1st Degree Initiation
Tools and Preparation
In addition to the normal circle set up, the following is also needed:
- About 8 feet of twine or string, preferably red thread
- a pair of scissors
- Anointing oil
- A small cup or bowl of wine
- Three lengths of red cord: 1- 9 feet, 2- 4.5 feet
- A scourge (also called a flogger)
The candidate must bring with them, or have done the following:
- 9ft white cord (about the thickness of drapery cord, which is what we normally use, and secured at either end with embroidery floss so it does not fray). This cord should not be knotted prior to the initiation.
- 4.5 ft (or 6ft for those with larger feet/ankles) cord in a color of their choosing and prepared the same way as the white cord.
- Any tools they wish to consecrate for their Craft work (this is not required)
- Removed all jewelry except for earrings or body piercings. (This is mostly for safety reasons. If there is particular jewelry that the candidate wishes to wear, they may wear it.)
- Have taken a ritual bath or shower. This can be done at the candidate's home before coming to initiation, or at the house of the initiators. This is up to the coven to decide. Or, the Blessing of the Hands ritual can be performed prior to initiation.
Preparing the Initiate:
The initiate is left to meditate in another room while the circle is cast. When the circle is cast, the Initiator (or Sponsor) leaves the circle with the red cords and blindfold, and enters the room where the candidate is waiting. The initiator gives the candidate the passwords required to pass into the circle (Perfect Love and Perfect Trust) and asks if the candidate is ready. If the candidate is ready, then the 9 ft cord is used to tie the candidates hands behind their back, and the ends are tied in front of the neck to act as a lead. One 4.5 ft cord is tied around the right ankle, the other above the left knee. When tying on the ankle cord, the initiator says "Feet neither bound nor free." The initiator then blindfolds the candidate and leads them to the edge of the circle.
If the group is large enough, another member can be designated as the candidate’s Sponsor, and will be the one to leave the circle and retrieve the candidate. They will bind and give the candidate the passwords, and be the one to push them into the circle after the challenge is given. This can be an actual coven mentor (if that person is not the Initiator), someone close to the candidate, someone who the candidate picks for the position, or someone who volunteers.
The circle is cast in the usual way, and the appropriate gods are called in.
The Initiator (or Sponsor) opens the circle and brings the candidate to the edge of the circle. The Initiator puts her athame to the candidate's heart.
Initiator: You who stand on the border between the worlds, have you the courage to undergo this rite? For it would be better to impale yourself on my blade than make the attempt with fear in your heart!
Candidate: I do.
Initiator: And what are your passwords?
Candidate: Perfect Love and Perfect Trust
Initiator: Then with the third password (Initiator kisses Candidate), I welcome you into this Circle of the Wise.
Initiator (or Sponsor) then pushes the candidate into the circle, then closes the gateway (or the gate is closed by another in the circle).
The Initiator then takes the candidate to each quarter:
Initiator: Hail to the spirits of the [East, South, West, North], I present [candidate] who is properly prepared to be initiated as priest and witch!
The candidate is then led to the center of the circle and turned around three times (a chant can be added here). Then the initiator rings a bell three times. The candidate is then led to stand in front of the altar in the North.
Initiator: In other religions, the postulant kneels while the priest towers over her, but in the Craft, we kneel to welcome those who will walk among the Wise.
- Blessed be thy feet that have brought you to these ways. (Kisses feet of candidate)
- Blessed be thy knees that shall kneel at the sacred altar. (Kisses the right, then left knees)
- Blessed be thy sex, that shall exalt in holy ecstasy (Kisses above the pubic hair)
- Blessed be thy breast, formed in strength and beauty. (Kisses right then left breast)
- Blessed be thy lips, which speaks all the holy names. (Kisses mouth)
The initiator stands and then picks up the red thread and scissors.
Initiator: Now we are going to take your measure.
Initiator measures the candidate from the top of the head to the soles of the feet and cuts that length. She winds up the measure and puts it on the altar.
Initiator: Before you are sworn, are you willing to pass the ordeal and be purified?
Candidate: I am.
The initiator causes the candidate to kneel and put her head forward (or sit backwards in a chair if the candidate can't kneel), and binds her feet with the ankle and knee cords (or binds her feet to the chair with the cords). She then takes up the scourge (flogger), then rings the bell three times.
The initiator gives three strokes of the scourge.
Initiator: Seven (seven strokes, bell rung seven times) Nine (nine strokes, bell rung 9 times) Twenty-one (21 strokes, bell rung 21 times)
Initiator: You have bravely passed the test. Are you ready to swear that you will always be true to the Art?
Candidate: I am.
Initiator: Are you ready to protect and defend your brothers and sisters of the Craft, even from themselves?
Candidate: I am.
Initiator: Then repeat after me: I, [candidate] in the presence of the Gods and Spirits, do of my own free will, swear that I will keep sacred and holy the Mysteries of the Art. That I will use my will and moral compass in the practice of my Art, always remembering that all beings are part of the Divine, and that all acts are sacred and holy rituals. This I swear by my hopes of a future life, mindful that my measure has been taken and knowing that my magick may turn against me if I break this, my solemn oath.
The initiator helps the candidate stand up. She picks up the wine.
Initiator: I will now give you the triple sign. I consecrate thee with wine.
She moistens her fingertip with wine, touches above the pubic hair, then the right breast, to the left breast then back to the pubic hair. (Triangle of First Degree) She then picks up the oil.
Initiator: I anoint thee with oil. (She touches in the same places)
Initiator: I consecrate thee with my lips, (She kisses the same places) priest and witch.
The initiator removes the blindfold and cords and puts them in front of the altar. She welcomes the candidate, now priest, into the coven (as do any others who are present).
Cakes and wine is done at this point.
After the cakes and wine, the initiator blesses the cords that the new priest had given her earlier to bring into the circle. She ties the white cord around the waist of the new priest.
Initiator: I now tie the white cord, which is a symbol of the light of knowledge, and signifies your entrance into the learning of the Craft. Let this remind you that you have dedicated yourself to this path.
She ties the colored cord around the right ankle three times:
Initiator: This cord is also a symbol of the oath you have just taken in the presence of the Gods and Spirits, and is a reminder of the Law of Three.
Initiator: At this time, we also give you back your measure. Legend has it that when witchcraft was still a secret practice, this would be kept by the leader of the coven, to be used against you if you betrayed the coven’s secrets. Since we no longer keep secrets, we give this to you as a reminder that your oath is between you and the Gods, and you may come and go as you will. Keep it, burn it, or do with it as your will desires.
She leads the new priest to the center.
Initiator: In the name of all the Gods and Spirits, I salute you, [name], newly made priest and witch!
She leads the new priest to the East.
Initiator: Hail to the Spirits of the East [South, West, North] and hear ye that [name] has been consecrated priest and witch!
The circle is closed in the usual way.