Adore The Spirit Of Me
For many people today the Charge of the Goddess is synonymous with the Wiccan tradition. The Charge of the Goddess is essentially a piece of sacred prose read or recited by the High Priestess following the ceremony of Drawing Down the Moon.
The term “Old Charges” was used in Freemasonry for recited texts used in the degree initiations describing the secret signs and mythology and history of Freemasonry. This term can be dated to at least the 1680s and gives us the most probable source for the use of the term ‘Charge’ in the Wiccan tradition, though of course in Freemasonry it was not used to represent the words of a deity. The following extract from an old charge of Freemasonry demonstrates the emphasis on moral behaviour and personal choice found in these texts:
“but Masonry being found in all nations, even of divers religions, they are now only charged to adhere to ’that religion in which all men agree,’ (leaving each Brother to his own particular opinions), that is to be Good Men and True Men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever Names, Religions or Persuasions they may be distinguished.”
Before we delve into the origins of the Charge of the Goddess, we will consider what Gerald Gardner, who first part published it, had to say. In his book Witchcraft Today Gardner suggested possible explanations for the origins of the Charge. He quoted part of the text and explained that it was read before initiations and then continued saying: “The charge I think came from the time when Romans or strangers came in; it explains a little which would not be known to all in the old days…” This seems a strange claim as it is incredibly unlikely that he was unfamiliar with the Aradia from which part of the text he quoted originated. For this reason we must conclude that he was either genuinely unaware of the origins of the Charge of the Goddess, in which case someone else must have provided him with it, or that he was involved in the construction of the Charge of the Goddess and was trying to provide the Charge with a fake history.
 The Freemasons Quarterly Magazine and Review, 1846
Extract from: Wicca: Magical Beginnings written by d’Este & Rankine, 2008 (Avalonia.) PB / Kindle @ https://amzn.to/3Ay4HJr. Shared here with the intention to inspire and inform the now and future generations interested in Wicca and other Pagan traditions inspired by it.