Tools and Preparation
In addition to the normal circle set up, the following is also needed:
- Anointing oil
- A small cup or bowl of water
- Three lengths of red cord: 1- 9 feet, 2- 4.5 feet
- A scourge (also called a flogger)
- A wand
- A large pentacle
- A Cup (can also be the same one used for mystic repast)
- Censer (can be the incense holder used in the East)
- A sword (the athame can be substituted, but it is better to have a “coven sword” for this purpose, or to use the candidate’s own athame which has been consecrated)
The candidate must bring with them, or have done the following:
- 9ft red 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.
- Removed all jewelry except for earrings or body piercings.
- The candidate should wear the cords received during their 1st Degree initiation.
- Have shared their new witch/spiritual work name if applicable. The candidate doesn’t necessarily need to have a new name to get this degree (and sometimes, the name can come in the middle of initiation!).
- Optional: 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.
Preparation of the Candidate
There is no other special preparation of the candidate prior to the initiation proper.
The circle is opened in the usual manner, with the candidate included. If the candidate has a particular God(s) that they are working with at the time, the candidate calls them into the circle.
The candidate is then brought to the center of the circle and bound and blindfolded as in the 1st Degree initiation. The candidate is then lead to the East.
Initiator: Hail spirits of the East [South, West, North], [given name, or name used in 1st Degree Initiation], a duly consecrated Priest and Witch, is now properly prepared to be made High Priest and Magus.
The candidate is then led to the center again. The Initiator (and others, if present) circle around the candidate, chanting and building up power around and into the candidate. (Air I am, Fire I am, Water, Earth, and Spirit I am! is a good one. Minimally 3 times, but more is better. Do what feels right at the time.)
After building up the power, the candidate is bound for the flogging as in 1st Degree (either kneeling, or to a chair).
Initiator: To attain this degree, it is necessary to suffer and be purified. Are you willing to suffer to learn?
Candidate: I am.
Initiator takes up the scourge again, as in the 1st Degree, ringing the bell three times.
The initiator gives three strokes of the scourge.
Initiator: Seven (seven strokes, but not ringing the bell again), Nine (nine strokes), Twenty-one (21 strokes)
Initiator then stands in front of the candidate.
Initiator: What is your name?
Candidate gives their witch name.
Initiator takes candidate’s head in their hands.
Initiator (more forcefully): What is your name?
Candidate gives new witch name again.
Initiator (puts hand on forehead as in blessing): Tell me, and the gods present, what is your name?
Candidate gives new witch name again, declaring to the gods their name.
Initiator steps back.
Initiator: Then, if you are willing, renew the vows you made when you started this path as your new self, and repeat after me: I, [candidate’s new name] 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 of my actions 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 places her left hand under the knee of the candidate, and her right hand on the candidate’s head. Other members of the coven put a hand on the Initiator.
Initiator: I will all my power into thee.
Initiator holds the link and wills her power into the candidate, and taps into the egregore of the tradition as well, and the other coven members add their energy as well. The initiator holds this position until she feels the power is properly transferred into the candidate.
The initiator unbinds the ankle and knee cords from the candidate and helps them to stand. The initiator takes up the wine.
Initiator: I consecrate thee with water.
The initiator creates and inverted pentagram on the candidate with the wine, first touching above the pubic hair, then the right breast, then the left hip, then the right hip, then the left breast, then back to above the pubic hair.
Initiator: I anoint thee with oil.
Initiator repeats inverted pentagram with oil.
Initiator: I consecrate thee with my breath, High Priest and Magus.
Initiator repeats inverted pentagram through breath.
Initiator removes the blindfold and remaining cords. Then the other coven members (if present) congratulate the new High Priest. After congratulations are done, the initiator stands at the altar, and picks up the sword (or athame if a sword isn’t practical for the space).
Initiator then ties the candidate’s red cord around the candidate.
Initiator: I now tie the red cord, which is a symbol of Power, and is a reminder of the responsibility that comes with its use.
Initiator: You will now use the working tools of a witch in turn. First, the magick sword (or athame).
The initiator hands the candidate the sword (or picks up own. The candidate can use their own tools for each.), and the candidate silently recasts the circle.
Initiator: Second, the wand. (Candidate casts circle with wand.) Third, the cup. (Candidate presents the cup to each quarter.) Fourth, the Pentacle. (Candidate presents the pentacle to each quarter.) Fifth, the Censer.(Candidate carries the incense around the circle.) And finally, the cords and scourge.
The candidate is instructed to bind the initiator as she was bound in the beginning. Then the candidate causes the initiator to kneel (or be bound to the chair).
Initiator: Remember that, in Witchcraft, what is given is received, but triple. So, where I gave you three, return nine. Where I gave you seven, return twenty-one. Where I gave nine, return twenty-seven, and where I gave twenty-one, return sixty-three.
The candidate takes up the scourge and gives the required number of strokes as the initiator calls out the numbers.
Initiator: Nine, Twenty-one, Twenty-seven, Sixty-three
Initiator: You have obeyed the Law. It is difficult, but necessary. Remember it well.
The initiator is unbound and stands. She takes the candidate to the East.
Initiator: Hail to the spirits of the East [South, West, North]! [witch name] has been duly consecrate High Priest and Magus!
Circle is closed in the usual way.
This ritual is based upon the 2nd Degree Ritual in
- Janet Farrar and Stewart Farrar, A Witches’ Bible: The Complete Witches Handbook, Phoenix Publishing, 1996
originally redacted by Rev. Gina Pond and subsequently by the Circle of Cerridwen.