Casting the Circle [Coven]

Set up: place a candle in each of the four cardinal directions. Lay the rest of the tools on the altar cloth or near it. The altar can be on the ground, a table, a rock or a stump. The altar should be in the center or just north of center of the Circle. Light the six candles and the incense, start the music and begin the ritual.

The Ritual

Facing North, the High Priest and Priestess kneel in front of the altar with him to her right. She puts the bowl of water on the altar, places the point of her athame in it and says:

    “I exorcise thee, O Creature of Water, that thou cast out from thee all impurities and uncleanliness of the world of phantasm; in the names of Cernunnos and Aradia”

She then puts down her athame and holds up the bowl of water in both hands. The High Priest puts the bowl of salt on the altar, puts his athame in the salt and says:

    “Blessings be upon this Creature of Salt; let all malignity and hindrance be cast forth hence, and let all good enter herein; wherefore so I bless thee, that thou mayest aid me, in the names of Cernunnos and Aradia.”

He then puts down his athame and pours the salt into the bowl of water the High Priestess is holding. The High Priest then stands with the rest of the Coven outside the Circle. The High Priestess then draws the Circle with the sword, leaving a gap in the Northeast section. While drawing the Circle, she should visualize the power flowing into the Circle from off the end of the sword. She draws the Circle in a East to North or deosil or clockwise direction. She says:

    “I conjure thee, O Circle of Power, that thou beest a meeting place of love and joy and truth; a shield against all wickedness and evil; a boundary between men and the realms of the Mighty Ones; a rampart and protection that shall preserve and contain the power that we shall raise within thee. Wherefore do I bless thee and consecrate thee, in the names of Cernunnos and Aradia.”

The High Priestess lays down the sword and admits the High Priest with a kiss while spinning him deosil and whispers “Blessed Be”. He then admits a woman the same way. Alternate male/female/male. Then the High Priestess finishes closing the Circle with the sword. She then names three witches to help strengthen the Circle. The first witch carries the bowl of consecrated water from East to East going deosil, sprinkling the perimeter as she/he goes. They then sprinkle each member in turn. If the witch is male, he sprinkles the High Priestess last who then sprinkles him. If female she sprinkles the High Priest last, who then sprinkles her. The bowl is replaced on the altar. The second witch takes the incense burner around the perimeter and the third takes one of the altar candles. While going around the perimeter, each person says:

      “Black spirits and white,

 

      Red spirits and grey,

 

      Harken to the rune I say.

 

      Four points of the Circle, weave the spell,

 

      East, South, West, North, your tale tell.

 

      East is for break of day,

 

      South is white for the noontide hour,

 

      In the West is twilight grey,

 

      And North is black, for the place of power.

 

      Three times round the Circle’s cast.

 

      Great ones, spirits from the past,

 

    Witness it and guard it fast.”

All the Coven pick up their athames and face the East with the High Priest and Priestess in front, him on her right. The High Priestess says:

    “Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the East, ye Lords of Air; I do summon, stir, and call you up to witness our rites and to guard the Circle.”

As she speaks she draws the Invoking Pentagram of Earth in the air with her athame. The High Priest and the rest of the Coven copy her movements with their athames. The High Priestess turns and faces the South and repeats the summoning:

    “Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the South, ye Lords of Fire; I do summon, stir and call you up, to witness our rites and to guard the Circle.”

She does the same pentagram and then faces West and says:

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

She faces North with rest of the Coven and says:

    “Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the North, ye Lords of Earth; Boreas, thou gentle guardian of the Northern Portals; thou powerful God and gentle Goddess; we do summon, stir and call you up, to witness our rites and to guard the Circle.”

The Circle is completed and sealed. If anyone needs to leave, a gate must be made. Using the sword, draw out part of the Circle with a widdershins or counterclockwise stroke. Immediately reseal it and then repeat the opening and closing when the person returns.

