Aradia: Gospel of the Witches (Chapter 2: The Sabbat, Treguenda, or Witch Meeting)

Chapter II

The Sabbat, Treguenda Or Witch-Meeting

Charles G. Leland


Here follows the supper, of what it must consist, and what shall be said and done to consecrate it to Diana.

You shall take meal and salt, honey and water, and make this incantation:

I conjure thee, O Meal!
Who art indeed our body, since without thee
We could not live, thou who (at first as seed)
Before becoming flower went in the earth,
Where all deep secrets hide, and then when ground
Didst dance like dust in the wind, and yet meanwhile
Didst bear with thee in flitting, secrets strange!

And yet erewhile, when thou were in the ear,
Even as a (golden) glittering grain, even then
The fireflies came to cast on thee their light
And aid thy growth, because without their help
Thou couldst not grow nor beautiful become;
Therefore thou dost belong unto the race
Of witches or of fairies, and because
The fireflies do belong unto the sun…

 


Queen of the fireflies! hurry apace,
Come to me now as if running a race,
Bridle the horse as you hear me now sing!
Bridle, O bridle the son of the king!
Come in a hurry and bring him to me!
The son of the king will ere long set thee free!
And because thou for ever art brilliant and fair,
Under a glass I will keep thee; while there,
With a lens I will study they secrets concealed,
Till all their bright mysteries are fully revealed,
Yea, all the wondrous lore perplexed
Of this life of our cross and of the next.
Thus to all mysteries I shall attain,
Yea, even to that at last of the grain;
And when this at last I shall truly know,
Firefly, freely I’ll let thee go!
When Earth’s dark secrets are known to me,
My blessing at last I will give to thee!

 

Here follows the Conjuration of the Salt.

I do conjure thee, salt, lo! here at noon,
Exactly in the middle of a stream
I take my place and see the water around,
Likewise the sun, and think of nothing else
While here besides the water and the sun;
For all my soul is turned in truth to them;
I do indeed desire no other thought,
I yearn to learn the very truth of truths,
For I have suffered long with the desire
To know my future or my coming fate,
If good or evil will prevail in it..
Water and sun, be gracious unto me!

 

Here follows the Conjuration of Cain.

I conjure thee, O Cain, as thou canst ne’er
Have rest or peace until thou shalt be freed
From the sun where thou art prisoned, and must go
beating thy hands and running fast meanwhile:
I pray thee let me know my destiny;
And it ’tis evil, change its course for me!
If thou wilt grant this grace, I’ll see it clear
In the water in the splendor of the sun;
And thou, O Cain, shalt tell by word of mouth
Whatever this my destiny is to be.
And unless thou grantest this,
May’st thou ne’er know peace or bliss!

 

Then shall follow the Conjuration of Diana.

You shall make cakes of meal, wine, salt, and honey in the shape of a (crescent or horned) moon, and then put them to bake, and say:

I do not bake the bread, nor with it salt,
Nor do I cook the honey with the wine;
I bake the body and the blood and soul,
The soul of (great) Diana, that she shall
Know neither rest nor peace, and ever be
In cruel suffering till she will grant
What I request, what I do most desire,
I beg it of her from my very heart!
And if the grace be granted, O Diana!
In honor of thee I will hold this feast,
Feast and drain the goblet deep,
We will dance and wildly leap,
And if thou grant’st the grace which I require,
Then when the dance is wildest, all the lamps
shall be extinguished and we’ll freely love!

 

And thus shall it be done: all shall sit down to the supper all naked, men and women, and the feast over, they shall dance, sing, make music, and then love in the darkness, with all the lights extinguished; for it is the Spirit of Diana who extinguishes them, and so they will dance and make music in her praise.

And it came to pass that Diana, after her daughter had accomplished her mission or spent her time on earth among the living (mortals), recalled her, and gave her the power that when she had been invoked…having done some good deed…she gave her the power to gratify those who had conjured her by granting her or him success in love:

To bless or curse with power friends or enemies (to do good or evil).
To converse with spirits.
To find hidden treasures in ancient ruins.
To conjure the spirits of priests who died leaving treasures.
To understand the voice of the wind.
To change water into wine.
To divine with cards.
To know the secrets of the hand (palmistry)
To cure diseases.
To make those who are ugly beautiful.
To tame wild beasts.

 

And whatever thing should be asked from the spirit of Aradia, that should be granted unto those who merited her favor.

And thus must they invoke her:

Thus do I seek Aradia! Aradia! Aradia! At midnight, at midnight I go into a field, and with me I bear water, wine, and salt, I bear water, wine, and salt, and my talisman – my talisman, my talisman, and a red small bag which I ever hold in my hand – con dentro, con dentro, sale, with salt in it, in it. With water and wine I bless myself, I bless myself with devotion to implore a favour from Aradia, Aradia. (emphasize italics and repetitions)

Aradia! my Aradia!
Thou art my daughter unto him who was
Most evil of all spirits, who of old
Once reigned in hell when driven away from heaven,
Who by his sister did thy sire become,
But as thy mother did repent her fault,
And wished to mate thee to a spirit who
Should be benevolent,
And not malevolent!

Aradia, Aradia! I implore
Thee by the love which she did bear for thee!
And by the love which I too feel for thee!
I pray thee grant the grace which I require!
And if this grace be granted, may there be
One of three signs distinctly clear to me:
The hiss of a serpent,
The light of a firefly,
The sound of a frog!

But if you do refuse this favour, then
May you in future know no peace nor joy,
And be obliged to seek me from afar,
Until you come to grant me my desire,
In haste, and then thou may’st return again
Unto thy destiny. Therewith, Amen!

Aradia: Gospel of the Witches (Chapter 1: Diana Gave Birth to Aradia)

Chapter I

How Diana Gave Birth To Aradia (Herodius)

Charles G. Leland


“It is Diana! Lo!
She rises crescented.”

-Krats’ Endymion

“Make more bright
The Star Queen’s crescent on her marriage night.”

-Ibid.

 

This is the Gospel of the Witches:

Diana greatly loved her brother Lucifer, the god of the Sun and of the Moon, the god of Light (Splendor), who was so proud of his beauty, and who for his pride was driven from Paradise.

Diana had by her brother a daughter, to whom they gave the name of Aradia (i.e. Herodius).

In those days there were on earth many rich and many poor.

The rich made slaves of the poor.

In those days were many slaves who were cruelly treated; in every palace tortures, in every castle prisoners.

Many slaves escaped. They fled to the country; thus they became thieves and evil folk. Instead of sleeping by nigh, they plotted escape and robbed their masters, and then slew them. So they dwelt in the mountains and forests as robbers and assassins, all to avoid slavery.

Diana said one day to her daughter Aradia:

‘Tis true indeed that thou a spirit art,
But thou wert born but to become again
A mortal; thou must go to earth below
To be a teacher unto women and men
Who fain would study witchcraft in thy school

Yet like Cain’s daughter thou shalt never be
Nor like the race who have become at last
Wicked and infamous from suffering,
As are the Jews and wandering Zingari,
Who are all thieves and knaves; like unto them
Ye shall not be…

And thou shalt be the first of witches known;
And thou shalt be the first of all I’ the world;
And thou shalt teach the art of poisoning,
Of poisoning those who are great lords of all;
Yea, thou shalt make them die in their palaces;
And thou shalt bind the oppressor’s soul (with power);
And when ye find a peasant who is rich,
Then ye shall teach the witch, your pupil, how
To ruin all his crops with tempests dire,
With lightning and with thunder (terrible),
And with the hail and wind…

And when a priest shall do you injury
By his benedictions, ye shall do to him
Double the harm, and do it in the name
of me, Diana, Queen of witches all!

And when the priests or the nobility
shall say to you that you should put your faith
In the Father, Son, and Mary, then reply;
“Your God, the Father, and Maria are
Three devils…”

“For the true God the Father is not yours;
For I have come to sweep away the bad
The men of evil, all will I destroy!”

“Ye who are poor suffer with hunger keen,
And toil in wretchedness, and suffer too
Full oft imprisonment; yet with it all
Ye have a soul, and for your sufferings
Ye shall be happy in the other world,
But ill the fate of all who do ye wrong!”

