The ritual (for a girl):
- Everyone stands in a circle which is then marked only by the HPs. Note: nobody repeats her gestures because movement should be kept to a minimum so as not to frighten/overwhelm the baby. It is also for this reason that everyone is sitting down except for the HP and HPs.
- The Opening Ritual is then performed up to the invocation of the God.
- The HP and HPs consecrate the wine (or any other appropriate drink) and return the chalice to the altar.
- The HP stands in front of the altar facing the cauldron and says:
"We are met in this Circle to ask the blessing of the mighty God and the gentle Goddess on ____, the daughter of ____ and ____, so that she may grow in beauty and strength, in joy and wisdom. There are many paths, and each must find his own; therefore we do not seek to bind ____ to any one path while she is still too young to choose. Rather do we ask the God and the Goddess, who know all paths, and to whom all paths lead, to bless, protect and prepare her through the years of her childhood; so that when at last she is truly grown, she shall know without doubt or fear which path is hers and shall tread it gladly."
"____, mother of ____, bring her forward that she may be blessed."
- The father helps the mother to get up and they take the child to the HP together who takes her into his hands (but a bit more firmly so that child can feel secure).
- The HP asks:
"____, mother of ____, has this your child also a hidden name?"
- The mother answers:
"Her hidden name is ____."
- The HP anoints the child on the forehead with oil, marking a pentagram and says:
"I anoint thee, (ordinary name), with oil, and give thee the hidden name of ____."
- He repeats the same thing, but with wine and says:
"I anoint thee, (hidden name), with wine, in the name of the might God Cernunnos." (Note: you can put any other name here if you have another deity which you are very close to, or you can simply choose to use the universal "God".)
- He does this again, but with water and says:
"I anoint thee, (hidden name), with water, in the name of the gentle Goddess Aradia." (Note: you can replace the Goddess' name in the same manner as you did with the God's name.)
- The HP gives the child back to the mother and takes the parents (and child) to the quarters starting at the east, and then going to the south, west and north each time saying:
"Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the East (South/West/North), we do bring before you ____, whose hidden name is ____, and who has been duly anointed with in the Wiccan Circle. Hear ye, therefore, that she is under the protection of Cernunnos and Aradia."
- The HP and HPs return to their places in front of the altar and the parents and child stand in between them. They raise their arms and say:
HP: "Mighty Cernunnos, bestow upon this child the gift of strength."
HPs: "Gentle Aradia, bestow upon this child the gift of beauty."
HP: "Mighty Cernunnos, bestow upon this child the gift of wisdom."
HPs: "Gentle Aradia, bestow upon this child the gift of love."
- The HP, HPs and the parents turn towards the rest of the circle. The HP asks:
"Are there two in the Circle who would stand as godparents to ____?"
- The godparents then step out. The godmother stands in front of the HP and the godfather in front of the HPs.
- The HP asks the godmother:
"Do you, ____, promise to be a friend to ____ throughout her childhood, to aid and guide her as she shall need; and in concord with her parents, to watch over her and love her as if she were of your own blood, till by the grace of Cernunnos and Aradia she shall be ready to choose her own path?"
- The godmother replies:
"I, ____, do so promise."
- The HPs asks the godfather:
" Do you, ____, promise..." (the same as above)
- The godfather replies in the same manner as the godmother.
- The HP says:
"The God and Goddess have blessed her;The Lords of the Watchtowers have acknowledged her;We her friends have welcomed her;Therefore, O Circle of Stars,Shine in peace on ____,Whose hidden name is ____.So mote it be."
- Everyone says: "So mote it be."
- The HP tells everyone to sit inside the circle (everyone sits except the HP and HPs who taste the consecrated food and drink and then pass them around in the usual manner i.e. with a kiss)
- The presents and food for the celebration (cakes and such) are then taken somewhere else, the HP and HPs join the others and everything from now on is informal :)
- The Opening ritual is done normally with the exception of two things: 1) the bride and groom are left outside of the circle for the time being (in the south-east part, and keep in mind that the circle still isn't closed); 2) the Charge of the Goddess isn't enacted just yet.
- After the invocation of the God, the HPs lets the groom into the circle and the HP the bride with a kiss (on the cheek).
- The HP closes the entrance with flowers and the HPs ritually with the sword/athamé
- The HP and HPs stand with their backs to the altar. The groom stands facing the HPs and the bride facing the HP in the center of the circle.
- The HPs asks:
"Who comes to be joined together in the presence of the Goddess? What is thy name, O Man?"
