Coven Initiation

As with all of the rituals in this workbook, they are presented as patterns—blueprints which you may either adopt or adapt. You will see that this Initiation Rite contains all of the elements I have previously discussed. If you decide to write your own, I urge you to follow the general pattern.

In this ceremony I have written it as for a Priest initiating a female. It can obviously be adapted for reversal of the roles (in virtually all traditions male initiates female and female initiates male).

It is usual for the Initiate to be naked in this rite. If the coven usually works naked then, of course, this is fine. However, if the coven is usually robed then the Initiate should either be the only one naked or should wear a robe that can be opened down the front as and when indicated (even robed covens usually wear nothing under their robes).

The Initiation can take place with all the coven present; with only the Priest, Priestess and Initiate; or with Priest, Priestess, one or two assistants and the Initiate. The coven should decide which method they prefer. The below ritual is written for Priest, Priestess, two assistants (whom I shall call MAIDEN and SQUIRE) and Initiate. In addition to the usual altar furniture, there is a dish of anointing oil between the water and the salt and a red, nine-foot length of cord and a blindfold on the altar. The Priestess's Goddess Crown and the Priest's Horned Helmet rest beside the altar. The Initiate wears no jewelry of any kind, nor make-up, and waits in a room outside the Temple Room. Anointing will be done as described in the Self Dedication. A Keltic Cross in a circle $ is drawn slightly above and between the eyes, in the position of the Third Eye; a PentagramA is drawn over the heart; an inverted triangle is marked by touching the genitals, right breast, left breast and genitals again.

The ERECTING THE TEMPLE ritual is performed in the usual manner (see next lesson). The bell is rung three times.

Priestess: "Let there be none who suffer loneliness; none who are friendless and without brother or sister. For all may find love and peace within the Circle." Priest: "With open arms, the Lord and Lady welcome all." Squire: "I bring news of one who has traveled far, seeking that which we enjoy."

Maiden: "Long has been her journey, but now she feels an end is near."

Priest: "Of whom do you speak?"

Squire: "Of she who, even now, waits outside our Temple, seeking entry."

Priestess: "Who caused her to come here?" Maiden: " She came herself, of her own free will." Priest: "What does she seek?"

Maiden: "She seeks to become one with the Lord and the Lady. She seeks to join with us in our worship of them."

Priestess: "Who can vouch for this person?" Squire: "I can. As her teacher* I have shown her the ways; pointed her in the right direction and set her feet upon the path. But she has chosen to take this step and now bids you give her entrance."

Priest: "Can she be brought before us?" Squire: "Indeed she can." Priestess: "Then let it be so."

SQUIRE takes Cord and athame; MAIDEN takes blindfold and candle. They go, clockwise, around Circle to the east and there exit the Circle.t They go out of the Temple, to the Initiate. MAIDEN blindfolds her while

SQUIRE binds her (see illustration). With initiate between them, they approach the door to the Temple Room. SQUIRE bangs on door with handle of athame.

Priest: "Who knocks?"

Squire: "We return with one who would join our number."

Priestess: "What is her name?" Initiate: "My name is ...(Given Name)... I beg entry." Priestess: "Enter this our Temple."

The three enter the Temple Room and stand outside the Circle, in the east. MAIDEN holds the candle; SQUIRE the athame. The bell is rung once._

METHOD OF BINDING FOR AN INITIATION

1. Nine foot red cord is looped over Initiate's left wrist, behind her back. At mid-point of cord, a single reef, or square, knot is tied.

2. Initiate's right arm is laid wrist over wrist, over left arm and another knot is tied. Note: Arms form base of triangle to head (see ilustration):

3. Two ends of cord are taken up and around either side of Initiate's head, crossing in front.

4. Looping one end on around the back of the head, the two ends are tied with a bow at the right shoulder.

•This part should obviously be played by the person who has been working with the initiate up to this point, tSee details for entering and exiting a cast Circle in Lesson Ten.

Priest: "...(Name)..., why do you come here?" Initiate: "To worship the gods in whom I believe and to become one with them and with my brothers and sisters of the Craft." Priestess: "What do you bring with you?" Initiate: "1 bring nothing but my True Self, naked and unadorned." Priestess: "Then I bid you enter this our Circle of

Worship and Magick."

SQUIRE admits them to the Circle. They stand just within, still in the east. PRIEST and PRIESTESS move around to them; PRIEST carrying the censer and PRIESTESS the salted water.

Priest: "To enter this our Sacred Circle, I here duly consecrate you, in the names of the God and the Goddess."

