Chapter 7

PC bookNOTE that the ritual scripts in this chapter are always evolving – and I do try to write in the most recent version: so it will be different to some extent from the version in the printed copy of the book.

The Ritual Events and the Scripts

Following is a description of various aspects of the ritual events, how they actually unfold generally – including inviting the people there, the place, how we spend the time, how the group is prepared for the ritual, who helps facilitate, and then the ritual scripts/dramas themselves as they are currently. I understand any particular ritual event as an invitation to participate in a Poem, an invitation into a Poetic experience, much like going to theatre except that it is participatory theatre. It is ritual theatre, wherein there is a script known in part by at least one facilitator/celebrant, but it is not completely known, as the “actors” are not yet all assembled with their full parts spliced in. There is an expressed intention in the gathering, but the actual unfolding is unpredictable. The Poetic experience is co-created though there is a guiding story – there is hearing and speaking, learning and expression, receiving and giving, that is ever reciprocal. The sum of the whole cycle of the year of ritual events then is an invitation to participate in a Poem over time – over the period of the year or years; and that has another whole dimension to it.

Invitations

I produce an “invitation” or flyer for each Sabbat, which is meant to orient the prospective participants to the Seasonal Moment. These invitations spell out the reason for the season, give a summary of the Seasonal Moment and a sense of the celebration, along with some details of what to bring. It is usual each year, for me to re-consider the wording and make some changes as my understandings develop and change, and especially if any changes have been made to some of the ritual processes. These invitations are sent out to an interested list of persons that has grown over time. Even people who choose to come to only very few of the ritual celebrations, express their enjoyment of receiving these invitations, as reminders of the Season. It may encourage them to make the transition to Gaian time-space, and to create their own manner of celebration.

Place

Although over the years almost all of the seasonal rituals that I have facilitated have taken place within the Blue Mountains – my region, each ritual has not taken place in the same location. I would have preferred that it did, but it was not possible. I had to move for a time from my home, a ritual place with which I was “familiar” – “family”. This dislocation was a source of some disruption to me, but one that was expressive of the whole situation of this work at the time: that is, there was not really a space for it, a place, a situation, a site. One of the outcomes of the academic research, which enabled the deepened practice of the rituals (and also the meeting of my supportive and participatory partner) was the development of a place, a site. This place for the rituals turned out to be a return to my home where they have been held ever since. I now consider it important that I am present in my ceremonial place – my home – at the time of the Seasonal Moment, participating with my community in the ritual. I do not go away during these times: I feel committed to the ceremony on this site and its multivalent significance.

When I had left my home just prior to beginning the research, I realized then that I felt that the trees and plants there knew me – there had already been many seasonal rituals celebrated there. After that, quite often the rituals were held in places with which I was un-familiar, that is, I was very aware that I was not “family” with the place; or within structures that had probably never witnessed such ceremony before. It was important to me that I visited, familiarized myself, and meditated in the space, at least a week before the ritual. On the day of the ritual, I was always keen to get into the space as soon as I could, to set up and settle in. It was always a relief when the ritual was able to be celebrated at my place of dwelling, where I had plenty of time in the space, and also where I did not have to vacate as soon as it was concluded. I did notice that when a particular place was repeatedly the location for sequential Seasonal rituals, that the memory of the previous Seasonal motifs and rites would present themselves spontaneously, as the present one was being prepared and carried out. This was a great pleasure and added to my real understanding of this religious practice.

I relate all of this so as to say that compromises may sometimes need to be made for a time, but in my experience, the determination to proceed as best one can, with a generosity of spirit, and continued vision and feeling for what one is essentially celebrating, will eventuate in fulfillment or deeper practice.

Ritual Preparation of the Group

Between the stated time for arrival of the participants and the formal beginning of the event, there is time allowed for the participants to settle in – place their ritual objects and “bits” and themselves, and to meet and greet others, and to nibble. The formal beginning of the event takes place when we all come to sitting in a circle in the ritual space – which may be inside or outside depending on the Seasonal Moment, the nature of the ritual processes and the weather. We begin with a teaching about the Seasonal Moment. At this time the door is closed to any latecomers, as the teaching is important to participant comprehension of the occasion and their ability to creatively and sincerely engage in the processes of the ritual. Thus closing the door to latecomers is felt to be part of creating the “sacred space” – a space safe and known, for the unfolding of each participants’ particular dearly held understandings, interpretations and expressions.

The teachings themselves have evolved over time, and continue to, according to my understanding. I always ask for comment, additional input and questions. Some participants who have been coming for years don’t seem to mind hearing some of the same information over again each year, and neither do I, as we all seem to grow in our comprehension each time. I have included the teachings – as they are currently – in this book as Appendix F. They repeat much of the information already within the main text of this book, but in a collected, synthesised and somewhat augmented form, directly related to the particular ritual scripts. They are included here, not because I think they are definitive in any way – I regard myself as a novice yet – but because they provide a summary of the Earth-Sun Moment and its layers of significance, and may be of use to some to get started in their own Seasonal practice, meditations and further research.

After the preparatory teaching I go over the ritual format with the group, teaching any dances and songs that need to be known, and explaining and evoking participants’ particular possible actions and expressions. I have found that it is important to each person’s comfort that I specifically state that individual speaking is not required, that what is paramount is each one’s own consciousness of their intentions. They need only participate by means of gesture or minimal words according to their desire, for their own sense of presence, and also that others may respond to their presence. On the other hand, each one is encouraged to express themselves as dramatically as they like, to seize the opportunity. There is always a great range of chosen modes of presence to the processes and rites, and care needs to be taken to encourage this. For some processes, words will be offered on pieces of paper – as some participants have requested this, but it is made clear that they are meant only as guides. Some people will choose to use these words, most will write their own and a few will speak spontaneously.

The next stage of the preparation as it has been done, is ten minutes for individual meditation or contemplation of personal intentions and contributions. Participants wander into different spaces – the garden, the kitchen, the meditation room, some stay in the ritual space. Some participants will write during this time, some simply sit quietly. This time is also used for the taking care of physical needs, switching off mobile phones, taking care of details of all kinds – lights, candles, kitchen appliances, and personal – so that the ritual circle can proceed as smoothly as possible and without interruption.

Artful Expression – Headpiece, Decoration and Wreath

I have always worn a special headpiece for the rituals: I feel that any participant may do so, not just the celebrant. My ritual headpiece with its changing and continuous Seasonal decoration took on increasing significance over the years; it became a personal central representation of the year long ritual art process of creating, destroying and re-creating. For the research period particularly, it came to represent for me the essence of “She” – as Changing One, yet ever as Presence – as I was coming to know Her. In my journal for the Mabon process notes one year I wrote:

As I pace the circle with the Mabon headpiece in the centre, I see “Her” as She has been through the Seasons … the black and gold of Samhain, the deep red, white and evergreen of Winter, the white and blue of Imbolc, the flowers of Eostar, the rainbow ribbons of Beltane, the roses of Summer, the seed pods and wheat of Lammas, and now the Autumn leaves. I see in my mind’s eye, and feel, Her changes. I am learning … The Mother knowledge grows within me.

The headpiece, the wreath, the altar, the house decorations, all participate in the ritual: they are part of the learning, the method, the relationship – similar to how one might bring flowers and gifts of significance to a loved one at special moments. Then further, the removal and re-creation of the decorations are part of the learning – an active witness to transformation through time.

Co-Celebrants

These rituals – this art form of ceremony – always required others who could take on roles of helping facilitate processes, ensuring an active participation of those assembled – not passive watching. In the earliest of days when I first began to create a few of these celebrations, there were friends – female or male – who took these roles. Later when I was part of a Moon Circle of women, we all took on co-celebration, though I took the role of initiating the events and scripting the dramas. Within the context of another group – Women-Church – there was frequently co-celebration of various types of ritual celebrations, with one or a few scripting the process. These rituals were usually not of seasonal theme specifically. At that stage I had not committed myself to the full cycle of the Seasonal celebrations nor did I have any idea of the significance and power of the story of the Wheel as I have come to understand it and articulate it. This awareness has only dawned on me over time, as the particular synthesis grew within me and as others responded. I was drawn into scripting the full annual cycle of the rituals, and it all very quickly blossomed, attracting participation and co-celebration, as well as opening the pathway of academic research and documentation.

Central to the real development, deepening and articulation of this art form of ritual during the research period was the participation of four core women, as mentioned in the Introduction, and the organic nature of their participation was described. I considered them to be co-celebrants. They began as drummers initially, and their roles expanded quickly. Throughout the research period, these four women were given copies of the script weeks before each Sabbat. They were free to give their opinion and participate in the altering of details, though the story remained fairly much intact. They were conscious, as I was, that we were experimenting to some extent, with a particular expression/story of the Creative Wheel of the Year. They were happy to go with it.

These women, and one other who also sometimes drummed, always handled the elements in the rituals – volunteering themselves for different elements as they felt each time. They frequently served the Communion and spoke the blessings, they often played key roles in the Invocations, and sometimes other special roles that were part of particular rituals, for example, at Lammas offering the bread figures, and at Winter, lighting the cauldron fire. Their participation and understanding was an important part of the whole experience. These particular women still sometimes play any of these roles, but there are also others now, or sometimes students in current seasonal classes, who may volunteer at the time during preparation when the ritual format is being previewed. Some roles, such as the handling of the elements and lighting of the Winter Solstice candle, or carrying communion trays of glasses or food, lend themselves to an opportunity for children, who love to serve in this way. Frequently now there are long periods when there is no team preparing for the rituals, though I would like it if that happened again. My partner now co-hosts the events with maintaining and preparation of the ritual place, and the clean-up, and by serving various roles within the ritual such as drumming, carrying communion glasses around, and some very practical roles such as lighting the ritual fires or torches and overseeing safety matters.

Another role for co-celebrants for which I sometimes spontaneously choose an experienced participant, or for which one volunteers spontaneously, is to play the Priestess role when for example, at Mabon, it is my turn to receive the wheat, or at Eostar when it is my turn to be welcomed back, or at Samhain when it is my turn to be given a gingerbread snake.
At the time of each ritual, whenever there has been a prepared team of co-celebrants, we gather in a small circle before the formal Call to Gather, joining hands, to centre ourselves as a group.

Participation of Children

Some Seasonal celebrations may seem to lend themselves better to the participation of children, but children themselves are usually eager to attend any of them. Any hesitance to include children usually has more to do with adult discomfort with the nature of the Seasonal Moment, or a perceived compromise of the parent’s need for the process of the ritual space. All of the Sabbats have been at one time or another attended by at least one child. In each case, the child participated in the whole ritual process, at their own level of understanding, and it was always with a guiding parent. The children have always seemed to have a good experience – often expressing thanks. Children who were too young to participate have never attended.

The Ritual Scripts

As I have mentioned, I consider most of the specific phrases and language important, it is not a casual thing – I consider it Poetry; yet there is also some variation in the moment, as the particularity of the people, the person, the flow is sensed – and there is a lot of variation in the responses. The scripts, as I have written them, have evolved over time1. The scripts continue to evolve, according to my understanding of the Seasonal event and the creative dynamic face of Mystery that it seems to me to express. I am conscious of these scripts as being a “scribing” process, an “authoring”; primarily as a Creative process that is being “authored” largely by me, yet wherein each participant may choose to articulate and “scribe” their personal experience of this particular story. Generally only minor changes have been made to the scripts in the last several years, and the community of regular participants enjoy that consistency, finding that it allows a deepening into the Poetry.

Participants are encouraged to add their own words to responses even in places where there is particular wording significant to the Sabbat and a relationship/theme that I feel is important to be expressed2. This freedom to add or articulate their own felt response avoids any feeling of “parroting”, and invites a felt resonance for participants with what they are saying. That may mean at times that the group response to say, the calling of the elements is of varied individual statements – then it becomes simply a chorus of felt response. Most often the participants use the response that is offered in the script – they seem to desire to try out this particular expression, to participate in this particular Poetry, and then some add to it. Sometimes there has been a request for the responses to be printed out on slips of paper, so they could express it just so, and/or onto which they could write additional expressions during the meditation time before the ritual.

Starhawk says it is best to memorise or improvise. It took me some courage, in the early days, to let go of having the script in hand during the ritual, but it was important to do so, for both personal and dramatic/aesthetic reasons. I then had to learn the Poetry, which is what I really wanted to do: I have been learning a new language, a new reality that required new language, a language not readily accessible to me – so I memorised the scripts. This has filled me with the Poetry; it has become readily accessible to my mind and my lips. Increasingly then improvisation and sensing of the moment becomes possible – one first needs the “tools”, the skills of the craft, before the art is possible. I have been a novice, starting from “scratch”, so I had to take care to include all the steps in my learning, to be meticulous in my preparation.

The process of preparation for me as celebrant has involved rehearsing the ritual – the words and actions – in the space when possible. I begin this some weeks before the Sabbat. Again, this is much like the rehearsal necessary for any dramatic event: this enables a sense of the details, and I make notes as I become aware of these and any changes that I desire to make. In the weeks before the ritual, my daily meditation includes going through the script, deepening into its dimensions – feeling it for myself and for the imagined group. Sometimes I also rehearse the script as I walk or travel somewhere, sometimes over a cup of tea in bed, anywhere really.

Below are the scripts, in their most recent form. Acknowledgement of the work and inspiration of others are noted. I have already noted the use of Starhawk’s work in particular. All words in quotation are spoken the celebrant, unless otherwise noted. A dotted space – (………) – indicates that a co-celebrant is taking the action and/or speaking. In small print at the beginning of each Sabbat’s script is some detail about the props and setting required for the ritual drama. At the end of each script I include a list of the particular themes for the contemplation of participants in their preparation for the ritual.

