PRE-INITIATORY DEDICATION RITUAL
by Ashta'arArthura and Cleindori
for the Proteus lineage
and anyone else who wants to use it.
premise: "Every Witch is a Pagan;
not every Pagan is a Witch."
[in Circle, with all coven members present, and teaching elder at altar,
candidate steps to center carrying athame or other working tool]
elder: (c's name), what do you seek?
candidate: I seek to study Witchcraft. I ask you to teach me.
elder: Do you understand that Witchcraft is the priesthood of the Old Gods and Old Ways of Nature, and that every Witch is a priestess or priest?
elder: Do you understand that initiation into that priesthood will change your life forever, in ways that no one here can now foresee?
elder: Do you understand what priesthood requires: that, if you become a Witch, you serve the Lady and the Lord by serving Their People, to the fullest of your ability?
elder: Knowing these things, do you want to study Witchcraft and its related arts until you know enough to decide whether this is truly your Path?
elder: Do you understand that Witchcraft is one of many means to serve the Old Gods and awaken the Old Ways, and that even if this is not your way after all, you may learn and grow while you are here? Can you accept that the answer may be no?
elder: Teaching what I love is a great joy. But I can only teach in joy if I know that what I love will be used and shared with care and honor. Before I am willing to teach you, there are three things and a fourth that you must promise to me:
Will you respect and protect the right of all those you meet in the Circle and any who seek our aid to choose when, how, and by whom they will be known, calling them as they choose to be called and revealing their participation to no one except by their explicit permission?
elder: Will you practice and teach the Craft for love alone, using this knowledge or teaching it only as a free gift, as I give it now to you, never accepting payment for it in money or goods or labor?
elder: Will you promise never to use what I teach you to direct any magic toward any other person, avoiding not only baneful magic but all well‑intentioned meddling, unless you have that person's explicit permission?
elder : And if time brings fullness, as all here hope and expect it will, when you teach new students of your own in this Tradition, will you require these three pledges of them, along with their pledge to similarly bind their own students, so that all that spring from this line may be so pledged?
elder: [ONLY PROCEEDING IF ALL RESPONSES HAVE BEEN
This being so, I consent to teach you. This is how I value my labor ‑ that I will plant only good seed in good soil, to become fruit both sound and sweet. I will teach you, I will learn from you, I will learn with you. So we begin by exchanging our pledges. Place your hand on this athame and repeat after me:
I, (name), here and now pledge
To you (name), to the Gods,
to all in this Circle
And, most truly, to myself,
That I will explore the Path called Witchcraft
Its lore and its symbols;
its rituals and its deeper meanings
Sharing with you my joy in discovery
and all my doubts and qualms.
Exploring all questions with open mind and heart.
Until I know surely whether or not
I am for the priesthood
and Witchcraft is for me
In token of this pledge I swear
on this tool of my power
To devote myself, from this moment on,
to learning the ways of Witchcraft
[cover candidate's hand on tool with own hand]
And I make this pledge to you in return:
For the lesser knowledge, which can be taught,
I will be your teacher.
For the greater knowledge, which must be discovered,
I will be your guide and your friend.
For the questions and perplexities of the path,
I will be your companion.
To answer when I may; or simply
to be silent as you seek your own answers
And when the time comes to choose
whether you will enter the priesthood,
I will share with you
all I have observed and thought.
And may the Gods prosper our work together.
Know that although I am your primary teacher, this Circle is not made of the two of us alone. All here are dedicated to the Old Ways and each has unique knowledge. All of us learn from and with each other. You, too, bring the learning of a lifetime and the fresh insight of a beginner's questions. Together we are more than the simple sum of each of us alone. Go around the Circle, now, and accept each person's greetings.
coveners: [embrace candidate in turn and say] I am _______. I am your friend. In time, I may be your sister (or brother).
candidate: [respond with same formula]
elder: [bless the athame or other working tool that candidate brought into Circle]. I return this working tool to you with my blessing. Accept it, as I have accepted your pledge. Use it now, as your first ritual act.
candidate: [go to each quarter and salute in any way s/he knows] Powers of the East (South, West, North) I, ______, call on you to witness my pledge and ask you to bless my time of exploration. [silent salute in East].
elder: ‑‑‑‑‑‑‑, be welcome in the Circle!
[embrace, almost certain to be followed by group hug].
all: SO MOTE IT BE!