Information on The Great Rite



The Great Rite

Understanding The Rite
The Great Rite IS NOT for everyone and like all rituals it can be used as positive act just as easily as it can be used to abuse. While modern attitudes about sex are puritan in many circles, within the pagan world, it is simply part of nature. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t used without accountability. This energy of the union between partners is part of the miracle of love between two people. It’s energy is more than just physical gratification, it can become a prayer, a method of worship, and in honoring the Great Spirits in the form of the God and Goddess joining to form the God Head (Spirit).
 
In addition, the Great Rite is not always a physical act. While it may have started out that way in ancient cultures, societies and understandings evolve. So too do spiritual rites and ceremonies. Whither conducted as a physical act, or a symbolic act, the Great Rite can be a very beautiful and powerful event when conducted with the utmost respect and reverence.
 
But as with ANY ritual, it can be misused as well. And all practitioners MUST understand the rights they hold within a group and within any ritual. Sexual harassment is a misuse of power, regardless of how it’s invoked. Demanding sexual favors in return for something badly needed, or desired is abuse and criminal, both in a spiritual sense as well as a physical accountability. Demanding a coupling for an initiation when the initiant is not comfortable with the union, is intimidation and rape. The causing of pain, terror and humiliation is a criminal act and is more than a misuse of power, it is a spiritual sin even within the pagan world. It is the desecration of the first grail, the womb of a woman and a disrespect to the spiritual path of any religion.
 
In ancient times, the GreatRite dealt with the union of the Goddess to the God to win favor or blessings from the Divine Universe. It was a ritual of survival that promoted fertility of fields, flocks and family.
 
Today the Great Rite deals with the essence of feminine and masculine energy as it relates to the God and Goddess. The idea is that in order to establish true Divinity within oneself, you need to accept and join your two natures together. We are all part masculine and part feminine within our being. Only when we learn to accept the nature of both can we discover the true divinity within.
 
Sex and Magik
Sex and magik have long gone hand in hand. This is nothing new and contrary to ‘moral’ attitudes, it’s not something that’s done just to get laid. Linking the sexual act with divine forces was an easy leap for early humans. Not understanding the medical process of copulation and conceiving. Prehistoric tribes documented their divine rituals through cave paintings which depict this idea fairly well.
 
These early paintings, carvings and figurines such as the ‘Venus of Willendor’ are perfect examples of the early reverence for fertility of a woman and her ability to give new life. This miracle of life was seen just as that, a miracle given to a woman by a deity, typically a Goddess. A woman who was extremely fertile was considered to be favored by the God/Goddess and elevated within her tribal structure. Some cultures viewed such a woman as the embodiment of the tribal Goddess who granted favor over the tribe. If this great Mother was fertile and brought new life to the tribe, that favor was also granted to the growing, harvest and hunting seasons of the tribe as well. In ancient times, all these events were strongly linked and each affected the other.
 
When early humans realized it took two to create life, the pendulum slowly switched from focusing on the matriarch to the patriarch. As long as a woman could bear children, she still held great power within her tribe. When she grew older and less fertile, she often chose her successor. But her singular power as ‘Mother Goddess’ shifted and was soon to be shared with a deserving male of the tribe.
 
In these ancient times, the fertility of a woman was seen as a blessing or as the Goddess living through the woman. The strength and ability of a man to provide food and housing for the tribe was seen as the God blessing or working through the physical hunter. Some suggest this is the early concept of the Horned God seen throughout legend and myth.
 
It is clear however, that the Goddess and Mother of the tribe was just as important as the God and the Hunter. Without both, the tribe will suffer and die. There cannot be abundance and sustenance for the whole society without the work of both the Goddess and God to provide fertility of the fields, the herds and even the tribe itself. From this early concept of survival, the reverence of ritual celebration and the union of male and female was born.
 
A Little History
From the beginnings of recorded history, we know that in Mesopotamia and Chaldea, Prostitution was a sacred profession, unlike today. Sacred Prostitution was seen as holy and practitioners were providing a service of the Goddess to the cultures of their society. A man would go to the temple and with an offering, he would request service of a Priestess within. His purpose was to gain favor of the Goddess for more children back at home with his wife, or an extra bit of fertility for his fields, or herds of sheep, cattle or camels. In lying with the Priestess he might feel blessed or honored, and go home full of confidence. He might dig extra irrigation ditches for his fields, or be more encouraged to lay with his wife.
 
The myths of the Greeks, to a greater or lesser extent are concerned with sex and the union of Deities with the lowly humans they rule over. The Greek pantheons constantly sought out human partners who’s conceived children often became revered demi-gods. These myths had both a good and bad side of their tale. On one hand, divine unions were seen as gifts from the Gods and often became ritualized. They became honored experiences even if they didn’t yield a child, but still gained abundance in the fields or herds.
 
On the other hand some tribes such as the Samothraki, involved the sacrifice of young men at one point in their history. Some Priestess would lay with a young man and to ensure she would become pregnant, she carried a very sharp, leaf-shaped knife which she used to take the life of the man she lay with. Sacrificing his life would ensure his essence was transferred to her womb.
 
There is even evidence of Sex and the Goddess in Biblical Times. It is held by some historians that the Hebrew God Yaweh was originally a phallic deity. In fact it is an accepted historical belief that the Hebrews were not always a monotheistic society. Phallic pillars were set up for worship in many of those early Hebrew villages, along with images of the Goddess Anat or Anath. Even today, the lineage of the faith is passed through the feminine side of the family. If a Jewish woman marries outside the faith, her children can be counted as Jewish, but if a man marries outside the faith it’s not so straight forward.
 
Through many passages of the Bible we can see evidence of Goddess worship. In Judges V, the Song of Deborah is a clear example. The story of Susanna and the elders is another example. If you can find an early version of the bible, you can see the ritualistic venues and importance of women such as Queen Esther who is another ‘goddess’ symbol. If read with a perspective of the Great Rite, it becomes clear that this queen was also a priestess of the Goddess. Through his reign, her husband the king had to prove his virility and therefore his right to lay with her. This is a very clear connection between the earliest Great Rite rituals and the bible. And don’t forget the Songs of Solomon, which have been considered one of the most glorious love poems ever written.
 
Other Biblical considerations revolve around the use of language of the time. The use of rock or stone, didn’t refer to the stability of God in ones life, but rather phallic symbology of the God. From early historical times, even up to the middle ages, ‘rocks’ or ‘stones’ often referred to the male testicles, and of course, pillars to the penis. “Of the rock that begat thee thou are unmindful” Deuteronomy 32:18. “For who is God save the Lord? And who is a rock save our God” Samuel 2:32. In this case God’s rock provided mankind with a son, the Lord Jesus.
 
The bible also provides one of the biggest examples of the reverence between the Divine and human coupling through the conception of Jesus. Early variations of the bible come right out and say “God lay with Mary and she conceived a son”. That translation has changed over the years thanks to the French and the first use of the term “immaculate conception” (meaning without sin or blemish) in 1497.
 
