The Elders of Inner Circle Sanctuary (ICS) are made up of second and third degree initiates of the ICS, or previous TOTIC, program. The job of the Elders, as administrators, is to resolve issues, plan extracurricular events, review the teaching programs, discuss the advancements and well-being of our members, and plan, assign, and execute the sabbat holidays. When needed or desired, an Elder will step in and perform the sabbat ritual.
Being a student of ICS means you never stop learning. Our 1st year students learn the basic sabbat ring and perform as High Priestess or High Priest when they want to and are able. It is the only ring we ask our students to use whenever they do any work. It is chock full of every basic ritual a new and burgeoning witch needs.
Our second year students learn a whole new ring to add to their repertoire; a different way of creating sacred space. Just as in the first year, it is a ring they must commit to memory while maintaining the first year sabbat ring.
Third year students learn several rings. The rings for the third year program cover the gamut of priesthood duties: Wiccanings, Handfastings, Requiems, Initiations, and more involved sabbat rings, or as we call them: Greater Ritual Rings.
When an ICS Elder fulfills the role of a High Priestess or High Priest of a sabbat, they can institute something we call "Elder Options." An Elder Option is when an Elder adds particular parts of a Greater Ritual Ring to the first year sabbat ring. It is a change-up and quite the treat (or scare tactic) for those students looking to attain their second degree initiation. On rare occasion, both roles of High Priestess and High Priest are filled with an elder and when this happens, those elders can decide to blow the socks off their younger, up & coming, brethren. This was the occasion at our Bealtaine sabbat.
Lady Sistterwolf, 2nd degree initiate, Elder, & Guardian was the High Priestess and Lord Tanys, 3rd degree initiate, Guardian, and High Priest of ICS led our coven in the Bealtaine sabbat and fully populated it with Elder Options. The younger members of the coven were able to see the entirety of the opening ritual from a wholly different viewpoint.
Because we wanted it to be a surprise, there was a bit of discombobulation when they realized none of them had been assigned to call quarters, sprinkle, or cense. When the huge bag of salt was uncovered by a first year student, their thought was, "Holy Cow, was it really necessary to bring this gargantuan bag [of salt] to fill up the little bowl for the altar!?” And then there was more "hubbub and confusion" when the members were asked to line up their chairs outside the ring in a spot where that is not normally done. Thankfully, our group is a curious bunch so the irregularities were more in wonderment that chaos, as if the fun and endearing Lord of Misrule had come to share the night.
We remind our members every single sabbat to dress in layers because here in the high desert of the Mohave, it gets quite cold at night... no matter how hot it gets during the day. The relief from the cold of being outside the ring was collectively felt when they were finally allowed to enter. Immediately, the Witches' Rune helped to bring the temperature higher so that the cold was all but forgotten. The ritual for Bealtaine itself was filled with mirth and rejoicing. The Great Rite was a beautiful and poignant display of our reverence for all life, and the closing ritual was filled with toasts and love. The sabbat was incredible for elders and younger members alike.
But the after party though... So. Much. Food. So. Much. Our beloved guests entertained us with stories and the members themselves provided us with poems and songs and jokes to delight.
Last word concerning this sabbat for all of us at ICS: Unforgettable.
Elder & Guardian
Inner Circle Sanctuary
The Inner Circle Sanctuary is a school for traditional style Wicca and holds eight sabbat festivals every year.