Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft –C.6. The First-Degree Initiation (1957) to C.8. The Third-Degree Initiation (1957)
C.6. The First-Degree Initiation (1957)
Draw Circle with Magic Sword or Athame.
Sprinkle with Exorcised Water.
Go round Circle with Magic Sword or Athame, Saying, “I conjure thee, O Circle of Power, that thou beest as a Boundary and a Protection to contain the magic power which I will raise within thy bounds. So do I bless thee, in the names of Aradia and Cernunnos.”
Go round, saying at East, South, West, and North, “I summon, stir, and call thee up, ye Mighty Ones of the East (South, West, North), to witness the rites and to guard the circle.”
Magus draws down Moon on High Priestess.
Read Charge, then say, “O thou who standest on the threshold between the pleasant world of men and the dread domains of the lords of the outer spaces, hast thou the courage to make the assay?” (Place point of the Magic Sword or Athame to Postulant’s heart.) “For I say verily it were better to rush on my blade and perish than to make the attempt with fear in thy heart.”
Postulant: “I have two perfect words: perfect love, and perfect trust.”
Say, “All who have are doubly welcome.”
Entering position: “I give you a third to pass you through this dread door.” Gives it [kiss].
Lead Postulant sunwise to south of altar, and say, “O thou who hast declared intent to become one of us, hear then that which thou must know to do. Single is the race of men and of Gods; from a single source we both draw breath, but a difference of power in everything keeps us apart, for we are as nothing, but the Gods stay forever. Yet we can, in greatness of minds, be like the Gods, though we know not to what goal by day or in the night Fate has written that we shall run. Beyond all seas and Earth’s last boundaries, beyond the Spring of night and the Heavens’ vast expanse, there lies a majesty which is the domain of the Gods. Thou who would pass through the Gates of Night and Day to that sweet place, which is between the worlds of men and the domains of the Lords of the outer spaces, know that unless there is truth in thy heart, thy every effort is doomed to failure. HEAR THEN THE LAW: that thou lovest all things in nature; that thou shalt suffer no person to be harmed by thy hands or in thy mind; that thou walkest humbly in the ways of men and the ways of the Gods. Also it is the law that contentment thou shalt learn, through suffering, and from long years and from nobility of mind and of purpose, FOR THE WISE NEVER GROW OLD. Their minds are nourished by living in the daylight of the Gods, and if among the vulgar some discoveries should arise concerning some maxims of thy belief in the Gods, so do thou, for the most part, keep silent. For there is a great risk that thou mayest straightway vomit up that which thou hast not digested, and when someone shall say to thee, “Thou knowest naught,” and it bites thee not, then knowest thou that thou hast begun the work. And as sheep do not bring their food to the shepherd to show how much they have eaten, but digesting inwardly their provender, bear outwardly wool and milk, even so, do not thou display the maxims to the vulgar, but rather the works that flow when they are digested. Now there is the ordeal.” [This speech was added after about 1960.]
Tie cord around Postulant’s right ankle, leaving ends free; say, “Feet neither bound nor free.”
Leading postulant, proclaim at four quarters, “Take heed, ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the East (South, West, North), that (name) is properly prepared to be made a priestess and a witch.”
Three times round the Circle with Dance step and chant.
Place Postulant in East; say, “Kneel.”
Strike eleven knells on bell; say, “Rise. In other religions the postulant kneels while the priest towers above him, but in the Art Magical we are taught to be humble, and so we kneel to welcome them, and we say:
“Blessed be the feet that have brought you in these ways [kiss];
“Blessed be the knees that shall kneel at the sacred altar [kiss];
“Blessed be thy womb (or organ of generation), without which we would not be [kiss];
“Blessed be thy breasts, erected in beauty and in strength [kiss];
“Blessed be thy lips, which shall utter the sacred names [kiss].
“Before ye are sworn, art willing to pass the ordeal and be purified?”
Postulant “I am.”
Take measure: height (tie knot); around head (tie knot); around heart (tie knot); around hips (tie knot). Prick postulant’s thumb; catch blood on measure. Place measure on altar. Have postulant kneel, tie postulant’s feet together, and secure cable tow to altar. Three strokes on bell. Say, “Art ready to swear that thou wilt always be true to the Art?”
