Tuesday, September 01, 2009

That Which Is Remembered Does Not Die

Doreen Valiente died ten years ago today, just as the idea of forming my own wonderful circle of women was percolating in the mind of our lovely founder. The African Alchemist has a lovely tribute up that chronicles Doreen's life as both a witch and a feminist.

‘We’re beginning to see now how a lot of the persecution of Witches in historic records was really very much concerned with the persecution of women and putting them in their place, as they regarded it. Uppity women were regarded as being Witches and suspected of being Witches, and a lot of the women healers were degraded to being regarded as Witches simply because they were women. Only men could practice medicine. Nowadays, we’re beginning to see how the connection between feminism and Witchcraft is not something that’s new. It’s something that’s been there all along. In fact, it’s something that’s vital at the foundation of it.’

It's fitting, I suppose, that our circle reads Valiente's Charge of the Goddess at every Sabbat and our annual retreat.

Listen to the words of the Great Mother, who was of old also called Artemis; Astarte; Diana; Melusine; Aphrodite; Cerridwen; Dana; Arianrhod; Isis; Bride; and by many other names.

Whenever ye have need of anything, once in a month, and better it be when the Moon be full, then ye shall assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of me, who am Queen of all Witcheries.

There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet have not yet won its deepest secrets: to these will I teach things that are yet unknown.

And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye are really free, ye shall be naked in your rites; and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love, all in my praise.

For mine is the ecstasy of the spirit and mine also is joy on earth; for my Law is Love unto all Beings.

Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever toward it; let naught stop you or turn you aside.

For mine is the secret door which opens upon the Land of Youth; and mine is the Cup of the Wine of Life, and the Cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Grail of Immortality.

I am the Gracious Goddess, who gives the gift of joy unto the heart. Upon earth, I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal; and beyond death, I give peace, and freedom, and reunion with those who have gone before. Nor do I demand sacrifice, for behold I am the Mother of All Living, and my love is poured out upon the earth.

Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess, she in the dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven; whose body encircleth the Universe; I, who am the beauty of the green earth, and the white Moon among the stars, and the mystery of the waters, and the heart’s desire, call unto thy soul. Arise and come unto me.

For I am the Soul of Nature, who giveth life to the universe; from me all things proceed, and unto me must all things return; and before my face, beloved of gods and mortals, thine inmost divine self shall be unfolded in the rapture of infinite joy.

Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth, for behold: all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honour and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

And thou who thinkest to seek for me, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not, unless thou know this mystery: that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee.

For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning; and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.

Picture found here.


Teacats said...

I wonder if the Pagan community would hold a "Doreen Valiente" day -- just wondering! What kind of day would honor such a wide-reaching spirit?

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

Mary LA said...

Thanks for the link -- and for putting up that powerful Charge of the Goddess in full.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

One word: goosebumps.

Anonymous said...


Doreen was an amazing woman, and is definitely not forgotten.

There will be a 'Day for Doreen' at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London, on 13th September, with video material, celebration and remembrances from many Wiccan elders, tickets and info from Atlantis Books, Museum Street , London, also on the net.

all Doreens carefully collected press cuttings on Witchraft and others fascinating subjects have been photographed by the Meuseum of Witchcraft, Boscastle, cornwall an should be avaible on the net or disc via them.

Many of these cuttings have been used by Melissa Seims in her excellent website on the early days of Gardnerian Wicca. A search should find it.

I may not find my way here again, just following links today, so please do not be offended if I do not respond to queries.

Blessed be

Melissa Harrington.