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To heal and strengthen your maiden self
To be performed on the new moon; or the first appearance of the waxing crescent.

Place upon your altar a fresh white candle. budding flowers, some mugwort (Anemisia), some sprouting seeds, a ceremonial cup of fresh spring water, and images of the bright and dark maidens.

As the sun sinks into the west, and the maiden crescent begins to follow her down the sky, put on some gentle, flowing music, light some candles and frankincense. Prepare a ritual bath with lavender, saffron, and laurel. (You can tie these herbs in a cheesecloth to prevent drainage problems). Take your time bathing. Pour the scented water gently over each part of your body, celebrating your beauty and womanhood. Imagine that with each caress of water you are washing away tiredness, stagnation and negative attitudes, bringing rejuvenation to your limbs, face. and torso. Wet your hair too, feeling all negative thoughts and memories dissolving away into the water. As you arise from your bath say to yourself, "I am Maiden, beautiful, renewed, refreshed, reborn. Dress in something special that makes you feel young and free. Put flowers in your hair or tuck one behind your ear. Dance before your altar, imaganing that all the maiden goddesses are dancing with you. When you feel ready, seat yourself before your altar. Light the candle, saying:

"With this flame I ignite within me The spirit of the maiden. "

Ring the bell for a while, and do some deep breathing, concentrating on the candle flame. Raise your eyes to the two maiden-goddess images and say aloud:

"I am whole unto myself
I am One bright maiden
Strong, invincible, and free
I am the dark maiden
Cloaked in veils and mystery
I am the pulse of the sun
And the pull of the moon
Flowing from one to the other
In perfect harmony
Where I walk
None can hinder me
I am maiden
Forever young and free."

Chant these words again and again as you gaze upon the images before you. Feel their meanings vibrating through every cell of your body, and your feet in every direction, through your aura. Take some time for silent meditation. Ask the goddess to send you strong images of powerful maiden goddesses and role models in your everyday life. See the images on the altar float toward you and enter into you, so that you and they become as one. Take up the bowl of nawers and drink deeply. Say aloud:

"Maiden goddesses,
I drink of thy sweetness and strength
And so am filled with thy spirit."

Eat a sprout, saying:

"As this red burst with new life
So am 1 filled with vitality."

Breathe fully and deeply through out the entire ritual. When you feel ready, ground the energy, ring the bell, and snuff out the candle. This ritual should be repeated at the waxing crescent moon, and there after as many times as you wish.

Written by Shekhinah Mountainwater

Book of Shadows © 2001, Dana (Huntress of the Dark)