C A N D L E M A S 1 9 8 7
Coven of the Serpent's Eye
Declamation: Rufus Harrington
Invocation of the Mother: Paul Greenslade
Response of the Mother: Adapted by Prudence Jones from an original by
Invocation to the Crone: Rufus Harrington
Response of the Crone: Julia Phillips
Welcome to Spring: Mike Pinder
Welcome to the Virgin: Prudence Jones
Dance of the Elements: Prudence Jones and Julia Phillips
Initiate's Ceremony of Adapted by Julia Phillips from
Illumination: traditional Gardnerian source
Charge of Brigid's Fire: Adapted by Rufus Harrington
Temple set up as follows:
Veil across northern quarter
Altar set up, and ritual weapons as usual
Candles and incense
Cauldron in centre of Temple
White silk veil for Virgin
Wrist and ankle bells for each Priestess
Large white candle, placed in cauldron
Symbols of the elements:
One athame (or dagger) }
One wand } These should be placed ready One chalice
} upon a small altar,
One pentacle } adjacent to the main altar
One black egg }
HPS-1 Goddess - Crone Aspect
HPS-2 Goddess - Mother Aspect
PS-1 Goddess - Virgin Aspect
HP-1 Declamation and Invocation to Crone
HP-2 Invocation to Mother
PS-2 Eastern Quarter (Air)
PS-3 Southern Quarter (Fire)
PS-4 Western Quarter (Water)
PS-5 Northern Quarter (Earth)
(Note: it is essential that the first six roles be taken by experienced
Casting the circle:
All present will be purified and consecrated, and the circle will be cast
by the HPS.
The HPS will ask everyone to assist in the invocation to the quarters.
Those who have athames should collect them from the altar at this point.
After the Northern Quarter has been invoked, the group should all face
centre, while the HPS performs the invocation to Spirit. This completes the
casting of the circle.
PS-1 will go behind the veil, and put on the white silk veil.
HPS-1 and HPS-2 will stand side by side in the centre of the Temple. PS-2,
3, 4, and 5 will take up their positions at the cardinal points of the
Temple, and the Priests will stand between the Priestesses, ensuring
polarity. HPS-3 will stand in front of the main altar.
HP-1 will read the declamation:
Child of the Spinning Serpent,
Daughter of the morning star;
Startled from the depths of silence
Wakens vision's Silver Star.
Starting cold from depths of nightmare,
Shadows passing on the land;
Tears of silver, iced and shining
These she sheds upon the land.
For deep within the night of vision
There the coiled serpent stirs,
Calling from the cauldron's darkness,
Singing with the song of stars.
For there she sees a frozen river,
There beholds a land of ice,
And sees an ancient mother mourning,
Tears that quickly turn to ice.
And sees herself, the youthful virgin,
Reach that river; frozen, cold,
Shining in the crystal moonlight
Seeming like a silver road.
Across the waters, there the mother;
Ancient Queen of the Shining Night;
Standing in the silver darkness
Lit by icy crystal light.
Reaching out across the darkness,
Silver arms across the ice,
Two hands touch above the waters,
Reach across the frozen night.
But now the serpent song of starlight
Calls across the cauldron's night;
Their hands a bridge across the silence,
Darkness shatters into light.
As sunlight calls across the waters
Rising from the shining east,
Cries of joy that echo terror
Crack as silent ice release.
Now hear the cry of mourning mothers;
Hear the joy of pain released:
Dull ache deep within the waters
Calling to the stirring beast.
For now behold the icy rivers
Touched by sunlight, turned to blood;
See the waters flowing freely
Through the gates of land and love.
HP-2 will move forward, and perform the invocation to the Mother aspect of
the Goddess upon HPS-2:
I call to you, Mother of all,
Queen of our most secret dreams.
From dark and starlit heavens,
And deep within the fertile earth:
Come to us crowned in glory - Come!
I invoke you, and call upon you;
By the fertile earth and pregnant moon:
Come! Descend upon the body of Thy Priestess.
I am thy Goddess:
Before the beginning of time was I.
I made the mountains into peaks,
And laid with soft green grass the valleys and the meadows.
Mine was the first foot which trod upon the earth,
And where I walked there sprang forth flowers.
Mine was the voice which gave rise to the first song,
And the birds listened, and heard, and made return.
In the beginning of time
I taught the sea its song,
And mine were the tears
That gave forth the first rains.
Listen and hear Me!
For it was I who gave birth to you,
And in the depths of my earth
You will find rest and rebirth.
I will spring you forth anew,
A fresh shoot to greenness.
Fear Me; Love Me; Adore Me!
Lose yourself in Me.
For I am the cup of the wine of life:
I stir the senses;
I am the power.
HP-1 will now perform the invocation to the Crone aspect of the
Goddess upon HPS-1:
Ancient Mother born of silence,
Silver Queen of spiral ice;
Hear the serpent's song of starlight
Call across the cauldron's night.
