Circle Casting
Calling the Quarters
Cakes & Wine
Drawing Down the Moon
First Menstruation
Summerland Ritual

Circle Casting

When a witch ‘casts a circle’, it means that she is setting boundaries and creating sacred space. She is cleansing and consecrating an area to be used for rituals, spell casting, or any other magical endeavor in which she desires protection, the assistance of Divinity in a very personal way, support from the Elementals and the four elements they represent, as well as the opportunity to access other planes of existence.

A magic circle holds the energy a witch raises until she is ready to release it. It keeps her safe from malevolent entities, which is particularly important for the gray witch when she is working with darker energies. Remember, only those entities that you invite may enter your circle. The Watchtowers at the four corners contribute their muscle keeping your space free of unwanted presences and adding their energy to your spell crafting and rituals.

Within a magic circle you are ‘outside of time’. When you stand in the midst of well-cast sacred space, you are literally standing ‘between the worlds’, between the etheric plane and the mundane world. Here you will be able to access the past, to move through worlds of various realities, to safely invoke gods and goddesses, as well as spirits. In the heart of the magic circle, the witch will come face to face with herself and the inherent power she possesses.

With that said…let’s cast our circle:

Items needed:
1. Broom
2. Small bowl of water
3. Salt
4. Sprig of rosemary or sage
5. Athame or magic wand

  • 1. Whether your circle is being cast in the middle of your living room, in a corner of your bedroom, or the laundry room downstairs; make sure that this space has been mundanely cleaned and tidied up, perhaps decorated for the occasion with appropriate flowers, herbs, magical d├ęcor, and of course, your working ritual tools.
If you are going to create your sacred space in the middle of a wild grove, an outdoor recreational area, or even your own backyard; you will want to make sure that you have enough privacy so as not to be disturbed.

  • 2. Sweep the area with your besom (broom), whether this broom is a special ritual broom used only for this purpose, or-- in hoodoo tradition-- the mundane broom that you use everyday. We’re talking about energy here, sweeping away not the dirt on the ground or floor, but the negative energy laying about this space. I don’t even touch the floor with my ritual broom, having done the mundane sweeping before I start. With my ritual broom, I sweep in long whooshing draughts from east to west, chanting while I sweep, moving negative energy out, out, out…pushing it from this space. Order it out, claim this space, shove it, push it, bully it out. As I do this, I usually get a tingling rush from the soles of my feet up the calves of my legs. It amazes me every time.

  • 3. Take a small bowl of water, add a pinch of salt to it, stirring it deosil (clockwise) with your finger. Now you’re going to ‘asperge’ this area, that is you’re going to sprinkle this water about this space to cleanse and consecrate it. You can either use your fingers, or you can use a sprig of rosemary or sage for this purpose.

  • 4. Take your athame or magic wand and go to the elemental gateway of Earth. Stand in the center of this freshly cleansed area. Point your athame/wand to the north quarter, at the boundary of your circle, and begin. Slowly, moving deosil, make three passes around this area, following the boundary of your circle while chanting:

First pass:

Earth, Air, Fire, Water circle round,
This blessed consecrated ground.”

Second pass:

East, south, west, north;
Seal this space, bring power forth.”

Third pass:

By the power of the witches’ blade,
This ground is sealed, the circle made.”

Once your magic has been worked, your ritual complete, you must take the time to dismantle the sacred space that you’ve created. The energies here must be dispersed, sent back from whence they came, to be called forth at another time, another place.

Take your athame/wand in your power hand (your dominant hand). Stand in the center of the magic circle. Raising your arms aloft, point the blade at the north quarter, and with one sweeping gesture, following the boundary of your space, cut the energy of this circle widdershins (counter-clockwise) while saying:

Disperse all energies
To their rightful place;
With appreciation,
Love, and grace.
Open now this sacred space."

Calling the Quarters

After casting your circle, you’ll want to ‘call the quarters’, that is invoke the elementals and their energies at the four compass points of your sacred space. These are the Watchtowers, the protectors, the energies that add fuel to your magical workings and power to your rituals…Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.

