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Open Source Wicca

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Open Source Wicca: The Gardnerian Tradition

Open Source Wicca

1949

Casting the Circle

It is most convenient to mark the circle with chalk, paint or otherwise, to show where it is; but marks on the carpet may be utilised. Furniture may be placed to indicate the bounds. The only circle that matters is the one drawn before every ceremony with either a duly consecrated Magic Sword or an Athame. The circle is usually nine feet in diameter, unless made for some very special purpose.

There are two outer circles, each six inches apart, so the third circle has a diameter of eleven feet.

[1] Having chosen a place proper, take the sickle or scimitar of Art or a Witch's Athame, if thou mayest obtain it, and stick it into the centre, then take a cord, and 'twere well to use the Cable Tow for this, and loop it over the Instrument, four and one half feet, and so trace out the circumference of the circle, which must be traced either with the Sword, or the knife with the black hilt, or it be of little avail, but ever leave open a door towards the North. Make in all 3 circles, one within the other , and write names of power between these.

[2] First draw circle with Magic Sword or Athame.

[3] Consecrate Salt and Water: Touch water with Athame, saying, "I exorcise thee, O creature of Water, that thou cast out from Thee all the impurities and uncleannesses of the Spirits of the World of Phantasm, so they may harm me not, in the names of Aradia and Cernunnos."

[4] Touching Salt with Athame, say, "The Blessings of Aradia and Cernunnos be upon this creature of Salt, and let all malignity and hindrance be cast forth hencefrom, and let all good enter herein, for without Thee man cannot live, wherefore I bless thee and invoke thee, that thou mayest aid me."

[5] Then put the Salt into the water.

[6] Sprinkle with exorcised water.

[7] Light candles; say, "I exorcise thee, O Creature of Fire, that every kind of Phantasm may retire from thee, and be unable to harm or deceive in any way, in the names of Aradia and Cernunnos."

[8] Caution initiate (if any); warn companions; enter circle and close doors with 3 pentagrams.

[9] Proclaim object of working.

[10] Circumambulate 3 times or more before commencing work.

[11] Summon: "I summon, stir, and Call thee up, thou Mighty Ones of the East, South, West, and North." Salute and draw pentacle with Magic Sword or Athame, the first stroke being from the top down to the left.

Drawing Down the Moon

High Priestess stands in front of Altar, assumes Goddess position (arms crossed). Magus, kneeling in front of her, draws pentacle on her body with Phallus-headed Wand, invokes, "I Invoke and beseech Thee, O mighty Mother of all life and fertility. By seed and root, by stem and bud, by leaf and flower and fruit, by Life and Love, do I invoke Thee to descend into the body of thy servant and High Priestess [name]." The Moon having been drawn down, i.e., link established, Magus and other men give Fivefold Kiss:

(kissing feet) "Blessed be thy feet, that have brought thee in these ways";

(kissing knees) "Blessed be thy knees, that shall kneel at the sacred altar";

(kissing womb) "Blessed be thy womb, without which we would not be";

(kissing breasts) "Blessed be thy breasts, formed in beauty and in strength";

(kissing lips) "Blessed be thy lips, that shall speak the sacred names."

Women all bow.

If there be an initiation, then at this time the Magus and the High Priestess in Goddess position (Arms Crossed) says the Charge while the Initiate stands outside the circle.

The Charge:
"Lift Up the Veil"

Magus: "Listen to the words of the Great mother, who of old was also called among men Artemis, Astarte, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arianrhod, Bride, and by many other names."

High Priestess: "At mine Altars the youth of Lacedaemon in Sparta made due sacrifice. Whenever ye have need of anything, once in the month, and better it be when the moon is full, ye shall assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of Me who am Queen of all Witcheries and magics. There ye shall assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet have not won its deepest secrets. To these will I teach things that are yet unknown. And ye shall be free from slavery, and as a sign that ye be really free, ye shall be naked in your rites, both men and women, and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music, and love, all in my praise. There is a Secret Door that I have made to establish the way to taste even on earth the elixir of immortality. Say, 'Let ecstasy be mine, and joy on earth even to me, To Me,' For I am a gracious Goddess. I give unimaginable joys on earth, certainty, not faith, while in life! And upon death, peace unutterable, rest, and ecstasy, nor do I demand aught in sacrifice."

Magus: "Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess."

High Priestess: "I love you: I yearn for you: pale or purple, veiled or voluptuous. I who am all pleasure, and purple and drunkenness of the innermost senses, desire you. Put on the wings, arouse the coiled splendour within you.

Come unto me, for I am the flame that burns in the heart of every man, and the core of every Star. Let it be your inmost divine self who art lost in the constant rapture of infinite joy. Let the rituals be rightly performed with joy and beauty.

Remember that all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. So let there be beauty and strength, leaping laughter, force and fire by within you. And if thou sayest, 'I have journeyed unto thee, and it availed me not,' rather shalt thou say, 'I called upon thee, and I waited patiently, and Lo, thou wast with me from the beginning,' for they that ever desired me shall ever attain me, even to the end of all desire.

This much of the rites must ever be performed to prepare for any initiation, whether of one degree or of all three.

The Initiation

First Degree

Magus leaves circle by the doorway, goes to Postulant, and says, "Since there is no other brother here, I must be thy sponsor, as well as priest. I am about to give you a warning. If you are still of the same mind, answer it with these words:

'Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.'" Placing the point of the sword to the Postulant's breast, he says, "O thou who standeth on the threshold between the pleasant world of men and the domains of the Dread Lords of the Outer Spaces, hast thou the courage to make the Assay? For I tell thee verily, it were better to rush on my weapon and perish miserably than to make the attempt with fear in thy heart." Postulant: "I have two Passwords: Perfect Love and Perfect Trust."

Magus drops the sword point, saying, "All who approach with perfect love and perfect trust are doubly welcome." Going around behind her, he blindfolds her, then putting his left arm around her waist and his right arm around her neck, he pulls her head back, says, "I give you the 3rd password, a Kiss to pass through this dread Door," and pushes her forward with his body, through the doorway and into the circle. Once inside, he releases her saying, "This is the way all are first brought into the circle." Magus closes the doorway by drawing the point of the sword across it three times, joining all three circles, saying, "Agla, Azoth, Adonai," then drawing three pentacles to seal it. Magus guides Postulant to south of altar, and whispers, "Now there is the Ordeal." Taking a short piece of cord from the altar, he ties it around her right ankle, saying, "Feet neither bound nor free." Taking a longer cord, he ties her hands together behind her back, then pulls them up, so that the arms form a triangle, and ties the cord around her neck, leaving the end dangling down in front as a Cable Tow. With the Cable Tow in his left hand and the sword in his right hand, the Magus leads her sunwise around the circle to the east, where he salutes with the sword and proclaims, "Take heed, O Lords of the Watchtowers of the East, (name), properly prepared, will be made a Priestess and a Witch." Magus leads her similarly to the south, west, and north, making the proclamation at each quarter.

Next, clasping Postulant around the waist with his left arm, and holding the sword erect in his right hand, he makes her circumambulate three times around the circle with a half-running, half-dancing step. He halts her at the south of the altar, and strikes eleven knells on the bell. He then kneels at her feet, saying, "In other religions the postulant kneels, as the Priests claim supreme power, but in the Art Magical, we are taught to be humble, so we kneel to welcome them and say:

"Blessed be thy feet that have brought thee in these ways." (He kisses her feet.)

"Blessed be thy knees that shall kneel at the sacred altar." (He kisses her knees.)

"Blessed be thy womb, without which we would not be." (He kisses her Organ of Generation.)

"Blessed by thy breasts, formed in beauty and in strength." (He kisses her breasts.)

"Blessed be thy lips, which shall utter the sacred names." (He kisses her lips.)

