Merry Meet, Sisters and Brothers!
According to national statistics, the most babies are born in the month of September, which means that most of them are conceived around New Year's Eve! So, I thought it would be appropriate to offer you this family-bonding ritual, which can also be a helpful, positive introduction of your spiritual beliefs to people in your life (friends AND family).
What follows is the Wiccaning ritual I created for my son the year after he was born. A "Wiccaning" is the Wiccan equivalent of a "Christening." Basically, it's to welcome the child into the world, as for the protection of the Gods/Goddesses, and choose the child's Goddessmother and Godfather. Yes, I know, it may seem rather traditional, but we truly felt that we wanted people in our son's life (outside of his parents) who would be able to give him support, love and advice on spiritual and other matters. Kids don't always feel comfortable talking to their parents about everything. This way, we hope he will know that he always has people to turn to for good advice, who won't judge him or admonish him for his feelings and beliefs.
The ritual below was created specifically for my son. Wiccanings do not have to be hosted on a Sabbat. We just felt it was most appropriate for our family in this case. Because he was born in November, we chose to have his Wiccaning on Yule, his 13th moon on this earth. This also isn't necessary, we just thought it was quite poetic. :) I place this ritual here to remind all of you of the wonderful things that happen in life--even to Witches. ;) For their privacy, we've changed our son's name and the names of his godparents for this posting on the web.
This ritual has been created as a guide for others. While there are many books on the market, and I could have placed one of those rituals here, I felt it was important to create my own, and offer it to you. It is from my personal experience, and is in no way intended to be representative of what all Witches do. Many traditions have very specific instructions and preparations for which coven members or participants must follow. In my Kitchen-Witch world, nothing you can do, short of harming someone or something, is wrong. Please feel free to print it and alter it to your tastes. Let the Goddess and God in! Express yourself! What is Wicca about if not freedom of choice?
NOTE ABOUT TIME: Sacred space is space between the worlds...and thus, has no clock. So, kindly cover all clocks and ask participants to take off any watches they may be wearing. If participants/friends need to be somewhere at a specific time, they probably shouldn't hang out. I've had circles that felt like 20 minutes and lasted 3 hours in the "real" world, and vice versa.
Yes, just like any other ritual (such as cooking) you will need supplies and tools. If you do not have "formal" tools, you can use your hands to form any of the basic tools you need. For some items, you can use kitchen supplies--I'm a kitchen witch. :) Tools are focus items--use what's comfortable:
FORMAL TOOL KITCHEN WITCH SUBSTITUTE Athame (ritual knife) Butter knife, or other knife which will cut through fruit, but not harm skin. Bowl Any bowl will do. Chalice A wine glass will work. Wand Use your straight, upraised arm. Pentacle/Pentagram Your necklace will work, or you can draw one! Cauldron big, (preferably dark colored) bowl Incense cheap, you can buy what you like at most Pagan Supply Shoppes, or even Walgreens! Candles: One for the Goddess and God, and one for each of the four directions No substitute--but Walgreens & Wal-Mart have deals! Water Water (did ya guess?;) Salt (and something to put it in) Salt Juice & nibbles juice, fresh fruit & berries, homemade cakes If outdoors, build a small campfire same :)
Prepare your "feast." Place items inside the area where you will cast your circle.
Cleanse yourself by taking a bath with "earthy" scents: fruits, flowers, Sandalwood or Patchouli (take it easy with the Patchouli, though--it's strong stuff!). Ground and center your self and energies. Use a focus, such as a chunk of hematite, or a handful of earth if it helps. Breath, relax, meditate on the cycle of life. Let go of all negative feelings and energies that might interfere with the celebration or working of magick. If you are not comfortable working skyclad, wear robes or clothing of bright, cheery colors like yellow, orange, blue, green, etc.