Items needed:
1. Four candles: green, yellow, red, & blue
2. Athame or magic wand

  • North: Earth
Set a green candle at the north gate, the gate of Earth. Light this candle, raise your athame/wand/or index finger in the air, and while drawing the invoking pentagram of Earth in the space above this candle say:

Watchtowers of the North,
I summon you now
To this sacred place.
Guard this circle
Outside of time and space.
By the powers of Earth,
To my magic give birth.”

  • East: Air
Set a yellow candle at the east gate, the gate of Air. Light this candle, raise your athame/wand/or index finger in the air, and while drawing the invoking pentagram of Air in the space above this candle say:

Watchtowers of the East,
I summon you now
To this sacred place.
Guard this circle
Outside of time and space.
By the powers of Air
Bring magic to bare.”

  • South: Fire
Set a red candle at the south gate, the gate of Fire. Light this candle, raise your athame/wand/or index finger in the air, and while drawing the invoking pentagram of Fire in the space above this candle say:

Watchtowers of the South,
I summon you now
To this sacred place.
Guard this circle
Outside of time and space.
By the powers of Fire,
My magic inspire.”

  • West: Water
Set a blue candle at the west gate, the gate of Water. Light this candle, raise your athame/wand/or index finger in the air, and while drawing the invoking pentagram of Water in the space above this candle say:

Watchtowers of the West,
I summon you now
To this sacred place.
Guard this circle
Outside of time and space.
By the powers of Water will be
Energy to set my magic free.”

When your ritual is finished, when your spell is complete, go to each of the four quarters; dismiss the elementals with a banishing pentagram, a thank you, and farewell...wish them a safe journey and ask for their blessing.

Cakes & Wine

The idea of sharing a communion with deity by partaking of food and drink is an ancient custom and practice, not defined by, nor exclusive to, the Judeo/Christian religions of today. It’s generally referred to as “cakes & wine” or “cakes & ale”. This ritual is viewed as a celebration of the union of the god-- represented by the athame, and the goddess-- represented by the chalice.

A cakes and wine ritual may be incorporated into any other ritual. It will highlight the celebration with a special connection to divinity.

Items needed:
1. Wine-- or if preferred, a nonalcoholic beverage, such as grape juice
2. Bread/cookies/pastry, etc. If this is made especially for the ritual, you could add a pinch of an herb connected with a particular god/goddess, or an herb associated with the type of ritual you’ll be celebrating when you have cakes & wine.
3. A plate to hold the bread or pastry
4. Chalice
5. Athame

The basic ritual:

  • 1. The Priestess stands at the altar and acknowledges the sacredness of god and goddess, saying:
“We gather here to draw strength and magic from the god…Father Sky, the power of the sun, who sends His energy out to us, that we may project magic and manifestation.”

“We gather here to draw strength and magic from the goddess…Mother Earth, the power of the moon, who sends her energy inward to us, that we may receive magic and manifestation.”

  • 2. The Priestess will take up her athame, holding it high above the chalice of wine with both hands. While slowly lowering the tip of the blade into the chalice of wine, she will say:
“As the God finds joy and fulfillment in union with the Goddess, so shall the earth be fruitful and blessed.”

  • 3. The Priestess shall then hold the athame in her hand, touching the tip of the blade to the bread, saying:
“As the Goddess finds joy and fulfillment in union with the God, so shall the earth be fruitful and blessed.”

  • 4. All present shall share of the bread and wine, saving a small amount of each to pour out upon the earth as a libation.


Note: Read the entire initiation ritual through and become familiar with it before you perform it. Make sure you have gathered all of the required items; the oil, and candles, and such, and that you feel prepared to step across the threshold of this mundane world.

Items needed:
1. Loose fitting robe
2. Silver pendent, usually a pentacle
3. White pillar initiation candle
4. Witches’ oil
5. Incense

The time has come, the day is here, to cement your devotion and commitment to the path of witch. You will have prepared the area of your sacred space for this ritual the day before, not only cleansing it mundanely, but reiving it of negative energy. You will decorate the altar and this space with those flowers, herbs, stones, statuary, and articles that ring with your vibrations and your personal inspirations.

