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Wicca Rituals: A Standard Ritual Opening and Closing for Beginning Wiccans

Updated on August 24, 2016
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A Wiccan of 25 years, Sage likes to put her background as a writer and teacher to use by helping people learn about this NeoPagan path.

Wiccan Ritual

There is a benefit to developing a routine ritual opening and closing. When you do an entire ritual differently each time, you tend to focus more on following along with your monthly or weekly plan than you do with actually getting into the ritual itself. Your mind races with, “Where’s my notes? Wait, what do I say here? Okay, wait—is it time to light the candle?” It's like constantly trying to re-invent the wheel.

The very core of ritual—which by definition is a repeated act. A routine helps you to slip into ritual consciousness more quickly. With a standard opening and closing, you slip right into the routine as though it were second nature.

This won't make your rituals boring. For the 'body' of the ritual (the middle part—between the opening and closing), you can change it up each time. The body is where you would customize it to be relevant to your purpose, be it an esbat or a sabbat. You can get creative with that part depending on the reason for the ritual. A routine opening and closing around it, though, will help you focus more on the spirituality rather than the instructions.

I offer here a simple, standard ritual procedure for new Wiccans. Use it fully, adapt what you like, or use it as a model to design your own.

Regular Rituals Enhance Spirituality

Wicca is a religion, after all
Wicca is a religion, after all | Source

List of Tools and Supplies

1 small bowl of salt
1 small bowl of water
1 censer (safe to move) with incense
1 red candle in holder
wand, athame, staff or sword (at least one, though you can always use your finger)
a cup of ritual beverage
a pentacle or plate (for cakes or simple feast)
any other desired ritual tools

Sample Altar Set Up:

Omit what you don't have or don't need. Add what you do what to have or need. You can arrange the altar any way you like, this is just a suggestion.
Omit what you don't have or don't need. Add what you do what to have or need. You can arrange the altar any way you like, this is just a suggestion. | Source

Getting Spiritual

A Wiccan ritual opening should really set the tone for ritual consciousness.
A Wiccan ritual opening should really set the tone for ritual consciousness. | Source

Part I: Ritual Preparation

Plan the ritual observation (the body of the ritual that will be different each time). Collect and gather supplies and set up your altar. Perform a ritual bath or cleansing and ready yourself.

Light the altar candles and any atmospheric candles and incense. Start your ritual music if you plan to play any, and adjust your lighting if necessary.

Perform a quick meditation: Stand and close your eyes. Focus on your breath. Feel the energy in your body radiating. Envision yourself as a being of white, radiant, pulsating light.

Envision this light growing into roots, like little tendrils, that come out of the soles of your feet. They dig easily, through the concrete, through the foundation, deeper and deeper into the ground, tapping the earth’s source. Envision them drawing up Earth’s energies the way tree roots draw up water and nutrients from the soil.

Then envision branches or vines of this light, envision it growing up out of your head, past your aura, up into the air. Up and up these light braches grow, reaching out above the earth, way out into the stratosphere, high into space, drawing energies from the universe, wicking those universal energies down into your body.

Finally, envision those earth energies coming up into you, the universal energies coming down into you, envision them mingling with each other and your own energies, circulating through your body, pulsing in your auric field.

Recommended Wiccan Ritual Chant:

Part II: Ritual Opening

Cleanse and Consecrate the Elements:

Place the censer with incense in the center of the altar or on the pentacle. Draw a pentagram over it saying:

I cleanse and consecrate thee, burning incense, as a Representative of the Element of Air. May your essence bless us and bring your clarity to our circle, so mote it be.

If you are using raw incense, sprinkle three pinches on the hot coals. If you are using stick or cone, don’t worry about it. Put it back in its place.

Take the small bowl of salt and place it in the center of the altar or on the pentacle. Draw the pentagram over it and say:

I cleanse and consecrate thee, bowl of salt, as a Representative of the Element of Earth. May your essence bless us and bring your stability to our circle, so mote it be.

Put the bowl of salt back. Take the fire candle and place it in the center of the altar or on the pentacle. Draw the pentagram over it and say:

I cleanse and consecrate thee, candle flame, as a Representative of the Element of Fire. May your essence bless us and bring your passion to our circle, so mote it be.

Put the candle back. Take the bowl of water, place it in the center of the altar or on the pentacle, and draw the pentagram over it while saying:

I cleanse and consecrate thee, bowl of water, as a Representative of the Element of Water. May your essence bless us and bring your intuition to our circle, so mote it be.

Put three pinches of the salt into the water. Place the water back in its spot on the altar.