PREPARATION OF SPACE
To prepare for ritual, decorate your altar with eggs, seeds, flowers, etc. If you don't have an altar to decorate, use your coffee table, or set aside a special area on the floor where you're working, and drape a pretty cloth or blanket over it. (If you're lucky enough to be able to work outside, choose space that has the four elements involved: out in the woods, near a creek is good; and choose a nice table rock or log to set up your altar near the fire). Don't forget safety! Be careful if you burn candles and have little ones, as I do. ;) Little fingers are curious about fire, and we don't want them to get hurt!
If you'd like, prepare a small gift for the God/dessparents--a necklace, bracelet, ring, pin, preferably something they can wear to remind them of their God/desschild.
Place your Goddess candle (preferably brown) in a candle holder on the left-hand side of the altar, along with any trinkets, pictures or charms you feel represent Her. Place a picture of the Goddessmother and the gift you're giving her near the candle.
Place your God candle (preferably yellow or orange) in a candle holder on the right-hand side of the altar, along with any trinkets, pictures or charms you feel represent Him. Place a picture of the Godfather and the gift you're giving him near the candle.
For the East, use a white candle (or what you feel appropriate). Also place your Wand here, your incense and holder, and/or a bell.
For the South, use a red candle. Also place "fire-related" items here.... matches, fire poker.. whatever seems appropriate.
For the West, use a blue candle of any shade. Also place your bowl here, with water in it.
For the North, use a green or brown candle. Place your pentacle/pentagram and your salt at this quarter.
The Chalice should be placed near the Goddess candle, and the Athame near the God candle.
Place fruit & other nibbles aside for nibbling later.
CLEANSING OF SACRED SPACE
Cleanse the space by walking widdershins (counter-clockwise) with a broom and brush the old energy out the nearest doorway, to be absorbed back into the Earth and regenerated. Prepare the space for work with the four elements, by walking with them, individually, around the circle, deosil (pronounced "josh-l" and meaning clockwise). Use tools, if preferred, or the elements themselves: Air, incense; fire, a candle; water, sprinkle water, and earth, sprinkle salt. (If you perfume the cleansed area with sage, or a resin, such as frankincense or myrrh, check with any people you may be working with to make sure they have no allergies to the incense being used).
Say: With these elements, I do cleanse. By the Air which is Her breath, by the fire of Her love, by the flowing waters of Her blood, and the Earth, which is Her body, and her Spirit, which lives in me, I do cleanse this space, that it may be called "Sacred."
CAST CIRCLE: NOTE: Because you will most likely be using your kitchen and/or dining room, make it a BIG circle. Surround the house, if need be. Use your Athame. Start in the East (the Air, from whence the wind blows and the Sun rises) and go deosil, drawing a pentacle of fire at each of the four directions: (EAST=AIR SOUTH = FIRE WEST = WATER NORTH=EARTH). You, yourself, are the fifth aspect, Spirit.
WELCOME THE GODDESS:
You can invite the Goddess into circle in many ways: by singing, dancing, speaking, or simply thinking a welcome. You will know when She has entered. If there is a particular aspect you wish to call, choose a name. Since this is a ritual specifically for "parenting" a child, we chose Inanna, the Great Mother.
Light the Goddess candle and say: Blessed Mother, we invite you to our circle to witness a sacred event. The welcoming of a child to the world, his family, and the protection of your love. We ask that through this ritual and throughout his life, that you watch over him, guide his actions to be of love and positive personal choice. We also ask your blessing upon the God/dessparents, Susan and Jim, that they may carry your wisdom in supporting and guiding our son, Jonathan, when he needs answers, love and understanding. Thank you, and Blessed Be.
WELCOME THE GOD: The God choice was a difficult one for us. How do you choose that particular God who represents gentleness, beauty, kindness...and still empowers the child to be the man he wants to be? We chose the "Blue God" often referenced in the books of Starhawk. The Blue God is an ephemeral representation of the "maiden" aspect of the God. He represents the power of imagination, and the realms of spirit, dreams and visions. We felt these were good things with which to start one's young life.
Light the God candle and say: We invite the spirit of the Blue God to our circle this night, to witness, bless and guide the Wiccaning of this child. We ask that you inspire, bless and encourage the youth, imagination, creativity and gentleness of Jonathan. We also ask your protection and blessing upon him, as well as Susan and Jim, his chosen God/dessparents. May Susan and Jim receive the inspiration and gentleness needed to answer the ever-growing list of questions Jonathan will ask during his young life. Thank you, and Blessed Be.
