• Maggie Shayne

Sacred Texts of the Craft: The Witch's Rune



The Witches Rune seems to be a basic Altar Devotion or Altar Quickening, that is a rite one performs at the very beginning of ritual before casting the circle, to bring the Altar to life--kind of activating the elemental representations with power. It's also a power-raising charm, and a potent one!


The Rune has two, widely circulated versions. I never knew which way Doreen Valiente intended it to be shared.


The text of the two versions are similar. The original was titled The Witch's Chant, and I've seen the image of it in Doreen's own hand, so clearly this was the one she actually wrote, but maybe an early draft. I love the power version 1 gains from the repeated use of the same couplet after each quatrain. Queen of witchdom and of night, work my will by magic rite.


The other version, the one I like best, and which has been shared widely in the community, is known better as The Witch's Rune. It mixes up the lines so that every other line rhymes. I suspect Valiente revised it a bit at some point because the second version is definitely an improvement. However, I miss the repetition of that couplet.


If I were doing this to raise power, I would add the couplet from version 1 after each stanza of version 2.


Here are both versions.


The Witch's Chant

Original Version by Doreen Valiente


O' darksome night and shining moon,

Hel's dark mistress, Heaven's queen,

Hearken to the Witch's Rune,

Diana, Lilith, Melusine!

Queen of witchdom and of Night,

Work my will by magic rite.


Earth and water, air and fire,

Conjured by the Witch's blade,

Move ye unto my desire,

Aid ye as the charm is made!

Queen of witchdom and of night,

Work my will by magic rite.


In the earth and air and sea,

By the light of moon or sun

As I pray so mote it be

Chant the spell and be it done

Queen of witchdom and of night,

Work my will by magic rite.


The Witches' Rune

Possibly a later draft of the above


O' darksome night and shining moon,

East and South and West and North,

Hearken to the Witch's Rune,

Here I come to call thee forth.


Cords and censer, scourge and knife,

Powers of the Witch's blade

Waken all ye unto life

Come ye as the charm is made


Queen of Heaven, Queen of Hel,

Horned Hunter of the night,

Lend thy pow'r unto my spell,

Work my will by magic rite.


By all the powers of land and sea,

All the powers of moon and sun,

As I do will, so mote it be

Chant the spell and be it done.


Bonus suggestion: Using the second version, you can sing "O darksome night and shining moon" instead of "O say are you going to Scarborough Faire" and see how beautifully it fits the music! Ever since I discovered this happy coincidence, I've taken to singing this poem instead of chanting it.


The Book: Charge of the Goddess


This book has many of "The Mother of Modern Witchcraft's" writings in her own hand. Original versions and early drafts of some of Doreen Valiente's most beloved texts.


Recent Posts

See All