First Degree Goddess Initiation Essay
Ceridwy 4/17/06

It is to the Goddess that I have been born. I do not know my mundane family well. On the Path of the Goddess, I find that in this life, it does not matter. As in many lifetimes before, I am here to fulfill Her Promise. As I am wiser this time around, may it be so. I was born to a Catholic family, exactly nine months after Valentineís day. Though I have been exposed to many different paths throughout my life, it has only been in the last year and a half that I have come to know what Paganism really was. When I found the Goddess again, she was still waiting for me.

ASPECTS OF GODDESS
I had originally written a totally different explanation for this part of my essay. Finally in the depths of my own anger and negativity over a job that I had decided to hate, the truth unveiled itself in a dream. In our Coven, we honor the three aspects of Goddess. The maiden, the mother and the crone.
The Maiden is the holy Bride. She represents all beginnings. She is the renewal of the soul and she is truth. Her touch is like white fire for She is all that is young and light. She is the seed. She cannot be soiled or compromised because it is through Her that we help whatever is good and new come to Birth.
The Mother is the fertile one. She is the Lady of the Land. She is the door to all that we desire. She is the growth and the strength that nourishes all that lives. The Mother changes, but never dies. She is the power that makes the seed burst from itís darkness into the day. It is through Her that we serve the cause of Life. The Crone is the Ancient One. She is the cosmic consciousness. Like the Goddess Nana, she remembers all that has been and knows all that could be. She has endured everything and has given everything. She is the memory that remembers what we are. Through Her we serve the cause of Death, for without it, nothing can be transformed.
Previously, Iíd had a much different take on the three aspects. Though I knew very well what each aspect represented, I did not see them for what they were or as they existed inside of me.
I did not get to spend much time as a maiden before becoming a mother. The maiden within me has boundless energy, a naivety and a love of life that is endearing- even to me. However, she is also mistrusted, oppressed and neglected because of some choices that she made early in the journey. The mother has forced her into a shadow, where she has been residing for many years.
As I said, I had a dream of this. As many know, I currently work for a car dealership. In this dream, I was in a huge warehouse or garage. I was trying to sell a car to a very young girl. She did not know, but the car that I had talked her into buying was a car that I had stolen from her mother.
I looked up to see that the girl was beginning to look terrified. Just then, the shutters on the window of the garage flew open. The girl freaked out.
ďItís my mother!! Sheís SO angry!Ē The girl said. I looked out the window and saw a witch floating outside of it. The girl was right, mom was pissed. The eyes of the witch glowed with anger, and she snarled at me. The girl became increasingly more nervous and began to pace.
I grabbed the girl by her arm, as her anxiety was seriously getting on my nerves.
ďHey, just look her in the eye, ď I told the girl, ďif you stare her down, she goes away....Ē The girl looked at me like I was cracked. ďWatch,Ē I said, ďlet me show you.Ē
I walked up to the glass and gave the witch the coldest, hardest stare that I possible could. The witch screamed at me as loudly as she could. My eyes never left hers. Finally the witch blew up into a ball of flames and she disappeared. Then I woke up.
It took a couple of days and me telling the dream to a few people before I actually heard what I was saying. The aspects, all three of them, battled within me. The battle line had been drawn. On one side, stood the mother- A shyster and survivalist.... the sales woman. She would do whatever she must to survive, be it unethical, immoral or unscrupulous.
On her quest to find the abundance that she represents, the Mother has lost the ability to love and nurture. She does not find abundance in the face of her own coldness and dominance. She has learned to overlook all that is loving, nurturing and abundant. She has forgotten her true purpose and what she actually represents. She has deemed it unneeded.... Unnecessary, an incredulous illusion.
For fear of losing control the way the maiden once did, she tries to control everything, yet controls nothing. If she is alone, she need not worry of the intent or the will of another, so she remains in control of her contrived quest. She has drawn the line and oppressed the other aspects to ensure that she may pursue her will. She then agonizes over the constant realization that she is very lonely. She does not know how it can be any other way.
Meanwhile, on the other side of this battle line stands the Crone and the maiden. The crone has an innate affinity to the maiden because she knows better. The Crone and the maiden are allies and they think that the mother is relentless and has lost her mind. The maiden has her own quest, but she fears the mother. The maiden wants to prove that she can be trusted. The crone has infinite wisdom and she trusts the maiden. The crone knows that what is needed is harmony and wholeness between them. It is the only way.
Having gained this insight that the Crone has for me, it has become an aspiration on my Path and in my studies- to unify the three aspects within me. For all Goddesses are one. Together I shall stand... Divided, I have fallen.

