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
Bealtaine Sabbat 2016
High Priestess: Lady Eirnelian
High Priest: Lord Tanys
It is extremely rare, here in the desert of Las Vegas where there is only a 5% chance of precipitation that a ceremony will get rained out. When it does, we adapt. Lord Tanys and Lady Byaathynne opened their beautiful house to all of us and a more intimate setting for sabbat flourished. In such close quarters, the essence of family infuses the air and communion prevails.
Upon arrival, the kitchen counters filled quickly and soon overflowed with delightful goodies. As alluring as the ensuing feast would be, we visited, laughed, even studied, and finally, prepared for the revelment. Once robed and readied, we congregated in Lord Tanys' ritual room. The quarters were tight but we made room for everyone, sanctuary members and guests. Normally, our guests are outside the ring as observers, comfortably ensconced in their chairs with a heater or blanket nearby, but since accommodations were limited, we dispensed with the traditional and were honored to have them form the circle with us.
Traditional circumambulations were replaced with the joining of hands or the passing of tools. We, as a family with our loved ones, were the circle itself and we radiated its strength. Lady Eirnelian, in her first foray as High Priestess for a sabbat, seemingly nervous at first, quickly relaxed and led us in a meaningful and memorable cross-quarter day celebration.
Festivities following our ritual were not only ambrosial, but filled with song and story, music and mirth, fellowship and friendship. We all reluctantly left one another’s company at nights end, happy and joyous from our revelry. We hope everyone had as wonderful a Bealtaine as we did.
Bealtaine / Beltane Sabbat 2015
High Priestess: Lady Grayce High Priest: Lord Lyghtbrynger
The Inner Circle Sanctuary is a school for traditional style Wicca and holds eight sabbat festivals every year.