Present the Elements to the Quarters

Sing an elemental chant.

As you chant, pick up the incense and carry it around the circle, walking clockwise. Then pick up the salt and do the same; then the fire candle; then the water bowl. This brings the space and participants into elemental harmony.


Cast the Circle:

Using your wand (athame, finger, etc.). Start in the north, envision you’re drawing up the Earth energies and drawing down the universal energies (for more on circle casting, see here). Walk around once, saying:

I conjure the Circle of Power, by my will and by my Word,

I conjure the Circle of Power, a boundary between the worlds;

I conjure the Circle of Power, a sacred space for worship;

I conjure the Circle of Power, to shelter us from negative energies;

I conjure the Circle of Power, to contain the energies raised within;

By the powers above, and the powers below, I close this circle- so mote it be!

As you go, envision yourself laying a circle of energy in a trail. Envision that trail expanding and growing into a sphere—or a bubble—of energy that engulfs the entire ritual area. It can go right through the floor, cut through walls and ceilings and furniture if need be.

Part III: Invocations

Invoke the Elements

Start in the North, hold up your hands (wand, athame, etc.) and say:

Powers of the North; powers of Air,

Send your winds of knowledge and wisdom

To bless us and enlighten us in our circle.

Hail and welcome, powers of the North.

Go to the East, hold up your hands (wand, athame, etc.) and say:

Powers of the East; powers of Earth,

From your fertile ground may we draw growth and stability,

To bless us and strengthen us in our circle.

Hail and welcome, powers of the East.

Go to the South, hold up your hands (wand, athame, etc.) and say:

Powers of the South; powers of Fire;

May you bring your spark of courage and inspiration,

To bless us and impassion us in our circle.

Hail and welcome, powers of the South.

Go to the West, hold up your hands (wand, athame, etc.) and say:

Powers of the West: powers of Water;

May your intuition and sensitivity wash over us

To bless us and transform us in our circle.

Hail and welcome, powers of the West.

Invoke the deities:

Stand before your altar once more. Put up your hands and invoke Goddess, using the invocation you desire, or this one:

Lady of the Moon, of the fertile Earth and rolling seas,

You who are the Maiden, with strong heart and youthful spirit,

You who are the Mother, with able body and nurturing spirit,

You who are the Crone, with wise mind and compassionate spirit,

You who are birth, life, love and death

You who are north, south, east and west,

The boundary and the center, within us and without us,

Descend upon my circle, I pray, to witness these rites in your honor.

And invoke God, using the invocation you desire, or this one:

Lord of the Sun, of the of the sky and wild,

You who are the consort , with amorous heart and lusty spirit,

You who are the Hunter, with robust body and cunning spirit,

You who are the Father, with thoughtful mind and guiding spirit,

You who are birth, life, love and death

You who are north, south, east and west,

The boundary and the center, within us and without us

Descend upon my circle, I pray, to witness these rites in your honor.

At this point, you would continue with your ritual observance, whatever the purpose may be.

Toast to the Gods, and Yourself

Wiccan rituals often include a type of communion or 'simple feast'.
Wiccan rituals often include a type of communion or 'simple feast'. | Source

Part IV: Cakes and Ale

Once your ritual observances, celebrations and any workings are done, place the cup of ritual drink on the center of the altar or on the pentacle. Draw the sign of the pentacle over it in the air. Then hold your hands together over the cup, saying:

From the Earth sprouts the seed;

From the seed sprouts the plant;

From the plant sprouts the fruit;

From the fruit sprouts the juice (wine, etc.)

The humans partake of the juice (wine, etc.)

And will one day return to the Earth;

Lift the cup high.

May the Lord and Lady bless this juice (wine, etc.)

As I partake in part of the great cycle of life.

Pour out some drink into the libation dish, then take a sip yourself. If others are present, pass the cup around with the wish:

May you never thirst.

Place the cakes in the center of the altar or on the pentacle, draw a pentagram over it and say:

From the Earth sprouts the seed;

From the seed sprouts the plant;

From the plant sprouts the grain;

From the grain sprouts the bread;

The humans partake of the bread,

And will one day return to the Earth;

Lift the plate high.

May the Lord and Lady bless these cakes (bread, etc.)

As I partake in part of the great cycle of life.

Put some of the cakes into the libation dish. Take a bite. If others are present, pass the cakes around with the wish:

May you never hunger.


Sit and partake of the simple feast. Relax and enjoy, bask in the positive energy of the ritual and the presence of your Gods as long as you wish.