 

Now when Aradia had been taught, taught to work all witchcraft, how to destroy the evil race (of oppressors), she (imparted it to her pupils) and said unto them:

When I shall have departed from this world,
Whenever ye have need of anything,
Once in the month, and when the moon is full,
Ye shall assemble in some desert place,
Or in a forest all together join
To adore the potent spirit of your queen,
My mother, great Diana. She who fain
Would learn all sorcery yet has not won
Its deepest secrets, then my mother will
Teach her, in truth all things as yet unknown.
And ye shall all be freed from slavery,
And so ye shall be free in everything;
And as the sign that ye are truly free,
Ye shall be naked in your rites, both men
And women also: this shall last until
The last of your oppressors shall be dead;
And ye shall make the game of Benevento
Extinguishing the lights, and after that
Shall hold your supper thus:

Aradia: Gospel of the Witches (Preface)

Aradia: Gospel of the Witches

Preface

Charles G. Leland


This book was written by Charles G. Leland in 1890. It is not copyrighted in any way and therefore may be duplicated in any manner required for the widest possible dissemination.

If the reader has ever met with the works of the learned folk-lorist G. Pitre, or the articles contributed by “Lady Vere de Vere” to the Italian Rivista or that of J. H. Andrews to Folk-Lore, he will be aware that there are in Italy great numbers of strege, fortune-tellers or witches, who divine by cards, perform strange ceremonies in which spirits are supposed to be invoked, make and sell amulets, and, in fact, comport themselves generally as their reputed kind are wont to do, be they Black Voodoos in America or sorceresses anywhere.

But the Italian strega or sorceress is in certain respects a different character from these. In most cases she comes of a family in which her calling or art has been practiced for many generations. I have no doubt that there are instances in which the ancestry remounts to mediaeval, Roman, or it may be Etruscan times. The result has naturally been the accumulation in such families of much tradition. But in Northern Italy, as its literature indicated, though there has been some slight gathering of fairy tales and popular superstitions by scholars, there has never existed the least interest as regarded the strange lore of the witches, nor any suspicion that it embraced an incredible quantity of old Roman minor myths and legends, such as Ovid has recorded, but of which much escaped him and all other Latin writers.

This ignorance was greatly aided by the wizards and witches themselves, in making a profound secret of all their traditions, urged thereto by fear of the priests. In fact, the latter all unconsciously actually contributed immensely to the preservation of such lore, since the charm of the forbidden is very great, and witchcraft, like the truffle, grows best and has its raciest flavour when most deeply hidden. However this may be, both priest and wizard are vanishing now with incredible rapidity – it has even struck a French writer that a Franciscan in a railway carriage is a strange anomaly – and a few more years of newspapers and bicycles (Heaven knows what it will be when flying-machines appear!) will probably cause an evanishment of all.

However, they die slowly, and even yet there are old people in the Romagna of the North who know the Etruscan names of the Twelve Gods, and invocations to Bacchus, Jupiter, and Venus and Mercury, and the Lares or ancestral spirits, and in the cities are women who prepare strange amulets, over which they mutter spells, all known in the old Roman time, and who can astonish even the learned by their legends of Latin gods, mingled with lore which may be found in Cato or Theocritus. With one of these I became intimately acquainted in 1886, and have ever since employed her specially to collect among her sisters of the hidden spell in many places all the traditions of the olden time known to them. It is true that I have drawn from other sources, but this woman by long practice has perfectly learned what few understand, or just what I want, and how to extract it from those of her kind.

Among other strange relics, she succeeded, after many years, in obtaining the following “Gospel”, which I have in her handwriting. A full account of its nature with many details will be found in an Appendix. I do not know definitely whether my informant derived a part of these traditions from written sources or oral narration, but believe it was chiefly the latter. However, there are a few wizards who copy or preserve documents relative to their art. I have not seen my collector since the “Gospel” was sent to me. I hope at some future time to be better informed.

For brief explanation I may say the witchcraft is known to its votaries as la vecchia religione, or the old religion, of which DIANA is the Goddess, her daughter Aradia (or Herodius) the female Messiah, and that this little work sets forth how the latter was born, came down to earth, established witches and witchcraft, and then returned to heaven. With it are given the ceremonies and invocations or incantations to be addressed to Diana and Aradia, the exorcism of Cain, and the spells of the holy-stone, rue, and verbena, constituting, as the text declares, the regular church-service, so to speak, which is to be chanted or pronounced at the witch meetings. There are also included the very curious incantations or benedictions of the honey, meal, and salt, or cakes of the witch-supper, which is curiously classical, and evidently a relic of the Roman Mysteries.

The work could have been extended ad infinitum by adding to it the ceremonies and incantations which actually form a part of the Scripture of Witchcraft, but as these are nearly all – or at least in great number – to be found in my works entitled Etruscan-Roman Remains and Legends of Florence, I have hesitated to compile such a volume before ascertaining whether there is a sufficiently large number of the public who would buy such a work.

Since writing the foregoing I have met with and read a very clever and entertaining work entitled Romanzo dei Settimani, G. Cavagnari, 1889, in which the author, in the form of a novel, vividly depicts the manners, habits of thought, and especially the nature of witchcraft, and the many superstitions current among the peasants in Lombardy. Unfortunately, notwithstanding his extensive knowledge of the subject, it never seems to have occurred to the narrator that these traditions were anything but noxious nonsense or abominably un-Christian folly. That there exist in them marvelous relics of ancient mythology and valuable folklore, which is the very cor cordium of history, is as uncared for by him as it would be by a common Zoccolone or tramping Franciscan. One would think it might have been suspected by a man who knew that a witch really endeavored to kill seven people as a ceremony rite, in order to get the secret of endless wealth, that such a sorceress must have had a store of wondrous legends; but of all this there is no trace, and it is very evident that nothing could be further from his mind than that there was anything interesting from a higher or more genial point of view in it all.

His book, in fine, belongs to the very great number of those written on ghosts and superstition since the latter has fallen into discredit, in which the authors indulge in much satirical and very safe but cheap ridicule of what to them is merely vulgar and false. Like Sir Charles Coldstream, they have peeped in the crater of Vesuvius after is had ceased to “erupt”, and found “nothing in it.” But there was something in it once; and the man of science, which Sir Charles was not, still finds a great deal in the remains, and the antiquarian a Pompeii or a Herculaneum – ’tis said there are still seven buried cities to unearth. I have done what little (it is really very little) I could, to disinter something from the dead volcano of Italian sorcery.

If this be the manner in which Italian witchcraft is treated by the most intelligent writer who has depicted it, it will not be deemed remarkable that there are few indeed who will care whether there is a veritable Gospel of the Witches, apparently of extreme antiquity, embodying the belief in a strange counter-religion which has held its own from pre-historic time to the present day. “Witchcraft is all rubbish, or something worse,” said old writers, “and therefore all books about it are nothing better.” I sincerely trust, however, that these pages may fall into the hands of at least a few who will think better of them.

I should, however, in justice to those who do care to explore dark and bewildering paths, explain clearly that witch-lore is hidden with most scrupulous care from all save a very few in Italy, just as it is among the Chippeway Medas or the Black Voodoo. In the novel to the life of I Settimani an aspirant is represented as living with a witch and acquiring or picking up with pain, scrap by scrap, her spells and incantations, giving years to it. So my friend the late M. Dragomanoff told me how a certain man in Hungary, having learned that he had collected many spells (which were indeed subsequently published in folklore journals), stole them, so that the next year when Dragomanoff returned, he found the thief in full practice as a blooming magician. Truly he had not got many incantations, only a dozen or so, but a very little will go a great way in the business, and I venture to say there is perhaps hardly a single witch in Italy who knows as many as I have published, mine having been assiduously collected from many, far and wide. Everything of the kind which is written is, moreover, often destroyed with scrupulous care by priests or penitents, or the vast number who have a superstitious fear of even being in the same house with such documents, so that I regard the rescue of the Vangelo as something which is to say the least remarkable.