SAMHAIN

Participants may come dressed in costume. Each bring photos/objects that represent “old selves” – to have with them at circle. Covered basket of gingerbread snakes. Sliced apples – rubbed with lemon, apple juice poured. Bowl of sunflower seeds, lolly snakes. Ball of thread/green natural fibre string and scissors. Photos of ancestors for side altar. Dark centre altar cloth with gold stars/webs in it, or a dark golden cloth3. Cauldron or large clay pot of soil from Mabon, overlaid with wreath of Autumn leaves and thin gold ribbon, as centrepiece with centre candle. “Mists”/veils of varied colours as decorations. Music ready. Candle near celebrant for lighting journey to new world.

Call to Gather

vigorous drumming

Centering/Presence

“Welcome to all you magical creatures and beings, who have slipped in from your dreams and wild places – the possibilities between the worlds. Let us go within for a moment, and breathe.

Breathe deep. … as you let go of your breath, follow it down, and notice the Space before you inhale. Don’t hold it, just notice it. And again, breathing deep and following the breath down to this Space – that is always with you, feeling it. Breath deep – and as you let go, noticing this Space … into which all who have gone before us have travelled … from which to enter again the dance of life in some form. Feel this Space between your breaths.”

Statement of Purpose

“We are gathered to celebrate Samhain. This is the time when we recognize that the veil is thin that divides the worlds. It is the New Year in the time of the year’s death – the passing of last Summer’s growth. The leaves are turning and falling, the dark continues to grow, the light part of the day is getting shorter and colder. Earth’s tilt continues to move us away from the Sun.
The story of old tells us that on this night, between the dead and the born, between the old and the new, all is possible; that we travel in the Womb of the Mother, the Dark Shining One within, from which all pours forth, and that we are the seed of our own rebirth. The gates of life and death are opened: the dead are remembered, the Not-Yet is conceived. We meet in time out of time, everywhere and nowhere, here and there … to transform the old into the new in our own bodyminds.

Let us enter this realm, the vast sunless sea within us – the Womb of All. We can proceed by remembering our elemental origins.”

Calling the Directions/Casting the Circle

All turning to the East – “Hail the East, Powers of Water. We remember that we are Water.”
All: We remember that we are Water.
“Water, that has nursed our beginnings in the primordial soup, that walks around in our flesh. We are old, so old4.”
All: We are old, so old.
……. slowly walk the circle spooning water with shell, repeating: “we are old, so old”. DRUM.
AFTER WATER IS PUT BACK ON ALTAR, server and all: I remember that I am Water & there is nothing I have not been5.

All turning to the North –
“Hail the North, Powers of Fire. We remember that we are Fire.”
All: We remember that we are Fire.
“Fire, that has surged through every thought, and action, that dances at the root of all life. We are old, so old.”
All: We are old, so old.
……… light pot of fire6 and slowly walk the circle with it, repeating: “we are old, so old”. DRUM
AFTER FIRE IS PUT BACK ON ALTAR, server and all: I remember that I am Fire & there is nothing I have not been.

All turning to the West –
“Hail the West, Powers of Earth. We remember that we are Earth.”
All: We remember that we are Earth.
“Earth, whose intelligence has conceived us and all creatures, and to whom we all return. We are old, so old.”
All: We are old, so old.
……… slowly walk the circle with the rock/earth, repeating: “we are old, so old”. DRUM.
AFTER EARTH IS PUT BACK ON ALTAR, server and all: I remember that I am Earth & there is nothing I have not been.

All turning to the South –
“Hail the South, Powers of Air. We remember that we are Air.”
All: We remember that we are Air.
“Air, that passed through the lungs of ancestors, dinosaurs, and every breathing creature. We are old, so old.”
All: We are old, so old.
…….. light smudge, slowly walk the circle w/ smudge and feather, repeating: “we are old, so old”. DRUM.
AFTER AIR IS PUT BACK ON ALTAR, server and all: I remember that I am Air & there is nothing I have not been.

All turning to the Centre –
“We are this Mystery – Water, Fire, Earth and Air (PACING THE CIRCLE) – we are from all Time and no Time, everywhere and no Where. Feel the space within you … the Womb of All, fertile with possibility. Breathe … this is the Centre – the Centre of the Cosmos is here.
The circle is cast, we are between the worlds, beyond the bounds of time and space, where light and dark, birth and death, joy and sorrow, meet as One.”
(Light centre candle)

Invocation

“We are Sacred Ones – divine. We call the Divine by a thousand names, uttering ourselves7. Name yourself now as you will.”
Each one: I am ………..
Group response: (Deep bow) “Welcome (full name as announced)”.
Celebrant: “We welcome all these Divine/Sacred Ones – magical Co-creators”.

Transformation Journey

“Let us now remember some the old selves we have been. Let us all take the journey now, remembering some of our transformations.” (the circle joins hands, with the exception of one person who will “journey” first8)

The circle raises joined hands, the journeyer goes in and out the gaps of the circle, as the circle chants:
In and out the windows
In and out the windows
In and out the windows
As we have done before9.
The circle brings their hands down at the end of each round of chant allowing the person to be “in”. The chant stops.

Celebrant or all: “Who have you been?”
The person may show a photo/object – around the circle (walking around if they like), saying “this is someone I have been” (and whatever further description).
OR the person describes some “old self” they have been – as long as they have a clear picture of this “old self” in their own minds.

Group response: Hail to you and your becomings.
(Each receives the response with a bow and continues “in and out” for another round, repeating the process a few times.)

Each put their photos/objects on altar.

(After all have woven in and out.)

Presentation of Snakes

Celebrant takes basket of snakes, uncovers it and walks the circle saying:
“O Great Ones, you have come through so many changes (indicating the photos/objects on altar), … (elaborate – with DRAMA) … as Gaia Herself has done. Gaia, like you, has come through so many changes … and yet – and YET: She and you – we – are More10, much more.”
UNCOVER SNAKES
“Accept these snakes, Gaian totems of life renewed – as you, like Gaia, have done so many times … and will yet again. You like Gaia, are More, much More.”

Servers/celebrant distribute snakes, repeating to each: “Accept these snakes, Gaian totems of life renewed. You are More, much More.” OR participants may offer the snakes and blessing around the circle.
Response: It is so.

ALL SIT

Consuming Old Selves

“Drawn from the first by what you might become,
You did not know how simple this secret could be
The carapace is split
the shed skins lie upon the ground,
(hold up snake)
Devour now all your old shapes, wasting no part11.”
(Celebrant breaks off a part of her snake.)

All: I devour now all my old shapes. (or some affirmation of what they are doing)
All eat some of their snakes.
MUSIC12 ON.

Remembering the Ancestors

“Let us remember our ancestors, those who have gone before, whose lives have been harvested, whose lives have fed our own.”

Each may name any who have passed on, whom they wish to remember, in a litany style.

After all have spoken: “We welcome all these, whose lives have been harvested, whose lives have fed our own, and we remember that we too will be consumed, feed others with our lives. May we be interesting food13. We also become the ancestors. We are the ancestors.”

Celebrant hold up her snake and break off a part.

All: We become the ancestors. We will be consumed – are consumed in every moment – even now. (or some affirmation of what they are doing)

All eat the more of their snakes. MUSIC ON.

Remembering the Old Shapes of the Culture

“Let us remember some of the old shapes of our human culture and story that we would leave behind, that we might transform in our own bodyminds.”

Each name the memories and “shapes” they choose.

After all have spoken: “We devour these old shapes of our culture, of our world, transform them in our beings.”

Celebrant hold up her snake and break some more.
All: We devour these old shapes, transform them in our beings. (or some affirmation of what they are doing)
All eat the rest of their snakes. MUSIC ON.

Silence or Music Down

“Let us sit for a while with these endings.”

MUSIC OFF

Building the Web – Conceiving the Future

Celebrant takes ball of thread/string and holds it up.

“Having devoured your old shapes, wasting no part
you are free … free
to radiate whatever you conceive,
to exclaim the strongest natural fibre known – our creative selves, our imaginations – into such art, such architecture
as can house a world made sacred by your building14.”

ALL STAND.

“Take the thread now, that emerges from your creative centre, and spin what you will.” (start chant)
All chant: Free to radiate whatever we conceive.
(NOTE: we actually use sisal string these days … more eco-friendly)

Celebrant passes the ball, having wrapped it around herself.
Each takes it and wraps it around themselves a few times.
When each has the ball, each chants: “Free to radiate whatever I conceive”, then back to “we”.

Let the chant build.
When thread gets back to celebrant, she holds it up.
“What would you conceive/spin from your bodymind? What do you want to create in your life?”

Pass ball of thread for each in turn to hold – wrap one more time.
Each: ” I want … create/conceive/spin into my life … ”
Group response: So be it!
Each cuts both threads for the person next to them saying: “You are free – magical co-creator.”
Pass scissors.

When ball of thread has gone full circle:
“May all these conceptions, desires, imaginings – spoken & unspoken – house a world made sacred by our building15.”

All: May it be so.

Communion

Celebrant put thread down, put tray of glasses with juice in centre, hold up cut apples & juice.
“Stand tall, daughters and sons of the Mother. Daughters and sons of Eve, stand tall – enjoy the fruit and drink of never-ending renewal.”

Servers, repeating the blessing: “Stand tall daughter/son of the Mother – enjoy the fruit and drink of never-ending renewal.”

Offer more apple, cider and juice. More gingerbread snakes and lolly (candy) snakes, and sunflower seeds.

Story Space

stories of transformation, or anything else.

Open the Circle

All turning to the South – “We have remembered that we are Air, as old as She, and present in the lungs of all who have ever breathed. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the West – “We have remembered that we are Earth, as old as She and conceived of her intelligence. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the North – “We have remembered that we are Fire, as old as She, and surging with Her dance. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the East – “We have remembered that we are Water, as old as She, and nursing all possibility. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the centre – “We have remembered that we are Sacred Ones – divine, magical Co-creators. We have remembered some of our transformations, and those who have gone before us. We have remembered old shapes of our human culture and story that we would transform in our bodyminds, and we have conceived a world made sacred by our building. We have remembered that we are More, much More – as Gaia Herself is.

May there be peace within us and between us.” (all join hands)
All: May there be peace within us and between us.

Pass the kiss.

“May the peace and bliss of the Creative One go in our hearts and minds.
The circle is open, but unbroken…”
All: It has been a merry meeting
It is a merry parting
May we merry meet again
Blessed Be!

Music16: I like to play Bette Midler’s “The Rose”.

Points for individual contemplation prior to the Samhain ritual:

  • Naming yourself (at Invocation)
  • Old selves you have been
  • Ancestors or those who have gone before whom you would like to name
  • Old cultural shapes, stories, events you see yourself as helping transform
  • What you would like to create in your life and/or in the world … conceive, imagine

WINTER SOLSTICE

Held in MoonCourt in cold and dark – lit with candles and “fairy” lights. Cauldron/fireplace ready for fire in North.  Evergreen wreath around new centre candle and last year’s old candle. Deep maroon altar cloth with white ribbon. Basket of candles and holders. Trays of sand on altar for placing candles. Decorated tree or trees. Bowls of oil. Cake and wine and juice.  “Solstice” music playing during arrival time. Music ready. Songsheets handed out during preparation. Torches and copies of “Silent Night” near fireplace.

Call to Gather – Drum or Gong

Celebrant starts chant, moving around the circle in a sunwise direction. All join in:
“A circle around, a circle around, the boundaries of the Earth.
A circle around, a circle around, the boundless Universe.
Spreading my long tail feathers as I fly,
spreading my long tail feathers as I fly,
Higher, higher, higher and higher. Deeper, deeper, deeper and deeper19.”
All join in movement and chant for some time.
All move back to places.

Centering (Note that changes have been made here, from the original text as it is in the paper version)

“Let us focus on our breath for a while. Take a deep breath and let it go. Notice the Void at the bottom of emptying your breath … feeling it, and feeling the Urge to breathe as it arises. And again … feeling it over and over – this breath that arises out of the full emptiness in every moment, birthing you in every moment.

Recall some of the birthings in your life, your actual birth – see it there in your mind’s eye … you coming into being – your Nativity, your Nativity. Recall projects you have brought into being, new beings within yourself, perhaps children, new beings in others, how you have been Creator and Created – even at the same time. Who was birthing who? Staying for a while with the many, many birthings in your life.

Recalling now Gaia-Earth’s many birthings out of the Dark everyday … the dawn is constant as She turns. See Her in your mind’s eye – the constant dawning around the globe, the constant birthing. Recall Earth’s many births right now of all beings – as day breaks around the globe – the physical, emotional, spiritual births. Her many, many birthings everyday, and throughout the eons.

Recalling Gaia-Universe’s many birthings – happening in every moment – right now in real time and space … supernovas right now, stars and planets being born right now. The many, many birthings in every moment and throughout the eons.

Come back to your breath – this wonder – none of it separate … the Origin ever-present, birthing you out of the Fertile Dark in every moment – in real time and space.

Feeling this breath, Her breath.”

Statement of Purpose

“This is the time of Winter Solstice in our Hemisphere. Earth’s tilt leans us away from the Sun to the furthest point at this time in our annual orbit. This is for us, the time when the dark part of the day is longest – Darkness reaches Her fullness, She spreads her cloak, and yet gives way, and moves back into light. The breath of Gaia in our part of the world pauses. She rests. We wait … within the Cauldron, the Dark Space, for the transformation.
The stories of Old tell us of the Great Mother giving birth to the Divine Child on this night. This Divine Child is the new being in you, in me … is the bringer of hope, the evergreen tree, the return of warmth and light, the centre which is also the circumference – All of Manifestation. The Divine Child being born is the Miracle of Being, and the Unimaginable More that we are becoming.

Let us join the breath of Gaia in her suspension, the Great Mother in Her birthgiving. Let us recall this Dark Space, this Holy Cauldron within. Let us begin by remembering who and what we are and from whence we come.”

