A Book of Pagan Rituals by Herman Slater - Read Online
A Book of Pagan Rituals
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This collection of rituals, practices, and exercises has been drawn from ancient sources, some have been preserved and some rituals have been updated by scholars from various pagan groups. This deluxe one-volume edition is specially designed to be read by candlelight.

Published: Red Wheel Weiser on
ISBN: 9781609256692
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A Book of Pagan Rituals - Herman Slater

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York Beach, Maine

First published in one volume in 1978 by

Samuel Weiser, Inc.

Box 612

York Beach, ME 03910-0612

04 03 02 01 00

18 17 16 15 14 13

Copyright © 1978 Samuel Weiser, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from Samuel Weiser. Reviewers may quote brief passages.

First published in two volumes in 1974 by Earth Religious Supplies

ISBN 0-87728-348-6


Printed in the United States of America

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials Z39.48-1984.


PART ONE: Basic Pagan Rituals

Introduction to Paganism

Pagan Musing

Altar Arrangement

Note on Rituals

Pagan Ritual for General Use

Cauldron Rite

Rite of Purification

The Circle of Divination

Rites of Healing

The Eight Grove Festivals

Marriage Rite

The Going of the Ways

Rite for the Dead

The Solitary Rituals

PART TWO: Advanced Pagan Rituals


Devotion, Invocation, Evocation, Prayer


Rhythmic Breathing

Planteary Knowledge

The Zodiac

Fundamental Buddhist Teachings


Ritual Influences of the Days of the Week





The Circle

Suggested Reading List

The Pagan Way is, as Occultists put it, On the right-hand path, and is devoted to the worship of that which is good in man and nature. Satanism, black magic and the like are actively opposed - we know that such cults are destructive in their effects and contrary to the evolutionary advance of humankind. The rituals of the Pagan Way cannot be twisted to harmful ways or purposes. Any attempt to do so would have very serious consequences for anyone who tried.



Introduction to Paganism

Paganism? What's it all about?

This question is being heard more frequently, here and abroad — for something very different has been quietly appearing on today's scene.

There are a lot of problems in the world today — wars, pollution, repression by one side or another, technology and commercialism gone mad, and far, far too many people. And it's getting worse.


What has caused the cascading insanity that we see around us? More importantly, what can we grasp onto which is secure and worth believing ?

Some of us think we know why this has all happened; if you're interested and concerned, you, too, may eventually realize why things have turned out this way. (More on this subject later).

The important thing is to get back, in some small way, to the mental and spiritual outlook which can make this nightmare world, and all its problems, quite unnecessary.

It can be done — our distant ancestors knew how. They knew how to live with nature, to understand the reasons behind it. They had a basic knowledge of the balance which is a part of everything — something we have lost in the centuries and millenia that have passed.

But not lost irretrievably, for it is with us again. It is a faith and a way of living.

It is Paganism.

Why Now?

Paganism is returning to the world!

Really, though, it had never left — for folk beliefs and the ancient Witch cult have always been with us. But for the past several centuries folk wisdom was given a Christian overlay and largely ignored; the Witches, with their age-old lore, were forced underground by persecution — with much loss to the common man.

Now the established major religions are greatly weakened and tottering, their foundations largely destroyed by a rapidly changing world. Their efforts to adjust and alter, to keep step with the times, have only weakened them further. Only the prop of being socially convenient has kept the churches from total collapse. And the structure of society itself is weakening, with social convenience having less and less power as a new generation increasingly scorns that which is useless and irrelevant.

Science itself, starting with Galileo and others as a reaction to a stale and oppressive religious establishment, seems to have reached a plateau in its discoveries. New research has become increasingly expensive, and the feeling is growing that the results gained are now justifying less and less of the cost put into them. Political pressures fashion the wonders of science into weapons which are both cruel and fearsome. Commercialism, in its mindless striving for money, has managed to prostitute the finest technical developments and with their wastes to pollute much of what still remains of the natural world.

Politics has reached a similar impasse. Both Marxism and Capitalism were created using the precepts of Christianity, and thus both suffer from the same weaknesses as their parent: inflexibility, dogma, intolerance and hypocrisy. Those who have lived under both systems say that Marxism is considerably more drab and mechanistic than its rival. Thus we can expect that the current intellectual fashions tending toward Marx will ultimately be halted by the dull, hard wall of reality.

