Generally speaking Witches are very open-minded people, especially where religion is concerned. They have no hard and fast “Commandments”; no catechisms. They feel that all should be free to choose the religion that best suits them. It would seem obvious that there can be no one religion for all. Temperaments differ. Some love ritual for its own sake; others look for simplicity. All religions lead in the same direction, simply taking different paths to get there. Witches feel that all should therefore be free to choose their own path. All—including the Witches’ own children. A child should not be forced to follow a particular religion just because it is the religion of the parent(s). For this reason most Witch parents try to give their children as wide a view of religion as possible, that the child may make a free choice when ready. It is naturally hoped that the child will choose the Craft, but it is not forced. Far better that the child be happy in a religion different from the parent than that s/he become a religious hypocrite.
For the above reasons there is no Craft “baptism”. Instead, in a simple ceremony, the parents ask the gods to watch over the child and give her, or him, wisdom in choice when older. The child will be fully initiated only when old enough to decide for her/himself. The exact age will, of course, vary from one child to another. Until that time the child should certainly be encouraged to participate in Circles and to “get the feel” of the Craft. When ready, then the initiation will be conducted by the Priest and Priestess, or, if they so wish, by the parents acting as Priest and Priestess.
In virtually all branches of the Craft, anyone may leave at any time, should they so wish. They are also free to return again, at any time, should they so desire. There would be no need for a second initiation.
The Rite (or Wiccaning)
This may be performed at any of the rituals, prior to the ceremony of Cakes and Ale, or it may be done as a rite in itself, preceded by Erecting the Temple and then followed by Cakes and Ale and, of course, Clearing the Temple.
The Erecting the Temple is performed. Priest and Priestess kiss.
Covener: “There is an addition to our number. Let us give her/him due welcome.”
PARENTS move to stand across the altar from the
Priest and Priestess. They hold the baby.
Priest: “What is the name of the child?”
Parents give the child’s name—the name by which it will be known in the Circle until old enough to choose its own name.
Priest: “We welcome you, ... (Name)...”
Priestess: “Welcome, and much love to you.”
PRIEST and PRIESTESS lead PARENTS and child three times, deosil, around the Circle. PARENTS then “offer” the child—they hold the child over the altar.
Parents: “We here offer the fruit of our love to the gods. May they watch over her/him as she/he grows.”
PRIESTESS dips her fingers in the salted water and gently wipes them over the baby’s face. Mother then passes the child through the smoke of the incense.
Priestess: “May the Lord and the Lady ever smile upon you.”
Priest: “May they guard you and guide you through this life.”
Priestess: “May they help you choose that which is right and shun that which is wrong.”
Priest: “May they see that no harm befalls you, or others through you.”
Priestess (to parents): “We charge you both, in the names of the God and of the Goddess, to lead this child, with love, through the highways and byways of life. Teach him/her the ways of the craft that s/he may learn to honor and respect all life and to harm none.”
Priest: “Teach her/him of the Lord and the Lady; of this life, of all that went before and what may come after. Tell the tales of the gods and teach the history of our Craft. Teach her/him to strive for that perfection which all desire and, when the time is right, hope—but do not press—that s/he joins with us and becomes truly one of our beloved family.”
Parents: “All this will we do. So do we pledge.”
Priest and Priestess: “We bid welcome to ... (Name)...”
Then shall follow the ceremony of Cakes and Ale. (or The Simple Feast)
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This Wiccaning Rite, Plus Much More, Can Be Found In:
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