MY CRAFT NAMES
Historically, circumstances warranted a need to protect oneís identity when practicing witchcraft. Choosing a craft name can also be a reflection of where a person is on their Path as well as a means for creating a more intimate bond with Goddess.

The Lady of the Flame
Not long ago, when I found the Path, I wrote a story that I call ďThe Lady of the FlameĒ. It is the story of Maia Moonsong, the craft name that I chose for the earlier phase of my studies.
Maia was stolen from her Celtic tribe when she was a week old. She was given to Damona, a woman who abused Maia mercilessly. One day, when Maia was still a girl, she escaped from Damona. She stows away on a boat and ends up in Britannia. She journeys with a group of Bards to the Isle of Mysteries, where she is also trained as a Bard.
Maia is initiated into the Great Sisterhood of the Goddess and life is better than she could have ever dreamed. She becomes very close to Sairi, the Priestess of the Oracle, and begins to look upon her like the mother she never had. Maia hooks up with the Prince of the Faeries on the night of the Beltane fires and they have a child together.
One day, Maia has a dream about her real parents. She approaches Sairi about her dream and finds out that Sairi knows who Maiaís parents are. Maia flies off the handle and leaves. The next night Maia secretly sets off on her quest to find her family. Leaving her Sisterhood, her child, and Ari, the love of her life, behind with no explanation.
Maia journeys to Roman Gaul and finds what is left of the Druids. She finds her mother, Biga and her four brothers. Her father Ainvar, the Chief Druid of the Carnutes, has passed away. Maia stays a while and gets to know them. While she is there, she is brutally raped by one of her brothers.
After a lengthy period of depression, she decides to return to the Isle of Mysteries. Maia is welcomed back to the service of the Goddess with open arms. She learns that Ari has dies in her absence and that her child is being reared by Gwyllion, the Queen of the Faeries, (who will not let Maia see the child, and blames Maia for Ariís death).
Maia flees again. She starts her life over in a nearby village. One day, by coincidence, Maia runs into a priestess from the Isle of Mysteries. The word gets back to Gwyllion, who finds Maia and kills her.

Ceridwy, The Daughter of the Oracle of Knowledge
Many know that on of the things that I feel most drawn to in my studies is the phenomena of past lives and the Mysteries of the Oracle.
Before I found my Path, I was extremely afraid of death. In western culture, we are taught that we are once born. Through my studies, I know that there is no death, only transition, enlightenment and evolution. I no longer feel afraid of death, I embrace the Divine passage as part of my great journey.
It is through this part of my studies that I have revealed to myself that I have had many heavy doses of transition that has spanned lifetimes, including this one. One thing that I have learned about past life studies, is that you wonít see things that you are not ready to see. I have memories that are fragmented. Like dangling cobwebs inside my mind. There is no explanation, just feeling. Premonition. And at times, it can haunt me.
Past life regression isnít always fun, in fact at times it has been traumatic. There have been a lot of times where one might find that they werenít a very cool person. Its amazing to see that we not only repeat a pattern in a lifetime, but that certain patterns can repeat themselves over many lifetimes.
With this all in mind. I have embarked upon a project that I now realize may take me a decade to complete. It is a compilation of stories about various lives that I have remembered. I call it A Collection of People , for that is what I believe we all are!
It is through this work that characters such as Maia Moonsong have been born. Maia represents a pinnacle in my own spiritual development.
A few months ago, I felt the Goddess Ceridwyn calling to me. As we all know, Ceridwyn represents transition- would I EVER hear the end??!?!? She who represents transition, also aids us through our dreams and visions.
It wasnít long before I was having such powerful dreams and visions, that they would give way to more transition. My life was spinning faster than dust in a wind tunnel. As of now, I still continue to work with her. Sometimes I try to urge myself to move on to a different aspect. Since I have not, I assume that Ceridwyn must not be done with me yet and that she will let me know when it is time to move on. Itís been fun- why rush a good thing?
At this point, I feel compelled to call upon her as my patron Goddess. She is a great model for the powerful mother aspect that I possess. I will just have to learn to take the back seat and let her teach me. She can be the mother for a while and I will be the daughter... Her daughter. Therefore, I chose the new craft name Ceridwy, who is the daughter of Ceridwyn in some versions of her story.
The evocation that I wrote for my first degree is meant to reflect the greatly needed transition from Maia, the aspect that thought she controlled everything and knew everything, to Ceridwy, who has the humility and humbleness to know that there is much to be learned, no matter how powerful and gifted you may be. Ceridwy has the willingness to learn, and she wants to hear what the Crone has to say.