During the middle ages, oaths, promises and sworn statements were made ‘with a hand laid upon the sacred stone’. When taking the oath of office and loyalty, the right hand of the official was placed beneath the testicles of the king. In parts of the Middle East, this is still practiced today.
 
All this began to change after the fall of Rome and with the rise of Christianity. Sex began to be denied both as a source of magikal power and of pleasure between partners. Where as sex was seen as a gift from the gods, it was now becoming a sin and to find pleasure in the act of sexual copulation, was to accept the influence of the Devil. By this time, women were seen as the temptress who could drag a man down into the pits of hell and the only way to keep her from having that control, she must be subservient to her husband, brother, or even her son. Her sole value became her ability to bear children which quickly became a bargaining point as a bride or as a prize of war.
 
Items such as a Chastity belt became common place, but were deadly for the women who wore them. After years of being forced in such contraptions, a woman would develop various diseases, including blood poisoning. During this time, a woman’s life expectancy was no more than 30 years. Her entire value, power and favored desires were forgotten and tossed aside. She was property and her only value was the ability to provide a male heir to her husband and his family line. What a sad turn of events that diminished both the value of women and the sanctity of the physical pleasure and spiritual connection of the sexual union.
 
The Great Rite – Physical vs. Symbolic
The Great Rite is probably the most well known or heard about pagan rituals. Today it is a rite of sexual intercourse that pays homage to the polarity of male/female; god/goddess, priest/priestess. The rite can be performed “in-true” form, meaning the actual physical act of intercourse. Or “in-token” form, meaning a symbolic act of the union between God and Goddess.
 
This polarity exists in all things in and around the universe. The Great Rite therefore expresses the physical, mental, spiritual aspects of the Divine through the astral union between a man and woman as representations of the God and Goddess. Ok..say what? In other words, the energy created between a man and woman during the physical act of intercourse is an expression of spiritual energy from the God and Goddess.
 
To many the Great Rite is the Hieros Gamos, The Sacred Marriage or the Holy Matrimony, which results in the creation of the God Head (spirit). It’s the top of the spiritual trinity, whose base is the God and Goddess. This concept is nothing new and dates back to neolithic periods. Ancient kings required Hieros Gamos, which was a union with a priestess representing the Goddess, in order to rule. The King represented the God, the priestess the Goddess and through their Union his reign was both approved and blessed by the Divine Spirit. From this perspective it takes both the God and the Goddess to create the greater Divine Spirit and attain favor of that Spirit.
 
Depending on the tradition, the Great Rite was performed within a Magik Circle between the High Priest and Priestess. It is sometimes also performed for seasonal festivals, and especially handfastings between the newly married couple.
 
At times it has been used as an Initiation into a coven (such as 3rd degree initiations in the Gardnerian and Alexandrian traditions). Representing the inner marriage of the soul and spirit, ego and self. It is the gateway to becoming a whole being. In these type of initiations, the Rite is performed between the initiant and the High Priest, or High Priestess. This is done either “In token”, which is symbolically using ritual tools, such as an athame inserted into a chalice. Or “in true”, which is the physical sexual act.
 
When the rite is performed as a celebration of the season, it is often conducted “in true” form by a couple who are already intimate partners. The public display of the union varies between traditions. For instance, a portion of the rite maybe performed within the ritual circle in front of the coven, and the intimate union is performed in private.
 
Gerald Gardner established an open and public display of the Great Rite with the coven watching. The Coven members would form the circle edges and the couple would copulate in the center. He also favored ritual scourging as part of the rite, a practice which has fallen greatly out of favor.
 
Other covens perform a portion of the ritual with everyone watching and then those forming the circle would turn their back on the couple in the center. Others Covens instruct the circle members to walk backwards out of the sacred ritual space, then turn and file out clockwise leaving the couple in private. And still other groups form a closed circle, and then open a doorway allowing the couple to exit the ritual circle and enter their own private space, which is typically a circle that was earlier prepared by the couple.
 
Because of the puritanical influence over sexual encounters, many modern groups practice the Great Rite “In-Token”. What’s important about any ritual is the energy it pulls in and creates. There’s no denying that many people are uncomfortable with the physical display of sexual unions. Making everyone feel at ease creates a calm peaceful energy for the spiritual gathering. So In-Token rituals are becoming more popular. The main point to the Great Rite is the creation of energy between the male(physical being) and female(spiritual being) to form the whole(the Divine Creation). That can be just as easily done through symbolic means as it can through a physical act.
 
There are several items that can be used to represent the Goddess in these forms of the Great Rite. A ritual cup is the most common, but a ritual bowl, a cauldron or even a fire bowl can be used. The corresponding item to represent the God can be a ritual athame, a wand, a sword or a staff. I have seen a carved tree (about 3ft in length) used as the God, and a fire bowl as the Goddess. The log was placed in the bowl and set on fire to represent the union. The gathering than danced by the light of the fire, honoring the spirit that moved within and through everyone present.
 
There are many variations that can be conducted for this ritual. There is no single or right way.
 
The Great Rite – The Ritual
The Rite maybe performed in many methods or formats. There are several rituals performed with the Great Rite for varying purposes, here are just a few.

  • The Rite of Pan
  • The Rite of the Horned God
  • The Rite of the Moon Cup
  • The Dance of Love
  • The Ritual of the Hawthorn Tower
  • The Raising of Osiris
  • The Two of Swords
  • The Grail of Grace
  • The of Crystal
  • The Calling of a Soul
  • The House of the goddess
  • The Adoration of the Pillar
  • The Rite that is Left Undone
 
Each of these empowers the rite with the energy of the union for specific purpose, but can be for different meanings. The Rite of the Horned God honors the great hunter and provider of a Tribe for instance.
 
In the Rite of Pan, the male force is the hunter and the female force the prey. Through out the ritual the struggle between male and female is established, but before the rite is realized, an understanding is gained that while the male is strong on the earth/physical sphere, the female is equally strong on the above/spiritual sphere.
 
In the Rite of the Moon Cup, the woman is the summoner, and the man her target. She is the daughter of the Moon, her representation on earth. He is Lord of the Forest who pays homage to the Goddess (the moon) for his domain.
 
The Dance of Love is often a ritual performed by a committed couple in private. The idea is to generate Divine energy for a specific purpose, such as to favor the couple with fertility or abundance of their individual family. In this ritual, the couple spends time in meditation prior to their union to connect with the Divine Universe. This act raises their energy to a higher level of reverence to distinguish this moment as something more special and important than other acts of love making. This also helps empower the partners to express their energy as the representations of the God and Goddess during physical contact. All of which culminates in the creation of energy for their specified intent, and it’s release into the ethereal world for manifestation.
 
 
The Great Rite – Straight or Gay
The concept of straight or gay is not an issue in Pagan communities in general. Same sex encounters are common in nature and being that humans are part of nature, it is seen as a common practice there as well. The Great Rite is not about the ‘physical’ aspects of a man and woman, but rather their expression of energy as the God and Goddess. This can be easily accomplished between same sex couples just as it can be expressed through heterosexual couples.
 