Aradia – Or The Gospel Of The Witches

Hear the Prayer of Aradia, the Holy Strega


Moon & Witch Comments & Graphics

Hear the Prayer of Aradia, the Holy Strega

 

Aradia, the Holy Strega, told her followers to seek the Moon above all others, for the purposes of Magic. In the closing prayer of the Full Moon Ritual, we find these words which Aradia’s followers were later to have written :

 

“O’ Goddess of the Moon…
teach us your ancient mysteries…
that the Holy Strega spoke of,
for I believe the Strega’s story,
when she told us to entreat Thee,
told us when we seek for Knowledge,
to seek and find Thee above all others”.

 

Agrippa understood this also, when he wrote,

 

“Therefore. her (the moon) motion is to be observed
before the others, as the parent of all conception……hence it is,
that without the Moon intermediating, we cannot at any time
attract the power of the superiors…”

 

What Agrippa spoke of, is what witches have known for Ages:

The Moon is the focal point of power upon the Earth.

 

Calendar of the Sun for Tuesday, April 22nd

Calendar of the Sun
22 Eostremonath

Day of Aradia

Colors: White and silver
Element: Air
Altar: Upon a cloth of white and silver place many silver paper stars and a silver paper moon, a glass bowl of water with a silver metal star immersed in it, two white candles, and a spray of white blossom.
Offerings: Silver paper stars with wishes written on them. Give unselfishly of yourself to someone.
Daily Meal: Light, cold food.

Invocation to Aradia

Daughter of Diana the Mother of All,
Daughter of Lucifer the Bright,
Child of Light who glows with the power
Of all the stars in the sky,
Promised one who aids those
Of your mother’s children
Who cry out in great need,
Hear us, Aradia, daughter of the sky,
Whose song is borne on the west winds
And whose touch is the twinkle of a star
As it glimmers at midnight,
Time of the witching hour.
We call upon you, child who was promised
To us as our savior and helpmate,
To remember us in our time of need
And to give us aid in times of hardship.
Your merciful hands extend over us
Like a shower of midnight stars.

Chant:
Moon, moon, shining bright,
Midnight on the water,
Oh, Aradia,
Diana’s silver daughter.
Hope, hope, shining bright,
Bring us through the dark night,
Oh, Aradia,
Child of moon and starlight.
(All place their stars upon the altar and then douse the candles.)

 

[Pagan Book of Hours]

WOTC’s Extra – Goddesses/Gods You Can Call On for Specific Spellworking

Goddesses You Can Call Upon for Specific Spellwork:

Aphrodite: Greek; Goddess of passionate, sexual love.
Aphrodite will assist you in pulling loving energy toward yourself.
Aradia: Italian; Queen of the Witches, daughter of Diana.
Aradia is an extremely powerful entity and a protectress of Witches in general.
Artemis: Greek; Goddess of the Moon.
Astarte: Greek; Fertility Goddess.
Whether you wish to bear children or have a magnificent garden, Astarte will assist in your desire.
Demeter: Greek; Earth Mother archetype.
Excellent Goddess where birthing or small children are involved.
Diana: Roman; Moon Goddess and Goddess of the Hunt. Diana is many faceted.
She is seductress (as she enchanted her brother Lucifer to beget Aradia in the form of a cat) as well as a mother figure for Witches.
Isis: Egyptia; represents the Complete Goddess or the Triple Goddess connotation in one being.
Persephone: Greek; Goddess of the Underworld as well as Harvest. Daughter of Demeter.
Selene: Greek; Goddess of the Moon and Solutions.
Appeal to Selene to bring a logical answer to any problem.
Venus: Roman; Goddess of Love and Romance

 

Gods You Can Call Upon for Specific Spellwork:

Adonis: Greek; consort of Aphrodite. Also another name for “lord”.
In Phoenician his counterpart is Astarte.
A vegetarian God. Roman counterpart is Venus.
Apollo: Greek and Roman; twin brother of Artemis. God of the Sun, Light and the Arts.
Cernunnos: Celtic; Horned God and consort of the Lady. Also Kernunnos.
Eros: Greek; God of Romance and Passionate Love.
Hymen: Greek; God of Marriage and Commitment. His counterpart is Dionysus.
Luce: Italian; Soul mate and Brother of Diana. Father of Arcadia. God of the Sun and Light.
Osiris: wiccan; counterpart of Isis. Over-all God form including vegetation and after-life.
Pan: Greek; God of Nature and the Woods, Laughter and Passion.
Also music and personal abandon. Of course, you can refer to either the God and/or Goddess as merely Lord and Lady if it makes you feel more comfortable.

 

 

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Deity of the Day – Diana

Deity of the Day – Diana


The classical moon goddess, Diana, is still worshipped by neopagans today. Long after Christianity’s triumph over classical paganism, her worship is still going strong.

Diana was the personification of the positive aspects of lunar forces. She was also believed to have led groups of nightriders (known as the “Wild Hunt” or the “Furious Horde”) who flew through the air. The “Wild Hunt” was comprised of “people taken by death before their time, children snatched away at an early age, victims of a violent end.” The goddess would accompany her followers as they wandered at night among the houses of the well-to-do. Whenever they would arrive at a home that was particularly well-kept, Diana would bestow her blessings upon it.

Diana was intrinsically linked with several other witch deities, including Abonde, Abundia, Aradia, Hecate, Herodias, Holda, Perchta, Satia, and Venus.

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Herb of the Day – Vervain, The Witches Herb

Witchy Comments & Graphics
Herb of the Day – Vervain, The Witches Herb

Vervain

(Verbena officinal is)
Feminine. Venus. Earth.

Deities: Cerridwen, Mars, Venus, Aradia, Jupiter, Thor, Juno

The Witches Herb. Love, Protection, Purification, Peace, Money, Youth, Chastity, Sleep. Healing. Empowers any magick, especially love spells. Enhances the dreaming process and is recommended for dream quests. Used to consecrate and empower any ritual tools. Protects from negative emotions and depression. Used in house and home blessings. Turns back negativity. In love spells: add to recipes to attract mates, find true love, achieve sexual fulfillment, work sexual magick, an for bringing extra bliss on the wedding night. The herb of poets, singers, and bards. Inspires artistry. Instills a love of learning. Best when gathered at Midsummer.

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft –C.9. The Witches’ Chant or Rune (1957) to D.4. Forming the Circle. (1961)

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft –C.9.  The Witches’ Chant or Rune (1957) to D.4.  Forming the Circle. (1961)

C.9.  The Witches’ Chant or Rune (1957)
Darksome night and Shining Moon,
East, then South, then West, then North,
Harken to the Witches Rune:
Here come I to call thee forth.

Earth and Water, Air and Fire,
Wand and Pentacle and Sword,
Work ye unto my desire,
Harken ye unto my word.

Cords and Censer, Scourge and knife,
Powers of the Witches Blade,
Waken all ye into life,
Come ye as the Charm is made:

Queen of Heaven, Queen of Hell,
Horned Hunter of the Night,
Lend your power unto the Spell,
Work my will by Magic Rite.

If chant is used to reinforce a work already begun, end with this:

By all the power of land and seaBy all the might of moon and sun,
What is my will- “So mote it be,”What I do say- “It shall be done.”

C.10. Consecrating Tools (1957)
(Note: if possible lay any new weapon touching an already consecrated one, Sword to sword, Athame to Athame, etc.)
[1] Prepare Circle and purify.  All tools must be consecrated by a man and a woman, both as naked as drawn swords; they must be purified, clean, and properly prepared.
[2] Place tool on pentacle on altar.  Magus sprinkles it with salt and water.  Witch passes it through smoke of incense, replaces it on pentacle.   Touching with already consecrated weapon, they say the First Conjuration.
[2a]  For sword or athame, say “I conjure thee, O Sword (or Athame) of Steel, that thou servest me for a strength and a defence in all magical operations, against all mine enemies, visible and invisible, in the names of Aradia and Cernunnos.  I conjure thee anew by the Holy Names Aradia and Cernunnos, that thou servest me for a protection in all adversities, so aid me.”
[2b]  For any other tool, say, “Aradia and Cernunnos, deign to bless and to consecrate this [tool], that it may obtain necessary virtue through thee for all acts of love and Beauty.”
[3] Again they sprinkle and cense, and say the Second Conjuration:
[3a]  For sword or athame, say, “I conjure thee, O Sword [Athame] of Steel, by the Great Gods and the Gentle Goddesses, by the virtue of the Heavens, of the Stars, of the Spirits who preside over them, that thou mayest receive such virtues that I may obtain the end that I desire in all things wherein I shall use thee, by the power of Aradia and Cernunnos.”
[3b] For any other tool, say, “Aradia and Cernunnos, bless this instrument prepared in thine honour.”  (For the scourge or cords, add, “That it may only serve for a good use and end, and to thy Glory.”)
[4] All instruments when consecrated should be presented to their User by giving the [point-down triangle] sign salute (if they are working in the 1st degree, or the sign of the higher degree if they are working that.)
[5] Then the one who is not the owner should give the Fivefold Kiss to the owner.  For the final kiss, the tool should be placed between the breasts, and the two workers should embrace for as long as they feel like, it being held in place by their bodies.  The new owner should use it immediately, i.e., cast (trace) Circle with Sword or Athame, wave wand to 4 quarters, cut something with white-handled knife, etc.  Cords and scourge should be used at once.
The tool should be kept in as close connection as possible to the naked body for at least a month, i.e., kept under pillow, etc.  When not in use, all tools and weapons should be put away in a secret place; and it is good that this should be near your sleeping place, and that you handle them each night before retiring.  Do not allow anyone to touch or handle any of your tools until they are thoroughly impregnated with your aura; say, six months or as near as possible.  But a couple working together may own the same tools, which will be impregnated with the aura of both.

