heaven Shiner."
All lower arms to hold hands out over the Earth. All then repeat together:
"All Four Stars are One; by the Goddess below we invoke Dag Vradia, the Fire in the Earth."
All cross their hands over their breasts, and repeat together:
"By the Center, which is the Circumference of all."
Priestess, who has been holding wand pointed toward the center, crosses arms over chest. All bow toward the center; all rise and say:
"So Mote it be."
Priestess replaces the Wand on the Altar, and rings the bell once. The Priest then kneels before the altar and lights the Goddess Candle with fire from the Star Goddess Candle, saying:
"In the name of Nimue, Mari, and Annys.
Oh gracious Ceridwen, Goddess of all things,
provider of love and happiness,
I invoke thee and call upon thee,
Oh mighty mother of us all,
Bring all fruitfulness by stem and by reaching root,
By leaf and by bud, by flower and by fruit,
By wind and rain and ocean tide,
By starry night and caverns wide,
Guardian of Mysteries, Mother of Earth,
Whose cloak is Death, whose promise is rebirth,
Lady of the Cauldron warmed by the breath of nine,
O Light in times of darkness, shine on us.
Mother Serpent, Mystic Rose, come out of us.
Aerie of the Ivory Tower, come down to us.
Fountain of Crystal, Mouth of Music, come here to us.
Come down, O Moon, I call upon thee by life and by love
Descend into the body of (name), thy priestess and servant,
Hear with her ears, speak with her tongue,
Touch with her hands, and kiss with her lips,
That thy servants may be fulfilled.
be with us here as we celebrate this rite."
The Priestess lights the God Candle with fire from Goddess Candle, saying:
"Oh great Cernunnos, God of nature and the hunt, powerful God of light,
"By the flame that burneth bright, oh horned one,
We call thy name into the night, oh ancient one,
Thee we invoke by the moonlit sea,
By the standing stone and the twisted tree.
Thee we invoke, where are gathered thine own,
By the nameless shore forgotten and alone,
Come where the round of the dance is trod,
Horn and hoof of the goat-foot god,
By moonlit meadow on dusky hill,
When the haunted wood is hushed and still,
Come to the charm of the chanted prayer,
As the moon bewitches the midnight air,
Evoke thy powers that potent bide,
In shining stream and the secret tide,
In fiery flame, by starlit pale,
In shadowy host that rides the gale,
And by the fernbrakes fairy haunted,
Of forests wild and woods enchanted,
Come, oh come to the heartbeat's drum,
Come to us who gather below
When the broad white moon is climbing slow,
Through the stars to the heaven's height,
We hear thy hooves on the winds of night,
As black tree branches shake and sigh,
By joy and terror we know thee nigh.
We speak the spell thy power unlocks
At solstice, Sabbat and equinox"
(Reportedly composed by Aleister Crowley)
Be with us here as we celebrate this rite.
In the name of Dian-na-Glas and Arddu,
is the Circle consecrated and sealed."
Now the circle is ready for Initiation, Sabbat, or Esbat. You have created, cleansed, and set out protection for your place of magic. The Goddess and the God have been invited to witness and participate in your festival. The reason for the festival is then explained to the participants, and the worship of the Goddess and the God and subsequent working of magic can then take place. If The Great Rite is to be performed, this is the point in the ritual that would be appropriate. For those of you who cannot perform the actual Great Rite, I have hereafter given you a suitable symbolic rite.
(If the ritual is at full moon, the High Priest/ess faces the South, raising the Athame above her head and drawing it down slowly to heart level, as she says:
"By the power of 13 times 13, I shall draw down the Moon."
Raise Athame in both hands above head; look through Circle of your arms.
"My Knife has drawn the Circle round,
My feet have walked the Holy Ground.
Let Those within the Living Wheel
Bear witness to my Magic Seal
And Those without, be turned about,
And never hear my Fatal Shout: "By Which Eye?"
On the next to last line the Priestess lowers her arm, and pulls the Athame back to her right side; on the last line she darts it forward, ending by holding the Athame straight out in front of her chest, as if putting out someone's eye.
