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From Christian to Pagan (Part III)
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Allegiance to Self: a Dedication Rite
Article ID: 14445
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,827
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Author: Willow Moon
Posted: May 1st. 2011
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The following dedication rite may be used as is, or it may be adapted and augmented as is meaningful and potent for each practitioner. It is intended for the purpose of solitary Ritual. *
I often hear the word initiation misused among open eclectic witchcraft communities. I believe the obscure nature of this word has added to some strong misconceptions concerning its use. For instance, it is popular among eclectic neo pagan witches to say, “I am self initiated, ” or perhaps even, “I initiated ______ (name of another solitary witch) .” It is no mystery how new community members might become confused.
Initiation: noun; 1) Process or ceremony of becoming member. A process or ceremony in which someone becomes a member of an organization or group. 2) Formal; the act of making something start, especially an official process. 3) Introduction into training, instruction, admittance.
Within the context of witchcraft traditions, witches generally view initiation as a doorway to traditional instruction through linage. This indicates a process of “handing down” information, instruction and energy through an established linage. It consists of being guided by a person or persons whose experience and practice has had time and history enough to be of practical use to those who follow.
If there is nothing to initiate into, there is no initiation. The act is a solitary act unless it leads into something, as with a university sorority (or similar) . Picture a doorway, a threshold and a doorframe standing alone on a beach. Now, picture a doorway that leads up a staircase, around a corner, and down a hall with doors on each side stretching as far as the eye can see. The fist visual may qualify as ritual and perhaps a rite of passage, yet it disallows an initiatory experience; there is no need for one. It is indicative of a particular place in ones journey, a feeling or a beginning. The second visual not only qualifies as ritual and a rite of passage, it leads to continued experience through dedication, service, practice, education and most importantly, experience. It leads into a family of energies. These energies are stationary and proven while simultaneously being dynamic and adaptable. They LIVE. The difference becomes entering into an already established energy as opposed to creating a new one.
Now, having said this; how about we turn the whole idea on its head and discuss instead, Dedication?
Dedication: noun; 1) devotion; the quality of being devoted or committed to something. 2) Setting aside; an act of setting something aside for a purpose, often in a special ceremony.
Creating a rite of passage is a sacred act. Creating ceremony with Deity, or for Deity, doubly so. It is my belief that the act of Dedication has become confused with the act of Initiation.
One can dedicate himself or herself to a new path or experience. We can dedicate ourselves to work within a specific practice or pantheon, or ultimately one can dedicate to Deity or Deities.
Dedication ceremonies can occur when and where desired without having to explore and seek already established energies.
As with all Ritual, being prepared allows for the best possible experience. Being able to set aside the mundane world and simply allow for the experience of ritual is the primary objective when constructing meaningful ritual. With that said, having a date and time reserved, making certain you will be left alone for the duration of your ceremony, silencing the phone, making sure the animals are cared for and possibly tucked away if you deem them a hindrance etc.... an ounce of prevention…. will save the mood of the ritual and as a result, your experience.
If you wish to fast and spend time reflecting prior to your dedication ritual, please allow time, energy and scheduling for this; have plenty of liquids on hand.
Decide beforehand what you will take into ritual with you, and have these items prepared and on hand.
A new necklace that you can bless, and don as an outward symbol to yourself that you have walked through this doorway.
Something white -- a shirt (men) or a dress (women) -- that may be washed in cold salt water and dried, blessed and consecrated (adding rock salt in a counter clockwise direction while the washer is agitating in a clockwise direction can be used as a powerful “removal” of existing energies) .
Flowers to present to deity.
Anything you may wish to bless and consecrate.
Preparing the circle:
Altar: Within the prepared circle area (cleaned, vacuumed and cleared) set up a main altar facing North (stability, healing) or East (birth) and place your ritual weapons and tools upon it in a working order that is important to you.
Working altar: you may wish to set up another area for a “working” altar. Place the items you have reserved for blessing and consecration on this altar. The working altar should have a nice solid working surface that is comfortable and within reach; for instance, if you have a hard time sitting on the floor, the working altar should be a table or similar set at a comfortable height for sitting or standing. Place this in the quadrant that is meaningful to you.
Salt: sea salt works best, but table salt will work in a pinch.
Candles: four; one each to represent God and Goddess, another to represent the element of fire, and a taper (bees wax is best) to represent yourself.
Incense: a blessing variety such as frankincense, myrrh, lavender, sandalwood, etc.
