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Self-Dedication Title: My Self-Dedication
Author: Scarlet

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Here is the story of my road to paganism.

How got where I went-
I was raised by people who had been at the fringes of the hippie movement and so
were very open to spiritual ideas. Much of my mothers family were ready and willing
to explore alternative spiritualities and I saw women's spirituality and some
buddhist philosophies among my aunts. I never connected with the Christian
church and by the time I got to university, I'd decided not to have a religion and
wasn't all that sure about God. I met several Wiccans and witches while there and
picked up a book on magick (D.J. Conway's "Celtic Magic"). It was a very simplistic and
somewhat inacurate book, but after learning a little from my friends, I decided to
try out, in earnest, what celebrating Wiccan holidays was like... I liked the idea of
celebrating the cycles of the seasons and nature and I'm always up for an extra few
holidays to celebrate. I decided I would try out the holidays listed in the book,
each with it's own descriptive paragraph, for a year starting on Holloween and if,
in a year and a day, I felt it was the path for me, I'd declare myself a
witch/Wiccan/whatever. Some of the things I did were a bit neive, but I was a newbie, so, forgive me.

Remarkably (knowing me, that is) I actually did it. I stuck with it. Halfway
through, I even bought a book on the sabbats that contained much more than just a paragraph
or two (by Edain McCoy, yet another author of... well, honestly, she makes up a lot of
stuff). I found great enjoyment celebrating the changing seasons, forcing myself
to recognize the year as it circled around me, really, for the first time. Upon the return
of Holloween, so much in my life had changed and I had to put myself to question if I
was really ready to make a dedication. The year and a day passed and in late November,
I finally decided. I was Pagan (not Wiccan, I felt that it either wasn't the path
for me or that I simply wasn't ready to walk down it).

It took me some time to write a dedication ritual. Was I ready? What did it
mean? What exactly was I about to do? I researched various forms of initiation
rituals, settled on a technique and began preparing myself by making a handmade ritual
robe (out of off-white flannel, how upper-midwest of me!) and came up with the promises
I wished to make to the Deities and wrote them down.

The ritual-

Isolation
I set aside a day, I think it was the 25th of November, and I sat, isolated,
withdrawn. I wrote in my new BOS. I went to the shore of a nearbye lake for strength
and to add an out-door element to my otherwise indoor ritual.

Ritual bath
I went back home and took a ritual bath and then prepared all of my supplies.

Opening the circle
I opened the circle beginning my ritual in street-clothes. I did my usual
casting and invited the spirits. I spoke to the deities and invited my spiritual
audience. I lite various candles for the elementals and Deities and then I read from
my journal/BOS to explain the purpose of my ritual and to announce what I've learned
and my beliefs. I then meditated and reached out to the spirits.

Dedication
I decided to say my words of dedication and my vows skyclad so I doffed my
outfit, anointed myself and read my vows.

Transformation
I then announced my secret name and declaired myself 'Priestess of Harmony' (At
the time, I claimed the title of Priestess, but only to myself in private...
it meant that I had authority over my faith and no-one else did... Part of my devotional
vows included a vow never to take authority over another's faith, which, to me at the
time, was a vow never to become an official clergy-person. I doubt I'll change my mind,
but I may re-interpret that vow if I am so called to serve in such a way. The title
was solely for my benefit, and not to be used in conversation or practice with others.)
Then put on my ritual robe, symbolizing my change from ordinary into sole
priestess and practitioner of my unique, one-of-a-kind faith.

Closing
I sat and meditated and communed with the spirits. I drank from my cauldron and
then I closed as usual. I followed it with a sort of feast, I treated myself
to a good meal at a favorite place.

Conclusion
Some of the words and practices I did are very personal, so I won't put them
here, but in general, that's how I dedicated myself to paganism and the spirits.

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