Feminine energy is not something that only women have. Men have too. By the same token, masculine energy is not specific to men. Women have it too. The Great Rite can be expressed through same sex couples simply by choosing which side of the polarity coin (masculine vs. feminine) is going to be represented by which partner.
 
Further Reading
This posting is ONLY an introduction into the concept behind the Great Rite and a few of the rituals which use it’s energy. Further reading prior to anyone practicing this rite is required. I have purposely made this post a high level explanation and have intentionally left out how the ritual is invoked. Primarily because of the ease to misuse this rite.
 
For further reading, I recommend the following:

  • Vivianne Crowley “Wicca: The Old Religion in the New Millennium”
  • Janet and Stewart Farrar “A Witches Bible- Complete”
  • Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki “The Tree of Ecstasy”
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WOTC EXTRA – THE EIGHT-FOLD PATH & THE FIVE ESSENTIALS

Witchy Cat Graphics & Comments

THE EIGHT-FOLD PATH & THE FIVE ESSENTIALS

1. Meditation or Concentration. This in practice means forming a mental image of what is desired and forcing yourself to see that it is fulfilled and that you will go on willing ’till you force it to be fulfilled. This is called, for short, Intention.

2. Trance, projection of spirit called Astral.

3. Rites, chants, spells runes, charms, etc.

4. Incense, drugs, wine, etc., whatever is used to release the spirit. Note: be very careful about this. Incense is usually harmless, but sometimes it has dangerous ingredients, Hemp, etc. If you find any bad after effects, reduce the amount used or the duration of time inhaled.

Drugs are very dangerous if taken to excess, but it must be remembered that there are many drugs which are absolutely harmless, though people talk of them with heated breath.

Be careful while taking fly-agaric but hemp is especially dangerous because it unlocks the inner eye, swiftly and easily, so one is tempted to use it more and more. If it is used at all, it must be with the strictest precautions and see that the person who uses it had no control over the supply. Khat has nearly the same effect and is less dangerous but it is difficult to obtain fresh.

5. The Dance and kindred practices.

6. Blood Control (The Cords). Breath control and kindred practices.

7. Scourging.

8. The Great Rite.

These are the Eight Ways of Magick.

You may combine many of them into one experiment, the more the better. The more important is intention. You must KNOW that you can and will succeed, this is essential to every operation. THE FIVE ESSENTIALS

9. You must be properly prepared according to the rules of the Art, otherwise you will never succeed.

10. The circle must be properly cast and purified.

11. All participants must be properly purified, several times if necessary, and this purification should be repeated several times during the rite.

12. You must have properly consecrated tools.

13. All doors, etc., must be properly secured so there is no thought of “someone may come in.”

These five essentials and eight paths or ways cannot all be combined in one rite. Meditation and dancing do not combine well. But forming the mental image and dancing may be combined also with the chants.

Spells combined with numbers 6 and 7 are good, also with 4 and 8, if you are advanced, it is a splendid combination. Meditation following #7 is good or #6 can be used to advantage. But #6 is dangerous to use without a companion. Nos. 3 and 4 (a little) 5, 6, and 7 are excellent. No. 7 followed, if possible by #8, nos. 9, 10, 11, 12, or 13 are essential to all experiments.

Also you must be free from all interruptions or from the mental fear of interruption.

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Calendar of the Sun for Saturday, February 8th

Calendar of the Sun

8 Solmonath

Ganymede’s Day

Colors: Light blue and white
Elements: Water and Air
Altar: Set on cloth of sky blue a great cup, or horn, of wine. Lay around it feathers of many flying birds, and the figure of an eagle.
Offerings: Feathers. Acts of service to people you love.
Daily Meal: Poultry. Sausages. Phallic breads and cakes, cream-filled. Phallic vegetables.

Invocation to Ganymede

Beautiful youth of the high winds
Rider of the eagle
You who knew a mortal life
And was transformed
By the power of love
And the willingness to serve,
Let us learn those lessons,
That we may fly high
And come to know divinity
In every way possible.
Cupbearer of the Gods,
Let us drink of your clear sight
Let us taste of your generosity
Let us remember your story
As one of inspiration.

Chant: Kouros Askophoroi Kouros Askophoroi

(One man who has been chosen to do the work of the ritual comes forth with the cup or horn and says, “I am at your service. Drink of my love.” All drink, and the rest is poured as libation. Ideally, this should be a man whose sexual preferences are for other men, or at least who is not averse to deeply loving other men in his heart. If it is possible, the Great Rite for men shall then be performed by two men either of the household or brought in as visitors, and all shall sit in a circle facing outward as they are wrapped in a blue cloth and lie in the center. When it is done, all shall go to their quarters and meditate on Love and service, or have ritual sex, alone or with others. Such ritual sex that is done with others should concentrate on sexual service to each other.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

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Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft –B.9. Power (1953) to B.13. The Working Tools (1953)

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft –B.9. Power (1953) to B.13. The Working Tools (1953)

B.9.  Power (1953)
Power is latent in the body and may be drawn out and used in various ways by the skilled.  But unless confined in a circle it will be swiftly dissipated.  Hence the importance of a properly constructed circle.  Power seems to exude from the body via the skin and possibly from the orifices of the body; hence you should be properly prepared.  The slightest dirt spoils everything, which shows the importance of thorough cleanliness.
The attitude of mind has great effect, so only work with a spirit of reverence.  A little wine taken and repeated during the ceremony, if necessary, helps to produce power.  Other strong drinks or drugs may be used, but it is necessary to be very moderate, for if you are confused, even slightly, you cannot control the power you evoke.
The simplest way is by dancing and singing monotonous chants, slowly at first and gradually quickening the tempo until giddiness ensues.  Then the calls may be used, or even wild and meaningless shrieking produces power.  But this method inflames the mind and renders it difficult to control the power, though control may be gained through practice.  The scourge is a far better way, for it stimulates and excites both body and soul, yet one easily retains control.
The Great Rite is far the best.  It releases enormous power, but the conditions and circumstances make it difficult for the mind to maintain control at first.  It is again a matter of practice and the natural strength of the operator’s will and, in a lesser degree, of those of his assistants.  If, as of old, there were many trained assistants present and all wills properly attuned, wonders occurred.
Sorcerors chiefly used the blood sacrifice; and while we hold this to be evil, we cannot deny that this method is very efficient.  Power flashes forth from newly shed blood, instead of exuding slowly as by our method.  The victim’s terror and anguish add keenness, and even quite a small animal can yield enormous power.  The great difficulty is in the human mind controlling the power of the lower animal mind.  But sorcerers claim they have methods for effecting this and that the difficulty disappears the higher the animal used, and when the victim is human disappears entirely.  (The practice is an abomination but it is so.)
Priests know this well; and by their auto-da-fs, with the victims’ pain and terror (the fires acting much the same as circles), obtained much power.
Of old the Flagellants certainly evoked power, but through not being confined in a circle much was lost.  The amount of power raised was so great and continuous that anyone with knowledge could direct and use it; and it is most probable that the classical and heathen sacrifices were used in the same way.  There are whispers that when the human victim was a willing sacrifice, with his mind directed on the Great Work and with highly skilled assistants, wonders ensued  but of this I would not speak.