Charcoal: Self igniting (for loose incense product) if you wish to use it.
Oil: for anointing and bathing. You can use prepared oils, or alternately you can use a bit of olive oil with blessing herbs added (if you feel pulled to do this, please allow the herbs to sit in the oil for at least a couple of days) .
Water: Salt water or fresh water from a source that is important and meaningful to you.
Bread: or something small and nutritious to eat.
Wine: juice or water work well too.
Journal: bring a notebook and pen into your circle.
Set everything up and create a beautiful ritual area.
Reserve some of your sea salt for bathing, put this in a small dish and add some oil, stir with a fork and take this into the bathroom with you.
Having cleaned the bathroom ahead of time, lighting some candles and playing some soft music can add to the beauty of the experience.
Run your bath water in a dimmed room with ambiance. Create a temperature of bathing water that will be pleasant without being too hot, wait until the tub is almost full and add your salt mixture working in a counter clockwise motion. Hold the thought that all your mundane worries and concerns are leaving you; your dross is falling away and you are awakening into a truer version of yourself.
Remove all indications of the outside world (facial makeup included) and enter your bath. Allow yourself to drift and meditate, ask your Gods to assist you. Empty your mind and allow for any communications to be heard and addressed.
When you are finished with your bath, pull the plug and stay where you are, allowing the water to be pulled down the drain from around your body. Imagine the heaviness, the stress, the worry, and the loss going down the drain with the saltwater. Allow yourself to be NEW.
Towel off and walk naked into your ritual area.
Once in your ritual area (closing the door if applicable) :
Standing in front of your altar, light charcoal or stick incense.
Pick up your saltwater or fresh water and dipping your fingers into this, sprinkle the area while walking in a counter clockwise direction cleansing the space. Set this back down on the altar.
With your Athame or your index finger cast a circle of energy around the room, moving the energy from the earth underneath you, through your body, down your arm and out through your hand or Athame. Move in a circle going clockwise from the East to South, to West, to North and back to East. Closing the circle where you began. Imagine the circle creating a bubble above you and below you, SEE yourself in a bubble of energy.
Take your incense and move around the room in a clockwise direction moving from East to South, to West, to North and back to East.
Light the candle representing South.
Ask each direction/guardian/element to be present, calling each quarter with the prospective elemental representation:
While holding the incense: “________ of the East, creature of Air, I ask your presence within my circle for the purpose of dedication and blessing. Hail and welcome!”
While holding the candle: “________ of the South, creature of Fire, I ask your presence within my circle for the purpose of dedication and blessing. Hail and welcome!”
While holding the water: “________ of the West, creature of Water, I ask your presence within my circle for the purpose of dedication and blessing. Hail and welcome!”
While holding the salt: “________ of the North, creature of Earth, I ask your presence within my circle for the purpose of dedication and blessing. Hail and welcome!”
Finish in the East, turning back around to complete the circle.
Ask your Deity or Deities into circle; light the Goddess candle and the God candle as you acknowledge their presence.
Spend a few moments in contemplation. Think about what you are doing, and why. What do you need? What do you want? What are your expectations? Consider how you can release these preconceived notions and ALLOW this birthing to work for you. Ask for assistance from your Deity/ies. Wait for answers and thoughts to come to you.
From your working altar, pick up your water and face West. Anoint your face and body with water and allow yourself the visual of birthing, perhaps picture yourself in the womb, or in the ocean.
“Element of Water assist my birthing into/for the purpose of ________, and be with me. Lend your abilities of ebb and flow and assist me in balancing the emotional tides of myself as I move forward to_______.” Imagine yourself as emotionally balanced. Open and receptive, intuitive and kind, while maintaining emotional balance.
Sprinkle some of the water on your new white clothing; or dip your necklace in the water.
Pick up your oil and face North. Anoint your face and body with oil and eat a bit of the salt; allow yourself the visual of being blessed and coming into a truer version of your SELF, perhaps picture yourself sitting high atop a mountain, or in deep wood.
“Element of Earth assist my path and journey into/for the purpose of ________, and be with me. Lend your abilities of health and wellness and assist me in balancing my work and my body as I move forward to_______.” Imagine yourself as physically balanced. Active and willing to do the hard work, but also able and willing to eat, sleep, and nurture yourself… remaining physically balanced.
Sprinkle some of the salt on your new white clothing; or place some oil on your necklace.