Take measure thus: height, around forehead, across the heart, and across the genitals. Magus says, "Be pleased to kneel," and helps her kneel before the altar. He ties the end of the Cable Tow to a ring in the altar, so that the postulant is bent sharply forward, with her head almost touching the floor. He also ties her feet together with the short cord. Magus strikes three knells on the bell and says, "Art ready to swear that thou wilt always be true to the Art?"

Witch: "I am."

Magus strikes seven knells on the bell and says, "Before ye are sworn, art willing to pass the ordeal and be purified?"

Witch: "I am."

Magus strikes eleven knells on the bell, takes the scourge from the altar, and gives a series of three, seven, nine, and 21 strokes with the scourge across the postulant's buttocks. Magus says, "Ye have bravely passed the test. Art always ready to help, protect, and defend thy Brothers and Sisters of the Art?"

Witch: "I am."

Magus: "Art armed?"

Witch: "With a knife in my hair."

Magus: "Then on that knife wilt thou swear absolute secrecy?"

Witch: "I will."

Magus: "Then say after me. 'I, (name), in the presence of the Mighty Ones, do of my own will and accord, most solemnly swear that I will ever keep secret and never reveal the secrets of the Art, except it be to a proper person, properly prepared, within a circle such as I am now in. All this I swear by my hopes of a future life, mindful that my measure has been taken, and may my weapons turn against me if I break this my solemn oath.'"

Magus now unbinds her feet, unties the Cable Tow from the altar, removes the blindfold, and helps her up to her feet.

Magus says, "I hereby sign thee with the triple sign.

"I consecrate thee with oil." (He anoints her with oil on the womb, the right breast, the left breast, and the womb again.)

"I consecrate thee with wine." (He anoints her with wine in the same pattern.)

"I consecrate thee with my lips" (he kisses her in the same pattern), "Priestess and Witch."

Magus now unbinds her hands and removes the last cord, saying, "Now I Present to thee the Working Tools of a Witch. "First the Magic Sword. With this, as with the Athame, thou canst form all Magic Circles, dominate, subdue, and punish all rebellious Spirits and Demons, and even persuade the Angels and Geniuses. With this in your hand you are the ruler of the Circle. [Here "kiss" means that the initiate kisses the tool, and the Magus then kisses the Witch being initiated.]

"Next I present the Athame. This is the true Witch's weapon and has all the powers of the Magic Sword [kiss].

"Next I present the White-Handled Knife. Its use is to form all instruments used in the Art. It can only be properly used within a Magic Circle [Kiss].

"Next I present the Wand. Its use is to call up and control certain Angels and geniuses, to whom it would not be mete to use the Magic Sword [Kiss].

"Next I present the pentacles. These are for the purpose of calling up appropriate Spirits [Kiss].

"Next I present the Censer of Incense. This is used to encourage and welcome Good Spirits and to banish Evil Spirits.[kiss]

"Next I present the scourge. This is a sign of power and domination. It is also to cause suffering and purification, for it is written, to learn you must suffer and be purified. Art willing to suffer to learn?"

Witch: "I am."[Kiss]

Magus: "Next, and lastly I present the Cords. They are of use to bind the sigils in the Art, the material basis, and to enforce thy will. Also they are necessary in the oath. I Salute thee in the name of Aradia and Cernunnos, Newly made Priestess and Witch." Magus strikes seven knells on the bell and kisses Witch again, then circumambulates with her, proclaiming to the four quarters, "Hear, ye Mighty Ones, (name) hath been consecrated Priestess and Witch of the Gods." (Note, if ceremony ends here, close circle with "I thank ye for attending, and I dismiss ye to your pleasant abodes. Hail and farewell." If not, go to next degree.)

 

Second Degree

Magus binds Witch as before, but does not blindfold her, and circumambulates with her, proclaims to the four quarters, "Hear, ye Mighty Ones, (name), a duly consecrated Priestess and Witch, is now properly prepared to be made a High Priestess and Witch Queen." Magus now leads her thrice around the circle with the half-running, half-dancing step, halts south of the altar, has the Witch kneel, and ties her down to the altar as before.

Magus: "To attain this sublime degree, it is necessary to suffer and be purified. Art ready to suffer to Learn?"