If Initiate is robed, the PRIESTESS opens the robe while the PRIEST sprinkles and censes her, men closes it again. PRIEST and PRIESTESS return to the altar, Mowed by SQUIRE, INITIATE and MAIDEN. PRIEST and PRIESTESS stand in front of altar, while SQUIRE and MAIDEN move round to far side, opposite, with INITIATE between them. They face Priest and Priestess. Bell is rung twice.

Priestess: "I speak now for the Lady. Why are you here?" Initiate: "I am here to become one with the Lord and the Lady; to join in worship of them." Priest: "I am he who speaks for the Lord. Who made you come here?" Initiate: "None made me come, for I am here of my own choosing." Priest: "Do you wish an end to the life you have known so far?" Initiate: "I do." Priest: "Then so be it."

With his athame, SQUIRE cuts a lock of Initiate's hair and throws it on the censer. SQUIRE and MAIDEN lead INITIATE around Circle to the east.

Maiden: "Hearken, all ye at the East Gate. Here is one who would join us. Welcome her and bring her joy."

They move on to the south.

Squire: "Hearken all ye at the South Gate. Here is one who would join us. Welcome her and bring her joy."

They move on to the west.

Maiden: "Hearken all ye at the West Gate. Here is one who would join us. Welcome her and bring her joy."

They move on to the north.

Squire: "Hearken all ye at the North Gate. Here is one who would join us. Welcome her and bring her joy."

SQUIRE and MAIDEN lead INITIATE back to stand behind altar again, facing Priest and Priestess. PRIEST and PRIESTESS place their crowns on their heads and, taking up their athames, stand side by side with their right arms holding the knives high in salute. SQUIRE rings bell three times.

Maiden: "Now, then, must you face those whom you seek."

MAIDEN removes Initiate's blindfold.

Maiden: "Behold, in these two priests do we see the gods. And in that know that we and they are the same." Squire: "As we need the gods, so do the gods need us." Priest: "I am he who spe'aks for the God. Yet are you and I equal." Priestess: "I am she who speaks for the Goddess. Yet are you and I equal."

PRIEST and PRIESTESS lower their athames and present the blades to the INITIATE, who kisses the blades.

Initiate: "I salute the Lord and the Lady, as I salute those who represent them. I pledge my love and support to them and to my brothers and sisters of the Craft." Priest: "Know you the Wiccan Rede?" Initiate: "I do. An' it harm none, do what thou wilt." Priestess: "And do you abide by that Rede?" Initiate: "I do."

Priest: "Well said. Let your bonds be loosed that ye may be reborn."

SQUIRE unties cord. MAIDEN leads INITIATE around to stand between Priest and Priestess. MAIDEN then returns to her place beside Squire.

Priestess: "That you may start life afresh it is only meet and right that you start with a name of your own choosing. Have you such a name?" Initiate: "I have. It is ... (Craft Name)..." Priest: "Then shall you be known by that name henceforth, by your brothers and sisters of the Craft."

PRIEST takes up anointing oil. If Initiate is robed, PRIESTESS opens robe. PRIEST anoints (Cross, Pentagram and Triangle) and says:

Priest: "With this Sacred Oil I anoint and cleanse thee, giving new life to one of the Children of the Gods. From this day forth you shall be known as ...(Craft Name)..., within this Circle and without it, to all your Brothers and Sisters of the Craft. So Mote It Be."

'When one Witch salutes another, it is with an embrace and a kiss.

Priestess: "Now you are truly one of us. As one of us will you share our knowledge of the gods and of the arts of healing, of divination, of magick and of all the mystic arts. These shall you learn as you progress." Priest: "But we caution you ever to remember the Wiccan Rede. An' it harm none, do what thou wilt."

Priestess: "An' it harm none, do what thou wilt. Come now, ...(Name)..., and meet your kindred."

INITIATE salutes* Priest and Priestess then moves around to salute and greet all the others in the Circle. If the initiation has been taking place without the other coven members being present, they now return to the Circle to join the celebrants. If it is the coven custom to present a newcomer with any gift(s) this may be done at this time. Bell is rung three times.

Priest: "Now is it truly a time for celebration."

Feasting and merriment follow till the Temple is closed.

Next lesson you will consecrate your tools, so that they may be used in future rituals._

NOW ANSWER THE EXAMINATION QUESTIONS FOR THIS LESSON IN APPENDIX B

1. How did you prepare yourself for the Initiation?

2. If you are joining an existing Coven, describe the members, Priest and Priestess, and goals of that Coven. Why are you joining that particular Coven?

INITIATION RITUAL

COVEN MEMBERS

GOALS FOR COVEN

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