So Mote It Be

You can’t attend too many Pagan circles without hearing someone say “so mote it be!” It’s one of those phrases whose meaning quickly becomes clear from its context: “may it be so” or the stronger “so must it be.” I can’t hear it without thinking of Yul Brynner as Ramses in The Ten Commandments saying “so let it be written, so let it be done!”

I never paid much attention to the phrase until I heard it in a Baptist church. After the shock wore off I remembered I was at the funeral of a Mason. I quickly connected the dots and realized this was yet another rubric Gerald Gardner and company lifted from Freemasonry.

MasonicWorld.com has a reprint of a 1927 article that interprets the phrase as “the will of God be done.” I think that interpretation commits the classical religious error of assuming my will and the will of God are one and the same. A look at the simple meaning of the phrase combined with Wicca and modern witchcraft’s emphasis on empowering those outside the popular circles of power clearly indicates the phrase’s proper meaning is as I’ve seen it used in numerous Wiccan rituals: “as I will, so mote it be!”

Can we end a magical working with “so mote it be” and say it with the confidence of a pharaoh issuing a command? If we have thought through the situation, if we are certain what we’re doing is neither unethical nor trivial, and we’re willing to accept responsibility for what we do, why shouldn’t we?

If we are going to live our lives our way and not as popular culture says we must, at some point we have to stand up and say “this is what I want. This is how I will live. This I value and that I do not.”

So mote it be!

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About John Beckett

I’m a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I’m an ordained priest in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship. I’m the Coordinating Officer of the Denton, Texas Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. This year I’m also serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of CUUPS National. I’m a member of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I write as a spiritual practice. It helps me organize my thoughts and work through ideas and concepts. It helps me evaluate my beliefs and practices against my core values and against what I know (or at least, what I think I know) to be true. It helps me interpret my experiences (religious and otherwise) in ways that are both meaningful and honest.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02861784298409987527 heatherphillips315

    Thank you, so much. I am a candidate in another druid order and was having some internal debate as to the appropriateness of the phrase "so mote it be" in the initiation ceremony. (I much prefer Yul Brynner's phrase, actually.) After reading this post, I began stumbling through you blog. I much enjoy it, and will read deep green religion and your blog in future.


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