A name, a call, a key of shadows;
An ancient song from an ancient dream
Echoes deep within the darkness,
Calls Thee from the depths unseen.
For now I see Thy crystal spiral,
Now I see the crystal web,
Shining in the cauldron's darkness,
Bringing life and bringing death.
And now I call upon Thee, Ancient Mother,
To descend upon this the body of Thy servant
HP-1 bows down before HPS-1
Who calls to the Queen of the Night?
(HP: "A worshipper")
Who calls to the cutter of the thread?
(HP: "The Spinning Serpent")
Who calls to the Mother of the Serpent?
(HP: "A lover")
Who calls to the Mistress of the Spiral Castle?
(HP: "Life itself")
If that man has not fear in his heart, let him stand and face me
now. (HP rises)
You have called, and I have answered, and now I shall teach thee
a mystery: That if that which thou seekest, thou findest not
within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee. For behold, I
have been with thee from the beginning, and I shall be with thee
at the end. Blessed Be.
HP-1 returns to his place in the Temple. The Mother and Crone
will now "arm" each of the female guardians with the relevant
elemental weapon: The Crone will take an athame from the altar,
hand it to the Mother, who will present it to the Eastern
guardian. The wand will be given to the Southern guardian, the
chalice to the Western guardian, the pentacle to the Northern
guardian, and the black egg to Spirit.
Crone and Mother will now approach the veil: the Crone will part
the veil, and say:
As the white eagle of the north is flying overhead,
And the browns, reds and golds of autumn lie in the gutter, dead.
Remember then that summer birds with wings of fire flaying,
Came to witness spring's new hope, born of leaves decaying.
As new life will come from death, love will come at leisure:
Love of love, love of life, and giving without measure
Gives in return a wondrous yearn of a promise almost seen.
Live hand in hand, and together we'll stand
On the threshold of a dream.
During this, the Mother leads the Virgin to the centre of the
circle, and on the last line, all three stand hand in hand.
Then the Mother unveils the Virgin saying:
Welcome Virgin to Life!
Welcome Virgin to Spring!
Let life spring from thine heart,
And out thine eyes.
Let joy behold the dawn.
The Crone now instructs the Priests to turn away, as they may not
witness this stage of the female mysteries.
The Priestesses start to slowly circle deosil about the circle in
The Dance of the Elements. While this is going on, the Mother and
Crone will explain to the Virgin the significance and power of
each of the elements. 1755Note:1755 This is an integral part of the
ritual, but cannot be written as it is performed spontaneously by
the Mother and Crone. The format is basically as follows:
Mother: I give you the power of your intellect
Crone: I give you the power of beginnings
Mother: I give you the power of decision
Crone: I give you the freedom of air
and so on, remaining with each element as long as desired.
On command from the Crone, the Dance will cease, and each
Priestess will return to her respective position. Now, the Mother
will take the Virgin to each Priestess in turn, starting with the
East, where she will be presented with the elemental weapons.
(ie, armed with her potential). After each presentation, the
Virgin will replace the weapon on the altar, to signify her
understanding and acceptance of this knowledge. Both Virgin and
Mother will return to the cauldron, where the Crone will present
the Virgin with the Bride Doll, which she will accept, and place
upon the altar. She then returns to the centre, and looks into
the cauldron, where she now finds a sistrum, which she picks up
and shakes joyfully shouting "Bride is Come, Bride is Welcome!"
This is the cue for the Priests to face centre once more. HP-1
starts playing the Bodrhun, and HPS-3 leads the dance. The Mother
and Crone link hands around the Virgin in a symbol of protection.
Everyone chants 1756"Bride is Come, Bride is Welcome"1756 as the dance
increases in tempo, and then HPS-3 will initiate the Witches'
Rune when she feels the time is right. The dance will finish with
arms held aloft, and then the Virgin will break out from between
the Mother and Crone, and take the cauldron candle to the altar,
where she will light it from one of the altar candles.
She will turn to face the group while HPS-3 leads the Initiate's Ceremony
The virgin now returns to the East, where she reads The Charge of Brigid's
I am She of the golden hair, Queen of the white hills, Rider of
the white swan, and now stand at the threshold of my glory.
I bring with me three gifts of fire: the first is the flame of
Inspiration that is kindled within the heart of the seeker.
The second is the flame of purification; the cleansing flame of
truth. The third is the flame born of the fires of love that
brings the seed of hope to all life.
Virgin now performs cakes and wine with a Priest of her choice.
TO END THE RITUAL
All take their athames, and support HPS-1 as she thanks, and bids
farewell to the Quarter Guardians.
Formal grounding of the power.
All present make their farewells to each other, and leave the
Next: Imbolg '92 (Julia Phillips)