Wiccan Naming Ceremony

According to Wiccan tradition, a baby is still connected to his mother in a symbolic sense until the umbilical cord stub is gone. At this point, the baby is considered an independent being and this is a suitable time to hold a naming ceremony. The naming ceremony is known as Wiccaning or Saining.

The Child Becomes Part of Something Greater Than Himself.

The naming ceremony serves the purpose of presenting a new individual to his community and of ensuring that the child becomes a part of something greater than himself. Through the naming, the child is placed under the protection of those present at the ceremony. Some parents like to appoint guardians for their child at this time. This is more a symbolic, than a legal guardianship, something akin to the Christian concept of Godparents.

Parents Promise to Protect, Love, Honor, and Raise the Infant

At the Saining, the parents assume the roles of high priest and priestess. During the ceremony, they swear an oath that binds them to the new baby. They promise to protect, love, honor, and raise the infant to the best of their ability.

A sturdy table is set up as an altar at the center of the gathering. Guests form a circle around the altar with the guardians of the infant taking place of honor alongside the parents. Next, the parent of the opposite sex to the new infant calls upon the gods to join in the naming of the child.

There is much poetic chanting at the ceremony by the parents and guests. The parent leading the ceremony then turns to the appointed Guardians of the child, and asks them to declare themselves. The baby is placed on the altar and the parent uses blessing oil to trace a pentagram on the baby's forehead, saying: "May the gods keep this child pure and perfect and let anything that is negative stay far beyond her world." A drop of milk is then placed on the baby's lips, and more chanting is done, blessing the baby with good fortune and health. The leader then uses the blessing oil to trace the pentagram on the baby's chest and announced the child's name. The cup of water or wine is passed clockwise around the circle. Each guest takes a sip and pledges to honor the infant. The parents present their child to each guest as they sip from the cup. The Guardians are the last to be presented with the cup and infant and they bless the child. Then the parents hold the baby skyward to show the gods their new baby.

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