Wednesday, 11 September 2013 06:03

The Rite of Unfettering: A Witch's rite to nullify the spiritual influence of Catholic baptism

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It's almost, but not quite, like this.I have been doing a lot of thinking about my former Catholic religion as of late.  Though I have not given it much thought in many years - I've been happily post-Catholic for two decades now - a recent bit of light reading on the long-reaching effects of Catholic sacraments disturbed me.   In my reading, I learned that because I engaged in the sacrament of baptism, without my consent, as a helpless baby, that the Catholic church will always think that canon law applies to me. Needless to say, this is not acceptable. 

The Catholics have a pretty good schtick going on.  Get people looped in while they're too young to resist, and lay a spiritual law upon them that will, according to them, apply to the person for the rest of his or her life.  Recently, changes to canon law, after a flood of mail with intents to defect, has made it so that it's difficult, if not nearly impossible to formally defect.  Of course, one still should send their intent to defect anyhow - this page explains the process.  You can strengthen your case by stating that you converted to another religion, and even further strengthen your case by stating that you are a leader in that religion.  Despite all of this, the church may well send you a letter stating that you cannot defect.* This is irrelevant. You don't need their permission to defect. Even if they are too co-dependent themselves to accept rejection, just remember - no means no.

The Catholic church maintains that baptism is for life, and for most people without the spiritual know-how to nullify it, it is.  I did some research on the topic, and found little solid information on what I consider to be a very important topic. I was amused with the atheists and their clever notion of using a hair-dryer for debaptism, but I needed something that addressed the actual ritual workings of the baptism ceremony.  As one who understands the nature of energy in spiritual workings, I needed something that addressed the spiritual marks that were set at the baptism ceremony.  Other than the writings in Paul Huson's classic, "Mastering Witchcraft," which were more geared toward a general removal of past Christian influence, I found nothing in the Pagan sphere on this topic, so, I took it upon myself to write my own rite.  This rite is written within a Wiccan paradigm, but can be adapted to suit any spiritual path.  All of my work is released under a Creative Commons attribution, non-commerical, no-derivative license, but I permit this to work be modified to suit your need.   Without further ado, here it is.  It also can be downloaded as a PDF for ease of printing.

*Addendum: As of today, I am no longer a lapsed Catholic; I am an ex-Catholic. I am surprised and delighted to announce that the local diocese accepted my petition for defection. I am glad to be completely, fully, and totally out of the Catholic influence now and forever.

The Rite of Unfettering: A Witch's rite to nullify the spiritual influence of the Catholic Baptism

by Naya Aerodiode


This rite's purpose is to remove the spiritual ties placed upon one by the Catholic church at baptism. In the Catholic church, children are baptized shortly after birth, and in doing so, they are marked by the Catholic church as one of theirs. Baptism subjects the child to Catholic canon law, and all spiritual pursuits from marriage to priesthood will be considered in violation of a previously applied spiritual law. Though this may seem trivial, and many lapsed Catholics just shrug it off, to those of us who understand magical energy and respect our own theology, it is important to remove these laws, ties and spiritual markings so we may be free to pursue our own desires, unfettered.  I chose specifically to address the sacrament of baptism, because all sacraments after that require that the sacrament of baptism be properly fulfilled.  If the baptism is nullified, all subsequent sacraments are nullified.

In true heretical style, the format of this rite is copied directly from the Catholic rite of baptism. For the sake of thouroughness, I suggest reading the original text at: . In copying the style closely, I have endeavored to re-create the conditions under which the child was initially baptized in order to most effectively nullify its effects. My reasoning is this: this ritual was deeply imprinted on the tender, developing mind of a baby. Recreating it with the intent of overwriting and undoing its effects will tap into those deep, pre-conscious memories and reprogram them, removing the undesirable spiritual qualities that were placed there; go back to the initial point of infection to administer the cure. Near the end of the rite, a candle is extinguished, at which point the use of the Catholic framework is ended. At this point the HP/S hands an athame – the technology of the Witch – to the Candidate, to finalize the cuts using his or her own tools, outside of the Catholic church's paradigm.

This rite is specifically written for the Catholic baptism. I encourage those who were baptized in other religious paths to likewise ritually nullify their baptisms, should they feel the need to do so, but to be most effective at it, you should write your own rites specific to your former religion. If it helps, please use this text as a guideline.

Throughout this rite, the gods are referred to as “The Lady and the Horned One.” Feel free to use your own sacred names of the divine, or to otherwise modify this part according to your own needs.

Roles needed:

HP, HPS, or both – those giving the rite to the one nullifying the baptism. Throughout this text, this role is designated as “HP/S.” If there are an HP and HPS, just divide up the lines accordingly.

The Candidate: The one nullifying the influence of baptism.

Other coveners/friends/witnesses (if desired)

Tools needed:

The candidate's athame

A white piece of fabric, to be destroyed. If it's your baptismal gown, so much the better.

Anointing oil

Blessed salt water

Blessed incense and censor

A white candle, with a Christian cross carved into it

A cauldron or a bowl


If possible, this rite should take place at the new moon, at its darkest point, by the face of the crone who removes all things that are no longer useful to us.


Before the circle is cast, the white candle is lit and the Candidate is draped with the white garment.

Cast the circle as usual, and do the usual invocations of divinity.

Ring the bell three times.

HP/S: What is the name you were given at birth?

Candidate: (Answers accordingly)

HP/S: What is the name you have given yourself, as a brother/sister in the Craft?

Candidate: (Answers accordingly, or says, “I have chosen to continue using my birth name, by my own free will.”)

HP/S: Was it your will to be baptized?

Candidate: I was too young to resist. I was forced into baptism without my consent.

HP/S: What is it you seek from the Lady and the Horned One this night?

Candidate: To remove the mark of baptism from my spirit, and to sever all spiritual ties that have been forced upon me by the Catholic church.

HP/S: You are asking to have your baptism nullified. In doing so, you are accepting responsibility for your own spiritual growth, and will henceforth follow your own path, unfettered by any ties from the Catholic church. It will be your duty to be the captain of your own ship, to seek meaning in life for yourself, and to come to your own understanding of morality, honor, and wisdom. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?

Candidate: I do.

HP/S turns to the witnesses present and says the following. If there are no witnesses, skip this part.

HP/S: Are you ready to stand by this son/daughter of the Universe as s/he breaks the bonds of the church, and seeks his/her own path?

Witnesses: We do.

HP/S: It is with great joy and honor that I/we aid you in your claiming of freedom and sovereignty for yourself. I hereby cleanse you of the mark of the cross laid upon you at birth.

HP/S: (Draws a banishing pentagram on Candidate's forehead with salt water) With earth and with water, I do cleanse the mark of the cross from your spirit.

HP/S: (Censes Candidate's forehead) With air and with fire, I do cleanse the mark of the cross from your spirit.

HP/S then offers the salt water and incense to others present, and invites them to do the same.

HP/S then turns to the candidate, and offers him/her the bowl of salt water.

HP/S: The most important cleansing of this mark will come from you, yourself. Take the power of the four elements in your hands, and with them, purify yourself.

Candidate: (Draws banishing pentagram on own forehead). With earth and with water, I wash the mark of the cross away.

HP/S hands censor to candidate.

Candidate: (Censes own forehead). With air and with fire, I purify myself, removing the mark of the cross.

Spiritual Reading

At this point, an inspirational piece of Wiccan or Pagan-inspired prose is read aloud. The Charge of the Dark Goddess is a good choice, given that it is a dark moon, but anything that focuses on the ability of the gods to make one new again is appropriate.

Calling upon the Divine

HP/S: Brothers and sisters in the Craft, all spirits present in this space, and ancestors of (Candidate's name), let us call upon the Lady and the Horned One to inspire (Candidate's name), that s/he may be guided in their wisdom.

HP/S: By the mysteries of the cycles of life, death, and resurrection, bathe (Candidate's name) in the light of the moon, sun, planets and stars, and surround (Candidate's name) with the powers of the elements.

HP/S: Through the nullification of this baptism, make him/her whole, faithful and complete onto him/herself, unfettered and free.

All: So mote it be!

Prayer of Connection and Anointing Before Unfettering

HP/S: We were born at the beginning of time, the atoms in our bodies forged in the ancient, mighty stars, in their tremendous heat and pressure. For billions upon billions of years, our bodies have been formed from the chaotic void and recycled back into it, only to be formed again.

HP:/S: Our spirits are eternal, it is only our form that changes. We are the whole of the universe, wearing many masks, so that the universe may experience itself. We are pure beings, and our only sin is our lack of perspective and understanding of ourselves as the infinite, luminous beings that we truly are.

Candidate: (Draws invoking pentagram with anointing oil on forehead). I anoint myself with the oil, which represents the life force, in recognition of myself as an eternal being of infinite light.

Invocation of the Mighty Ones

HP/S: Brothers and sisters in the Craft, spirits and ancestors, we seek the power of the ancient and mighty Gods, older than time and greater than the whole of the Universe, to give (Candidate's name) life in abundance through freedom of spirit. Great Lady and Lord, O mighty ones of the Moon and Earth, Sun and Stars, eternal forces of Life and Death, who exist in every atom, every spirit and every idea, we call upon you! Lend your power to this rite!

Renunciation of the Catholic Church

HP/S: Do you reject the Catholic church?

Candidate: I do.

HP/S: And its influence upon you?

Candidate: I do.

