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In Wicca, the Great Rite is a form of sex magic that includes either ritual sexual intercourse or else a ritual symbolic representation of sexual intercourse. Most often it is performed by the High Priest and High Priestess, but other participants can be elected to perform the Rite.
Symbolic version of the Great Rite
In the symbolic version the High Priestess plunges the athame, or ritual knife (the male symbol), into a cup or chalice (the female symbol) which is filled with wine and is held by the High Priest. The Great Rite symbolizes creation in the union of the Maiden Goddess with the Lover God, and thus is also known as a fertility rite.
Occasions for the Great Rite
A variety of ritual occasions call for the Great Rite to be performed, such as during the festival of Beltane on or about May 1 in the northern hemisphere and November 1 in the southern hemisphere.
- Morrison, Dorothy (2001). The Craft: A Witch's Book of Shadows. Llewellyn Worldwide. p. 153.
- Hume, Lynne (1997). Witchcraft and Paganism in Australia. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.
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