Central to many practices of contemporary Wytchcraft is the liturgy written by the late Doreen Valiente known as the “Charge of the Goddess”. Within poetic prose the Goddess, advises her followers:
“Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth; for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honour and humility, mirth and reverence within you ….”
which ties in very nicely with the following message received from Daily Om about humility.
Within contemporary Wytchcraft, there is the concept of acting with respect to one’s “Highest Ideal” – as is stated within the “Charge of the Goddess” where the Moon Goddess speaks:
“Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever towards it; let naught stop you or turn you aside.”
One’s “Highest Ideal” can be likened to one’s “True Will” as found within the Thelemetic magickal tradition, where an individual, a follower of that path acts in accordance with their Higher Self, one’s Holy Guardian Angel.
Within the more traditional branches of contemporary Wytchcraft, certain passwords are provided – those being “Perfect Love and Perfect Trust” and prior to initiation into the Priesthood, the Dedicate is expected to have meditated upon these passwords to understand their “true” or “deeper” meaning. Likewise, a novice/neophyte seeking entry into the Temple of the Dark Moon’s Outer or even the Inner Court is expected to fully understand, or at least given due consideration, to the words of the Goddess and endeavour to “strive ever towards their highest ideal” for this implies that as the novice/neophyte grows within the Craft, their horizons, personal limitations and preconceptions will continuously expand and mature.
One of the aspects of Contemporary Wytchcraft is the alignment with the changing seasons. This is done through the observance of the eight seasonal festivals, sabbats, that mark the turning of the year, often called the “Wheel of the Year“. Within modern Paganism there are traditionally eight sabbats – being the summer and winter solstices, the autumn and spring equinoxes, as well as four “fire” festivals. Samhain, Imbolc, Bealtaine and Lughnasadh.
The idea of this eight-fold Wheel of the Year was created in the 1950s by the founders of what has become two of the more popular modern Pagan traditions, Gerald Gardner, the founder of modern witchcraft (often referred to a Gardnerian Witchcraft or Wicca), and Ross Nichols, the founder of modern Druiry, and in particular The Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids.