Coven Meetings —An Introduction to Esbats - Rites & Ceremonies

Wicca: Book of Spells and Witchcraft for Beginners. The Guide of Shadows for Wiccans, Solitary Witches, and Other Practitioners of Magic Rituals - Arin Chamberlains 2018

Coven Meetings —An Introduction to Esbats
Rites & Ceremonies

The Esbat Rite

This is a ritual that may be used each weekly meeting or however often the coven intends to meet.

First, the Erecting of the Temple is performed.

The Priest or Priestess then states, “Once more we meet together, one with another, to share our joy of life and to reaffirm our feelings for the gods.”

A coven member then states, “The Lord and Lady have been good to us. It is in this meet that we thank them for all that we have.”

A second member of the coven then adds, “They also know that we have needs and they listen to us when we call upon them.”

The Priest or Priestess then says, “Then let us join together to thank the God and the Goddess for those favors they have bestowed upon us. And let us also ask of them that which we feel we need; remembering always that the gods help only those who help themselves.”

What then follows is three or four minutes of silence while each member gives thanks and requests to the gods. The bell is then rung three times.

The Priest or Priestess then says, “An’ it harm none, do what thou wilt.”

All members of the coven repeat, “An’ it harm none, do what thou wilt.”

The Priest or Priestess then says, “Thus runs the Wiccan Rede. Remember it well. Whatever you desire; whatever you would ask of the gods’ whatever you would do; be assured that it will harm no one — not even yourself. And remember that as you give, so it shall return threefold. Give of yourself — your love; your life — and you will be thrice rewarded. But send forth harm and that too will return thrice over.”

Now music and son is played. If there is a favorite chant or song that the Lord or Lady prefer, it may be sung here. Alternatively, instruments may be played or a song or chant made up on the spot. If all these options are not appealing, the coven may clap hands and chant the names of the gods and goddesses. This should be enjoyed, for a few minutes even.

The Priest or Priestess then closes with the following, “Beauty and strength are in the Lord and the Lady both. Patience and Love; Wisdom and Knowledge.”

Now follows ’Cakes and Ale’ or the New Moon or Full Moon Rite as appropriate.

The Full Moon Rite

For Esbats that take place during the full moon, the ’Full Moon Rite’ is performed after the Esbat rite.

The Priestess now assumes a position with her legs apart, raising her arms upwards and outwards, as though reaching for the sky. The Priest then kneels before the Priestess. All members of the coven kneel, raising their arms high as well.

A member of the coven then says:

When the Moon rides high,

As she crosses the sky,

And the stars on her gown trail behind,

Then we Wiccans below

Are with love all aglow,

Just to see her so brightly enshrined.

On the night of the Full Moon,

As we sing to the tune

Of the Lady who watches above,

We raise high our song

As she glides by so strong,

And we bask in the light of her love.”

The New Moon/Dark Moon Rite

The Priestess stands with her head bowed and arms resting across her breast. Coven members begin moving clockwise around the Circle three times, all the while chanting the name of the Goddess. Once all halt, the Priest stands in front of the Priestess and says, “Dark is the night as we reach this turning point. Here is a time of death; yet a time of birth.”

A member of the coven says, “Endings and beginnings.”

Another coven member says, “Ebbing and flowing.”

The coven member says, “A journey done; a journey yet to start.”

The coven member says, “Let us honor now the Crone — Mother darksome and divine.”

The coven member says, “Let us give our strength and in return see rebirth.”

The Priest now says, “Behold, the Lady of Darkness; Mother, Grandmother. Old yet ever young.”

The Priestess then slowly raises her head and then spreads her arms upwards and outwards. All members kneel.

The Priestess says:

Hear me! Honor me and love me now and always.

As the wheel turns we see birth, death and rebirth. Know, from this, that every end is a beginning;

Every stop a fresh starting point.

Maiden, Mother, Crone… I am all of these and more.

Whenever you have need of anything, call upon me. I, and my Lord, are here — for I abide within you all. Even at the darkest of times, when there seems no single spark to warm you and the night seems blackest of all, I am here, watching and waiting to grow with you, in strength and in love.

I am she who is at the beginning and the end of all time.

So mote it Be.”

All members then repeat, “So mote it be!”

The priestess again folds her arms and there is a moment of silence observed.

Now follows the Cakes and Ale ceremony.

The ’Cakes & Ale’ Ceremony

The ’Cakes and Ale’ ceremony is one that can be best described as the ceremony hat transitions from the ritual ceremonies to one more social. Discussions between members regarding magick, the Craft, divination, healing, and problems — either personal or coven-related — as well as socializing, all come after the gods have been worshipped as that is of primary importance.

This ceremony is known by different names, like ’Cakes and Wine’, but it is simply a matter of preference as you may have either cake or cookies at the Altar beside the goblets, and any beverage you prefer between wine, ale, fruit juice or even beer.

Performing the ’Cakes & Ale’ Ceremony

One of the coven members is designated with the duty of keeping the goblet filled at all times. At the beginning of the ceremony, the coven member responsible for this fills the goblet and states, “Now is the time for us to give thanks to the gods for that which sustains us.”

The Priest then states, “So be it. May we ever be aware of all that we owe to the gods.”

The Priestess then calls two coven members, a male and a female, to come and stand before the Altar.

The female coven member takes hold of the goblet with both hands and stands to hold it between her breasts. The male coven member the takes the handle of his athame between his palms and points the blade downwards. He lowers the blade point slowly into the wine (or ale, juice, beer etc.) and states, “In like fashion may male join with female, for the happiness of both.”

The female coven member then states “Let the fruits of union promote life. Let all be fruitful and let wealth be spread throughout all lands.”

The male covener raises the athame out of the goblet and the female covener holds the goblet for him to drink from it. The male then holds the goblet for the female to drink from it before the Goblet is passed around to other coven members to take a sip. The Priest and Priestess are the last to drink from the Goblet.

The male coven member takes hold of the platter of cakes and holds it before him. The female coven member then touches each with the point of her athame and states, “This food is the blessing of the gods to our bodies. Let us partake of it freely. And, as we share, let us remember always to see to it that aught that we have we share with those who have nothing.”

The female coven member then takes a piece of cake from the platter and eats it, before offering the plate of cakes to the male to take and eat from it. After this, the platter is passed around to all the other coven members to have cake. The Priest and Priestess are the last to eat cake. The female and the male coven members return to their positions in the Circle.

The Priestess states: “As we enjoy these gifts of the gods, let us remember that without the gods we would have nothing.”

The Priest then states: “Eat and drink. Be happy. Share and give thanks. So Mote It Be.”

All coven members then state: “So Mote It Be!”

All members of the coven then sit down and if it is desired, everyone may enjoy socializing and filling individual goblets for each member. This time is good for discussion and for talk, for questioning and to obtain or hand out advice. It may also be a time where planning for magick can be done, or maybe even just to enjoy dance and song. Once whatever it is the coven decides to do is over, it is required to perform the Clearing of the Temple ritual.