Postulant “I am.”
Strike seven times on bell and say, “Thou must first be purified.” Scourge 3, 7, 9, 21.
Say, “Ye have bravely passed the test. Art always ready to help, protect, and defend thy brothers and sisters of the Art?”
Postulant “I am.”
“Then say after me: I, (name), in the presence of the mighty ones of the outer spaces, do of my own free will most solemnly swear that I will ever keep secret and never reveal the secrets of the Art, except it be to a proper person, properly prepared, within such a circle as I am in now, and that I will never deny the Secrets to such a person if they be vouched for by a brother or Sister of the Art. All this I swear by my hopes of a future life, and may my weapons turn against me if I break this my solemn oath.”
Loosen cords from ankles and from altar, and remove blindfold; assist to rise.
“I hereby sign thee with the triple sign [the point-down triangle formed by touching the genitals, the right breast, the left breast, and the genitals again.]
I consecrate thee with oil.
I consecrate thee with wine.
I consecrate thee with my lips, Priest (Priestess) and Witch.”
Remove Cords [kiss].
“I now present to you the working tools. First the magic sword. With this, as with the athame, thou canst form all magic circles, dominate, subdue, and punish all rebellious spirits and demons, and even persuade angels and good spirits. With this in your hand, you are ruler of the circle.” [kiss]
“Next I present to you the athame. This is the true witches’ weapon, and has all the powers of the magic sword.” [kiss]
“Next I present the white-handled knife. Its use is to form all instruments used in the Art. It can only be used in a magic circle.” [kiss]
“Next I present the wand. Its use is to call up and control certain angels and genie to whom it would not be meet to use the sword or athame.” [kiss]
“Next I present the pentacle. This is for the purpose of calling up the appropriate spirits.” [kiss]
“Next I present the censer of incense. This is used to encourage and welcome good spirits, and to banish evil spirits.” [kiss]
“Next I present the scourge. This is a sign of power and domination. It is also used to cause purification and enlightenment, for it is written, `To learn you must suffer and be purified.’ [kiss] Art willing to suffer to learn?”
Postulant: “I am.”
“Next and lastly I present the cords. They are of use to bind the sigils of the art, also the material basis. Also they are necessary in the oath.” [kiss]
“I now salute you in the names of Aradia and Cernunnos, Newly made Priestess and Witch.”
Lead round and proclaim to four quarters, “Hear, ye Mighty Ones, (name) has been consecrated a priestess of the Goddess.”
Now present new Witch to coven members. All should kiss and hug new Witch as welcome into membership.
To close circle proclaim to four quarters, “Ye Mighty Ones of the East (South, West, North), I thank you for attending and, ere ye depart for your lovely realms, I say hail and farewell.”
C.7. The Second-Degree Initiation (1957)
Form Circle in usual manner, invoking the Mighty Ones at the Four Quarters. The Initiate should be properly prepared and bound with the Cords. All are purified, including Initiate.
Circle once, proclaiming at the Four Quarters: “Hear Ye Mighty Ones, . . . (N), a duly consecrated Priestess and Witch is now properly prepared to be made a High Priest and Magus (High Priestess and Witch Queen).”
Circle three times, with dance step and chant. Initiate then kneels before the Altar and is secured with the Cords.
Priestess or Magus: “To attain to this sublime Degree it is necessary to suffer and be purified. Art willing to suffer to learn?”
Initiate: “I am.”
Priestess or Magus: “I purify thee to take this great oath rightly”. Strike three strokes upon the bell. Scourge 3, 7, 9, 21.
“I now give thee a new name: . . .” [kiss]
“Repeat thy new name after me, saying, `I, . . ., swear, upon my mother’s womb and by mine honour among men and my brothers and sisters of the Art, that I will never reveal to any at all any of the secrets of the Art, except it be to a worthy person, properly prepared, in the center of a Magic Circle such as I am now in. This I swear by my hopes of salvation, my past lives and my hopes of future ones to come and I devote myself and my measure to utter destruction if I break this my solemn Oath.’”
Kneel. Place Left Hand under Initiate’s Knee and Right Hand on Head, thus forming Magic Link, saying: “I will all my power into thee.” WILL. Loose, assist to rise.