Call the Directions, Create the Sacred Space (Note that changes have been made here, from the original text as it is in the paper version)

All turning to the East –
“We come from the East to this Place, and we remember that we are Water. Water that we are, we remember you.”
All: Water that we are, we remember you.
“Cosmic Dynamic of Sensitivity20, that absorbs, becomes, whatever you touch; may we feel what we are, and respond compassionately.”
All: May we feel what we are and respond compassionately.
DRUMS as …….. sprinkles water w/ pine branch.

All turning to the North –
“We come from the North to this Place, and we remember that we are Fire. Fire that we are, we remember you.”
All: Fire that we are, we remember you.
“Unseen Shaping Power of the Cosmos21, that gives us form – flames that we are; may we dance with you and act with Creative Lust for all of life.”
All: May we dance with you and act with Creative Lust for all of life
DRUMS as ……… lights fire in the pot, takes it around.

All turning to the West –
“We come from the West to this Place, and we remember that we are Earth. Earth that we are, we remember you.”
All: Earth that we are, we remember you.
“Always present to us, you hold all the stories of life in your Body, we can learn it all from you; may we remember who we really are, may we hold the Wisdom of all time and no Time22.”
All: May we hold the Wisdom of all time and no Time.
DRUMS as …………. holds up rock & carries it around.

All turning to the South –
“We come from the South to this Place, and we remember that we are Air. Air that we are, we remember you.”
All: Air that we are, we remember you.
“Cosmic Dynamic of Exuberance and Expression23, Wind that moves the trees, the clouds, brings us rain and allows is our voice; move us and inspire us to unfurl our being.”
All: Move us and inspire us to unfurl our being.
DRUMS as ……… lights smudge stick, carries it around.

All turning to the centre – “This is what we are – Water, Fire, Earth, Air (PACING THE CIRCLE) – Sacred Mystery, Cosmic Dynamics, manifest in this Place and Time. The Centre of Creativity is Here. The circle is cast, we are between the worlds, beyond the bounds of time and space, where light and dark, birth & death, joy & sorrow meet, as One.

Invocation.

“Let us invoke and recognise this Sacred Creativity in each other.”
(Celebrant taking bowl of oil and holding it up)
“As the oil comes to you, turn to the person next to you, annoint their forehead with oil, and pronounce with the authority in you: ‘Thou art Goddess Mother – Tia-mat, Thou art the Divine Child – Thou art all of That … a whole Universe’, and bow deeply, as you recognize the Sacred before you.”

CELEBRANT PASS A BOWL OF OIL IN EACH DIRECTION. When bowls meet, one bless the other, and other then crosses the citcle and blesses the celebrant.

Each respond: “It is so. I am She … (or however one feels)”.

“Cosmogenesis” Dance24

“Let us celebrate this Sacredness, Her eternal Cosmogenesis, in the dance.”
MUSIC

Sit in the Dark

“Sit in the stillness now, wrap the Dark Space of the Mother around, and await the transformation.”
ALL MAY MOVE to warmer space – one may stay out near fireplace and put candles and lights out.
LIGHTS OFF. CANDLES OUT.

Lighting of the Fire ( Note that changes have been made here in this on-line version, from the process written in the paper version)

After some time of sitting in the dark:
“Out of Her fertile Dark Matter, out of the stillness of Her Creative Centre, New Being comes forth, Light is thus born, all Manifestation is born.”

……… lights the fire (in a firebasket or a cauldron or a bonfire) at the edge of the circle (in the North for the Southern Hemisphere, or in the South for the Northern Hemisphere).

ALL MOVE TO STAND NEAR THE FIRE
…… announces: “We recall our Beginnings – the Great Flaring Forth, and our Grandmother Supernova Tiamat – Goddess Mother of our Solar system, of our star the Sun. This is our Cosmic lineage. We are Gift of Tiamat – Goddess Mother supernova. Out of her stardust we are born. Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulphur, phosphorus and trace elements. We are Gift of Tiamat – out of her stardust we are born25.”

…… repeats: “We are Gift of Tiamat – out of her stardust we are born.”

Response of group: “We are Gift of Tiamat – out of her stardust we are born.”

All may chant or sing the response – with drums and/or rattles.

A young person takes a lit taper candle from the fire and lights the old candle, then the new candle from this light – passing it on, then blows out the old candle.

Song

“Silent Night” by Connie Barlow26

ALL MOVE BACK TO THEIR PLACES
h3. Lighting the Candles

Celebrant: “The Universe wants to speak you, the Universe wants to speak you. Take a candle, light it, hold it up ceremoniously and recall, and speak if you like, of the new being coming forth in you this year.”
Each in turn moves to the centre, takes a candle, puts a holder on it, lights the candle and speaks if they wish, then holds the lit candle up ceremoniously – which is the cue for all to respond with:

“So be it. Let this new being within you come forth.”

Song

When all have lit candles in hand:
“Let us celebrate these new beings coming forth, with the song.”
All sing “PaGaian Joy to the World27” standing in a single circle.

The Spiral Dance

“And let us dance the Spiral.”
Collect songsheets and move cushions. All join hands each holding their candle in linked right hand. Celebrant leads into a spiral, all singing the first verse and chorus of “PaGaian Joy to the World” over and over, making sure to look in the eyes and faces of the passing people, then re-forming the circle.

Re-Generating the World ( Note that changes have been made here in this on-line version, from the process written in the paper version)

“Let us take our new beings and re-generate the world, as the Sun has always done. What do you wish for the world, what is the flame in your heart? Join it with all the others.”

Each one in turn steps into the centre and speaks if they wish, takes the holder off the candle, and puts their lit candle down firmly in the sand – which is the cue for all to respond with:

“May we be like the Sun and re-generate the world.”

Assistants to switch on lights and re-light candles.

Communion

“All glory and praise be to Her who daily gives us more than we can ask or imagine. We will now enjoy some of Her delights (hold up cake and wine), and remember that we also are Her delights.
You are Cake, for the Queen of Heaven and Earth – for the Universe. May you enjoy and be enjoyed.
You are Wine poured out for the Mystery, may your flavour be full.”

Servers and celebrant serve cake with the blessing:
“You are cake for the Queen of Heaven and Earth. May you enjoy and be enjoyed. ”
or pass it around the circle with each saying the blessing.

Assistants hold trays of glasses and wine/juice, while servers ceremoniously pour wine/juice in front of each with the blessing:
“You are wine poured out for the Mystery. May your flavour be full.”
or pass out glasses, and each pour wine for the next around the circle, with the blessing.

Toasts – short OR Story Space

Dance

“May we choose a joyful response to the awesome fact of our being in the Universe, and express that response through the art and dance of our lives28. You are the choreographer of your dance of life, we are the choreographers of the dance … so enjoy!”

MUSIC29
Co-celebrants lead off in improvised free dance, others may join in.

Open the Circle

All turning to the South –
“We have remembered that we are Air – cosmic dynamics of exuberance – unfurling our being. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the West –
“We have remembered that we are Earth – deep memory and presence, remembering who we are. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the North –
“We have remembered that we are Fire – vessels of the unseen shaping power of the cosmos – dancing. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the East – “We have remembered that we are Water – cosmic dynamics of sensitivity – feeling what we are. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us

All turning to the centre –
“We have remembered that we are Goddess Mother – Tia-mat, Divine Child, all of That – that we are each and all Her sacred Cosmogenesis. We have remembered our Origins, our Cosmic lineage and the new beings coming forth in us. We have remembered the flame in our hearts and how we might re-generate the world, as the Sun has always done.
May there be peace within us and between us.” (all join hands)
All: May there be peace within us and between us.

“May the Peace and Joy and Generosity of the Mother grow in our hearts.”

All: The circle is open, but unbroken
It has been a merry meeting,
It is a merry parting,
May we merry meet again.
Blessed Be.

MUSIC30

Points for individual contemplation prior to the Winter Solstice ritual:

  • the Centering/Breath meditation – all these birthings
  • how you are Water, Fire, Earth and Air – Cosmic Dynamics
  • how you and other are Goddess-Mother, Divine Child, Creator and Created … all That – a whole Universe.
  • What new being is birthing in you this year.
  • What do you wish for the world? How might you re-generate the world? What it is that you have a passion to make a difference to.

IMBOLC

Large “well” of salt water under a clay bowl of sand for flame. Smaller bowl of salt water, and hand towel. Each wear “Brid-al/Brigid-ine” clothes, and a “crown”/”bridal” veil. Bow and arrow. Fruit bread, Tray of glasses with light colour fruit juice or white wine. White chocolate treats, white foods such as ricotta, fetta cheese. Greenery, buds. Bouquet of Artemis herbs tied with silver ribbon for each. Candles & trays of sand. Red cloth/carpet laid down – facing in towards edge of circle. Music ready. Double-sided copies of “Bridal/Brigid-ine” commitment and processional praise. Bundle of sprigs of wattle31. Bell and stick. Images of Goddesses who are invoked visible.

Commentary Note: the text of this on-line version has been changed in some places from how it is in the paper version.

Gathering

Drumming – in honor of Great Goddesses Brigid and Artemis, who call us into Being.

Centering

“Listen to the sound of the bell as if listening to the sound of your unique Beauty ringing – your singular particular Beauty, ringing.”
Ring the bell again, accentuate with the stick for a few minutes.

“Take a deep breath, and as you let the breath go, follow it down to the space before your next breath. Imagine this space, this emptiness, as the Sea of Generosity … from which All springs forth. Feel the Urge of Creation springing forth – as the Urge to Breath arises. Imagine this breath as a Ripple upon the Sea of Generosity. Imagine it rippling out of this Sea as your breath expands. Imagine your-Self as this Ripple. We are ripples stirring upon the Original Sea of Generosity now.”

The Morning of Manifestation sighed,
the breeze of Grace breathed gently,
ripples stirred
upon the sea of Generosity.
The clouds of Abundance poured down the rain
upon the soil of preparedness;
so much rain that the earth shone with Light
.
(the first paragraph of Iraqi’s Divine Flashes )

Speaking the Word of Creation

“Next time you take a deep breath, we will do it together, and as we let the breath go, let us speak the Mother’s word of Creation “Om” – the mantraMatrika, the Mother of all mantras, Her Word of Creation. Let it come from your belly. You may contemplate how you spell the world, co-create it with your self-expression, and how it weaves with others. Let us Spell it together. Let us Conspire. (let it have its own flow and time):”

Statement of Purpose

“This is the season of the waxing light. Earth’s tilt is taking us back towards the Sun. The Seed of Light born at the Winter Solstice begins to manifest, and we who were midwives to this infant Flame now see the it grow strong as the light part of the day grows visibly longer. This is the time when we celebrate individuation: how we each become uniquely ourselves. It is the time when we celebrate beginnings … the first tendrils of green emerging tentatively from the seed. We meet to share the light of inspiration and creative intentions, which will grow with the growing year.
This is the Feast of the Virgin – Brigid, She who tends the Flame of Being; Artemis, She who midwifes body and soul. She is the Urge to Be, deeply committed to manifestation, deeply committed to Self and to bringing forth the New, the Promised One. She is uncompromised, unswerving, noble, true, a warrior of spirit. She will protect the stirrings of Life.”

Let us begin our celebration of Her, by remembering our beginnings, from whence we come – our true nature.

Creating the Sacred Space

(as for Southern Hemisphere)
Celebrant go to the East – all may turn. DRUM
“We are from the East, and we are Water – filled with the primordial oceans. You may feel it in you, its moistness, taste it. We are juicy with it, soft with it. Take a moment to feel how you are Water. (pause) We are Water, we are this.”
Response: We are Water, we are this.

Celebrant go to the North – all may turn. DRUM
“We are from the North, and we are Fire – sparks of ancient heat. You may feel it in you, the warmth of your body. Your metabolism an echo of the Great Fire at the Beginning, and of the Sun. Take a moment to feel how you are Fire. (pause) We are Fire, we are this.”
Response: We are Fire, we are this.

Celebrant go to the West – all may turn. DRUM
“We are from the West, and we are Earth – geological, Gaian formations. You may feel it in you – the weight of your body, your memories. She is alive in us and we in Her. Take a moment to feel how you are Earth. (pause) We are Earth, we are this.”
Response: We are Earth, we are this.

Celebrant go to the South – all may turn. DRUM
“We come from the South, and we are Air – drawn from and drawing from this ancient river that all have breathed. You may feel it in you, expand with it. We are inspired with it. Take a moment to feel how you are Air. (pause) We are Air, we are this.”
Response: We are Air, we are this.

This is our true nature – Water, Fire, Earth, Air (PACING THE CIRCLE). We have always been from the very beginning, and so we always shall be. We are at the Centre of Creativity – a multiplicity of centres. The circle is cast, we are between the worlds, beyond the bounds of time and space, where light and dark, birth and death, joy and sorrow, meet as One.”
Light the candle.

Invocation – Lighting the Candles

Pass basket of candles, each take one.
Co-celebrant light a dinner candle from the centre flame and take the flame to each one, with the blessing:
“Receive the Flame from the Mothers – who have birthed you, and all.

Response: “It is so” or (as one wishes)

Celebrant: “Sit for a few moments gazing into the flame. You may contemplate this Original seamless relationship, this Gift of the Flame of Being, this Virgin-Native Self … this Flame – how it is in you and how in you it is ever-new … how you may receive it.”

SITTING QUIETLY FOR A FEW MOMENTS.

“When you are ready, one at a time, place your flame on the altar, speak if you wish, affirming the Gift of this Flame, this Original seamless relationship, this Virgin-Self, Native to Her, the ever-new Young One that you are … however you’d like to express it, if you would.

Each put candle down in the sand when ready to.
Each one: “I am this Flame …” (some variation as is meaningful), AND/OR offered response: ““The Original Flame of Being, the Originating Power, is in me. I receive it, and in me it is ever-new.

After all the small candles are on the altar:
“We are small flames of Being – a multiplicity of centres.”

Artemis Process

Celebrant holds up the Artemisia herbs and arrow and pronounces:
“Let us invoke Artemis, She of Old who brings forth the New – whose herbs ease the pain of birth, and whose arrow flies true.”

