The next step in the ritual procedure is that of the Intention: the reason for doing the ritual. During the Intention the main body of the ritual is developed. For example, seasonal celebrations will focus on time honored themes such as planning, planting, harvesting, and remembering. Full moon rituals will concentrate on lunar themes, the feminine aspect of deity, or magical operations.
This portion of the ritual is where individual creativity blossoms. The intention can be as simple or elaborate as the practitioner wishes. The solitary Witch will usually keep this portion of the ritual fairly simple, using a cherished poem or prayer to express his or her desires. The coven or large group might use this time for a guided meditation to present a drama based on a mystery teaching, or to participate in an activity like dancing around the Maypole. Whatever the activity is, it should be appropriate to the season and theme of the rite.
The Rite of Union, the blessing of bread and wine, is a common act in most Wiccan and Mystery traditions. During this segment of the rite, wine and bread (or cake) are blessed and then shared among members in honor of deity. In most ceremonies the wine is symbolic of the blood, or life essence, of the God, and the bread (or cake) the body or energy of the Goddess. When the wine and bread are consumed by the participants of the ritual, they are spiritually transformed through the divine symbolic attributes of the food.
Solitary Wiccans act out the Rite of Union as part of their rituals just as covens do. During the rite, the wine will be blessed, transforming it into the vital essence of the God. Once this process has been completed, the sacred fluid is poured into the chalice (the physical symbolic representation of the Goddess). The chalice is then conjoined with the athame (the physical symbolic representation of the God) to form the perfect union of masculine and feminine energy.
How to Perform the Rite of Union (wine)
The couple performing the Rite of Union will need a chalice, athame, and two containers of wine, one red and one white (red and white grape juice may be used as a substitute). One is filled with white wine, and the other with red wine.
The Rite of Union is most often performed by the leaders of the Coven, the priest and priestess. At the appropriate time, they approach the altar and genuflect or bow. The priest, or lead male LM, picks up the chalice, and the priestess, or lead female LF, picks up the containers of wine, one
white and one red. They then turn and face each other. She holds the wine as pictured and he kneels facing her, holding the chalice.
LF pours the red and white wine into the chalice, combining them as she says the following:
I pour the red and the white, that they shall mix, as life and death, joy and sorrow, peace, and humility, and impart their essence of wonder unto all.
LM remains kneeling as he holds the chalice filled with the wine, saying:
For I am the father, lover, and brother unto all. The bringer of life, and the giver of death before whom all time is ashamed. Let my spirit breathe upon you and awaken the fires of inspiration within your soul.
LF replaces the containers of wine on the altar and picks up the athame. She slowly lowers it into the chalice as LM rises with the chalice to meet the blade of the athame so it touches the wine within. While doing this, they say:
LF: For as this athame represents the male, and the God.
LM: And this chalice represents the female, and the Goddess.
Both: They are conjoined to become one, in truth, power, and wisdom. So Mote It Be.
LF replaces the athame upon the altar. LM takes a sip of the wine, hands it to LF, and says:
"Perfect love and perfect trust."
LF takes a sip and passes it back to LM, saying:
"Perfect love and perfect trust."
The chalice is passed to each member of the group, who respond in turn:
"Perfect love and perfect trust."
How to Perform the Rite of Union (bread)
Blessing bread takes on the same significance as does the blessing of wine. During the blessing, the vital essence of the Goddess is drawn down into bread or cake, making it sacred.
The act of blessing the bread will again be done by the lead female of the group and the lead male. The bread will have been placed on a plate or on the pentacle before the ritual. (Small biscuits or common bread purchased from religious supply houses work best as they are small and made especially for religious rites.) As the Rite of Union comes to a close, LF and LM prepare to begin the blessing of the sacramental bread.
LF picks up the plate of bread and faces LM, saying:
Behold the sovereignty of our Divine King
Beloved son and lover
Radiant and everlasting light
Guardian of the souls of man who rises triumphant from the tomb.
LM responds by saying:
We give honor to thee, O sacrificed God Who through the Mother grants eternity. By shedding your blood upon the land, All are transformed through your passion As they pass through the gates of judgment.
He picks up a piece of bread, holds it over the plate, and recites in unison with LF:
Let now the mystery be revealed Of the light of the Lord within, Who in the shadow of the Goddess Will ever reign supreme. So Mote It Be!
As with the wine, the bread is passed among the members so each may receive a portion of the god's blessing.
How to Perform the Solitary Rite of Union (wine)
This is a simplified version of the actual Rite of Union and can be used by those who practice and worship alone. The practitioner will fill the chalice with red and white wine before the ritual. When the time comes to perform the Rite of Union, the practitioner will face the altar, genuflect or bow, and pick up the chalice. While holding the chalice in offering, the practitioner will say the following as he or she visualizes the energy of the God and Goddess flowing into the chalice:
My Lord is the power and force of all life,
My Lady is the vessel through which all life flows.
My Lord is life and death,
My Lady is birth and renewal.
The sun brings forth life,
The moon holds it in darkness.
The practitioner will then place the chalice on the altar. He or she will pick up the athame, plunge it into the chalice and say:
For as the lance is to the male,
So the grail is to the female,
And together they are conjoined to become one
In truth, power, and wisdom.
The practitioner then takes a sip of the wine in honor of his or her god and goddess.
How to Perform the Solitary Rite of Union (bread)
Before the ritual, the practitioner will place the bread or cake on a small plate or on top of the pentacle. As soon as the wine has been blessed, the practitioner will bless the bread by holding his or her hands over the bread and speaking:
O Great Lord of Heavenly power Whose presence reigns from above Be with me in this ritual hour And grace this bread with your love. So Mote It Be!
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