- The groon answers:
"My name is ____."
- The HP asks:
"Who comes to be joined together in the presence of the God? What is thy name, O Woman?"
- The bride answers:
"My name is ____."
- The HPs says:
"____ and ____, we greet you with joy."
- The coven dance the Witches' Rune around the couple and return to their places in the circle.
- The HPs says:
"Unity is balance, and balance is unity. Hear then, and understand."
- The HPs takes her wand and continues:
"The wand that I hold is the symbol of Air. Know and remember that this is the element of Life, of intelligence, of the inspiration which moves us onwards. By this wand of Air, we bring to your handfasting the power of Mind."
- She puts down the wand. The HP takes up the sword and says:
"The sword that I hold is the symbol of Fire. Know and remember that this is the element of Light, of energy, of the vigor which runs through our veins. By this sword of Fire, we bring to your handfasting the power of Will."
- He puts down the sword. The HPs takes up the chalice and says:
"The chalice that I hold is the symbol of Water. Know and remember, that this is the element of Love, of growth, of the fruitfulness of the Great Mother. By this chalice of Water, we bring to your handfasting the power of Desire."
- She puts down the chalice and the HP picks up the pentacle and says:
"The pentacle that I hold is the symbol of Earth. Know and remember, that this is the element of Law, of endurance, of the understanding which cannot be shaken. By this pentacle of Earth, we bring to your handfasting the power of the Steadfast."
- He puts down the pentacle and continues:
"Listen to the words of the Great Mother..." etc. until he gets to the introductory part to the Charge of the Goddess (you will find several versions of the Charge in this post, but feel free to choose the version you feel most comfortable with)
- The HP and HPs carry out the Charge of the Goddess in the usual way. When they are done, the HP says:
"Golden Aphrodite cometh not as the virgin, the victim, but as the Awakener, the Desirous One. As outer space she calls, and the All-Father commences the courtship. She awakeneth Him to desire, and the worlds are created. How powerful is she, golden Aphrodite, the awakener of manhood!"
- The HPs says:
"But all these things are one thing. All the goddesses are one goddess, and we call her Isis, the All-woman, in whose nature all natural things are found; virgin and desirous by turn; giver of life and bringer-in of death. She is the cause of all creation, for she awakeneth the desire of the All-Father, and for her sake He createth. Likewise, the wise call all women Isis."
- The HP says:
"In the face of every woman, let man look ofr the features of the Great Goddess, watching her phases through the flow and return of the tides to which his soul answereth; listening for her call."
- The HPs says:
"O daughter of Isis, adore the Goddess, and in her name give the call that awakens and rejoices. So shalt thou be blessed of the Goddess, and live with the fulness of life. Let the Bride show forth the Goddess to him who loves her. Let her assume the crown of the underworld. Let her arise all glorious and golden from the sea of the primordial and call unto him to come forth, to come to her. Let her do these things in the name of the Goddess, and she shall be even as the Goddess unto him; for the Goddess will speak through her. All-powerful shall she be on the Inner, as crowned Persephone; and all-powerful on the Outer, as golden Aphrodite. So shall she be a priestess in the eyes of the worshiper of the Goddess, who by his faith and dedication shall find the Goddess in her. For the rite of Isis is life, and that which is done as a rite shall show forth in life. By the rite is the Goddess drawn down to her worshipers; her power enters into them, and they become the substitute of the sacrament."
- The HP speaks to the bride:
"Say after me: "By seed and root, by bud and stem, by leaf and flower and fruit, by life and love, in the name of the Goddess, I, ____, take thee, ____, to my hand, my heart and my spirit, at the setting of the sun and the rising of the stars. Nor shall death part us; for in the fulness of time we shall be born again at the same time and in the same place as each other; and we shall meet, and know, and remember, and love again."
- The bride repeats after the HP taking the groom's right hand in her right hand as she speaks.
- The HPs says the same thing as above to the groom and he repeats (while speaking, her still holds the brides' right hand in his right hand)
- If the couple want to exchange rings, then this is the time to do so. Or it is the ideal time to bind their hands.
- The HP says:
"Let the sun and the moon and the stars, and these our brothers and sisters, bear witness; that ____ and ____ have been joined together in the sight of the God and the Goddess. And may the God and the Goddess bless them, as we do ourselves."
- Everyone says: "So mote it be."
- The HPs takes the broom and lays it on the floor in front of the bride and groom for them to jump over it while holding hands.