As the Prayer is spoken, all the celebrants visualize the Circle as a sphere of blue light surrounding them, maintaining the original visualizations of the band of power connecting all the celebrants, while the Adept rings the bell three times. The purposes of the circle are to include and to exclude, to strengthen every operation, to sanctify the site, and to concentrate and clarify, like the sun through a glass and vision through an eye.
SYMBOLIC GREAT RITE
The High Priest will hold the Athame in both hands high over his head, and the High Priestess will kneel while holding the chalice in front and above her. (If the Goddess Rules, the High Priestess will stand and the High Priest will Kneel.) The Symbolic Great Rite was instituted by Gerald Gardner in the 1950's during his creation of the Gardnerian Tradition, because few if any women were prepared to unite sexually with anyone but their permanent partner. This symbolic rite has become a standard practice of Neo-Wiccan groups since then. Gerald's priorities were probably correct, but we think it is time to reexamine the act of watering down the Priest/esshood in this way.
Priest: "As the Athame is to the male."
Priestess: "So the cup is to the female."
Grove: "And together they are one."
As this last is being voiced by the grove the priest brings the Athame down into the chalice.
RAISING THE CONE OF POWER
Energy is raised in coven rituals and most often molded into the form of a Cone. This is called the Cone of Power. The base of the cone is the circle of participants. It's apex can focus on an individual, an object, or a collectively visualized image. At times the cone is allowed to rise and fall naturally without being sent anywhere. At these times the cone is used to renew the coveners personal power.
It may also be sent off in a burst of Force, directed by one person who may be a part of the circle or may stand in the center serving as the focal point. Rhythmical drumming, hand claps and dance movements may all be used to raise the Cone of Power.
This pure psychic energy raised from the naked body during a ritual involving motion, sound, and emotion. This is accomplished during the dances. The power raised is directed toward the object concerned in the ritual. The power is able to penetrate all things and cannot in any way be stopped.
First, all participants will begin visualizing the breathing in of Blue Fire, joining hands and feeling the power moving widershins, entering through the left hand and passing through the body to flow out through the right hand. This widershins movement is a banishing of any negative energy present that would inhibit the joy of our circle. At this point the High Priest/ess moves to the front of the altar. All cross their arms over their chests, left over right, feeling the flow of power continue through their bodies. The High Priest/ess lights the Maiden candle, saying:
"There is light within a woman of light, and she lights up the whole world."
Rings the Bell 9 times in 3 groups of 3.
"Holy Mother, in whom we live, and move, and have our being: From you all things emerge, and unto you all things return. Mother of all gods and all kindred, We call on you to grant what we desire. We are your children. We identify ourselves with the Old Ones."
Next, to build the Power Cone, form a circle, holding hands, left palm face up, right palm face down. Begin to move around the Circle to the left, taking a step behind the body with the right foot. Take a step to the left with the left foot. Take a step to the left with the right foot in front of the body. Take a step to the left with the left foot.
The dance begins very slowly, growing faster. As you dance, feel waves of power rising up from the Earth, entering your feet and spiraling up your body in a clockwise motion. Imagine that your body becomes very highly charged, giving you a sense of pressure. Feel the power shine from your body, filling the circle like a glowing mist. It rises upward to the center of the Circle, forming a whirling cone, colored brilliant sky blue, shot with silver sparkles.
As the dance moves faster, charge the Cone of Power until it peaks, which feels as if it is going to burst. The Priestess calls out the command to drop. All celebrants collapse to the ground, letting go of the Cone of Power, which explodes in a flash of rainbow light and is gone.
MOVEMENT WITHIN A RITUAL - THE DANCES:
When we move deosil or sunwise we follow the direction the sun appears to move in, and draw in power. Deosil is the direction of increase, of fortune favour and blessing. When we move widdershins, or counter clockwise, we move against the path of the sun. This direction is used for decrease or banishing.
THE CIRCLE DANCE. All circle deosil around the releaser and altar, hand in hand, male-female. The dance goes faster and faster and yet faster as the power is raised and taken into the body of the releaser. At the height of the dance the calls of Io Evo He, Blessed Be, and the names of power are given until the ecstasy is reached. When the cry of stop is given by the releaser, all fall to the ground and blank their minds out.
The Circle Dance Chant:
"Darksome night and shining moon,
East then south then west then north,
Hearken to ye Witches' rune,
Here we come to call thee forth.
Earth and water, air and fire,
Wand and pentacle and sword,
Hearken ye unto my desire,
Hearken ye unto my word.
Cup and censor, rod and knife,
Power of the Witches' blade,
Waken all ye unto life,
Come ye as the charm is made.
Queen of heaven, queen of hell,
Horned hunter of the night,
Lend thy power unto the spell,
Work my will by magic rite.
By all the powers of land and sea,
By all the might of moon and sun.
As I do will so mote it be,
Chant the spell and be it done."
(Reportedly composed by Doreen Valiente)
THE RUNE DANCE. The same as a circle dance only a spell rhyme is recited over and over until the ecstasy is reached.
The Rune Dance Chant:
"Canu, Canu, Durionnos Canu
D'awnsio, d'awnsio, Arwaen y ros
Y'ngo levni'r bel levad dlos
Pawb o honom sytyn llon
Hebungofid don ei from
Canu, D'awnsio, aryton
"Singing, singing through the night,
dancing, dancing with our might,
Where ye moon ye moor doth light,
happy ever we.
One and all of merry mein,
without sorrow are we seen,
Singing, dancing on ye green,
gladsome ever we."
THE MEETING DANCE. Traditionally the men limp, keeping the left heel from touching the ground, in memory of the wounded God / King. The High Priestess lets go of her left-hand partner (who should be the High Priest), and leads a spiral inward. At the center, she turns to her right, back along the line of dancers, and kisses the man on her right. Each woman now kisses each man she comes to, as Persephone leads the new spiral outward into a circle moving sunwise (deosil, clockwise). Thus Ariadne leads the sacred king through the Spiral Castle.
The Meeting Dance Chant
All form a circle, alternating male / female (if possible), holding hands, and facing outwards. Begin dancing widershins (counterclockwise), singing:
"Thout, tout a tout, tout, throughout and about."
THE BELTANE DANCE. First all grove members form a circle and join hands around an old tree. An evocation of the Earth Elemental is said. Then the dancers gather around to wind the May pole. The dance moves deosil by women, widdershins by men.
The Beltaine Dance Chant
The dancers skip deosil, singing:
"Here we go gathering nuts in May, nuts in May, nuts in May, Here we go gathering nuts in May, all on a Sabbat morning."
THE SWORD DANCE. This is a very slow circle dance. The Athame or sword is held blade up in the right hand, left hand around the wrist of the next person.
THE SNAKE DANCE. All follow the High Priestess deosil in a spiral to the center and then out again, kissing everyone you pass.
VOLTA DANCE. Dance deosil with your partner, arms to shoulders with head resting on your partner's hand to the left. Dance slowly, then faster and faster, until you reach the ecstasy.
POLE DANCE. Gallop deosil around the circle astride the riding pole, leaping as high as you can. After riding, couples join hands and leap over the cauldron.
DAISY CHAIN DANCE: A daisy chain is made, which should be about 18 feet in length. The High Priestess leads the chain dance, followed by the Maiden and summoner. The High Priest holds the end of the chain. The dance weaves in and out among the trees, bushes, and over the fields.
CAKES AND WINE
Next, the participants take part in the ritual feast which consists of eating a simple meal of ritual cakes and wine in honor of the Goddess, the God, and the season. It is traditional to pour a libation from the chalice out onto the ground for the Goddess before anyone else has a drink. Raise the water and wine, facing north. Priest:
"Here we bring new water, here we bring old wine, for to worship great Ceridwen as the moon doth shine.
