(Lady Bridget's Note: Our coven's initiations are secret and must remain so. However, in the interests of information, this ceremony is here for those of you who would appreciate some kind of format for recognizing when a person's studies have brought them to this level. This comes from a group whose ceremonies have long been published online.)
This is a ceremony we have used a couple of times (with variations to
suit the candidate) for the second degree initiation. You will note
that it borrows from many sources: Masonic, Gardnerian, Celtic, and
Flight of Fancy. We've done it robed, sky clad, and some interesting
combinations. Seems to work ok either way. If the candidate has done
the work, the initiation ceremony is more of a public "rite of
passage" or recognition of that fact... the real "initiation" is
between the Gods and the candidate, and therefore cannot really be
...Gary Dumbauld, High Priest, Hernesgaard Circle
A ceremony to recognize completion
of the 2nd degree
course of study
The Circle is cast as usual. All are properly prepared and purified. High Priestess and High Priest perform the Ceremony in concert. The candidate is brought into the circle by a friend and circled 3 times deosil, ending north of the altar, facing the Priest, who is standing south of the altar.
"This is the time of Full Moon, a time for rekindling of light. The struggle for higher light is: That we may see it, and seeing it, work and live by it. We are about to embark upon a solemn ceremony to rekindle the light of Knowledge, the light of Will, the light of Compassion, the light of Steadfastness; we will combine these lights, and rekindle the light of Dedication in our Sister (Brother) here before us.
_____ _________ , here you have been taught the ways of the Wise, that you might count yourself among those who serve the Gods, among the brothers and sisters of the Wicca, those who are called the shapers of the universe."
"I now direct your attention to the two lights upon our altar, the one representing the Sun, the God, and the High Priest; the other representing the Moon, the Goddess, and the High Priestess. The High Priest and Priestess, presiding over the coven, may be thought of as 'One light to rule the day, one light to rule the night'. Since these lights are both beneficent, each having honor in its place, the Craft of the Wise does not set day against night, God against Goddess, Priest against Priestess. In the Craft, we do not define evil as a negative power, rather as the lack of light; where there is the light of Sun or Moon, God or Goddess, there can be no lack of light. Choose one, or both; place light within yourself, and nurture it."
"In times past, the Circle of Initiation was called a 'Hermetic Circle', after Hermes, the ancient name for the planet Mercury. In astrology, the house of the Sun is in the zodiacal sign of the lion, which is the fifth house; the house of the Moon is in Cancer, the crab, and is in the fourth house; and the day house of the planet Mercury is in the Gemini, the Twins, and is the third house. These numbers, three, four and five, were sacred to many ancient peoples, as the dimensions of the Pythagorean Triangle, in which the square of five, twenty five, is equal to the sum of the squares of four and three, or sixteen and nine. Knowledge of this triangle was essential to builders; you are also a builder-you are building your character."
"I now direct your attention to the several lights surrounding us, in the East, South, West, and North. Let us now examine these lights, and see what we can discern within them of human character."
"In the building of character, the Eastern light is denoted the Lamp of Beauty, and stands for accomplishments; for learning, skill in art, poetry, in song and instrumental music, in painting and sculpture. It exemplifies the art of making one's self attractive to those about one. It is an old saying that 'Beauty is as Beauty does.' It causes great distress to see these noble graces of character prostituted to ignoble ends. Remember well the lesson of the Lamp of Beauty, and accept the blessing of the East."
Initiate is censed with incense from the censer which has been previously placed in the East.
"The light in the South is denoted the Lamp of Life, and stands for individuality, and for energy; for fervency, for zeal and vitality. It exemplifies passions, desires and appetites. It means loves and hates, sympathies and abhorrences, and what is more than all the rest of these, it means heart and joy in the work of life. Remember well the lesson of the Lamp of Life, and accept the blessing of the South."
Initiate is circled three times with the brazier, previously placed in the South.
"Look now to the West, and observe the Lamp of Compassion, which stands for 'fellow-feeling'. Every work in life demands a price. Labor, tears, self-denial, self-recrimination, the very blood of life is sometimes the price of a truly great work. Look to your fellow travellers on the road; note with care what sacrifice they have made in their progress toward the truth; allow them their faults, commiserate with them in their failures, and rejoice with them when they succeed. Remember well the lesson of the Lamp of Compassion, and accept the blessing of the West."
Initiate is circled three times with water, and his/her hands washed in a laving bowl, previously placed in the West.
"Look now to the North, and observe the lamp of obedience. The laws of the Gods are inevitable, and the more we, as children of the Gods, understand and work in accordance with them, the greater is the sum of our happiness. Obedience in character means order, the subjection to one's principles, the fear to do wrong, and the desire to learn and do right. Many would rather give charity than do justice. They swell with emotion, weep with sentiment, howl with the mob, so long as their own particular little tyranny or injustice is not touched. The Lamp of Obedience exemplifies firm will and determination of character, in spite of difficulties, dangers and losses. So also the Lamp of Obedience stands for self-control, for perseverance, and for prudence. In time of peace, prepare for war; when shines the sun, expect the cloud; and in darkness wait patiently for the coming light. 'When all the sky is draped in black and beaten by tempestuous gales, and the shuddering ship seems all awreck, calmly trim once more the tattered sail, repair the broken rudder, and set again for the old determined course.' Remember well the lesson of the Lamp of Obedience, and accept now the blessing of the North."
Initiate's hands are marked with damp earth from a bowl in the North. Initiate is then led back south of the altar.
"Of the character thus illuminated and thus guided by the lights here on the altar, and by the Lamps of Beauty, Life, Compassion and Obedience, it may be said, 'Though the world perish and fall away, he/she remains.'
Initiate then takes the Oath/Obligation, kneeling.
"In the names of Arianhrod and Bran; Diana and Appolyon; Heartha and Cernunnos; and by the powers of Earth, Air, Fire and Water, I, __________________ , pledge to love, worship and honor the Goddess in her many aspects; and her Consort, the Horned One, Lord of Death and Ruler of Chaos; to always be true to the Art and its secrets; to never abuse the Art or my own powers; and to keep this pledge always in my heart, in my mind, in my body and in my spirit. This I pledge, by the Circle of Life, by Cerridwen's Sacred Cauldron, and by my own hopes of a future life."
Initiate stands. High Priestess places a necklace over Initiate's head.
"The Circle is a place between the worlds and outside time. The Circle is also the Symbol of Life, Death, and Rebirth. We wear the necklace as a token of the Sacred Circle and as a sign that we are part of all it symbolizes."
High Priest strikes the bell three times.
"Hear ye, Lady of Life and Lord of Death! Hear ye, Ancient Guardians of the Powers of Air, Fire, Water and Earth! In this place, by our hands and will, _____ ______________ , known to us as _______________, has been duly pledged and anointed a Priest/ess of the Second Degree!"