Category Archives: Rituals & Workings

Ostara – The return of Spring and New Life!

OSTARA (pronounced O-STAR-ah, also known as Lady Day or Alban Eiler) is one of the Lesser Sabbats, and is usually celebrated on the Vernal or Spring Equinox around March 21. Other names by which this Sabbat may be known are Oestara, Eostre’s Day, Rite of Eostre, Alban Eilir, Festival of the Trees, and Lady Day. The Christian holiday of Easter is very near this same time, and is determined as the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Vernal Equinox. The theme of the conception of the Goddess was adapted as the Feast of the Annunciation, occurring on the alternative fixed calendar date of March 25 – Old Lady Day, the earlier date of the equinox. Lady Day may also refer to other goddesses (such as Venusand Aphrodite), many of whom have festivals celebrated at this time.

The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with an uproarious festival commemorating their goddess of offspring and of springtime, Eostre (aka Eastre and Ostara). Second-century Christian missionaries encountered the tribes of the north with their pagan celebrations and attempted to convert them to Christianity. As it happened, the pagan festival of Eastre occurred at the same time of year as the Christian observance of the Resurrection of Christ. It made sense to the christian church, therefore, to alter the festival itself, to make it a Christian celebration as converts were slowly won over. The early name, Eastre, was eventually changed to its modern spelling, Easter.

In the Pagan Wheel of the Year, this is the time when the great Mother Goddess, again a virgin at Candlemas, welcomes the young Sun God unto her and conceives a child of this divine union. The child will be born nine months later, at Yule, the Winter Solstice.
The Great Rite, symbolic of the sexual union between God and Goddess began to be enacted on Ostara. The positive effect of this rite, a form of sympathetic magic helped to bring fertility to the land and people and the animals.

Easter Eggs

In ancient times the return of the birds meant an important protein source had returned. The ability to find eggs in the fields and forest often meant the difference between health and hunger in the lean days before the harvest.

The festival of the Thesmophoria – sometimes called the Eleusinian Mysteries – lasted between three and ten days. Each day of the festival had a different name and included specific rituals.

A highlight of the festival was a procession from Athens to Eleusis which was led by a crowd of children known as ephebi. The ephebi assisted in carrying the hiera (sacred objects) including an egg (Easter eggs), and in pulling a statue of Dionysus as a boy (Iacchos). The children also assisted in the ceremonial cleansing of the initiates (candidates of the mystery religion) in the sea.

Upon arriving at Eleusis the women organized the first day of the celebration (anodos) by building temporary shelters and electing the leaders of the camp. On the second day (nesteia) they initiated the Greater Mysteries which, according to myth, produced the cult’s magical requests (a fertile harvest). Such mysteries included a parody of the abduction and rape of Persephone, and the positioning of the female devotees upon the ground weeping (in the role of Demeter for her daughter), and fasting for the return of Persephone (the return of spring). The setting upon the ground and fasting was also intended to mystically transfer the “energies” of the women into the ground, and thus into the fall seeds. Not suprisingly, the festival was held during the time of the fall planting, so as to nearly guarantee a positive response to the cult’s magic.

On the fifth day of the festival the participants drank a special grain mixture called kykeon (a symbol of Persephone) and ate Easter (Ostara) eggs in an attempt to assimilate the spirit of the goddess. The idea was to produce an incarnated blessing of fertility, both of the crops and of children.

Instructions for an Ostara Egg Hunt

  • Make natural egg dyes from herbs.Color hard boiled eggs and add symbols for the Fertility God, the Goddess, the Sun God, unity, fire, water, agriculture, prosperity and growth, strength and wisdom, spring, love and affection, and protection.
  • Consecrate the eggs:In the name of the Goddess of Spring, (name); and the ever-returning God of the Sun, (name); By the powers of the four elements — earth, air, fire, and water; I do consecrate these eggs of Ostara..Point the athame at the eggs, make the sign of the pentagram, and see the energy flow through the blade into the eggs, and say:

    New life lies within as new life shall enter the soil. Let those who seek this life find it and consume it, for all life feeds on life.
    The eggs may be hidden and an Ostara Egg Hunt commences.