  • Farrar, Janet and Stewart; “Eight Sabbats For Witches”; Robert Hale 1983
  • Valiente, Doreen; “Witchcraft for Tomorrow”; Phoenix Publishing 1985

From: http://www.sacred-texts.com/bos/bos033.htm

Wiccan Beltane Sabbat Ritual Guide For Covens

Basic Requirements

Altar/Altar Cloth/Altar Candles: The altar should be in the center of the circle area, facing the Eastern quarter. The altar cloth should always be yellow for the High Earth Rite of Balemas. (This is only if you are using a regular rectangular altar.) The two main altar candles should be yellow.

Other Candles: The four quarter candles should be blue in the West, red in the South, yellow (or gold) in the East, and green in the North. All other secondary candles used for extra lighting in the ritual area should be of various shades of forest green or suited to personal taste.

Special Items: A small wreath of flowers will be needed to serve as a crown for the May Queen. These can be easily made. Another optional item is the May pole and its ribbon streamers. A large candle will be needed for the cauldron as a symbol for the balefire unless the rite is held outdoors, in which case kindling in preparation for a small balefire will be needed in the area of the Southern quarter.

Circle Area/Casting the Circle/Assembly of the Quarters

Prepare the circle with decorations of cut flowers or greenery, as appropriate. (The author recommends hawthorn blossoms.) The circle should be cast according to you or your coven’s preference and the Quarters will be called in accordance with the coven’s or your personal needs (the author reminds us that East has preeminence for Balemas).

Invocation of the Goddess

Priestess:
Hallowed Lady of the Hawthorn,
Goddess of the greenwood groves,
we call upon Thee in the season of Thy Sensuality,
as Thy blossom opens to the amorous advances of our Lord, Thy Lover.
In Thy union is the fertility of Spring,
and the beckoning whisper of young desire.

Touch us with the breath of Thy passion,
that we might seek for the ecstasy of life!
Inflame us with the fever of Thine inmost longings
that we not be satisfied until our oneness
with the God is consummated!

Capture us with the fragrances of Thine allurement,
that we may be overwhelmed with an obsession for Thy presence!
Bright Maiden of May, be here among us as we celebrate
the Beltane blessings of Thy bridal-bed!
Blessed Be!

Invocation of the God (as Satyr Lord)

Priest:
Horned God of power and play,
we hear the music of Thy melodious pipes
enchanting our ears upon the evening wind!
Beneath the fullness of the May-night Moon
Thy silhouette plays hide-and-seek
among the shadows of silver-tipped trees;
Thy hooves striking sparks like shooting stars
as they step in spritely patterns
to the rhythm of the Ways of the Wild.

Holy Pan of the shepherds’ shrine,Holy Pan of the shepherds’ shrine,
Goat-footed God, Faunus of the forest glades,
we beseech Thee to be here among us
as we revel in Beltane abandon
beneath the swirling streamers of Thy phallic staff,
dancing by the light of the balefire’s glow!

Sovereign Satyr Lord, be pleased within this Circle to remain,
as we celebrate Spring and the beginning of Thy reign!
Blessed Be!

Kindling of the Balefire

The priestess and the priest will go to the kindling prepared for the fire (if the rite is held outdoors) located near the Southern quarter of the circle. Otherwise, a candle within the cauldron is substituted. The priest will light the balefire as the priestess recites the following incantation:

Priestess:
Strike the fire and let it rise,
Beltane flames ‘neath Spring-night skies!
Ancient customs we now renew,
‘Tween dusky dark and evening dew!
Fire with warmth of Summer shine,
Invoking Gods from Older Times
For fertile crops with Sun-fed rays,
Gardens of plenty and golden days!

Crowning of the May Queen

At this point, the priest (or acting Satyr Lord) shall go to the altar and take up the garland-crown of flowers. He will then stand facing the priestess (or acting Maiden), lifting the crown above her head as he speaks the words of her coronation as the May Queen.

The Satyr Lord:
I give praise to Thee,
vibrant Goddess of youth and sensuality;
Lady of Spring, exuberant Earth maiden,
dancing in joyous abandon across hillside and field
in vivacious hues of brightness,
exuding the wondrous essence of waving wildflowers.

Wherefore I offer unto Thee
this floral crown of Thy creation,
laid now upon Thy daughter’s head
as the woven splendor of Nature’s art;
the many-colored Crown of May,
scented with the mystery and majesty
that is the Maiden!