D.1 The Old Laws (1961)
[A] The Law was made and Aredan of old. The law was made for the Wicca, to advise and help in their troubles. The Wicca should give due worship to the Gods and obey their will, which they Aredan, for it was made for the good of the Wicca, As the [5] Wicca’s worship is good for the Gods, For the Gods love the Wicca. As a man loveth a woman, by mastering her, so the Wicca should love the Gods, by being mastered by them.
And it is necessary that the Circle, which is the Temple of the Gods, should be truly cast and purified, that it [10] may be a fit place for the Gods to enter. And the Wicca should be properly prepared and purified, to enter into the presence of the Gods.
With love and worship in their hearts they shall raise power from their bodies to give power to the Gods, as has been toughed us of old, [15] For in this way only may man have communion with the Gods, for the Gods cannot help man without the help of men.
[B] And the High Priestess shall rule her Coven as representative of the Goddess, and the High Priest shall support her as the representative of the God, And the High Priestess shall choose whom she [20] will, if he have sufficient rank, to be her High Priest),
For the God himself, kissed her feet in the fivefold salute, laying his power at the feet of the Goddess, because of her youth and beauty, her sweetness and kindness, her wisdom and Justice, her humility and generosity.  So he resigned his lordship to her.
But the Priestess should [25] ever mind that all power comes from him. lt is only lent when it is used wisely and justly. And the greatest virtue of a High Priestess is that she recognizes that youth is necessary to the representative of the Goddess, so that she will retire gracefully in favour of a younger woman, Should the Coven so decide in Council,  For the true [30] High Priestess realizes that gracefully surrendering pride of place is one of the greatest of virtues, and that thereby she will return to that pride of place in another life, with greater power and beauty.
[C] In the days when Witchdom extended far, we were free and worshipped in Alther Greatest Temples,  but in these unhappy times [35] we must hold our sacred mysteries in secret. So it be Aredan, that none but the Wicca may see our mysteries, for our enemies are many, And torture looseth the tongues of many. It be aredan that each Coven shall not know where the next Coven bide, or who its members are, save the Priest and Priestess, [40] That there shall be no communication between them, save by the Messenger of the Gods, or the Summoner. Only if it be safe, may the Covens meet, in some safe place, for the great festivals.
And while there, none shall say whence they come, or give their true names, to the end that, if any are tortured, in their agony, they can [45] not tell if they know not.  So it be Aredan that no one may tell any not of the Craft who be of the Wicca, nor give any names, or where they bide, or in any way tell anything which can betray any to our foes, nor may they tell where the Covenstead be, or where is the Covendom, [50] or where be the meetings or that there have been meetings.
And if any break these laws, even under torture, The Curse of the Goddess shall be upon them, so they never reborn on earth, And may they remain where they belong, in the Hell of the Christians.
[D] Let each High Priestess govern her Coven with Justice and [55] love, with the help of the advice of the elders, always heeding the advice of the Messenger of the Gods, if he cometh. She will heed all complaints of brothers, and strive to settle all differences among them, but it must be recognized that there be people who will ever strive to force others to do as they will. [60] They are not necessarily evil, and they often do have good ideas, and such ideas should be talked over in council. And if they will not agree with their brothers, or if they say, “I will not work under this High Priestess,” it hath always been the old law to be convenient for the brethren, and to void disputes, any of the Third [65] may claim to found a new Coven because they live over a league from the Covenstead, or are about to do so. Anyone living within the Covendom wishing to form a new Coven, to avoid strife, shall tell the Elders of his intention and on the instant void his dwelling and remove to the new Covendom.
Members of the old Coven may join the New one when it be formed, but if they do, must utterly void the old Coven. The Elders of the New and the Old Covens should meet in peace and brotherly love, to decide the new boundaries. Those of the Craft who dwell outside both Covendoms may join either indifferent, but not both, though all may, if the Elders [75] agree, meet for the Great Festivals, if it be truly in peace and brotherly love. But splitting the coven oft means strife, so for this reason these laws were made of old,  And may the curse of the Goddess be on any who disregard them.  So be it aredan.
[E] If you would Keep a book let it be in your own hand of write. [80] Let brothers and sisters copy what they will, but never let the book out of your hands, and never keep the writings of another, for if it be found in their hand of write, they well may be taken and Engined. Each should guard his own writings and destroy it whenever danger threatens. Learn as much as you may by heart, and when danger is [85] past, rewrite your book an it be safe. For this reason, if any die, destroy their book if they have not been able to, for an it be found, ’tis clear proof against them, And our oppressors well know, “Ye may not be a witch alone” So all their kin and friends be in danger of torture.  So ever destroy anything not necessary.
[90] If your book be found on you. ’tis clear proof against you alone.  You may be engined.  Keep all thoughts of the Craft from your mind.  Say you had bad dreams; a devil caused you to write it without your knowledge.  Think to yourself, “I know nothing.  I remember nothing.  I have forgotten everything.”  Drive this [95] into your mind.  If the torture be too great to bear, say, “I will confess.  I cannot bear this torture.  What do you want me to say?  Tell me and I will say it.”  If they try to make you speak of the brotherhood, Do NOT, but if they try to make you speak of [100] impossibilities, such as flying through the air, consorting with the Christian Devil, or sacrificing children, or eating men’s flesh, to obtain relief from torture, say, “I had an evil dream.  I was not myself.  I was crazed.”
Not all Magistrates are bad. If there [105] be an excuse they may show mercy.  If you have confessed aught, deny it afterwards; say you babbled under torture, you knew not what you did or said.  If you are condemned, fear not.  The Brotherhood is powerful.  They may help you to escape, if you stand steadfast, but if you betray aught, there is no hope for you, in this [110] life, or in that which is to come.  Be sure, if steadfast you go to the pyre, Dwale will reach you.  You will feel naught.  You go but to Death and what lies beyond, the ecstasy of the Goddess.
[F] ‘Tis probable that before you are engined, Dwale will reach you. [115] Always remember that Christians fear much that any die under torture.  At the first sign of swoon, they cause it to be stopped, and blame the tormenters.  For that reason, the tormenters themselves are apt to feign to torment, but do not, so it is best not to die at first. If Dwale reaches you, ’tis a sign that you have a friend somewhere. [120] You may be helped to escape, so despair not. If the worst comes, and you go to the pyre, wait till the flames and smoke spring up, bend your head over, and breath in with long breaths. You choke and die swiftly, and wake in the arms of the Goddess.
[G] To void discovery, let the working tools [125] be as ordinary things that any may have in their houses.  Let the Pentacles be of wax, so they may be broken at once. Have no sword unless your rank allows you one.  Have no names or signs on anything.  Write the names and signs on them in ink before consecrating them and wash it off immediately after.  Do not Bigrave them, [130] lest they cause discovery.  Let the colour of the hilts tell which is which.
[H] Ever remember, ye are the Hidden Children of the Gods.  So never do anything to disgrace them. Never boast, Never threaten, Never say you would wish ill to anyone.  If you or any not in the Circle speak of the Craft, [135] say, “Speak not to me of such. It frightens me.  ‘Tis evil luck to speak of it.”
For this reason: the Christians have spies everywhere. These speak as if they were well affected, as if they would come to Meetings, saying, “My mother used to go to worship the Old Ones. I would that I could go myself.”*  To these ever deny all knowledge.
[140] But to others ever say, “‘Tis foolish men talk of witches flying through the air; to do so they must be light as thistledown,” and “Men say that witches all be bleared-eyed old crones, so what pleasure can there be in witch meetings such as folk talk on?”  Say, “Many wise men now say there be no such creatures.” Ever [145] make it a jest, and in some future time, perhaps the persecution will die, and we may worship safely again.  Let us all pray for that happy day.