CALL THE QUARTERS
For some, this is just recognizing the various aspects of life...for others, it is an invitation to elementals. Whatever it is for you, be loving and kind--for as you read these invocations below, recognize both the dangerous power and the gentle healing properties of each aspect.
SAY: Welcome spirit of Air, spirit of breath, spirit of wind! Gusting gales and gentle breezes, power and beauty. Blessed Be.
Welcome spirit of Fire, spirit of passion, spirit of creativity! Infernos and candles, power and beauty. Blessed Be.
Welcome spirit of Water, spirit of flowing energy, spirit of peace! Tidal waves and babbling brooks, power and beauty. Blessed Be.
Welcome spirit of Earth, spirit of foundation, spirit of grounding. Earthquakes and rolling hills, power and beauty. Blessed Be.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: Once you have gone to the trouble of calling deities and elementals, you need to state why you've asked them to come! In this case, I believe that has been stated in the Goddess and God invocations.
*You may add any additional purposes here, such as healing, spellwork, etc.*
WORK: The "work" in this case is a joyful work. :)
Take your bowl with water in it. (Preferably water that has been blessed). Take a pinch of salt and sprinkle it into the bowl. Place it on the altar, take your athame and place it point down into the bowl. Bless the salt water and infuse it with loving energy.
The Priest/ess calls forth the child and parents.
Using your finger or thumb, mark a crescent on the child's head with the blessed salt water and say: I sign thee, Shea, with the mark of the Goddess. May She ever protect thee and guide thy steps along her pathways.
Hold a lit candle over the child, and say: May the love of the Goddess ever warm thee.
Hold incense/burning herbs over the child, and say: May the breath of the Goddess ever bless thy heart.
Sprinkle the water on the child, and say: May the moving waters of the Goddess offer thee strength through change.Priest/ess asks the child's name.
Parents reply: Jonathon Anthony Smith.
Priest/ess asks for the Godparents to step forward and hold child:
Priest/ess says: Susan, Jim, is it your will to love and protect Jonathan, to answer his questions with love and honesty. and to help guide him through the ever-changing path that is life?
Godparents: It is.
Priest/ess says: May the Goddess and God witness the dedication of Susan, Goddessmother and Jim, Godfather. Jonathan, on this, the 13th moon in your life, we welcome and bless thee as a child of the Goddess. Blessed Be!
Relax, enjoy, bring out the treats and juice! Pass the chalice and platter with kisses! Celebrate and make merry. Use this time to ground and center yourself again. After all, we don't want to walk around for the next few days in a "fog!"
CELEBRATE: You will often find that you are energized and hungry after releasing the energy. After a while, you will get tired. Believe me! Eat, drink, be merry! Relax and enjoy the companionship of friends. Take a potty break. ;) Remember: if you need to leave the circle, use an athame, wand, or your hand and cut a "door." Don't forget to "seal" the door back up as you come and go.
CLOSING CIRCLE: Thank the elements for joining you. If you're too tired to do a "formal" thank-you at each quarter, say:
Earth, Water, Fire, Air We thank you for your love and care Leave us now, or stay with me, Light and Love, Blessed Be!
(It sounds cheesy, but you often have a case of the giggles at this point anyway, so take advantage of it!)
NOTE: When you put out the candles, be courteous and use a candle snuffer or wet your fingertips and snuff them out. I was told by one of my first teachers that one should never blow a candle out when dealing with elementals--they can be offended. ;)
REMEMBER: Witches do not "command" elements, nor the Goddess and God. They are free to come and go as they please.
Thank the God for joining you with whatever words/actions you deem appropriate.
Thank the Goddess for joining you with whatever words/actions you deem appropriate.
Use your athame to open the circle by going widdershins (starting at the north) and saying:
May the circle be open, but unbroken! May the peace of the Goddess be ever in your heart! Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again!
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