All Hail, Lady Fair,
with flowered garlands for Thy hair!

All:
All Hail, Lady Fair,
with flowered garlands for Thy hair!

The Great Rite

If this is a custom practiced within your coven, please follow your traditions.

Parting Prayers

Priestess:
Maiden Lady, Queen of May,
bestow upon us in overflowing measure
Thy youthful passion for love and life
as we rejoice in the sensual stirrings of the season.

All Hail, Farewell, and Blessed Be!

Priest:
Sovereign Satyr Lord, Pan of the Pagan Ways,
at this Sabbat of Springtime’s warmth,
bestow upon us the heated breath of Thy lust for living
as we depart this sacred space with the joyous blessings
of Thy Beltane benediction.

All Hail, Farewell, and Blessed Be!

Dismissal of the Quarter-Regents/Releasing the Circle

At this time the quarters can be dismissed and the circle released, per your tradition. It’s time for the Beltane festivities to begin! The priestess may close with this benediction.

Priestess:
This rite of Balemas is ended!
May the love of the Maiden and the Satyr Lord
go with us as we venture onward
into the warming fullness of Summer’s promise!

Merry Meet and Merry Part!

From: http://www.wiccanway.com/Beltane-Ritual-Guide-For-Covens_c_205.html

Beltane Incense

 

Beltane Incense

  • 3 parts Frankincense
  • 2 parts Myrrh
  • 1 part Benzoin
  • 1 part Red Copal
  • 1 part Lavender
  • 1 part Jasmine
  • 1 part Rose Petals
  • 1 part Sandalwood
Beltane Incense

  • 3 parts Frankincense
  • 2 parts Sandalwood
  • 1 part Woodruff
  • 1 part Rose petals
  • a few drops Jasmine oil
  • a few drops Neroli oil
Beltane Incense

  • 4 parts Frankincense
  • 2 parts Sandalwood
  • 1 part Heather
  • 1/2 part Calendula
  • 1/2 part Angelica
  • 1/2 part Chamomile
  • 1/2 part Mint
  • 1/2 part Fennel
  • 1/2 part St. Johns Wort

From: http://www.wiccanway.com/Beltane-Ritual-Guide-For-Covens_c_205.html

Wiccan Beltane Sabbat Solitary Ritual Guide

Prior to this rite you should have made ready a wooden wand. This should be a branch from an oak or hazel tree, peeled of its bark, and about 13 inches long and half an inch thick. Place the wand upon your altar within the Circle.

Prepare a dish of earth and place it upon the altar beside the wand.

Cast the Circle and invoke the Goddess and the God. After the invocation, dance and chant to raise power for magical activities and then earth the power into an unlit candle, placed inside the cauldron, at the center of the circle. Chant the following (or make up your own!):

Beltane!
I dance with delight
on Beltane’s night.
All senses freeing,
I dance for being.
The flower and the flame
of love’s own rite
shall blossom. Sun
embrace Earth, bright.

Light the candle to the Sun. This is the Beltane fire, our modern substitute for the hilltop bonfires of our ancestors. The Bel fire is an invocation to the Sun God to bring blessing and protection for the coming year. This is sacred fire with healing and purifying properties. As you light the candle, be aware of its power and significance. Say:

I light this candle to the Sun.

Now take up a dish of earth. Bless it in the name of the Goddess. Lay your hands upon it and say:

I bless, consecrate, and set apart this earth,
in the name of the Triple Goddess. May this
be sacred earth, set apart for magic. For
earth is of the Goddess, being her sacred body.

Remember that the Goddess is not only of the Moon, but also of the Earth and of the farthest stars. She is the Triple Goddess of the Circle of Rebirth, the Mother of All Life.

Decorate the dish of earth with flowers.

Now, take a wooden wand and oil it with vegetable oil. Bless it in the name of the Lord of the Day, the youthful, ardent one, the Lord of Life, the God of the greenwood. Pass it swiftly through the candle flame, the Bel fire, so that it becomes magically imbued, ‘charged’, with power. Place the wand upon the dish of earth, saying as you hold it there:

As the wand is to the earth,
so the male is to the female
and the Sun to our blossoming world.
Joined, they bring happiness.
May the God of Life give ___
{something you want, for example, peace on Earth)
May the Goddess bring it forth!