Priestess Witch: "I am."

Magus: "I prepare thee to take the great oath."

He strikes three knells on the bell, and again gives the series of three, seven, nine, and 21 strokes with the scourge as before.

Magus: "I now give thee a new name: _______. [kiss]

Magus: "Repeat thy new name after me, I, (name), swear upon my mother's womb and by mine Honour among men and among my brothers and sisters of the Art, that I will never reveal to any at all any of the secrets of the Art, except it be to a worthy person, properly prepared, in the centre of a Magic Circle, such as I am now in. This I swear by my hopes of Salvation, my past lives, and my hopes of future ones to come, and I devote myself to utter destruction if I break this my solemn oath."

Magus kneels, placing left hand under her knees and right hand on her head, thus forming magic link.

Magus: "I hereby will all my power into you." Wills.

Magus now unties her feet, unties the Cable Tow from the altar, and helps the Witch to her feet.

Magus: "I hereby sign and consecrate you with the great Magic Sign. Remember how it is formed and you will always recognise it.

"I consecrate thee with oil." (He anoints her with oil on her womb, right breast, left hip, right hip, left breast, and womb again, thus tracing a point-down pentacle.)

"I consecrate thee with wine." (He anoints her with wine in the same pattern.)

"I consecrate thee with my lips" (he kisses her in the same pattern), "High Priestess and Witch Queen."

Magus now unbinds Witch's hands and removes the cord, saying, "Newly made High Priestess and Witch Queen" [kiss] "you will now use the working tools in turn.

First, the Magic Sword; with it you will scribe the Magic Circle [kiss]

"Secondly, the Athame" (Form Circle) [kiss]

"Thirdly, the White Handled Knife" (use) [kiss]

"Fourthly, the Wand" (Wave to 4 Quarters) [kiss]

"Fifthly, the Pentacle" (Show to 4 Quarters) [kiss]

"Sixthly, the Censer of Incense" (Circle, cense) [kiss]

"Seventhly, the cords; bind me as I bound you." Witch binds Magus and ties him to Altar.

Magus: "Learn, in Witchcraft, thou must ever return triple. As I scourged thee, so thou must scourge me, but triple. So where you received 3, return 9; where you received 7, return 21; where you received 9, return 27; where you received 21, return 63." Witch scourges Magus as instructed, 120 strokes total.

Magus: "Thou hast obeyed the Law. But mark well, when thou receivest good, so equally art bound to return good threefold."

Witch now unbinds Magus and helps him to his feet. Magus, taking the new Initiate by the hand and holding the Athame in the other, passes once round the Circle, proclaiming at the Four Quarters, "Hear, Ye Mighty Ones, (name) hath been duly consecrated High Priestess and Witch Queen." (Note, if ceremony ends here, close circle with "Hail and farewell." If not go to next degree.)

 

Third Degree

Magus: "Ere we proceed with this sublime degree, I must beg purification at thy hands."

High Priestess binds Magus and ties him down to the altar. She circumambulates three times, and scourges Magus with three, seven, nine, and 21 strokes. She then unbinds him and helps him to his feet. Magus now binds the High Priestess and ties her down to the altar. He circumambulates, proclaiming to the four quarters, "Hear, ye mighty Ones, the twice consecrate and Holy (name), High Priestess and Witch Queen, is properly prepared and will now proceed to erect the Sacred Altar." Magus scourges High Priestess with three, seven, nine, and 21 strokes. Cakes and wine may now be taken [see "Cakes and Wine"].

Magus: "Now I must reveal to you a great Mystery." [kiss].

Note: if High Priestess has performed this rite before, omit these words. High Priestess assumes Osiris position.

Magus: "Assist me to erect the Ancient Altar, at which in days past all worshipped, the Great Altar of all things. For in the old times a woman was the Altar. Thus was the altar made and so placed [Priestess lies down in such a way that her vagina is approximately at the centre of the circle], and the sacred place was the point within the centre of the circle, as we of old times have been taught, that the point within the centre is the origin of all things. Therefore should we adore it." [kiss]

"Therefore, whom we adore, we also invoke, by the power of the lifted lance."

