RITUAL FOR WICCANING AN INFANT
In the following ritual, I have used the names of Cernunnos and Aradia, however any God or Goddess' name may be substituted.
If the coven normally works skyclad, the decision whether the ritual shall be skyclad or robed shall on this occasion rest with the parents. In either case, the High Priestess shall wear symbols of the Moon, and the High Priest symbols of the Sun.
The Circle is marked with flowers and greenery, and the cauldron placed in the center, filled with the same, and perhaps with fruit as well.
Consecrating oil is placed ready on the altar.
Only very light incense should be used--preferably joss-sticks.
Gifts for the child are placed beside the altar, and food and drink for a little party in the Circle after the ritual.
The parents should choose beforehand a "hidden name" for the child. (This largely for the child's own benefit; growing up in a witch family, he or she will almost certainly like having a a private 'witch name' just as Mummy and Daddy do--and if not, it can be quietly forgotten until and unless its owner wants to use it again.)
THE RITUAL FOR A GIRL CHILD
You should cast your Circle according to the regular opening ceremony. Everyone, including the parents and child, is in the Circle before the casting, seated in a semicircle close to the cauldron and facing towards the altar--leaving room for the High Priestess to cast the Circle around them. Only the High Priestess and High Priest are standing, to conduct the Opening Ritual. To cut down excessive movement, which might frighten the child, the High Priestess casts the Circle with her athame, not the sword; and nobody moves with her, or copies her gestures, when she invokes the Lords of the Watchtowers. She and the High Priest carry round the elements.
After the invocation, the High Priestess and High Priest consecrate the wine. They do not taste it, but place the chalice on the altar.
The High Priest then stands before the altar, facing the cauldron. The High Priestess stands ready to hand him the oil, wine and water.
The High Priest says:
"We are met in this Circle to ask the blessing of the mighty God and the gentle Goddess on_________, the daughter of _________, and so that she may grow in beauty and strength, in joy and wisdom. There are many paths, and each must find his own; therefore we do not seek to bind ________ to any one path while she is still too young to choose. Rather do we ask the God and the Goddess, who know all paths, and to whom all paths lead, to bless, protect and prepare her through the years of her childhood; so that when at last she is truly grown, she shall know without doubt or fear which path is hers and shall treat it gladly."
"_________, mother of _________, bring her forward that she may be blessed."
The father helps the mother to rise, and both of them bring the child to the High Priest, who takes her in his arms (firmly, or she will feel insecure--too many clergymen make that mistake!).
"__________, mother of _________, has this your child also a hidden name?"
The mother replies:
"Her hidden name is_____."
The High Priest then anoints the child on the forehead with oil, marking a pentagram and saying:
"I anoint thee,____(ordinary name), with oil, and give thee the hidden name of ________."
He repeats the action with the wine, saying:
I anoint thee, _____(hidden name), with wine, in the name of the Mighty God Cernunnos."
He repeats the action with water, saying:
"I anoint thee, ______ (Hidden Name), with water, in the name of the gentle Goddess Aradia."
The High Priest gives the child back to the mother and then leads the parents and child to each of the Watchtowers in turn, saying:
"Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the East (South, West, North), we do bring before you________, whose hidden name is___, and who has been duly anointed within the Wiccan Circle. Hear ye, therefore, that she is under the protection of Cernunnos and Aradia."
The High Priest and High Priestess take their places facing the altar, with the parents and child between them. They raise their arms and call in turn:
High Priest (HP): "Mighty Cernunnos, bestow upon this child the gift of strength."
High Priestess(HPs): "Gentle Aradia, bestow upon this child the gift of beauty."
High Priest (HP):"Mighty Cernunnos, bestow upon this child the gift of wisdom."
High Priestess(HPs): Gentle Aradia, bestow upon this child the gift of love."
The High Priest, High Priestess and parents turn to face into the Circle, and the High Priest then asks:
"Are there two in the Circle who would stand as godparents to _________?"
(If he and the High Priestess are standing as godparents, he will ask instead: "Is there one in the Circle who will stand with me as godparents to________?"
And the High Priestess answers: "I will join with you." They then face each other and speak the questions and the promises to each other.)
The Godparents come forward and stand, the godmother facing the High Priest, and the godfather facing the High Priestess.
The High Priest asks the godmother:
"Do you,_____, promise to be a friend to__________ throughout her childhood, to aid and guide her as she shall need; and in concord with her parents, to watch over her and love her as if she were of your own blood, till by the grace of Cernunnos and Aradia she shall be ready to choose her own path?"
The godmother replies:
"I,____ do so promise."
The High Priestess asks the godfather:
"do you, ______, promise. . . " etc., as above.
The godfather replies:
"I,___, do so promise."
The High Priest says:
"The God and the Goddess have blessed her;
The Lords of the Watchtowers have acknowledged her;
We her friends have welcomed her;
Therefore, O Circle of Stars,
Shine in peace on_________,
Whose hidden name is_________.
So mote it be."
"So mote it be."
The High Priest says:
"Let all be seated within the Circle."
All sit down, except the High Priest and High Priestess, who taste and pass round the alre3ady - consecrated wine in the usual way and then consecrate and pass round the cakes in the usual way.
They then fetch the gifts and the party food and drink and sit down with the others, and the proceedings become informal.
THE RITUAL FOR A BOY CHILD
The basic difference if the child is a boy is that the High Priest and High Priestess exchange duties. She makes the opening statement and performs the anointing, the High Priest handing her the oil, wine and water. She presents the child to the Watchtowers.
The call to the God and Goddess for their gifts of strength,. beauty, wisdom and love, however, is made exactly as for a girl child, and in the same order.
The High Priestess calls forward the godparents and takes the godfather's promise; the High Priest then takes the godmother's promise.
The High Priestess pronounces the final blessing.