But then — where else will there be to go?

The answer lies deep within ourselves — where it has always been — and out in the world of nature, where it has long waited.

For the Pagan Way is very close to the soul of humanity; it is a natural belief which sees man as he is, and the world as it is, and seeks to push neither into a preconceived mold. Further, Paganism sees the mystery and richness of nature, and opens the way to an understanding of it which the modern world has overlooked.

The Pagan Way, as it now exists, is based on valid beliefs from the distant past. The present store of rituals and practices has been drawn from ancient sources, restored and updated by scholars from various Pagan groups, existing but never advertised, whose traditions stretch unbroken since far before the dawn of history.

There is much flexibility here, for Paganism is not fixed and dogmatic. There are new adventures of the mind and spirit, for Paganism thrives on joy, beauty and color.

And there is the inspiration of working toward a new world — one totally different from today.

And one far better.

What is Paganism?

Paganism recognizes that throughout all things — from the atom to the universe — there is a duality. Night and day, love and hate—the ancient Oriental concept of Yin and Yang which was long matched by similar concepts in what we now call Europe.

The Pagan realizes that there is no heaven except that which he himself makes, and likewise no hell but that of his own creation.

Most Pagans believe that they have experienced previous lives in previous eras of this world. And they can point to impressive evidence backing them up.

A Pagan refuses to believe that mankind is born innately sinful, and realizes that the concept of sin is itself arbitrary and hurtful to human nature.

The Pagan knows that man is not better than woman, nor woman superior to man. What one lacks the other can give, and one cannot be truly alive without the other! There is no greater magic than that of man and woman together.

A Pagan knows that what is called magic does truly exist, and it is often worked by those who are in touch with certain forces of the natural world

The Pagan believes that what cannot be seen is of the greatest importance — that much exists of which the present world's science knows little or nothing. And that anyone can experience what is normally considered to be beyond reality.

Paganism has a deep love for things natural and wild, as it knows that there are many beings which are intelligent and wise — and not all human. Yet they may be met in places of seclusion and wilderness by those who earnestly desire to know them — and it is for this reason that the Pagan does not allow his or her heart and mind to become cluttered by the useless trivia of a commercial-technical society.

A Pagan knows that there are deep forces and tides which underlie all things, and that there exist here on earth infinitely complex multidimensional matrices of living power which are far beyond the capability of a human to understand. That there is intelligence here and the greatest of wisdom — for such has always existed and always will.

The Pagan realizes that mankind has always known of the existence of this Supernal Intelligence, and has called It by thousands of names for tens of thousands of years. That men and women of all eras have drawn strength and power, warmth and security from this source — at times in ways which would seem to transcend reality!

Paganism teaches that the Highest source is both female and male in its aspects and that, though vastly beyond our capacity to understand, we can perceive It — or Them — as individuals, or as Goddess and God to whom we can speak, and receive answers.

The Pagan knows that over the past two or three thousand years humankind has stressed a narrow portion of the God in his religions and ignored or denied the role of the Goddess — with the result that history has come to be a chronicle of disasters. A balance is needed, with perhaps a greater stress on the Goddess (right now) in Her many aspects, to restore peace and to assure a meaningful survival of ourselves and our descendants.

This is Paganism!

Pagan Musing

We're of the old religion, sired of Time, and born of our beloved Earth Mother. For too long the people have trodden a stony path that goes only onward beneath a sky that goes only upwards. The Horned God plays in a lonely glade, alone, for the people are scattered in this barren age, and the winds carry his plaintive notes over deserted heaths and reedy moors and into the lonely grasses! Who knows now the ancient tongue of the Moon? And who speaks still with the Goddess? The magic of the land of Linen and the old pagan gods have withered in the dragon's breath; the old ways of magic have slipped into the well of the past, and only the rocks now remember what the moon told us long ago, and what we learned from the trees, and the voices of the grasses and the scents of flowers.

We're pagans and we worship the pagan gods, and among the people there are witches yet who speak with the moon and dance with the Horned One. But a witch is a rare pagan in these days, deep and inscrutable, recognisable only by her own kind — by the light in her eyes and the love in her breast, by the magic in her hands and the lilt of her tongue and by her knowledge of the real.

The Wiccan way is one path. There are many; there are pagans the world over who worship the Earth Mother and the Sky Father, the