Initiation into a Coven used to be the standard way of entering into the Wiccan faith, and was regarded by many as the only legitimate way to do so. Over time, this has changed dramatically, and the vast majority of Wiccans are solitary practitioners who perform a self-dedication rite.
This Ritual is for those who have decided to make the commitment to Seax-Wica (but can be adapted for any Wiccan tradition). This decision should not be taken lightly, though, and there is nothing wrong with remaining a Ceorl (a student of Seax-Wica who has yet to be initiated or perform a self-dedication rite. Although there is no year-and-a-day rule, it is a good guideline to follow so you can experience the Sabbats and seasons from the view of Wicca before making a commitment to it.
This ritual can also be performed if you are looking to start a Coven. Those who are to be the Priest and Priestess should each perform the Self-Dedication, and then they can initiate the others into the Coven. Neither Self-Dedication or Initiation is above the other, and both are recognized as equal within Seax-Wica.
You should be naked for this rite, with no jewelry or clothing of any kind. This should be performed somewhere comfortable and private, so by all means this ritual can take place in your bathroom, right before or after a shower, or in your bedroom. When you are somewhere that works for you, Erect the Temple, then kneel before the Altar. Bow your head and meditate for a few minutes on the God and the Goddess and the what the meaning of the Old Religion is to you. This moment is to verify that that you truly wish to dedicate yourself.
If you are satisfied that this is the right thing for you, stand and raise your arms high above the Altar, then read or recite the following or something similar:
“Woden and Freya, hear me now!
I am here a simple pagan holding thee in honor.
Far have I journeyed and long have I searched,
Seeking that which I desire above all things.
I am of the trees and of the fields.
I am of the woods and of the springs;
The streams and the hills.
I am of thee; and thee of me.”
Lower your arms, then continue:
“Grant me that which I desire.
Permit me to worship the gods
And all that the gods represent.
Make me a Lover of Life in All Things.
Well do I know the creed;
That if I do not have that spark of Love within me,
Then will I never find it without me.
Love is the Law and Love is the Bond.
All this do I honor above aught else.”
Take up your Seax in your main hand, kiss the blade, then hold it high and continue:
“Woden and Freya, here do I stand before you,
Naked and unadorned, to dedicate myself
To thine honor.
Ever will I protect you and that which is yours.
Let none speak ill of you, for ever
Will I defend you.
You are my life and I am yours
From this day forth
So be it!”
Kiss the blade of your Seax again, then place it in its sheath. Pick up the Drinking Horn and pour the remainder of the drink out (onto the ground or into an offering dish), then continue:
“As this drink drains from the Horn,
So let the blood drain from my body
Should I ever do aught to harm the Gods,
Or those in kinship with their love.
Woden and Freya!
So be it!”
You are now a Gesith! Let that sink for awhile and meditate within the circle for as long as you’d like, then Clear the Temple.
Don’t perform any other rituals: let this Self-Dedication be done by itself (with the Erecting and Clearing the Temple, of course).
“The Tree” is the basic liturgical and organizational writing and the basis for Seax-Wica, but it is a ‘base’. It provides the rituals as if being practiced by a coven, but nowadays most Wiccans, especially those of the Seax-Wica tradition, are solitary practitioners (they work alone). The following information on the Esbat Ceremony is adapted from “The Tree” and is only one way that a solitary can use these rituals in their own practice.