A Community Ritual

I love going to Pagan Festivals and getting to lecture and present all sorts of Pagan-inspired things. In addition to an extensive repertoire of Horned God workshops, I also tend to lead a lot of rituals when I’m on the road. As I (mostly) enjoy writing ritual the ones I present in public are usually pretty varied in content. There have been Jim Morrison Rituals, Greek Rituals, and more experimental rituals too. What I usually don’t do are rituals that are representative of my primary tradition, Wicca. That changed last weekend at the ConVocation gathering in Detroit Michigan when I shared what I called a “A Big Old Fashioned Wiccan Ritual.”

The title was mostly spot on, I presented a very recognizable Wiccan Ritual, using traditional elements like Doreen Valiente’s Charge of the Goddess and calls to the Watchtowers inspired by Janet and Stewart Farrar’s A Witches Bible. But there were also untraditional elements as well, and the ritual takes pains to namecheck all of the various groups that tend to make up the Pagan Festival experience. I wasn’t sure if this was a ritual worth sharing on Raise the Horns, but then I thought it might help folks who are busy writing rituals for Pagan Pride Days and other sorts of extended community gatherings.

Materials Needed:
Altar Cloth
A large cauldron, most likely plastic.
Bowl of water
Bowl of salt
Chalice
Athame
God statue
Goddess statue
Tokens
Candles for the quarters (ours were electric)
A Book (or festival/event program)
An empty bottle
Business Card
Name Tag
Cakes and Wine/Ale/Juice

Cleansing
(At home my coven generally cleanses with a pitcher of water, but in circumstances like this a small bowl of salted water sprinkled on the ritual participants as they walk in probably works best. With no open flame allowed in a hotel, we couldn’t really use any incense.)

Statement of Intent
“We gather here tonight in the names of the Lord and Lady. We ask them to bless and look over our working this night. We’ve gathered this night to celebrate community, and this gathering of like minded individuals. The magick we feel here is not limited to this one place, it is an energy that we take home with us, to the four corners of this continent. Tonight we call the gods, the Watchtowers, and celebrate as Witches! Blessed be this place, and this time, and they who are now with us.”

Blessing of the Elements
(The High Priest places his athame into a bowl or cup of water sitting upon the altar.)

High Priest: “I exorcise thee o Creature of Water and cast out from thee all impurities and uncleanliness. In the names of the Lord and Lady, so mote it be.”

(The High Priestess places her athame into a bowl of salt sitting upon the altar.)

High Priestess: “Blessings be upon thee O Creature of Salt; let all darkness and negativity be cast from thee, and let all good enter within. Wherefore do I bless thee and consecrate thee in the names of Lord and Lady. So mote it be.”

(The Priestess then takes three measures of salt from the bowl using her athame, placing each one into the water. The salted water is now sprinkled along the perimeter of the circle and those that have gathered for the ritual.)

Casting the Circle
“I conjure thee oh circle of power, that thou may be a meeting place of love and joy and truth and as a shield against all wickedness and evil. Thou art a boundary between the world of mortals and the realms of the mighty ones; and an entry way to the realm of spirit. Wherefore do I bless thee and consecrate thee in the names of the Lord and the Lady. The circle is cast, so mote it be!”

Calling the Quarters

East: “Ye Guardians of the Watchtowers of the East, ye Powers of Air; Spirits of Clear Will and Knowledge, I do summon, stir, and call you up, to witness our rites and to guard our Circle.

(invoking pentagram is drawn)

Hail and welcome.”

(Coveners repeat “Hail and welcome.”)

South: “Ye Guardians of the Watchtowers of the South, ye Powers of Fire; Spirits of Illumination and Desire, I do summon, stir, and call you up, to witness our rites and to guard our Circle.

(invoking pentagram is drawn)

Hail and welcome.”

(Coveners repeat “Hail and welcome.”)

West: “Ye Guardians of the Watchtowers of the West, ye Powers of Water; Spirits of Death and Initiation, I do summon, stir, and call you up to witness our rites and to guard our Circle.