Sit quietly for a while, and picture the blossoming of what you have desired in life. The spells and invocations of all of us, all working on themes like these, must eventually bear fruit, because life is on the side of peace. Leave the earth and wand upon the altar.

Walk deosil three times around the circle, then spiral into the center. Go evenly, with grace, meditatively. Sit beside the candle flame, allowing yourself to feel peaceful. Gaze into the flame.

The last part of the ritual is different depending on whether you are man or woman.

For a Woman: Visualize a red rosebud in your womb. Always your womb is the source of your creative power, whether you are pregnant with a child, an idea, a work of art or an intention. Close your eyes and picture the light from the candle streaming into your womb so that the rosebud blooms, unfolds. Hold the image for a while, feeling the silkiness, smelling the scent, the freshness, seeing the color of the fully open rose within you. Feel the strength and power of your own fully blossomed capabilities. Say:

I am woman,
strong to conceive and to create,
to give birth and to tend.
As I am daughter of the Goddess,
and blessed by the God, may I ___
{name what you wish to bring forth in life. For example, bring healing to others or write my book whatever matters to you}

Feel the strength and creative force within your womb, the center of your being. See the power being channeled, flowing into the desire you have just voiced. Open your eyes. Always, the rose is within you.

For a Man: Visualize a bright flame. This burns within your sexual center, a point at the base of the stomach, just above the pubic hairline. It is your own male strength and energy which may rise through your body to be released as giving, fertilizing power, in any form, or may be the potency which impregnates, creating a physical child. It is the force which blesses and bestows, a healing and creative energy, like the shining Sun. Visualize also that you are sitting in a garden and that a rose tree is in front of you, the roses in bud. Say:

I am man,
and in my passion is beauty,
in my warmth is life.
As I am son of the Goddess,
and blessed by the God,
I offer my strength and vitality to ____
{name the area of life, the place, activity, or commitment you choose}

Visualize the light streaming from you to a rose upon the tree causing it to unfold, to blossom. Your flame is lowered by this effort. Much has gone out of you, the flame sinks down. Wait and watch, until a pink light streams from the rose towards your body. At its touch the flame resurges. It burns higher and stronger than before. Open your eyes. The flame is always within you.

From: http://www.wiccanway.com/Beltane-Solitary-Ritual-Guide_c_204.html

Wiccan Samhain Sabbat Ritual Guide For Covens

Supplies
1 silver taper candle for the Goddess
1 gold taper candle for the God
Apple
Pomegranate
Black votive candle
Cauldron
Boline
Altar pentacle
Salt water
Frankincense
Protection oil
Enough fresh dirt, black salt or black cord to outline the circle
Any divination supplies you may want to use after invoking the dead
Plate of fruit, vegetables & bread
1 pot of earth for each participant [each pot should be planted with three seeds – either rue or lavender]
Pictures of loved ones and/or mementos from loved ones

PREPARATION:

Prior to the ceremony, do a ritual bath or shower for purification. If you have magical jewelry or jewelry passed on to you by departed loved ones, this is the time to wear it.
Place the apple and pomegranate on the altar. If there’s ample altar space, arrange the pots on the altar as well. Instruments of divination may be placed within the Circle perimeter for use during the ritual if you wish. Arrange the altar as usual and decorate with Autumn leaves, pumpkins, etc.

Sweep the area moving in a widdershins manner. (counterclockwise). The circle area should be cleansed before the participants arrive. Outline your circle with fresh dirt, black salt or black cord. Place the goddess candle to top left of the altar. Place the God candle on the top right of the altar. Place the plate of fruit, vegetables and bread in between the God and Goddess candles. Place the black votive candle in the cauldron, positioned on the floor in front of the altar. The boline should be placed in the center of the altar with the apple on a pentacle if possible. Pictures of loved ones and mementos of loved are placed on the altar as well.

Arrange the rest of your tools and props according to personal preference.