B.10. Properly Prepared. (1953)
Naked, but sandals (not shoes) may be worn.  For initiation, tie hands behind back, pull up to small of back, and tie ends in front of throat, leaving a cable-tow to lead by, hanging down in front.  (Arms thus form a triangle at back.)  When initiate is kneeling at altar, the cable-tow is tied to a ring in the altar.  A short cord is tied like a garter round the initiate’s left leg above the knee, with ends tucked in.  Another is tied round right ankle and ends tucked in so as to be out of the way while moving about.  These cords are used to tie feet together while initiate is kneeling at the altar and must be long enough to do this firmly.  Knees must also be firmly tied.  This must be carefully done.  If the aspirant complains of pain, the bonds must be loosened slightly; always remember the object is to retard the blood flow enough to induce a trance state.  This involves slight discomfort, but great discomfort prevents the trance state; so it is best to spend some little time loosening and tightening the bonds until they are just right.  The aspirant alone can tell you when this is so.  This, of course, does not apply to the initiation, as then no trance is desired; but for the purpose of ritual it is good that the initiates be bound firmly enough to feel they are absolutely helpless but without discomfort.

B.11.  The Meeting Dance. (1953)
The Maiden should lead.  A man should place both hands on her waist, standing behind her, and alternate men and women should do the same, the Maiden leading and they dance following her.  She at last leads them into a right-hand spiral.  When the center is reached (and this had better be marked by a stone), she suddenly turns and dances back, kissing each man as she comes to him.  All men and women turn likewise and dance back, men kissing girls and girls kissing men.  All in time to music, it is a merry game, but must be practices to be done well.  Note, the musicians should watch the dancers and make the music fast or slow as is best.  For the beginners it should be slow, or there will be confusion.  It is most excellent to get people to know each other at big gatherings.

B.12. To Leave the Body. (1953)
‘Tis not wise to strive to get out of your body until you have thoroughly gained the Sight.  The same ritual as to gain the Sight may be used, but have a comfortable couch.  Kneel so that you have your thigh, belly, and chest well supported, the arms strained forward and bound one on each side, so that there is a decided feeling of being pulled forward.  As the trance is induced, you should feel a striving to push yourself out of the top of your head.  The scourge should be given a dragging action, as if to drive or drag you out.  Both wills should be thoroughly in tune, keeping a constant and equal strain.  When trance comes, your tutor may help you by softly calling your name.  You will probably feel yourself drawn out of your body as if through a narrow opening, and find yourself standing beside your tutor, looking at the body on the couch.  Strive to communicate with your tutor first; if they have the Sight they will probably see you.  Go not far afield at first, and ’tis better to have one who is used to leaving the body with you.
A note: When, having succeeded in leaving the body, you desire to return, in order to cause the spirit body and the material body to coincide, THINK OF YOUR FEET.  This will cause the return to take place.

B.13. The Working Tools (1953)
There are no magical supply shops, so unless you are lucky enough to be given or sold tools, a poor witch must extemporize.  But when made you should be able to borrow or obtain an Athame.  So having made your circle, erect an altar.  Any small table or chest will do.  There must be fire on it (a candle will suffice) and your book.  For good results incense is best if you can get it, but coals in a chafing dish burning sweet-smelling herbs will do.  A cup if you would have cakes and wine, and a platter with the signs drawn into the same in ink, showing a pentacle.  A scourge is easily made (note, the scourge has eight tails and five knots in each tail).  Get a white-hilted knife and a wand (a sword is not necessary).  Cut the marks with Athame.  Purify everything, then consecrate your tools in proper form and ever be properly prepared.  But ever remember, magical operations are useless unless the mind can be brought to the proper attitude, keyed to the utmost pitch.
Affirmations must be made clearly, and the mind should be inflamed with desire.  With this frenzy of will, you may do as much with simple tools as with the most complete set.  But good and especially ancient tools have their own aura.  They do help to bring about that reverential spirit, the desire to learn and develop your powers.  For this reason witches ever try to obtain tools from sorcerers, who, being skilled men, make good tools and consecrate them well, giving them mighty power.  But a great witch’s tools also gain much power; and you should ever strive to make any tools you manufacture of the finest materials you can obtain, to the end that they may absorb your power the more easily.  And of course if you may inherit or obtain another witch’s tools, power will flow from them.
It is an old belief that the best substances for making tools are those that have once had life in them, as opposed to artificial substances.  Thus wood or ivory is better for a wand than metal, which is more appropriate for knives or swords.  Virgin parchment is better than manufactured paper for talismans, etc.  And things which have been made by hand are good, because there is life in them.

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft – B.7. The Eightfold Way. (1953)

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft – B.7.  The Eightfold Way. (1953)

B.7.  The Eightfold Way. (1953)
Eightfold Path or Ways to the Centre.

1 Meditation or Concentration.  This in practice means forming a mental image of what is desired, and forcing yourself to see that it is fulfilled, with the fierce belief and knowledge that it can and will be fulfilled, and that you will go on willing till you force it to be fulfilled.  Called for short, “Intent”
2 Trance, projection of the Astral.
3 Rites, Chants, Spells, Runes, Charms, etc.
4 Incense, Drugs, Wine, etc., whatever is used to release the Spirit.  (Note. One must be very careful about this.  Incense is usually harmless, but you must be careful.  If it has bad aftereffects, reduce the amount used, or the duration of the time it is inhaled.  Drugs are very dangerous if taken to excess, but it must be remembered that there are drugs that are absolutely harmless, though people talk of them with bated breath, but Hemp is especially dangerous, because it unlocks the inner eye swiftly and easily, so one is tempted to use it more and more.  If it is used at all, it must be with the strictest precautions, to see that the person who uses it has no control over the supply.  This should be doled out by some responsible person, and the supply strictly limited.)
5 The Dance, and kindred practices.
6 Blood control (the Cords), Breath Control, and kindred practices.
7 The Scourge.
8 The Great Rite.

These are all the ways.  You may combine many of them into the one experiment, the more the better.

The Five Essentials:

1. The most important is “Intention”: you must know that you can and will succeed; it is essential in every operation.
2. Preparation. (You must be properly prepared according to the rules of the Art; otherwise you will never succeed.)
3. The Circle must be properly formed and purified.
4. You all must be properly purified, several times if necessary, and this purification should be repeated several times during the rite.
5. You must have properly consecrated tools.

These five essentials and Eight Paths or Ways cannot all be combined in one rite.  Meditation and dancing do not combine well, but forming the mental image and the dance may be well combined with Chants.  Spells, etc., combined with scourging and No. 6, followed by No. 8, form a splendid combination.  Meditation, following scourging, combined with Nos. 3 and 4 and 5, are also very Good. For short cuts concentration, Nos. 5, 6, 7, and 8 are excellent.

