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by David Rankine
Self Dedication Explained
Initiation is a process of "death and rebirth" - the old self dies, and the new and magickal self is born. A rite of self-dedication marks a serious commitment and dedication to the path, and should not be taken lightly.
Having followed your path this far, you will have noticed subtle (or not so subtle) changes in your self, and you may wish to mark this, and affirm your commitment to the path with a self-dedication ritual. Initiation is a process which happens over time, and the rite itself will benefit from being preceded by a daily practice, building up in intensity as you approach the day of the rite, with the dedication rite being the culmination of this ritual practice.
As the rite marks a rebirth, into your witch self or magickal self, you may wish to obtain a new magickal item or items for it. This could be a piece of ritual jewellery, such as a pentagram pendant, or amber and jet necklace (the traditional witches necklace), or a cord you wear around your waist. Some people choose to mark their dedications by having a tattoo in a magickal design, personal to themselves.
It is also good to have a magickal weapon which you will consecrate at the end of the dedication rite. A ritual dagger, or athame is the general tool chosen. Self-dedication can be very empowering, and can produce a feeling of "walking on clouds", and it is very important to earth oneself afterwards, and then to have a rest from magickal work for a period of between a week and a month.
Simple daily meditation may be practised during this period, but avoid intense magickal work. Time is needed to assimilate the experience, and the dedication process should be undertaken at a time when you do not have too much outside stress, and are able to take time for yourself.
It should be stressed that self-dedication is not the same as initiation into a coven, and should you wish to join a coven at a later date, you would still have to go through a probationary period and coven initiation, if accepted.
When you decide that you want to do a self-dedication, plan the date of the ritual at least a month in advance, choosing a suitable time, perhaps consulting astrological tables, or at least the phases of the moon. It is best done on a waxing or full moon.
Start your preparation at the new moon. Make sure that you have a day off work for the initiation itself. You may already have decided on a magickal or witch name. If you haven't yet decided on your witch name, find one through meditation and pathworking in the daily ritual leading up to the rite of self-initiation.
Begin preparing for the self-initiation by performing a daily ritual. Start by creating a sacred space. Purify the area with incense and sprinkling salt water. Visualize a sphere around yourself, and call on the powers of the four quarters, visualizing the elemental landscapes. (more...circle casting)
Call on the Goddess and the God, by whatever names you prefer to call them. Declare to the Elements, the Goddess and the God that you are embarking on the path of dedication, and ask for their help in preparing you.
Spend some time in meditation on the meaning of dedication, and opening yourself up for any messages from the Goddess and God. Thank and say farewell to the Goddess, God, and Elements, and close the circle.
Closer to the time
Try and spend time every day in the week leading up to the self- dedication rite working out your vows and meditating. Make sure that the vows you make are realistic! It is better to make less demanding vows than to make highly demanding vows and not live up to them.
Spend the day in quiet meditation and fasting. Drink only pure water, or if you really cannot do this, allow yourself a small quantity of apple or grape juice. Do not smoke, drink alcohol or take drugs! If you are on prescribed medication, consult your doctor. If the medication is short term, wait until you have finished the course of medication before doing the ritual.
If possible, go to a sacred site or wild place and attune yourself with nature. Communicate with the nature spirits, and ask for their blessings.
Think about the vows that you wish to make in your initiation. Think of a vow to yourself, one to the Goddess and God, and one to the Earth.
Before you start the ritual, have a purification bath. You may put essential oils, herbs or sea salt in the bath. Whilst in the bath, meditate on purifying your aura. See your aura as grey and dirty, but gradually becoming lighter and cleaner, until it is brilliant. When you emerge from the bath, allow yourself to dry naturally. Do not use a hair dryer, or rub yourself with towels. Rub your entire body with oil. This may be olive oil, grapeseed oil, or other vegetable oil, scented with pure essential oils of your choice. Perform the ritual skyclad if possible.
Have an altar set up, with an altar cloth on it, with a chalice of wine, a piece of bread or cake on a platter, a censer, two altar candles, some anointing oil, your athame or other tool, any ritual jewellery which will be put on at the end of the ritual to mark your dedication, and two small dishes containing sea salt and water (from a spring or sacred well if possible). You may also wish to have images or statues of the Goddess and God on the altar.
Light the candles and the incense, and purify your ritual space. Hold your hands over the water dish and say:
"I purify you,
in the blessed and mighty names of the Goddess and God."
Visualizing it glowing with white light. Do likewise with the salt, then tip some of the salt into the water, and mix it in with your forefinger. Sprinkle the salt water around your ritual space. Visualize a circle around you. (or cast a circle in your usual way) Call on the elements, then on the Goddess and God.
Declare your intent, saying something like:
"I (ordinary name) am
prepared for dedication.
I have followed the path and fulfilled my vows,
and I now call upon the Goddess and the God to confer on me wisdom and integrity.
I ask for the blessings of air, fire, water and earth".