Casting the Circle

Samhain is done widdershins to represent the turning of the wheel and the dropping of the veil between the worlds, so this entire ritual will be done widdershins.

Each participant is cleansed with salt water and frankincense before entering the cleansed area. Question for each participant:

“How do you enter the Circle?”

Response:

“In perfect love and perfect trust.”

Anoint each person with protection oil.

When everyone has been cleansed and all participants are in the room begin casting the Circle.

Call Quarters Widdershins

Beginning in the West

“Hail Guardians of the West, element of Water, keeper of the Veil between the worlds. We ask that you lift the silvery realm of the Veil and we invite you into our sacred space to reveal your secrets of the coming year. We ask that you cleanse our hearts and open our Souls to your Watery energy. Welcome and Blessed Be.

Hail Guardians of the South, element of Fire, keeper of the flames that burn this night to honor our loved ones, to keep the hearth warms and to honor Vesta, Goddess of the hearth. We invite to you into our sacred space to warm our hearts and ignite our Souls. Welcome and Blessed Be.

Hail Guardians of the East, element of Air, keeper of new ideas, home of the Faeries and sprites, keeper of the Wheel. We invite to our sacred space this night to guide us in the coming year, to enlighten us with your insight. Welcome and Blessed be!

Hail Guardians of the North, element of Earth, keeper of all earthly elements, we invite to our sacred space to guide us with your wisdom for the new year. To embrace us with your strength and open the gates of the underworld. Welcome and Blessed Be!”

Invocations

The Priestess invokes the Crone, saying:

“Dark Mother, ruler of the night, Goddess of death and rebirth, Wise Hecate, Hear and behold Your children this night as we honor Thee and Thy realm. We stand humbly before thee asking for Thy blessing and favor. Lift, now the Veil between the worlds, as this time out of time begins. Guide us in communing with my ancestors as they journey to the Summerland’s. So mote it be!”

Light the Goddess Candle. Proceed only after the flame has risen and flickered indicating the Goddess is with you. Concentrate on your wish to commune with your loved ones, calling on their energy.

The Priest invokes the Dark Lord, saying:

“Dark Father, aged Consort of the Crone, Lord of the Underworld, Hear and behold your children this night as we honor Thee and Thy realm. We stand between Thee and Thy Lady, asking for blessing and favor. As this time out of time approaches, stand ever guard as the Veil lifts, Keep safe my ancestors, and all of my loved ones, as they journey to the Summerland’s. So Mote it Be!”

Light the God Candle. Proceed only after the flame has risen and flickered indicating the Goddess is with you. Concentrate on your wishes that your loved ones be kept safe on their journey.

Dancing deosil around the Circle in a shuffle step, all chant three times:

“The Moon is bright, the Crone is old
The body lifeless – the bones so cold
We all live and pay our dues
To die in ones and threes and twos.

Death, dance and play the harp
Piercing silence in the dark
The Woman’s old with withered limbs
Death beckons Her to dance with Him

As She accepts the Dance of Death
The Earth is cooled by ghostly breath
To lie in dormancy once more
To have Her strength and life restored”

Go to the Western Quarter and draw an invoking pentagram with the athame to open the gate. Then evoke the dead by saying:

“All ye spirits who walk this night –
Hearken! Hearken to my call!
I bid you in our Circle join!
Enter! Enter – one and all!

Come ye, spirits of the dead
Be ye spirit of plant or pet
Or human being who still roams!
Into this Circle you are let!

Speak to us of things unknown!
Lend your energies to this rite!
To speed your journey, we have joined
On this sacred Samhain night!

All ye spirits who walk this night –
Hearken! Hearken to my call!
I bid you in our Circle join!
Enter! Enter – one and all!”

Bestow blessings upon the dead, saying:

“Oh Mighty Pan of the Summerlands:
Guardian of the beloved dead
We pour forth love on those you keep
Safely, in your peaceful stead
We bless those who have walked the path
That someday, we as well, shall rove
We offer peace unto their souls
While resting in your arms, below”

Divination

Now is the time for divination (Ouija Board, pendulum, cards, etc.) and communication with those who have gone on before us. Allow plenty of time for this.

