The 'Gardnerian' Book of Shadows

The Initiation

First Degree

(1949)

Magus leaves circle by the doorway, goes to Postulant, and says, "Since there is no other brother here, I must be thy sponsor, as well as priest. I am about to give you a warning. If you are still of the same mind, answer it with these words: 'Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.'" Placing the point of the sword to the Postulant's breast, he says, "O thou who standeth on the threshold between the pleasant world of men and the domains of the Dread Lords of the Outer Spaces, hast thou the courage to make the Assay? For I tell thee verily, it were better to rush on my weapon and perish miserably than to make the attempt with fear in thy heart." Postulant: "I have two Passwords: Perfect Love and Perfect Trust." Magus drops the sword point, saying, "All who approach with perfect love and perfect trust are doubly welcome." Going around behind her, he blindfolds her, then putting his left arm around her waist and his right arm around her neck, he pulls her head back, says, "I give you the 3rd password, a Kiss to pass through this dread Door," and pushes her forward with his body, through the doorway and into the circle. Once inside, he releases her saying, "This is the way all are first brought into the circle." Magus closes the doorway by drawing the point of the sword across it three times, joining all three circles, saying, "Agla, Azoth, Adonai," then drawing three pentacles to seal it. Magus guides Postulant to south of altar, and whispers, "Now there is the Ordeal." Taking a short piece of cord from the altar, he ties it around her right ankle, saying, "Feet neither bound nor free." Taking a longer cord, he ties her hands together behind her back, then pulls them up, so that the arms form a triangle, and ties the cord around her neck, leaving the end dangling down in front as a Cable Tow. With the Cable Tow in his left hand and the sword in his right hand, the Magus leads her sunwise around the circle to the east, where he salutes with the sword and proclaims, "Take heed, O Lords of the Watchtowers of the East, (name), properly prepared, will be made a Priestess and a Witch." Magus leads her similarly to the south, west, and north, making the proclamation at each quarter. Next, clasping Postulant around the waist with his left arm, and holding the sword erect in his right hand, he makes her circumambulate three times around the circle with a half-running, half-dancing step. He halts her at the south of the altar, and strikes eleven knells on the bell. He then kneels at her feet, saying, "In other religions the postulant kneels, as the Priests claim supreme power, but in the Art Magical, we are taught to be humble, so we kneel to welcome them and say:

"Blessed be thy feet that have brought thee in these ways." (He kisses her feet.)

"Blessed be thy knees that shall kneel at the sacred altar." (He kisses her knees.)

"Blessed be thy womb, without which we would not be." (He kisses her Organ of Generation.)

"Blessed by thy breasts, formed in beauty and in strength." (He kisses her breasts.)

"Blessed be thy lips, which shall utter the sacred names." (He kisses her lips.)

Take measure thus: height, around forehead, across the heart, and across the genitals. Magus says, "Be pleased to kneel," and helps her kneel before the altar. He ties the end of the Cable Tow to a ring in the altar, so that the postulant is bent sharply forward, with her head almost touching the floor. He also ties her feet together with the short cord. Magus strikes three knells on the bell and says, "Art ready to swear that thou wilt always be true to the Art?"

Witch: "I am."

Magus strikes seven knells on the bell and says, "Before ye are sworn, art willing to pass the ordeal and be purified?"

Witch: "I am."

Magus strikes eleven knells on the bell, takes the scourge from the altar, and gives a series of three, seven, nine, and 21 strokes with the scourge across the postulant's buttocks. Magus says, "Ye have bravely passed the test. Art always ready to help, protect, and defend thy Brothers and Sisters of the Art?"

Witch: "I am."

Magus: "Art armed?"

Witch: "With a knife in my hair."

Magus: "Then on that knife wilt thou swear absolute secrecy?"

Witch: "I will."

Magus: "Then say after me. 'I, (name), in the presence of the Mighty Ones, do of my own will and accord, most solemnly swear that I will ever keep secret and never reveal the secrets of the Art, except it be to a proper person, properly prepared, within a circle such as I am now in. All this I swear by my hopes of a future life, mindful that my measure has been taken, and may my weapons turn against me if I break this my solemn oath.'"

Magus now unbinds her feet, unties the Cable Tow from the altar, removes the blindfold, and helps her up to her feet.

Magus says, "I hereby sign thee with the triple sign.

"I consecrate thee with oil." (He anoints her with oil on the womb, the right breast, the left breast, and the womb again.)

"I consecrate thee with wine." (He anoints her with wine in the same pattern.)

"I consecrate thee with my lips" (he kisses her in the same pattern), "Priestess and Witch."

Magus now unbinds her hands and removes the last cord, saying, "Now I Present to thee the Working Tools of a Witch. "First the Magic Sword. With this, as with the Athame, thou canst form all Magic Circles, dominate, subdue, and punish all rebellious Spirits and Demons, and even persuade the Angels and Geniuses. With this in your hand you are the ruler of the Circle. [Here "kiss" means that the initiate kisses the tool, and the Magus then kisses the Witch being initiated.]

"Next I present the Athame. This is the true Witch's weapon and has all the powers of the Magic Sword [kiss].

"Next I present the White-Handled Knife. Its use is to form all instruments used in the Art. It can only be properly used within a Magic Circle [Kiss].

"Next I present the Wand. Its use is to call up and control certain Angels and geniuses, to whom it would not be mete to use the Magic Sword [Kiss].

"Next I present the pentacles. These are for the purpose of calling up appropriate Spirits [Kiss].

"Next I present the Censer of Incense. This is used to encourage and welcome Good Spirits and to banish Evil Spirits. [kiss]

"Next I present the scourge. This is a sign of power and domination. It is also to cause suffering and purification, for it is written, to learn you must suffer and be purified. Art willing to suffer to learn?"

Witch: "I am." [Kiss]

Magus: "Next, and lastly I present the Cords. They are of use to bind the sigils in the Art, the material basis, and to enforce thy will. Also they are necessary in the oath. I Salute thee in the name of Aradia and Cernunnos, Newly made Priestess and Witch." Magus strikes seven knells on the bell and kisses Witch again, then circumambulates with her, proclaiming to the four quarters, "Hear, ye Mighty Ones, (name) hath been consecrated Priestess and Witch of the Gods." (Note, if ceremony ends here, close circle with "I thank ye for attending, and I dismiss ye to your pleasant abodes. Hail and farewell." If not, go to next degree.)