(invoking pentagram is drawn)

Hail and welcome.”

(Coveners repeat “Hail and welcome.”)

North: “Ye Guardians of the Watchtower of the North, ye Powers of Earth, Spirits of Mountain and Plains, I do summon, stir, and call you up to witness our rites and to guard our Circle.

(invoking pentagram is drawn)

Hail and welcome.”

(Coveners repeat “Hail and welcome.”)

Call to the God
“We call to the Great God, The Horned One, Lord of the Wild Hunt. Join us in our rites tonight! Bless our rituals, devotions, and celebrations. Throw open the portal separating we mortals from the realms of the Mighty Ones! With snow covered hooves dance with us this night of sacred meeting. The Horned One is here, Hail and welcome!”

Call to the Goddess
“We call to the Lady, Mistress of Magic, Mother of us all. Join us in our rites this night! Bless our endeavours both sacred and mundane. Allow us to see your might and majesty in all that we do in this space! Shine upon us from your place amongst the stars, and touch us with your light and love. The Great Lady has arrived! Hail and welcome!”

Charge of the God
High Priestess: “Power and authority has been granted unto you O High Priest. Now share with us the wisdom of our Lord.” (Priestess puts circlet upon head of Priest. Priestess then stands with power.) ““Revealed now are the words of the Great God. He is the ancient one, whose face has appeared in many roles throughout eternity . . . .”

(High Priest finishes The Charge of the God.)

Drawing Down the Moon/Charge of the Goddess
High Priest: “Power and authority has been granted unto you O High Priestess. Are you prepared to be a worthy vessel of our Great Lady and share her words with us?”

High Priestess: “Yes.”

(High Priest puts circlet upon the head of the High Priestess.)

High Priest: “Blessed be thy feet, that have brought thee in these ways.
Blessed be thy knees, that shall kneel at the sacred altar.
Blessed be thy womb, without which we would not be.
Blessed be thy breasts, formed in beauty.
Blessed be thy lips, that shall utter the Sacred Names.”

(After each line the mentioned body part is kissed lightly.)

“I invoke thee and call upon thee, Mighty Mother of us all, bringer of all fruitfulness; by seed and root, by bud and stem, by leaf and flower and fruit, by life and love do I invoke thee to descend upon the body of this, thy servant and priestess.”

“Hail The Lady! From the Amalthean Horn
Pour forth thy store of love;
I lowly bend before thee,
I adore thee to the end,
With loving sacrifice thy shrine adore.
Thy foot is to my lip (he kisses her right foot)
My prayer up borne upon the rising incense smoke;
Then spend thine ancient love, O Mighty One, descend
To aid me, for without thee I am forlorn.”

(The Charge of the Goddess is read. When we presented this ritual my wife and I had no intention of actually drawing down the Goddess, though we did succeed in bringing Her energy into our circle.)

The Working
High Priest: “Those of us who have gathered this night are from many different places. A lot of you are from Michigan, but many more are from states or countries near by, and some of us have journeyed for thousands of miles from the Pacific Ocean to the shores of the Great Lakes. ConVocation has become a festival that transcends regional boundaries.”

“We come here for many things. Some people attend for the sake of learning, going to as many workshops, classes, and rituals as they can. Others come to ConVocation for the parties, to visit with friends rarely seen, and other social opportunities.”

(Obviously you’ll want to change some of the wordings here for your own needs, but that shouldn’t be very hard to do.)

High Priestess: “The Pagan Festival experience gives us an opportunity to live free from the rules of mundane society. We come here to embrace who we truly are, allowing everyone around us to see ourselves in our true light. We are Pagans, Witches, Wiccans, Druids, and more and here this night and in this place we celebrate those things!”

High Priest: “We also come to ConVocation in an attempt to celebrate the new. At this yearly gathering we awake to new insights about ourselves and our community. We also find new answers to old questions, and new questions from old answers.”

