This is probably the most sensitive subject to discuss as a practitioner of the Craft. Witches have for years been accused of practically anything and everything and one of the things they are accused of is immorality and sexual deviance. There simply is no evidence of sexual immorality, even among my Pagan and Wiccan colleagues. That having been said, I want to discuss the Great Rite.
The Great Rite is the joining of the priest and priestess of a coven of Wiccan/Pagan practitioners. This can be either a symbolic union or it is an actual act. In The Witches' Bible by the Farrars, the Great Rite can be accomplished by the priest and priestess by drawing the athame (which is male energy) into the chalice (which is female energy) joining the powers of both great opposites and charging the ritual with that conjoined energy. If it is enacted physically, the priest and priestess are generally alone and takes place in the sacred space while the rest of the coven wait outside of the sacred space for the conclusion. In most cases, and this is suggested by the Farrars, the couple is in a loving and stable marriage and or other committed relationship. Usually the priest and priestess are a couple anyway, or at the very least a loving partnership from which they run the coven. It does not break down into an orgy and there are no minors involved. If you are a young person joining a coven and the priest or priestess says that you must have sex, get away from them. Wicca does not believe in forcing anyone to do anything that is against their convitions. The same with Pagans.
So, do Christian witches have the Great Rite? Perhaps, but this is a personal matter for practitioners. How about solitaries? The symbolic reactment can suffice, I suppose, but I see no need in it. I am a celibate. I have made a vow of celibacy and have dedicated myself to the service of God and the study of the Craft and developing my practice to reflect my devotion. Some witches from many different disciplines take temporary or permanent vows of celibacy. This form of self dedication is very important and should not be taken lightly.
This dynamic grouping of differing disciplines reflects the differing social groups in our world. One of those social groups in the world today is Goth. The Goth Life is often mixed up with the Victorian spiritualist movement. The Goth movement is an off branch of the 1950's beatnick movement. The Beats believed that the world was shrouded in delusion and they fostered a mix of truthtelling and cynicism. They went against the grain of society and sought to expose truths about the "Leave it to Beaver" "Ozzie and Harriet" world that society and popular media wanted to sell us. They did not believe in phony optimism and dressed, spoke and behaved in a way that ran at odds with what their families thought were "normal". Today's Goth movement seeks to do the same but while the Beats desired to wake up the generation and get them to change, I am sorry to say that the Goths seem to thrive in a sort of unrelenting gloominess and belief that there is no hope for themselves or society. They are socially depressed and often emotionally as well. They also get to rebell. They wear black and dye their hair black, they wear clothes that harken back to the days of the Victorian spiritualist and they have rather romantic views about the desperate lives they are living. They think death is a wonderful release and the only truth.
I think too, that the Goth movement tends to wallow in a sort of perpetual pity party. Life is grim on the whole but for the individual, life can be pretty good and it can be as rich and fulfilling as you want. Nothing can stop you from believing in yourself. Goths also have a reputation for dabbling in the occult. They should be careful. The supernatural is nothing to play with and dabbling is always dangerous.
And it was not my intention to be rude, I just think it needed to be said as plainly as possible. Finding something positive to believe in is important, it doesn't have to be church, or God, or the Craft, or anything else. It can be just about yourself and your potential, and no one elses.
Next time I will discuss building an altar and prayer and meditation in depth.