Spend some time in meditation, and controlled breathing to gather energy and achieve an altered state of consciousness. You may also wish to use a mantra or chant.
Meditate for a while on finding the stillness inside yourself. When you are ready, stand before the altar, and anoint yourself first with oil, then with salt water and lastly wine, saying:
"I am reborn into
my true and magickal self,
and I take on the name of (Witch name).
I ask for the blessings of the Goddess and God on my endeavours,
and I vow (make your vows)".
When anointing yourself you may wish to anoint your chakras, or anoint yourself with a circle, pentagram, or personal symbol. It is good to write down your vows in your magickal diary, and sign the entry with your witch name.
Present yourself to the quarters, stating that you are now dedicated to the solitary path. Consecrate your ritual jewellery with the four elements (incense, water, salt and candle flame), and anoint it with oil for spirit before putting it on.
Consecrate your athame or other tool in the same manner, then hold it to your heart, feeling a link with it, and filling it with your energy. Say:
"I am a child of earth and starry heaven."
Hold it up to the moon and stars, and ask for the blessings of the cosmos on it, then touch it to the ground, and ask for the blessings of mother earth.
Lastly, consecrate the wine and cake by touching your athame to them, and channelling energy through it. Drink and eat, earthing yourself, then thank the Goddess, God and Elements, and close the circle. Remember: Write up your experiences in your magickal diary. Refrain from ritual for at least the next week, whilst you integrate the work.
Article by David Rankine, email@example.com
So you've been reading and studying and think you're prepared for the Wiccan path? Congratulations! However, I warn you, from here the path is a little more rocky. Dedication, like the word says, is when a person dedicates him or herself to the path of Wicca, serving the God and Goddess, and upholding the morals that come with the Wiccan title.
If you're lucky enough to be working with a coven (which is completely unnecessary, especially for the College Wiccan) those you have been studying with may have their own dedication ritual for you to go through. It may be as simple as a party...it is a good reason to celebrate, you know! (A word of wisdom, though...be aware of the use of alcohol, especially with underage drinking laws. The idea is to celebrate your choice of path, not just an excuse to get wasted. Substance-free parties can be just as fun. Try choosing a theme for the party, such as making it like a medieval knighting ceremony with costume and everything. It's more fun that way!) However, I suggest holding that off until initiation for the simple reason of making the initiation that much more special.
However, for those of us who do not have people to celebrate with them, you could do your own thing. I took a long nap during the day, and then stayed up all night, first with a ritual, then just meditation, food, tarot, reading "The Mists of Avalon" by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and all other things that seemed appropriate. I had a LOT of time to stare at the moon. I felt filled with the moonlight, and it was a very spiritual experience! It reassured me that my choice was correct for me. The next day, a weekend, I took the opportunity to sleep for as long as I wanted. *grin*
Some people may want to skip the Dedication and go directly to the Initiation, but I felt it was pretty important to take this step. This was the time in which I firmly stated that I wanted to be a Wiccan and that I was devoted to the God and the Goddess. This is the "affirmation" step before confirming your path with Initiation. I separate these steps because, although it's possible to turn around and decide against being Wiccan once you are initiated, this is the point where you stand on the threshold...where you can later decide to serve the Goddess and the God in another religion. In other words, instead of researching every religion with an emphasis on Wicca, you are now devoted to Wicca and claiming any other information you possibly can before Initiation.
The time period between Dedication and Initiation doesn't have to be another year and a day. You will always be learning, no matter where you stand in Wicca. Initiation will come when you feel ready. In the meantime, I think this is a good time period to fashion and consecrate your tools. One good way to consecrate your tools is to pass them through the elements (incense smoke for fire and air (or if it's not flammable, separate the two by using incense smoke for air and a candle flame for fire), water, and salt for earth) and then leave them out in the moonlight of a full moon (or even better, for a full turn of the moon, from new, to full, and back to new again), outside or on your windowsill. This is not an easy way out! You can't just leave them there and forget about them...you have to put full intention into your tools. Really concentrate on their purpose. Chant if you feel you must, but make sure you're putting positive thinking into your tools. Don't make your tools if you are in a bad mood. Save them for when you are feeling good about everything so the energies you get back through them are good. Touch them whenever possible. Thy should be ready for your initiation.
Another good thing to do is to search for a nice piece of jewelry for your initiation. A new pentacle or a moon phase necklace may feel appropriate. Just make sure it's not too gaudy. I bought my pentacle at Spencer's Gifts, and it's simply beautiful, however, I had to go through pentacles with skeletons crucified on them in order to find mine. Remember, we're not devil-worshippers! You want to keep that image if you choose to go public. It will be hard for others to believe it if you wear something that raises too many eyebrows! A simple pentagram will make enough people stare, if that's what you want...trust me! *grin*
Once you feel you are ready, remember, tools are not *necessary* but this is as good a time as ever to obtain them, it's time to move on to Initiation. I will tell about self-initiations, but do what you think is best for yourself. That's the only way your path can be correct...if it suits you.