TOTEMS AND THE ELEMENTS
ďThe Goddess is everything in natureÖ. And everything in nature is sacred.Ē The Lady of The Lake
I like doing things that are artistic, so the totems were right up my alley. I have had a couple of people ask me for help on theirs. I could not give them much help because I truly believe that the totems should be as individual as they are. Most of my totems are drawings, since I enjoy drawing.
I have worked with both invoking and evoking all of the elements. I do use watchtowers as a representative of each element. Not everyone does. My life was the best when I evoked all of the watchtowers every morning and dismissed them all at night. I have resolved to do this again, as when I did, I never felt better.

AIR- EAST
Watchtower of the East, please aid me in the development of my philosophies. Help me to accept divine inspiration.
Air is the beginning. It is the spark. Itís hour of the day is the dawn. It is associated with the maiden aspect of Goddess. It is Her breath. In nature it is the sky, the wind, the clouds and the flowers. In our body, it is our lungs, our throat and our brains.
The element of air is the ruler of the concept. It is the beginning of a new idea. It is the seed of knowledge and the freedom to choose which direction to move. Itís color is yellow- the color of illumination.
In magick, the element of air is often used for recovering a lost or stolen item, visualization, concentration, education, travel, investigations, beginnings, initiation and feather magick. The magickal tools it is associated with is the wand, staffs and all wind instruments. In some traditions it is associated with the athame.
Air rules the heart chakra. In shamanism, itís animal spirits are the eagle, the hawk, the snake, the wolf and the dragon of air. Itís sacred spirits are the faeries and sylphs, Danu, Mercury, Athena, Kwan Yin, Buddha, Nuit, Raphael, Paralda, Yod He Vawhe and many more.

FIRE- SOUTH
Watchtower of the south, please aid me in the acceptance of personal power. Please help me to embrace humility and trust.
Fire is the ruler of desire or the will to manifest an idea. It is the driving force and the principal of change and transformation. It is the urge. Itís reflections in humanity can be seen in the life force itself, sexual energy, will, passion and courage. Without fire to nudge the other elements along, the whole world may settle into a sloth- like, fixed state.
In the aspects of Goddess, I feel like it adds a fourth aspect or one that I feel should be all by itself, the temptress. In nature, it is fire, the sun, the stars, the volcanoes and the lightning. In our bodies it is associated with the heart and the spine. Itís color is red- the color of the cleansing dance of fire.
In magick, it can be used for healing, sex, candle magick, force, energy, life, will, destruction, purification, courage and change. The tool associated with fire is the athame, sword or dagger, as well as all stringed instruments. In some traditions, it is the wand.
Fire rules the solar plexus chakra, the basement of our psyche. In shamanism itís animal spirits are the mouse, the turkey, the badger, the porcupine, the fox, the lizard, the snake, the cat, the doe and the dragon of fire. Itís sacred spirits are the salamanders, Bridgid, Pele, Vulcan, Mars, Hestia, Michael, Djinn and Adonai.

