We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Great Rite: Symbolic vs. Actual


With our next sabbat being Beltane, the Holy Day of Sacred Marriage and the Holy Night of Sacred Union, I have been thinking a lot about The Great Rite and what it means. Its' symbolic connection to the Goddess and God in ritual is indeed a very powerful act.


So what is the difference between the "Actual" Great Rite and the "Symbolic" version? Well to start with, the Actual Great Rite is exactly that - the "actual" act of the sacred joining of the Goddess and God through a coven's Wiccan High Priestess and High Priest. This can either be enacted inside the sacred circle in front of the rest of the coven members or it can be performed in a more private setting.

 The Symbolic Great Rite holds much the same meaning as the Actual in that it still symbolizes the sacred union of the Goddess and God, but it is done through the use of a consecrated athame (representing the "phallas of the God") and the chalice of wine or juice (which represents the "womb of the Mother").  


As a Solitary practitioner, I naturally incorporate the Symbolic version into my rituals and I much prefer it to the Actual with regards to my Wiccan group as well. Although it usually depends upon an individual's comfortability, I, myself, hesitate to participate in an Actual Great Rite (sacred or otherwise) with anyone other than my spouse and only if he were a member of the Pagan clergy (a High Priest or the like) albeit not in the company of others.

The Great Rite in itself is a very sacred act and I can tell you from my own personal experience that, sometimes even when only performed Symbolically with another individual, the sexual energy raised during this particular act can be quite intense and overwhelming! It is certainly nothing to fool around with and most especially not in the hands of anyone who does not understand its' true purpose in ritual.

Of course, depending upon the persons who are performing the Symbolic Great Rite, the energy may not necessarily be the same every time for everyone. For example, if both individuals happen to be female (or male) and have no natural attraction to the same sex, the experience may not tend to be as intimate as perhaps a male and female bonding in this way.


Personally speaking, I view The Great Rite as a very beautiful, sacred gift from the Goddess and God which should always be respected and thought through thoroughly before using in any ritual ceremony.

3 comments:

  1. I also prefer the symbolic to the actual. After all, it is the meaning behind the act that counts, not the act itself, you know?

    Thanks for sharing!

    Sandy

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  2. Goodness, thanks for the article I was terrified, lol. I'm serious.

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