Pass the basket of Artemisia, each take a bouquet.
Celebrant holds up herbs: “Taste her herbs, to remind you of the creative resistance of coming into Being, of birthing the New – may She midwife you.”
Together each rub and taste the bitterness.
Short optional response: “May it be so” or “I remember …”

Celebrant holds up arrow: “And hold Her arrow, to remind you to be true.”
Pass the arrow around circle for each to hold to their heart.
Short optional response: “May I be true.” or …

After all are done:
She is faithful to the heart that seeks fullness, wholeness.
She will constellate in the heart’s night sky and call forth right direction
.”
(excerpt from poem by Glenys Livingstone 1995)

DRUMS

Purification and Strengthening32

Let us begin our invocation of Brigid
“Take the bowl of salt water, recall, wash, and speak if you wish, of what weakens the Flame within you. What leaches your power?

Pass bowl of salt water, anti-sunwise33.
Each one wash, and may speak a word or phrase.
Group response for each one: “May you be cleansed.”

When the bowl has gone full circle, and all have washed:
Celebrant: “Let us raise some power, some energy.”

DRUM begins, and each may begin to move/dance, improvised voice continues, percussion, and moving as each wishes. (All may take the pose of Eurynome, the Bird-Headed Snake Goddess – arms raised, to begin?)

When energy is raised, return to ground, to sitting.

Celebrant holds the bowl of salt water, and says:
“Wash in the water again, and speak if you wish, of what strengthens the Flame, the Urge to Be, within you. What strengthens your “nwyfre34” – the power within you?

Pass the bowl of salt water, sunwise35.
Each one wash, and may speak a word or phrase.
Response for each one’s washing: “We bless your power.”

When the bowl has gone full circle, celebrant pours water into the centre bowl.
“We commend our power to and from its Source – the Well of Creativity36 within, and in which we are immersed.”

Co-celebrant light the centre flame and announce: “We are tenders of the flame. We may be Brides, Brigids, Brigands – tenders of the Flame!”

CO-CELEBRANTS LIGHT OTHER FLAMES AROUND THE CIRCLE AND FIREPLACE – all singing:
“We are tenders of the Flame” melody – or other Brigid song.

“Take up your flame now and let us invoke the ancient One Brigid, She who tends the flame of Being.”
All stand and take up their candles, putting a holder on.
All sing: “Ave Brigid37” a few times, until Brigid appears.

Celebrant puts on mask (and perhaps changes headpiece), takes up the bundle of wattle (or other seasonal flower), walks the circle – as “Brigid”, and stands near the red carpet.

Co-celebrants exclaim “Brigid”!

The “Bridal”/ Brigid-ine/Brigand Dedication

Celebrant (Brigid): “Now is the time for your commitment to Being, your dedication to Self. Step forward one at a time, process up and down the aisle, in Her creative flow: then pause and speak if you wish, of your dedication to self and to being.”

Each step forward in turn, process up and down the aisle once. (holding up their candle, arms raised like Eurynome, if they wish). Each stop, and speak if and as they wish: (Creating own words, or option to speak these or a variation)

“I commit myself to my particular small self, understanding that I am She – Gaia – She who is All. I am connected to Her as the tree bud is to the branch. ‘I am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars and the mystery of the waters’. I commit myself to this Originating Power present in me, the Sacred Flame in me, this Native Land who I am. I will protect Her and honour Her in myself – this particular Beauty, who is ever-new. I am a Promise of Life. Whatever She needs I will give Her. I will tend Her in myself – so that She may grow strong and flourish.”

Celebrant (as “Brigid”): “Rejoice O highly favoured. Gaia Herself rejoices in your commitment and freedom to Be, for you are a Promise – of Life.”
She gives each a sprig of wattle (or early Spring flower).

Group praise: “Ave …. “

Celebrant takes off Her mask (and headpiece) and unwinds (walking circle in anti-sunwise direction): a co-celebrant takes on Her mask, walks the circle sunwise, then plays Brigid’s role for the celebrant. When done, she takes off Brigid’s mask and “unwinds”.

After all have made dedications and processed:

Celebrant: “Let us call upon the Powers in us”:

Celebrant gesture to Goddess images in turn:

Celebrant: “Brigid of the holy well and the sacred flame!” Group choruses: Brigid of the holy well and the sacred flame!

Celebrant: “Artemis of the arrow, flying true and on Centre!” Group choruses: Artemis of the arrow, flying true and on Centre!

Celebrant: “Eurynome, Ancient One, whose passion is Life!” Group choruses: Eurynome, Ancient One, whose passion is Life!

Celebrant: “Aphrodite,who sings love songs to her own beauty.” Group choruses: Aphrodite, who sings love songs to her own beauty.

Celebrant: “The Lover, Radha, who sees Who She really is.” Group choruses: The Lover, Radha, who sees Who She really is.

Celebrant: “We invoke you and celebrate you in ………….” (group name each around the circle)

Dance40 (instructions and music are available here: Misirlou Dance 

Co-celebrant re-light centre flame.
“Let us celebrate our commitment to Being in the dance. Let us dance it into Being.”
All put candles down – in the sand trays on the altar.
MUSIC ON.

Communion

Celebrant holding up fruit bread and wine/fruit juice:
“Let us enjoy our manifested state with food of the Mother, brought to us by Her and by the creativity of our ancestors.”

Assistant holds tray of poured wine/juice. Servers and/or celebrant offer a glass and fruit bread to each.
Servers Annunciate:
“Rejoice O highly favoured .
Blessed are you amongst women & men & children
And blessed is the fruit of your Creativity.”

Response: Fiat! or “May it be so” … (and/or anything else one wishes to say)

Pass around white chocolate treats, ricotta, fetta cheese.

Story Space

Let us share stories of creative projects and intentions.

Open Circle

“We have remembered that we are Air, we feel Her in us – this ancient river, expanding. May there be peace within us.” All: May there be peace within us.

“We have remembered that we are Earth, we feel Her in us – our weight, a geological formation. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

“We have remembered that we are Fire, we feel Her in us – our warmth an echo of the Great Fire. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

“We have remembered that we are Water, we feel her in us – our moistness, the primordial ocean. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

“We have remembered that we are creative Ripples stirring upon the Original Sea of Generosity, ever-new Flames of Being, spelling the world with ourselves. We have dedicated ourselves to tending the Flame of Being – this New Young One, this Brigid-ine One, the Beloved of self – She who is All. May there be peace within us & between us.” (all join hands)
All: May there be peace within us & between us.

Celebrant: May the Truth and Power of ever-Virgin Goddess be in our hearts and minds.

Song

“The circle is open but unbroken. May the peace of the Goddess be ever in our hearts. Merry meet and merry part, and merry meet again.”

All: Blessed be!

Pass the kiss.

Points for individual contemplation prior to the Imbolc ritual:

  • how the Flame of Being is given to you, is within you, and is ever-new in you … this Original seamless relationship, and your particular unique self, this Virgin-self.
  • What weakens this Flame within you – what weakens your strength of Being?
  • What strengthens this Flame of Being within you? What strengthens the life-force within you?
  • Your commitment/dedication to self – how you might express that … with the offered words and/or your own? or even simply the statement of standing there with candle flame?

EOSTAR

Each one bring a stone/rock, a Spring mask, a large bouquet, “laurel” head garland. Potted flower from Mabon on altar. Centre cauldron or large clay pot of soil, overlaid with wreath of greenery and flowers, with centre candle. Green altar cloth. A “gateway” from the circle to the “Underworld”/house41 marked with stones and a flame torch. Lantern ready for lighting, bulb seeds, 3 stalks of wheat tied with red ribbon, poppies, near gateway. Masks around altar, stones in basket, bouquets near gateway. Poppyseed ring cake – sliced, but left whole. Chlorophyll water in decanters. Chocolate eggs wrapped in gold paper/foil. Perhaps copies of “Stepping into Power” words. Music ready. Boiled coloured eggs for decorations. In Australia, it works very well with the themes of this Sabbat to have green and gold ribbons around … the colours of winning at world games.

Mirror in Underworld: see story p.141 PaGaian Cosmology

Each one to take special stone/rock and head garland to pre-ritual contemplation with them. Place rock/stone in basket on altar upon gathering to the circle, and wearing garland.

Call to Gather

DRUMS – STRONG BEAT

Centering/Breath Meditation

“This is the time of Eostar, the Spring Equinox, in our Hemisphere, the moment of balance of light and dark in the light part of the cycle. The light and the dark in the South and in the North of our planet, are of equal length at this time.

Feel the balance in this moment – Earth as She is poised in relationship with the Sun. See Her there in your mind’s eye. Feel for your own balance of light and dark within – this fertile balance of tensions. Breathe into it. Breathe in the light, swell with it, let your breath go into the dark, stay with it. Breathe in the light, swell with it. Feel for your centre … perhaps shifting on your feet, from left to right, right to left, feel for your centre. … breathe into it.

In our part of Earth, the balance is about to tip into the light. Feel the shift within you, see in your mind’s eye the energy ahead, the light expanding. Feel the warmth of it. Breathe it in.”

Statement of Purpose

“This is the time of Spring’s return. Warmth and growth may be sensed in the land. The young light that we celebrated at Imbolc, has grown strong and come to balance with the dark. Life bursts forth with new strength. The story of Old tells us that Persephone beloved Daughter, returns from Her journey to the Underworld. Demeter stretches out Her arms – to receive and rejoice. The beloved One, the Lost One, returns with new Wisdom from the depths.
We may step into a new harmony. Where we step, wild flowers may appear; where we dance, despair may turn to hope, sorrow to joy, want to abundance. May our hearts open with the Spring.

Let us begin our celebration by remembering our true power of Life – our Gaian Powers. Let us enter the eternal Space and Time in which we are immersed and embraced – the Demeter who holds us, who waits for us, who receives us.
Note that this text has been changed from the paper version )

Creating the Sacred Space

All facing the East
DRUMS
“Hail the East and Powers of Water – powers of sensitivity, emotion and response: We are wet with you, we taste you, we know you.”
……….. take the water, for each to wet their hands and wipe it on themselves.
Response: I am wet with you, I taste you, I know you.

All facing the North
DRUMS
“Hail the North and Powers of Fire – powers of shaping, passion and integration: We are spark of you, we feel your warmth, we know you.” ……… light the fire, take it around, each passes their hand over it.
Response: I am spark of you, I feel your warmth, I know you.

All facing the West
DRUMS
“Hail the West and Powers of Earth – powers of memory, presence and action: We hold the story of you in our bodies, we feel your weight, we know you.”
………. take the basket of rocks around, each takes their own.
Response: I hold the story of you in my body, I feel your weight, you, I know you.

All facing the South
DRUMS
“Hail the South and Powers of Air – powers of perception, awareness and inspiration:we breathe you in, we expand with you, we know you.”
………. light the smudge stick and take around to each.
Response: I breathe you in, I expand with you, I know you.

All facing the Centre
“This is the truth and Power of who we are – Water, Fire, Earth and Air (PACING THE CIRCLE). She is alive in us, and we in Her. We are beyond the bounds of time and space, we are at Centre – the Centre is here, where light and dark, birth and death, joy and sorrow meet as One.”
(Light candle)

Invocation

“Let us invoke and recognize the Sacred Heraic self in each other, that you are, the Courageous One who has Journeyed and who Journeys – who is emerging and present. Announce yourself.”
Each person, holding up their rock/stone: “I am a Hera/ Persephone/Courageous One, Beloved One … who is returning, with new Wisdom.” OR ….
(option to say more – in terms of your own experience, perhaps what and how you feel you have made it through.)
Each place the rock/stone on the centre altar.

Response: Beloved One, (repeat however they named themselves, and whatever else is remembered of their statement), we welcome you.

Story

“Courageous Ones, Heras, Persephones … who have gathered here in this time and place, let us sit and listen to the traditional story of this season – versions of which have been told for aeons, and understood ever more deeply.”
ALL SIT DOWN
……. reads:
“Persephone had gathered three poppies and three sheaves of wheat. Then Demeter had led Her to a long, deep chasm and produced a torch for her to carry. She had stood and watched Her Daughter go down further and further into the cleft of the Earth. …
For months Persephone received and renewed the dead without ever resting or growing weary. All the while Her Mother remained disconsolate. .. In Her sorrow She withdrew Her power from the crops, the trees, the plants. She forbade any new growth to blanket the Earth. The mortals planted their seed, but the fields remained barren. Demeter was consumed with loneliness and finally settled on a bare hillside to gaze out at nothing from sunken eyes. For days and nights, weeks and months She sat waiting.
One morning a ring of purple crocus quietly pushed their way through the soil and surrounded Demeter. She looked with surprise at the new arrivals from below and thought what a shame it was that She was too weakened to feel rage at Her injunction being broken. Then She leaned forward and heard them whisper in the warm breeze: “Persephone returns! Persephone returns42!”

Celebrant holding up a potted flower:

“Persephone returns! The Seed of life never fades away. She is always present. She is returning from beneath to full flower. She does return from beneath to full flower. We are the Persephones – returning from beneath to full flower. Let us put on our masks – we are Her.”
Each put on their Spring mask.

Chant and Dance

Note this is changed slightly from the paper version of the book )

All: “Persephone Returns! Persephone Returns! Rejoice, rejoice!”
Link hands and grapevine steps, moving to outside space if not already there.

Repeat as desired.

Improvise or choreograph as desired … with clapping and drums, tambourine … .

Raising Energy

“In the tradition of our ancestors, and the people of this land too, let us join in the awakening of wake up Mother Earth and ourselves43!” Foot stomping on the Earth in time to: “She who is alive, is alive in us, and we who are alive, are alive in Her.”

Pause stomping and: “Breathe up Her energy through your feet – Her electro-magnetic energy. Feel this Gaian Power.”
STILLNESS WITH THE MOTHER
“Let us move back to our circle, with this stillness.” (or the chant)

moving back inside.