    Key actions to keep in mind during this time in the Wheel of the Year include openings and new beginnings. Spellwork for improving communication and group interaction are recommended, as well as fertility and abundance. Ostara is a good time to start putting those plans and preparations you made at Imbolc into action. Start working towards physically manifesting your plans now. The most common colors associated with Ostara are lemon yellow, pale green and pale pink. Other appropriate colors include grass green, all pastels, Robin’s egg blue, violet, and white.

    Stones to use during the Ostara celebration include aquamarine, rose quartz, and moonstone. Animals associated with Ostara are rabbits and snakes. Mythical beasts associated with Ostara include unicorns, merpeople, and pegasus. Plants and herbs associated with Ostara are crocus flowers, daffodils, jasmine, Irish moss, snowdrops, and ginger.

    For Ostara incense, you could make a blend from any of the following scents or simply choose one… jasmine, frankincense, myrrh, dragon’s blood, cinnamon, nutmeg, aloes wood, benzoin, musk, African violet, sage, strawberry, lotus, violet flowers, orange peel, or rose petals.


    Foods in tune with this sabbat include eggs, egg salad, hard-boiled eggs, honey cakes, first fruits of the season, fish, cakes, biscuits, cheeses, honey and ham. You may also include foods made of seeds, such as sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, as well as pine nuts. Sprouts are equally appropriate, as are leafy, green vegetables.

    Herbs & Flowers

    Daffodil, Jonquils, Woodruff, Violet, Gorse, Olive, Peony, Iris, Narcissus and all spring flowers.

    Special Activities

  • Planting seeds or starting a Magickal Herb Garden.
  • Taking a long walk in nature with no intent other than reflecting on the Magick of nature and our Great Mother and her bounty.
  • Make hot cross buns to honor the union of the earth and the sun for Spring. Slash the “X” with the bolline and bless the cakes.
  • Toss crushed eggshells into the garden and say:For fairy, for flowers, for herbs in the bowers, The shells pass fertility with springtime flowers.
  • Wear green clothing.
  • Eat an egg you have empowered with a quality you desire.


Imbolc – February 2nd

Groundhog day approaches, and we will be halfway through the winter as we await Spring’s impending return! This ancient festival, Celtic in origin, is considered one of the greater sabbats. This celebration marks the early signs of spring and the lengthening of days. The lighting of fire and candles represent the return of the sun. We honor the Goddess as the waiting bride of the returning sun God. Other names for this time are: St. Bridget’s Day, Candlemas, Candlelaria, the Snowdrop Festival, the Festival of Lights or the Feast of the Virgin. During this celebration we honor the goddess Brigid.

  • Imbolc herbs: Angelica, Basil, Bay, Benzoin, Blackberry
  • Imbolc colors: White, pale yellow and silver
  • Imbolc offerings: Beer
  • Imbolc is a time to honor Bast, Brighid,Cerridwen.

To celebrate Imbolc you should set your alter with white candles. Decorate with holly, nuts fruit and a small bowl of wheat berries. Place three ears of corn on the door as a symbol of the Triple Goddess and leave until Ostara. Cleanse the area where you do reading with a censor burning rosemary or vervain, and say:

“By the power of this smoke I wash away the negative influences that this
place be cleansed for the Lady and her babe.”

Cleanse the alter and tools. Do a self-purification rite with the elemental tools representing earth (salt) for body, air (incense) for thoughts, fire (candle flame) for will, and water (water) for emotions.

Leave a ribbon outside before going to bed for Brigid to bless. This is an excellent time for divination.

Here is a simple ritual for Imbolc:

After casting your circle, say a blessing such as:

Blessed be the earth, and all who dwell upon it.
We give thanks for the season now departing from us.
For the blessings it has bestowed upon us,
And upon those with whom we share this world.
Blessed be the new season.
We pray that it will be a time filled with peace,
With abundance, with prosperity,
With wisdom,
With love.
Blessed be all who share this feast.
Let us now prepare for the time ahead
By opening our hearts, and our minds, and our spirits.
Blessed be.

Thank your Deities, say goodbye to the darkness of winter and welcome the coming of the sun and new life. Lay your wand or crystal point on the bowl of wheat and acknowledge and welcome the cycle of death and birth and the continuous turning of the wheel. Sing, chant, make music or meditate at this point, whatever method you choose to bring your psychic ability to a higher level. When ready, use your diving tools for your enlightenment. When you feel
your ritual is complete, thank your Deities again for all you have and close with the cakes and wine ceremony.

