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Paganing

The rite should be performed as the Moon is waxing, and preferably near to an appropriate seasonal festival.

An altar may be set up if desired. Implements required for the ceremony are: the coven sword, or a wand if preferred, plus sword, helm, and shield for the magical armoring. Candles may be used in the calling of the quarters.

As the rite is to begin, the priestess and the priest shall face the parents and the god-parents, and of course the child, who may be carried in someone’s arms. The rest of the group shall be gathered about.

When all seems ready, the Maiden shall raise her arms in salute and call:

‘We do give greetings to one who is new
To this Mid-Earth
We present this small and sacred one
To the Old Gods,
And welcome the small and holy one among us.
Let us summon now the elements. ‘

The Sentinel of the East shall raise hands in salute to the quarter and call:

‘O winds of the East
Who bring forth freshness life, and joy,
Cast your blessings upon this child
And become a friend to him!’

The Sentinel of the South shall raise hands in salute to that quarter and call:

‘O warm sun and warm skies of the South,
Bringing life anew, the growth of all things,
And promise of the future,
Cast your blessings upon this child,
And become a friend to him!’

The Sentinel of the West shall call:

‘O cool lakes and deep seas of the West,
Waters soft and giving of fresh life,
Cast your blessings upon this child,
And become a friend to him!’

The Sentinel of the North shall call:

‘O mighty mountains and endless steppes of the North,
Meadows of green and the creatures that therein dwell,
Cast your blessings upon this child,
And become a friend to him!’

The Priest shall then invoke:

‘O ancient Lord of the Universe,
We ask some portion of your presence here among us now.
Shield and strengthen the child who shall
Be dedicated in Your Honor!

The Priestess shall then invoke:

‘O most gracious and magnificent Lady,
We ask that some portion of your presence
Be here among us now,
Give protection and shelter to the small
And sacred one
Who is here to be dedicated in Your Honor!’

The Maiden shall then sound the bell five times, and then she shall ask:

‘Who is it that shall come before the Gods?
Who is it that speaks for this small one?’

The Mother shall say:

‘Before our friends,
Before those of the mysteries,
Before those who are seen,
And those who are invisible,
Before the Lords of the Quarters,
And before the Mighty Dead,
Before the Immortal Gods themselves,
Do I bring forth (Name).
We have long sought this small one,
And brought forth our child in love.’

The Father shall say:

‘Before our friends,
Before those of the mysteries,
Before those who are seen,
And those who are invisible,
Before the Lords of the Quarters,
And before the Mighty Dead,
Before the Immortal Gods themselves,
Do I bring forth (Name).
We have long sought this small one,
And brought forth our child in love.’

The mother and father both hold the infant, and the Priest comes forth and holds his hands out over the child in an attitude of blessing, saying:

Priest:

‘May the blessings of the wise and joyous
Father of the Gods,
Far-seeing and far-knowing,
Be upon thee, small friend.’

The Priestess comes forth and holds her hands over the child in an attitude of blessings, saying:

Priestess:

‘The blessings of the Triple Goddess,
Of Maiden, of Mother, of Crone,
And all of Their power be upon thee, small friend.’

The bell is sounded three times, and there is a pause.

The Exhortation to the Parents

The godparents hand over the sword to the Priest. The Priest then holds out the sword and the Priestess places her hand over his to symbolically hold it also.

The Priest says to the parents:

‘I bid you both to put your hands
On this blade of the magical Sword of the Art.
And hearken to our words to you both,
For the bringing of a new life into the world
And the linking of one so young
To the most ancient of Ways
Is a most serious matter.’

Priestess:

‘I bid you both to give your child
The finest and deepest of training.
Yet make not his life one of tedious labor,
For one so young must live well
The joy of life.’

Priest:

‘I bid you both to give your child
A home of love, warmth, and gentleness.
If you have differences, moderate them,
So that his world will know no disruption.’

Priestess:

‘I bid you both to respect your child
As an individual, for he is unique.
Remember always that a small frame and child’s ways
Often cover an excellent mind,
That in later years many shall honor.’

Priest:

‘I bid you both to give always
A fair hearing to your child.
Have patience as he learns and asks.
And remember that you yourselves once ran his path.’

Priestess:

‘I bid you both to give ever
New horizons, new challenges, new worlds,
So that your child may go so far
As his own mind and spirit shall lead.
Do you hearken unto these words?’

Parents:

‘We do.’

The Parents’ Vows

Priestess:

‘If you be ready to assume these duties
As parents of the small one
Consecrated before the Eternal Gods,
Then take these vows
And say now after me:’

(The parents repeat each line)

‘We, (NAME AND NAME), as parents
And as followers of the Old Ways
Do take this sacred vow
Before the Old Gods
To whom we give honor and fealty.’

The Godparents Vows

The Priest shall rap thrice loudly with the staff or wand and call:

‘You who would to this child be Godparents
Come forth now and stand before the altar.’

The Priestess shall say to them

‘Are you now ready to assume the duties
As Godparents of the small one.
To aid the parents in the upbringing of the child,
To support the young one that he may grow
With the Old Religion and the Craft of the Ancients.
And, if the Fates and the Gods
Remove the mother and sire from this world,
To take this child into your own care
And see that he is brought up in the Old Ways .
Are you now ready to assume these responsibilities?’

They answer affirmatively, and the Priestess and Priest take the sword to hold it before the candidates.

Priestess says:

‘Place your hands here
And swear before the Old Gods
That you are ready to bear these responsibilities.
If so, say now after me:’

(The Godparents place their hands upon the sword and repeat after the Priestess:)

‘We assume these cares
In the all-powerful name of the Lady
And of Her consort,
And of the Ancient Ones.

The Blessings of the Far Traditions

The Priest shall rap thrice with staff or wand, and say:

‘I call on our friends of the Far Traditions,
Here with us as our honored guests,
In this place sacred to the Gods,
To honor us with their blessings,
Of this small and sacred one.’

The Priestesses and Priests of the various groups come forward as previously agreed and give their blessings, as they deem proper.

Closing

The child is held up over the altar and the final closing is given:

Priest:

‘O ancient and hearty one, Friend and Helper,
Crowned with the mighty horns of power,
The far-traveler who sees all,
Who gives wisdom and joy
And the challenge of that which is new,
Witness, we do ask, that (NAME)
Has by this rite been dedicated to Thee,
And to the Craft.’

Priestess:

‘O gracious and most magnificent Lady,
Whose slender hand turns the vast wheel of the sky,
Whose triple aspect does see
The beginning, the life, and the end of all things,
Whose wells of mystery do give
Inspiration and rebirth throughout eternity,
Witness now, we do ask, that (NAME)
Has by this rite been dedicated to Thee,
And to Thy Craft,
O beautiful One!
Blessed Be!’

A pause, the candles on the altar are put out, and the Priest says:

‘This rite is ended.
Merry meet, merry part!
May the Gods preserve the Craft!’

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