Consecrate: “I consecrate thee with oil [on genitals, right breast, left hip, right hip, left breast, genitals), I consecrate thee with wine, I consecrate thee with my lips, High Priest and Magus (High Priestess and Witch Queen)." Loose remaining cords. [kiss]
“You will now use the working tools in turn,
“First the Magic Sword (Form Circle) [kiss]
“Second the Athame. (Form Circle) [kiss]
“Third the White-Handled Knife (use) [kiss]
“Fourth the Wand. (Wave to 4 Quarters) [kiss]
“Fifth the Pentacle. (Show to 4 Quarters) [kiss]
“Sixth the Censer. (Circle, cense) [kiss]
“Seventh the Cords. (Use) [kiss]
“Eighth the scourge: for learn, in witchcraft you must ever give as you receive, but ever triple. So where I gave thee 3, return 9; where I gave 7, return 21; where I gave 9, return 27; where I gave 21, return 63.” (Use, 9, 21, 27, 63; i.e., 120 in all [kiss]) “Thou hast obeyed the law. But mark well, when thou receivest good, so equally art bound to return good threefold.”
The Priestess or Magus is then loosed from the cords and says: “Having learned thus far, you must know why the Wicca are called the Hidden Children of the Goddess”.
Then the Legend of the Goddess is either read or acted out. If it is possible to act it out, the new Initiate may take one of the parts. One of the Coven should act as Narrator, and another as Guardian of the Portal. The Priestess, or another woman, may act the part of the Goddess, and the Magus, or another man, may act the part of the God. The Priestess — or whoever is taking the part of the Goddess — takes off her necklace and lays it on the Altar. Then she goes outside the circle and is dressed in a veil and jewellery. The Magus — or whoever is taking the part of the God — is invested with a horned crown and girds on a sword, which he draws and stands in the God position with sword and scourge, by the altar.
Narrator: “In ancient times our Lord, the Horned One, was, as he still is, the Consoler, the Comforter; but men knew him as the Dread Lord of Shadows — lonely, stern, and hard. Now our Lady the Goddess had never loved, but she would solve all mysteries, even the mystery of Death — and so she journeyed to the Nether Lands. The Guardians of the Portals challenged her:”
(The Priestess — or whoever is taking the part of the Goddess — advances to the side of the Circle. Whoever is taking the part of the Guardian of the Portal challenges her with the Sword or Athame.)
Narrator: “`Strip off thy garments, lay aside thy jewels, for naught may ye bring with ye into this our land’. So she laid down her garments and her jewels and was bound, as are all who enter the realms of Death the Mighty One”.
(The Priestess takes off the veil and the jewellery and lays them down outside the Circle. The Guardian of the Portal binds her with the Cords and brings her inside the Circle.)
Narrator: “Such was her beauty that Death himself knelt and laid his sword and crown at her feet and kissed her feet.”
(The Magus — or whoever is playing the part of the God — comes forward and lays the Horned Crown and the Sword at the Priestess’s feet and kisses her feet)
Narrator: “Saying, `Blessed be thy feet that have brought thee in these ways. Abide with me, but let me place my cold hand on thy heart’. And she replied, `I love thee not. Why dost thou cause all things that I love and take delight in to fade and die?’ `Lady,’ replied Death, `’Tis Age and Fate, against which I am helpless. Age causes all things to wither; but when men die at the end of time, I give them rest and peace and strength, so that they may return. But you, you are lovely. Return not; abide with me.’ But she answered, `I love thee not.’ Then said Death, `An you receive not my hand on your heart, you must receive Death’s scourge.’”
(The Magus rises and takes up the Scourge from the Altar.)
Narrator: “`It is fate, better so,’ she said, and she knelt.”
(The Priestess kneels before the altar, and the Magus uses the scourge 3, 7, 9, 21.)
Narrator: “And Death scourged her tenderly, and she cried, `I feel the pangs of love’. And Death raised her, and said, `Blessed be,’ and he gave her the Fivefold Kiss, saying, `Thus only may you attain to joy and knowledge’.”
(The Magus raises the Priestess, gives her the Fivefold Kiss and unties the cords)
Narrator: “And he taught her all the Mysteries and gave her the necklace, which is the Circle of Rebirth.”