The morning of your special day you will bathe with intent, cleansing not only your body, but your mind and your spirit as well; paving the way for purity of intent and application of personal power.

You will wear a long loose robe, one that can be easily shifted aside to expose those areas of the body to be anointed; or you will perform this ritual skyclad (naked). You will have purchased a silver pendent necklace as a symbol of your new position in life. This pendent may be a pentacle, or it may be a symbol that resonates more closely with your own energy.

When you have bathed and dressed yourself, and after you have taken some time to ground and center yourself, you will begin.

  • 1. Cast your circle.

  • 2. Call the Quarters.

  • 3. Light the tall white pillar candle upon your altar. This candle is representative of the Goddess, often called ‘The Mother Candle’. Light your incense as well, representing the God. Your initiation pendent will lay upon the altar until you’re ready for it.

  • 4. Light the special candle that you’ve chosen as your initiation candle, saying:

I, (name), have entered this circle in perfect love and perfect trust. I am ready to commit myself to the way of witch. I place myself now before the altar of the Goddess and the God, before the altar of the Ancient Ones, before the altar of the Powers that Be.”

  • 5. Stand before the altar now and prepare to anoint yourself. Taking the bottle of oil from the altar, put some oil on your fingers and touch them to the tops of your feet, saying:

Bless these feet,
created to walk the way of witch.”

  • Apply the oil to your knees, saying:

Bless these knees,
created to kneel before the altar of the Goddess.”

  • Apply the oil to your genitals, saying:

Bless this womb, the gateway to life.”

(Note: If the initiate is a male, say: Bless this phallus, Creator of life.”)

  • Apply the oil to your breasts, saying:

Bless these breasts and the heart beneath,
that my motives be pure
and my will be strong.”

  • Touch the oil to your forehead, tracing a pentagram upon it, and set the bottle of oil back upon your altar.

  • 6. Take up your initiation pendent, holding it aloft, stand before the altar, saying:

I, (name), do solemnly swear upon the blood of my ancestors to devote the rest of my days to living the way of witch.

I swear loyalty to the Ancient Ones, the gods and goddesses who always were, are now, and shall forever be.

I swear loyalty to my fellow witches; my sister-witches of the past, as well as those who touch my life today, and those I have yet to meet. I vow to keep their secrets, to learn from them as well as teach, to respect our differences, and to celebrate our journey together upon this sacred path.

I freely take upon myself the life of witch. As I turn the corner to live my destiny, I declare to the Powers present here that my magical name is (craft name).”

  • 7. With your pendent in your hands, go now and stand before the gate of Earth. Raise your pendent aloft, saying:

By the powers of Earth,
May I flourish in the physical realm.
Guardians of the Gateway of Earth,
know me,
I am (craft name)!”

  • Go now and stand before the gate of Air. Raise your pendent aloft, saying:

By the powers of Air,
May I grow in knowledge and wisdom.
Guardians of the Gateway of Air,
know me,
I am (craft name)!”

  • Go now and stand before the gate of Fire. Raise your pendent aloft, saying:

By the powers of Fire,
May I grow in passion and strength of will.
Guardians of the Gateway of Fire,
know me,
I am (craft name)!”

  • Go now and stand before the gate of Water. Raise your pendent aloft, saying:

By the powers of Water,
May I grow in intuition and second sight.
Guardians of the Gateway of Water,
know me,
I am (craft name)!”

  • 8. Return now to the altar. Hold aloft your pendent, saying:

By Earth and Air, Fire and Water,
Upon this day, a witch is born--
(craft name)!
So Mote It Be.”

  • 9. Put on your pendent necklace.

  • 10. The ritual is finished. Take your time within the circle to ground and center, to reflect, to absorb the experience. When you are ready, dismiss the quarters, dismantle the circle. Go and eat something to replenish your energy. And celebrate.

Drawing Down the Moon

The energy of the moon has long been connected with the radiant energy and power of the Goddess. The witch-- the priestess-- has developed methods to harness this energy, to draw this power within herself and use it for personal growth and enlightenment.

The following ritual will allow you to re-connect with the Goddess and rediscover the magic and mystique of the feminine divine.

  • 1. To connect with moon energy, you must place yourself beneath its light, allowing your body to bathe within its silver sheen. As you do so, ground and center yourself.

  • 2. Bless yourself, saying:

Bless my feet that walk the way of witch.
Bless my knees that kneel before the Goddess.
Bless my breasts that nurture.
and my lips that speak the truth.
Before the Goddess,
I am blessed.”

  • 3. Stand with your feet slightly parted; raise your arms to the sky, hands open and receptive. Say:

I stand before You now, Mother of the Earth,
To draw within myself the energy of re-birth.

The magic of the moon,
The energy of goddess power,
I draw down into myself,
Upon this shining hour.”

  • 4. Stand for a few minutes where you are. You may feel physical sensations that are unique to this ritual and goddess energy, or you may feel sensations that are common during the movement of energy and the acquisition of power. Don’t be disappointed, however, if you have no physical sensations at all; not everyone is sensitive enough to pick this up. This does not mean that energy has not been moved or power acquired.


A wiccaning is a ritual to present a child before the Goddess.  You might say that it is an initiation into life, much like an initiation into witchcraft.  The child is presented before divinity, blessed with the four elements and introduced to the powers that be; that these powers may recognize this child, acknowledge the child’s humanity and connection to the ancestors, and protect this child on his/her journey through life.

Items needed:
1.  White pillar wiccaning candle
2.  Elemental candles for the quarters-- green, yellow, red, & blue;
I know these items fall under the title of ‘general ritual tools’ and would be included as a matter of course, but these candles have a special significance for this ritual and so I’ve listed them.
3.  Small bowl of salt, placed at the north gate
4.  Incense, placed at the east gate
5.  Small bowl of water, placed at the west gate

The altar for a wiccaning can be decorated uniquely for each child and his/her family.  This may include vintage photos of great-grandparents; family photos; flowers or herbs that have special familial associations; perhaps a stuffed animal or special doll or other toy passed down through the generations; a glass bowl filled with small strips of paper on which have been written special blessings and well-wishes for the child by friends and relatives.  The ideas are endless.

The one item you want to have especially for the altar is a candle that you’ve chosen for this child.  It should be white, and a nice pillar candle is recommended.  Carve the child’s name into this candle.  A ribbon could be tied around the candle and other decorations added to it; a sticker can be placed on the bottom with the date of the wiccaning and other pertinent facts recorded here.  The candle will become a keepsake.

As a preparation for this ritual, the parents should give the child a spiritually cleansing bath, which means ‘bathing the child with intent’.

  • 1.  Cast the circle and call the quarters, but don’t light the elemental candles yet.

  • 2.  Light your incense and the altar candle, ‘The Mother Candle’.

  • 3.  Have the parents bring the child to the altar.  Hold your hands over the child, saying:

“Upon this day we stand with this child, (name), before the Goddess, our ancestors, friends and family.  We welcome this individual into the world and into this circle.”

  • 4.  Prepare to present the child to the Watchtowers at the four quarters.  The Priestess and the parents, with the child, will stand before the north gate, the gate of Earth.  Light the green elemental candle, and with your hand/wand/athame draw an invoking pentagram of Earth above it, saying:

“Watchtowers of the gate of Earth, we stand before you now to present to you this child, (name).  By the power of Earth, bless (name) with physical health and material prosperity.”

Place a tiny pinch of salt upon the child’s tongue.

Move to the east gate, the gate of Air.  Light the yellow elemental candle, and with your hand/wand/athame draw an invoking pentagram of Air above it, saying:

“Watchtowers of the gate of Air, we stand before you now to present to you this child, (name).  By the power of Air, bless (name) with wisdom, the agility of clear communication, and mental fortitude.”

Smudge the child with incense that is waiting at this gate and lit with the elemental candle.

Move to the south gate, the gate of Fire.  Light the red elemental candle, and with your hand/wand/athame draw an invoking pentagram of Fire above it, saying:

“Watchtowers of the gate of Fire, we stand before you now to present to you this child, (name).  By the power of Fire, bless (name) with a passion for justice and a lust for life.”

Carefully circle the child with the elemental candle.

Move to the west gate, the gate of Water.  Light the blue elemental candle, and with your hand/wand/athame draw an invoking pentagram of Water above it, saying:

“Watchtowers of the gate of Water, we stand before you now to present to you this child, (name).  By the power of Water, bless this child with intuition and an abundance of love in this life."

Dip your fingers into the small bowl of water waiting for you at this gate and lightly sprinkle the child.

  • 5.  The Priestess and the parents, with the child, will move back before the altar.

The Priestess shall turn to the parents, saying:

“Who brings this child before the altar of the Goddess?”

The parents respond:

“We do.”

The parents will move forward to the altar and light the Wiccaning candle, saying:

“It is our wish to bring (name) before the altar of the Goddess, that he/she may learn the Old Ways and walk the ancient Path.”

At this time, each parent, one after the other, may lay a token upon the altar that they’ve brought especially for this child-- a pendent, a ring, a stone, an item that resonates with them, the child, and their family’s energy.  And while doing so, they may state-- in their own words-- a special blessing or wish for their child.

This is the perfect time to allow other family members present to become actively involved in the ritual by contributing a blessing, placing a token upon the altar, anointing the child’s forehead with oil, or performing some other gesture of recognition and welcome.  This could include grandparents, the child’s siblings, aunts and uncles, etc.

  • 6.  The Priestess will step back before the altar.  Raising her arms, she’ll say:

“This child, (name), has been acknowledged and blessed by the elements.  We stand before the Goddess now and rejoice in the birth of this individual and the long journey of life to come.  Goddess touch this child with your loving light. The ritual is done. So mote it be.”

  • 7.  Dismiss the quarters and dismantle the circle.

  • 8.  Celebrate this child’s first footfall on life’s journey.

First Menstruation

Do you remember the first day of your menstruation? I do, and I think most women have this day seared in their memory. It was the day that we left childhood behind and became something magickal and remarkable...Women.

From the moment that I first learned about menstruation through a fifth grade class film, I looked forward to this momentous experience, this amazing and beautiful transition. I was prepared for it, I was impatient for it, I was awed by it, and I welcomed it, and all that came with it-- the discomfort, the inconvenience, it didn't matter. All that mattered was the miracle my body had become.

It's a sad fact that our culture, our western society, tends to be very secretive about this topic in general, and a girl's first menstruation in particular. It's all hush-hush, like some dirty little secret best kept under wraps. How awful that we make our girl-children self-conscious and maybe even ashamed of such a stupendous event, a once-in-a-life time "first".

So let's change this. Let's celebrate a girl's entrance into womanhood with congratulations, cheer, laughter, and merriment. Whether it be your daughter, granddaughter, or niece, prepare a celebration to mark this first major milestone in her young life.

Ritual Suggestions:

  • First, let's establish that this celebration is for women only. It's our moment, it's all about the feminine perspective. It's a celebration given by women for a new young woman. Those gathering should be female friends and relatives.

  • The moon phase will be the full to waxing moon; and it would be delightful if the young woman's first period coincided with this phase of the moon, but if it not, you can improvise. Either plan the celebration around the actual date of first menstruation, or plan the celebration around the appropriate moon phase, or the Full Moon following this event.

Items needed:

  • 1. a white lace tablecloth
  • 2. three pillar candles: white, green, and red
  • 3. flowers: primroses, for the table
  • 4. Incense: patchouli
  • 5. matches

How do we decorate the table for a First Menstruation Celebration?

One way is to choose one of the goddesses who will be invoked and honored during this celebration, and in this case, I'm going to choose the maiden goddess Artemis. This celebration will actually be bidding her, and this first phase of life, good by. We're going to use candle colors, herbs, and such that align with Artemis to honor the Maiden this young woman is leaving behind, emphasizing that each magickal phase of a woman's life gives her an opportunity to learn and to grow into the mature woman she is meant to be, and each phase moves along naturally, according to nature, transitioning smoothly.

The table will be decorated with a white lace cloth, pretty and feminine. The flowers will be pink primroses; the candles will be green and white and red; the incense will be patchouli.

Fill the table with favorite goodies and sweet treats. Light the white and green candle and the incense.

  • Keep everything casual, light-hearted, and fun. But at some point during this celebration, the young woman and her mother, or a chosen female friend representing the Mother, should stand together at the table and in unison, their hands joined, extinguish the white candle and light a red pillar candle in honor of the occasion. 

This is representative of the Mother welcoming the Maiden; it's representative of a girl's transition from childhood to womanhood. By extinguishing the white candle, we bid adieu to one phase of life and set out on a path that will lead to another. Other women gathered at the celebration can come forward to hug, kiss, and congratulate the young lady on her passage, perhaps giving her presents (a significant pendent necklace, perhaps), flowers, and such.

(O' Joy, I am the woman I dreamed of being!)

The most important thing is that this milestone, this awesome all important event in a girl's life is celebrated and acknowledged.


Handfasting is not a legal marriage.  It is a commitment between a couple to remain together for a year and a day.  At the end of this time period, this relationship may be abandoned and the individuals will be free to go their separate ways, or the couple may decide to renew their handfasting vows and commit to each other for another year and a day.

The following ritual will give the couple a sense of commitment to their relationship and a chance to celebrate their union.  A handfasting ritual will highlight the couple’s bond of love to each other.  It will bring blessings from the God and Goddess, and it will cement their relationship before family and friends.

Items needed:
1.  Two white taper candles, one for each of the individuals being handfasted
2.  Three ribbons, approximately 6 feet long, tied together in a knot at one end, preferably white, red, and black
3.  Handfasting rings, or another piece of magical jewelry to be exchanged by the couple during the ritual
4.  A handfasting broom, decorated as you wish for the occasion

The ritual:

  • 1.  The handfasting ritual may be performed inside a cast circle, with the quarters called.  This would be the perfect opportunity to include participation of friends or family members by assigning an individual to each of the four quarters, to invoke the element and light the elemental candle.

  • 2.  The Priestess will lay a broom near the altar, and she’ll light the two white taper candles representing the couple, but not the main altar candle-- this will be lit later during the ceremony.  She’ll also light the incense at this time.

  • 3.  The couple and the Priestess shall take their places,  either in the center of the circle or before the altar, the couple standing together facing the Priestess.  She will say:

“We gather now in sacred space to witness the handfasting of this couple before the God and Goddess, before friends and family, and before the spirits of our ancestors.”

  • 4.  The Priestess speaks to the couple, saying:

“You come today to publicly proclaim your commitment to each other.  May you both walk the same path, but in doing so not loose sight of your own individuality and uniqueness.  May you both walk the same path, but in doing so, respect each other’s space and celebrate personal growth.  May you walk the same path in love and light, reverence and joy.”

  • 5.  The Priestess says to the groom:

“Do you come here freely, with love in your heart, to commit yourself to your partner?”

  • 6.  The groom responds:

“I do.”

  • 7.  The Priestess says to the bride:

“Do you come here freely, with love in your heart, to commit yourself to your partner?”

  • 8.  The bride responds:

“I do.”

  • 9.  The Priestess now bids the couple to exchange their handfasting rings/jewelry; and at this time, and the couple can take the opportunity to exchange personal vows of their own creation.

  • 10.  It’s time for the couple to each take their lit taper candle and jointly light the white altar candle from these flames.

  • 11.  This point in the ceremony would also be the perfect time to include children or step-children in the ritual; either by giving them a commemorative pendent for the occasion, or allowing each child to light a personal candle on the altar to represent themselves and their bond with this couple…Personally, I think it would be lovely to include both of these suggestions.

  • 12.  The Priestess will then tell the couple to face each other and join their left hands, and as they do, she will take the bridal ribbons and, while wrapping them around the couple’s wrists, she will say:

“By the power of the Goddess:  the Maiden, the Mother, the Crone; and by the power of the God:  The Horned God, the Green Man, the Sage, may your handfasting be blessed.  You shall remain bound to each other for a year and a day.  May your love grow and happiness flourish.  So mote it be.”

  • 13.  The Priestess then removes the handfasting ribbons from the couple’s wrists and lays them upon the altar.  She may now perform a ‘Cakes & Wine’ ritual, if this is to be included in the ceremony.

  • 14.  It’s time now for the couple to ‘jump the broom’.  The Priestess may move the broom to the floor/ground before the altar.  The couple will join hands and leap over it together.

  • 15.  The Priestess says:

“Over the broom and into your new life you leap.
Blessed Be!”

  • 16.  The ritual has ended, let the revelry begin!


A croning is a ceremony that acknowledges a woman’s passage into the third phase of life, honoring the third aspect of the Goddess.  This ceremony usually takes place in a woman’s life at the time of menopause.

This ritual is written for a group/coven setting, but it can be easily adapted for the solitary practitioner.  When done as a group, two women will be chosen for the ceremony to represent the Goddess in her aspect of Maiden and Mother.  These women can be coven sisters, or they may be the woman’s relatives-- mother, sisters, aunts, nieces.

Also, I want to mention that I have not written an eldering ceremony for a man; however, this ceremony could easily be adapted for this purpose.  Simply start by changing the three aspects of the Goddess to the three aspects of the God:  the green man, the horned god, and the sage.

Items needed:
1.  A black candle to represent the Crone
2.  A white taper candle for the maiden and a holder for this candle
3.  A red taper candle for the mother and a holder for this candle
4.  A special piece of jewelry, perhaps a pendent or a ring, that commemorates this occasion and will be presented as part of the ceremony

The altar will be decorated with those items which honor the Crone, the dark aspect of the Goddess.  This will include the cauldron, and you will use this fire-proof container to hold and burn the black candle for the ceremony.  This cauldron will have a special place of honor in the center of the altar, place the holders for the two taper candles on either side of it.

A variety of herbs associated with the Crone, which could be laid about the altar to disperse energy, or burned as an offering, might include-- anise, mugwort, elder, hazel, hellebore and tansy-- Both hellebore and tansy are poisonous.--, lilac, lavender, jasmine, ginger root, ash leaves/berries, blackberries, or thistle.

The stage is set, the ladies have gathered, the circle is cast and quarters called to witness this epic passage.

  • 1.  The Priestess stands before the altar, facing outward, to the circle and the women gathered there.  The woman about to experience the croning stands before the Priestess, facing her.  The Priestess says:

“We invoke the Dark Mother.  Upon this day we call forth the energy of the Crone, that we may be bathed in her wisdom and experience, that we may embrace the shadows She casts, only to discover the light.”

  • 2.  The Priestess will then light the altar candles and the incense, but not the black candle, and come back to her place before the altar.  The Priestess will say:

“Who comes today to represent this woman and her journey to this point?”

A young woman carrying a white unlit taper candle comes forward before the
Priestess, she says:

“I come forth to represent the path of Maiden, to represent beginnings, discoveries, and potential.”

The Priestess uses an altar candle to light the Maiden’s white taper candle, which the Maiden then places in a holder on the altar.  The Maiden takes her place to the left of the woman, standing by her side, facing the Priestess.

  • 3.  The Priestess says:

“Who comes today to represent this woman and her journey to this point?”

A woman in the midst of child bearing age comes forward carrying an unlit red taper candle. She stops before the Priestess, saying:

“I come forth to represent the path of Mother, to represent fertility, strength, and purpose.”

The Priestess uses an altar candle to light the Mother’s red taper candle, which the Mother then places in a holder on the altar.  The Mother takes her place to the right of the woman, standing by her side, facing the Priestess.

  • The Priestess says:

“Who comes today to celebrate her journey to this point?”

The woman steps forward, saying:

“I do.  I come forth to represent the Crone, to represent wisdom, experience, and accomplishment.”

The woman will then step to the altar and, using an altar candle, she will light the black candle that is sitting in the cauldron.  The Crone will then return to her place between the Maiden and the Mother, where all three women will turn to face the circle and the ladies gathered there.

Now is the perfect time within the ceremony to include participation of family or coven members, allowing individuals to come forward to embrace the new Crone and leave a flower upon the altar as an offering to the Goddess; as each individual passes through, they will then return to their place in the circle.

When this phase of the ceremony has been completed, the Maiden, Mother, and Crone will turn once more to face the altar and the Priestess.

  • The Priestess says:

“You have forged your path in life.  You have stood in the light and the shadows as well.  To celebrate your arrival at this stage of life, you shall receive this token-- blessed with the elements and infused with the energy of the Dark Mother.”

The Priestess then gives the woman her special piece of magickal jewelry, either clasping a pendent around her neck, or placing a ring upon her finger.

  • The Priestess then says:

“May you continue upon your life path, walking it now as Crone, teaching the young ones the ways of the wise woman, spreading light upon those you love by embracing the shadows and the energy of the Dark Mother.” Blessed Be!”

  • The quarters will be dismissed, the circle dismantled.

  • Let the celebrations begin!

Summerland Ritual

The Pagan has a very different view of the afterlife than the Christian; and even within the Pagan community, you will find diverse beliefs about what happens to us when our bodies die.  However you choose to look at death and what comes afterwards, the event itself will be marked, as all major events in a life generally are-- with a ritual.

Items Needed:
1. A white pillar candle representing the deceased
2.  A photo of the individual

Besides the regular ritual tools, you will choose a white pillar candle to represent the deceased.  You may want to carve the individual’s name into it.  This candle could also be adorned and decorated with herbs, sparkles, seashells, stones, ribbons, etc., or whatever else that resonates with the energy of the deceased-- buttons from their clothing, beads from one of their necklaces.

The altar could also be decorated with flowers that were special to this individual, as well as personal items such as mementos from milestone occasions, old toys, things the individual may have collected, or items connected to an interest they pursued in life.

This ritual does not have to be conducted in a cast circle.  However, the perimeter of the area could be set with white candles, white stones, bouquets of flowers, or bunches of herbs, and a purifying incense such as sandalwood.

  • 1.  When family and friends are gathered, the Priestess will stand before the altar, saying:

“As we all come from the Goddess to experience life; in death so shall we return to Her to experience peace.”

  • 2.  The Priestess will then light the altar candles, including the white pillar candle.  Holding aloft the special white pillar candle, she will say:

“(name of deceased),
By the element of Earth, you were grounded in the physical world.
By the element of Air, you were open to knowledge and communication.  By the element of Fire, you were inspired with passion.  By the element of Water, you could dream your dreams.  So now, by Earth, by Air, by Fire, by Water…shall you pass to the next stage of your existence.”

  • 3.  The Priestess will then return the white candle to the altar.  At this point, she may give a short eulogy on the deceased and his/her life; or family members and friends can be invited to come forward and relate memories and stories.

  • 4.  A ‘cakes & wine’ ritual can be incorporated into the ceremony at this point, if the family members wish.

  • 5.  When these aspects of the ritual are complete, the Priestess will take her place at the altar, raise the white pillar candle before the assembled group and say:

“(name of deceased),
Merry we meet,
And merry we part,
Until we merry meet again.”

  • 6.  The Priestess will then extinguish the flame of the white pillar candle.  She may step forward and present this candle to the deceased’s closest relative, spouse, or partner.

The source for these rituals, my book:


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