[I] May the blessings of the Goddess and the God be on all who keep these laws which are Aredan.
[J] If the Craft hath any Appanage, let all brothers guard it, and help to keep it clear and good for the Craft, and let all justly guard all monies of the Craft.
But if some brothers truly wrought it, ’tis right that they have their pay, an it be just, an this be not taking [5] money for the use of the Art, but for good and honest work.  And even the Christians say, “A labourer is worthy of his hire.”  But if any brothers work willingly for the good of the craft without pay, ’tis but to their greater honour.  So it be Aredan.
[K] If there be any disputes or quarrels among the brethren, the [10] High Priestess shall straight convene the Elders and enquire into the matter, and they shall hear both sides, first alone, then together, and they shall decide justly, not favouring the one side or the other, ever recognizing that there be people who can never agree to work under others, but at the same time there be some people who [15] cannot rule justly.  To those who ever must be chief, there is one answer, “Void the Coven and seek another, or make a Coven of your own, taking with you those who will to go.”  To those who cannot rule justly, the answer be, “Those who cannot bear your rule will leave you,” for none may come to meetings with those with whom they are at [20] variance;  so, an either cannot agree, get hence, for the Craft must ever survive. So it be Aredan.
[L] In the olden days when we had power, we could use our Arts against any who ill-treated any of the Brotherhood, but in these evil times, we may not do so, for our enemies have devised a burning [25] pit of everlasting fire, into which they say their God casteth all the people who worship him, except it be the very few who are released by their priests’ spells and Masses, and this be chiefly by giving money and rich gifts to receive his favour, for their Alther Greatest God [Greatest God of all] is ever in need of Money. [30] But as our Gods need our aid to make fertility for men and crops, So the God of the Christians is ever in need of man’s help to search out and destroy us.
Their priests tell them that any who get our help or our cures are damned to the Hell forever, so men be mad for the terror of it. But they make men [35] believe that they may scape this hell if they give victims to the tormenters.  So for this reason all be forever spying, thinking, “An I can but catch one of the Wicca I will scape this fiery pit.” But we have our hidels, and men searching long and not finding say, “there be none, or if they be, they be in a far country.”
[40] But when one of our oppressors die, or even be sick, ever is the cry, “This be Witches Malice,” and the hunt is up again.  And though they slay ten of their people to one of ours, still they care not; they have many thousands, while we are few indeed.  So it is Aredan that none shall use the Art in any way to do ill [45] to any, howevermuch they have injured us.  And for long we have obeyed this law, “Harm none” and nowtimes many believe we exist not.  So it be Aredan that this law shall still continue to help us in our plight.  No one, however great an injury or injustice they receive, may use the Art in any to do ill or harm any.  [50] But they may, after great consultations with all, use the Art to prevent or restrain Christians from harming us and others, but only to let or constrain them and never to punish, to this end.  Men say, “Such an one is a mighty searcher out and persecutor of Old Women whom he deemeth to be  Witches, [55] and none hath done him Skith [harm], so this be proof they cannot, or more truly, that there be none,” For all know full well that so many folk have died because someone had a grudge against them, or were persecuted because they had money or goods to seize, or because they had none to bribe the searchers.  And many have died [60] because they were scolding old women, so much so that men now say that only old women are witches, and this be to our advantage, and turns suspicion away from us.
In England ’tis now many a year since a witch hath died the death,
but any misuse of the power might raise the Persecution again; so never break this law, [65] however much you are tempted, and never consent to its being broken.  If you know it is being broken in the least, you must work strongly against it, and any High Priestess or High Priest who consents to it must be immediately deposed, for ’tis the blood of the Brethren they endanger.  Do good, an it be safe, and only if [70] it be safe, for any talk may endanger us.
[M] And strictly keep to the Old Law, never accept money for the use of the art.  It is Christian priests and sorcerers who accept money for the use of their Arts, and they sell Dwale and evil love spells and pardons to let men scape from their sins. [75] Be not as these. Be not as these. If you accept not money, you will be free of temptation to use the Art for evil causes.
[N] You may use the Art for your own advantage, or for the advantage of the Craft, only if you be sure you harm none.  But ever let the Coven debate the matter at length.  Only if all are satisfied that none may be harmed [80] may the Art be used.  If it is not possible to achieve your ends one way without harming any, perchance the aim may be achieved by acting in a different way, so as to harm none.  May the Curse of the Goddess be on any who breach this law.  So it be aredan.
[O] ‘Tis adjudged lawful an anyone need a house or land, an none will [85] sell, to incline the owner’s mind to be willing to sell, provided it harmeth him not in any way, and that the full worth is paid, without haggling.  Never bargain or cheapen anything which you buy by the Art. So it be Aredan.
[P] It is the Old Law and the most important of all Laws [90] that no one may do or say anything which will endanger any of the Craft, or bring them in contact with the law of the land, or the Law of the Church or any of our persecutors.  In any disputes between the brethren, no one may invoke any laws but those of the Craft, or any Tribunal but that of the Priestess and the Priest and the [95] Elders. And may the Curse of the Goddess be on any who so do. So it be Aredan.
[Q] It is not forbidden to say as Christians do, “There be Witchcraft in the Land,” because our oppressors of old made it Heresy not to believe in Witchcraft, and so a crime to deny it, which thereby put [100] you under suspicion.  But ever say “I know not of it here, perchance they may be, but afar off. I know not where.”  But ever speak so you cause others to doubt they be as they are.  Always speak of them as old crones, consorting with the Devil and riding through the air. But ever say, “But how may men ride through the air an they be not [105] as light as thistledown?” But the curse of the Goddess be on any who cast any suspicion on any of the Brotherhood, or speaks of any real meeting place, or where any bide. So it be Aredan.
[R] Let the Craft keep books with the names of all Herbs which are good for man, and all cures, that all may learn.  But keep [110] another book with all the Banes [poisons] and Apies. and let only the elders and trustworthy people have this knowledge. So it be Aredan.
[S] And may the Blessings of the Gods be on all who keep these Laws and the Curses of both God and Goddess be on all who break them So it be Aredan.
[The following two sections were added after 1960.]
[T] Remember the Art is the secret of the Gods and may only be used in earnest and never for show or vainglory.  Magicians and Christians may taunt us, saying, “You have no power.  Do magic before our eyes.  Then only will we believe,” seeking to cause us to betray our Art before them.  Heed them not, for the Art is holy, and may only be used in need.  And the curse of the Gods be on any who break this law.
[U] It ever be the way with women, and with men also, that they ever seek new love, nor should we reprove them for this, but it may be found to disadvantage the Craft, as so many a time it has happened that a High Priest or High Priestess, impelled by love, hath departed with their love; that is, they have left the coven.  Now, if a High Priestess wishes to resign, she may do so in full Coven, and this resignation is valid.  But if they should run off without resigning, who may know if they may not return within a few months?  So the law is, if a High Priestess leaves her coven, but returns within the space of a year and a day, then she shall be taken back, and all shall be as before.  Meanwhile, if she has a deputy, that deputy shall act as High Priestess for as long as the High Priestess is away.  If she returns not at the end of a year and a day, then shall the coven elect a new High Priestess.  Unless there be a good reason to the contrary.  The person who has done the work should reap the benefit of the reward,  Maiden and deputy of the High Priestess.

