Today, Friday, 21st December, 2007, marked the Summer Solstice and the final Sabbat of our calendar year. To commemorate (and celebrate) my return to the Wiccan tradition, albeit a new path, after three years of hiatus, I composed a simple but heartfelt ritual to perform.
Before dusk, I assembled a very minimalist ‘altar’ (although “shrine” would be more appropriate), which simply consisted of a cleared shelf-space on which I placed a small yellow taper to signify the sun. I wrote my own Circle Casting ritual that distinguishes itself from the Wiccan one, which is borrowed from ceremonial magic. As I am practising ceremonial magic now in its own right, yet Wiccans did not intend the system of magic to be practised in conjunction with its religion, I felt the need to separate the two more than it has been in the past. The entire ritual was silent, with my intentions poured into vivid visualisations and gestures.
I also used the Circle to perform the I.O.B. (Identify, Objectify, Banish) technique outlined in Modern Magick by Donald Michael Kraig in attempts to banish my fiery temper. I kept the book on-hand to refer to the Hebrew names, but in the heat of the moment, abandoned official policy and procedure and just used the Hebrew names of God I knew from the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram instead to perform the Middle Pillar ritual.
I also allowed this ritual to remain receptive to any deities who may attempt to reach out to me. I did not feel the explicit presence of anyone in particular, and was content for that to remain so. At the final climatic point of my ritual, I took the yellow taper and bowed to the sunset, offering it as a farewell gift to the sun. When I lit it and watched the flames dace about the wick, for a minute fraction of a second, I felt Him smile back at me.
Until we meet again echoed in my mind.
I let the candle burn out completely, and it finally extinguishes as the sky was swallowed in darkness. When night came, a soft rain began to fall, creating a sense of cleansing and starting anew. It was the most beautiful and meaningful ritual I have ever performed. I am amazed that after three years of non-practice, that magic is much like riding a bike, and it feels as though I never stopped. In fact, I think age has made it better.
Midsummer of the year 2007 (21st December) marks the first Sabbat I celebrate as a Wiccan returning to the tradition after three years of a lull in my religious practice. The first step, or rather, leap I take in my new path is one of creativity and courage. There are aspects of my practice I have made a conscious decision to abandon, such as the concept of duotheism, the classic Wiccan Lady and Lord archetypes no longer feed my spiritual hunger and I aspire to challenge myself with the search for the kind of truth that shakes me to my core and leaves me transformed. For this ritual, I intend to withhold from naming or referencing particular deities, but rather, to honour and celebrate this Sabbat itself as the beauty that is the longest day of the year.
Purpose of the Ritual
We are at the height of summer and the days will shorten from this day forth. Our calendar also signifies the approaching end of the year 2007. It is thus timely to perform the IOB (Identify, Objectify and Banish) technique and banish an unwanted aspect of my personality as a final sacrifice before I begin a new calendar year.
While I will not consciously invoke or honour a particular deity, I am going to utilise this ritual as the first step towards the attainment of a potential patron deity. With this in mind, I will remain receptive to the images that enter my mind that may clarify for me the culture, pantheon, or even specific deities with which or whom I have an affinity. However, my predominant purpose of this ritual is not to find a deity and thus will not allow it to override the ritual or distract me from my actions.
Set up nothing more than a small shrine with meaningful symbols I can find to honour the Sabbat. Preference is given to the personally evocative, rather than reliance on the arbitrary guidelines that pervade the Wiccan literature to which I used to adhere. The centrepiece of this incredibly simple ritual will be a single candle to represent the male deities whose presence I will invite and to whom I will dedicate this rite.
Ground and Centre
Do the Relaxation Ritual as outlined in Modern Magick and visualise the light as an intense gold, like the sun.
Declared Opening and Stated Purpose
Silently acknowledge the start of the ritual.
I will allow myself to be bathed in the twilight for a moment, understanding that from now on, the days will grow shorter as the night begins to slowly swallow the sun. For the purposes of my goal to become receptive to patron deities, I will cup my hands before my heart and concentrate on the love and devotion I feel towards the Craft. When I feel completely elated with its warmth, I will pour that concentrated emotion into a visualisation of a tiny golden bird that forms in my hands. This is my invitation to the Gods to hear me, to introduce myself to them as a humble practitioner of magic who seeks to uphold that love and devotion I have shown them in my small gift, if they are willing to come forth to be my patron. I am initiating no frivolous relationship, but one I hope to maintain throughout my path, if They so desire.
Casting the Circle
Cast a magic circle by visualising the four nature elements consecrating my space. This circle is distinguished from the ceremonial magic circle I will later cast as a part of the I.O.B. technique. As Wicca represents the nature-based counterpart of my magical practice, it is thus appropriate that I visualise this particular circle as made of Earth, Air, Fire and Water itself, as opposed to the beam of divine light more prevalent to the beliefs of High Magic. Thus, I will cast the Circle in a unique way—
1. I begin by facing the east and visualise a gale carried from the furthest point of the horizon, the birthplace of the sun, rushing towards me with swiftness and intent.
2. Then I turn to the south and visualise an inferno, blazing its path towards me alight with force and will.
3. I turn to the west and visualise a tempest, flooding its path towards me with yearning and desire.
4. I turn to the north and visualise a landslide, throwing itself towards me with the hunger to envelope all in its path.
5. Finally, I begin at the east and draw with a graceful sweep of my hands an invisible sphere around me of energy. Facing the east once more, I see myself at the centre of this sphere whose walls were created with my magic, and all four elements are rushing towards me until they all collide, crashing up against the protective walls of my Circle and hurling around. The elements appear to dissolve away but around me, the invisible sphere has becoming reinforced with the powers of the elements and is now vibrating with might. It resembles light from afar, but when I examine the walls closely, I can see dirt, wind, rain, and embers dancing in a hypnotic trance in harmony in its fabric.
Honour the Gods
Allow my mind to become receptive to any deities who may have responded to my invitation. If there is the presence of more than one, here to witness my rite or even to test my potential, I will send special honour to them. If not, I will simply honour all Gods as a part of this ritual.
Bow before the altar.
When ready, raise arms to the sun setting in the west as it descends into the horizon.
Return to the altar and focus on the single candle. Hold it in your hands and raise it to the west as if you are offering it as a farewell gift. Visualise it ablaze with golden light that has become a part of you during the Relaxation Ritual and you now send from your hands into the candle itself. Know this candle is a piece of the tranquillity and stillness you achieved in yourself and will now offer the Gods.
When ready, strike a match and light the candle, knowing the fire as it burns the wick and drinks the wax, the golden light you created is now being sent to the Gods through the flame, and eventually, the smoke when it is extinguished.
Thank them for their presence and protection.
Perform the I.O.B. technique and rid myself of my temper.
Thank the Gods
Close the Circle