Day 115: Beltane, The Great Rite

Oh.  Wow.  I think I might need some research on the Great Rite.  For years, I’ve thought that this primarily referred to one of two things:  the Great Rite in Truth or the Great Rite in Token where the Great Rite in Truth is the sexual joining of a man and woman in ritual and the Great Rite in Token is the athame being lowered into the chalice in ritual.

So I sort of thought that the Great Rite was performed in every circle as a part of blessing the cakes and ale because we lower the athame into the chalice as part of that blessing.  But there seems to be another component of the Great Rite.  According to Frederic Lamond in his book Fifty Years of Wicca, it’s supposed to play quite the role in third-degree initiations and is supposed to represent a transcendence of ego consciousness and a connection to cosmic consciousness.  This is all a lot more than blessing cakes and ale, and that seems to be the direction Roderick is leaning.  For there is ritual sex in this activity.

Roderick gives three versions of the Rite–one for In Actuality, one In Symbol, and one for solitaries.  As I am a solitary, guess what I’ll be doing.

Version III: The Great Rite for One

Set four black and four white candles in a circle on the floor, alternating the colors.  Set a wine- or juice-filled chalice and athame (or priapic wand) next to an illuminating candle.  Step back outside the circle.  Turn off the lights and disrobe.  When these preparations are complete, say:

Lord and Lady, Dark and Light

Be with us here this sacred night!
Enter the circle and face north.  Recite the following:

Assist me to build
As the Mighty Ones willed
The altar of praise,
From the beginning of days,
Thus doth it lie,
‘Twixt the earth and sky,
For so it was placed,
When the Old Ones embraced.

Use the love oil to draw a double spiral design, which symbolizes the joining of opposites.  Dab your finger with the oil and draw one spiral at the center of your chest (at the level of the heart chakra).  After you spiral out with three concentric rings from the center point at the chest, connect this to the second spiral which spirals inward to a point just above your genital area.  Once you have done this, continue reciting the following:

‘O secret of secrets,
That art which is hidden,
Not thee do we love,
For that is not bidden,
For that which loveth is also thou.
And thou art myself from heel to brow.

Close your eyes and imagine an ideal sexual partners, standing nude within your circle.  He or she appears full of sexual desire.  Continue to imagine this as you say:

I am the flame that burns in the heart,
And at the core of every star.
I am life, which gives life its start.
But know ye that death is never afar.
I am alone, the unknown divine,
The Mystery of Mysteries beyond all sign.

Now use the love oil to anoint yourself at these magical points:

  • Anoint yourself above the pubic hair
  • Anoint the right foot
  • Anoint the left hand
  • Anoint the right hand
  • Anoint the left foot
  • Anoint just above the pubic region

Hold the athame (or priapic wand) above the chalice.  Continue to envision your imaginary sexual partner as he or she touches you and embraces you, full of desire and passion.  Continue reading:

Open for me the secret way,
The pathway of intelligence
Beyond the gates of night and day,
Beyond the bounds of time and sense.
Before ye stands the mystery aright;
The pentacle of love and bliss,
Here where the Lance and Grail unite,
At feet and knees and breast and kiss.

Now plunge the tip of the athame (or priapic wand) into the chalice.  Close your eyes and self-stimulate while envisioning an ideal sexual encounter.  After you have reached climax, consume the contents of the ritual cup.  when finished, extinguish all candles and put all ritual items away.

That was rather illuminating.  I didn’t reach climax–I’ve been having issues with that in general–but I got about as close as I can here.  And everything felt better after.  I felt more balanced, more in control of myself and my body.  But for a few brief moments in all of that, I felt like I was really merging with all that was around me, like I was letting the Goddess within show herself in all her glory.  And there was love in that.

Like I said, illuminating.

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