Calling Demeter

Co-celebrant: “Let us call Demeter, the Mother, who holds us, who waits for us, who receives us.”

Chant and drums – with a facilitator to orchestrate.
All (as celebrant changes headpieces):
“Demeter, Demeter – Mother we call you, Mother we call you.”
Celebrant changes mask and/or puts on headpiece.
When “Demeter” is ready and standing waiting, the group finishes with “Demeter!”

Demeter may walk the circle ceremoniously.

Stepping into Power/New Wisdom/ New Strength of Being

Demeter: “Now is the time for you to step into the Power of Being, to leave behind the binds of the past, to welcome back that which was lost, and to welcome the New Wisdom. Step forward one at a time, to enter the Underworld – to remember something of your Journey and your emergence. We will wait for you.

…….. go to the gateway and light the lantern, and/or the torch.
Demeter stand near the gateway.

(If there is enough people, 2 may form an archway for re-entry.)

MUSIC44 on

Each one in turn, goes to the gateway, takes off their head garland and picks up the lantern, and also wheat, poppies and seed as they wish, and walks into the “Underworld”/house for their Journey.

IN THE DARK UNDERWORLD, THERE IS A SMALL TABLE WITH A MIRROR, INTO WHICH THE JOURNEYER MAY LOOK – ENACTING PART OF THE PURPOSE OF SUCH JOURNEYING … self-knowledge, the deep source of Creativity, the autopoiesis of the Cosmos within the self.

The group – “Demeters” – watch for the wandering Persephone.

The Journeyer returns to the “gateway” and puts the lantern down, and whatever else they have taken with them, and stands waiting. Music pauses.

Each: (Optional words – some choices … each write their own)
“I am a Beloved One returned/returning. have gained new Wisdom. My bodymind feels new knowings. I have ReTurned from … . I am gaining in strength and real Power – Gaia’s Power. I leave behind the binds of the past – they are for me …

I welcome back my beloved Daughter/Child/One within. I welcome back the Beloved Lost One. She/This One is for me …

I step with Her/Him into the light & strength of Spring and Being.”

Each steps through the threshold of the gateway, takes off their mask, is embraced by Demeter, given a bouquet and their laurel garland placed back on their head. Others may embrace the returned One too.
Demeter may greet with words like: “You are a champion, a hera, welcome”, according to how the journeyer has expressed themselves and the intuitive sense of the celebrant.

Group response: “Yay, yippee!” (cheer, clap) “What a hera! We bless your empowerment. You made it!”
(Switch music back on, and await next person to take the Journey)

Sitting

“Let us sit quietly for a while-rest on our laurels!”
(harp music for a few minutes)

Communion

“Blessed are you – you have seen these things. You know the end of life and you know the sacred beginnings. May you enjoy the wisdom of your journey.”

Celebrant hold up the cake:

“Take and eat this holy cake – with its many seeds, remembering Her fertility and abundance. Do this in remembrance of She who gives Life. ”

Celebrant puts pieces on two plates and passes a plate in each direction. Each repeats blessing as they hand to next person:
“Take and eat – do this in remembrance of She who gives Life. ”

Servers take glasses to all. Celebrant hold up decanter of chlorophyll water:
“Blessed are you – you have seen these things. Take and drink this Greeness, the magic of the chlorophyll molecule and Earth-Sun communion – do this in remembrance of She who gives Life.”
Pass decanters of chorophyll water in each direction. Each repeat the blessing as they pour for the next: “Take and drink this greenness – do this in remembrance of She who gives Life.”

Offer wine/juice for those who wish.
Note: in 2008 the communion drink became chlorophyll water to celebrate the advent and magic of the chlorophyll molecule.

Offer Eostar eggs, around the circle:
“Remember the Ancient One who laid the Golden Egg, who lays the Golden Egg – take it, it is yours – laid out for you everyday.”

Stories

Let us tell each other stories of empowerment.

Open Circle

All turning to the South – “We have remembered that we are Air, we are the breeze, She expands in us. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the West – “We have remembered that we are Earth, we are the story, She speaks in us. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the North – “We have remembered that we are Fire, we are the dance, She is our form. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the East – “We have remembered that we are Water, we are the juice, She feels with us. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the Centre
“We have remembered that we are Sacred Ones – Heras, Heros, Persephones, Courageous Ones – Beloved Ones who have Journeyed and ReTurned, and are ReTurning. We have remembered something of our Journeys, our Lost Places. We have welcomed our Lost Beloved Ones. We have welcomed and embraced New Strength of Being, New Wisdom. May there be peace within us and between us.” (all join hands)
All: May there be peace within us and between us.

“The circle is open but unbroken, may the Peace, Wisdom and Courage of Goddess go in our hearts and minds.”

All: It has been a merry meeting,
It is a merry parting,
May we merry meet again.
Blessed Be!

Song

“Shine45” (hand out words for all to sing along.)

Points for individual contemplation prior to the Eostar ritual:

  • the balance of this Moment, the light and dark in balance on the planet and within you … this fertile balance of tensions. The balance may not be just a duality, but a triplicity – a balance of all three qualities of Cosmogenesis: love of self, love of other and love of all-that-is … for perfect spin.
  • yourself as a Hera/Shero/Hero/Courageous One … some of what you have made it through, how you have returned from the depths with Wisdom – represented with the rock/stone (take it with you for contemplation).
  • stepping into Power/New Strength – your Journey, what/whom you are welcoming, how you might like to express this (spontaneous or written).

BELTAINE

Altar – suggested red cloth, wreath of seasonal flowers , centre candle. Outside: A firepit/large clay pot (or two – for running between) with sand, pole/tree hung with rainbow streamers. Pink ring cake, with rose honey and petals-cut up but whole. Sweet pink wine/juice and champagne. A variety of berries and/or heart-shaped chocolates. Rose water in East. Firepot in North. Earth and card paper for printing hands in West, with bowl of water & towel. Sweet scented flowers in South. Each bring object or photo representing Beauty for them. Wear head garlands of flowers. Rose petals scattered about.

Each one may take object or photo of Beauty to pre-ritual contemplation with them.

Call to Gather

Conch horn if possible, or drums

Centering/Breath Meditation

Note this is changed slightly from the paper version of the book )

“Breathe deep. Feel your breath as it rushes in, as it waxes towards fullness. Feel your desire for this breath, for this fullness. Breathe deep and feel your breath as it waxes towards filling completely. Feel your desire for this breath. This is how Gaia breathes in our part of the world at this time. The light is waxing towards fullness. Feel your breath as it waxes towards fullness. Feel your desire for this breath, this fullness … Earth’s desire for this breath.

Again taking a deep breath … in that breath we share in the life of all who have come before us, and danced the dance of life: & we are present to all who will come after us and dance the dance of life – breathe deep … and feel the Presence of all these … and the Present as it always is. Breathing deep and contemplating this Presence. You may if you like make a simple gesture to embrace this Presence and to receive this “Present” – reaching back and down – to all who have come before us, bringing your hands and arms up and forward – reaching to all who will come after us, and folding over in reverence as you embrace it all. Breathing. And again … as you like – reaching back and down, harvesting the ancestors, bringing your arms up and forward, reaching into the future to the descendants of your body-mind-spirit, and embracing, folding over, holding this Presence. Breathe deep – in this Present Moment, that you are. We are this Present Moment. Feel your desire for this.”

Statement of Purpose

“This is the Moment of Beltaine, when the light part of the day is longer and continues to grow longer than the dark part of the day. Light is waxing towards fullness. In our region, Earth continues to tilt us further toward the Sun – the Source of Her pleasure, life and ecstasy. This is the time when sweet Desire for Life is met. The fruiting begins. It is the celebration of Allurement … Holy Lust … that which holds all things in form and allows the dance of life. The ancients called this Holy Lust, this primordial essence ‘Ishtar’, ‘Venus’ – ‘Aphrodite’ … they sang of Her:

‘For all things are from you.
Who unites the cosmos.
You will the three-fold fates.
You bring forth all things.
Whatever is in the Heavens.
And in the much fruitful earth
And in the deep sea.’

Let us celebrate our erotic nature, which brings forth all things.

We may begin by remembering the Sacred Space present – the sensuousness of the Present Moment – and our deep Desire for it.”

Creating the Sacred Space

All turning to the East
“All hail the East, presence of Water!”
All: All hail the East, presence of Water!
“We desire you, thirst for you, as all have done before us.”
All: We desire you, thirst for you, as all have done before us.
Soft but constant drums, as ……. takes water jug around , pours a little into each one’s hands, for them to drink.
Each one affirms: I desire you, thirst for you, as all have done before me.

All turning to the North
“All hail the North, presence of Fire!”
All: All hail the North, presence of Fire!
“We desire you, gather around you, as all have done before us.”
All: We desire you, gather around you, as all have done before us.
Soft but constant drums, as ……… lights the fire, and each one in turn comes to the flame and passes their hands over it.
Each one affirms: I desire you, gather around you, as all have done before me.

All turning to the West
“All hail the West, presence of Earth!”
All: All hail the West, presence of Earth!
“We desire you, are held by you, desire to make our mark with you, as all have done before us.”
All: We desire you, are held by you, desire to make our mark with you, as all have done before us.
Soft but constant drums, as ….…. attends the wet earth, bowl of water and towel for washing, and each one in turn comes to the wet earth, puts in their hand and impresses their print on a piece of card paper.
(Each rinses and dries their hands)
Each one affirms: I desire you, desire to make my mark with you, as all have done before me.

All turning to the South
“All hail the South, presence of Air!”
All: All hail the South, presence of Air!
“We desire you, reach for you, as all have done before us.”
All: We desire you, reach for you, as all have done before us.
Soft but constant drums, as ……… takes perfumed flowers around to each.
Each one affirms: I desire you, reach for you, as all have done before me.

All turning to the Centre
“We are united in our Desire – for Water, Fire, Earth and Air (PACING THE CIRCLE), in our longing, with each other, and with all who have come before us and all who will come after us, in their Desire and their longing. Our desire, our longing, is the Beloved, is the Universe, desiring in us46. Feel it – this Holy Desire. This is the Centre of Creativity – we are between the worlds, beyond the bounds of time and space, where light and dark, joy and sorrow, birth and death meet as One.”
(light candle)

Invocation

…….: “Hear the words of the Star Goddess, the dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven, …..
I who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars and the mysteries of the waters, I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me. For I am the soul of nature that gives rise to the Universe. From me all things proceed and unto Me they must return. Let My worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold – all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals. Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honour and humility, mirth and reverence within you. And you who seek to know Me, know that your seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without. For I have been with you from the beginning, and I am that which is attained at the end of Desire47.”

Possible Music – “Benediction Moon” by Pia

Celebrant: “Name yourself as the Beauty, whom She desires – the Beloved. Speak if you wish, of the Beauty that you are, or simply show us. Let us welcome your Beauty.”

Each one: (wording as you wish … this is a suggestive, and presenting object or photo of Beauty,or describing, as you speak: “I am this Beauty”. AND/OR “I am the Beauty of … . I am the Beauty whom She (the Cosmos/Universe) desires.“ (Put your object or photo on the altar)

Note this is changed slightly from the paper version of the book )

Response: Beloved, we saw you coming from afar, and you were beautiful. We saw you coming from afar, and you are beautiful.

Each affirm: It is so.

Celebrant: “Where there is perception of Beauty there is Love. With all this Holy Desirable Beauty let us proceed to the tree, the axis mundi, and dance the dance of life. Let us proceed contemplating this awesome Beauty.” (All move outside to the fires, led by celebrants, some taking drums and musical instruments.)

Leaping the Fire

Celebrant: “Let the flames of Love burn away your petty disharmonies and habitual negativities. Leap the Flames, or run between them, and leave behind what you will.”

Celebrant light the flames

Each takes a turn saying what they leave behind to the flames and leaping the fire, or running between the flames. Drum roll for each .

Response: claps and cheers. May it be so.

When energy is raised, drums abate.

The Dance48

(All move to the pole/tree)

(Instruction: Celebrant as #1, person next as #2. All 1’s face right, all 2’s face left. All 1’s go in & under first, all 2’s go out & over first.)

Celebrant: “Take a ribbon of your choosing and weave in to your life what you will, your heart’s desires.”
Each person: “I choose red, for …… or “I choose blue, for ….. “ etc.
Response: May it be so.

All chant as the group dances:
“We are the Dance of the Earth, Moon and Sun
We are the Life that’s in everyone
We are the Life that loves to live
We are the Love that lives to love49.”

Note this is changed slightly from the paper version of the book )

After it is woven, all put hands on the tree and in silence.

Sitting/ Hands on Earth

“Let us sit on Mother Earth with this healing, and name others for whom we desire this.”

After the naming: “Feel this desire in you now. This is the primordial essence, which brings forth all things. May all these desires spoken and unspoken, be so.”

MOVING BACK INSIDE OR BACK TO THE ALTAR. RE-LIGHT FIREPOTS.

Celebrant: Let us move back into MoonCourt – walking between the firepots, the eyes of Goddess, being seen by Her.”

Communion

Celebrant display and parade the cake – with “mmm” sounds and delight.

“Take and eat this Holy Cake – with its sacred Honey, this Yoni-verse*. Consume your desire. Consummate your desire.” Pass cake sunwise. Each one repeat blessing to next: “Consume your desire, follow your bliss.” *NOTE: the term “Yoni-verse” is from Leslene della-Madre

Server take glasses to all. Celebrant holds up the wine/pink juice.
“Take and drink this sweet nectar. Taste and enjoy the sweetness of life. Don’t miss the Moment.”
Pass a decanter of wine/pink juice in each direction. Each repeat the blessing as they pour for the next: “Taste and enjoy the sweetness of life. Don’t miss the Moment.”

Serve variety of berries and/or heart-shaped chocolates.

Open champagne: “The Dance of Life is an Event, a party – Gaia’s Party, and we may be the champagne50  ; with our self-reflexive consciousness, and celebration of Her. May we fulfill our role in existence. May you enjoy a lightness of Being.”

