People are drawn to Witchcraft for several different reasons. It could be because it seems mysterious. They might seek out a way to rebel against conformity. Perhaps a natural affinity for nature or magic captures their minds and hearts. People that feel a deep connection to the earth, sun, moon, stars, seas, or otherworld find their way to the craft of the Witch. Stones, crystals, and herbs may hold an indescribable fascination, and thereby, they seek out Witchcraft. Or perhaps some find it first in seeking a religious path they feel most attuned with.
As a religion, Witchcraft holds a deep seated love for life, understanding and acceptance of death, and appreciation and wonder for all the cycles before, between, and after. We are ‘plugged in’ to our world. And to the witch, OUR world includes the supernatural world of gods, spirits, ancestors, and the fae.
Prayer and devotion are two spiritual acts that will cement our relationship and further our connection with the divine. Through the act of prayer, we commune with deity, realizing its reality and accepting that reality in our lives. We may pray to ask for things that are needed for ourselves or others, or just for the world in general. Devotions are different. A devotion is honoring the gods — whether you associate with multiple gods, a singular god and goddess, or the universal spirit. It is taking time to pause and thank the divine for your blessings, to make a statement of purpose, or to renew a daily vow to your path.
Prayer and devotions can be offered at any time; there is no limit to when you may communicate with deity. But the use of ritual is a special and valuable addition to your spiritual growth. Witches usually establish a shrine or altar, setting apart a certain place in their home or on their property where they may go solely for spiritual purpose. Let me make one thing clear: the sacred space’s most important service is the way it makes us FEEL when we enter it. This applies to wherever you perform your prayers, devotions, magic, meditation, etc. It should be respected and cared for, with a mindfulness about your actions. It is the attitude you have as well as the focused energies of the place that have built or that builds through time which makes the place sacred.
Ritual is by definition, a series of actions that are repeated on a continued basis for the same purpose and result. People are creatures of habit; it is a natural thing to us. Utilizing ritual for our spiritual practices is perfectly natural and will fall into our mindset after only a short time. So, to use this most effectively, I suggest following these simple guidelines:
- Set apart a place for your prayers and devotions. It may be as simple as a corner of your room with a beautiful landscape picture on the wall and a small votive or scented candle to light during this time.
- Form a ritual for your practice. A ritual is simply a repeated pattern of actions. For example: when you are preparing to pray, sit comfortably or kneel (your preference), close your eyes and take several deep, calming breaths. Put your mind into the focus of deity. Ring a small bell, light a candle, dab a favorite oil on the base of your palms and center of your forehead, hum a single tone and allow it to vibrate within you. Include your prayer/devotion. At the end, ring the bell or chime again, douse the candle (I was taught one should never blow out a candle used in ritual), clap your hands soundly, or do something else that signifies a close to this time.
- Perform devotions at a regular time every day. Suggestions for times are: sunrise, upon waking, noon, sunset, before bed or sleeping, full/new moons. Aligning your practice with a routine schedule increases the benefit you will feel from these daily rituals. Find a time you can keep a regular schedule with as best as possible. If your only real free time for devotion is 4:30 in the afternoon, then perform devotion at 4:30 in the afternoon.
Some of My Favorite Devotions
During my own practices, I use one or more of these devotions as well as something personal that I wrote myself. Another good suggestion for devotionals is the Charge of the Goddess or a Charge of the God. These can be found by doing a simple internet search, or you could write your own. I have a Charge of the God that I wrote and use regularly. Because the more personal writings are sacred to me, I only share them with the gods or my own students. But, I will include some others here that I use that are very good.
Ever as I pass through the ways
Do I feel the presence of the Gods.
I know that in aught I do
They are with me.
They abide in me
And I in them
No evil shall be entertained.
For purity is the dweller
Within me and about me.
For good do I strive
And for good do I live.
Love unto all things
So be it. Forever.
-Ray Buckland’s Complete Book of Witchcraft
Which shall tread the hidden path
Which shall kneel at the sacred altar
The seat of my power
Erect in beauty and strength
Which shall utter Sacred Names
*as a side note, when pagans/witches/wiccans greet one another with “Blessed Be”, this is what they are saying in those two words.
Great Goddess, as you hold me
in your arms and cradle me in your power,
I feel the nurturing and healing that is your gift to me.
As your child I follow in your path.
I heal myself.
I remain strong.
I am in harmony with the Earth, Moon, and Sky.
As I pass through this day,
I take your magic with me
To heal myself and others.
-Laurie Cabot The Witch in Every Woman
Untitled Devotions from Various Sources
(Meaning, I don’t remember where I got these from.)
I arise today
Through strength of heaven
Light of sun, radiance of moon
Splendor of fire, speed of lightning
Swiftness of wind
Depth of sea
Stability of earth
Firmness of rock
With eyes now closed
Breath deep and slow
I raise my hands to thee.
No need to speak
Blessings I seek
As light is sent to me.
A sound emerges
As power surges
Deep within my heart.
The Lady moving
Her touch is soothing
We’ll never be apart.