Witch Craft Basics

Suffolk, learning basics

Invoking the Deity:

          As part and parcel of some Sabbats  and Esbats it is customary to invoke the spirit or power of the Goddess or God into the body of the High Priestess or Priest.

          My own belief is that there are only two Sabbats important enough to invoke or call the Goddess and the God at the same time; those of Lár Beltaine and Samhain. Why these two; because they both herald a beginning and an ending, Lár Beltaine the ending of the winter half of the year and the beginning of the summer half; whilst Samhain heralds the ending of the summer half of the year and the beginning of winter half. They also signify the beginnings and ends of the male and female halves of the year; i.e. Samhain to Beltaine the female half and Beltaine to Samhain the male half, but more of that in another part of this page?.

          At other Sabbats and Esbats we invoke the Goddess and the God separately. Some invoke the Goddess only on Sabbats such as Imbolg, on other occasions they only invoke the God; such as at Lughnasadh. The power gained through invoking the Goddess and the God is not to be taken for granted and used at all Sabbats. And the only time this should take place at an Esbat is as part of the initiation of a neophyte or higher.

 

 Male & Female halves of the year.

To see Drawing down the Sun; click here.

Drawing Down the Moon:

          After the circle has been caste in your usual way the priest crowns the High priestess with a lunar crown.

          Once crowned the priestess stands in the ‘Crows Foot’ position:

Feet together; and arms raised in the air and the Athame in her hand of power. (Although an unlikely name this is thought to represent the female genitalia.)  

          The High priest kneels before the Goddess/High Priestess and begins the rite of the ‘Fivefold Kiss’ by saying something like this:

“Blessed are the feet of the Goddess

All say: As she walks with us through out our lives”

Priest kisses feet of the Goddess/High Priestess.

“Blessed be the knees of the Goddess

All say: As she kneels besides us at the altar of life”

Priest kisses the knees of the Goddess/High Priestess.

“Blessed be the womb of the Goddess

All say: She who birthed us all”

Priest kisses the abdomen of the Goddess/High Priestess.

“Blessed be the breasts of the Goddess

All say: That feeds to us thy wisdom as though we are but children”

Priest kisses the breast of the Goddess/High Priestess.

“Blessed be the lips of the Goddess

All say: Given to us so that we may speak thy wisdom”

Priest kisses the lips of the Goddess/High Priestess.

          Once the body of the High Priestess has been prepared/sanctified by the actions of the ‘Fivefold Kiss’; the High priest can now call down the goddess into the body of the High priestess.

First; still kneeling the High priest makes the sign of the horned god with his index finger and little finger and touches the earth at the feet of the Goddess/High Priestess and says something like:

“Divine Goddess on thee we call

Enter this sacred vessel, the body of your daughter and High Priestess

 And bestow your blessings on us all

We invoke you by the power of earth, air, fire and water

And we ask that you make manifest your power through the body of your priestess and daughter”

 High Priest stands and scribes the summoning Sigel of earth and then says:

“Hail Mother of all;

Queen of both stars and moon,

Giver of life and death,

You who are called Maid, Mother, Crone, Ceridwyn, Brighid, Áine and Hecate

Grant us your blessings through the body of your priestess and daughter,

 So that we may grow in wisdom every day!

Great Goddess Mother of all;

Hail and welcome”

All say “Hail and welcome”

The High Priestess who is/represents the Goddess draws the invoking pentagram over the High priest with the Athame, then turns and addresses the coven. The words can be your own or they can be something appropriate like Doreen Valiente’s ‘Charge of the Goddess’ written to be used in ‘Gardnarian’ rituals. It’s worth getting a copy!  The following though slightly altered version was taken from the book ‘To Ride a Silver Broomstick’ by Jenine E. Trayer, aka Silver Ravenwolf, which I have altered even more.

The Charge of the Goddess

          Hear my words and know me! I shall be called by a million names by all who speak!

I am the Eternal Maiden; I am the Great Mother; I am the Crone; I am the ‘Old One’ who holds the immortal keys! I am shrouded in mystery, but am known to every soul!

          Hear my words and know me! Whenever the moon rises in the heaven then shall my children come to me? Better it be once a month when the moon is full, then shall you assemble in some secret place such as this and adore the spirit of I. I, who am the Queen of witches, under my watchful eye, my children shall be taught the mysteries of Earth and Nature, of the ways of all magic! That which is unknown shall be known, and that which is hidden, shall be revealed, even the secluded shall be pierced with my light.

          From my cauldron shall you drink all knowledge and gain immortality! Ye shall be free from slavery and ye shall dance, sing and feast. Music shall surround you, for mine is the ecstasy of the spirit, and mine is the joy of earth!

          I do not demand sacrifice! For behold, I am the mother of all living things! My charge to you is go forth; create and heal: Be strong, yet be gentle; Be noble, yet be reverent; Bring forth and replenish the riches earth.

          And as does the cycle of the moon ever begin to wax and wane and to grow forth again, and as do the seasons from one to the next flow in smooth rhythm, from sowing to reaping, from seeming death and rebirth; so will my children know their own pattern in both fey and the  mundane worlds.