WATER- WEST
Watchtower of the west, please aid me in expressing my feelings and desires non- destructively. Please help me to give and receive freely.
Water is the ruler of our emotions. It is love, sorrow and the courage to continue on a difficult path when there is no end in sight. It is the enduring rage that is born of a long and silent suffering as well as the hope that springs the eternal. It is compassion and tranquility, forgiveness and the fluidity of our creativity. It is the fertility of all that will be. It is the ending and the harvest. It is the time to reap what has been sown. It is the Mother aspect of the Goddess. It is the sunset.
The energy of water is receptive. In the life cycle it is what endures the long gestation of things. It is the nurturer. It is the supporting role. In nature, water rules all marine life, the waterfalls, the oceans, the rain, the fog and the moon. In our bodies, water rules our wombs, breasts and our tear ducts.
Water rules the sacral plexus chakra. Itís color is black- the color of all that is unknown and all that is deep. It is the color of introspection. It is the lake and the moonlight and the winds before or after the storm.
In magick, it can be used for dream work, water magick, astral projection, healing, shamanic consciousness work, awareness, intuitive work, emotions, meditations, sleep, peace, baptismal, inner journeys, matters of love and dissolving connections. Itís tool is the chalice as well as mirrors or reflective surfaces.
In shamanism, the animal spirits of water are all sea life including itís birds, the heron, the jaguar, the raven and the dragon of water. Itís sacred spirits are the udines, Poseidon, Neptune, Isis, Ariahrhod, Diana, Selena, Hecate, Gabriel, Niksa and Eheieh.

EARTH- NORTH
Watchtower of the North, please aid me in the mastery of my body. Help me embrace patience, accountability and security.
Earth represents the night time and the winter. It is the time of the Crone. Itís color is white, it is fusion and all that is. It is the mountains, the rock formations, the mines, the canyons and the valleys. It is the ditches and the basements. It is the cave and the womb of Mother Earth.
The energy of the earth is also receptive. But it knows all, for itís aspect is the Crone. It is our sense of security, the confidence in our own strength. It is that desire just to sit down and do nothing at all. It is the law principal and solidity. It allows us to finish what we have started. It is justice and acceptance of your inner knowing and wisdom.
Earth is the force that gives us our sense of timing. It is reliable, stable and it perseveres. It is patience and commitment. Earth rules the root chakra. It is the bones, the sex organs and the legs. Itís reflection in our humanity is all that is physical and all that can be touched.
In nature it rules the gems, fields and forests. Itís animal spirits are the buffalo, the stag, the snowy owl, mythical beasts of all kinds, as well as the dragon of the earth.
In magick it is associated with the pentacle. It can also be a container filled with soil. It rules all percussion instruments. Earth energy can be used for magickal workings such as Abundance, fertility, business success or employment, binding spells, grounding or stabilizing.
The sacred spirits of the earth are the gnomes, Gaia, Demeter, Rhea, Herne, Pan, Uriel, Ghob and Agla.

A WITCHES TOOLS
I have all of the tools that we have been taught to use in the Coven, and I know how to use them. In my own sacred space, I do things a bit differently- as we have also been taught. So, I do have some things that may not be used in the Circle of our Coven. Some of the things that we have been taught within the Coven, I regard as tools. So, in listing the tools, I will include the normal tools as well as what I have come to regard as a tool for my own magick.

BOOK OF SHADOWS
A Book of Shadows is a term that describes a collection of information in book form for a witchís reference. This can include (but is not limited to) spells, articles, essays, notes, locks of someoneís hair, ect. This can be similar to a magickal cookbook.
I have one. Its full of stuff that I do refer to from time to time (surprise surprise ). If anyone can manage to find their way through it, there more than welcome to look at it anytime Oddly, it resembles my bedroom floor, which is not to discount its importance to me- my bedroom happens to be the most important (yet LEAST used ) room in my home. In addition to that, I also keep various journals that contain things like spells that Iíve done, tarot readings, reiki notes, dreams, visions and also notes that are a part of my story. I donít usually show those to anyone. The greatest part of my Book of Shadows is inside of my head and on my computer.

