The Great Rite
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The Great Rite, though it may seem more Wiccan than Druidic, is nonetheless a beautiful tradition and a wonderful source of reflection for Spring and Beltane.
For me this ancient tradition goes far beyond sex, although a private tryst outside the Circle often occurs in Wiccan Tradition. My life’s path has been paralleled at times by people who have transitioned the genders, whether by dress and demeanor or by surgery. These friends and in some cases loved ones have a special ability to walk between worlds, which some Native American Traditions call Berdache or “Two-Spirit.” In their Tradition these individuals are honored, not reviled. There could be no better personifiers of the Shamanic gifts.
To me, though, the Great Rite is even richer. It goes beyond male and female, which each of us embodies in different proportions. It is the chiaroscuro, the melding of light and dark, shadow and sunlight. We cannot know joy without pain, answers and illumination without doubt and questioning. Only this melding brings wholeness within us and with one another.
The Great rite has helped me stop labeling my qualities and my life’s events as good or bad. It has taught me to seek balance and be vigilant for excess—and to find gratitude and joy simply in living, growing and learning!
This brief symbolic Great Rite, performed by our Grove’s Co-founders Aigeann and Seven Tines at this year’s Beltane Rite, could be adapted to your private altar as well. You will need only a blade and a chalice or small cauldron. Simply reflect upon the Male and Female aspects of the Sacred within you.
Symbolic Great Rite
Female takes the Chalice, Male takes the blade:
Female: I am the Goddess, the Sacred Feminine, the womb of Mother Earth. I await the life to be created within me.
Male: I am the God, the Holy Masculine, the Life force that eternally awaits a receptacle.
Female and Male together raise the blade and chalice:
Together: This is the moment of union, the spark of life; the seed of our passion is planted to manifest our intent!
(Male plunges the blade into the chalice): The seed is planted!