Now, on to the feast! Traditional winter foods such as ham, root vegetables, fresh crusty breads and winter fruits like apples and pears should be served. Food should be plentiful! Mead, ale, spiced wine would all be appropriate

Imbolc Recipes
By Patrick McCleary


3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
3 tbsp. milk or unsweetened/plain soy milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 cups chopped cabbage or kale
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 tbsp. margarine or butter, for frying

Cook potatoes in a pot of boiling water until tender (at least 20 minutes); drain, reserving water.
Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add chopped cabbage to the reserved potato water. Cook 6-8 minutes or until tender.
Mash potates with a hand masher. Add milk, salt and pepper and beat until fluffy.

Imbolc Feast Lamb Stew

2- 1/2 lb. lamb neck chops
1 tbs. lamb fat
4 medium onions
1 tbs. butter/margarine
4 medium carrots
2 1/2 cups water
4 medium potatoes
1 tbs. parsley, chopped
1 tsp. each salt & pepper
1 tbs. chives, chopped

Don’t let the butcher trim the fat off of the lamb chops. Shred some of the excess fat and cook it down in a large pot or Dutch-oven. Peel the onions, carrots, and potatoes. Cut the onions and carrots into quarters, and put all the vegetables aside. Cut the meat into eight pieces, and trim away the rest of the excess fat. The bones need not be removed. Place the meat in the hot fat and brown. Repeat with the onions and carrots. Add water, salt, and pepper carefully. Put whole potatoes on top. Cover pot and simmer gently until meat is cooked, approx. 2 hours. Remove from heat. Pour off the cooking liquid into a separate sauce pan, allow to cool for a few minutes, skim off grease, and reheat. Add butter, chives, and parsley to the reheated liquid in the sauce pan. Pour heated liquid back over the stew. Serve hot. Makes 4-6 servings.

Baked Custard


4 eggs
3 C. milk
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
A pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 350.
Combine all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, and blend for about 15 seconds, or until well mixed.
Pour custard mix into ramekins or custard cups.
Place the ramekins into a baking dish, and fill the dish with hot water up to a depth of about 3/4″.
Bake the custards for one hour.

Spell Working

Wicca is primarily a religion. It is the worship of the Old Gods and the attunement with nature through the eight festivals of the Wheel of the year. But what of the practical side of the Craft, the working of Sacred Magic?

To put things in perspective, magic is very much a secondary function of the Craft. Any Coven worth its salt should put the worship of the Gods and spiritual development of the Coven members first. Nevertheless there are working evenings of the Coven or Esbats to give them their correct Craft name. These usually occur on or before the full moon of each month although special working meetings may be convened at any time in an emergency.

There are many different types of Magical working ranging from long and highly ritualised Golden Dawn style invocations of God forms to simple candle magic workings, all are valid and may work equally well as the complex ritual.

The point to keep in mind is that magic is a natural phenomenon not a supernatural phenomenon and as such it conforms to natural laws and therefore logically it has its natural limitations. Magic is not a miraculous panacea for every difficulty that life throws at you, despite what some books on the subject tell us. How on earth are we supposed to learn the lessons and gain experience of life if we “run to mummy” and reach for the spell book every time we have a problem to negotiate? This is a mistake that many operators make.

The spell is best likely to succeed when you have a realistic chance of achieving it by your own efforts to begin with. Let us remember that magic is an ally – it is not our servant. Anyone attempting to use magic as their slave is working to the Left Hand Path and will end up in deep trouble. For example, if you are caught red handed throwing a brick through a jeweller’s window, you are going to prison, it is as simple as that. True, you could do a working for the judge to be lenient with you, but that would be all you could do. No amount of rituals could keep you out of court.

These days do-it-yourself books of spells are easily available and although there are a few good ones, many contain much nonsense – the commonest mistake that they print is that belief is all you need to perform a successful spell.

Belief is certainly vital, after all there would be little point in attempting the spell if you had no faith in it. But it is a special kind of belief that matters, and much more important is personal effort on the part of the operator. I can believe that I can jump off a building and fly. It doesn’t believe matter how strongly I believe it, as soon as I jump off the building I am sure to hit the pavement! Consider this equation:


The problem with performing spells from a book is that they are somebody else’s spells and although effective for the author they may not work so well for you. It is far better to compose your own spell or ritual especially considering what we have said earlier about making a personal effort. Just as a magical tool will have more power if it is hand crafted by the Magician, so a self composed spell is sure to be more effective for the same magical reasons.