Invite all to find and eat the doughnuts hanging about (if they are) – or other chosen wholly desirable foods (heart-shaped chocolates and/or passionfruits and/or?).

Storytelling

Space for speaking, and telling stories of Passion.

Open the Circle

All turning to the South
“We have remembered the presence of Air, how we desire Her, reach for Her. May we know peace within us.”
All: May we know peace within us.

All turning to the West
“We have remembered the presence of Earth, how we are held by Her, how we desire to make our mark with Her. May we know peace within us.”
All: May we know peace within us.

All turning to the North
“We have remembered the presence of Fire, how we desire Her, gather around Her. May we know peace within us.”
All: May we know peace within us.

All turning to the East
“We have remembered the presence of Water, how we desire Her, thirst for Her. May we know peace within us.”
All: May we know peace within us.

All turning to the Centre
“We have remembered that we are the Beauty whom She Desires. We have called this Beauty forth within ourselves and within each other. We have remembered that the Holy Desire of the Universe is within us, uniting us with all and with the cosmos. We have woven into our lives our heart’s desires and received the Flame of Love. May we know peace within us and between us.” (all join hands)
All: May we know peace within us and between us.

“May the Delight and Ecstasy and Creativity of Earth, Moon and Sun, Beloved and Lover, She Who is All, go in our hearts and minds.”

Song

“The circle is open but unbroken. May the peace of the Goddess be ever in our hearts. Merry meet and merry part, and merry meet again.”

All: Blessed be!

Pass the kiss.

Dance Music51

Points for individual contemplation prior to the Beltane ritual:

  • your desires as the Universe desiring in you
  • how you are “the Beauty whom She desires”, how you are the Beauty whom you desire – perhaps expressed for you in the Beauty of the rose, the tree, the Moon or whatever you choose
  • what you would weave into your life
  • what you would leave behind to the flames – let the Flame of Love burn away.

SUMMER SOLSTICE

Note: some of the text has been changed from the paper version of the book

Fire ready off to side. Each brings a full rose or flower. Wrapped lollies (candy) – or in small bags, small Summer fruits, blossoms in baskets. Golden yellow altar cloth with black ribbon. Wreath of roses, wildflowers and black ribbon near fireplace. Loaves of bread near fireplace and on altar. White wine and white grape juice. Each participant with small shoulder bag/pocket for “edibles”. Dyad poem copies. Olive oil. Rattles, tambourines, drums.

Each one take their rose/flower to pre-ritual contemplation with them – place in basket on altar upon gathering to the circle.

Call to Gather

drum beat, participants moving in a circle to the rhythm – several circles, feeling the rhythm.

Centering/Breath Meditation

Note: the text here has been changed from the paper version of the book

“Breathe deep, feel the weight of your body-sink into it. This is how Earth holds you. Feel Her hold you – your experience of gravity. With this same power Earth is held in orbit around Sun, Moon around Earth. Feel this Power in you – your weight. Breathe into it … this relationship with Earth, Sun and Moon – this Cosmos.

Breathe deep, and draw up from the Mother all that you desire … filling your bodymind to capacity, until you can draw it no longer, feeling the fullness at the peaking of your breath, and the urge to release it … then letting it go. Again, breathing deep, filling your bodymind to capacity – feeling the fullness at the peaking of your breath – holding it a moment, and feeling the urge to let it go, to pour it forth – then letting it go … feeling this Sacred Interchange of form and formlessness – the fullness of being and the pouring forth of it.

This is how Gaia breathes in our part of the world at this time. She is filling to capacity, and giving it away, letting it go. Joining with Her now in this breath … breathing deep, filling to capacity, feeling Her Fullness and the urge to release, let go, pour it forth – and as you do, recalling those times in your life when have acted with ease and poured forth your essence. This is the Summerland within you … the Sacred Interchange of form – the fullness of being, and formlessness – the dissolving. Feel it in your breath.”

Statement of Purpose

“This is the time of the Summer Solstice – when the light part of the day is longest. In our part of the world, Light is in Her fullness, She spreads Her radiance, Her fruits ripen, Her greenery is everywhere, the cicadas sing. Yet as Light reaches Her peak, our closest contact with the Sun, She opens completely, and the seed of darkness is born.

As it says in the tradition, this is the time of the rose, blossom and thorn, fragrance and blood. The story of Old tells that on this day Beloved and Lover52, Goddess and God, embrace, in a love so complete, that all dissolves, into the single Song of ecstasy that moves the worlds. Our bliss, fully matured, given over, feeds the Universe and turns the wheel. We join the Beloved and Lover, Earth, Moon and Sun, in the Great Give-Away of our Creativity, our Fullness of Being.”

Banishing – Personal and Planetary dimensions

Let us begin by remembering that we are each and all open channels for the moving energies of Life – for the bliss of Union of Beloved and Lover, the Creativity of Earth, Moon and Sun.

Celebrant: Let us raise some energy to banish those blocks that hold us back from being these open channels, fully who we might be – raise some energy for healing/wholing – as many of our ancestors did of Old in this season.

DRUMS AND RATTLES AND VOICE. Chant (circle facing in to each other, or whirling):

Mother Earth who gives us birth: You feed all, and all feed You.

Having raised energy to banish those states of being which block our flow, let us call upon those with which we may be in harmony.

Creating the Sacred Space

Celebrant: Hail the East, Powers of Water… Cosmic dynamic of Sensitivity
All: repeat.
Celebrant: you absorb, become, whatever you touch; may we feel what we are, and respond compassionately.
All: may we feel what we are, & respond compassionately.
Drums: ……… -sprinkle water w/oak branch.(each speak as they wish as water goes by–or conscious of own relat. w/water)

Celebrant: Hail the North, Powers of Fire …Unseen Shaping Power of the Cosmos
All: repeat.
Celebrant: that gives us form – flames that we are; may we dance with you and act with Creative Lust for all of life.
All:May we dance with you & act with Creative Lust for all of life.
Drums: ……. – light fire in the pot, carry it around. (each speak as they wish as fire goes by – or conscious of own relat. w/ fire).

Celebrant: Hail the West, Powers of Earth … deep Sentient Presence and Memory.
All: repeat.
Celebrant: You hold all the stories of life in your Body – as each of our bodies do also; may we remember who we really are, may we hold the Wisdom of all time and no Time.
All: may we remember who we really are, may we hold the Wisdom of all time and no Time.
Drums: ……  – hold up rock & carry around. (each speak as they wish as earth goes by – or conscious of own relat. w/earth.)

Celebrant: Hail the South, Powers of Air …. Cosmic Dynamic of Exuberance and Expression
All: repeat.
Celebrant: Wind that moves the trees, the clouds, brings us rain and allows us our voice; move us and inspire us to unfurl our being.
All: Move us and inspire us to unfurl our being.
Drums: ……. – light smudge stick, carry around.(each speak as they wish as smudge goes by – or conscious of own relat. w/air.)

This is what we are … Mysterious Flashes of Water, Fire, Earth and Air (Celebrant PACING THE CIRCLE), in this Dynamic Place of Being, this Sacred Interchange of form and formlessness – this Event. We are at the Centre. The circle is cast, we are between the worlds, beyond the bounds of time and space, where light and dark, birth and death, joy and sorrow meet, as One.

(light candle)

Invocation

Celebrant: “let us recognize and invoke the Sacred Fullness of the Mother, the Wholeness of the Universe, the Radiance of Sun – the Summerland – in each other.”

“Take the bowl of oil when it comes to you and turn to the person next to you, anoint their hands or forehead, bless them in this way:

Hail ………., thou art the Sacred Fullness of the Mother, the Wholeness of the Universe: the Radiance of Sun, the Summerland, is within you”, and bow deeply as you recognize all that is before you.

Celebrant begin with person on right: then each person pass the invocation to the next, around the circle:

Response: It is so (and/or whatever else they may like to affirm).

Let us continue this invocation of the Sacred Wholeness present in us with a Conversation of Union – of the form and formlessness that we are:

Dyad Poem53

(inner and outer circles – facing each other)
CHANT IT – each circle repeating each phrase 2 or 3 times
Inner: ………………………. Outer:
Nameless One……………….. of many names
Eternal ………………………… and ever changing One
Who is found nowhere …….. but appears everywhere
Beyond ……………………….. and within all
Timeless ……………………… circle of the seasons
Unknowable Mystery ………. known by all
Mother of all Life ……………. Young One of the Dance
Engulf us with your love …… Be radiant within us
Inner circle step back into outer circle:
All (with actions): See with our eyes. Hear with our ears. Breathe with our nostrils. Touch with our hands. Kiss with our lips. Open our hearts … that we may live free, joyful in the Song of all that is.

Song/Toning

Each begin with their own sound, building on this, each flowing into their own sound and listening for the others – harmonising voices. Let it flow for a while, building and ebbing, until it comes to its own conclusion.(NOTE: the three layers of Cosmogenesis present in the process)

SILENCE FOR A MOMENT

The Give-Away54

Co-celebrants (2 or 3) pick up baskets of blossoms first, then baskets of sweets in small bags, throwing handfuls of smaller contents into the air, handing out larger items – repeating the blessing;
“She gives it away, She pours it forth”.
OR “They – Beloved and Lover, give it away, They pour it forth.”

Celebrant and a few others do the same with baskets of small fruits, or hand larger fruits to people, with the same blessing.
(Everyone pick up sweets, fruit – puts them in pocket/bag.)

Spiral Dance and Chant

“Each pick up your rose or full flower, which represents your fullness of being, your radiance – what you have drawn from the Mother and what you pour forth –  and let us dance the Mystery of the Spiral.”
All pick up rose/flower and join hands, each holding their flower in linked right hand.
Celebrant leads into a spiral, as all chant, making sure to look into the eyes and faces of the passing people.

All chant:
“She is shining, crowned with light.
We are radiant, we are bright.
We dissolve into the night55.”

The Fire

As the circle opens back out, lead to the fire at the side … light it.
“Let us each join in the Great Give-Away, of our Fullness of Being, our Radiance, our creativity, to the Universe. Give your full flower to the flames, and speak if you wish, of what you pour forth everyday, perhaps what has grown in you this year, or what you would like to pour forth, however you’d like to express it, if you would. Take your time.”
Celebrant throw some herbs on the fire – wormwood, hypericum, sage or …

Each one comes forward in turn, and speaks if they wish, and gives their rose/flower to the fire.
Response: “We bless you, and the Gift that you are. May you be whole”.

Celebrant throw more herbs on the fire when all are done, and pronounce: “Long live the dance and those who are in it … even the stars will join in. May we be frisky, vibrant and lively!” (NOTE: See The Midsummer Dancers by Max Dashu)

Wreath56

All stand watching the flowers burn.
Celebrant holds the wreath to each person’s face, so they can see the flames through it and says: “See with clear sight.”
She holds the wreath aloft, where person can see it, and says:
“And know the mystery of the unbroken circle.”

Possible chant by group as this happens, or after:
One thing becomes another,
In the Mother, in the Mother
. (ref: The Spiral Dance Starhawk, p.190.)

Communion

(Bread near fireplace) Celebrant holds up the bread

“We are each the Bread of Life – feeding the world with our everyday acts and being, ripening for consuming. It is the Sun that ripens in us – bringing us to this creative fullness, this Radiance. Step forward one at a time, take the bread in your hands, break off a piece and affirm that this is so – you are the Bread of Life: it is the Sun that ripens in you, you are the Sun … however you may like to express it if you would.

Each comes forward in turn, takes the bread, breaks some off for themselves, and speaks if they wish.

Response: “It is the Sun that ripens in you: so may you shine.”

When all are done, Celebrant may affirm: “Let us eat. We are the Sun, we are the grain, we are the Bread of Life. We are Her Food.”

All move back to centre altar/circle

Celebrant holds up the wine/juice.

“We are each the Wine/Nectar, poured out for the Mystery, coming to full flavour. It is the Sun that ripens in us – bringing us to this creative fullness, this full flavour. Step forward one at a time, take the wine/nectar in your hands, pour some out and affirm that this is so. – you are the Wine/Nectar: it is the Sun that ripens in you, you are the Sun … however you  would like to express it if you would.

Each comes forward in turn, takes the decanter and glass, pours some wine/nectar for themselves, and speaks if they wish.

Response: “It is the Sun that ripens in you: so may you shine.”

When all are done, celebrant may affirm: “Let us drink. We are the Sun, we are the grape, we are the Wine. We are Her Food.”

Stories – perhaps some boasting

“Let us enjoy some of our fruits and lollies and tell each other stories of the fullness of Creativity, of Wholeness, what you are creating- perhaps every day, what you have created/achieved or what you would like to … or whatever you would like to say”.

Response: “May you be fruitful” or “We bless your creativity” or other appropriate formal response.

Open the Circle

All turning to the South
“We have remembered that we are Air,
Cosmic Dynamics of Exuberance and Expression
unfurling our being.
May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the West
“We have remembered that we are Earth,
deep Sentient Presence and Memory
holding all the stories of life in our bodies.
May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the North
“We have remembered that we are Fire,
vessels of unseen shaping power – dancing flames.
May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the East
“We have remembered that we are Water,
Cosmic Dynamics of Sensitivity
absorbing, becoming all that we touch.
May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the Centre
“We have remembered that we are open channels for the moving energies of life – the Sacred Fullness of the Mother, the Wholeness of the Universe, the Radiance of Sun: that the Summerland is within us, that the Creativity that pours forth from us is Divine, Sacred – is what the Cosmos is made of. We have remembered that we are the Bread of Life – that our Passion released, may feed the world.
May there be peace within us and between us.” (all join hands)
All: May there be peace within us and between us.

“The circle is open but unbroken,
May the Peace and Bliss of the One, of the Union of form and formlessness, Beloved and Lover, go in our hearts and minds. May we be radiant.”

All: It has been a merry meeting,
it is a merry parting,
may we merry meet again.
Blessed Be.

Pass the kiss.

Music

Wendy Rule’s “Radiate” ( Guided by Venus CD)

Points for individual contemplation prior to the Summer Solstice ritual:

  • what holds you back from being fully who you might be – what blocks the flow.
  • how you and others are the “the Sacred Fullness of the Mother, the Wholeness of the Universe”, how the Radiance of Sun, Summerland is within you.
  • Contemplate the Dyad Poem as a conversation of the interchange of manifest form and ‘manifesting’ formlessness – always present.
  • your full flower/rose which represents your Fullness of Being, your radiance – what you have drawn from the Mother and what you pour forth, perhaps everyday and also your achievements, what has grown in you this year or over a longer period: how you feed the Universe with your daily creativity.
  • how you are the Bread of Life–how it is Sun that ripens in you, how everything you do and think is a Solar event – how you are Sun, and may feed the world just like it does – with your radiance.
  • some boasting that you may like to do in the ceremonial storytelling … what you have achieved, perhaps what you do everyday.

LAMMAS

Each bring a bread figure that they made with contemplation of the Deep Self, on what they would have transformed – perhaps fears, what they would “make sacred”, what they have for-giving. Wear black preferably, bring dark veil or dried garland. Black (felt?) altar cloth. Dark rye bread on two plates & dark beer, red wine and dark grape juice. Dark foods such as licorice, prunes, black olives. Fire ready. Star carrots/cookies near fireplace. Small bowl of ash. Small basket of grain. Cauldron-like clay pots for all the elements. Centre candle on large cauldron-like claypot of earth with wreath of dried roses from Summer with wheat/grain heads, rosehips, flower pods. Music ready.

Participants put on veils or garlands for ritual. Keep bread figures with them – take to pre-ritual contemplation. Optional masks at point of sitting contemplation of Dark Larger Self – for possible enhancement of the sense of identification with Larger Self.

Call to Gather

Drum … then when gathered ring a medium size bell three times.

Centering

“For whom does the bell toll? (three times – different emphasis on toll, bell and whom each time.) It tolls for thee.”

Breathe this breath that is yours, as if it were your first … do you remember that it was so? Breathe this breath that is yours, as if it were your last … do you remember that it will be so? Breathe it now, this breath that is yours … but not yours. We breathe this breath together (take hands) … we are the breath of the Cosmos in this time and in this place – Her breath-taking manifestation in this Moment of Her story.”

After a few moments let go hands.

Statement of Purpose

“This is the season of the waxing dark. The seed of darkness that was born at the Summer Solstice now grows … the dark part of the days grows visibly longer. Earth’s tilt is taking us back away from the Sun. This is the time when we celebrate dissolution, expansion into Deep Self, the time when each unique self lets go, to the Darkness. It is the time for celebrating ending, when the grain, the fruit, is harvested. We meet to remember the Dark Sentience, the All-Nourishing Abyss, She from whom we arise, in whom we are immersed and to whom we return.
This is the time of the Crone, the Wise Dark One, who accepts and receives our harvest, who grinds the grain, who dismantles what has gone before. She is Hecate, Lillith, Medusa, Kali, Erishkagel, Chamunda, Coatlique – Divine Compassionate One, She Who creates the Space to Be. We meet to accept Her transformative embrace, trusting Her knowing, which is beyond all knowledge.”

“Let us slip between the worlds into Her dark space. Let us begin by remembering Her Recipe, the elements in Her Cauldron from whence we come.”

Creating the Sacred Space

All turning to the East
“Hail the East: Water we are –
filled with the ocean tides – in Her Cauldron of Creativity!”
Drum for several beats – water person wait.
Each presented with cauldron (clay pot) of water, ladles it into their hand, holds it to the East and responds:
“Water I am! – in Her cauldron of Creativity! (- add whatever else).” (sip the water)

All turning to the North
“Hail the North: Fire we are –
sparks of ancient heat – in Her Cauldron of Creativity!”
Drum for several beats– fire person to wait.
Each comes to the firepot, lights a match from the firepot, holds it to the North and responds:
“Fire I am! – in Her cauldron of Creativity! (- add whatever else).”

All turning to the West.
“Hail the West: Earth we are –
geoformations – in Her Cauldron of Creativity!”
Drum for several beats – earth person to wait.
Each presented with cauldron of earth, takes some, holds it to the West and responds: “Earth I am! – in Her cauldron of Creativity! (- add whatever else).” (Put earth back, and touch ‘dirty’ hand to own forehead/throat/ chest)

All turning to the South.
“Hail the South: Air we are-
this ancient river that all have breathed – in Her Cauldron of Creativity!”
Drum for several beats – air person to wait.
Each presented with the cauldron with lit smudge stick in it, lifts it out, holds it to the South and responds: “Air I am! – in Her cauldron of Creativity!” (- add whatever else).” (put smudge stick back)

All turning to the Centre. “This is Her recipe – Water, Fire, Earth and Air (PACING THE CIRCLE) – we are made from this, these are our Origins. We are at the Centre of Creativity, in Her Cauldron: we are immersed in it, in this Dark Realm of Manifesting. Her Centre is Here.
The circle is cast, we are between the worlds, beyond the bounds of space and time, where light and dark, birth and death, joy and sorrow meet as one.”
(light centre candle)

Invocation

Celebrant: “Let us invoke and recognize Her now – the Ancient and Dark Creative One, this Larger self Whom we are.”
Wheat/barley grains in one small bowl, ash in another.
Celebrant to each: ” ……… you are the grain that is harvested – you are Her Harvest (put grain in their hand).

Response: “It is so. I am … (as each chooses to repeat)

Co-celebrant (with small bowl of ash) : “remember Her Dark Sentience within you (touch their forehead with ash) … that you are the Ancient One, you are the Transformation of the Ages.”

Response: “It is so, I am … (each chooses whatever they wish to repeat and affirm for themselves, or may add or use own words).

Sitting (with music57)

Let us sit and contemplate Her now within us – this Dark and Ancient Wise One, this Larger Self Whom we are.

ALL MAY PUT ON MASKS if they wish, or cover face with dark veil

CELEBRANT PUT ON MASK AND ADD DARK VEIL OR COVER FACE WITH DARK VEIL – as desired.

After 4-5 minutes or more:
MUSIC OFF
Celebrant: “All stand – put your grains in the centre, take up your bread figures.”

Dissolution/Expansion – the Bread Figures58

Note: this process is different from what is described in the paper version of PaGaian Cosmology. )

CELEBRANT PACE CIRCLE (with empty basket in hand) and end at fireplace/ waterbowl: “I am the Ancient Compassionate One, within you and within all – the Creative One who transforms all, She who receives all.

AT FIREPLACE/WATERBOWL (put basket down): “Now is the time for your dedication to Deep Self. Step forward now, one at a time (as you are ready), and speak if you wish. What would you surrender for transformation? What do you have for-giving? Perhaps what do you want to ‘make sacred’ – dedicate to Deep Wisdom within, to the waxing Dark of this Season?”

Each comes forward when they are ready, speaking if they wish:
(Create own words, or option to speak these or variation)
“I dedicate my small self to Larger Deeper Self, understanding that I am She – GaiaUniverse – She Who is All. I am the beauty of the Dark: the Sentience of the Cosmos is within me. I trust Her Wisdom and Creativity – She Who receives me in every moment, so that new composition may arise. I offer Her Darkness (…) for transformation. I have (…) for-giving. I want to make sacred (…) .”

Place bread figure in the basket near the fire or waterbowl.

Each person then repeats whatever they wish in summary, chant style. Group repeats the answer in chant style.
DRUM starts.
Let energy build for each response.
Drum stops soon after group stops chanting.
Those choosing not to speak still have the drum for their intention
(Celebrant take a turn also – remove mask and/or veil?)

WHEN ALL ARE DONE:
Celebrant: “The Old Compassionate One – the Creative One receives all, transforms all. We are Her Harvest in every Moment.”
DRUM while celebrant tosses bread figures into water/fire – slowly, one at a time:
Group – for each bread figure: “For transformation and dedication”.

All respond: May it be so.

Silence

“Everything passes, all fades away59. May we open our Hearts.” A few moments of silence as we watch the bread figures burn.

Chant (Starhawk 1989:195):

She lies beneath all. She covers all.

“I am Love”

Celebrant (holding the basket of stars): “She says: I am Love, I am the All-Nourishing Abyss. All manifestation springs from me – you have given yourself back. You will reap the harvest, you will proceed in joy and abundance … for this is the Mystery.”

The Hoped for Harvest60

Celebrant takes the basket of star carrots/cookies around to each and asks:”What do you hope to harvest? What do you hope for? What will nourish you?”

Each person then repeats whatever they wish in summary, chant style. Group repeats the answer in chant style.
DRUM starts.
Let energy build for each response.
Drum stops soon after group stops chanting.
Those choosing not to speak still have the drum for their intention, after they take a star.
(Co-celebrant ask question for celebrant)

Celebrant hold up star ”May all these hoped for harvests be so.”
All respond: “May it be so!” All eat the stars

Music61 or drum option

Communion

Celebrant holds up plate of dark rye bread and decanter of dark beer: “We are filled with and nourished by the Creative Dark – immersed in Her Womb. May we receive Her nourishment and be nourishing.”
Celebrant offers the bread to person in sunwise direction of her with the blessing: “May you receive Her nourishment and be nourishing.”
Each repeat blessing around the circle, as they offer the bread
to next person.

(Assistant distribute glasses to each person)
Celebrant offers the dark beer/dark juice to person in sunwise direction of her with the blessing: “You are filled with and nourished by the Creative Dark – immersed in Her Womb. May you receive Her nourishment and be nourishing.”
Each repeat the blessing around the circle (as much of it as each remembers!), as they offer the beer/wine/juice to the next person.

Offer other dark foods – licorice, prunes, dark olives.

Story Space

“Perhaps things you are letting go of, perhaps stories of loss, or expansion into deep Self, perhaps stories of harvests, transformations hoped for.”

Dance – Harvest Dance62

“Let us dance in celebration of the Harvest – our harvests and the Harvest of these times. Can the grub imagine the butterfly she will become? Can we imagine what will emerge?”

PAUSE AT FINISH of dance, holding the circle for a few moments – (music on separate CD for space after it finishes.)

Open the Circle

All turning to South
“We have remembered that we are Her recipe –
that we are Air, in Her Cauldron of Creativity. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the West
“We have remembered that we are Earth in her Cauldron of Creativity. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the North
“We have remembered that we are Fire, in Her Cauldron of Creativity. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the East
“We have remembered that we are Water, in Her Cauldron of Creativity. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us.

All turning to the Centre
“We have remembered that we are Sacred and Ancient Wise One. We have remembered that we are the Grain cut for Harvest, the Transformation of the Ages. We have remembered the Dark Sentience, the All-Nourishing Abyss to whom we belong, in whom we are immersed, and to whom we return. We have remembered our fears and our hopes. We have remembered that our harvest is Her Harvest.
May there be peace within us and between us.” (all join hands)
All: May there be peace within us and between us.

“The circle is open but unbroken
May the Wisdom and Compassion of Goddess – the Mystery – go in our hearts and minds.”

All: It has been a merry meeting
It is a merry parting
May we merry meet again
Blessed Be!

(Pass the kiss in both directions)

Music63

Points for individual contemplation prior to the Lammas ritual:

  • how you are the Grain that is harvested, how you are Her harvest.
  • the Dark Sentience that fills you, in which we are immersed. How you are the Transformations of the Ages – the Ancient One.
  • your bread figure that you give to the Old Dark One’s basket and what you might like to express – desired transformations, fears perhaps, dedication to Deep Wisdom, Larger Self beyond your knowing. You might understand it as a “for-giving”, or a “making sacred” – whatever feels right for you at this time.
  • What do you hope to “harvest” – what do you hope for?

MABON

Wreath with wheat/grain heads and Autumn leaves, around centre candle. Three wheat stalks tied with red ribbon for each participant – all wrapped in cloth and tied ceremoniously with long thick red ribbon. Purple triangle overlaid on autumn coloured altar cloth64. Basket of bulbs. Each bring fruit or wine or juice or cake/cookies/fancy bread – next to themselves in circle. Glasses, plates, cutlery, bottle openers ready. Each bring a plant pot with soil – put outside (in “Underworld”) near large pot full of soil, with small spades. Garden flame torches to light path to the pots. Lantern. Each bring a shawl – and stories of loss/grief. Tissues. Bells. Bowl of water and towel near “gate” of the “Underworld” for handwashing. Music ready. Bowl of pomegranate seeds in Underworld. Red threads for each.

Call to Gather

energetic drumming

Statement of Purpose and Centering

“This is the Moment of the Autumnal Equinox, the moment of balance of light and dark in the dark part of the cycle. The light and dark parts of the day in the South and in the North of our planet, are of equal length this day.

Feel the balance of this moment – Earth as She is poised in relationship with the Sun. See Her there in your mind’s eye. Contemplate this balance. Feel for your own balance of light and dark within. Breathe into it. Breathe in the light, swell with it, let your breath go into the dark, stay with it. Feel for your centre, shift on your feet, from left to right, … breathe into it – this Sacred Balance, from which all comes forth.

In our part of Earth, the balance is about to tip into the dark. Feel the shift within you, see in your mind’s eye the descent ahead, the darkness growing, remember the coolness of it. This is the time when we give thanks for our harvests – the abundance we have reaped. Yet we remember too the losses. The story of Old tells us that Persephone is given the wheat, from Her Mother – the Mystery, knowledge of life and death – for this she gives thanks. But she sets forth into the darkness – both Mother and Daughter grieve that it is so.

Let us enter the sacred space, wherein we may speak the Mystery. Let us begin by remembering who we are and from whence we come.”