D.2. The Verse Charge (1961)
I the Mother, darksome and divine,
Say to thee, Oh children mine
(All ye assembled at mine Shrine),Mine the scourge and mine the kissThe five-point star of love and bliss
Here I charge ye in this sign.       (Assume Goddess position.)

All ye assembled here tonight
Bow before my spirit brightAphrodite, Arianrhod,Lover of the Horned God,
Mighty Queen of Witchery and night

Astarte, Hecate, Ashtaroth, Dione,
(Morrigan, Etain, Nisene),
Diana, Brigid, Melusine,Am I named of old by men,Artemis and Cerridwen,
Hell’s dark mistress, Heaven’s Queen.

(Whene’er trouble comes anoon)
All who would learn of me a Rune
Or would ask of me a boon,Meet ye in some secret gladeDance my round in greenwood shade,
by the light of the full moon.

(In a place wild and lone)
With the comrades alone
Dance about my altar stone.Work my holy Magistry,Ye who are fain of sorcery,
I bring ye secrets yet unknown.

(Whate’er troubles come to thee),
No more shall ye know slavery
Who give due worship unto me,Who tread my round on Sabbat-night.Come ye all naked to the rite,
In token ye be truly free.

I teach the mystery of rebirth,
Keep ye my mysteries in mirthHeart joined to heart, and lip to lip,Five are the points of fellowship
That bring ye ecstasy on Earth.

I ask no offerings, do but bow,
No other law but love I know,By naught but love I may be known,All that liveth is mine own
From me they come, to me they go.

D.3. Casting and Charging (1961)
[1]  Forming Circle.  Light candles.
1. Draw Circle with Magic Sword or Athame.
2. Sprinkle with consecrated water.
3. Cense.
4. Say, “I conjure thee, O Circle of Power, that thou be a Boundary and a Protection and a meeting place between the world of men and the realms of the Mighty Ones, A Guardian and a Protection that shall preserve and contain the Power which we shall raise within thee, Wherefore do I Bless and Consecrate thee.”
5. Say “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.”

[2]  Closing Circle.
Say, “Mighty Ones of the (East, South, West, North), I thank you for attending, and ere you depart for your lovely realms, I say Hail and Farewell.”

[3]  Consecration of Water and Salt.
Touch water with Athame, saying, “I exorcise thee, O Creature of Water, that thou cast out from thee all the impurities and uncleannesses of the spirits of the World of Phantasm, In the names of Aradia and Cernunnos.”
Touching Salt with Athame, say, “Blessings be upon this creature of Salt.  Let all malignity and hindrance be cast forth hencefrom and let all good enter herein.  Wherefore I bless thee that thou mayest aid me, In the names of Aradia and Cernunnos.”

[4]  Drawing Down the Moon.
“I invoke Thee and call upon Thee, Oh Mighty Mother of us All, Bringer of all Fruitfulness. By Seed and Root, by Stem and Bud, by Leaf and Flower and Fruit, by Life and Love, Do We invoke Thee to descend upon the body of Thy servant and Priestess (name).”
High Priest and other men give Fivefold Kiss.  Women all bow.

D.4.  Forming the Circle. (1961)
FORMING THE CIRCLE.  [1] Must have a man and a woman, properly prepared, i.e., naked.
[2] Mark a circle nine feet across on the floor with chalk, etc.  The best way is to get a string.  Tie 2 loops four foot, six inches apart.  Put one loop over a nail or something in the center.  Put chalk in the other and run it round.  If you can’t make marks on the floor, put furniture, etc., round to form it.  Have a table, etc., as an Altar, with all tools, etc., on it.  Have a bowl of water, and some salt.
[3] Place Athame on the bowl of water.  Say, “I exorcise thee, O creature of Water, that thou cast out from Thee all the impurities and uncleannesses of the Spirits of the World of Phantasm in the name of Aradia and Cernunnos.  But ever mind that Water purifies the body, but the scourge purifies the soul.”
[4] Then place Athame on the salt.  Say, “Blessings be upon this creature of Salt.  Let all malignity and hindrance be cast forth hencefrom, and let all good enter herein.  Wherefore I bless thee that thou mayest aid me, in the name of Aradia and Cernunnos.
[5] Then trace Circle on the lines you have marked out, starting at the East and returning to the East.  (Always go round the circle with your Right hand to the Altar.  Never go Widdershins.)   Then put the Salt into the water. and go round the circle again, sprinkling it to purify it.  Then go round again censing it.  (Everyone in the circle must be sprinkled and censed.)
[6] Then go to the East, Sword or Athame in hand.  Draw an invoking pentacle in the Air, starting at the top and going to the lefthand corner, saying, “I summon, and call thee up, O Ye Mighty ones of the East, to guard the Circle and witness our rites.”  Then holding the point of sword or Athame upwards, do the same to the south, west, and north, and return to the center, to the south of the Altar.
[7] Then each girl should bind her man,  hands behind back and cable Tow to neck.  He should kneel at altar, and be scourged.  When all men are thus “purified,” they purify the girls in turn.  No one may be in the circle without being thus purified.
[8] Then do whatever work wanted.
[9] When closing the Circle, the High Priestess, or whoever she tells to do it, saying, “Hail, ye mighty ones of the East.  I thank you for attending, and ere ye depart for your lovely realms, We say, Hail and Farewell.”

Bibliography
These are books you should read in order to see the sources Gardner used to create these rituals.

Crowley, Aleister.  Magick in Theory and Practice. Castle, n.d. [ca. 1930]
Gardner, Gerald B.  High Magic’s Aid.  Michael Houghton, 1949.
——.  Witchcraft Today.  Jarrolds, 1954.
——.  The Meaning of Witchcraft.  Aquarian Press, 1959.
Glanvil, Joseph, and Henry More.  Saducismus Triumphatus: or, Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions.  London: Lowndes, 3d ed., 1689.  Scholar’s Facsimiles, 1966.  One of Murray’s major sources of information.
Leland, Charles Godfrey.  Aradia: The Gospel of the Witches of Tuscany. Scribner’s, 1897.  Buckland Museum reprint, 1964.
Mathers, S. L. MacGregor, ed. and trans.  The Greater Key of Solomon.  De Laurence, Scott, 1914.
Murray, Margaret A.  The Witch-Cult in Western Europe.  Oxford University Press, 1921.  Oxford paperback, 1962.
——.  The God of the Witches.  Oxford University Press, 1934.  Doubleday Anchor, 1960.
Regardie, Israel.  The Golden Dawn: An Account of the Teachings, Rites, and Ceremonies of the Order of the Golden Dawn.  1937-1940.  Hazel Hills, 2d ed., 1969.

* Gardner appended this paragraph to the Craft Laws in the early 1960s.
* Gardner appended this paragraph to the Craft Laws in the early 1960s.
* These are shown by a drawing to be: genitals, left foot, right knee, left knee, right foot, and back to genitals.
* My Lady Epona points out that this is precisely what Charles Cardell had claimed; that is, this paragraph is a response to Cardell, and so it was probably inserted into the Craft Laws after the run-in with the Cardells and Olive Green in 1959.  This again is an indication that Gardner did not promulgate the Craft Laws as a document for the Book of Shadows until about 1960, when Mr. Q was initiated.

APPENDED NOTE: Although the information in regard to cource books is very
correct, it should be noted that additionally Gardner is known to have also
drawn from non-publically available books of Masonic Ritual accessable only to
members of FreeMasonry Lodges.

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft –C.6. The First-Degree Initiation (1957) to C.8. The Third-Degree Initiation (1957)

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.”
Postulant kneels.
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.”
(Exchange Names.)

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft – B.3. The Scourge and the Kiss. (1953)

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft – B.3. The Scourge and the Kiss. (1953)

B.3. The Scourge and the Kiss. (1953)
[1] Invocation
(Feet, knees, and wrists should be tightly bound to retard blood.) Scourge 40 or more, to make skin tingle, then say, invoking Goddess,
Hail, Aradia, from the Amalthean horn
Pour forth thy store of Love.  I lowly bend
Before Thee!  I invoke thee at the end
When other Gods are fallen and put to scorn.
Thy foot is to my lips!  My sighs inborn
Rise, touch, curl about thy heart.  Then spend,
Pitiful Love, loveliest Pity, descend
And bring me luck who am lonely and forlorn.

