Blessed Be ⭐ Origins of a Phrase

Everywhere you go in witchy spaces, you have likely encountered someone that said Blessed Be! to you. You have maybe even said it yourself! But do you know where this phrase comes from and why it permeates witchy spaces? I might, and I want to share that theory with you. It is obviously a theory because we can’t know for sure where the phrase came into common use, but we do know where it was ritualized.

This phrase is usually associated with Wiccans, though some non-Wiccan witches say it, too. In online spaces, it seems to be a good way to set us apart from non-witchy folx, our own sort of greeting, if you will. This phrase, Blessed Be, does come from a Wiccan source. For that, we have to go back to Gerald Gardner and his Book of Shadows.

The Ritual - The Five-Fold Kiss

This ritual is said to come directly from Gerald Gardner’s Book of Shadows. Janet and Stewart Farrar also have a version in their Book of Shadows, and I will show you both of them. It is important to keep in mind that this ritual comes from two separate traditions in Wicca (Gardnerian and Alexandrian) and I am not sure if it is used in other traditions.

Gardner’s Five-Fold Kiss

High Priestess stands in front of Altar, assumes Goddess position (arms crossed). Magus, kneeling in front of her, draws pentacle on her body with Phallus-headed Wand, invokes, “I Invoke and beseech Thee, O mighty Mother of all life and fertility. By seed and root, by stem and bud, by leaf and flower and fruit, by Life and Love, do I invoke Thee to descend into the body of thy servant and High Priestess [name].”

The Moon having been drawn down, i.e., link established, Magus and other men give Fivefold Kiss:

(kissing feet) “Blessed be thy feet, that have brought thee in these ways”;
(kissing knees) “Blessed be thy knees, that shall kneel at the sacred altar”;
(kissing womb) “Blessed be thy womb, without which we would not be”;
(kissing breasts) “Blessed be thy breasts, formed in beauty and in strength”;
(kissing lips) “Blessed be thy lips, that shall speak the sacred names.”

Women all bow.

If there be an initiation, then at this time the Magus and the High Priestess in Goddess position (Arms Crossed) says the Charge while the Initiate stands outside the circle.

Janet and Stewart Farrar’s Five-Fold Kiss

FIVE FOLD KISS FEMALE

The High Priest kneels before the High Priestess and gives her the Five Fold Kiss; that is, he kisses her on both feet, both knees, womb, both breasts, and the lips, starting with the right of each pair. He says, as he does this:

"Blessed be thy feet, that have brought thee in these ways.
Blessed be thy knees, that shall kneel at the sacred altar.
Blessed be thy womb, without which we would not be.
Blessed be thy breasts, formed in beauty.
Blessed be thy lips, that shall utter the Sacred Names."

For the kiss on the lips, they embrace, length-to-length, with their feet touching each others. When he reaches the womb, she spreads her arms wide, and the same after the kiss on the lips.

FIVE FOLD KISS MALE

The High Priestess kneels before the High Priest and gives him the Five Fold Kiss; that is, she kisses him on both feet, both knees, phallus, both breasts, and the lips, starting with the right of each pair. she says, as she does this:

"Blessed be thy feet, that have brought thee in these ways.
Blessed be thy knees, that shall kneel at the sacred altar.
Blessed be thy phallus, without which we would not be.
Blessed be thy breasts, formed in strength.
Blessed be thy lips, that shall utter the Sacred Names."

For the kiss on the lips, they embrace, length-to-length, with their feet touching each others. When she reaches the phallus, he spreads his arms wide, and the same after the kiss on the lips.

Farrar, Janet and Stewart; “Eight Sabbats For Witches”; Robert Hale 1983

You can see in each ritual that the phrase “Blessed Be” is used several times. The entire purpose of the Five-Fold Kiss in Wiccan ritual is to bless the other person, usually the High Priest blessing the High Priestess or vice versa. The five sacred parts of the body are kissed by the other person, blessing them as a sacred embodiment of the Divine. I am not sure if the blessing is done before or after Drawing Down the Moon, though it would make sense to do it before as the person is blessing the body as a vessel for the Divine.


Source

The five sacred parts of the body are the feet, the knees, the phallus/womb, the breast, and the lips. The ritual clearly states why each of these parts is considered sacred in human form, and I think it’s a beautiful sentiment. I am not going to give my entire opinion on this ritual because I have feelings about it that are directly tied to some other personal experiences, but I have never witnessed the Five-Fold Kiss in person. I am not even sure if this is still performed in other covens today, though I believe it would just be Gardnerian and Alexandrian covens.

I would like to think that the phrase “Blessed Be” as a greeting came from this ritual. If we can say it to others mindfully and embody the magic and meaning from the ritual, we can surely bless those we meet as an embodiment of the Divine themselves, if they choose. Though I don’t use it myself, it would be nice to think that it came into modern language as a way for us to recognize the Divine in ourselves and those we meet.

As a Celtic Polytheist and non-Wiccan, I have no need to perform the Five-Fold Kiss nor see it performed. I do think I can adopt some of the idea behind it, though, in recognizing that my body is a sacred vessel that carries me to the Gods in the way I need. I wouldn’t necessarily be a vessel for the Gods, but a sacred vessel of myself for Them, if that makes sense.

Have you ever seen the Five-Fold Kiss performed? Have you ever performed it yourself during ritual with a coven? If you aren’t Wiccan, do what do you think about honoring the body as sacred for the Gods?