High Priestess: “Tonight we take the things we love so much about this weekend and put them here in this cauldron. We will then weave together our magicks and energy to combine those ingredients into something we can take home to remind us to share what we have gained here. ConVocation is not just one weekend a year, it’s a feeling we share with others all year round.”

High Priest: “From each of the four quarters we will be given a gift to represent the festival we are now experiencing. As each gift is being presented, you are invited to say out loud with everyone here your experiences. We will shout these all together at the same time, for what we speak becomes manifest. If you learned about the god Cernunnos speak that god’s name. If you had an amazing conversation with someone yell it from the mountain tops. If you had the best orgasm of your life share it discreetly. We want to fill our cauldron with all that happens at this festival.”

“Now from the East, come forth and share what you add to our cauldron.”

East Quarter Caller: “To our cauldron this evening I add all that we have learned over these past four days. I pour into it knowledge of history, magick, chaos, and art. (Lift book over the head.) Before I place this first ingredient in our cauldron shout into it what you wish to add from this realm. What insights from you should go into our Witch’s brew? (Wait for yelling to stop, and then the book is dropped into the cauldron.) Now I have added knowledge to our cauldron, so mote it be!

South Quarter Caller: “To our spell this night I add all that is sociable and pleasurable to our cauldron. I add every kiss, every drop of scotch or cider, every hug, every dalliance, every encouraging word, and even the love we have for one another. (Lift bottle over the head.) Now what experiences from this realm do you wish to add to our working? (Wait for yelling to stop and pour contents of empty bottle into the cauldron.) I have added all that is social and pleasurable to our cauldron, so mote it be!

West Quarter Caller: “From the West I bring knowledge and sense of self. ConVocation is freedom, the freedom to be who we are all the time without judgement or condemnation. This is who I truly am! Witch! Pagan! Priestess! Seeker of the Occult Arts and Master of the Magickal! This is who we are and what we celebrate inside these walls. (At festivals we are all given name badges to wear, for this bit in the ritual we used the festival name tag, which at this point is lifted above the head.) Now share a bit of who you truly are and yell it loudly and proudly like only one can here in this place! (Wait for yelling to stop and then place the badge in the cauldron.) I have now added our true selves to this cauldron, so mote it be!”

North Quarter Caller: “It’s so easy to come to this place and slip into old habits and old friendships, but what truly makes this experience great is the new. Every year we gather and we leave with new friends, new knowledge, and a whole host of new experiences to inspire us through another year. So we hail the new and those experiences that make life worth living that we can only find here. (You can use all sorts of things to represent “new” here, we used it a business card which is now raised over the head.) Now yell and share with us something new that’s happened to you this weekend so we may it add it to our spell. (Wait for yelling to stop.) All of the new things we’ve discovered about ourselves and others has now been added to this cauldron, so mote it be!”

High Priest: “So many great things happen here at this festival, but we must be cognizant of the fact that we need to take them home with us and share them with all of those who aren’t here. ConVocation can’t just be four days and then forgotten about, what we’ve done here needs to be a part of our lives going forward.”

High Priestess: “Tonight we will weave together our magick, and stir our cauldron through dance and chant. When our energies have all woven together the elements that make up our spell will create something tangible for us to take home so that we might be remembered to share our experiences here. So tonight we stir our cauldron together through movement and rhythm and while we dance we shall chant these words: ‘Cauldron stir Our will be done.’ And we shall dance the Spiral dance to stir our cauldron . . . . (for the unfamiliar the Spiral Dance will have to be explained here) . . and now we dance and chant!”

(When the dancing stops.)

High Priest: “Now let’s look and see just what we’ve created here by combining our energies and putting the bits that make this weekend so great into our cauldron. I see that our efforts have yielded these coins/tokens/necklaces. Let’s share them with everyone here, and keep them close to our person in the days and months to come, reminding us to share what we have learned and experienced here, but also to create a little bit of ConVocation where we all reside. The magick is here and will now be shared by all! So mote it be!”

