22.2.14

Drawing Down the Sun

In a previous blog post entitled "The Charge of the Goddess - History, Sources and Analysis", I mentioned a ritual called the Drawing Down the Moon. This ritual forms the core of any coven work (although it can also be adapted for solitaries) because it is precisely during this rite that the Goddess is invoked into the High Priestess' body (by the High Priest). The Drawing Down the Moon is performed during the Opening Ritual (i.e. the first part of any ritual) and the invocation itself is its climax. You can find the whole ritual in the "Opening Ritual" post mentioned above, although I would just briefly like to summarize what exactly happens and how all of this is related to this post topic.

During the Drawing Down the Moon, the Priestess temporarily becomes the Goddess' vessel; the Goddess speaks through her for a short period of time during the ritual itself (although a bit of energy may linger). After the ritual is performed by the High Priest, the High Priestess then delivers the Charge of Goddess. It is during this recital that the Goddess' presence is truly noticed in the voice, body language, facial expressions and the general physiognomy of the Priestess. 

The Charge of the Goddess and the ritual of the Drawing Down the Moon emphasize the Goddess and female energies in general. This is to be expected as Wicca is primarily focused on the female deity. Nevertheless, certain individuals began to notice an imbalance which occurred as a result of this focus. Namely, the God had begun to be neglected. Now, as much as Wicca may be Goddess-oriented, it also calls for equality and balance. It was just a matter of time when a certain amount of focus would be put back on the male deity to restore this balance. And thus we come to the main topic of this post.

What is the Drawing Down the Sun?

The Sun and Moon are generally thought of as opposing celestial bodies (at least from Earth's perspective). In an archetypal way, the Goddess has become associated with the Moon (which corresponds to everything feminine, including women's menstrual cycles), while the Sun has been compared to the God and essentially male energies. You may have concluded that the Drawing Down the Sun ritual will be very similar to that of the Drawing Down the Moon but with one main difference - it focuses on the God instead of the Goddess!

In short, the Drawing Down the Sun is also a part of the Opening Ritual during which the High Priestess invokes the God into the body of the High Priest. Of course, invocations of the God have existed up to the creation of this rite, but none of them were as intense as the Drawing Down the Moon was. It only seemed fair for equal attention to be paid to both the Goddess and the God. And so the Drawing Down the Sun was created.

How It Came to Be...


The ritual of the Drawing Down the Sun was created by Janet and Stewart Farrar in the early 1980s. It was first published in their book entitled The Witches’ Way. They were led by the notion of sexual balance and came to the conclusion that any man is equally capable of invoking (or being the vessel of) the God as any woman is of invoking the Goddess.

Although, this does not mean that men are incapable of invoking the Goddess, or that women are incapable of invoking the God. In their book Progressive Witchcraft, Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone comment on this notion: "It is seen all the time in religions such as Voudon, and according to Ray Buckland, who has studied their practices for many years, it is also not unusual for the loa to manifest contra-sexually (a female loa “riding” a male adherent and vice versa), something he told us he once witnessed. There should be no surprise in this, as spiritual mediums have always been able to do the same thing." (p. 97). Different people are in tune with different energies and there is no reason why a woman wouldn't be in tune with male energies, or a man with female energies.

What followed this ritual was another beautiful poetic creation by Doreen Valiente. As she had "created" the Charge of the Goddess for the Drawing Down the Moon ritual, so she created a counterpart of the aforementioned Charge and fittingly named it the Charge of the God. Apparently, Doreen thought that a similar ritual to this one existed in the past but was lost over the years.

When Is the Ritual Performed?

We have already established that the Drawing Down the Sun is a part of the Opening Ritual which, according to standard Wiccan ritual form, is made up of the following:
  1. Preparing the altar and ritual space
  2. Cleansing the water with salt
  3. Opening the circle with the athamé
  4. Marking the circle with the Elements
  5. Visualizing the protection of the circle
  6. Invoking the Elements
  7. Invoking the Goddess and God: Drawing down the Moon (the Fivefold Kiss+the Charge of the Goddess) + the invocation of the God (sometimes the Drawing Down the Sun)
  8. Dancing the Witches' Rune (optional)
As you can see, the Drawing Down the Sun ritual is usually held after the Drawing Down the Moon. The Farrars explain that this is the best way of conducting any ritual because the High Priestess is usually the one leading everything. Once she has become the Goddess' vessel, she can then invoke the God into the High Priest in the name of the Goddess.

In a broader sense, the Drawing Down the Sun is usually performed at the four Major Sabbaths (also known as the cross-quarter days or the fire festivals: Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain) and also at the summer solstice (i.e. Litha/Midsummer). All of these Sabbaths have one thing in common - they celebrate the Sun and with it, the God. Some of these days encourage the Sun to grow, others celebrate its heat and light, while the others bid farewell the setting Sun and the waning God. Nevertheless, they all focus on the main star of our solar system and the male energies in the atmosphere.

