RITE OF PURIFICATION

Prior to the start of the ceremony a circle shall be inscribed on the floor, being large enough to easily accommodate all who will be participating. The altar shall be set with a symbol of the Goddess at its center, and the symbols of the four elements placed about it. Thirteen candles shall be placed on the altar prior to the start, and a cauldron (or other suitable container) of pure, cold water placed before the altar. A wand, preferably a thirteen-inch rod of willow, shall be brought into the circle by the priestess.

To begin the rite all shall gather within the circle, each carrying a cup or goblet. The priestess shall direct the priest to light the first candles, and those others within the circle to light the rest. As each does so, she or he shall say:

In thy Name, blessed Lady,
Do I build a part
Of this magical circle.

The priest shall place the first candle at the north point of the circle. Afterwards, under the direction of the priestess, each person shall place another candle at the edge of the circle, working in a clockwise direction. As each does place a candle the above invocation shall be repeated. When all candles have been placed there should be twelve evenly spaced about the circle and on on the altar before the symbol of the Goddess.

When the circle has thus been set, the priestess shall face to the east with the wand raised in her right hand, and say:

O blessed Lady of the Willows,
Of things wild and free
We do ask for your presence
And for your blessing
Within this circle,
For the rites which
We shall perform.

She shall then give the wand to the priest, who shall similarly offer a salute.

The priestess and the priest shall hold their hands over the cauldron in an attitude of blessing, and say:

Priest:

May this water, clear and fresh,
Cleanse the soul and the spirit
As, in symbol,
It does cleanse the hands.

Priestess:

May our Lady
Grant peace, and healing
And purity of soul
To us all.

Both:

Blessed Be!

The priestess and priest shall pour water into the cups or goblets of all within the circle. When the cups of all are so charged, and all paired, man with women (insofar as it is possible) within the circle, the priest shall proclaim:

I do charge you all,
In the name of our Lady,
To wash away that
Which does stain the soul
And the spirit.

All shall kneel at the edge of the circle in pairs of men and women. In turn, each shall slowly pour water over the outstretched hands of the other, reaching out over the edge of the circle, saying:

In the name of the Goddess
I do cleanse thee, my friend.

When one is finished, she or he will ritually cleanse the other, as above, when all are finished the priestess shall say to all:

Place your cups at the edge of the circle,
And come join with me, saying as I do say.

All shall repeat as the priestess says:

O Lady of the Streams and Lakes
And of water pure and sweet,
We do ask for your blessings
For we are your children.
Bring us closer, we do ask
To the pure and free world of nature.
Banish guilt forever,
And show us new paths of understanding.
Lead us ever into your world
Of mystery, wonderment, and beauty.
Blessed Be!

If there are other activities to be accomplished they shall be done at this time, with the approval of the priestess… such as light refreshments, singing, exercises in meditation, teaching and the like.

When all is finished the priestess or priest shall direct each one within the circle to take the wand and use it to tap out the candles, working clockwise from the north as before. Each shall say:

In your name, Gracious One,
Do I dissolve away
A part of the circle.

When the last candle is out the priestess shall hold the wand out in salute towards the wast and state:

This circle is ended.
All power to the Goddess!

All repeat:

All power to the Goddess!

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