Great Rite

Great Rite

Uncover hidden spiritual meanings

In Wicca, the major ritual of polarity between a man and a woman.

In most traditions, the actual Great Rite is performed by the couple in private, and only between a married pair of established lovers.

Older traditions as well as many variations or adaptations of Gardenarian and Alexandrian traditions also view the Great Rite as an actual sexual act between a man and a woman for the sake of representing the God and the Goddess coming together. The Great rite is the creation of all things; it is how everything is built. Between passive and active elements, men and women, god and goddess… EVERYTHING is created in the power of two.

The Great Rite as an action (symbolically or figuratively) is an action that represents this duality. Sometimes it is the coming together of opposites and others it symbolizes wisdom joining with strength. There is no requirement within any ritual setting that the Great Rite must be completed but committed members and covens will use the power of the rite to increase magical workings, the energy of the circle, or to even put raised energy to a more purposeful use.

The Great Rite is a ritual performed by the Wiccans which involves symbolic sexual intercourse which has the purpose of drawing energy when the male and female are having sex. It is rarely performed and does so when the coven is in need of spiritual intervention to sort out something that is disturbing them. It is the most misunderstood ritual of the Wiccan religion. It is a ritual which is supposed to represent the marriage of the god and the goddess. The priest and priestess are the ones who have the powers to represent this ritual which is meant to express the female/male polarity that exists in every being and symbolizes the inward marriage of the female and male aspects of each person.

The History of Great Rite

The acts of sex rituals can be traced back to many centuries in history and have been recognized in different cultures around the world. There are cultures where a King had to perform Sacred Marriage with a priestess who represented the goddess before he can be confirmed as the king. The modern Wiccans trace their Great Rite to the publication of the Gerald Gardner, in the 1940s to the 1960s, where ritual sex both symbolic and actual was taught.

What Wiccans Believe About The Great Rite

It is believed that ritual sex is sacred and must be consensual. If one demands to participate in order to be initiated into the group, it is not seen as a legitimate use of the act by the coven. The symbol type is performed by the priest and priestess in a public setting, but when it comes to the physical act of the union, privacy is of uttermost importance. The Great Rite is not a casual affair as it is done in groups, there is always need for the people who are involved to be in a serious relationship with each other. It is a Rite, which is performed during two common occasions; the handfastings and Beltane.

Beltane is celebrated on November 1st in the southern hemisphere and May 1st in the northern hemisphere. It normally focuses on fertility and it includes Fivefold Kiss and Maypole Dance before the enactment of the Great Rite. Whether actual or symbolic, the Great Rite is limited to one couple and in most cases, it has to be the priest and the priestess. It is normally an outdoor activity.

Handfasting is a ceremony of Wiccan marriage and as a fertility exercise, the Great Rite is normally performed as part of the service where the bride and the groom substitute the priest and priestess. The ritual is performed either symbolically or physically. During this ceremony, binding cords and rings are normally added to the altar. There is an invocation which is recited together with vows which are written by the couple.

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By Florance Saul
Oct 2, 2012