Chapter 13 - The Great Rite - part g
In the Great Rite, the changing of one of these phrases to “lance to grail” is undoubtedly a reference to the Arthurian Grail legends, perhaps to imply Celtic mysteries and myths. In doing so the emphasis is then superficially moved to the sexual symbolism, and in reality is referring to the blood of Christ, as the Grail legends are focused on the grail being used by Joseph of Arimathea to collect Christ’s blood after his side was pierced by the lance when he was hanging on the cross. So it is the literal blood of life of the man-god, not the symbolic blood/wine of the Eucharist, which is actually implied here.
Although there are many earlier precedents of the hieros gamos and sacred sex, the Great Rite in Wicca is most likely to draw its practice from the Thelemic magickal orders of the early twentieth century, like the Ordo Templi Orientis, Great Brotherhood of God and Fraternitas Saturni, which all used sex magick as part of their practices.
When considering the origins of the Great Rite, possibly the most controversial and easily misunderstood aspect of the Wiccan tradition, we felt we should end this chapter with a quote from the nineteenth century American sex magician Pascal Randolph, whose work undoubtedly influenced many who would follow, including the magickal orders we have just mentioned, even though he is rarely credited. In writing on sexual magick Randolph said:
“The union of the man with the woman must be innocent. Lust for pleasure must not be the main purpose. Transcending carnal pleasure, aim at the union of the spirits, if you want your prayer to be exhausted in ecstasy. If you conform to these principles, the sexual act will become a source of spiritual and material force for you and a fountainhead of wisdom, happiness and peace. In magic, you search for that which is called the fortune of spirit.”
 Magia Sexualis, Randolph, 1876
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.