Invokes. "O circle of stars [kiss], whereof our Father is but the younger brother [kiss], "Marvel beyond imagination, soul of infinite space, before whom time is ashamed, the mind bewildered and understanding dark, not unto thee may we attain unless thine image be of love [kiss].

"Therefore, by seed and root, and stem and bud and leaf and flower and fruit do we invoke thee, O, Queen of space, O dew of light, O continuous one of the Heavens [kiss]. "Let it be ever thus, that men speak not of Thee as one, but as none, and let them not speak of thee at all, since thou art continuous, for thou art the point within the circle [kiss], which we adore [kiss], the fount of life without which we would not be [kiss]. "And in this way truly are erected the Holy Twin Pillars Boaz and Joachim [kisses breasts]. In beauty and strength were they erected, to the wonder and glory of all men."

(Eightfold Kiss: 3 points, Lips, 2 Breasts and back to lips; 5 points)

"O Secrets of secrets that art hidden in the being of all lives. Not thee do we adore, for that which adoreth is also thou. Thou art that and That am I [kiss].

"I am the flame that burns in every man, and in the core of every star [kiss].

"I am Life and the giver of Life, yet therefore is the knowledge of me the Knowledge of Death [kiss].

"I am alone, the Lord within ourselves whose name is Mystery of Mysteries [kiss].

"Make open the path of intelligence between us. For these truly are the 5 points of fellowship [on the right appears an illuminated diagram of the point-up triangle above the pentacle, the symbol for the third degree], feet to feet, knee to knee, groin to groin, breast to breast, arms around back, lips to lips, by the Great and Holy Names Abracadabra, Aradia, and Cernunnos.

Magus and High Priestess: "Encourage our hearts, Let thy Light crystallise itself in our blood, fulfilling us of Resurrection, for there is no part of us that is not of the Gods."

(Exchange Names.)

Closing the Circle High Priestess Circumambulates, proclaiming, "The twice consecrate High Priestess greets ye Mighty Ones, and dismisseth ye to your pleasant abodes. Hail and Farewell."

She draws the banishing pentacle at each quarter.

Cakes and Wine

Magus kneels, fills Cup, offers to Witch [she is seated on the altar, holding her athame; Priest kneels before her, holding up the cup].

Witch, holding Athame between palms, places point in cup.

Magus: "As the Athame is the Male, so the Cup is the female; so, conjoined, they bring blessedness."

Witch lays aside Athame, takes Cup in both hands, drinks and gives drink.

Magus Holds Paten to Witch, who blesses with Athame, then eats and gives to Eat. It is said that in olden days ale or mead was often used instead of wine. It is said that spirits or anything can be used so long as it has life.

The Sabbat Rituals

November Eve

Walk or slow dance, Magus leading High Priestess, both carrying Phallic wand or broom, people with torches or candles.

Witch chant or song:

Eko, eko, Azarak

Eko, eko, Zomelak

Bazabi lacha bachabe

Lamac cahi achababe

Karrellyos

Lamac lamac Bachalyas

Cabahagy sabalyos

Baryolos

Lagoz atha cabyolas

Samahac atha famolas

Hurrahya!

Form circle.

High Priestess assumes Goddess position.

Magus gives her Fivefold Kiss and is scourged.

All are purified [that is, bound and scourged with forty strokes, as in the initiation rituals].

Magus assumes God position.

High Priestess invokes with Athame: "Dread Lord of the shadows, god of life and the giver of life. Yet is the knowledge of thee the knowledge of death. Open wide, I pray thee, thy gates through which all must pass. Let our dear ones who have gone before, return this night to make merry with us. And when our time comes, as it must, O thou the comforter, the consoler, the giver of peace and rest, we will enter thy realms gladly and unafraid, for we know that when rested and refreshed among our dear ones, we shall be born again by thy grace and the grace of the Great Mother. Let it be in the same place and the same time as our beloved ones, and may we meet and know, and love them again. Descend, we pray thee, upon thy servant and Priest (name)."