Pick up your incense and face East. Allow the smoke to waft through the energy field of your face and body; allow yourself the visual of breathing deeply and thinking deeply, perhaps picture yourself in meditation, or holding a “great spell book” of knowledge.
“Element of Air assist my mind and thought process for the purpose of ________, and be with me. Lend your abilities of great learning and wisdom and assist me in balancing my mental activities as I move forward to_______.” Imagine yourself as mentally balanced, filled with knowledge that never ends, and having acute mental clarity while maintaining mental balance.
Waft the incense through your new white clothing; or dip/hold your necklace through the smoke.
Pick up your candle and face South. Run your hands over the flame, place your newly warmed hands on your face, wave the flame in front of your body, under each arm and between your legs, allow yourself the visual of awakening; perhaps picture yourself bathing in the sun, in a room full of candles, or sitting at a hearth.
“Element of Fire assist my awakening into/for the purpose of ________, and be with me. Lend your abilities of Will and desire and assist me in balancing the creative tides of myself as I move forward to_______.” Imagine yourself as creatively balanced. Strong and brave, creative and sexually alive, while maintaining balance.
Take up your garment or necklace and (being very careful with cloth) wave the item over the flame and allow the flame to infuse your item with energy.
When complete, move back towards the West again to finish the circle. Bow slightly to show you respect who/what you have invited into circle.
Dress your personal candle (rub some of your oil on it while holding your intention in mind; see yourself in your new capacity as “________”) and light your candle.
While watching your candle, spend some time praying/talking with Deity. You may wish to write in your journal at this time, or draw a picture. If you play a musical instrument, it may be a good opportunity to play something rhythmic and trance inducing. Allow yourself to experience the energy of the circle without “tuning it out” and becoming “busy” with other thoughts. Listen to yourself and to the universe at large.
When it feels appropriate to do so, pick up the grail/glass of wine (juice or water) , and hold this to your heart. Imagine yourself as God/Goddess and infuse your drink with love. Take a sip.
Pick up your bread or other goodies (I like to use fresh pea pods) and again holding the thought of Deity, infuse the bread with love. Eat a small piece of the bread. Place a bit of wine and a bit of bread aside for the Goddess (to take outside after ritual) , from HER all life comes forth, we must give something back in turn. Sit quietly while eating and drinking.
When it is time to open your circle (or “close” your circle, depending upon your perspective) stand and come back in touch with Deity. Dismiss Deity/ies first, and then dismiss each quarter in turn working in a counter clockwise fashion:
Thank the Goddess/universe/etc and blow out the candle associated with her. Thank the God/universe/etc and blow out the candle associated with him. You may wish to say something similar to “hail and farewell!”
Begin in the south; this indicates that your Will is invested (first and foremost) in your new birthing/awakening.
“________ of the South, creature of Fire, I bid you thanks and welcome for your presence within my circle this day/night. I ask that your gifts of passion and inspiration continue to guide me as I move forward into _______ Hail and welcome!”
“________ of the East, creature of Air, I bid you thanks and welcome for your presence within my circle this day/night. I ask that your gifts of wisdom and insight continue to guide me as I move forward into _______ Hail and welcome!”
“________ of the North, creature of Earth, I bid you thanks and welcome for your presence within my circle this day/night. I ask that your gifts of healing, preparation, and fortitude continue to guide me as I move forward into _______ Hail and welcome!”
“________ of the West, creature of Water, I bid you thanks and welcome for your presence within my circle this day/night. I ask that your gifts of emotional balance and intuition continue to guide me as I move forward into _______ Hail and welcome!”
Come back around to face South.
Prior to opening your circle, place your necklace around your neck or dress in your new white garment.
When ready, Pick up your Athame (or) using your index finger, un-draw the circle working in a counter clockwise fashion from South to East, to North to West, and back again to South. Imagine a vacuum cleaner type action with the energy traveling from your circle into your hand, down your arm into your body, down through your feet and into the earth; grounding the energy into the earth.
Thank the Earth for her added assistance and guidance.
Take your libations (wine and bread) outside and place them under a shrub or in a garden area that receives moonlight.
Welcome! Blessings upon your path.
* As usual, common courtesy/rules apply; feel free to print and use for your own purpose but please, no alterations in print, and please do not mass produce without my permission. My name and permissions must be contained therein.
Copyright: Copyright © 2011 by Willow Moon
Location: Everett, Washington
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