|Venus from Willendorf,|
cca. 23000 BC
|The Birth of Christ, Buvina's doors,|
cathedral in Split (my home town),
|Mihail Chemiakin, Cybele,|
|Botticelli, the Birth of Venus, 1486|
What is the Great Rite?
|An advertisement for Dior's|
What isn't the Great Rite?
How is it enacted?
Enacting the Great Rite
I will explain how the Great Rite is enacted inside a coven, and if you are working alone, you can simply ignore everything the coven says and does and take on the role of the High Priest and/or High Priestess. You can leave certain tools that are held in this ritual on the altar for practical reasons if you see that you cannot hold everything. A bit of logic will help you adapt the rest of the ritual :)
The Great Rite is enacted just after the invocation of the Goddess and God, or rather after the whole Opening ritual. I will take it that it is lead by the High Priest and Priestess, so for practical reasons, I will write HP for the High Priest and HPs for the High Priestess.
- the coven stands on the edge of the circle facing inwards (ideally, they are ordered man-woman-man-woman etc.)
- the HP and HPs stand in the middle of the circle. She stands with her back towards the altar (her back is towards the North) and the HP stands facing her (with his back towards the South)
- the HP gives the HPs the Fivefold Kiss (you can read it in the link just above which will lead you to the Opening ritual)
- the HPs lies down on the floor in a relaxed position (face upwards) with outstretched arms and legs and her head towards the altar. Her belly button i.e. womb should be in the middle of the circle thus emphasizing the importance of female fertility
- the HP takes the veil and covers the HPs from the neck downwards (as much as it can cover).
- the HP kneels between the HPs' feet facing her
- the HP calls on a woman from the coven to bring him the athamé from the altar, and on a man to bring the chalice (if you are working alone, all of this will be on the altar already and you don't have to lie down because this would be very impractical)
- the HP does the invocation (all of this time, the HPs is lying down and relaxing):
"Assist me to erect this ancient altar, at which in days past all worshiped;The great altar of all things.For in old time, Woman was the altar.Thus was the altar made and placed,And the sacred place was the point within the center of the Circle.As we have of old been taught that the point within the center is the origin of all things,Therefore should we adore it;Therefore whom we adore we also invoke.O Circle of Stars,Whereof our father is but the younger brother,Marvel beyond imagination, soul of infinite space,Before whom time is ashamed, the mind bewildered, and the understanding dark,Not unto thee may we attain unless thine image be love.Therefore by seed and root, and stem and bud,And leaf and flower and fruit do we invoke thee,O Queen of Space, O Jewel of Light,Continuous one of the heavens;Let it be ever thusThat 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, which we adore;The point of life, without which we would not be.And in this way truly are erected the holy twin pillars,In beauty and in strength were they erectedTo the wonder and glory of all men."
|The Great Rite, photo from the book|
A Witches' Bible by Janet and Stewart
- the HP removes the veil from the HPs
- the HPs kneels facing the HP and takes the chalice from the man that brought it there while the HP takes the athamé from the woman
- the HP continues the invocation:
"Altar of mysteries manifold,The sacred Circle's secret point -Thus do I sign thee as of old,With kisses of my lips anoint."
- the HP kisses the HPs (traditionally, this is done on the lips but of course you don't have to do this if you don't feel comfortable, that is if you are doing it with someone else). If you are working by yourself, then I recommend you kiss your athamé or find another suitable replacement. You can remove this step entirely from your ritual, though I wouldn't recommend it since a kiss is a very important symbol of love and fertility
- the HP continues:
"Open for me the secret way,The pathway of intelligence,Beyond the gates of night and day,Beyond the bounds of time and sense.Behold the mystery aright -The five true points of fellowshipHere where the Lance and Grail unite,
And feet, and knees, and breast, and lip."
- Just before the part "Here where the Lance and Grail unite", the HP lifts up the athamé and the HPs the chalice. The HP then immerses the athamé into the wine (or whatever liquid is in the chalice). Pay special attention to this part of the ritual because this is precisely the part that replaces the actual act of sex in the way that the athamé symbolizes the male sexual organ and the chalice the female sexual organ
- the HP hands the athamé over to the woman who brought it to him and puts both of his hands on the Priestess' hands which are on the chalice
- He kisses her and she takes a sip of the wine
- She kisses him and then he takes a sip of the wine (they both keep their hands on the chalice)
- the HP takes the chalice from the HPs and both rise to their feet
- the HP hands the chalice over to a female member of the coven with a kiss. After she takes a sip, she hands it over with a kiss to a male member and so on until every member has had a sip (if you are working alone, it is more than clear that there will be no passing around or kissing going on, and even if you are working in a coven, a kiss on the cheek is enough)
- the HP and HPs now consecrate the food which they then hand over to each coven member
|Josephine Wall, Nature's Embrace|