"Sing reign of a fair maid with gold upon her toe, Open ye the moon gate and let the westwind blow. Sing reign of a fair maid with gold upon her chin, Open ye the north gate and let Ceridwen in. Sing levez dew, levez dew, ye water and ye wine, Hail to fair Ceridwen, whose crescent moon doth shine. The Priestess holds out the meal and salt, the Priest blesses it with the wand; The Priestess then raises the meal and salt and looks up at the Goddess. The Priest says:
"Here the dish of meal we bring, here the salt of earth, blessed meal of laboring, blessed salt of worth. Fairy queen steals through the night, silver wings aglow with dew, Dance ye wee folk in delight drwy y nos canu, drwy y nos canu. Blessed Be."
The priestess passes the meal and salt around the circle with each participant tasting both. The Priestess raises the bowl of honey. Priest:
"Here we bring honey sweet, gathered from the sacred grove. Dawnsio, Dawnsio little bees! Keep to your hive and do not roam."
The priest raises the plate of cakes. The Priestess blesses them with the wand. Priest:
"Here the Sabbat cakes of corn baked upon the hearth, blessed be Ceridwen's feast dance in joy and mirth. Body of the God, Gift of the Goddess. Blessed Be."
The priest is now fed by the priestess, with a Sabbat cake. She dips the cake in the honey first. The priest will then, in turn, feed the priestess with a Sabbat cake and kiss her either on the lips or cheek. She will then take the plate of cakes and honey to the first male deosil from the eastern watchtower and feed him with a Sabbat cake, and kiss him either on the lips or cheek. He will then turn to the woman to his left and repeat the process. As the cakes are passed around the circle, each person presents it to the next with the words:
"Blessed be" or "May you never hunger."
This continues around the circle until all participants have been given a Sabbat cake, at which time the plate is returned to the altar. The High Priestess returns to the altar and takes the chalice, and the Priest bless it by the slow dipping of the Athame;
"As the Athame is to the sun and male, so the cup is to the Earth and Female. From their union, worlds are born."
The Priestess holds the chalice to the lips of the priest so that he may drink. The priest then takes the chalice of wine from the priestess and holds it to her lips so that she may drink. They kiss, once again, either on the lips or cheek. The priestess will then return to the first male deosil from the eastern watchtower and place the cup to his lips, after he has drunk from the cup, she will kiss him either on the lips or cheek. He will then turn to the woman to his left and repeat the process. As the cup is passed around the circle, each person presents it to the next with the words "Blessed be" or "May you never thirst." This continues around the circle until all participants have been given wine, at which time the chalice is returned to the altar.
The Priestess says:
"Let this be a time of feasting and merriment, sharing and learning."
During the cakes and wine portion of the circle, the atmosphere progresses from being silent and respectful to becoming more of a party. You can generally talk amongst yourselves, joke, and become somewhat playful. After the cakes and wine you will return to a respectful silence for the conclusion of the ritual. Sometimes, if appropriate you might have a more extensive feast after the ritual is over.
The priest will raise his hands high over his head, palms down, the males will assume the God position, and the females will assume the Goddess position. The priestess will then say:
"Lady Ceridwen, we thank you for your presence, and we ask for your blessing as you depart. We bid thee hail and farewell."
The coven then repeats:
"Hail and farewell."
The priest then extinguishes the Goddess candle. The priestess will raise her hands high over her head, palms down, the males will assume the God position, and the females will assume the Goddess position. The priest will then say:
"Lord Cernunnos, we thank you for your presence, and we ask for your blessing as you depart. We bid thee hail and farewell."
The Grove then repeats:
"Hail and farewell."
The priestess then extinguishes the God candle.
BANISHING THE WATCHTOWERS
Take your Athame and proceed to the east watchtower. Raise the tip of your Athame to the sky and say:
"We thank thee guardian of the watchtower of the east for having joined with Ceridwen's children within our sacred grove. Depart in peace, love and harmony until we shall meet again, but ere you depart for your lovely realms, We bid you `Hail and Farewell.' So mote it be."
With the tip of your Athame draw the banishing Pentagram. Do this by beginning at the bottom left, go up to the uppermost center, down to the bottom right, up to the upper left, across to the upper right, and back down to the lower left. Now draw a widdershins (counter clockwise) circle about the perimeter of your Pentagram. Salute the guardian of the watchtower by bringing the Athame to your lips, kiss it, and raise it once more to the sky. Extinguish the watchtower candle. Go to the southern quadrant, and raising your Athame to the sky say:
"We thank thee guardian of the watchtower of the south for having joined with Ceridwen's children within the sacred grove. May you depart in peace, love and harmony until we shall meet again, but ere you depart for your lovely realms, We bid you `Hail and Farewell.' So mote it be."
