Wicca was born in the 1930’s.
Organized Wicca was begun by Gerald Gardener who, influenced by Margaret Murray’s disputed yet evocative books, God of the Witches, The Witch Cult in Western Europe, and Aradia: Goddess of the Witches by Geoffrey Leland, began putting together the first Book of Shadows, a compendium of spells and rituals that he gathered together in an effort to revive the ‘Old Religion’. Also included in this book were bits from the sensationalist priest, Montague Summers, and the Great Beast, Aleister Crowely. He claimed to have initiated into witchcraft by a band of hereditary witches in the New Forest, granting him the authority to create his own coven of thirteen magical practitioners.
Wicca is a fertility religion with a Priest and High Priestess who enact a rite of sacred sex for the benefit of the generative forces of all of nature. Gardener’s first High Priestess was a mysterious lady called Dafo.
Gardener initiated Doreen Valiente into his Bricket Wood Coven in 1953. She was to become his greatest High Priestes. She refined the Book of Shadows and created a sense of mystery and beauty with her fine poetry such as The Witches Rune, The Wiccan Rede, and The Charge of the Goddess. She is considered the Mother of Modern Wicca.
The Charge of the Goddess is commonly used to open Wiccan rituals invoking the Great Goddess. It has been adapted Starhawk, author of The Spiral Dance, a highly influential handbook of Faery Magic and one of the first serious books I read in the late 1970’s that stirred my Witchblood and taught me the poetry of Wicca. Though I am not initiated into any Wiccan group, I respect and admire much of what they do. As a carrier of the Witchblood, my initiation came about before I was born.
Charge of the Goddess
Listen to the words of the Great Mother, Who of old was called Artemis, Astarte, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Diana, Arionrhod, Brigid, and by many other names:
Whenever you have need of anything, once a month, and better it be when the moon is full, you shall assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of Me Who is Queen of all the Wise.
You shall be free from slavery, and as a sign that you be free you shall be naked in your rites.
Sing, feast, dance, make music and love, all in My Presence, for Mine is the ecstasy of the spirit and Mine also is joy on earth.
For My law is love is unto all beings. Mine is the secret that opens the door of youth, and Mine is the cup of wine of life that is the cauldron of Cerridwen, that is the holy grail of immortality.
I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal, and beyond death I give peace and freedom and reunion with those that have gone before.
Nor do I demand aught of sacrifice, for behold, I am the Mother of all things and My love is poured out upon the earth.
Hear the words of the Star Goddess, the dust of Whose feet are the hosts of Heaven, whose body encircles the universe:
I Who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars and the mysteries of the waters,
I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me.
For I am the soul of nature that gives life to the universe.
From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return.
Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals.
Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.
And you who seek to know Me, know that the seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.
For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am That which is attained at the end of desire.
Don’t forget to check out my novella Salome: The Seventh Queen. I have just added another scene.
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