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft – A.6. The Sabbat Rituals (1949)

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft – A.6. The Sabbat Rituals (1949)

A.6. The Sabbat Rituals (1949)
November Eve
Walk or slow dance, Magus leading High Priestess, both carrying Phallic wand or broom, people with torches or candles.  Witch chant or song:

“Eko, eko, Azarak Eko, eko, Zomelak Bazabi lacha bachabe Lamac cahi achababe Karrellyos  Lamac lamac Bachalyas cabahagy sabalyos Baryolos Lagoz atha cabyolas Samahac atha famolas Hurrahya!”

Form circle.
High Priestess assumes Goddess position.
Magus gives her Fivefold Kiss and is scourged.
All are purified [that is, bound and scourged with forty strokes, as in the initiation rituals].
Magus assumes God position.
High Priestess invokes with Athame:  “Dread Lord of the shadows, god of life and the giver of life. Yet is the knowledge of thee the knowledge of death. Open wide, I pray thee, thy gates through which all must pass.  Let our dear ones who have gone before, return this night to make merry with us.  And when our time comes, as it must, O thou the comforter, the consoler, the giver of peace and rest, we will enter thy realms gladly and unafraid, for we know that when rested and refreshed among our dear ones, we shall be born again by thy grace and the grace of the Great Mother.  Let it be in the same place and the same time as our beloved ones, and may we meet and know, and love them again.  Descend, we pray thee, upon thy servant and Priest (name).”
High Priestess gives Fivefold Kiss to Magus.
Initiations if any; all others are purified.
(Note: Couples may purify each other if they will.)
Cakes and Wine.
The Great Rite if possible, either in token or truly.
Dismiss [the guardians, and close down the magic circle; the people then stay to] feast and dance.

February Eve
After usual opening, all are doubly purified [that is, with eighty strokes].
Dance round outside circle, High Priestess with sword girded on and drawn, Phallic wand in left hand.
Enter circle.
Magus assumes God position.
High Priestess gives Fivefold Kiss, invokes: “Dread Lord of death and Resurrection, life and the giver of life, Lord within ourselves, whose name is Mystery of Mysteries, encourage our hearts. Let the light crystalize in our blood, fulfilling us of resurrection, for there is no part of us that is not of the gods. Descend, we pray thee, upon this thy servant and Priest (name).”
All should be purified in sacrifice before him.  He then purifies the High Priestess with his own hands, and others if he will.
Cakes and wine.
Great Rite if possible, in token or real.
Games and dance as the people will.
Dismiss [the guardians, and close down the magic circle; the people then stay to] feast and dance.
May Eve
If possible ride poles, brooms, etc. High Priestess leading, quick dance step, singing

“O do not tell the priests of our arts.For they would call it sin,
For we will be in the woods all nightA conjuring summer in.

And we bring you good news by word of mouthFor women, cattle, and corn:
The sun is coming up from the south,With oak and ash, and thorn.”

Meeting dance if possible.
Form circle as usual, and purify.
High Priestess assumes Goddess position; officers all give her the fivefold kiss.
She purifies all.
High Priestess again assumes Goddess position.
Magus invokes, draws down moon, “I invoke thee and call upon thee, O 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 here.”
Magus gives Fivefold Kiss to High Priestess.
All should be purified in sacrifice before her, and she should purify Magus and some others with her own hands.
Cakes and wine.
Games.
Great Rite if possible, in token or truly.
Dismiss [the guardians, and close down the magic circle; the people then stay to] feast and dance.

August Eve
If possible, ride poles, broomsticks, etc.
Meeting Dance if possible [the double-spiral dance described in Witchcraft Today, p. 167].
Form circle.
Purify.
High Priestess stands in pentacle position.
Magus invokes her: “O mighty Mother of us all, Mother of all fruitfulness, give us fruit and grain, flocks and herds and children to the tribe that we be mighty, by thy rosy love, do thou descend upon thy servant and Priestess (name) here.”
Magus gives Fivefold Kiss to High Priestess.
Candle game:  Seated, the men form a circle, passing a lighted candle from hand to hand “deosil”.  The women form circle outside, trying to blow it out over their shoulders.  Whoever’s hand it is in when it is blown out is 3 times purified by whoever blew it out, giving fivefold Kiss in return.  This game may go on as long as the people like.
Cakes and wine, and any other games you like.
Dismiss [the guardians, and close down the magic circle; the people then stay to] feast and dance.

The Goddess and The God

The Goddess and The God

Author:   Danielle.dyer   

The Goddess has been worshipped as a Triple Deity -Maiden, Mother, and Crone (Dark Mother, Wise Woman, The Hag) – from the beginning of religion. The numbers three, and multiples of three, are sacred in many ancient cultures. The priests of Babylon taught that three was a lucky number as well. In the writings of Pythagoras, we find that the philosopher called three a “triple Word, ” meaning that using the number three in particular circumstances, such as repeating spells and rituals three times, can create whatever is held in the mind of the user.

Later in history, the alchemist Paracelsus associated the number three with gold; to alchemists, gold was not so much a physical metal as a symbol for spiritual enlightenment. The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tsu said that three is the perfect number, for it engenders all things. In numerology, the number three represents creativity, activity, and knowledge.

Ancient Mystery Schools always had three main steps or degrees through which the student must pass. Today, we still find this idea of three degrees of knowledge used to designate a Witch’s progress in a coven.

We can understand this trinity better if we compare it to the three stages of human life: youth and puberty, adulthood, and old age. Since the Goddess’s power is all encompassing She will present aspects that speak to all humans, regardless of their age. These esoteric ideas cover and comfort from birth to death and beyond.

The first Goddess aspect is the Maiden. This phase holds the matrix of creation, which will produce and create when the time is ripe. She is matter and energy held in suspension until the right time arrives. The Maiden, sometimes called the Virgin or the Huntress, represents the Spring of the year, the dawn, fresh beginnings of all life, the repeating cycle of birth and rebirth, the waxing moon and the crescent moon, enchantment, and seduction. Her traditional color is white. She is the Way-Shower, the Guide through the inner labyrinth to the Divine Center where the greatest of spiritual Mysteries lie.

The second Goddess aspect is the Mother. This is the matrix in motion, the archetype involved in active creation. In humans, the physical desire, the mental will and concentration, and the spiritual balance and understanding are all necessary to produce a desired result. It is easy for humans to identify with the Mother aspect, for they see the Mother around them in all human and animal mothers. The Mother aspect of the Goddess represents the Summer, blazing noon, reproduction, and fertility, the ripeness of life, the Full Moon, and high point in all cycles. Her traditional color is red, the color of blood and life itself. She is the Great Teacher of the Mysteries.

The last aspect is the crone, also called the Dark Mother, the Old Wise One, or the Hag. Since this aspect symbolizes death and dissolution, it is frightening to many people. Everything in the universe has a life cycle, at the end of which they malfunction, decay, and transform into a different set of materials, elements that are recycled and reformed into something new. In humans, the soul is recycled by the Crone and her cauldron into a new incarnation. The Crone represents winter, the night, the universal abyss where life rests before rebirth, the gateway to death and reincarnation, the waning moon and the New Moon, and the deepest of Mysteries and prophecies. Her traditional color is black, and sometimes the deepest of purples or dark blue. She is the Initiator into the Mysteries.

