General Wiccan ritual format

1. Lustral Bath—Prior to ritual, participants are often asked to bathe with the intent of cleansing the mind, body, and spirit. Most often this will take place in the privacy of each practitioner's home. This is a time of focus and cleansing. If working alone, add herbs that correspond to the god form that you will be calling. If working with a group, have the person who is inviting a god form to do this, but ask the others to bathe with the herbs that correspond to the intent of the rite.

2. Smudging—As ritual begins, the smoke of smoldering sage bundles is often used to further cleanse those in attendance as well as the area in which the rite will be conducted. Try twisting herbs that correspond to your intent into the smudge stick. If you prefer, smudge first with sage and then with an incense blend that corresponds to your intent.

3. The Challenge—Prior to the casting or closing of a Wiccan circle, a challenge must always be given. The idea behind the challenge is to afford everyone in attendance the option of changing their minds, as all who are in attendance must be there of their own free will. In the case of spellcraft, insure that your challenge is very specific in both format and intent. Including someone who does not share your intent damages your chances of success.

4. Casting of the Circle—This is most often done by one person with an athame to direct energy towards the ground. I prefer to cast the circle twice, once for the Lord and once for the Lady. This is the process of defining the temple, so why not define it in more than just space? The act of casting the circle can also be used to define that circle for intent. Cast your circle as always, but walk it a third time, sprinkling an infusion (tea) made with herbs that correspond to your intent.

5. The Outsider Offering—The outsiders are those forces that we do not want within our circle. In the case of spellcraft, this offering may be used to rid the circle of the forces that would stand in opposition to our intent. Example: If your spell is for a job, try banishing self-doubt in the outsider offering. See your doubt empty into a container, open a gate in your circle, place that doubt outside the circle, and then close the circle. Be vocal at this point; verbal affirmations go a long way.

6. Anointing—Anoint the foreheads of those in attendance with oil that corresponds to the intent. If calling on a specific god form, anoint your forehead with oil that corresponds to that god form. A simple drop of oil at the point of the third eye will do, but the form of the Celtic cross or pentagram is also common.

7. Inviting the Quarters—The Quarters are often invited with their corresponding elements. Some choose to honor each of the Quarters by burning incense that corresponds to its element. Others light color-coordinated candles anointed with the elemental oils. In spellcraft, the words of the invitation should be chosen to reflect the intent of the spell. For example, in a healing rite, one might invite the elements as follows:

East: Here do I invite Air to lend the breath of life and health.

South: Here do I invite Fire, like the fever, to burn off the illness that we fight. West: Here do I invite Water to wash this illness from the sick.

North: Here do I invite Earth to provide the firmament on which we will fight this illness.

8. Inviting Our Lord—This is often the single most important part of a Wiccan ritual that is conducted with intent. Choose the archetype in accordance with intent. If you are not comfortable with specific archetypes, call on our Lord in words designed to stimulate those aspects that are aligned with intent. If you are using a candle to represent the archetype being called, anoint that candle with the corresponding oil or use a candle that was made specifically to draw on that god form. In your thoughts and words, remember that you are inviting that god form into yourself. You are asking that you will function with the attributes of that archetype.

9. Inviting Our Lady—Even when a man conducts ritual alone, an invitation to our Lady is also appropriate. In a group setting, it is best to have a woman select an archetype and invite our Lady in much the same way you invite our Lord.

10. Cakes and Ale—This should not be nearly as restrictive as the title sounds. Expand on the idea to include foods and drink that were made with the herbs and spices that correspond to the intent.

11. The spell is cast.

12. Thank our Lord and Lady for attending and for lending their forms to your intent.

13. Thank the Quarters using words appropriate to your intent.

14. Walk the circle counter clockwise, visualizing the energy generated within going forth to fulfill your intent.

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