How to Create a Pagan Ritual Dedication
What is a dedication ritual? It’s a way for pagans who’ve recently chosen their spiritual path to mark their beginning. Luthaneal shows you how to design your own pagan dedication ritual…
A Dedication Ritual can be performed by the solitary practitioner to mark the beginning of their newly chosen path. Usually this is declaration to your chosen Gods, but can also be used in a general sense to give yourself a personal milestone that represents some kind of new spiritual beginning in your life.
The following is a guideline for how you can create your own Dedication Ritual and shape it to fit your own spiritual path.
Before you begin your ritual, you will need to decide where you will perform it. This space should be clean, quiet and away from disturbances.
This is also the place where you will set up any kind of altar that you wish to use in your ritual. Your altar will be a place where you can keep your tools and any other items that you feel are relevant. Some people may choose to place candles upon their altar to represent their deities. This ritual example will assume the use of such candles.
Other common items are incense, food, magical tools, symbols, statues and pictures.
When your ritual area is prepared, it is customary to open your ritual by marking this area as Sacred Space. This is very often done by Casting a Circle, but it can also be done through the beating of a drum, singing, through meditation or by filling the space with cleansing incense or sprinkled water.
With your ritual space consecrated, it is time to call to your chosen Gods. This is not a summoning; it is an invitation in which you are respectfully requesting that your Gods honour you with their presence so that they can observe your Dedication.
Invite each God/Goddess separately and do so in order of importance. If your path focuses on balance between the Gods, then call the feminine deities first, simply as a matter of common politeness.
As you invite each deity to attend, light the candle set on your alter to represent them.
Once all your Gods are called to attendance, you may now call to any other beings that you may wish to observe your ritual and bless you with their presence. This can include ancestor spirits, nature spirits, fae and angels.
In some cases other being may already be in attendance as a result of Casting a Circle when creating your sacred space. For example, some traditions call upon Elementals and angels when they call the different quarters of a magic circle. If this is the case then that is fine, this stage may still be used to call to any other beings that you would like to invite into your sacred space.
When all attendees are called, it is time to declare your intention. The wording here should be a heartfelt announcement of why you are performing the ritual and what it is you hope to achieve on your path.
This step is about possibilities. It is here that you explain why you want to follow this path and your acknowledgement that this is your first step on a new and unpredictable journey.
With your intentions announced, now you is the time to call an end to your old life so that you might start your journey. This is a symbolic representation of how you are about to change, like the caterpillar that becomes a butterfly, first you must put an end to who you have been in order to become who you wish to be.
This ‘death’ shows the ending of one stage of your existence.*
*Do not actually harm yourself!
This is a symbolic death. Feel free to act this out or to just announce it, but whatever you do, don’t put yourself in a position where you could actually damage yourself.
This should be a beautiful and meaningful demonstration of how you are changing, not an opportunity to scar yourself or worse. Be sensible.
At this point you are in a state between the person you were and the person you are yet to become. You are a traveller ready for his journey, waiting to take his first step. You exist between two stages, the life that you have already symbolically ended and the new life that you have yet to begin.
While in this death-state this is the time to stand before your Gods and state your intentions, swearing your allegiance to a path that honours them. You are like a human soul undergoing judgement, your heart being weighed against the feather of truth. Show the Gods why you are worthy of their guidance and make a vow to honour your alignment to them.
Now begins your new life. You are reborn under the guidance of the Gods and your journey starts anew.
At this point in time some Traditions would have you given a magical name to mark your entrance into your new life. As such you can feel free to choose a magical name that is only used between you and your Gods. If you do choose to do this, then be sure to make your new name something truly meaningful. Don’t just pick something because it sounds cool; instead take the time long before you begin the ritual so that you can put some serious spiritual thought into what you want this special name to be. Meditate on this point if you feel you are able.
Magical names aren’t for everyone though. Whether you choose to take one or not, use this part of the ritual to show you understand that your journey has begun and that you will honour the commitments you have already made.
You are a new person now, reborn.
Give an offering
Show your appreciation to the Gods by making an offering. Obviously you would have this offering already prepared before the ritual. It can an offering of food, incense, flowers, music, or anything else that you feel would be pleasing to your new Gods. Do some research on your deities so that you can get an idea of the kind of things that best apply to them.
Remember, this stage of the ritual is a gift from you to the divine. You have invited them in; they have honoured you with their presence and accepted you as a Dedicant. This is the point where you thank them for these things, so please take the time to make it meaningful. In this ritual you are forging a new relationship with your Gods, taking them on as guides, parents, friends and confidants. Use this part of the ritual to show gratitude for all these things.
Okay, so you have just started the great adventure of your spiritual journey, it’s time to celebrate! Make a toast to your new beginning and celebrate your relationship with your deities. Take a drink* and if you really feel like it you can even dance around a little.
*Keep in mind the legal age of alcohol consumption. If you are underage, don’t worry, you can toast just as well with fruit juice. Grape juice can make a good substitute for wine.
With the festivities over, it’s time to thank your guests and bid them farewell.
It’s customary to dismiss attendees in order of importance. Thank the Gods for coming to preside over your ritual and bid them goodbye. As you allow each God/Goddess to depart extinguish their corresponding candle as well.
Next dismiss everyone else you invited, working in the same order as when you called them.
You are the only person present once more. The ritual has come to an end and now it is time to draw it to a close. If you cast a Circle, now is the time to close it. If you did anything else to create sacred space for your ritual, then use an appropriate way to settle it back to normal. This could be something as simple as ringing a bell, letting the smell of incense clear the air or possibly singing a new song or chant to mark the closing of the ritual.
Some people will choose to leave their altar set up permanently from now on as a marker of their new path. This is fine, but keep in mind that unattended candles and incense are a fire risk, so don’t leave them burning when you aren’t there.