Ask the Goddess to help you to obtain your desires, then Scourge again to bind the spell. This be powerful in ill luck and for sickness.  It must be said in a Circle, and you must be properly prepared and well purified, both before and after saying, to bind the spell.
Before starting you must make a very clear picture in your mind of what you wish.  Make yourself see the wish obtained.  Be sure in your own mind exactly what it is and how it is to be fulfilled.
This spell is the one that was taught to me long ago and I have found it works, but I don’t think there is any special virtue in these words.  Any others can be substituted provided they ask the goddess’s (or gods’) help, and say clearly what you wish and you form the clear mental image; and if it doesn’t work at first, keep on trying till it works.  Your helper, who wields the scourge, must know what you wish, and also form the mental image.  And at first at any rate, it will be better for you to work the spell, then for the girl to take your place and work it also; you scourge her.  Don’t try anything difficult at first, and do it at least once a week till it works.  You have to get into sympathy with each other, before anything happens, and regular working helps this.
Of spells, the exact words matter little if the intent be clear and you raise the true power, and sufficient thereof.  Always in rhyme they are. There is something queer about rhyme.  I have tried, and the same seem to lose their power if you miss the rhyme.  Also in rhyme, the words seem to say themselves.  You do not have to pause and think: “What comes next?”  Doing this takes away much of your intent.
[2] Order and discipline must be kept.  A High Priest or Priestess may and should punish all faults to this end, and all of the Cult must accept such corrections willingly.  All are brothers and sisters, for this reason: that even the High Priestess must submit to the scourge.  Each fault should be corrected separately.  The Priest or Priestess must be properly prepared and call the culprit to trial.  They must be prepared as for initiation and kneel, be told their fault and sentence pronounced.  Punishment should be the scourge, followed by a forfeit such as several fivefold kisses or something of this nature.  The culprit must acknowledge the justice of the punishment by kissing hands and scourge on receiving sentence and again when thanking for punishment received.*
[3] The scourgings are 3, 7, 9 (thrice three), and 21 (thrice seven) 40 in all.  It is not meet to make offerings [scourgings] of less than two score to the Goddess, for here be a mystery.  The fortunate numbers be: 3 and 5.  For three added to two (the Perfect Couple) be five.  And three and five be eight; eight and five be thirteen; thirteen and eight be twenty-one.
The Fivefold Kiss is called 5, but there are 8 kisses, for there be 2 feet and 2 knees and genitals and 2 breasts and the lips. And 5 times 8 be two score.  Also, fortunate numbers be 3, 7, 8, and 21, which total 40, or two score.  For each man and woman hath ten fingers and ten toes, so each totals a score.  And a perfect couple be two score.
So a lesser number would not be perfect prayer. If more are required make it a perfect number, as four score or six score.
Also there be Eight Elemental Weapons.
[4] To make the anointing ointment, take some glazed pans filled half full with grease or olive oil.  Put in one sweet mint, marjoram in another, ground thyme in a 3rd, and it you may have it, patchouli, dried leaves pounded.  Place pans in hot water bath.  Stir and cook for several hours, then pout into linen bags, and squeeze grease through into pans again, and fill up with fresh leaves.  After doing this several times, the grease will be highly perfumed.  Then mix all together and store in a well-corked jar.
Anoint behind ears, throat, armpits, breasts, and womb.  Also, for all ceremonies where the feet are kissed, they should also be anointed.

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft -A.4. The Initiation (1949)[Third Degree]

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft -A.4. The Initiation (1949)[Third Degree]

[Third Degree]
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.
Cakes and wine may now be taken [see section A.5].
Magus: “Now I must reveal to you a great Mystery.” [kiss].
Note: if High Priestess has performed this rite before, omit these words.
High Priestess assumes Osiris position.
Magus: “Assist me to erect the Ancient Altar, at which in days past all worshipped, the Great Altar of all things.  For in the old times a woman was the Altar.  Thus was the altar made and so placed [Priestess lies down in such a way that her vagina is approximately at the center of the circle], and the sacred place was the point within the center of the circle, as we of old times have been taught, that the point within the center is the origin of all things.  Therefore should we adore it.” [kiss]
“Therefore, whom we adore, we also invoke, by the power of the lifted lance.”  Invokes.
“O circle of stars [kiss], whereof our Father is but the younger brother [kiss],
“Marvel beyond imagination, soul of infinite space, before whom time is ashamed, the mind bewildered and understanding dark, not unto thee may we attain unless thine image be of love [kiss].
“Therefore, by seed and root, and stem and bud and leaf and flower and fruit do we invoke thee, O, Queen of space, O dew of light, O continuous one of the Heavens [kiss].
“Let it be ever thus, that men speak not of Thee as one, but as none, and let them not speak of thee at all, since thou art continuous, for thou art the point within the circle [kiss], which we adore [kiss], the fount of life without which we would not be [kiss].
“And in this way truly are erected the Holy Twin Pillars Boaz and Jachin [kisses breasts].  In beauty and strength were they erected, to the wonder and glory of all men.”
(Eightfold Kiss: 3 points, Lips, 2 Breasts and back to lips; 5 points)
“O Secrets of secrets that art hidden in the being of all lives.  Not thee do we adore, for that which adoreth is also thou.  Thou art that and That am I [kiss].
“I am the flame that burns in every man, and in the core of every star [kiss].
“I am Life and the giver of Life, yet therefore is the knowledge of me the Knowledge of Death [kiss].
“I am alone, the Lord within ourselves whose name is Mystery of Mysteries [kiss].
“Make open the path of intelligence between us.  For these truly are the 5 points of fellowship [on the right appears an illuminated diagram of the point-up triangle above the pentacle, the symbol for the third degree], feet to feet, knee to knee, groin to groin, breast to breast, arms around back, lips to lips, by the Great and Holy Names Abracadabra, Aradia, and Cernunnos.
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.”
(Exchange Names.)

Closing the Circle
High Priestess Circumambulates, proclaiming, “The twice consecrate High Priestess greets ye Mighty Ones, and dismisseth ye to your pleasant abodes. Hail and Farewell.” She draws the banishing pentacle at each quarter.

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft – A.1. Casting the Circle

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft

The Public Contents of the Book of Shadows

There is really no such thing as the text of the Book of Shadows, because Gardner never bothered to word things the same way twice; whenever he copied something, he simultaneously rewrote it.  But this, of course, is the way that an author treats his own original material; it is not how anyone treats authoritative texts preserved from an earlier generation.
I have grouped the documents according to the dates when they were written; these dates are accurate to within a year or so, and the point to providing them, of course, is to emphasize that these documents are modern creations, NOT anything preserved from ancient or medieval tradition.  Material or comments added to these documents later on I have enclosed in square brackets [these things].

A.1. Casting the Circle (1949)
It is most convenient to mark the circle with chalk, paint or otherwise, to show where it is; but marks on the carpet may be utilized.  Furniture may be placed to indicate the bounds.  The only circle that matters is the one drawn before every ceremony with either a duly consecrated Magic Sword or an Athame.  The circle is usually nine feet in diameter, unless made for some very special purpose.  There are two outer circles, each six inches apart, so the third circle has a diameter of eleven feet.
[1] Having chosen a place proper, take the sickle or scimitar of Art or a Witch’s Athame, if thou mayest obtain it, and stick it into the center, then take a cord, and ’twere well to use the Cable Tow for this, and loop it over the Instrument, four and one half feet, and so trace out the circumference of the circle, which must be traced either with the Sword, or the knife with the black hilt, or it be of little avail, but ever leave open a door towards the North.  Make in all 3 circles, one within the other, and write names of power between these.
[2] First draw circle with Magic Sword or Athame.
[3] Consecrate Salt and Water: Touch water with Athame, saying, “I exorcise thee, O creature of Water, that thou cast out from Thee all the impurities and uncleannesses of the Spirits of the World of Phantasm, so they may harm me not, in the names of Aradia and Cernunnos.”
[4] Touching Salt with Athame, say, “The Blessings of Aradia and Cernunnos be upon this creature of Salt, and let all malignity and hindrance be cast forth hencefrom, and let all good enter herein, for without Thee man cannot live, wherefore I bless thee and invoke thee, that thou mayest aid me.”
[5] Then put the Salt into the water.
[6] Sprinkle with exorcised water.
[7] Light candles; say, “I exorcise thee, O Creature of Fire, that every kind of Phantasm may retire from thee, and be unable to harm or deceive in any way, in the names of Aradia and Cernunnos.”
[8] Caution initiate (if any); warn companions; enter circle and close doors with 3 pentagrams.
[9] Proclaim object of working
[10] Circumambulate 3 times or more before commencing work.
[11] Summon: “I summon, stir, and Call thee up, thou Mighty Ones of the East, South, West, and North.”  Salute and draw pentacle with Magic Sword or Athame, the first stroke being from the top down to the left.