You must also be very precise in the working of your spells. You must be clear beyond doubt as to what you are trying to accomplish. A London Wiccan I know petitioned for £500. He stepped out into the street and found a £500 monopoly note. Yet he got what he asked for! The lesson here is, for example you want a new car, visualise yourself in it and driving it. Work for the car direct, not for the money with which to purchase it.

This brings us to another important point – visualisation. This, like belief and personal effort is essential to the successful magical working. Mental discipline is therefore very important. When I first joined the Craft, part of my early training in the First Degree involved a gruelling programme of some 60 exercises involving visualisation and concentration, and working with the four elements. Although tough, and not everyone can hack it, I have never regretted working through it and to this day I always pass them onto anyone that I teach the Craft to. The exercises provide an excellent primer to serious ritual work and I believe that no Wiccan however experienced could fail to benefit from the course. Mental discipline then, is of paramount importance.

The would-be spell worker should define their goals within a special framework of ethics. Traditionally Wicca teaches that whatever magical forces you transmit through your rituals will return threefold. Most serious Covens will not attempt psychic attack for this reason. The consequences for even attempting this kind of working can be dire indeed.

Similarly money and love spells are a dubious area. Rituals to win the pools or lottery are quite wrong in my view. The Wiccan Crede is “Eight words the Wiccan rede fulfil – an’ it harm none do what you will”. If you perform a spell to win the lottery you are basically working to give yourself an unfair advantage over everyone else who has bought a ticket. You are not physically harming them, but you are certainly harming them in another way. Such a working is therefore against Wiccan law.

Love spells are another grey area. I personally prefer to leave them alone although I acknowledge that they can be justified in some circumstances. Casting spells to win the love of the attractive girl in the office are a blatant attempt to interfere with the free will of another especially if the target is in a relationship that you are trying to break up. Such a spell is pure Left Hand Path and would in any case almost certainly fail.

So can money and love spells be justified at all? In some cases I would say yes. For instance, if a brother and sister were starving or the bailiffs were at their door, then I can’t see that a working to improve their financial situation by fair effort would be out of order. Clearly a degree of discretion is called for when assessing rituals for financial gain. I feel that as long as one sticks to the maxim “need not greed” you will not go far wrong. As for love spells, I have no problems with a single person performing a spell to attract a new partner without naming a specific individual. Similarly if a Coven knew of two people who were attracted to one another but both were painfully shy, I think that few people would say the group were wrong to work a spell to bring them together.

On the subject of Covens, working spells with a group and as a solitary both have their pros and cons. Working with a group it is easier to raise the power and more of it, but the goal worked for is more or less at the discretion of the High Priestess. Furthermore only one member of the group needs to be a little tired or depressed or lose concentration for the whole working to be short circuited. Once again we can see the need for first class concentration and visualisation skills.

Working alone, it is harder to raise the power, but the lone worker is “the boss” as it were, and is in complete control of the ritual. He/she can work for whatever he/she wants; one is not bound by the rules and wishes of a particular Coven and he/she can work whenever is convenient for them, not specifically designated Coven nights. In twenty-six years as a Wiccan initiate, I have only been a Coven member for about five of those years. Personally I have a marked tendency to prefer working alone.

Just how do we know when a ritual has succeeded? This is a difficult question to answer. There is a sort of feeling, a gut feeling or flash of intuition which may tell you that petition has been answered, or some set of circumstances may bring it about that which are so remote or unlikely to have happened without unseen aid. This is the true religious miracle. Similarly when we perform a ritual that works only partially or not at all we often receive signs why it is inappropriate for the wish to be granted at that time. But before writing a ritual off as a failure, always remember that some spells may require several repetitions before any results are observed. in magic, persistence pays.

Magic can be found in virtually every religion there is. Christians pray to God or to Jesus for favours, Roman Catholics go one step further by petitioning saints for aid. Nichires Shoshu Buddhists chant a special formula to bring about changes on a material plane…etc, etc. The Roman Catholic Mass seeks to unite the worshipper with God through the sacrament of communion. Is not union with God the true Great Work, the ultimate magic ritual? The working of magic is a true sacred and special gift/privilege of the Gods. Clearly care must be taken not to abuse it and to use the art ethically, discreetly and with respect. Just as the Gods have given us the gift of spell working, they can just as easily revoke it and take it away. They also have a knack of teaching those who abuse the Craft a sharp and unpleasant lesson if need be!