The fact that She is a single archetype plus a trinity of aspects makes Her very complex. It is impossible to reduce the Goddess’s spiritual form and meaning to words on paper. She is the beginning, the ending, and everything in between.

The Horned God has been recognized and worshipped as far back as the Stone Age, where we find paintings of horned, ithyphallic men. The Horned God is not the Christian devil. We find the image of the Pagan God in the Egyptian god Amun-Ra, with his ram’s horns and in the Greek Great God Pan, with his goat horns and hooves. Among the Celts, the Horned God was called Cernunnos. This deity was sometimes linked with the Otherworld, particularly the Underworld section, and reincarnation.

In the original myths concerning the God, one finds him as the co-creator, vital companion, and mystical priest of the Goddess. His prime purpose is to join with Her to create order out of chaos, substance of spiritual matter, and life from universal energies swirling in the dark abyss. His next purpose is to carry out Her will and see that Her laws are obeyed.

The God is also frequently seen in trinity form, although, like the Goddess, His more complex that this simple definition. The three aspects are the Divine Child, the Son/Lover, and the Sacrificed Savior/Lord of Death. Even though these three aspects are the most important, the God has many others: Sky-Father and Ruler of the Heavens, Lord of the Forest and Animals, the Supreme Healer, the Trickster, God of Judgment, the Great Magus or Magician, God of the Waters, and the Hero-Warrior.

As the Divine Child, the God represents beginnings and the start of new cycles. This includes new hope and new opportunities, physical as well as mental, emotional, and spiritual. His traditional color is the dark green of plant life. The Divine Child is the signpost of the inner spiritual journey we each must take, the sign that says, “begin here.” We begin as a child, taking the first tentative steps along an unknown and unfamiliar path that leads to a mystical destination that is difficult to understand until we reach the end.

The Son/Lover aspect symbolizes maturity and responsibility, the desire to take into account the needs of others more than oneself. The God in this aspect balances sexual desire and need with companionship and tenderness. His traditional color is red, the color of the life force and the birth fluids. Combined with the powers of the Goddess, He shows us that there must be a blending of different energies to create. This creation includes ideas, inventions, and the arts. He is the Companion on our spiritual journey, the one who points out the path if we start to go astray.

The Great Rite of Wicca is connected with the Mother aspect of the Goddess and the Son/Lover aspect of the God. Those outside the Wiccan religion can misunderstand this Rite. The Great Rite has its roots in the ancient Sacred Marriage between priestess and King, which dates back to the Neolithic era. Originally, a king or tribal ruler could not hold the office unless he wed the Goddess. He had to be a Chosen One, either appointed by the High Priestess of the tribe’s religion, or have passed certain stringent tests. This esoteric, spiritual marriage was symbolized by actual nuptials between the would-be king and the High Priestess of the Goddess or the land, which included sexual rites.

Today, Wiccan groups usually practice this Rite in symbolic form, rather than in actuality. The symbolic act is the dipping of the athame into a cup of wine or juice during a ritual (the cup symbolizes the womb of the Goddess and the athame the phallus of the God) . Some Witches believe that the priestess should dip the athame into a cup of wine or juice held by the priest. However, you can reverse this, with the priestess holding the cup and the priest using the athame. If the Great Rite is physically performed, it is in private and between a husband and wife, high priestess and priest.

The Sacrificed Savior/Lord of Death aspect of the God can be difficult to understand as the dark aspect of the Crone. Mystery Religions frequently were connected with the Sacrificed Savior, who gave his life so that spiritual knowledge and enlightenment could come into the world. This aspect of the God always resurrected and lived again, reminding us that everything is recycled and that human life reincarnates. The Greeks used the word soter for Savior; soter means “one who sows the seed.” In mythology, the Sacrificed Savior was reborn of the Earth Mother aspect of the Goddess.

The Lord of Death was originally the Lord of Comfort for the souls who rest in the abyss before rebirth. At the will of the Goddess, He gathers souls at the proper time and guides them to the afterlife, while comforting those who fear or are in pain. Under His Celtic guise of Lord or the Wild Hunt, the God sees that karmic debts are paid and that destiny is fulfilled. In this, He is the equivalent of the Greek goddesses, the Erinyes. However, unlike the Erinyes, who relentlessly and mercilessly hunted down those guilty of the breaking of blood laws, the Lord of the Hunt makes certain that the souls He seeks are ready for the transition, that they are in the right place at the right time to meet their destiny.

Although His appearance and actions are fearsome, this aspect of the God is actually one of great compassion. His traditional color is the black of the abyss in the Underworld, the temporary black of death that absorbs and erases pain and suffering. He is the Gate-Keeper, who tests our worth before we are allowed to enter the deepest Mysteries.

A Little Humor for Your Day – Circle Etiquette

Circle Etiquette

 

Never summon Anything you can’t banish.

Never put asafoetida on the rocks in the sweat lodge.

Do not attempt to walk more than 10 paces while wearing all of your ritual jewelry, dream bags and crystals at the same time.

When proposing to initiate someone, do not mention the Great Rite, leer, and say, “Hey, your trad or mine?”

Never laugh at someone who is skyclad. They can see you, too.

Never, ever set the Witch on fire.

Looking at nifty pictures is not a valid path to mastering the ancient grimoires. Please read thoroughly and carefully from beginning to end so that your madness and gibberings will at least make some sense.

A good grasp of ritual and ritual techniques are essential! In the event of a random impaling, or other accidental death amongst the participants, (see next rule) a quick thinker can improvise to ensure successful completion of the Rite. Make them another sacrifice, Demons like those.

Watch where you wave the sharp pointy items.

Avoid walking through disembodied spirits.

Carry an all purpose translators dictionary in case the ritual leader begins talking in some strange and unknown language.

Avoid joining your life force to anything with glowing red eyes.

If asked to sign a contract or pact and you are experiencing doubts or reservations, sign your neighbors name. Malevolent entities rarely ask for photo ID.

Blood is thicker than water. Soak ritual garments an extra 30-45 minutes.

While drunken weaving may be mistaken for ecstatic dancing, slurring the names of Deities is generally considered bad form.

The Goddess and The God

The Goddess and The God

Author:   Danielle.dyer   

The Goddess has been worshipped as a Triple Deity -Maiden, Mother, and Crone (Dark Mother, Wise Woman, The Hag) – from the beginning of religion. The numbers three, and multiples of three, are sacred in many ancient cultures. The priests of Babylon taught that three was a lucky number as well. In the writings of Pythagoras, we find that the philosopher called three a “triple Word, ” meaning that using the number three in particular circumstances, such as repeating spells and rituals three times, can create whatever is held in the mind of the user.

Later in history, the alchemist Paracelsus associated the number three with gold; to alchemists, gold was not so much a physical metal as a symbol for spiritual enlightenment. The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tsu said that three is the perfect number, for it engenders all things. In numerology, the number three represents creativity, activity, and knowledge.

Ancient Mystery Schools always had three main steps or degrees through which the student must pass. Today, we still find this idea of three degrees of knowledge used to designate a Witch’s progress in a coven.