When you meet ye shall all say these words…

I will love, and harm none

I will live, love, die and live again.

I will meet, remember, and know, and embrace once more.

For the free will of all, and with harm to none

As I so will, so mote it be!

 

 Researched & Written by Rainbird

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Drawing Down the Sun:

 The God

       As with drawing down the essences/spirit of the goddess at Sabbats we need to invoke the God into the body of the High Priest.

          As with invoking the Goddess we prepare the High priest body to receive the divine essence by giving the ‘Fivefold Kiss’.

         The Goddess/High priestess crowns the High priest with either the sun disc crown or the horns of Cernunnos; then he assumes the ‘Horned God’ position’ (arms wide and pointing down and slightly bent at the elbows) Then the Goddess/High Priestess gives the ‘Fivefold Kiss’ by saying this or something similar:

“Blessed are the feet of the God

All say: As he walks by our side and protects us”

High Priestess kisses the feet of the High Priest:

“Blessed are the knees of the God

All say: As he kneels with us in veneration of the Goddess”

High Priestess kisses the knees of the High Priest:

“Blessed is the phallus of the God

All say: He who fathered us all”

High Priestess kisses the abdomen/ phallus of the High Priest:

“Blessed is the chest of the God

All say: Formed in strength beauty”

High Priestess kisses the chest of the High priest:

“Blessed be the lips of the God

All say: So he may give praise to the goddess”

High Priestess kisses the lips of the High Priest:              

          The Goddess/High priestess; still kneeling makes the sign of the goddess by extending her little finger and thumb to form a crescent, which she touches to the ground. Now that the body of the High priest has been prepared and sanctified to receive the God, she can now proceed to invoke/call down the essence of the god into the body of the High priest by saying this or something similar:

“As night calls forth day, as sunshine brings forth warmth,

So I, the Goddess call forth the God.

Great Lord; horned hunter of both day and night,

You who walks within the sunshine of each day

You who are master of the wild hunt and all wild creatures

Enter this sacred vessel, the earthly body of your son and High priest

 And bestow your blessings on all those within your shining light.

In the name of the Goddess I invoke you

through the power of earth, air, fire and water.

 And we ask that you make manifest your power

through the body of your High priest and son”

Goddess/High Priestess stands and scribes the summoning Sigel of earth and then says

“Hail Father of all;

King of both the sun and wild places,

Giver of life and death,

You who are called Lugh, Herne, Bel, Pan and Cernunnos,

Grant us your presents through the body of your priest and son,

 So that we may grow in wisdom each and every day,

Great Father of all;

Hail and welcome”

All say “Hail and welcome”

          Now the High Priest who is/represents the God can draw the invoking pentagram of earth in the air over the Goddess.

N.B Some covens use this ritual as part of their initiation ceremony and can be done clothed; most perform this ritual ‘Sky clad’ without clothes.

Researched & Written by Rainbird

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Female & Male Halves of the year?

          I believe that when invoking the four quarters the gender of each quarter should be taken into account. I believe that each of the quarters invoked,  have not only their own direction and element, as in north and earth. I also believe they have their own gender! Take the eight Sabbats; if you think about it each Sabbat has its own gender! For the four quarter festivals of Lar Geimhradh, (Winter Solstice) Eóstra, (The vernal equinox) Lár Samhradh, (The summer solstice) and Mabon, (the autumn equinox) it is my premise that each of these has a distinct gender. Lar Geimhradh is north, earth and the Mother goddess hence female: Eostra is the east, air and the Maid, again female: while Lár Samhradh is south. Fire and usually portrayed as a Sun God therefore male: while Mabon is west, water and the son of the Mother (Mabon ap Modron) and water is usually portrayed as a male deity such as the Celtic sea god Manannan mac Lír.

          To take it one step further; I believe the year can also be split into two half’s, male and female. (See diagram below): The female half starting at the male/female festival of Lár Samhain; through Lár Geimhradh, Imbolg and Eóstra to Beltaine; again which is both male and female. The male half of the year starts with the female/male festival of Lár Beltaine through Litha, Lughnasadh and Mabon and back to the male/female festival of Lár Samhain it is my supposition that when invoking the quarters the gender should be stressed thereby retaining the balance i.e. earth and air should he female led (as in the example above) while fire and water should be male led; although some would argue that water is a female element our Celtic ancestors always had a principle male deity for the sea (Manannan Mac Lír) etc and a lesser female deity for rivers, lakes (Sulis; Sulevia; Idennica; Suleviae and Sabrina etc) and Springs. In the example summoning of air, the female dominance has been stressed and the male has a lesser roll. If the summoning was for fire then the male dominance would be stressed and the female would have the lesser roll, thus the balance is retained. Bealtaine and Oíche Samhain are I believe changeover points or spirit days and as such are both female and male. Bealtaine is a time when the Goddess and God are united. Oíche Samhain is when the Goddess and God are parted.

Clip Art By Rainbird.

Researched and written by Rainbird

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