There are very few pieces of liturgy familiar to most Pagans. The one exception to that rule is Doreen Valiente’s Charge of the Goddess. I’m not arguing that everyone uses it in ritual or even agrees with it, just that it’s familiar to a whole lot of Pagans. Valiente’s Charge has lots of “bits” in it, ideas incorporated from Gerald Gardner’s earlier version, along with words from Charles Godfrey Leyland’s Aradia and the writings of Aleister Crowley. Those borrowings are of little concern to me, what makes the CotG so powerful are the universal truths contained within it. It’s an amazing piece of work that offers a clear picture of “The Goddess” in all of her many roles. Sadly, it’s difficult to find a companion piece to Valiente’s Charge that matches it in power and wisdom, though many of us have tried of course.
Many years ago I was writing a very big Beltane Ritual, and decided to include Valiente’s Charge. I remember this being a big deal at the time because we just didn’t normally do that, it was a big step in my transition from Eclectic Pagan to British Traditional Witch. To counter-balance Valiente’s expression of the Divine Feminine I searched in vain for something equally expressive of the Divine Masculine. There are many Charges of the God out there, but when I first put my own together most of them were generally re-workings of Valiente, substituting male things in place of female ones, while generally keeping Valiente’s cadence and structure. I didn’t think that was appropriate. I thought then (and still do now) that The God deserved his own words, his own cadences, and his own unique Charge. In what I remember being just a few minutes the following Charge of the God spilled out of me and I’ve been using it ever since.
There are many other fantastic Charges of the God out there. Daniel Webster Christensen’s at the Aquarian Tabernacle Church is strong, and Gatekeeper Jey’s Charge of the Dark God is a nice change of pace when I’m in a particular mood. Yeshe Rabbit’s Charge of the Sun God is another great “mood charge”, especially appropriate during the summer months (at least in my estimation). Perhaps it’s best that there’s no universally accepted Charge of the God, it helps to keep Him unique.
My charge has several “verses” which can be shuffled around depending on preference. Sometimes I choose to end on a particular “aspect” of The God depending on the season in order to drive home a theological point. When I’m pressed for time I sometimes drop verses too (never the ones for Pan, Loki, Cernunnos, and Dionysus), it’s a very adaptable little piece of writing. There are also a few “extra verses” that I don’t normally include. One can be looked at as a veiled reference to Jesus, and the other is a rather sarcastic look at love. Those verses are often more likely to be recited by my friends than by me.
The Charge of the God
Revealed now are the words of the Great God. He is the ancient one, whose face has appeared in many roles throughout eternity.
I am he who abides in the deepest darkest woods. It is my place to be with the creatures of the forest running in the cloak of blackest night. With bow strung across my back I make my home with the Earth. I am the defender of the sacredness of nature. I am the Great God.
I am he whose light and warmth brings forth life from the soil. My warmth is the covenant of union between Lady and Lord. My brow is the radiant crown of summer, the glow about me my promise of eternal light. I am the Great God.
I am he who is magick, creator of eternal energy, the catalyst of beneficial change for all who would walk in the Old Ways. My whispers are those of tomorrows revealed and knowledge to be granted. I am the power to see and do all things. I am the Great God.
I am the trickster, scourge of all those methodical and over analyzing. I am the trouble in the best laid plans, the unexpected when all seems well. I am the chaos in a world of balance. I am the Great God.
I am he whose gift is the vine, the never ending chalice of intoxication. My presents are those of joy: wine, dance, and the freedom to be without care. Merriment and mirth to me are great honor for the joy of the folk is my reward. I am the Great God.
I am the cosmic god, one with all aspects of the universe. It is the stars which provide the sparkle in my eyes, a multitude of planets make up my body, and a thousand suns burn together as my heart and soul. I am the Great God.
I am he who abides in the skies, bringer of thunder and sender of lightning. I give the blessings of rain to the parched and hungry land. I command the winds that turn the seasons. I am he whose face can be seen amongst the clouds. I am the Great God.
I am the horned one, ancient god of fertility. It is my seed which brings forth life in the great womb. I am the bringer of physical pleasure, god of lust, god of the flesh. I give the joys of bodily union to all who ask. I am the Great God.
I am he that stands at the threshold of death, and life eternal. I welcome those who have departed your world and bid farewell to those who return to it. I guard the mysteries of the end and the wonder of beginnings. I am the Great God.
Worship me side by side with the Lady. Honor me and I shall abide forever within you. For as long as tolerance, happiness, and righteousness exist, the true God will eternally reign. I am love, I am eternal, I am a part of all things. I am the Great God.
I am the sacrificial god. It is my blood that is poured out upon the Earth so the soil may be renewed, and those that need forgiveness may receive it. I care naught for myself, only for those who serve me. I am the Great God.
I am the god of love. My arrows awaken desire in the hearts of women and men, and it is my poison which makes many foolish in the name of love. I affirm the commitment between those who choose to share heart, mind, body, and soul. I am the Great God.