In this, the most important step, the Gods — or your concept of Ultimate Power — are invited into the ritual space. Always call on the Gods with a tone of respect. Act as though you are welcoming an honoured guest into your home.
You can do this in many ways, using prayer, music, dance or other gestures. If you use the concept of Ultimate Power, you perhaps should remember that you may still call on the Gods as intermediaries between you and that power. You can then use your favourite God or Goddess. A form of words might be:
Power of the Gods, I call upon you now, in the name of [favourite deity] to honour this ritual. In turn we honour you and offer our allegiance.
You may, if you wish, appeal directly to your own Gods or Goddesses, for example:
Freya, Goddess of love of the Norse people, we come to you now and ask you to bless this rite.
Do make sure that your Gods are appropriate for your own system Of belief, or to the magical task at hand. As the energies build up and the deities draw closer, you should become aware of a change of energy and you can hold yourself ready for some kind of meaningful interchange, whether that is an increase in your awareness of other realms, new information or a sense of presence of your deities. All are equally valid.
In this step, we make it plain that we are aware that we are human —we ask forgiveness for any offence we might cause and for any mistakes we inadvertently make in the ritual. In many ways this is a type of insurance and is akin to prostration in the Judeo-Christian tradition, a sort of mea culpa (`it is my fault’). It will depend on your mindset whether you consider that you are taking responsibility for your actions or are passing the buck. You might say:
0 Holy Ones, we come before thee in humility admitting our faults and asking thy indulgence in all that we do.
SECOND STATEMENT OF INTENT: To THE SPIRITS AND DEITIES
You should now re-state the purpose of your ritual as the Gods and spirits have graced us with their presence. Do not make this statement too ornate, but do be focussed in your intent. The statement can be repeated by all those present, or, if spoken by the leader, the other participants must channel their energy through him or her or through the words themselves. Carefully chosen words can considerably enhance the ritual.
WELCOMING THE DEITIES: LIBATIONS AND OFFERINGS
Offerings are made at this stage, partially to acknowledge the presence of the Gods but also to recognize their generosity. Such offerings may include foodstuffs, wine or other beverages. At this time creativity — the offering of any artefact, song, prayer or poem —’is also a suitable gift for the Gods and may be performed at this time if you feel it is appropriate and that it would be pleasing to the invited Gods. Offerings are made at the centre of the circle and may be poured upon the earth or burned in a fire.
MAGIC RITUAL OR WORKINGS
This is the most important part of the whole process. It is completely unfixed in that it will change with the season, sabbat, or intent behind the ritual or indeed the needs of the participants. Having already raised the vibration of the sacred space, it must be raised even further by whatever means are appropriate for the group.
Some will choose meditation, others will use singing, chanting, music and so on. When the energy is at a sufficient level, as judged by the more experienced members of the circle, it is time to discharge it through the performance of the chosen rite. At this time transformation (change) can take place and often is felt as a distinct change in vibration.
When the ceremony is over, it is important to allow any excess energy to return to the earth. This can be done by allowing the energy to stream back into the earth through the soles of your feet or by placing your hands upon the ground.
BLESSING AND CONSUMPTION OF CASES AND WINE
This involves the blessing of a beverage and cakes. The use of the chalice honours the feminine principle and the Earth Mother and, if you choose to use an athame, you can re-enact the spiritual marriage, the union of the Upper and Lower Waters. You signify this by elevating the chalice and symbolically either inserting an athame into the chalice when consecrating the beverage or visualizing a shaft of light or energy striking the chalice from above.
This symbolizes a basic polarity, but the recognition that polarity dissolves into Unity. It also symbolizes mystical union and the fruits of mystical union that are shared with community. The consumption of the cakes is an avowal of community The blessed beverage and food are shared, clockwise, around the circle, either from hand to hand or being passed back to the leader each time. You may include appropriate words such as:
Let us share our bounty.
It is nice in group situations for the cakes and beverage to be provided by a different person each time so no-one feels put upon.
Consumption of the blessed foodstuffs is an act of worship and was commemorated in the Last Supper. Such an act reminds us of our membership of a cosmic Unity (community); that though we are all individuals we are also part of a Greater Whole.