INCENSE/SENSOR
I love incense. I use it for consecration and what type I use varies. The one I use most frequently is sage. I grew the sage that I use right now, when its gone I will use whatever I like right then, as that may change as well. In sacred space, incense represents the element of fire, which is why we use it to purify the tools on the altar.
A sensor is used to hold incense. In our circle, the sensor used resembles a small cauldron. The one that I use is actually my cauldron, so it gets used for a variety of things.

BESOM
The besom is used to sweep an area clean of negative energy. Not everyone uses a besom. You can use your hand if you wish. Itís really about your intent. The first tool I ever had was my Besom. I made it at the first Full Moon circle I ever attended with this Coven. As many of you know, I have several cats (Iím a witch, what can I say ) And they successfully tore it to shreds. I was very sad at first. To me it was sacrelidge But as we all know, things happen for a reason. This Christmas, I receive a new Besom from my sister Silver- and I have to say, it is so gorgeous and magickal, that I do not morn the old one I have put it up in a very high place that is inaccessible to my numerous felines I am looking forward to using it for the first time to clear the space for my initiation I also have an old wicker fan that I have painted with reiki symbols that I have used in the past to clear space of negative energy.

I do not own a sword, but I would love to have a collection of them, when I cut circle, I use my athame. It does the job.

ATHAME
What tools are used is up to the witch. An athame is a consecrated knife used in ritual or other magick. We do use one in the coven. I do have an athame at home . I donít use it for bloodletting, but I do use it just to cut stuff up when I am in sacred space. My athame is a very large kitchen knife. I have consecrated and used it several times to cut my circle. It Pierces the veil very well. However, its not pretty- my philosophy is that looks arenít everything!

WAND
The wand is the tool for the east. Along with my candle, is a wand that was also given to me. That makes it very special. I do lay it out as a symbolic measure. The more things there are to represent something, the more abundant that energy will be I know that wands can be used in your hand for blessing food and invoking/evoking. Seldom do I do that with a wand (stay tuned tho- I might get a hair in the right place and decide to use the wand for magick ).

PENTACLE
A pentacle is a circle that surrounds a five pointed, upright star. This often worn as a symbol of a witchís belief. I can also be used in ceremonies or magickal workings. Often times it is a representative of the element of earth or spirit, depending on your belief system. I many traditions, each of the five points represents something: Air, earth, fire, water and spirit. I do not use a pentacle. I draw it frequently when I am doing magick. On my altar (and allll around my house, for that matter, I have various types of rocks that I use to represent the North and/or Earth. Recently, when I was really down and out financially and I was really looking for a job. I walked the trail outside my house for about two miles. I walked off the path to a clearing and felt compelled to cast a circle. I got to the northern direction and noticed a stag laying in the meadow staring at me. I felt very very fortunate, as I later learned that a stag in the north represents great security.


Most of the rocks that I have and keep around were given to me by my son, he deserves all the Earthly wonders, so I am always sure to bless them and to try to keep them in a northern direction.
As I said, the pentacle is also worn as a symbol of belief. I do not wear a pentacle. I wear a Celtic symbol that contains five knots that are symbolic of the souls journey. At Yule, I also acquired a necklace with a triquerta pennant on it that I wear as well.

CHALICE
Funny thing. My chalice, is not actually a chalice, but I will explain why. I once watched a documentary on the Learning Channel about the Holy Grail ( the ultimate of alll chalices, of course). It said that the Holy Grail is believed to be made of wood and was actually more like a bowl than a glass. I have a teakwood bowl that I have consecrated as my chalice. Though we donít know for sure what the Holy Grail is made of, my chalice is a representative of the infinite wisdom of the west that DOES know.

CAULDRON
The cauldron is a symbol of the Goddess. Some say it is a tool for transformation. That makes sense to me- the goddess Ceridwyn has her legendary cauldron and she represents transformations. In medieval times, it was said that the cauldron was most likely used to heat water when preparing for the birthing of a baby. Once upon a time, I brought a shiny bowl to circle and I called it my cauldron. A lot of you have seen it and remarked that it was very shiny and pretty. I got this bowl from an old lady that I used to take care of. She was a beautiful Crone and I learned a lot from her. I think it is very fitting that I use an item that belonged to her on my alter.