(Obviously you’ll want to hide whatever your token is in the cauldron before you start the ritual. We had about seventy people at our ritual and used our quarter callers to help us distribute the tokens.)

Great Rite/Cakes and Ale
High Priest: “Life is more than a gift, it is a promise. All that dies shall be reborn.”

High Priestess: “We now celebrate the most ancient of magicks, the magick of joining.”

High Priest: “The athame is to the Lord.”

High Priestess: “As the cup is the Lady.”

Both: “United in life and abundance. Blessed Be!”

(Athame is plunged into the chalice.)

(High Priestess stands before the Priest holding a loaf of bread/cakes. The High Priest places his athame upon them and blesses them.)

High Priest: “In the names of the Lord and Lady we bless this bread.”

(High Priest stands before the Priestess holding a chalice of wine/juice. The High Priestess takes her athame and places it upon the chalice and blesses them.)

High Priestess: “In the names of the Lord and Lady we bless this drink.”

(The drink is then passed around first with the bread following, my wife insists on this to reduce backwash.)

Goodbye to the Gods
High Priest: “We thank the Great God for joining us in our circle tonight. Lord of the Sun, Leader of the Wild Hunt, Horned One of life, love, and fertility we thank you for your continued presence in our lives. Help us to process to the lessons we’ve learned this week and apply them to our everyday lives. Hail the God. Blessed Be.”

High Priestess: “We thank the Eternal Lady for being a part of our circle tonight. Gracious Goddess, Maiden, Mother, Crone, Mistress of the Moon, She who fills our hearts, we thank you for your many blessings and being a part of our lives. As we leave this place, we know that we do not leave your presence, for when we walk we walk with the Great Goddess. Hail the Lady! Blessed Be!”

Dismissing the Quarters

North: “Ye Guardians of the Watchtowers of the North, ye Powers of Earth, Spirits of Mountain and Plains, you have joined us in our rites and have guarded our circle well. We thank you for joining us this blessed night.

(banishing pentagram is drawn)

Hail and farewell!”

(Coveners repeat “Hail and farewell.”)

West: “Ye Guardians of the Watchtowers of the West, ye Powers of Water; Spirits of Death and Initiation, you have joined us in our rites and have guarded our circle well. We thank you for joining us this blessed night.

(banishing pentagram is drawn)

Hail and farewell!”

(Coveners repeat “Hail and farewell.”)

South: “Ye Guardians of the Watchtowers of the South, ye Powers of Fire; Spirits of Illumination and Desire, you have joined us in our rites and have guarded our circle well. We thank you for joining us this blessed night.

(banishing pentagram is drawn)

Hail and farewell!”

(Coveners repeat “Hail and farewell.”)

East: “Ye Guardians of the Watchtowers of the East, ye Powers of Air; Spirits of Clear Will and Knowledge, you have joined us in our rites and have guarded our circle well. We thank you for joining us this blessed night.

(banishing pentagram is drawn)

Hail and farewell!”

(Coveners repeat “Hail and farewell.”)

Taking Down the Circle
“I conjured thee oh circle of power as a meeting place to shield us against all wickedness and evil. Thou has served us well, and now we undo this boundary between the world of mortal and those of the mighty ones. We seal forth the entry way from the realm of spirit. All will now be as it once was, and what was once here has been dismissed in the names of the Lord and the Lady.
So mote it be!”

Final Words
“We now leave this room, but we do not leave this place. Keep your token with you this night and add even more to it over the last night we will all share together this year. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again, and may the gods preserve the Craft.”

About Jason Mankey

Jason Mankey has been involved with Paganism for the last twenty years, and has spent the last ten of those years as a speaker, writer, and High Priest. Jason can often be found lecturing on the Pagan Festival circuit, so you might just bump into him. When not reading and researching Pagan history he likes to crank up the Led Zeppelin, do rituals in honor of Jim Morrison (of The Doors), and sing numerous praises to Pan, Dionysus, and Aphrodite. He lives in Sunnyvale CA with his wife Ari and two hyper-kinetic cats.


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