Self Dedication - a Ritual for You
Copyright © David Rankine 1999 - This article can be distributed freely for non commercial use, subject to the name of the author and this copyright notice being displayed with the article.
Self Dedication Explained
Initiation is a process of "death and rebirth" - the old self dies, and the new and magickal self is born. A rite of self-dedication marks a serious commitment and dedication to the path, and should not be taken lightly.
Having followed your path this far, you will have noticed subtle (or not so subtle) changes in your self, and you may wish to mark this, and affirm your commitment to the path with a self-dedication ritual. Initiation is a process which happens over time, and the rite itself will benefit from being preceded by a daily practice, building up in intensity as you approach the day of the rite, with the dedication rite being the culmination of this ritual practice.
As the rite marks a rebirth, into your witch self or magickal self, you may wish to obtain a new magickal item or items for it. This could be a piece of ritual jewellery, such as a pentagram pendant, or amber and jet necklace (the traditional witches necklace), or a cord you wear around your waist. Some people choose to mark their dedications by having a tattoo in a magickal design, personal to themselves.
It is also good to have a magickal weapon which you will consecrate at the end of the dedication rite. A ritual dagger, or athame is the general tool chosen. Self-dedication can be very empowering, and can produce a feeling of "walking on clouds", and it is very important to earth oneself afterwards, and then to have a rest from magickal work for a period of between a week and a month.
Simple daily meditation may be practised during this period, but avoid intense magickal work. Time is needed to assimilate the experience, and the dedication process should be undertaken at a time when you do not have too much outside stress, and are able to take time for yourself.
It should be stressed that self-dedication is not the same as initiation into a coven, and should you wish to join a coven at a later date, you would still have to go through a probationary period and coven initiation, if accepted.
When you decide that you want to do a self-dedication, plan the date of the ritual at least a
month in advance, choosing a suitable time, perhaps consulting astrological tables, or at least
the phases of the moon. It is best done on a waxing or full moon.
Start your preparation at the new moon. Make sure that you have a day off work for the initiation
itself. You may already have decided on a magickal or witch name. If you haven't yet decided on
your witch name, find one through meditation and pathworking in the daily ritual leading up to the
rite of self-initiation.
Begin preparing for the self-initiation by performing a daily ritual. Start by creating a sacred
space. Purify the area with incense and sprinkling salt water. Visualize a sphere around yourself,
and call on the powers of the four quarters, visualizing the elemental landscapes. (more...circle
Call on the Goddess and the God, by whatever names you prefer to call them. Declare to the
Elements, the Goddess and the God that you are embarking on the path of dedication, and ask for
their help in preparing you.
Spend some time in meditation on the meaning of dedication, and opening yourself up for any
messages from the Goddess and God. Thank and say farewell to the Goddess, God, and Elements, and
close the circle.
Closer to the time
Try and spend time every day in the week leading up to the self-dedication rite working out your
vows and meditating. Make sure that the vows you make are realistic! It is better to make less
demanding vows than to make highly demanding vows and not live up to them.
Spend the day in quiet meditation and fasting. Drink only pure water, or if you really cannot do
this, allow yourself a small quantity of apple or grape juice. Do not smoke, drink alcohol or take
drugs! If you are on prescribed medication, consult your doctor. If the medication is short term,
wait until you have finished the course of medication before doing the ritual.
If possible, go to a sacred site or wild place and attune yourself with nature. Communicate with
the nature spirits, and ask for their blessings.
Think about the vows that you wish to make in your initiation. Think of a vow to yourself, one to
the Goddess and God, and one to the Earth.
Before you start the ritual, have a purification bath. You may put essential oils, herbs or sea
salt in the bath. Whilst in the bath, meditate on purifying your aura. See your aura as grey and
dirty, but gradually becoming lighter and cleaner, until it is brilliant.
When you emerge from the bath, allow yourself to dry naturally. Do not use a hair dryer, or rub
yourself with towels. Rub your entire body with oil. This may be olive oil, grapeseed oil, or
other vegetable oil, scented with pure essential oils of your choice. Perform the ritual skyclad
Have an altar set up, with an altar cloth on it, with a chalice of wine, a piece of bread or cake
on a platter, a censer, two altar candles, some anointing oil, your athame or other tool, any
ritual jewellery which will be put on at the end of the ritual to mark your dedication, and two
small dishes containing sea salt and water (from a spring or sacred well if possible). You may
also wish to have images or statues of the Goddess and God on the altar.
Light the candles and the incense, and purify your ritual space. Hold your hands over the water
dish and say: "I purify you, Oh water, in the blessed and mighty names of the Goddess and God",
visualizing it glowing with white light. Do likewise with the salt, then tip some of the salt into
the water, and mix it in with your forefinger.
Sprinkle the salt water around your ritual space. Visualize a circle around you. (or cast a circle
in your usual way) Call on the elements, then on the Goddess and God.
Declare your intent, saying something like: "I (ordinary name) am prepared for dedication. I have
followed the path and fulfilled my vows, and I now call upon the Goddess and the God to confer on
me wisdom and integrity. I ask for the blessings of air, fire, water and earth".
Spend some time in meditation, and controlled breathing to gather energy and achieve an altered
state of consciousness. You may also wish to use a mantra or chant.
Meditate for a while on finding the stillness inside yourself. When you are ready, stand before
the altar, and anoint yourself first with oil, then with salt water and lastly wine, saying: "I am
reborn into my true and magickal self, and I take on the name of (Witch name). I ask for the
blessings of the Goddess and God on my endeavours, and I vow (make your vows)".
When anointing yourself you may wish to anoint your chakras, or anoint yourself with a circle,
pentagram, or personal symbol. It is good to write down your vows in your magickal diary, and sign
the entry with your witch name.
Present yourself to the quarters, stating that you are now dedicated to the solitary path.
Consecrate your ritual jewellery with the four elements (incense, water, salt and candle flame),
and anoint it with oil for spirit before putting it on.
Consecrate your athame or other tool in the same manner, then hold it to your heart, feeling a
link with it, and filling it with your energy. Say "I am a child of earth and starry heaven."
Hold it up to the moon and stars, and ask for the blessings of the cosmos on it, then touch it to
the ground, and ask for the blessings of mother earth.
Lastly, consecrate the wine and cake by touching your athame to them, and channelling energy
through it. Drink and eat, earthing yourself, then thank the Goddess, God and Elements, and close
Remember: Write up your experiences in your magickal diary. Refrain from ritual for at least the
next week, whilst you integrate the work.
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