Charges of The Divine

We’ve done a lot of talking about types of Gods, but now I want to touch on something that is important to potential rituals you might do, especially if you plan on writing rituals for groups or your community. Some people feel you can skip this in a ritual. I usually use a generic one I’ve written unless I specifically need a particular deities help.

I know for me this was confusing. I didn’t understand why it was needed or what it even was.  I’ve seen a lot of people ignore the charge for this very reason or just look at it as a poem or something. It does have a purpose, a reason.

 But before we go much further, what is a Charge?

A charge is part prayer, part invocation, and part divine message.  Here one version of the charge of the Goddess.

There are several charges and a few very well-known ones. For example, the first charge of the Goddess was presented in 1897 in Aradia: Gospel of the Witches by Charles Leland. It has been adapted by several popular witches over the ages including: Gerald Gardner, Doreen Valiente, and Starhawk.  Another is the Charge of the God, which was written by an unknown author, but can be found fairly easily on the internet. Both of these highlight the importance of each in their roles in the world and with one another.

The charge of the Dark Goddess is another common one that you can find and use for a dark moon ritual if that’s your thing.  There are a lot of old school pagans that will use this as they feel it addresses and embraces many of the things they feel is missing in modern Wicca….that sense that we all have light and dark sides. Something that is important for us to embrace.

In contrast, charges relating to the dark God tend to relate to acceptance of things we generally don’t want to accept such as death. Not always, but these are trends that each tend to hold.

A charge doesn’t have to be as long as some of the ones you will find online. One of my favorite charges of the Dark God is just a paragraph.

Charge of the Dark God

From Teaching Witchcraft by Miles Batty

“Listen to the words of the Dark God, who was of old called Lakchos, Donn, Anubis, Hades, Setesh, Hodey, and by many other names.”

“I am the shadow in the bright day; I am the reminder of mortality at the height of living. I am the never ending veil of Night where the Star Goddess dances. I am the Death that may be so that Life may continue, for behold, Life is immortal because the living must die. I am the strength that protects, that limits; I am the power that says No, and No Further, and That is Enough. I am the things that cannot be spoken of, I am the laughter at the edge of Death. Come with me into the warm enfolding dark; feel my caresses in the bands, in the mouth, in the body of one you love, and be transformed. Blow me a kiss when the sky is dark, and I will smile, but no kiss return, for my kiss is the final one for all mortal flesh.”

Why a charge?

The charge is about intent as well as invoking the deity you are trying to work with. Sometimes this may be the General God or Goddess, or both. In other cases you may want to call upon a specific deity. But why do we use one?

There are those who will say it’s just how it is and that’s how they were taught. For me it is a tool I can use. I don’t always use it. If I have just a basic prayer to say I invoke the Goddess/God with their candle on my altar and say my prayer. But there are times I feel that I need to ask for more than a prayer. I may feel that I need to do a healing ritual or I may be conducting a ritual for a holiday or event. Generally, in those cases I will base my charge on who I feel can help me best in those situations.

For me, the charge is empowering. I remember first starting out. I didn’t know much, if anything about ritual. Looking back, I was kind of shooting in the dark. I knew about casting a circle and calling quarters, but sometimes I still felt like something was missing.  Then I found Lady G, who forced us to learn all of this. At first I was resistant. It was more work to take up my limited time, but after writing a few for class and for community rituals so that I could move on in my studies with her, I started to understand how powerful a charge could be.

The second ritual I wrote for our community was to the Goddess Medusa and the God Mithras. I remember how much trouble I had writing my charges.  Mithras was easy, but I had trouble connecting to Medusa as she had been assigned to me by Lady G. I didn’t know what I could learn from her. I kept researching and meditating on the subject and one day I just started writing. It felt as though the words just flowed seamlessly from my mind and onto the paper.

When the ritual was performed for the dark moon, I remember how much more energy I felt after the Charge of the Goddess. Part of it was that I had written it and part of it was just a feeling of sheer power. The charge is written from the perspective of the God or Goddess and read as if you are channeling them (and some priests and priestesses do).  It made me feel closer to the God and Goddess.

Parts of the Charge.

Now you may feel you do and or don’t need a charge, but I at least want to go over the parts and how to put it together. First things first, it doesn’t matter if your charge is long or short. It doesn’t matter if your charge is to a particular God/Goddess or not.

Second, there are four parts to a charge and some of these parts may appear in different places in your charge.

The first part of a charge is the invocation. An invocation is that part at the beginning of the charge where the name or names of the deity are given as well as a brief mention of their “offices” or duties as a deity.  In most cases, the invocation is the only part of the charge written in third person and spoken as if you are inviting the God/Goddess to your circle.  The rest of the charge will be written in first person as if you are the deity.

The second portion of a charge is the promise. This is where the deity lets you know what to expect. Their office is defined more clearly and some sort of pledge of guidance based on their office is made to the reader. In the example below, the first two sentences describe her office further, while the second two sentences offer a promise.

This first example is just a random example of what one could say:

“I am she who rules over the night. I bring the dark and battle with the light. Seek me and I will show you what you must face. Know me and I will share with you the mysteries of the dark.”

The third part of a charge is the challenge. This is where the deity explains what they expect in return for their help. It is a challenge that will require us to look within ourselves. Generally they relate to overcoming doubts and fears of some sort.  It may even be something that the deity challenged us with as we wrote the charge.  Notice in the example how it shows what is expected of us and what the deity wants in return.

A challenge within a charge may look something like this:

“Remember to seek me daily, for I believe in the importance of the journey to the message and not just the message itself. Be open to my methods and you will find your innermost desire despite yourself.”

The final part of the charge is the conclusion.  This is where the deity speaks directly to us and of course, brings the charge to a feeling of conclusion. Here is one from my charge to Ganesh:

“Follow my lessons and I will change your world from within you. Laugh, love and live loudly with me and enjoy this existence with the gifts given to you.  Just remember the elephant hears very well and forgets very little.”

Next Time

This post is starting to get a bit long so I’m going to wrap up for the day. In the next post I’m going to tie things up by showing you some examples in full. I’ll also give you some tips on finding the information you’ll need to write your own charges. If you get bored between now and then, look up a few charges online and see if you can find the different parts within their words.

Until Wednesday….Blessed Be.

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