(The Magus takes the Priestess’s necklace from the Altar and replaces it about her neck. The Priestess takes up the Sword and the Horned Crown from the floor, where the Magus placed them, and gives them back to him. Then he stands as before by the Altar, in the position of the God, and she stands by his side in the pentacle position, as Goddess)
Narrator: “And she taught him the mystery of the sacred cup, which is the cauldron of rebirth. They loved and were one; and he taught her all the Magics. For there be three great mysteries in the life of man — love, death, and resurrection in a new body — and magic controls them all. To fulfill love you must return at the same time and place as the loved one, and you must meet and know and remember and love them again. But to be reborn you must die and be ready for a new body; to die you must be born; without love you may not be born — and these be all the magics. And our Goddess ever inclineth to love and mirth and happiness, and guardeth and cheriseth Her hidden children in life; and in death she teacheth the way to have communion, and even in this world She teacheth them the Mystery of the Magic Circle, which is placed between the worlds.”
The Priestess or Magus then replaces the Sword, Crown, Scourge, etc., upon the Altar, and taking the new Initiate by the hand and holding the Athame in the other, passes once round the Circle, proclaiming at the Four Quarters, “Hear, Ye Mighty Ones, . . . hath been duly consecrated High Priest and Magus (or High Priestess and Witch Queen).”
C.8. The Third-Degree Initiation (1957)
Magus gives Fivefold Kiss.
Magus: “Ere we proceed with this sublime degree, I must beg purification at thy hands.”
High Priestess binds Magus and ties him down to the altar. She circumambulates three times, and scourges Magus with three, seven, nine, and 21 strokes. She then unbinds him and helps him to his feet.
Magus now binds the High Priestess and ties her down to the altar. He circumambulates, proclaiming to the four quarters, “Hear, ye mighty Ones, the twice consecrate and Holy (name), High Priestess and Witch Queen, is properly prepared and will now proceed to erect the Sacred Altar.”
Magus scourges High Priestess with three, seven, nine, and 21 strokes.
Magus kisses her feet. “Ere I dare proceed with this sublime degree, I must again beg purification at thy hands.”
She binds and scourges him.
Note: if High Priestess has not performed this rite before, he says, “Here I reveal to you a great mystery.” [Kneel and place couch in position so as to face north.]
Assist me to build
As the Mighty One willed,
An Altar of praise,
From beginning of days,
Thus doth it lie,
Twixt the points of the sky,
For thus it was placed When the Goddess embraced The Horned One, Her Lord, Who taught her the word,
[Priestess lies down in such a way that her vagina is approximately at the center of the circle]
Which quickened the womb,
And conquered the Tomb.
Be thus as of yore,
The Shrine we adore, [kiss]
The feast without fail,
The life-giving Grail, [kiss]
Before it uprear
The Miraculous Spear,
And invoke in this sign
The Goddess divine. [kiss]
Invoke: “Thou who at moon of night doth reign,
Queen of the starry realm above,
`Not unto Thee may we attain
Unless Thine Image be of Love.’ [kiss]
By moon-rays silver shaft of power,
By green leaf breaking from the bud,
By seed that springeth into flower,
By life that courseth in the blood. [kiss]
By rushing wind and leaping flame,
By flowing water and green earth,
Pour us the wine of our desire
From out Thy Cauldron of Rebirth. [kiss]
Here may we see in vision clear
The Secret Strange unveiled at length,
The wondrous Twin-Pillars rear
Erect in Beauty and in Strength. [kiss breasts]
Altar of Mysteries manifold, The Sacred Circle’s central point, Thus do I sign thee as of old, With kisses of my lips anoint.
(Eightfold Kiss: 3 points, Lips, 2 Breasts and back to lips, & 5 points*, with oil, wine, & kisses)
Open for me the Secret Way,
The pathway of intelligence,
Between the Gates of Night and Day,
Beyond the bounds of time and sense.
Behold the Mystery aright,
The Five True Points of Fellowship,
Here where the Lance and Grail unite,
And feet and knees and breast and lips.”
Magus and High Priestess: “Encourage our hearts, Let thy Light crystallize itself in our blood, fulfilling us of Resurrection, for there is no part of us that is not of the Gods.”