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Self-Dedication: the first offering

There's an old story - a cliche, really - that makes an important point. After the gala concert, at the posh reception, a socialite approached the soloist and gushed, "Oh, I would give my life to play like you do." The musician quietly answered, "that's just what I did."

Just so, I gave my life to the service of the Old Gods. So have many other priest/esses. I've never had, nor heard, any regrets.

By now you've done some reading about Witchcraft. You've probably participated in open Pagan worship. You've greeted the Earth and the Moon. You may have meditated, or even tried a few rituals. What you've experienced so far feels right. There's a rising voice within you, urging you to learn and do more. Every experienced Witch once stood where you stand now, at the threshold of priesthood. Through self-dedication, we offer our talents and energies, our lives, really, to restoring our long-neglected Pagan faith to vibrant life.

This offer, when sincerely made, is always accepted. Remember, though, that service can take many forms, in and out of the Craft, in and out of covens. Your talents, temperaments and circumstances may lead you in surprising directions.

To make that formal offer, find a time, place and manner that works for you. What follows are only suggestions. Use what appeals to you; ignore what does not.

Find a private place where you feel safe and strong. You may go outdoors, to some natural area. A pristine, untouched spot, however small, is great -- but someplace that wild nature has reclaimed and healed might carry some very relevant messages too. So might a garden that you've tended with respectful care for the living Earth.

Or do it at home. If you have an art practice, your work area is obviously appropriate. Your bathtub can clearly symbolize a new beginning. If you're working indoors, you can make the space beautiful with flowers or other adornments, candlelight, scent and music.

Pick a time when you are comfortable in your body. You may want to do this ritual while the Moon is new or waxing, to catch Her rising energy, wind to your new-opened wings. Consider doing it in the evening. As the seed gestates in the Earth and the child in the womb, all new things begin in the nurturant dark. Also, if you do it in the evening, you may find that your dreams carry interesting responses.

Relax. When you are calm and centered, tell the Old Ones that you want to serve Them as Witch and Priest/ess. Ask Them to guide your preparation for this service, your growth in knowledge, wisdom and skill.

You may want to dedicate a small object, something that you can unobtrusively wear or carry in your pocket or purse. Keep this with you at all times, at least until you know more clearly the direction of your growth path. After that, you may want to keep it on a home altar or respectfully return it to Nature, in token of your conscious and permanent bond with Her.

I recommend blessing a glass of wine or juice, and a few cookies. Share this small feast with the Gods by returning half of it to the Earth from which it came and consuming the other half yourself. If you're working indoors, use an offering bowl and bring its contents to your favorite tree soon after your ritual is completed. Remember to give proper thanks to the Gods and bid them farewell as you conclude.

If you don't already have a journal, start one with your description of this ritual, and the feelings and dreams it engenders. If you know how to meditate, do so more regularly. If not, learn how. Pay attention to your dreams. Watch for learning opportunities of all kinds. You have asked for guidance; it is now your responsibility to listen for it. I promise you some interesting surprises. May the Gods bless you as you grow!

by Judy Harrow, HPs, Proteus Coven
updated: January 26; 2012 © 2000, 2012 by Judy Harrow
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