Charge of the Goddess

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The Charge of the Goddess is a traditional inspirational text sometimes used in the neopagan religion of Wicca. Several versions exist, though they all have the same basic premise, that of a set of instructions given by a Great Goddess to her worshippers. The most well known version is that written by Gerald Gardner,[1] and rewritten by his High Priestess Doreen Valiente in the mid 1950s, which is contained within the traditional Gardnerian Book of Shadows.

Several different versions of a Wiccan Charge of the God have since been created to mirror and accompany the Charge of the Goddess.

Contents

Themes

The opening paragraph names a collection of goddesses, some derived from Greek or Roman mythology, others from Celtic or Arthurian legends, affirming a belief that these various figures represent a single Great Mother:

This theme echoes the ancient Roman belief that the Goddess Isis was known by ten thousand names.

The second paragraph is largely derived and paraphrased from the words that Aradia, the messianic daughter of Diana, speaks to her followers in Charles Godfrey Leland's 1899 book Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches. The third paragraph is largely written by Doreen Valiente,[citation needed] with some phrases adapted from The Book of the Law and The Gnostic Mass by Aleister Crowley.[1]

The charge affirms that all acts of love and pleasure are sacred to the Goddess.

Let my worship be within the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. Therefore, let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

History

Ancient Precedents

In book eleven, chapter 47 of Apuleius's The Golden Ass, Isis delivers what Ceisiwr Serith calls "essentially a charge of a goddess".[2] This is rather different to the modern version known in Wicca, though they have the same premise, that of the rules given by a great Mother Goddess to her faithful.

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