- The HPs picks up the broom and ritually cleanses the circle with it.
- The couple now enacts the Great Rite, consecrate the food and drink in an appropriate manner and after this, everything becomes informal :)
- The Opening ritual is performed until the end of the invocation of the God. After this, the HP and HPs stand in front of the altar facing the coven.
- The HPs says:
"We meet today in both sadness and joy. We are sad because a chapter has closed; yet are we joyful, because, by the closing, a new chapter may begin."
"We meet to mark the passing of our beloved sister, ____, for whom this incarnation is ended. We meet to commend her to the care of blessing of the God and the Goddess, that she may rest, free from illusion or regret, until the time shall come for her rebirth to this world. And knowing that this shall be so, we know, too, that the sadness is nothing and that the joy is all."
- The HP stands where he is. The HPs leads the coven in a spiral dance. slowly from the inside going widdershins (anti-clockwise), but without closing in too much.
- The HP says:
"We call to thee, Ama, dark sterile Mother; thou to whom all manifested life must return, when its time has come; dark Mother of stillness and rest, before whom men tremble because they understand thee not. We call to thee, who art also Hecate of the waning Moon, dark Lady of wisdom, whom men fear because thy wisdom towers above their own. We, the hidden children of the Goddess, know that there is naught to fear in thine embrace, which none escape; that when we step into thy darkness, as all must, it is but to step again into the light. Therefore, in love and without fear, we commend to the ____, our sister. Take her, guard her, guide her; admit he rto the peace of the Summerlands, which stand between life and life. And know, as thou knowest all things, that our love goes with her."
- The HP takes the bowl, cord, hammer and cloth. The dancing stops at this moment (not earlier) and the coven part as to let the HP come to the center of the spiral where he lays out the cloth on the floor and puts the bowl on the cloth. He gives the free end of the cord to the Maiden (the HPs' "helper" in rituals). The HPs says:
"Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel be broken at the cistern; then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return to the Goddess who gave it."
- The HPs unties the silver cord and the Maiden gathers it up. The HP wraps the bowl in the cloth and breaks it with the hammer. He puts both the hammer and the cloth (with the broken bowl in it) next to the altar. The coven then return to their places in a spiral.
- The Maiden carries the silver cord around the circle deosil (clockwise) and "offers" it to the Lords of the Watchtowers of the West (The Lords of Death and of Initiation), to the Lords of the Watchtowers of the East (the Lords of Rebirth). The then leaves the cord next to the east quarter candle and joins the HP at the altar (always walking deosil).
- In the meantime, the HPs starts the spiral dance again, but this time going deosil as to unwind the spiral until the coven is standing in a circle again, which then continues to move deosil.
- As soon as the HP places the cloth and other things next to the altar, he turns to the coven and says:
"We call to thee, Aima, bright fertile Mother; thou who art the womb of rebirth, from whom all manifested life proceeds and at whose flowing breast all are nourished. We call to thee, who art also Persephone of the waxing Moon, Lady of Springtime and of all things new. We commend to thee ____, our sister. Take her, guard her, guide her; bring her in the fuless of time to a new birth and a new life. And grant that in that new life she may be loved again, as we her brothers and sisters have loved her."
- The HP and the Maiden join the coven who are circling at the moment and the HPs then starts the Witches' Rune. When she yells out "Down!", the coven sits on the floor in a circle facing inward.
- The HPs then hands out the roles for the Myth of the Descent of the Goddess (the Narrator, the Goddess, the Lord of the Underworld and the Guardian of the Portals. The Goddess should be adorned with jewelry and a veil. She stands at the south-east part of the circle. The Lord of the Underworld puts on his crown and the Guardian of the Portals takes his athamé and a red cord and stands facing the Goddess.
- The Narrator says:
"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 just. But our Lady the Goddess would solve all mysteries, even the mystery of death; and so she journeyed to the Underworld. The Guardian of the Portals challenged her..."
- The Guardian of the Portals challenges the Goddess with his athamé. The Narrator continues:
"Strip off thy garments, lay aside thy jewels; for naught mayest thou bring with thee into this our land."
- The Goddess takes off her veil and jewelry; nothing should be left on her (if the Requiem is carried out robed, then she should be left in her ordinary clothes). He then binds her with the red cord in the manner of the first-degree initiation, with the center of the cord round the front of the neck and the ends passed over her shoulders to tie her wrists together behind her waist. The Narrator says:
"So she laid down her garments and her jewels and was bound, as all living must be who seek to enter the realms of Death, the Mighty One."
- The Guardian of the Portals takes the Goddess to stand facing the Lord of the Underworld. The Guardian then steps aside. The Narrator says:
"Such was her beauty that Death himself knelt, and laid his sword and crown at her feet..."
- The Lord of the Underworld kneels before the Goddess, lays his sword and his crown on the ground on each side of her, then kisses her right food and her left foot. The Narrator continues:
"...and kissed her feet, saying: 'Blessed be thy feet, that have brought thee in these ways. Abide with me; but let me place my cold hands on thy heart.' "
- The Lord of the Underworld raises his hands, palms forward, and holds them slightly above the Goddess' heart. The Narator continues:
"And she replied: 'I love thee not. Why dost thou cause all things that I love, and take delight in, to fade and die?' "
- The Lord of the Underworld spreads his arms outward and downward, with the palms of his hands forward. The Narrator continues:
" 'Lady,' replied Death, 'it is 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 thou, thou art lovely; return not, abide with me.' But she answered: 'I love thee not.' "
- The Lord of the Underworld rises, goes to the altar and picks up the scourge. He turns to face the Goddess. The Narrator continues:
"Then said Death: 'An thou receivest not my hands on they heart, thou must kneel to Death's scourge.' ' It is fate - better so,' she said, and she knelt. And Death scourged her tenderly."
- The Goddes kneels, facing the altar. The Lord of the Underworld gives her three, seven, nine and twenty-one very gentle strokes of the scourge. Note: this ISN'T whipping/scourging. The scourge is a symbol of devotion and sacrifice. The Threefold Law in Wicca says that everything will return to you threefold and this is why noone will ever hit hard because they know that if you hit someone hard, you will be hit even harder. This a symbolical touch of the scourge, actually.
- The Narrator then says:
"And she cried: 'I know the pangs of love.' "
- The Lord of the Underworld puts the scourge back on the altar and helps the Goddess to rise and kneels facing her. The Narrator continues:
"And Death raised her, and said: 'Blessed be.' And he gave her the Fivefold Kiss, saying: 'Thus only mayest thou attain to joy and knowledge.' "
- The Lord of the Underworld give the Goddess the Fivefold Kiss (but without the usual spoken words). He then unties her wrists and lays the cord on the ground. The Narrator says:
"And he taught her all his mysteries and gave her the necklace which is the circle of rebirth."
- The Lord of the Underworld gets the necklace from the altar and places it round the Goddess' neck. The Goddesss then takes up the crown and replaces it on the Lord of the Underworlds' head. The Narrator continues:
"And she taught him the mystery of the sacred cup, which is the cauldron of rebirth."
- The Lord of the Underworld moves in front of the altar at its east end, the Goddess moves in front of the altar at its west and picks up the chalice in both her hands. They face each other and the Lord puts his hand around hers (which are on the chalice still). The Narrator says:
"They loved, and were one; for there be three great mysteries in the life of man, and magic controls them all. To fulfill love, you must return again at the same time, and at the same place as the loved ones; and you must meet, and know, and remember, and love them again."
- The Lord of the Underworld lets go of her hands and returns the chalice to the altar. He takes the scourge in his left hand and the sword in his right and stands in the God position (forearms crossed on his breast and sword and scourge pointing upwards) with his back to the altar. She stands beside him in the Goddess position (feet astride and arms outstretched to form a pentagram/the Vitruvian man). The Narrator continues:
"But to be reborn, you must die, and be made ready for a new body. And to die, you must be born; and without love, you may not be born. And our Goddess ever inclineth to love, and mirth, and happiness; and she guardeth and cherisheth her hidden children in life, and in death she teacheth the way to her communion; and even in this world she teacheth them the mystery of the Magic Circle, which is placed between the worlds of men and of the Gods."
- The Lord of the Underworld puts the sword, scourge and crown on/by the altar. This completes the Myth of the Descent of the Goddess, and the actors rejoin the rest of the coven.
- The HPs says:
"Let us now, as the Goddess has taught us, share the love-feast of the wine and the cakes; and as we do so, let us remember our sister ____, with whom we have so often shared it. And with this communion, we lovingly place our sister in the hands of the Goddess."
- All say: "So mote it be."
- The wine and cakes are consecrated and passed around.
- As soon as possible after the Requiem, the pieces of the bowl are ritually thrown into a running stream/river, with the traditional command: "Return to the elements from which thou camest."