HP/S: And its concepts of sin and guilt, so that you may live in freedom and self-direction?

Candidate: I do.

HP/S: Do you reject the comfort of returning to the familiar and the known, instead of striking forward boldly into the future?

Candidate: I do.

HP/S: Do you believe in the holiness of the Catholic church?

Candidate: I do not believe in the holiness of the God of the Catholic Church, nor do I believe in the holiness of Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary. I do not believe in the holiness of the Holy Spirit or the Catholic church. I do not believe in the communion of saints, nor do I believe in the Catholic church's concepts of sin, resurrection of the body, or the afterlife.

Purging of the Waters of Baptism

HP/S: Is it your will that you unfetter yourself from all influence of your baptism, removing your connection to the Catholic church, and renouncing all claim it has on you?

Candidate: It is.

HP/S then holds up the bowl and says:

HP/S: When you were placed in the baptismal font, some of that water became part of your pattern. Return that water now, so that it leaves your pattern and is recycled into the universe.

Candidate spits into the bowl, as many times as are needed for the candidate to feel that the effects of baptism have been fully purged.

HP/S pours some of the blessed salt water into the bowl with the spit, and says:

HP/S: With earth and with water, I neutralize this baptismal water, removing all of its spiritual influence. It is nothing more than water now, plain and simple water. Your spirit is free from baptism.

Candidate: It is done. So mote it be!

All: So mote it be!

Anointing of the Self

Candidate anoints self again on forehead with an invoking pentagram

Candidate: I awaken myself into life beyond the Catholic church. I am free of their influence, their law, and their dogma. I am whole onto myself. I am sovereign.

Rending of the White Garment

HP/S lifts the cloth from the Candidate's shoulders and places it in his/her hands.

HP/S: (Candidate's name), you have become a new creation. See in this garment your past, and learn from it. Know that you will always be one who was raised in the Catholic church, and you cannot erase that. Instead, let your experiences give you wisdom and understanding, while knowing that you are no longer bound by them. This garment was your binding to the Catholic church. Destroy it now, and rend the ties the Catholic church has placed on you.

Candidate destroys garment – cutting, ripping, or burning are all acceptable ways to do so.

Extinguishing the Candle

HP/S takes the candle and says:

HP/S: Here is the light you received at your baptism, the spirit of a god that was forced upon you.

Candidate holds the candle, and says:

Candidate: This light was entrusted to my parents and godparents to keep burning in my spirit. Now that I am an adult, I choose my own way to enlightenment. I no longer need the light of a god and a church I no longer want in my life; I have my own spiritual path to light my way.

The candidate blows the candle out, and the candle is placed below the altar, out of sight.

The Unfettering

HP/S: The athame is the tool of the Witch. Created from earth, forged in fire, tempered in water, and slicing through air, it is the perfect embodiment of the four elements.

HP/S holds hands over athame.

HP/S: We call upon the Lady and the Horned One, once again, to empower this athame this night, that it may cut true and manifest the pure will of the wielder.

HP/S then hands the Candidate's athame to the Candidate, and says:

HP/S: With this athame you are the master of all magicks, and ruler of the subtle energies of the spirit. Use this tool to cut the ties that were forced upon you without your consent and to sunder all claims the Catholic church laid upon you. Reclaim your sovereignty with this sacred blade.

Candidate takes athame and holds it aloft.

Candidate: With the tool of the Witch in my hand, the powers of the elements coursing through me, and the might of the Lady and the Horned One infusing my spirit, I do cut these ties, break these bonds, and sever all connection to the Catholic church.

Candidate makes cutting motions all around his/her body, severing all spiritual ties with the athame. When finished, the Candidate returns the athame to its place on the altar.

Candidate: It is done. So mote it be!

All: So mote it be!

Conclusion of the Rite

HP/S motions for all to join hands, and then says:

HP/S: We have witnessed the renewal of (Candidate's name) in this sacred space, as s/he has reclaimed her sovereignty and removed the fetters laid upon her by the Catholic church. May we always remember that spirituality is never to be forced on another, and that the most sacred quest a human can endeavor is to know oneself and to seek one's own understanding of the divine. Never shall we Witches interfere with this, but always shall we support our fellow human beings in their own sacred quest. So mote it be!

All: So mote it be!

Cakes and wine, then close the circle as usual.

After the circle is closed, the remnants of the garment and candle should be buried or discarded in a trash bin off of the candidate's and the coven's property.

After the rite, the candidate may feel free to burn a bible or a missal, desecrate a host, draw a comical mustache on a crucified Jesus, look at nun porn, tell offensive religious jokes, send a donation to Planned Parenthood, flush Catholic holy water down the toilet, or make any other statements of blasphemy needed to release oneself from the influence of the Catholic church. Just don't get arrested.