I was going to start with something else to open the blog here, and I hadn’t, to be fair, planned to do any sort of self-dedication rite for a long time. It’s the sort of thing I didn’t think I needed at this point along my path, particularly as I didn’t know (and still don’t) what my witchcraft is even going to look like when I’m done with it. But when the gods nag you long enough, you give in. My original plan was to wait for the noumenia, because lunar timings, but I got nagged into it on Oct 19th, so that’s when I did it, even if the timing wasn’t magically ideal. I haven’t decided if I’ll share the complete rite here because there are personal things in there, but I might edit it down to something shareable if anyone’s interested in the structure I chose.
I’d first drafted a self-dedication rite a while ago while pondering my way through Big Blue, which I can’t even remember why I bought it, but it’d had been hanging around for ages and I figured it was an immediately available resource so I might as well take a look at it. I still don’t know if I’ll complete it, but it got me thinking about witchcraft, so I can’t hate it for that. And of course part of writing a dedication rite involved sort of pondering what sort of circle-casting I would end up doing and how it might work in a context that wasn’t a Kemetic heka rite. I legit haven’t done Wiccish circle-casting since I was maybe 18 years old?
Anyway. Strap yourselves in, this is going to get long. Because apparently I am talking circles and my babypaganself, and other nostalgic shit because I am terrible at keeping on topic tonight. Enjoy?
One of the things I hated about Wicca back when I was first starting out is that it felt like you’d spend 3/4 of the rite casting, and taking down, the circle for what felt like a very short ritual in and of itself. I never had many books available to me at the time. It was 2000, 2001, and I had Teen Witch and Scott Cunningham, and that was really about it in terms of Stuff I Could Learn Wicca From. It’s not a terrible way to begin, in that it will teach you something, but I was on my own, and if you were a pagan online at that time, you’ve probably got a good idea of the online resources that were available. I had MSN groups, yahoo mailing lists, MysticWicks (from which I got banned lullllllzzzzz after I met some Discordians who were a helluva lot more fun than the sitegods), and Geocities and Angelfire and whatever else we could find.
I have to say, Witchvox was never a part of my online space. I don’t know why this was. Too US-centric? Not on my radar? Didn’t know anyone else who used it who could’ve recc’d me to it? I don’t know. But yeah. I never went to Witchvox. So I missed out on that.
But one of the downsides of learning on your own, and working with whatever was available, was not having any real guidance on how to practice. I mean, the books could tell you how to do stuff, but there was never much in the way of helping you figure out what worked for you. And so because I didn’t really know what I was trying to build, I never thought to try different ways of circle-casting, or to contemplate that circle-casting might not be strictly necessary for every rite. But then I shifted to a Kemetic recon practice within perhaps two years of starting out, so I didn’t spend long trying to awkwardly cast circles in the TV room at night and accidentally burning a hole in my ~pretty red witchy dress~ because I cannot with quarter candles omg. (never again D:)
So that was basically my relationship to circle-casting, and so when I was devising a heka rite, and wanted to include an encircling, I made something much simpler. It casts N-S, E-W, Heavens-Earth, which, I recently discovered, is not dissimilar to how it’s done in the book ‘Circle of Isis’, except she starts in the east. Which gave me a sense that I was on the right track in terms of devising my circle in a more witchy context.
I mean, my basic heka encircling rite is this:
“O you gods in the north, my heka is the heka of Ra, my heka encircles you.”
“O you gods in the south, my heka is the heka of Wesir, my heka encircles you.”
“O you gods in the east, my heka is the heka of Heru, my heka encircles you.”
“O you gods in the west, my heka is the heka of Sobek, my heka encircles you.”
“O you gods in the heavens, my heka is the heka of Nut, my heka encircles you.”
“O you gods on the earth, my heka is the heka of Geb, my heka encircles you.”
“Lend me your magic as you guard this space.
May it be pure, may it be pure, may it be pure. may it be pure.”
You just point your knife in the right direction, and keep going the same way, and it’s done. I encircle counter-clockwise, which is what deosil/sunwise looks like over here in the Southern Hemisphere. It keeps the East-West alignment intact. When I release the circle, I go clockwise, and in reverse, so earth-heavens, W-E, S-N.
I know wands were more commonly used in Egypt than knives, but I cannot with wands, and the knife just works so well for me, so I don’t even bother with wands. But if anyone wants to borrow this encircling, and gets on with wands better than I do, use a wand. I just find a knife packs the best energy and enough of a sense of the threat of the magician encircling the rite much better than a wand does. Also, I feel so daft pointing wands all over the place I mean really. Give me a knife any day.
And, y’know. What else does an encircling really need? It’s got gods and directions, what more do you want, elemental guardians of the watchtowers of the four corners? 😛 (Why yes I did watch The Craft this morning I am all about calling the corners right now.)
To be honest, I am not an naturally elemental witch. It’s not magic that comes naturally to me. I am very god-centred, so that’s where I turn. I’m not ruling out the elements entirely, but they’re not high on my list of things I need to build into my encirling. So whether that gets adopted is yet to be decided.
Also, if I have learnt anything from my Roderick Wicca studies, it is that I am still shit at energy work and repeating the same exercise every day is a) not fun, and b) not likely to get results in anything under a year. If I get anything at all. So I am being generous enough to try them, but not expecting anything from them, because I know where my skills lie, and energy work ain’t one of them. I mean, I’ve been chanting the vowels for Hekate for damn near five months now and only recently began getting anything (it’s still a very small thing) out of it. Trying to sense my ‘life force’ or whatever he called it ain’t happening in only a week of constant practice. So. YMMV etc. But I ain’t bothering with it because it’s never been a part of how I’ve done magic.
Anyway. The dedication rite did go well, even if it was a bit impromptu and haphazardly prepared for. I managed to do it without fucking anything up, and the omen I took before making the dedication told me to continue, so that is what I did. (Not that I was expecting to be turned away; if the gods pester you to write the dedication, and then perform the dedication, They aren’t going to say no when you ask if you should proceed. But anyway.)
I took off all my jewellery and reconsecrated it. I also consecrated my grimoire. I hadn’t planned on starting it as soon as I did, but it’s started. I have added my dedication rite in as a good place to begin, and as a reminder of my dedication to this path, and to learn all I need to learn. I’ve also done some artz, and I am actually trying to make this one pretty and not just me scrawling all over the pages with no guides and no sense of legibility. (I mean, that’s what my ritual book is for, ngl.)
Anyway. I also got inspired by watching too many BoS/grimoire videos on youtube, and saw someone had used one of those Midori travel notebooks as a BoS, and I was all, actually, that could work really well as a travel BoS, with interchangeable sections themed around different sets of spells and rituals and workbooks, so you can just take what you really need with you, instead of taking all of it. So that is my next goal, and it is on my Christmas list because what the hell, the only other thing on my list is Beenleigh Honey Liqueur which is amazing and delicious and it is basically rum on steroids it is amazing and it makes for a great offering to the gods (and me!). 8D
Anyway, I am getting to the excitable rambly stage, so I might wrap this up now. But anyway. Progress is happening. Even if I did fall behind a bit because of unexpected temp work, but hey, money is money, so what the hell. Money is money. And I’ll be over here, catching up with everything and trying to figure out what to post next.