The 'Gardnerian' Book of Shadows

Winter Solstice

Form circle in usual manner, invoking the Mighty Ones.

The Cauldron of Cerridwen is placed in the circle at the south wreathed with holly, ivy, and mistletoe, with fire lighted within it. There should be no other light except for the candles on the altar and about the circle.

After all are purified, the Moon should be drawn down.

Then the High Priestess stands behind the Cauldron in pentacle position, symbolizing the rebirth of the sun. The people, man and woman alternately, stand round the circle. The Magus stands facing the High Priestess with a bundle of torches, or candles, and the book of words of the incantation. One of the officers stands beside him with a lighted candle, so that he may have light to read by.

The people begin to slowly move round the circle sunwise. As each passes him the Magus lights his candle or torch from the fire in the Cauldron, which may be simply a candle, till all have lighted candles or torches. Then the people dance round slowly as he reads the incantation. (A real fire must now be kindled in the Cauldron.)

"Queen of the Moon, Queen of the Sun. Queen of the Heavens, Queen of the Stars.

Queen of the Waters, Queen of the Earth. Who ordained to us the child of promise:

It is the Great Mother who gives birth to him, He is the Lord of Life who is born again, Darkness and tears are set behind, And the star of guidance comes up early.

Golden sun of hill and mountain illumine the land, illumine the world, illumine the seas, illumine the rivers, Grief be laid, and joy be raised.

Blessed be the Great Mother, Without beginning, without ending, To everlasting, to eternity, I O. Evohe, Blessed be."

The dance commences slowly, in rhythm with the chant, all taking up the call "I. O. Blessed be." The Priestess joins dance and leads them with a quicker rhythm. The cauldron with burning fire is pushed so that the dancers leap or step over it, in couples. Whichever couple is passing it as it goes out, should be well-purified, three times each, and may pay any amusing forfeit as the High Priestess may ordain. Sometimes the cauldron is relighted several times for this purpose.