Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
ENCYCLOPEDIA
Glossary
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

March/April 2015 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Print this Term Print this Article

The Great Rite

This article was written by Raven Grimassi on January 04, 2008
posted under Great Rite

THE GREAT RITE is a term for a sexual union, either actual or symbolic, that is usually part of the third-degree initiation ceremony in many Wiccan/Witchcraft Traditions. The Great Rite is the wedding of the masculine and feminine, the God and Goddess. It is considered a sacred act wherein the gender polarity of the initiate is joined with its opposite, thereby making the initiate whole. The Great Rite is a private ceremony between the initiate and the initiator, and one that must be totally consentual in all regards.

In ancient times this was called the Hieros Gamos, the Divine marriage. In ancient Greece the sacred marriage was celebrated to mark the marriage of Zeus and Hera, and later many Mystery sects incorporated the rite of marrying deity. The goal of the formal ritual was to make an intimate act become impersonal, thus removing the mundane personality and allowing the divine to possess and fill the void. Typically the participants were unknown to each other, and would most likely never meet again.

In modern Wicca/Witchcraft this is not the manner of initiation. The Great Rite is intended to be a spiritual joining and passing the divine nature of the Goddess and God within the human participants. Rarely, if ever, will initiations be performed where the initiator has not come to know the initiate and vice versa. Mutual trust and love are cornerstones in Wicca/Witchcraft. In some Wiccan/Witchraft Traditions the Great Rite is performed symbolically by lowering a sacred blade into an awaiting chalice. In other Traditions the Great Rite is a physical sexual union.

True health is more than a lack of disease or pain. Emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being all contribute to our overall experience of good health and positive satisfaction with ourselves and life. The new and evolving paradigm of health includes empowered self-awareness and active participation in our everyday, health-related choices. We are... read this article
Wisdom from the Trees
Gold and Alchemical Healing
Why the Waite-Smith Tarot Was the Almost Perfect Tarot
Demons, Fairies, and Saints in a Renaissance Manuscript of Magic
5 Reasons to Combine Crystals, Oils, and Essences to Facilitate a Life Well Lived

Most recent posts:
Answer the Call Spread
Taken from Tarot Spreads: Layouts and Techniques to Empower Your Readings by Barbara Moore. The Judgement card is about, in part, hearing a...

Wisdom of Swords Spread
Sasha Graham’s book 365 Tarot Spreads has a spread for every day of the year. She also includes an important historical moment from that day and...

Driving Our Own Bus Called "Life"
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Kerry Nelson Selman, author of the new Crystal Resonance. Recently, as I was meeting and greeting...




Evidence of Eternity Evidence of Eternity
Communicating with Spirits for Proof of the Afterlife

By: Mark Anthony
Price: $15.99 US,  $18.50 CAN
Bite the Biscuit Bite the Biscuit
By: Linda O. Johnston
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN
Come to Harm Come to Harm
A Novel

By: Catriona McPherson
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN
The Final Reveille The Final Reveille
By: Amanda Flower
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.50 CAN
Llewellyn's Complete Dictionary of Dreams Llewellyn's Complete Dictionary of Dreams
Over 1,000 Dream Symbols and Their Universal Meanings

By: Michael Lennox
Price: $24.99 US,  $28.95 CAN