Wiccan Ritual is a Spiritual Experience

Make this your pentacle if you don't have one: print it out and paste it to a round piece of wood or a paper plate for a temporary pentacle.
Make this your pentacle if you don't have one: print it out and paste it to a round piece of wood or a paper plate for a temporary pentacle. | Source

Recommended Wicca Books:

The Way of Four: Create Elemental Balance in Your Life
The Way of Four: Create Elemental Balance in Your Life

For those who enjoy working with elemental energies, a valuable resource.

 

Part V: Closing

Devocation of Deities

When you’re ready to wrap up the ritual, stand at the altar and say:

Lady of the Moon, of the fertile Earth and rolling seas,

Lord of the Sun, of the of the sky and wild,

Thank You for Your presence in our circle today.

Stay if you will, go if you must,

But know that you are ever welcome in our hearts.

We bid you hail and farewell.

Dismissing the Quarters

Start in the West this time, and go counter-clockwise. Hold up your hands (wand, athame, etc.). Say:

Powers of the West: powers of Water;

Thank You for Your presence in our circle today,

For sharing your deep mysteries and intuition,

Hail and farewell, powers of the West.

Go to the South, hold up your hands (wand, athame, etc.) and say:

Powers in the South; Powers of Fire;

Thank You for Your presence in our circle today,

For sharing your inspiration and courage,

Hail and farewell, powers of the South.

Go to the East, hold up your hands (wand, athame, etc.) and say:

Powers of the East; powers of Earth,

Thank you for Your presence in our circle today;

For sharing your stability and growth,

Hail and farewell, powers of the East.

Finish in the North, hold up your hands (wand, athame, etc.) and say:

Powers of the North; powers of Air,

Thank you for your presence in our circle today;

For sharing your wisdom and knowledge

Hail and farewell, powers of the North.

Finish the ritual with a final declaration, such as:

The circle is open, but never broken!

And that would be the end of the ritual. Congratulations, you did it!

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      Aura 2 years ago

      Hi! I love this ritual and I can't wait to try it..I would like to bring this to your attention that while reading this I saw that you have written on the Element Invocation "Powers of the North; powers of Air" and "Powers of the East; powers of Earth," and on the closing you have that as well..Please correct me if I'm wrong but I thought that North is powers of Earth and East is powers of Air. I say this out of respect I'm not trying to be rude I just thought I would point this out to you. But other than that I absolutely love this ritual it is written very beautifully :)

    • WiccanSage profile image
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      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      Hi, Aura. Thank you for your kind comments, and I'm glad you found the article useful. The elemental correspondences to the directions is not set and largely depends on the trad.

      In my trad, Air is in the North-- by placing Air in the North, you have the Male/Female Axis (North/Air - South/Fire-- both masculine elements; East/Earth and West/Water opposite each other). This allows us to set up our altar based on this (tools, elemental representatives, etc.). This lends to the alternating +/- charge around the circle- male is the positive charge (+) and female the negative charge (-).... alternating + and - charges is a little like using a generator or battery to draw energy.

      Also, sunrise (associated with East) comes up over the Earth. Springtime (associated with East) is about the greening of the Earth.

      Meanwhile from the North blows the cold winds (Air). Mountains have long been a symbol of Air in many ancient cultures, because of the cold and windy peaks. North is the direction associated with the season of winter, and death-- we are spirits, like air-- invisible and non-corporeal.

      You should feel free to adapt such rituals to your own preferences, however. Move the elements around if it would suit you. One good argument is that you should put the elements where you feel their pull the most-- for example, if you live with a large body of water to the East, then water should go to the East. This type of personalization makes them more meaningful.

      Thanks again!

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      Aura 2 years ago

      Thank you so much for explaining that to me I have never heard of that before that is very interesting I will have to try that. I'm always learning something new everyday from this path. I really appreciate your help in clarifying that for me! You have some really great ideas I never even thought of making the elements more personal and alternating the +/- charge around the circle I will be sure to try that for my next ritual!

      Thank you again! :)

    • WiccanSage profile image
      Author

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 years ago

      You're welcome, Aura. I'm glad I could help, anytime-- blessings on your path!

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      Moonstone 4 months ago

      Hello...

      Thank you for sharing this material...just what I was looking for my first time...I had a good experience tonight...

      Blessed be!

    • profile image

      Pixie 2 weeks ago

      Here in Sydney Australia we call our quarters slightly differently (this is not all covens) Here in Sydney when I look to the East I see Water, Look to the South we get strong winds so Air, Look to the west and I see desert so this is Earth. Look to the North and I see Light

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