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“The Witches’ Rites of Renunciation are meant to sever the religious ties of your own personal past. This is done (I have found) for two distinct reasons: to shed the preconceptions forced by organized religion, including both the doctrines and the antithetic notion of hierarchal power in regards to Enlightenment, and as a symbol of rebirth. Much like a baptism! Only in this instance, the sin you wash away is the sin of religious indoctrination, hypocrisy and the very human realities that accompany the notion of “church.” It is meant to be a freeing exercise – one that cleanses all the malformed ideologies imbued on you throughout your earlier life. Of course, that is easier said than done and no one ritual can truly clear the slate completely, but it serves as a formal boundary between the past and the future – a future in which you must relearn your understanding of the world at large. One in which the answers presented are not set in stone, but fluid – from which you must come to your own conclusions, test your own theories and tessellate the scattered mythos and ideas into a cohesive faith – you own faith, reliant wholly on none other than yourself.
That is The Witches’ Baptism, and this is one example of how it may be performed:
Ideally, the rite should be done at a Crossroad (of whichever type speaks to you the most) as it is a transformative ritual! Bring with you whatever you need to light a fire in your preferred method – such as wood for a classic bonfire, Sacred Fire to light in a bowl/cauldron/vessel, or alcohol – which can be poured in a circle (note: isopropyl alcohol isn’t fond of the cold or wind, so either plan according to weather or bring a backup solution).
On site, when you are emotionally prepared, build your fire. Depending on your chosen medium, your window of opportunity will differ greatly (the above are listed from greatest to least burn-time), so factor this in as well. For those of you who thoroughly enjoy taking your time, I recommend building a true fire.
The following part should be personalized to fit your taste, as how you wish to release the past is up to you. You can do it simply, by speaking out loud that you rebuke the religion of your youth/past (traditionally, this is done by rebuking the Holy Spirit of Christianity – the unforgivable blasphemy – so as to free oneself from its vice-grip, though the renunciation can extend to any religion [or even no religion]).
A few other options consist of writing these things out – in as long-winded or concise a manner as you wish (these can even be written days in advance) – or burning a symbol of the past. The flames are freeing – allow them to be.
Purge these broken things from the mind and heart, and cast them symbolically into the consuming fire of creation and destruction. It is these things that stand as obstacle – let them be cleansed from you. And when the time has come, when these things have been expressed and used as kindling (carefully) leap the fire (and try not to wear any hairspray!). Then you are free.
Upon the other side, you may douse the fire, allow it to burn out, or use this time to connect with another Spirit or Deity (I said you were free, not that you had to stay free!), Nature at large, or even with yourself – whichever is most befitting your chosen path. Theoretically, this could be done by an Abrahamic witch if only to cleanse the effects of church indoctrination – for those who wish to follow the gospels/tomes in a unique or personal way.”
IMAGE: “Baptism of fire: Girls leap over flames as part of ancient cleansing ceremony held on the birthday of John the Baptist,”