USAGE:As a dedication for people in a
APPROPRIATE DAY/NIGHT: Any
(This is for people who have achieved the First Circle.)
A Covening Gift for each member. This usually is a ritual tool or a piece of jewelry that the coven has purchased. The Symbolism of the gift is expressed in the ceremony when the gift is given, like "To Fred we give this wand, firebrand of the ages, extensions of power, symbol of man. " Or "To Wilma we give this crystal of clear sight, that each of her facets shine brightly within and outside this, our coven." Pentacles are also provided to the students, in Silver, clay, wood or whatever is available, and hung on a string, ring, earring or bracelet. It is completely acceptable for the student to bring his/her own pentacle, which is consecrated before the ritual.
Leader: "Today is a glorious day, for ______________(names) has/have consented to join with us in the eyes of the Gods. Coven member(s), friend(s), family, _____________ is/are no longer just (a) face(s), but(a) Member(s) of the Greater Clan that is the Wicca. Each/He/She has demonstrated full knowledge of the laws which bind us and as such, the coven presents this/these gift(s)." (gifts are presented Pentacles are offered. Each person performs the following, just as in the solitary dedication.)
Initiate: "I am,________(you name), I have been shown the Five points and the Way, and have chosen to live by life by the Wiccan Rede and the Greater Law. In my hand I hold the pentacle, symbol of the Elements, Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. Five laws I have been shown, and by the Five I choose to live. I am aware of my actions and I take responsibility for what I've done and what I shall do.
Initiate: **(Optional) "To show this new Self, I have taken a new name, __________, which is what I shall be named in The eyes of the Gods (and wherever else your name will be used, including "in the eyes of the Wicca", etc.) Henceforth, I am no longer ________(name); I am _____________(name/craft name) of The Wicca. So Mote It Be!"
Initiate: "This pentacle is consecrated with the power of The Sun and Moon, and I don it knowing the value and depth of its meaning. Blessed be the Lord and Lady! (Puts pentacle on.) Now my dedication is complete, and the paths are many and varied before me. May I go and grow with happiness and the power of the love of the Gods. So Mote It Be!"
Coven: "So mote it be!"
"Hecate, most lovely One, the distant
You are Thracian Goddess of the Moon,
the dark hours and the underworld.
You are the Crone; Queen of the world of spirits.
You are the Goddess of Witchcraft
Snake Goddess, Great Mother; Great Goddess of Nature.
You are the daughter of Tartarus and Night, Titans of might.
Goddess of the Amazons.
Your chariot is pulled by dragons. You can change forms or ages and rejuvenate or kill.
You are the third moon aspect as the Hag, Dark Moon, or the Crone
You are revered as the Carrier of Wisdom.
Your hounds accompany you.
Your symbols are the athame, torch, scourge, key and the cauldron.
Your festivals were held at night by torchlight.
August 13th is your day that we honor you.
You are a huntress Goddess
Who knows your way in the realm of spirits?
All secret powers of nature are at your command.
You are controller over birth, life, and death.
You are Goddess of Witches, Goddess of the waning Moon, dark magick, prophecy, charms, magick and spells.
You are Goddess of vengeance, expiations, and averting evil, renewal and regeneration.
I honor you, Hecate and am conscious of you in my life each day. At night, I light a sacred candle all in your honor. I am your daughter; I am your Priestess."
USAGE: Upon achieving the First Circle, the Wiccan uses this oath to dedicate himself to the craft. There is no need for an initiation with this ritual under your belt.
APPROPRIATE DAY/NIGHT: Any holiday, the Wiccan's Birthday, Full moon or when needed. Preferably at dawn.
REQUIREMENTS: A purifying bath, a pentacle on a string or a necklace, ring or similar thing.
This can be done within a cast circle or not. First purify your body with a bath or shower, concentrating on putting the past behind you. Stand firm to the ground, holding the pentacle in both hands and showing it to the sun.
"I am (your name), I have been shown the Five points and the Way, and choose to live by life by the Wiccan Rede and the Greater Law it represents. In my hand I hold the pentacle, symbol of the Elements, Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit. Five laws I have been shown, and by the Five I choose to live. I am aware of my actions and I take responsibility for what I've done and what I shall do. (Optional: "To show this new Self, I have taken a new name, __________, which is what I shall be named in The eyes of the Gods and wherever else your name will be used, including "in the eyes of the Wicca," etc.) Henceforth, I am no longer "name" I am "Name or craft name" of The Wicca. So Mote It Be!"
"I consecrate this pentacle with the power of The Sun and the Hidden Moon, and don it knowing the value and depth of it's meaning. Blessed be the Lord and Lady! (Puts pentacle on.) Now my dedication is complete, and the paths are many and varied before me. May I go and grow with happiness and the power of the love of the Gods. So Mote It Be!"
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