White-Washed Witches

White-Washed Witches

Author: BellaDonna Saberhagen

Witches are good. They were the great priests and priestesses of the “Old Religion” that everyone turned to in times of need. They were healers and seers, guides and advocates. It was only when the big bad Christians came and burned the Witches (nine million women, to be exact) that they were seen as bad, malevolent, evil things seeking to destroy all that was good and holy. Christianity maligned the good people of the earth, demonized the gods, and spread the hatred and fear of Witches that survives until this very day.

The above sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It’s what many Pagan authors believe and would like their readers to believe. The only problem is, it’s not true. It’s rewritten history. Every bit of it. If we’re to grow beyond the haphazard anthropology of Margaret Murray, we have to accept that. Many Pagans do accept that (most Pagans by now, I would hope) ; but there is one part of it that seems to be ignored: that Witches are good, and in fact MUST be good.

Historically, often the opposite is true. I’m not speaking of Celtic or even Norse tales; one can argue that since they were not written down until after Christians took over their respective regions that they may well have been changed to suit Christian morality. However, the Greeks had tales of witches that far pre-date the Christian take-over, and even these do not paint witches too kindly.

Medea was a princess well skilled in magic. In the tale of Jason and the Golden Fleece, she plays a key role. Hera takes an interest in the success of the mission and asks Aphrodite to have her son Cupid strike Medea with love for Jason so that she would be willing to help him with her “dark knowledge.” Medea’s father was King Aetes, the keeper of the Golden Fleece. After being struck with love for the enemy of her father, Medea considers killing herself with one of her deadly potions rather than betray her father or her love. However, she decides to betray Aetes and help Jason, which sets the tone for future actions. She gives him a balm that makes him invincible for a day and tells him how to win the trial her father has set before him to win the Golden Fleece. After the trial is won, she learns that her father has no intention of honoring his bargain and handing over the Fleece. She tells Jason of this and he and the Argonauts steal the Fleece and take her with them as they flee. During the pursuit, Medea is responsible for allowing the Argonauts to escape by causing her brother’s death; either by asking him to rescue her and sending him into a trap or by cutting him into pieces herself and forcing her father to stop pursuit to gather the remains of his dismembered son.

Upon arriving home, Jason finds that his father, the rightful king, was forced to suicide by the evil Pelias (the entire expedition for the Fleece was a bargain made between he and Jason, if Jason could bring the Fleece, Pelias would relinquish the kingdom back to its rightful ruler) . Jason needs to bring Pelias down and again turns to Medea. Pelias is an old man, so Medea approaches his daughters with a magical way to make the old young again. She cuts up an old ram in front of them, puts the pieces in a pot of boiling water, says a charm and out springs a lamb. That night, the daughters happily cut their own father to ribbons in their effort to make him young again. Jason becomes king. Medea bears Jason two children, but he does not marry her. Instead, he marries the princess of Corinth in order to gain that kingdom as well and forces her and her sons to leave his realms because she threatens harm to his new wife and he has seen what she can do. In exile, Medea sends a poisoned garment that kills Jason’s wife. Once Jason finds out, he threatens to sell his sons into slavery, so Medea kills them herself so that they would not be so tortured and shamed; then she escapes as Jason curses her.

While some of her magic may have been for what she saw as good, she certainly did not live by the codes modernly associated with Witches. She was a Witch, but not a good Witch. Her early magic may not seem so bad, helping Jason to win the Fleece through the trial; but she had to betray her own family to even go that far and that was certainly seen as evil in those days. Circe was a “most beautiful and dangerous witch.” She turned every man she came upon into a beast, but with a human mind so that they remained conscious of their predicament. When Odysseus sent a scouting party out to check the island, she turned them into swine, save one who got away and ran back to tell his captain. Odysseus went alone to face Circe, having been given an herb by Hermes to prevent her magic from affecting him. That he was able to resist her magic sparked Circe’s romantic interest and she freed his men and told him what he must do next on his long journey home.

In another tale, Glaucus sought a love potion from her to make the woman he desired love him. His story made Circe love him, but he was not interested. She decided it was the fault of the woman for which he longed. Circe turned this woman into a monster that destroyed all that tried to get close. Her name was Scylla; she became a monster that different sea-farers worried about in several tales. She was another Witch doing evil things, possibly in the name of love, possibly for her own selfish aims.

The concept of Witches as evil is older than Christendom. These tales prove this. In fact, the idea of Witches as good is more modern than many would prefer to believe. The book, The Wizard of Oz was banned in some places for daring to have good Witches in it. Even Leland’s Aradia has Witches doing bad things (the age of this text is up for conjecture, I date it to Leland, since his claimed source was never heard from again; others consider it to be based on a much older text) . Aradia is told by her mother: “And thou shalt teach the art of poisoning, Of poisoning those who are great lords to all; Yea, thou shalt make them die in their palaces; and thou shalt bind oppressor’s souls; and when ye find a peasant who is rich, then ye shall teach the witch, your pupil how To ruin all his crops with tempests dire (…) And when a priest shall do you injury By his benediction, ye shall do to him double harm and do it in the name of me, Diana, queen of witches all!”

I find that Leland’s Aradia states that Witches should out-right harm those who oppose them (and even those simply better off than they are) very interesting since some of his writings were clearly taken and applied to some forms of modern Wicca. The Charge of the Goddess as written by Doreen Valiente states, “Whenever ye have need of any thing, once in the month, and better it be when the moon is full, then shall ye assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of She, who is Queen of all witches. There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet have not won its deepest secrets; to these will She teach things that are yet unknown. And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye be really free, ye shall be naked in your rites.”

From Aradia: “Whenever ye have need of anything, Once in the month, and when the moon is full, ye shall assemble in some desert place, or in a forest all together join to adore the potent spirit of your Queen, my mother, Great Diana. She who fain would learn all sorcery has not won its deepest secrets, then my mother will teach her, in truth all things as yet unknown. And ye shall be freed from slavery, and so ye shall be free in everything; and as the sign that ye are truly free, ye shall be naked in your rites.”

I only hope Valiente gave Leland credit and did not just outright plagiarize him. This piece is clearly taken from Aradia, but the morality taught in that book (what I took as proof of Witches doing bad things was from the very same chapter as the “Charge” was “borrowed” from) was discarded and the Wiccan Rede placed in its stead. Since, by what most modern Witches would prefer to believe, all Witches follow the Rede, there are no bad Witches; and if you believe Wicca is the “Old Religion” of Europe, there never were bad Witches.

This belief creates individuals who become indignant every time pop-culture and media portray Witches as anything but good. They cry everything from “Christian persecution” to “the patriarchy gets nervous about powerful women, so they have to make them evil, cruel and sometimes insane.” While these beliefs may not be baseless, it must also be understood that Witches are not always good, just as Christians are not always good, just as your five year-old is not always good. Witches are humans and as humans, we can make mistakes, get angry, be selfish, exact revenge and wish to protect our families and property at all costs. If modern Witchcraft really wants to strive to be one with nature, then we cannot go against nature. Nature is both destructive and creative, we need to be the same or we are unbalanced. It may well be true that “The Witch that cannot hex, cannot heal.”

I see the modern good interpretations of Witches to be like old B-rate horror day-for-night shots (outdoor scenes filmed in broad day-light with a filter over the lens trying to create the illusion of darkness and usually failing) ; they give the darkness lip-service but stay within the circle of their white-light lamp. Sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone to get in touch with reality; you might not always like the reality you see, but at least it is real and not a fantasy. The Witch as always good is just as much a fantasy as the Witch that is always bad.

Footnotes:
Mythology by Edith Hamilton
Aradia or Gospel of the Witches by Charles LeLand
The Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente