The preparation for initiating yourself on to this path is very important. The time you perform the self-initiation is something you need to plan carefully; check an ephemeris or moon calendar as you will want to do the rite on a full moon, or at least a moon in the second half of waxing.
The time of day can also be important and this is where an ephemeris is useful.
Before You Start
It’s no good rushing home from a busy day at the plant or office and then trying to do such an important ritual, so plan it on a weekend or day off from work. In the fortnight running up to your self-initiation ritual you will need to spend time in regular daily meditation. This is best done by cleansing the area that you perform your rituals in, casting a circle and calling the quarters and then declaring that you are about to embark on the path and asking for help and guidance.
This is the time that you will need to select your Witch name, if you haven’t done so already; chose something that you know that you can live with for a long time. Often the first inclination is to pick a major Goddess name, but I’d advise against that and getting too grand! To find my Witch name, I did a meditation and asked my animal guide for help – that worked well for me.
You will need to prepare for the self-initiation ritual by thinking about the vows you plan to make. In the ritual that follows I have suggested some vows, but these need to be personal and relevant to you, so change what you need to and write your own dedication vows, and they have to be ones that you believe you can accomplish.
It’s best to perform this ritual skyclad, but be practical. If you are doing this outdoors in the depths of winter, you are asking for a dose of pneumonia, so either move indoors or wait for warmer weather.
On The Day
The moment you get up (or better, just before you go to bed the night before), turn off your mobile, unplug the telephone, forget the tv and radio and put up a Do Not Disturb All Day sign on your door. Spend the day quietly meditating and make every action deliberate and part of the preparation and build-up to the rite.
If you can fast, do so, drink only pure spring water, or if you can’t manage that, try fruit juices. Do not pollute your mind and body by smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
As part of the preparation, have a ritual cleansing bath; putting salt in the bath will cleanse you and your aura and you can also use herbs and oils; use the time that you’re soaking to fill your aura with fresh white light. When you get out, allow yourself to dry naturally.
Set your altar up with a clean fresh altar cloth with two altar candles, cake on your pentacle, or platter of you don’t have one, wine in your chalice, a censer, your athame, anointing oil, salt in a small dish, water (spring water ideally) in a small dish, your Witch necklace (and other ritual jewellery that you plan to use) and any other items you regularly use for ritual.
Start by lighting the candles and incense. Purify the space you are working in by holding your hands on the water container and visualise it glowing with white light (see visualisation on the Magic page). You can say words like “I purify this water, let it be filled with goodness and light, in the name of the Goddess and God.” Do the same with the salt: purify it and say something like “I purify this salt, let it be filled with goodness and light, in the name of the Goddess and God.” Then tip some of the salt into the water and mix it up.
Sprinkle some of the salty water around the space you are working in and cast a circle in the usual way, call the quarters and invoke the Goddess and God (how to do this can be found on the Magic page, but you must be practised before you try self-initiation).
Breathe deeply and gather energy into yourself, release the white noise of daily life and allow yourself to become still and peaceful, then dedicate yourself by saying:
“I, name (your ordinary name), have prepared myself for dedication to the path of the Goddess and God. I ask for wisdom and compassion, integrity and discretion, the strength to always work for goodness and light; may the Goddess and God sustain and fortify me in these.”
“I make my vows to the Goddess and God and call on the Elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth for their blessing: I vow that I will work towards peace and harmony, that I will respect and value the Earth and all it’s life and creatures, that I will respect myself. I will always try to celebrate the joy and wonder of life and harm none.”
Anoint yourself with the oil first, then the remaining salty water and lastly with wine, saying:
“I am reborn as my true and magical self, and I take the name (your Witch name) as Witch and being of light. I ask for the blessing of the Goddess and God on all my endeavours and go forward in perfect love and perfect trust”
Anointing yourself can be done in a number of ways:
· you can anoint the lips, breasts, phallus/womb (above the line of the pubic hair), knees and feet, or
· the chakra points, or
· wherever is right for you, so long as you have thought about it and understand why you are doing it that way.
You can anoint yourself with a pentagram, cross, circle or a symbol that has personal significance to you.
Present yourself to the quarters and declare that you are now dedicated to the Goddess and God as a solitary Witch.
This is now the time to consecrate (if you haven’t already) or re-consecrate your Witch tools (see consecration link for this) and don’t forget to consecrate your Witch necklace (and other jewellery) before putting it on. You can consecrate all of these with the oil as well.
Finally, consecrate the wine and cake by touching them with your athame, and channelling energy through it. Drink a toast to yourself as Witch, to the Goddess and God and to the Elements and eat the cake. Earth yourself, thank the Goddess and God say farewell to the Elements, then close the circle.
Write up your vows and sign them with your Witch name in your grimoire (or book of shadows) and all the experiences you have during your dedication. Do not do anything busy or demanding for the rest of the day, relax, ponder and assimilate the experience. It is wise to allow yourself a full week before undertaking any more magical work.