We can understand this trinity better if we compare it to the three stages of human life: youth and puberty, adulthood, and old age. Since the Goddess’s power is all encompassing She will present aspects that speak to all humans, regardless of their age. These esoteric ideas cover and comfort from birth to death and beyond.

The first Goddess aspect is the Maiden. This phase holds the matrix of creation, which will produce and create when the time is ripe. She is matter and energy held in suspension until the right time arrives. The Maiden, sometimes called the Virgin or the Huntress, represents the Spring of the year, the dawn, fresh beginnings of all life, the repeating cycle of birth and rebirth, the waxing moon and the crescent moon, enchantment, and seduction. Her traditional color is white. She is the Way-Shower, the Guide through the inner labyrinth to the Divine Center where the greatest of spiritual Mysteries lie.

The second Goddess aspect is the Mother. This is the matrix in motion, the archetype involved in active creation. In humans, the physical desire, the mental will and concentration, and the spiritual balance and understanding are all necessary to produce a desired result. It is easy for humans to identify with the Mother aspect, for they see the Mother around them in all human and animal mothers. The Mother aspect of the Goddess represents the Summer, blazing noon, reproduction, and fertility, the ripeness of life, the Full Moon, and high point in all cycles. Her traditional color is red, the color of blood and life itself. She is the Great Teacher of the Mysteries.

The last aspect is the crone, also called the Dark Mother, the Old Wise One, or the Hag. Since this aspect symbolizes death and dissolution, it is frightening to many people. Everything in the universe has a life cycle, at the end of which they malfunction, decay, and transform into a different set of materials, elements that are recycled and reformed into something new. In humans, the soul is recycled by the Crone and her cauldron into a new incarnation. The Crone represents winter, the night, the universal abyss where life rests before rebirth, the gateway to death and reincarnation, the waning moon and the New Moon, and the deepest of Mysteries and prophecies. Her traditional color is black, and sometimes the deepest of purples or dark blue. She is the Initiator into the Mysteries.

The fact that She is a single archetype plus a trinity of aspects makes Her very complex. It is impossible to reduce the Goddess’s spiritual form and meaning to words on paper. She is the beginning, the ending, and everything in between.

The Horned God has been recognized and worshipped as far back as the Stone Age, where we find paintings of horned, ithyphallic men. The Horned God is not the Christian devil. We find the image of the Pagan God in the Egyptian god Amun-Ra, with his ram’s horns and in the Greek Great God Pan, with his goat horns and hooves. Among the Celts, the Horned God was called Cernunnos. This deity was sometimes linked with the Otherworld, particularly the Underworld section, and reincarnation.

In the original myths concerning the God, one finds him as the co-creator, vital companion, and mystical priest of the Goddess. His prime purpose is to join with Her to create order out of chaos, substance of spiritual matter, and life from universal energies swirling in the dark abyss. His next purpose is to carry out Her will and see that Her laws are obeyed.

The God is also frequently seen in trinity form, although, like the Goddess, His more complex that this simple definition. The three aspects are the Divine Child, the Son/Lover, and the Sacrificed Savior/Lord of Death. Even though these three aspects are the most important, the God has many others: Sky-Father and Ruler of the Heavens, Lord of the Forest and Animals, the Supreme Healer, the Trickster, God of Judgment, the Great Magus or Magician, God of the Waters, and the Hero-Warrior.

As the Divine Child, the God represents beginnings and the start of new cycles. This includes new hope and new opportunities, physical as well as mental, emotional, and spiritual. His traditional color is the dark green of plant life. The Divine Child is the signpost of the inner spiritual journey we each must take, the sign that says, “begin here.” We begin as a child, taking the first tentative steps along an unknown and unfamiliar path that leads to a mystical destination that is difficult to understand until we reach the end.

The Son/Lover aspect symbolizes maturity and responsibility, the desire to take into account the needs of others more than oneself. The God in this aspect balances sexual desire and need with companionship and tenderness. His traditional color is red, the color of the life force and the birth fluids. Combined with the powers of the Goddess, He shows us that there must be a blending of different energies to create. This creation includes ideas, inventions, and the arts. He is the Companion on our spiritual journey, the one who points out the path if we start to go astray.

The Great Rite of Wicca is connected with the Mother aspect of the Goddess and the Son/Lover aspect of the God. Those outside the Wiccan religion can misunderstand this Rite. The Great Rite has its roots in the ancient Sacred Marriage between priestess and King, which dates back to the Neolithic era. Originally, a king or tribal ruler could not hold the office unless he wed the Goddess. He had to be a Chosen One, either appointed by the High Priestess of the tribe’s religion, or have passed certain stringent tests. This esoteric, spiritual marriage was symbolized by actual nuptials between the would-be king and the High Priestess of the Goddess or the land, which included sexual rites.

Today, Wiccan groups usually practice this Rite in symbolic form, rather than in actuality. The symbolic act is the dipping of the athame into a cup of wine or juice during a ritual (the cup symbolizes the womb of the Goddess and the athame the phallus of the God) . Some Witches believe that the priestess should dip the athame into a cup of wine or juice held by the priest. However, you can reverse this, with the priestess holding the cup and the priest using the athame. If the Great Rite is physically performed, it is in private and between a husband and wife, high priestess and priest.

The Sacrificed Savior/Lord of Death aspect of the God can be difficult to understand as the dark aspect of the Crone. Mystery Religions frequently were connected with the Sacrificed Savior, who gave his life so that spiritual knowledge and enlightenment could come into the world. This aspect of the God always resurrected and lived again, reminding us that everything is recycled and that human life reincarnates. The Greeks used the word soter for Savior; soter means “one who sows the seed.” In mythology, the Sacrificed Savior was reborn of the Earth Mother aspect of the Goddess.

The Lord of Death was originally the Lord of Comfort for the souls who rest in the abyss before rebirth. At the will of the Goddess, He gathers souls at the proper time and guides them to the afterlife, while comforting those who fear or are in pain. Under His Celtic guise of Lord or the Wild Hunt, the God sees that karmic debts are paid and that destiny is fulfilled. In this, He is the equivalent of the Greek goddesses, the Erinyes. However, unlike the Erinyes, who relentlessly and mercilessly hunted down those guilty of the breaking of blood laws, the Lord of the Hunt makes certain that the souls He seeks are ready for the transition, that they are in the right place at the right time to meet their destiny.

Although His appearance and actions are fearsome, this aspect of the God is actually one of great compassion. His traditional color is the black of the abyss in the Underworld, the temporary black of death that absorbs and erases pain and suffering. He is the Gate-Keeper, who tests our worth before we are allowed to enter the deepest Mysteries.

The Goddess and The God

The Goddess and The God

Author:   Danielle.dyer 

The Goddess has been worshipped as a Triple Deity -Maiden, Mother, and Crone (Dark Mother, Wise Woman, The Hag) – from the beginning of religion. The numbers three, and multiples of three, are sacred in many ancient cultures. The priests of Babylon taught that three was a lucky number as well. In the writings of Pythagoras, we find that the philosopher called three a “triple Word, ” meaning that using the number three in particular circumstances, such as repeating spells and rituals three times, can create whatever is held in the mind of the user.