Closing The Gate

After divination, the Priestess goes to the Western Quarter and draws the banishing pentagram, saying:

“Blessings be upon thee, oh wondrous Spirits of the Summerlands. We humbly thank thee for your presence in our Circle and honor you in celebration this sacred night. We beseech thee, oh Pan, keeper of the sacred dead, embrace once again those souls within your keep and hold tightly to your breast those which have been lost and wandering. Grant them safe passage to the Summerland, where they may rest peacefully in your strength until they are refreshed and reborn again in perfect love. We bid thee all a fond farewell. So mote it be!”

The gate is now closed.

The Priestess goes to the altar and holds up the pomegranate, saying:

“Behold the pomegranate, fruit of Life…”

The athame is plunged into the pomegranate, splitting it open to display the seeds. She says:

“Whose seeds lie in the dormancy of Death!”

The Priestess eats one of the seeds, saying:

“I Taste the seeds of Death.”

The pomegranate is then passed hand to hand through the participants of the ritual, each eating a seed and saying to the next person:

“Taste the seeds of Death.”

The Priestess then holds up the apple, saying:

“Behold the apple: fruit of wisdom, fruit of Death…”

She then cuts the apple crosswise, saying:

“Whose symbolism rewards us with life eternal!”

She holds up the apple, displaying the inner pentagram, and says:

“Behold the five-fold star – the promise of rebirth!”

Consecrate the fruit and wine. Each person then tastes of the apple and sips the wine, saying to the next person:

“Taste the fruit of rebirth and sip from the cup of wine of Life.”

After libation, the Priestess presents each member of the group with a pot. She briefly explains to the group that this is the season of the seed – it is a time of dormancy, but also a time of re-generation for growth. Further, as the seed rests in the earth, they should also take time to rest and re-evaluate their lives, metaphorically planting only those values which will enrich and enhance the growth within the Divine Self. She then instructs them to name the seeds within their pots with three values they wish to incorporate into their lives, knowing that as the seeds sprout with new life, their lives will be new, as well.

After the presentation, all join hands and hold them skyward.

Priestess:

“Thus is the Circle of Rebirth.
All pass from this life through the great god, Pan
But through My love you are all reborn
In the cycles of nature – through the Cosmic Plan.

In living we die – in dying we live
The fruit is first seed, yet seed comes from the fruit
In the mystery of life and death and rebirth
The Circle turns ever, and I am its root.”

All Respond:

“The Sun conceived in Darkness, cold
In the Shadow of Death, a Life unfolds
A shred of Light begins to burn
From Death comes Life – the Circle turns.”

Dismiss Quarters and Dissolve Circle.

Priestess:

“The rite is ended.”

All:

“Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again!”

Outdoor libation to the Lord and Lady, and the spirits of the dead.

From: http://www.wiccanway.com/Samhain-Ritual-Guide-For-Covens_c_199.html

Samhain Incense and Oils

Samhain Incense #1

  • 1 part Powdered Allspice
  • 1 part Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 parts Clove Powder
  • 1 part Myrrh
  • 12 parts lightly crushed Rose Petals
Samhain Incense #3

  • 1 part Rowan Berries
  • 1 part Blackthorn Wood
  • 1/2 part Galangal Root
  • 1/2 part Chervil
  • 1/2 part Vervain
  • 1/2 part Parsley
Samhain Incense #2

  • 1 part Crushed Holly Leaf
  • 1 part Crushed Oak Leaf
  • 1 part Dragon’s Blood Resin
  • 1 part Cedar Berries
  • 1 part crushed Rose Petals
  • 2 parts crushed Mugwort Leaves
  • 2 parts Frankincense Tears
  • 4 parts Myrrh Resin
  • 4 parts crushed Rosemary Leaves
  • 4 parts Chrysanthemum Flower Petals
  • 4 parts crushed Pine Needles
Samhain Oil

  • 2 parts Pine Oil
  • 1 part Frankincense Oil
  • 1 part Patchouli oil
  • 1 part Lavendar oil

From: http://www.wiccanway.com/Samhain-Solitary-Ritual-Guide_c_198.html