Spells 101

First things first. Hogwarts is a wonderful fictional place that sprung from the creative well of J.K. Rowling’s imagination. It is not real, and you are not Harry Potter.

What Spells are, and what they are not.

If nothing else, spells are intention. They are a focused, directed desire for a change in circumstances for you or someone else.

Spells are often compared to prayers, and that is a reasonable though misleading comparison, because while many spells involve calling up help from a specific deity, others do not. In the sense that both spells and prayers seek for external intervention in the trajectory of events, they are indeed similar.

Spells are not going to break the laws of physics. They are not going to turn someone into a toad. They are not going to turn water into wine, unless part of that spell involves adding grapes to the water and fermenting for a long period of time.

Spells are not going to make you prettier. You know the best glamor spell? An honest smile. Probably the most disarming thing a person can do is smile honestly at someone else. Try it, you’d be amazed.

And this gets to the heart of the matter – spells are no substitute for doing real work in the real world. If someone is hungry, make them a sandwich. If they are cold, give them a blanket. If you’re too far away to do any of those things, then by all means, send them love and good energy.

A real witch knows that knowledge, common sense and experience and more magical than any ritual or spell and are far more useful attributes to have.

However, before we can do anything in the world of any use, we need to be clear about our intentions, and in that regard, spells can be useful for helping create that clarity and focus.

Preparing for Spell work

Before performing any spell, first ask yourself these questions, which basically summarize the information above.

    • Can I achieve the same result without magic?

      Magic should always be your last resort, not your first. There are often more practical ways to achieve the same result!


    • What is the purpose of this Spell?

      You should be very clear on what you are looking for. Write it down, in the form of the outcome. Do not write, for example ‘I want a lot of money’. You may find that what you end up with is the desire for money, and not the money itself. Instead, phrase it thus ‘I have all the money I need.’ This is the desired outcome – to arrive at that state. Be clear in your mind of the outcome, and the outcome will be more likely to occur the way you want it.
    • Is what I am asking for impossible?

      Contrary to popular belief, spells (and prayers for that matter) cannot break Universal Law. They can appear to, by producing an improbable outcome. But that is not the same as an impossible one.

Now that you’ve got all that out of the way, you should cleanse and purify yourself and your working space. Take a bath. Meditate. Clear your mind and body of anything that can interfere with the intention of your working. Sage is a great tool for cleansing spaces, and we will talk about smudging in a later article.

Think about the purpose of your spell, and start pulling together components that can help it come together. Sympathetic magic uses the energy of things that resonate with what you seek. Colors, scents, similar objects and so on.

In Weird Science, Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) and Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) try to create the perfect woman. The bras on their head are a rather bizarre example of sympathetic magic.
In Weird Science, Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) and Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) try to create the perfect woman. The bras on their head are a rather bizarre example of sympathetic magic.

The following example spells include correspondences that are in resonance with the desired outcome. By pulling all this together, you are creating a very powerful intention.

Spell for Abundance

Abundance spells are associated with the following deities:

    • The Olympian Deity Hecate/Carmenta (Goddess of the Crossroads) – A suitable offering would be Honey, Pomegranate.
    • The Celtic Deity Brighid (Goddess of Fire, Healing and Smithcraft) – A suitable offering would be Fire, Coins, Blackberries.
    • The Celtic Deity Dagda (The Good God)
    • The Celtic Deity Llyr (God of the Sea)

      Each of these Gods has their own needs in terms of offerings, colors and the best time to work with them. The spell itself (in this case Abundance), also has its own special energies which should be attended to. Unless otherwise stated, spells grow in power between the new and full moon (waxing) and reduce in power during waning moons.

      For Abundance spells, the best day to perform the spell is Sunday, since Sunday is associated with Abundance. (In fact it is associated with all of these: health, abundance, healing, confidence and hope, prosperity).

      You should also be sure to use the right herbs, candles, perfumes and incense for your ritual. For your Abundance ritual, the following would be appropriate, in addition to any offerings you wish to make to the chosen deity:

      Correspondences for Abundance
      Incense: Mastic, Palaginia, Pepper, Dragons Blood
      Planets: Sun
      Incense: heliotrope, orange blossom, cloves, frankincense,
      Candles: Green, Gold
      Herbs: Jasmine Flowers, Cinnamon, Yellowdock Root,

Remember to check the needs of the Gods and Goddesses you intend to work with also, and include appropriate offerings for them.

Every Tradition has its own method of ritual construction, so you will have to decide how best to incorporate all the above elements into your calls, casting, purification and offerings. All these elements help to raise the cone of power, and focus the attention of the deities, the elemental forces and you, on the matter at hand. Finally we come to the spell itself. Here is a Abundance spell you can use for this ritual:

Spell for Abundance

You will Need:

  • A Green Pen
  • A Check from YOUR checkbook.

    Write a check to yourself. In the amount field, put Paid in Full. Sign the Check: The Law of Abundance.
    Put the check somewhere safe.

That’s it! The universe works on its own timeframe. The last and most important ingredient in any spell should be patience.

For Love spells, the best day to perform the spell is Friday, since Friday is associated with Love. (In fact it is associated with all of these: Love, friendships, affection, partnerships, money, sex).

Friday also happens to be the favored day of the Goddess Aphrodite/Venus , the Goddess Hathor , the Goddess Freya , the Goddess Frigg/Frigga , the God Eros/Cupid , the Goddess Brighid , the Goddess Asherah , the Goddess Inanna/Ishtar , the more the spell and deity have in common, the better!
You should also be sure to use the right herbs, candles, perfumes and incense for your ritual. For your Love ritual, the following would be appropriate, in addition to any offerings you wish to make to the chosen deity:

Correspondences for Love
Incense: China Rain, Gardenia, Jasmine, Lavender, Musk, Rose
Planets: Venus
Perfumes: Stephanotis, apple blossom, musk, ambergris
Candles: Red
Herbs: Cinnamon, Vervain, Mistletoe

Remember to check the needs of the Gods and Goddesses you intend to work with also, and include appropriate offerings for them.
Every Tradition has its own method of ritual construction, so you will have to decide how best to incorporate all the above elements into your calls, casting, purification and offerings. All these elements help to raise the cone of power, and focus the attention of the deities, the elemental forces and you, on the matter at hand. Finally we come to the spell itself.

You will need:

  • A Fresh Onion
  • Potting Soil
  • A Pot to plant the onion in
  • Water

    Place the soil in the pot, plant the onion in the soil, so that only the tip peeks out. As you do this, repeat over and over:
    As this onion grows, so does {their name}’s love for me.
    When the ritual is completed, place the onion near a window but away from direct sunlight, and water lightly every two or three days.

    When you have completed the spell, thank the gods and carry out your normal closing ceremonies.

These are just a couple of examples. You will find more in the following books.

Finally, one word about negative energy spells. Don’t. There is no benefit in casting spells that have the intention of hurting others, because doing so weakens you, and does little or nothing to those you seek to affect. Better to consider releasing them from your life altogether and moving forward in Love.

Performing a Ritual

True Magic is knowledge, and experience. It is doing what needs to be done, helping those you can, comforting those you can’t, protecting those who need it, and giving voice to those who have none. That is the real magic that changes the world. That is the Pagan Way – honoring the Earth and every living thing in it.

Sometimes, however we may feel a need to perform a ritual, whether it is simply to honor the Sabbats and Esbats, or to perform a marriage or celebrate a birth, and occasionally to walk those who are passing to the next world.

Rituals can be used for other things too, but before you perform any ritual, ask yourself if there is a simpler, more direct way to reach your goal? If you still need to perform a ritual, then this guide should help you.

What is the Purpose?

When preparing a ritual its purpose and method of execution must be clearly defined. The ritual should be carefully choreographed ahead of time, partly to avoid confusion, partly to ensure clarity of purpose, but mostly out of respect for the deities and spiritual watchers that will be expected to sit through it! The Priest and Priestess will normally confer and prepare an appropriate ritual once the purpose has been decided upon, then share it with the other key players within the ritual who will be responsible for ensuring its smooth execution. This typically includes the Summoner and the Handmaiden, and any other people that will primarily involved in the rite (for example the bride and groom in a hand-fasting).

Charge of the Summoner

The Summoner, or “Fetch” as he is often called, is used to communicate between covens, to protect the circle and its participants, and to challenge those who would enter the circle. Typically, he will carry a staff and will thump it on the ground three times at the start of the ritual, and ask each person (except the Priest, Priestess and handmaiden) their name, and how they intend to behave during the ritual. This has evolved into ‘What is your name and how do you enter?’. When challenged, you may provide your birth name, given name, chosen name or secret name. The answer to the question ‘how do you enter?’ should be short and honest, and should reflect your state of mind. ‘With perfect love and perfect trust’ is a common response to give, but make sure you understand what that means – a state of mind without expectations, prejudices or dis-ease.

Here is a typical Summoner’s Charge, which is spoken by the Summoner after calling people to attention.


The summoner then asks each person:


Besom Sweep

The handmaiden has many duties. She will greet and annoint those whom the Summoner has permitted to enter the circle. She assists in preparation and execution of the ritual, and sweeps the ground to sanctify it for the rite ahead. As she travels around the circle sweeping, it is common practice for her to touch the heel of those who have gathered, to sweep any evil or negative energy from them.

This is a traditional Besom Sweep chant, spoken by the handmaiden as she sweeps the circle

Besom, besom long and lithe
Made from ash and willow withe
Tied with thongs of willow bark
In running stream at moonset dark.
With a pentagram in dighted
As the ritual fire is lighted;
Sweep ye circle, deosil,
Sweep out evil, sweep out ill.
Make the round of the ground
Where we do the Lady’s will.
Besom, besom, Lady’s broom
Sweep out darkness, sweep out doom
Rid ye Lady’s hallowed ground
Of demons, imps, and Hell’s red hound.
Then set ye down on Her green earth
By running stream or Mistress hearth,
Til called once more on Moon or Sabbat night
To cleanse once more the dancing site


Some call them Quarters, others Watchtowers, or Guardians or Elementals. In any event they represent the four elements, and in some cases the fifth element – Spirit. Their energies are brought into the circle to provide depth, power, balance and witnesses to the proceedings. Each quarter is usually offered something representing their domain, e.g. incense for air, a candle for fire, water for water (strangely enough) and salt for earth. Some traditions use candles, or an offering to a specific deity that has dominion over that element.

Since we’re starting to move into oathbound territory, we’re not going to provide examples for these next few sections (sorry), however there are plenty of books that you can find some powerful calls in to use. A couple we recommend are by Raymond Buckland:

God/Goddess Calls

The Priest and Priestess typically call upon the God and Goddess to join their rite. Sometimes it is a generic call to ‘Our Lord God’ and ‘Our Lady Goddess’. In other cases, depending on the coven or Sabbat, specific deities may be called. In some traditions this is also known as the Charge of the God/Goddess. It is also quite common to recognize that one deity may have different names in different pantheons (Cerridwyn, Persephone etc) and call on all their aspects as the circle is cast.


The ritual food is blessed by the priest and priestess. This usually consists of wine or ale, cakes or bread, or items suitable to the ritual or sabbat. Once blessed, it is normally passed around between all those in the circle, so each may partake of the offering. Once this is complete, the remainder is usually placed in a libation bowl and then offered to the gods.

Raising Energy
Depending on the purpose of the ritual, it is common to use the combined energies of all those in the circle to add power to the rite. This is why the manner in which you enter the circle is important. A chant is frequently used to achieve this energy raising, often while the priest and priestess are performing the working that forms the focal point of the ritual. The chants are usually repeated over and over, slowly and quietly at first then louder and faster, until then energy reaches the appropriate level to ‘power’ the workings.

This example of a power chant is quite commonly heard at public rituals:

Air, I am.
Fire, I am.
Water, Earth and Spirit,
I am.


Once the deities have departed, the elements (quarters, watchtowers etc). Are then also dismissed. Again, they are thanked for their presence and then bid farewell.
This method varies from tradition to tradition, and again some people get a bit touchy about oath-bound stuff (a debate for another article perhaps).

Opening the Circle

With all non-physical entities now departed from the circle, the Priest or Priestess will perform an appropriate action to signify that the circle is open once more.

A typical ritual may end with all present speaking a brief closing poem or song, like this commonly used one:

The circle is open , but unbroken,
May the peace of the Goddess and God
Go in our hearts,
Merry meet, and merry part.
And merry meet again. Blessed beThis rite is ended. So mote it be.

All are then free to depart from the ritual.