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

Updated on August 10, 2017
WiccanSage profile image

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

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.

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!

© 2013 Mackenzie Sage Wright

Comments

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    • profile image

      DapperDeer 

      7 days ago

      I'm not a Wiccan but I am still starting my witchcraft practice. Is it still necessary to do this or is it helpful to incorporate something like it in non-wiccan witchcraft?

    • profile image

      Joeseph 

      4 weeks ago

      Are there any spells or rituals that don't use any materials I could use to just sort of practice and get in tune with Magick?? I just don't have the money for supplies right now

    • profile image

      Bailey 

      4 weeks ago

      I would simply like to thank you both for the ritual guidelines here, I believe I may be doing yours verbatim as it has a very celtic feel to me and that's sort of what I want out of all of this. My mother has told me my whole life that she practices witchcraft and magik and such and I've never believed it but I'm planning on using this ritual as well as a luck spell in the middle to sort of test and see if my mind will be changed as I've always had such bad luck some people have literally begun to avoid me because they've noticed the bad luck spreading to them. And I would also like to thank you for how mature and open you are about things. Reading over these comments here it is very apparent to me that you've grown into a rather respectable human being and are quite mature for our society today. And finally I would just like to double check and see if this would function properly as a catalyst for any rituals. A couple of years ago my older brother decided to order a hand-forged traditional japanese style katana for me and then had it sent here to me, it's a somewhat long sword having a blade of 110cm and weighing about 8kg, though being it has such a strong personal bond with me I feel it would be a perfect catalyst, I'm just not 100% sure about the mixed cultures with me planning on playing Gaelic music and doing a Celtic pagan style spell with a wiccan ritual and a japanese sword as an American.. Do you think that's going to adversely affect the outcome of the ritual?

    • profile image

      Omi 

      3 months ago

      Is reading from your notes acceptable when doing a ritual?

    • profile image

      Teresa 

      3 months ago

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

      Is there something missing from this line please?

    • profile image

      Sky Christine 

      7 months ago

      Can this sort of ritual be used for Wiccan holidays?

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      11 months ago

      Hello Ashton; I mean make the symbol in the air with your finger as if drawing it.

      No, the Gods don't get mad if your pentacle isn't perfect, it's just a gesture with meaning, you're projecting your intent.

      In my experience, Gods don't get mad if you goof up. I've been at rituals where people skipped a section and had to go back. There's been a slip of the tongue and said something wrong. I've been to rituals where the candles have been blown out, the juice knocked over, etc.

      The Gods aren't standing there judging us, ready to smite us for mistakes, lol. They understand that we are honoring them, we're human and make mistakes, they over look it like any other guest would. It's best to just laugh such 'oops' moments off and go on in the spirit of reverence.

    • profile image

      Ashton 

      11 months ago

      What do you mean by "draw a pentagram over (item)" and what if i get something wrong? Will the gods be mad?

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      11 months ago

      Thanks so much Prysmatyk, glad to have been of help. I certain think it's important to remember that the gateway to access spiritual realms/energy/divine/higher self/etc. is the subconscious mind, and we all have different 'filters' and 'preprogramming' we need to work through.

      That's why I believe, in many cases, doing things in a way that is right for you is crucial because you need it to make sense to your own subconscious in order to gain that access. If a method/symbol/etc. doesn't make sense to your subconscious, it's not going to do its job.

      Thanks again for your comment!

    • profile image

      Prysmatyk 

      11 months ago

      Thank you for sharing your basic ritual with all. It is very nice to see that your guidance is only a recommendation instead of scripture. So many times, I've come across those who say, "this is the way it has to be", when truly it does come from what we believe and feel works best for ourselves.

      Yes, there are certain aspects of magic which are written that cannot be altered, such as the energies, but unless the caster is comfortable with their own ritual, it is surely going to diminish the spells effectiveness and cost much more energy to receive the desired outcome.

      Your site is truly a plethora of sound knowledge and wisdom and portrays your skill with the art. I am grateful to have found you and more-so that I am able to incorporate your knowledge into my world and workings.

      Blessed be!

    • profile image

      Leo 

      12 months ago

      I believe that I opened a gate tears ago. I had three hooded figures at the foot of my bed. I believe they are still around and making me pay. I used the Necronomicon book and it was bad. I believe the gate is still open and I need to close it. I called Beelzebub. Please help!

    • profile image

      Eka 

      12 months ago

      When should you perform this ritual

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      17 months ago

      Hi Ashley; Think of it as a concert or something. The ritual is the 'whole show' from beginning to end. The spell is one act within it. Like I said, this is just an opening/closing that can be adapted. The ritual/magical workings/divination would be in the middle.

      After the invocations I would honor my gods and/or celebrate the sabbat. Then I would do my spell if I had one planned. After the spell, I might do a meditation and then proceed to the Cakes and Ale part.

      Keep in mind, you don't need to hold an entire ritual every time you want to cast a spell. Ritual involves spiritual devotions & worship, and while in that sacred space, it's a good time for divination and magic. So if I'm planning a big spell, because I'm Wiccan, I'll usually plan to fit it into my ritual.

      But if you need something in a pinch, just cast the spell. You don't need to do the big ritual around it.

    • profile image

      ashley 

      17 months ago

      do you do this then do the spell you want or is this something you should do before you do any spells.

    • profile image

      Pixie 

      18 months 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

    • profile image

      Moonstone 

      22 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!

    • WiccanSage profile imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      4 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Aura 

      4 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 imageAUTHOR

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      4 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!

    • profile image

      Aura 

      4 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 :)

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