Later in history, the alchemist Paracelsus associated the number three with gold; to alchemists, gold was not so much a physical metal as a symbol for spiritual enlightenment. The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tsu said that three is the perfect number, for it engenders all things. In numerology, the number three represents creativity, activity, and knowledge.

Ancient Mystery Schools always had three main steps or degrees through which the student must pass. Today, we still find this idea of three degrees of knowledge used to designate a Witch’s progress in a coven.

We can understand this trinity better if we compare it to the three stages of human life: youth and puberty, adulthood, and old age. Since the Goddess’s power is all encompassing She will present aspects that speak to all humans, regardless of their age. These esoteric ideas cover and comfort from birth to death and beyond.

The first Goddess aspect is the Maiden. This phase holds the matrix of creation, which will produce and create when the time is ripe. She is matter and energy held in suspension until the right time arrives. The Maiden, sometimes called the Virgin or the Huntress, represents the Spring of the year, the dawn, fresh beginnings of all life, the repeating cycle of birth and rebirth, the waxing moon and the crescent moon, enchantment, and seduction. Her traditional color is white. She is the Way-Shower, the Guide through the inner labyrinth to the Divine Center where the greatest of spiritual Mysteries lie.

The second Goddess aspect is the Mother. This is the matrix in motion, the archetype involved in active creation. In humans, the physical desire, the mental will and concentration, and the spiritual balance and understanding are all necessary to produce a desired result. It is easy for humans to identify with the Mother aspect, for they see the Mother around them in all human and animal mothers. The Mother aspect of the Goddess represents the Summer, blazing noon, reproduction, and fertility, the ripeness of life, the Full Moon, and high point in all cycles. Her traditional color is red, the color of blood and life itself. She is the Great Teacher of the Mysteries.

The last aspect is the crone, also called the Dark Mother, the Old Wise One, or the Hag. Since this aspect symbolizes death and dissolution, it is frightening to many people. Everything in the universe has a life cycle, at the end of which they malfunction, decay, and transform into a different set of materials, elements that are recycled and reformed into something new. In humans, the soul is recycled by the Crone and her cauldron into a new incarnation. The Crone represents winter, the night, the universal abyss where life rests before rebirth, the gateway to death and reincarnation, the waning moon and the New Moon, and the deepest of Mysteries and prophecies. Her traditional color is black, and sometimes the deepest of purples or dark blue. She is the Initiator into the Mysteries.

The fact that She is a single archetype plus a trinity of aspects makes Her very complex. It is impossible to reduce the Goddess’s spiritual form and meaning to words on paper. She is the beginning, the ending, and everything in between.

The Horned God has been recognized and worshipped as far back as the Stone Age, where we find paintings of horned, ithyphallic men. The Horned God is not the Christian devil. We find the image of the Pagan God in the Egyptian god Amun-Ra, with his ram’s horns and in the Greek Great God Pan, with his goat horns and hooves. Among the Celts, the Horned God was called Cernunnos. This deity was sometimes linked with the Otherworld, particularly the Underworld section, and reincarnation.

In the original myths concerning the God, one finds him as the co-creator, vital companion, and mystical priest of the Goddess. His prime purpose is to join with Her to create order out of chaos, substance of spiritual matter, and life from universal energies swirling in the dark abyss. His next purpose is to carry out Her will and see that Her laws are obeyed.

The God is also frequently seen in trinity form, although, like the Goddess, His more complex that this simple definition. The three aspects are the Divine Child, the Son/Lover, and the Sacrificed Savior/Lord of Death. Even though these three aspects are the most important, the God has many others: Sky-Father and Ruler of the Heavens, Lord of the Forest and Animals, the Supreme Healer, the Trickster, God of Judgment, the Great Magus or Magician, God of the Waters, and the Hero-Warrior.

As the Divine Child, the God represents beginnings and the start of new cycles. This includes new hope and new opportunities, physical as well as mental, emotional, and spiritual. His traditional color is the dark green of plant life. The Divine Child is the signpost of the inner spiritual journey we each must take, the sign that says, “begin here.” We begin as a child, taking the first tentative steps along an unknown and unfamiliar path that leads to a mystical destination that is difficult to understand until we reach the end.

The Son/Lover aspect symbolizes maturity and responsibility, the desire to take into account the needs of others more than oneself. The God in this aspect balances sexual desire and need with companionship and tenderness. His traditional color is red, the color of the life force and the birth fluids. Combined with the powers of the Goddess, He shows us that there must be a blending of different energies to create. This creation includes ideas, inventions, and the arts. He is the Companion on our spiritual journey, the one who points out the path if we start to go astray.

The Great Rite of Wicca is connected with the Mother aspect of the Goddess and the Son/Lover aspect of the God. Those outside the Wiccan religion can misunderstand this Rite. The Great Rite has its roots in the ancient Sacred Marriage between priestess and King, which dates back to the Neolithic era. Originally, a king or tribal ruler could not hold the office unless he wed the Goddess. He had to be a Chosen One, either appointed by the High Priestess of the tribe’s religion, or have passed certain stringent tests. This esoteric, spiritual marriage was symbolized by actual nuptials between the would-be king and the High Priestess of the Goddess or the land, which included sexual rites.

Today, Wiccan groups usually practice this Rite in symbolic form, rather than in actuality. The symbolic act is the dipping of the athame into a cup of wine or juice during a ritual (the cup symbolizes the womb of the Goddess and the athame the phallus of the God) . Some Witches believe that the priestess should dip the athame into a cup of wine or juice held by the priest. However, you can reverse this, with the priestess holding the cup and the priest using the athame. If the Great Rite is physically performed, it is in private and between a husband and wife, high priestess and priest.

The Sacrificed Savior/Lord of Death aspect of the God can be difficult to understand as the dark aspect of the Crone. Mystery Religions frequently were connected with the Sacrificed Savior, who gave his life so that spiritual knowledge and enlightenment could come into the world. This aspect of the God always resurrected and lived again, reminding us that everything is recycled and that human life reincarnates. The Greeks used the word soter for Savior; soter means “one who sows the seed.” In mythology, the Sacrificed Savior was reborn of the Earth Mother aspect of the Goddess.

The Lord of Death was originally the Lord of Comfort for the souls who rest in the abyss before rebirth. At the will of the Goddess, He gathers souls at the proper time and guides them to the afterlife, while comforting those who fear or are in pain. Under His Celtic guise of Lord or the Wild Hunt, the God sees that karmic debts are paid and that destiny is fulfilled. In this, He is the equivalent of the Greek goddesses, the Erinyes. However, unlike the Erinyes, who relentlessly and mercilessly hunted down those guilty of the breaking of blood laws, the Lord of the Hunt makes certain that the souls He seeks are ready for the transition, that they are in the right place at the right time to meet their destiny.

Although His appearance and actions are fearsome, this aspect of the God is actually one of great compassion. His traditional color is the black of the abyss in the Underworld, the temporary black of death that absorbs and erases pain and suffering. He is the Gate-Keeper, who tests our worth before we are allowed to enter the deepest Mysteries.