The Drawing Down the Sun ritual

Finally, we come to the ritual itself. Of course, I cannot claim ownership. The following quote is from Janet and Stewart Farrar's A Witches' Bible (pp. 68-70). 
At the end of Drawing Down the Moon, after the High Priestess's words "Here I charge you, in this sign", the High Priestess and High Priest change places, moving deosil, so that he stands with his back to the altar and she faces him from the centre of the Circle.  
The High Priest picks up his athame from the altar and holds it in his right hand over his left breast, points upwards. 
The High Priestess gives him the Fivefold Kiss as follows: 
"Blessed by thy feet, that have brought thee in these ways" - kissing his right foot and then his left foot. 
"Blessed be thy knees, that shall kneel at the sacred altar" - kissing his right knee and then his left knee. 
"Blessed be thy phallus, without which we would not be" - kissing him just above the pubic hair. 
The High Priest spreads his arms to the Blessed Position, still holding his athame in his right hand, point upwards. 
The High Priestess continues: 
"Blessed be thy breast, formed in strength" - kissing his right breast and then his left breast.  
"Blessed be thy lips, that shall utter the sacred names." They embrace, length for length and with feet touching, and kiss each other on the mouth. 
The High Priestess steps back a pace and kneels. She invokes: 
"Deep calls on height, the Goddess on the God,
On him who is the flame that quickens her;
That he and she may seize the silver reins
And ride as one the twin-horsed chariot.
Let the hammer strike the anvil,
Let the lightning touch the earth,
Let the Lance ensoul the Grail,
Let the magic come to birth.
She touches with her right forefinger his throat, left hip, right breast, left breast, right hip, and throat again (thus forming the Invoking Pentagram of Fire). She then spreads her hands outwards, palms forward. Meanwhile she continues to invoke: 
"In her name do I invoke thee,
Mighty Father of us all -
Lugh, Pan, Belin, Herne, Cernunnos -
Come in answer to my call!
Descend, I pray thee, in thy servant and priest.
The High Priestess stands and takes a step backwards. The High Priest makes the Invoking Pentagram of Fire towards her with his athame, saying: 
"Let there be light!"
Notes: For those of you that are not familiar with some of the terminology, to move deosil means to move clockwise. The "blessed position" is the body position in which the feet are together and the arms simply outstretched (it is also known as the welcoming gesture as I explained in my post on minimalistic rituals and gestures; in this ritual, this simply allows the Priestess to kiss the Priest's breasts as his arms were previously in the way). As for the invoking pentagram of fire which is mentioned two times, you can see what it looks like in the picture just next to this text. The reason for choosing exactly this pentagram is because it is invoking (and after all, we are trying to invoke the God!) and because fire is an essentially male element with emits masculine, strong, almost aggressive energies. Also, even though it is traditional for the High Priest and High Priestess to kiss on the mouth when finishing such rituals or when handing the cup to one another and so on, this has become a less common practice in modern times so it is possible for the two to kiss on the cheek also. The Fivefold Kiss is also a normal part of the Drawing Down the Moon ritual and it was simply modified for this situation.

The Charge of the God


As I mentioned in a previous post, the Charge of the Goddess is an essential part of the Drawing Down the Moon ritual, although it seems that the Charge of the God is not commonly seen in Drawing Down the Sun. This is logical because the authors of the latter two texts are different (Janet and Stewart Farrar wrote the Charge of the God, whereas Doreen Valiente was simply inspired by them and wrote the Charge of the God). 

In an attempt to find Doreen's original Charge of the God, I came across many variations and even more individual works by many authors. Here are some of the ones I found to be quality: 


Unfortunately, the only trace of Doreen's Charge which I was able to find was on the Internet. I looked through my books at home, but I didn't manage to find anything other than information that a Charge of the God was indeed written by Doreen Valiente. I came across the following one on this website which claims that this text was written by Doreen herself. It reads:
Listen the the words of the Great Father, who of old was called Osiris, Adonis, Zeus, Thor, Pan, Cernunnos, Herne, Lugh and by many other names. 
My Law is Harmony with all things. Mine is the secret that opens the gates of life and mine is the dish of salt of the earth that is the body of Cernunnos that is the eternal circle of rebirth. I give the knowledge of life everlasting, and beyond death I give the promise of regeneration and renewal. I am the sacrifice, the father of all things, and my protection blankets the earth. 
Hear the words of the dancing God, the music of whose laughter stirs the winds, whose voice calls the seasons: 
I who am the Lord of the Hunt and the Power of the Light, sun among the clouds and the secret of the flame. I call upon your bodies to arise and come unto me. For I am the flesh of the earth and all its beings. Through me all things must die and with me are reborn. Let my worship be in the body that sings, for behold all acts of willing sacrifice are my rituals. Let there be desire and fear, anger and weakness, joy and peace, awe and longing within you. For these too are part of the mysteries found within yourself, within me, all beginnings have endings, and all endings have beginnings.
Judging by the wording, I wouldn't be surprised if this truly was Doreen Valiente's Charge of the God as many similarities can be seen between this text and the original Charge of the Goddess in the construction of the sentences general style. Whatever the case, the text is still beautiful. I see no reason why each person can't write their own Charge of the God (then again, using it in a ritual isn't obligatory so this issue can completely be avoided in this case). 

It is obvious from the above examples that even those texts which weren't written by the "first generations" of Wicca can be inspiring and nicely incorporated into a ritual. You decide whether or not you will use any of them in your own rites, or write your own versions, or simply not include any version of the text.

Whatever you decide is fine by me, but my main point is this: the God fulfills the Goddess just as she fulfills him. They are two halves of one whole which cause imbalance when isolated. Both the Drawing Down the Sun rite and the Charge of the God came to exist because of a growing awareness of this issue. It really is worth remembering that the world isn't made up of women or female energies alone. In fact, the word is balanced out by contrasting forces; there would be no feminine if it could not be compared to masculine just as there would be no white if it could not be compared to black. Acknowledging all the aspects of our world is necessary for balance, for acceptance and for happiness. If you disagree, feel free to express your feelings, but this is my honest and humble opinion. 

It was a pleasure writing this post and you can expect to hear from me again soon. 
Yours,
Witch's Cat

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