High Priestess gives Fivefold Kiss to Magus.

Initiations if any; all others are purified.

(Note: couples may purify each other if they will.)

Cakes and Wine.

The Great Rite if possible, either in token or truly.

Dismiss [the guardians, and close down the magic circle; the people then stay to] feast and dance.

 

February Eve

After usual opening, all are doubly purified [that is, with eighty strokes].

Dance round outside circle, High Priestess with sword girded on and drawn, Phallic wand in left hand.

Enter circle.

Magus assumes God position.

High Priestess gives Fivefold Kiss, invokes: "Dread Lord of death and Resurrection, life and the giver of life, Lord within ourselves, whose name is Mystery of Mysteries, encourage our hearts. Let the light crystallise in our blood, fulfilling us of resurrection, for there is no part of us that is not of the gods. Descend, we pray thee, upon this thy servant and Priest (name)."

All should be purified in sacrifice before him. He then purifies the High Priestess with his own hands, and others if he will.

Cakes and wine.

Great Rite if possible, in token or real.

Games and dance as the people will.

Dismiss [the guardians, and close down the magic circle; the people then stay to] feast and dance.

 

May Eve

If possible ride poles, brooms, etc. High Priestess leading, quick dance step, singing

O do not tell the priests of our arts.

For they would call it sin,

For we will be in the woods all night

A conjuring summer in.

And we bring you good news by word of mouth

For women, cattle, and corn:

The sun is coming up from the south,

With oak and ash, and thorn.

 

Meeting dance if possible.

Form circle as usual, and purify.

High Priestess assumes Goddess position; officers all give her the fivefold kiss.

She purifies all.

High Priestess again assumes Goddess position.

Magus invokes, draws down moon, "I invoke thee and call upon thee, O mighty Mother of us all, bringer of all fruitfulness, By seed and root, by stem and bud, by leaf and flower and fruit, by life and love, do we invoke thee, to descend upon the body of thy servant and Priestess here."

Magus gives Fivefold Kiss to High Priestess.

All should be purified in sacrifice before her, and she should purify Magus and some others with her own hands.

Cakes and wine.

Games.

Great Rite if possible, in token or truly.

Dismiss [the guardians, and close down the magic circle; the people then stay to] feast and dance.

 

August Eve

If possible, ride poles, broomsticks, etc.

Meeting Dance if possible [the double-spiral dance described in Witchcraft Today, p. 167].

Form circle.

Purify.

High Priestess stands in pentacle position.

Magus invokes her: "O mighty Mother of us all, Mother of all fruitfulness, give us fruit and grain, flocks and herds and children to the tribe that we be mighty, by thy rosy love, do thou descend upon thy servant and Priestess (name) here."

Magus gives Fivefold Kiss to High Priestess.

Candle game: Seated, the men form a circle, passing a lighted candle from hand to hand "deosil". The women form circle outside, trying to blow it out over their shoulders. Whoever's hand it is in when it is blown out is 3 times purified by whoever blew it out, giving fivefold Kiss in return. This game may go on as long as the people like.

Cakes and wine, and any other games you like.

Dismiss [the guardians, and close down the magic circle; the people then stay to] feast and dance.

Contents

Note

The material published online represents an abridged and differently formatted version of the print publication. The online material is made available at Dr Ruickbie's own expense - your support is vital to make sure that Open Source Wicca remains free and available to everyone. Please help support this project by ordering Open Source Wicca: The Gardnerian Tradition by Dr Leo Ruickbie, unabridged with introduction, bibliography, additional material and original cover art.

The Open Source Wicca Project

Open Source Wicca: The Gardnerian Tradition

Open Source Wicca Gardner's original ritual documents, sometimes referred to as the Gardnerian Book of Shadows, covering Wicca's formative years from 1949 to 1961. Contents include: Casting the Circle, Drawing Down the Moon, Lift Up the Veil, Initiation, The Sabbat Rituals, and more.
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