Draw the banishing Pentagram as described before. Extinguish the watchtower candle. Go to the western quadrant, and raising your Athame to the sky say:
"We thank thee guardian of the watchtower of the west for having joined with Ceridwen's children within the sacred grove. May ye depart in peace, love and harmony until we shall meet again, but ere you depart for your lovely realms, We bid you `Hail and Farewell.' So mote it be."
Draw the banishing Pentagram. Extinguish the watchtower candle. Go the northern quadrant, and raising your Athame to the sky say:
"We thank thee guardian of the watchtower of the north for having joined with your children within the sacred grove. May ye depart in peace, love and harmony until we shall meet again, but ere you depart for your lovely realms, We bid you `Hail and Farewell.' So mote it be."
Draw the banishing Pentagram. Extinguish the watchtower candle. The High Priest/ess, at the finish of the rituals and departure of members from the circle, shall take the Athame or sword from the altar, and beginning in the East of the circle, point the head of the Athame or Sword at the circle as if you were erasing it, and walk widershins once around the circle saying:
"Fire race the circle round, let it fade beneath the ground. By the holy flame this rite is ended, the circle disappears and can be seen no more. All is as it was before the beginning of time, except the Magick worked herein by ritual and rhyme."
(During this ritual, all members must remain inside the circle, still and silent, and be ready to assist the High Priest/ess in removal of ritual equipment and care of the altar.)
BLUE CIRCLE OF PROTECTION:
With the Athame starting in the East draw a triple circle around you in the air, deosil, visualizing a wall and roof of Blue Fire around you, saying:
"I hereby surround myself with this circle of protection against which no hostile power dare set its foot."
At each point now draw an invoking Pentagram, saying:
"In the names of Arianrhod and Cernunnos, so mote it be."
THE SIMPLE SALT CIRCLE
Sometimes you may wish to just set up an area of protection and create a sacred space. Take a cleansing bath and have a clear head. Place two candles and sabbat incense on the Altar. Recite the Rede. Light the candles and incense with a lighted taper. Place salt, water, and hyssop in bowls on the altar. Place right hand over salt, saying:
"Creature of earth, this charge I lay
No phantom in thy presence stay
Not in complete accord with me
And as my will, so mote it be."
Take a pinch of salt, put it into the water, while making a banishing Pentagram say:
"Creature of water, this charge I lay
No phantom in thy presence stay
Not in complete accord with me
And as my will, so mote it be."
Do the same with the hyssop. Take the bowl of the salt to the east, going deosil, clockwise. Cast a circle of salt. Go around three times. While doing so, say:
"Creature of earth where you are cast
No spell or adverse purpose last
Not in complete accord with me,
And as my will, so mote it be."
Take the bowl of water with salt and hyssop in it, go to the east, sprinkle water around the circle three times and say:
"Earth and water, where you are cast,
No spell or adverse purpose last,
Not in complete accord with me,
And as my will, so mote it be."
Take the candle around the circle three times saying:
"Creature of fire this charge I lay,
no evil in thy presence stay,
not in complete accord with me,
and as my will, so mote it be."
Take incense around the circle three times and say:
"Creature of Air this charge I lay,
no evil in thy presence stay,
not in complete accord with me,
and as my will, so mote it be."
The circle is now ready for use for any purpose you desire. When finished, thank any of the ancient ones you feel have attended and dismiss them to go in peace. The circle is then open.
THE SLEEP CIRCLE
This Circle is used when one is very tired and mentally fatigued. Mentally cast a circle about your sleeping area, envisioning a blue flame marking the circle. Draw a banishing Pentagram at your head, each side, feet, and circle the Pentagram around you. See it as a blue flame as you draw it. Mentally assure yourself that you are now protected within your circle.
From The Word by Rhuddlwm Gawr
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