DREAMS
Since I have been working with the Ceridwyn aspect, I have many powerful dreams. What made me decide to work with Her was that I was having a lot of trouble remembering my dreams. Now I keep a journal of them- they ALWAYS have something to tell me (if I want to hear it or not).

I do have other various working tools that I use. A lot of them I use more frequently than my altar tools. I recently learned to make candles and I really like using them in my work. Theyíre definitely on the top of the favorites list.

SACRED SPACE
ďArgue for your limitations, and they are yours.Ē Richard Bach
ďEach of us determines what our reality is permitted to contain.Ē Silver Raven Wolf
Sacred space is something that is subjective. It depends on the individual. What feels like sacred space to one person may feel like cactus quills to another. A basic requirement for sacred space would probably be privacy. The bottom line is we need a place to work and to celebrate.

WORDS FROM STELLA;
Normally this would be an initiate's creating sacred space in preperation of recieving their 1st degree and not a Ritual written by a neophyte. Ceridwy chose to include a Maiden and Crone part that honored the dying of Her first magickal name/person before invoking Goddess in creating Her sacred space. We honor what is the growth and need of one and therefore we honor the growth and independence of Cerridywn.

First Degree Ritual 01/07/2006
Bright Blessings, O creatures of fire, water, earth and air, I cast out from thee all negitivities and impurities, so mote it be.
I cut the circle thrice around to keep love in and evil out
Water and Earth where thou are cast, no adverse spell or purpose last.
Hear my word, accord with me and as I will so mode it be.
Creature of fire this charge I lay, No phathom in thy presence stay.
Hear my word accord with me and as I will so mote it be.

WATCHTOWERS


EAST
Watchtower of the East, I call to you In this circle of magick I ask that you lend your strength of intuition and intellect ,may youíre inspirations of new beginnings, surround me and flow through me. I bid the hail and welcome
SOUTH
Watchtower of the South. Pinnacle of passion, desire and courage, I call upon you tonight. Lend me the power of your entities be the fire that ignites within this circle. Hail and welcome
WEST
Watchtower of the west, house of the setting sun, I call upon you for your infinite wisdom. Ancient one fo water, lend me the knowledge of the ages. I bid thee hail and welcome
NORTH
Watchtower of the north, ancient one of the earth, As I walk the path of your ground once again, I ask that you lend me the stability and strength that is yours. Hail and welcome

BLESSING THE CIRCLE
Goddess of a thousand names, Thou who are the blood of all women and they of thee. O giver of life and keeper of death fill us with your wisdom of time everlasting. In the name of the Goddess Ceridwyn, I Maia Moonsong, priestess of the Goddess, declare this circle cast. May it be a safe haven for all those who have joined here this evening.

MAIDEN
In the eyes of our Mother, we are one. She is us and we are She. Bestowed upon us, is the Oracle in which she lives in our higher mind. We are the ones who have been called upon to see Her light. From her cauldron I shall drink. For it is Her knowledge that I seek. It is Her wisdom I shall see, feel, and know. For I am Goddess. I am the mother and she is me. For Her, I have been born into this world and through Her womb may I be born again.

CRONE
She who plays the song of the Moon has drank from the Cauldron of knowledge. In the soul of the Maiden they call Maia, fear has arose. With might strong legs and her fleeting mind, she will run from the worry that has become her shadow. Through many lifetimes she has masked herself with anguish, fury and cowardly untruth until alas, the shape shifter is upon her and she must die.

Evocation of Ceridwyn (mother)
O White Lady of Inspiration, In death I have called upon you. You have lent me your power and your vision and I vow to uphold and honor the wisdom that is within your Oracle.
Ceridwyn, my Ancient Mother, It is you whom I ask to be with me this night. As your life flows through all waters, so it may also flow through my veins. From your Cauldron Maia Moonsong has drank and to you I have been reborn. I am your daughter, Ceridwy, protector of your light and seeker of your knowledge. I give remembrance to that which I have promised you. So Mote it be.

Initiation

Closing of Circle



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