Sources

Gardnerian Book of Shadows
Janet and Stewart Farrar’s Book of Shadows

Continuing the discussion from :sparkles: Weekly Witchy CHALLENGE - A Magickal Blessing

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I have never seen or performed the 5 Fold Kiss & honestly had no idea of its origin, but I did wonder how we came to use that phrase. It’s not something I use often, I have kind of stopped using it because I didn’t know its origin & I had moved closer to learning about Celtic Paganism. I’m getting there slowly but surely. :heart:

Thank you for sharing this wonderful information! It answered questions for me!

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@MeganB It’s such a common phrase I never thought much about it’s origin. I like your idea of it being a reminder of the sacredness of the body. Somewhat like seeing the body metaphorically as the altar from which we work our life’s magic.

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Huh. I haven’t seen the five-fold kiss given but that’s very interesting. I know that Blessed Be is used in place of Amen a lot, as is So Mote it Be. I never thought more about it though. Thanks for this!

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@Amethyst you bring up a good point… witches use, “So mote it be” often also. Now I wonder where that came from! I have also seen As Above, So Below. I actually have it on my phone as a lock screen with the Triple Moon sign. Now I want to know more about that too. I hadn’t put much thought into the origins of the phrases before now.

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I believe As Above, So Below comes from the Order of the Golden Dawn or Crowley, though I’m not entirely sure. So mote it be may also come from Crowley lol I’ll look into it and see if I can dig up some info and make another post!

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Oh that would be great. If I happen to find anything I will let you know. Today I will be working on my space & heading into organizing my BOS information that I have on my laptop. :hugs:

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I saw before; on a video, this 5 fold kiss??? It was on a Britain Wicca ritual, but didn’t know the purpose and the name of it.
Thank you @MeganB for this information.

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I knew “Blessed Be” meant to wish someone well and to only wish good upon them! I really like using this phrase it hit home for me and is why I use this phrase a lot.
Although I had never heard of the Five Fold Kiss :kissing_heart: that the Garnerians Wiccans use during there initiation rights!
It makes a lot of scene that it is a sacred practice to use such a phrase and some people don’t say it outside of ritual!
Anyway I so appreciate you giving us this info Megan😊
I am wiccan so this is one is by far my favorite phrases!
Jeannie

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Thanks for the new info! I’ve heard about the five fold kids but haven’t seen in done in person. But I use the term Blessed be and it’s good to know where origins come from!

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I think I’m too repressed to kiss anybody’s um…ah…well…private parts.
I don’t mean in any way, shape, or form to disrespect Gardner but his practice was a little too…progressive for me.
Much love, Garnet

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Agreed! I read some old books about the 5 fold kiss. Though I understand it, I could never personally perform or be performed on in a ceremony fashion. Unless there was lots of wine!

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I looked up the phrase origin of So Mote It Be, & it was used by Aleister Crowley in his writings & claimed it to be a magical phrase, but it can be traced to the Freemason & Gardner was believed to have Masonic ties. More recently, it is used in Wicca & with other pagans to say “Amen” or wrap up a ritual.

So Mote It Be Origins

When I looked up the phrase, As Above, So Below, it is from Hermetic writings. Specifically the Emerald Tablet. There is a wide variety of symbols in Levi’s famous image of Baphomet, and much of it has to do with duality. Levi incorporated the hexagram into an entwined figure of two images of God: one of light, mercy, and spirituality, and the other of darkness, material, and vengeance. Hexagrams, formed from the uniting of two triangles, are a common symbol of the unity of opposites. The practice of alchemy is rooted in Hermetic principles. Alchemists attempt to take ordinary, coarse, material things and transform them into spiritual, pure, and lofty things. This was often described as turning lead into gold, but the actual purpose was spiritual transformation. This is the “miracles of the one thing” mentioned in the hermetic tablet: the great work or magnum opus, the entire process of change that separates the physical from the spiritual and then reunites them into an entirely harmonious whole.

As Above So Below Origins

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Levi is another one linked to Freemasonry as well.

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Did you ever see pictures of Crowley…scary man.

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Well, now I’m curious :thinking:

I went to Google Images & did a search… very… Fester-ish… minus the light bulb in the mouth. :woman_shrugging:

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hahahahahaha, you are right!

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OMG! You are so right! Very Uncle Festerish!

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I’m with @Garnet on this one- it was certainly very interesting to learn about, but I won’t be making any plans to do a Five-Fold Kiss :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

Thinking back, I first encountered the phrase “Blessed Be” from various witchy media across the internet. Facebook groups, Pintrest posts, video creators on YouTube. It had seemed to me like something as tied to the magickal world as the eight holidays or spellwork. That is to say- something not everyone used, but at the same time not something tied to just one sector of magick. So this is really interesting to me to learn about!:blush:

I am most definitely Eclectic and do not consider myself Wiccan, but for me “Blessed Be” always meant a demonstration of goodwill and magickal kinship. And also, just like what Megan mentioned:

I think it is important to learn the history of words, but at the same time I know that words and language change with time. While “Blessed Be” may have originated from a Wiccan practice, I think it’s safe to say that it has spread beyond Wicca and into many other parts of the magickal world.

I personally love “Blessed Be” and feel that it carries good energy and positivity between witches and magickal folks of all paths. I’m more educated about it now, and will continue to use it in magickal greetings!

Many thanks to the wonderful @MeganB for digging into such an interesting topic and sharing your wisdom! :heart::pray::blush:

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Gosh-darn… I was hoping to be initiated. :japanese_ogre:

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