In my article “How Do I Become a Wiccan?” I touched on the topic of self-dedication. The coven-based “initiation ritual” is the counterpart to the solo witch’s self-dedication. The ritual you perform doesn’t have to be elaborate, but it should be something that you develop yourself (with the assistance of resources both online and via books such as Scott Cunningham’s “Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner” and others), and it should be something that resonates with you.
How will you know if something resonates with you? If you start to get excited and “pumped” about performing a certain aspect of the ritual, then that’s a pretty good indication that it resonates with you. In short, it will just “feel right.”
Self-Dedication Ritual Development
How you perform your self-dedication ritual is entirely up to you. There’s no one right answer or one “formula” for success. The only ingredient you need for success is INTENT. Everything else is icing on the cake.
“If that’s the case,” you may be wondering, “then why make it a whole production?” There are a few different reasons why it’s important to make your self-dedication ritual more than merely saying to yourself, “Today I have started following the Wiccan path.” First, that’s kinda boring!
Second, the effort that you put into creating a beautiful and memorable experience will not only raise your own vibrational energy, it will bring in positive energy from the Universe. Third, and perhaps most importantly, it’s your first “assignment” as a witch; that is, your self-dedication ritual is an act of transition. It is during this ritual that you “straddle” the two parts of your life; you begin as a person who is not a follower of the Wiccan path and you emerge as a fledgling witch, ready for your new journey!
The first thing you should consider when developing your self-dedication ritual is the timing. There are several different opinions on the “best” time to do a self-dedication ritual. According to Raymond Buckland, founder of the Seax tradition of Wicca and the pioneer of bringing Wicca to the United States, suggests that self-dedication be performed a few days after the Full Moon. His reasoning is that you’re “shedding” the old for the new.
Others say the night of the Full Moon is the best night to do it, because of the intense amount of energy associated with the Full Moon. And still others say that the New Moon is the ideal time, since you’re starting anew.
So who’s right?! They all are! When it comes right down to it, however, there is no one “right” time to perform a self-dedication ritual. All of the explanations for doing the ritual on a full, waning, or new moon have great points. But you’re no more or less of a Wiccan if you do your self-dedication during a different phase of the moon.
So choose a day that works best for you personally and for your schedule. The end result will be exactly the same.
So you’ve determined the perfect time to perform your self-dedication ritual. The next thing you need to determine is the setting. If at all possible, you should perform your ritual outdoors. Your back yard is fine, but if you have a favorite “nature spot,” consider doing the ritual there. The Wiccan path is one where Nature plays a very key role.
To be in Nature is to be surrounded by the beauty and magick of the Goddess and God. (Why am I spelling magick that way? Read this article to find out!) And it’s much easier to connect with the energy of the Universe when there are not man-made structures between you and Nature.
If you live in an urban area, or if doing the ritual outdoors is not feasible for you, don’t lose heart! It’s perfectly okay to perform your ritual indoors. Ideally, you should find a quiet part of your home where you will not be disturbed (which, if you’ve got kiddos running around, may take a little bit of finesse to achieve).
If you’re doing your ritual indoors, try to make whatever room you’re performing the ritual in as comfortable as possible. Burn your favorite incense or essential oil, play with the lighting to make the ambiance as peaceful and pleasant as possible, and consider putting on some soothing music. Ambiance is an important part of practicing magick indoors.
Outdoor Ritual. If you’re going to do your self-dedication ritual outside, try to find a nice nature spot where you can sit comfortably. Obviously, geography plays a big role when it comes to terrain. If you’re in the middle of the desert, then you may not be able to find a secluded wooded area. Keep in mind, too, that you don’t have to go out into the middle of nowhere to perform your ritual.
If there’s a park in your town that you like, consider doing the ritual there, provided you’ll be able to do it without being disturbed. Whatever location you choose, make sure that you take your safety into account. This includes more than making sure it’s not a hot spot where people with less-than-noble intentions hang out after dark.
Also be sure that the wildlife and other critters are conducive to performing your ritual safely. The last thing you want to deal with is a mountain lion, bear, or potentially dangerous critters like scorpions!
Your location may not allow you to include all of the items I listed earlier. For instance, since you’re outside, you may not be able to really smell the incense or essential oil. And that’s okay! Let the scents of nature act as the incense. If you’re going to burn candles, make sure you’re safe about it. Don’t use candles if you think there’s the possibility of something catching fire.
Indoor Ritual. For indoor rituals, you can use any kind of table such as a coffee table, an end table, etc. for your altar. Dress it up with the suggestions I give in the next section. If you’re going to use candles in your ritual, make sure that your altar isn’t near the curtains or anything else that could easily catch fire.
It’s time to start creating your ritual! When it comes to the different aspects of the self-dedication ritual, you can go all out and do an elaborate ritual or you can keep it simple. It’s really up to you what to include in the ritual. At its core, a self-dedication ritual is just like any other ritual in terms of its anatomy (read my article The Anatomy of a Spell for an in depth look at what makes up a spell/ritual). Here’s a list of things that you can include for your ritual.
- An altar. This is going to serve as your workspace and it will house all of the other items you decide to use.
- Candles. Different colors have different magickal properties to them. Check out the “Candles” section in The Apothecary for more info. A white candle, a black candle, and a candle color that corresponds to your astrological sign is a great combination.
- Incense/Essential Oil. Burning incense or an essential oil helps set the ambiance, and it’s also great for tuning in your sense of smell to the ritual.
- Sea Salt and/or Sage. These are both cleansing aids, which you will use to cleanse the space of any negative energy
If you really want to dress it up, you can go all out and find a nice cloth for the altar, pick some fresh flowers to place on the altar, or gather some other plants that will make your altar beautiful. This is especially helpful for indoor rituals.
You should also take some time to write out why you’re dedicating yourself to the Wiccan path. Really think about what has drawn you to Wicca, what you hope to get out of following the Wiccan path, and what you hope to give back to the Universe once you’re on your journey.
The final component is to create a poem or invocation. As you’ll soon learn, Wiccan spells and rituals often involve reciting an incantation that sets the tone for the ritual. This is really the “meat” of any spell or ritual, because it states the intent of the ritual, the desired outcome of the ritual, and the invocation of the Goddess, God, and other deities.
“But I’m just starting out! I don’t know how to write a spell!” is what I hear you thinking right now. Don’t worry! First of all, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy or elaborate. Just take some time, clear your mind, and let the words come to you. The most important thing with any incantation is that it comes from the heart.
When I first started practicing, I didn’t think I could write any kind of rhyming incantation, but I’ve done it many times now, and it’s easier than you may think. If you get completely stuck and can’t come up with anything that rhymes, that’s okay. Again, the most important thing is that it comes from your heart.
It’s extremely important that you give proper attention to writing out your reasons for dedicating yourself to Wicca as well as the invocation you’ll use for the ritual. Why? These two components are the crux of your entire self-dedication, and it will ultimately serve you well to go into your new journey with a clear idea of why you’re choosing this path and the energy that you’ll be raising.
Ready, Set, Meditate!
Once you’ve got everything set up the way you want it and you have your reasons for self-dedication and your incantation, then it’s time to begin your ritual. Light your incense or essential oil, or take a few deep breaths and take in the fresh air if you’re outdoors. Sit down in front of your altar and make yourself comfortable, then begin to meditate.
If you are new to the process of meditation, all you have to do is close your eyes, quiet your mind, and take several long, deep, controlled breaths. As you do this, begin to visualize inhaling pure, white, regenerating light. As you exhale, visualize that you’re exhaling any dark, negative energy. With each breath, imagine the negativity lessening until it is completely gone.
Relax, allow yourself to feel the energy that is around you. If you’re outdoors, listen to the sounds around you… the wind blowing through the trees, the sound of crickets chirping in the background, or simply enjoy the silence. If you’re indoors, playing soft, soothing music is a great idea.
Performing Your Ritual
How long you meditate is completely up to you, but you should feel focused, relaxed, and connected to the energy that is both within and around you.
If you’ve set up any candles, light them now. As you light them, visualize the flames illuminating your mind to your new path. Then, read aloud your reasons for choosing to follow Wicca. In doing this, you’re declaring your desire to follow Wicca to the Universe (and to yourself). Allow the words to fill the space around you; envision your new path being revealed to you.
Then, recite the incantation you wrote. As you do, feel the energy of the Universe welcoming you to your new journey. Feel the power of the words you’ve written. Visualize white light filled with positive energy swirling all around you.
Continue to meditate and visualize yourself transforming internally, opening yourself up to the new journey you’re embarking on. Feel the joy of the Universe within you, welcoming you to your new path.
When you are done, thank the Universe, the Goddess and God, and the energies that surround you. You’ve just completed your ritual and you’re now a Wiccan!
After the Ritual
Immediately following the ritual, you may want to celebrate with a glass of wine (or your favorite non-alcoholic beverage if you don’t fancy alcohol). You should also begin keeping a journal where you can write out your experience. Write out everything that you felt during the ritual.
Did you feel relaxed and focused during the meditation and the incantation? Could you feel the energy around you? How did you feel after you completed the ritual? Keeping a journal will help you build upon your experiences as you move forward, and it will help to solidify the experiences you have so you can go back and remember those experiences later on.
But what about the day after the ritual? You’ve dedicated yourself to following this new path of Wicca, but how do you begin to navigate down that path? In my article “So I Became a Wiccan… Now What?” I touched on a few key next steps, the first of which is deciding whether you’re going to continue your journey solo or seek out a coven. And since this guide is about practicing solo, that’s precisely what we’re going to discuss in depth.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably going to want to dive right in and start performing spells and rituals. And while that is completely normal, it’s a little like taking a road trip with no map or GPS. Performing spells and rituals is a key and critical component of Wicca, but before you go out and spend a fortune on supplies, let’s take a step back and get our bearings so that, when you DO start performing a ritual, you’ll be successful and effective.