Creating the Sacred Space

All turning to the East
“We come from the East to this Place, and we remember that we are Water. She is alive in us and we in Her.”
………. carry water around and sprinkle it on participants.
Each respond as they feel the water, and continue to chant: “I remember that I am Water. She is alive in me and I in Her.” (producing an effect of a continuous thread of sound)

All turning to the North
“We come from the North to this Place and we remember that we are Fire. She is alive in us and we in Her.”
……….. light and carry the fire around the circle.
Each respond as they feel the fire, and continue to chant: “I remember that I am Fire. She is alive in me and I in Her.” (producing an effect of a continuous thread of sound)

All turning to the West
“We come from the West to this Place and we remember that we are Earth. She is alive in us and we in Her.”
……. carry a rock or bowl of earth around for each to touch.
Each responds as they feel the earth, and continue to chant:”I remember that I am Earth. She is alive in me, and I in Her.” (producing an effect of a continuous thread of sound)

All turning to the South
“We come from the South to this Place and we remember that we are Air. She is alive in us and we in Her.”
……. light and carry smudge around.
Each responds as they smell the smudge, and continue to chant: “I remember that I am Air. She is alive in me, and I in Her.” (producing an effect of a continuous thread of sound)

All turning to the Centre
“We have been present you and I, in the East, in the North, in the West, in the South (PACING THE CIRCLE): we have been present always in each stage of Gaia’s story, as Water, Fire, Earth and Air – She is alive in us and we in Her. We are at Her Centre, which is everywhere. The circle is cast, we are between the worlds, beyond the bounds of space and time, where light and dark, birth and death, joy and sorrow meet as One.”
(light centre candle)

Invocation

“Let us call Demeter, the Mother, who holds us, waits for us and receives us.”
Chant and drums – with a facilitator to co-ordinate and orchestrate.
All (as celebrant ties on mask of Demeter, adds to her costume and picks up bundles of wheat): “Demeter , Demeter – Mother we call you, Mother we call you.”
LET ENERGY BUILD
When “Demeter” is ready and standing waiting, the group finishes with “Demeter!”
“Demeter” walks the circle twice ceremoniously untying the ribbon and unwrapping the cloth. She holds up the wheat bundles for all to see, stating:
“You are offered the wheat in every moment.”

“Demeter” goes to each one: ( Note: slight changes have been made to the way this is expressed as my understanding grows: see Commentary Chapter Seven notes – MABONfor latest version and post #2 and 3 in Autumn Equinox/Mabon reflections )

”(name), I give you the wheat – the Mystery – the knowledge of life and death. I let you go as Child – Daughter/Mabon65), most loved of Mine … you descend to Wisdom, to Sovereignty66. You will return as Mother67, co-Creator with me. You are the Seed in the Fruit, becoming the Fruit in the Seed. Inner Wisdom guides your path.”

Response: “It is so. I am Daughter (Child/Mabon/Young One), becoming Mother – Seed becoming Fruit. I am deepening into/descend to, Wisdom, into Sovereignty. The Mother knowledge grows within me. (vary and add words as desired to express self)

Celebrant takes off her mask and extra “Demeter” garments, and is given the wheat and invocation by another participant.

Thanksgiving for the Harvest

“Let us give thanks for our harvests – this harvest we are given in every moment, all that we have gained.”

Each one picks up their “harvest” and puts it in the centre, stating:
“I give thanks for my harvest of …
Response: “Your life, it is blessed.” OR “Your harvest, it is wonderful. We hear your joy.”

Celebrant; “We have harvested much, our lives are blessed. We are Daughters and Sons of the Mother. ”

Remembering the Losses and Sorrow68

“It is time now to take our Wisdom, and remember the sorrows – the losses involved. Let us put on our shawls and remember the grief of the Mother, of mothers and lovers69 everywhere, our grief: and perhaps your rage.”

All put shawls on – may put shawls over head.

MUSIC70 on.
“Persephone descends. The Beloved One is lost. Remember … remember.”
All process – walk slowly around, wander within the ritual space .
“Hold your wheat close to your breast, as we descend. Speak of that for which you grieve and rage.”

Participants may speak names and events etc for whom and what they grieve spontaneously as the music plays71. “I remember …” OR perhaps “I am angry about …”
Response: “For this we grieve.” OR “We hear your anger.”

Repeat for as long as necessary.

Celebrant: “Sit with a partner now and tell each other anything further in your heart, the losses for which you grieve and rage … or just sit with each other in silence. Listen to each other. It is not a discussion.”

Celebrant ring bell after a few minutes as the cue to switch.

Ring bell to bring to silence.

Song

(start softly)
“Ancient Mother we hear you calling, ancient Mother we hear your song.
Ancient Mother our grief and pain is yours, ancient Mother we taste your tears72.”

Silence

The Hope of Persephone

The basket of bulbs is passed around. Each take one.
“Persephone goes forth into the darkness to become Queen of that world. She tends the sorrows. These represent our Persephones, who tends the sorrows – we are the Persephones, who may tend the sorrows. Let us go out into the night with Her and plant our seeds. Let us go out into the night with Her and plant our seeds.”

All begin singing the chorus of “Changing Woman73”:
“She changes everything She touches, everything She touches, changes.”

Celebrant takes the lit lantern, and all follow her outside (to the “Underworld”).
Each plants their bulb in their pot, as the singing continues. Co-celebrants may sing the verses of the song.

Story – (see Commentary Chapter Seven notes – MABON)

When all are done planting, a co-celebrant reads an excerpt of the story of Persephone74.

“In the crook of Her arm Persephone held Her Mother’s wheat close to Her breast, while Her other arm held the torch aloft. She was startled by the chill as She descended, but She was not afraid. Deeper and deeper into the darkness She continued, picking her way along the rocky path. For many hours She was surrounded only by silence. Gradually She became aware of a low moaning sound. It grew in intensity until She rounded a corner and entered an enormous cavern, where thousands of the dead milled about aimlessly, hugging themselves, shaking their heads, and moaning in despair.

Persephone moved through the forms to a large, flat rock and ascended. She produced a stand for her torch, a vase for Her Mother’s grain, and a large shallow bowl piled with pomegranate seeds, the food of the dead. As She stood before them, Her aura increased in brightness and in warmth.

I am Persephone and I have come to be your Queen. Each of you has left the body you knew, and resides in the realm of the manifesting – the realm of the dead. If you come to Me, I will initiate you into your new world.

She beckoned those nearest to step up onto the rock close to Her. As each one came before Her Persephone embraced them and then stepped back and gazed into the eyes. She reached for a few pomegranate seeds, squeezing them between Her fingers. She painted the forehead with a broad swatch of the red juice and slowly pronounced:

You have waxed into the fullness of life,
And waned into darkness;
May you be renewed in tranquility and wisdom
.

Pomegranate Seeds

Pass pomegranate seeds around. Each squeeze a few and mark another on the forehead, repeating the blessing if they like.
Moment of silence – then return to:
“She changes everything She touches, everything She touches, changes”, as all move back inside, carrying the pots with them.

An attendant at the door helps with holding pots while each rinses their hands.

Communion

Celebrant holds the pot up:
“These represent our hope. The Seed of life never fades away. She is always present. Blessed be the Mother of all life. Blessed be the life that comes from Her and returns to Her75.”

Response: “It is so”.

“Let us eat, drink and enjoy Her gifts – the Feast.”
All join in cutting cake or whatever is there, opening wine, and serving each other.

Storytelling

Let us tell each other stories of the Sacred Balance- the Care that we feel and know. Or anything else you would like to say …

Red Threads

Let us tie red threads on each other: we participate in the Vision of the Seed, of the Wheat, the Thread of Life that continues beneath the visible. We may consider ourselves initiates into the Mysteries.

Participants may put red threads on each other

Open the Circle (Note that in the paper version of PaGaian Cosmology – p.246 – there are errors in this section, which have been corrected in this on-line version).

All turning to the South
“We have remembered that we are Air – present in each stage of Gaia’s story, that She is alive in us and we in Her. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us. (gesture over heart)

All turning to the West
“We have remembered that we are Earth – present in each stage of Gaia’s story, that She is alive in us and we in Her. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us. (gesture over heart)

All turning to the North
“We have remembered that we are Fire – present in each stage of Gaia’s story, that She is alive in us and we in Her. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us. (gesture over heart)

All turning to the East
“We have remembered that we are Water – present in each stage of Gaia’s story, that She is alive in us and we in Her. May there be peace within us.”
All: May there be peace within us. (gesture over heart)

All turning to the Centre
“Take up your sheaves of wheat, and your pots.
We have remembered that we are given the Wheat, Mystery – the Mother knowledge grows within us. We are the Seed in the Fruit, becoming the Fruit in the Seed. We have remembered our abundant harvests, we have remembered the losses involved and we have remembered our hope – the Sacred Balance of the Cosmos – the Thread of Life, the Seed that never fades away: it is the Balance of Grief and Joy, the Care that we may feel in our Hearts.
May there be peace within us and between us.” (all join hands)
All: May there be peace within us and between us.

May the peace and Care of Goddess go in our hearts and minds.

Pass the kiss in both directions.

Song

“The circle is open but unbroken. May the peace of the Goddess be ever in our hearts. Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again.’

All: Blessed Be!

Points for individual contemplation prior to the Mabon ritual:

  • your response to receiving the wheat from Demeter: what is the “wheat”? – how you understand it at this time, what it is that you have been/are handed or offered by the Mother of All. Don’t forget the basics of existence itself – these threads.
  • your “harvest” – all that you have gained: this is probably more personal, but still multi-dimensional. You may feel it as bigger – larger self, planetary …
  • the losses for which you grieve and rage – personal, cultural, Gaian.

(c) Glenys Livingstone 2005

To buy the book PaGaian Cosmology:  Amazon or at Book Depository, or as an E-book at iUniverse, or donation for this work may be made in the sidebar. Thank you and blissings.

NOTES:

1 The process of the evolution of some of the ritual scripts is described in detail in Chapter 7 of the academic version of this book, which is accessible at: http://library.uws.edu.au/adt-NUWS/public/adt-NUWS20030731.103733/index.html

2 This was not always done so freely during the research period, when I sought to create a specific context, wherein “She” was definitely spoken, and responses to that context were being sought. I am now more confident of the Poetic context having been created, wherein participants understand and desire the particular metaphor and story, so they are free within that to express their own relationship.

3 I have come to associate gold fabric – preferably weblike – with Samhain, because the Gaian reality is that death is a transformation, and that is what I have been coming to learn.

4 This a line from “Song of Hecate” by Bridget Mckern. See Appendix B.

5 The last part of this sentence is from Robin Morgan, “The Network of the Imaginary Mother”,Lady of the Beasts, p. 88.

6 A pot of sand onto which methylated spirits is poured and lit, creates a gentle flame that may be used indoors.

7 Robin Morgan says in her poem “The Network of the Imaginary Mother”, Lady of the Beasts, p. 88: “You call me by a thousand names, uttering yourselves”.

8 Usually the order of “journeyers” has already been worked out in the preparation – it is simplest in this case if it is simply around the circle in turn.

9 This is from a children’s game called “In and Out the Windows” where a person caught outside the “windows” at the end of each round of the chant was out of the game. The group would try to keep the person “out” – close the “windows” on them. In this ritual game there is no attempt to keep the person out, and in fact they are helped to be “in” to speak of each “old self”.

10 I think I may have got the idea for this expression from Jean Houston. She says, “You are more than you think you are and something in you knows it”, A Mythic Life, p.329. I capitalize the term as I mean it as a name for the sacred potential gestating in the plenum which is within and without all.

11 Most of these lines are directly from Robin Morgan, “The Network of the Imaginary Mother”,Lady of the Beasts, p.84.

12 I have used “The Shores of the High Priestess” on Dreams by Sky, P.O.Box 4401, Santa Fe, NM 87502, USA: available at SKY – great music for meditative processes. I currently use “Shamanic Healing”, Cave of Bones, Oliver Baldwin and Richard Bottom, 2001 GOOD MOVE MUSIC LTD LC 01027.

13 Brian Swimme uses this metaphor, Canticle to the Cosmos, video 5.

14 Most of these lines are from Robin Morgan, “The Network of the Imaginary Mother”, Lady of the Beasts, p.84, with some re-phrasing.

15 A paraphrase of words from Robin Morgan, “The Network of the Imaginary Mother”, Lady of the Beasts, p.84.

16 I use “1492” by Vangelis, Warner Music UK 1992.

17 I use a large clay disclike pot full of dry sand, onto which methylated spirits is poured and lit. If it is outside it may need to be covered so the sand does not get damp, and the methylated spirits will need to be kept warm. Sometimes we are able to make a real bonfire.

18 I use Gregorian Waves by Pascal Languirand. Canada:Imagine Records 1991. IMD 2015. It says on the cover, this music “pays joyous homage to the Earth Goddess Gaia: the haunting magic of Gregorian music is rediscovered and transformed …”.

19 There are arm movements and spinning that may go with the chant. I also instruct during the preparation to “imagine ourselves as the arms of our Milky Way galaxy – remembering where we are.” I don’t remember where this chant comes from; I apologize for lack of acknowledgment.

20 This understanding of Water comes from Brian Swimme, The Universe is a Green Dragon, p.87-95.

21 This understanding of Fire comes from Brian Swimme, The Universe is a Green Dragon, p.127-139.

22 This understanding of Earth is inspired by Brian Swimme, The Universe is a Green Dragon, p.99-109.

23 This understanding of Air comes from Brian Swimme, The Universe is a Green Dragon, p.143-151.

24 See Chapter 6 fn 20, and Appendix I for dance instructions.

25 This is largely the composition of “The Tiamat Song” by Connie Barlow, Green Space, Green Time, p.83.

26 See http://www.thegreatstory.org/songs/SilentNight.html

27 See APPENDIX G.

28 This is a slightly altered quote from Matthew Fox. I can’t remember where he said it.

29 I currently use “Santiago” by Loreena McKennitt on the CD the mask and mirror 1994, Quinlan Road Limited.

30 Some appropriate Gaian Solstice music. Once again I often use I use Gregorian Waves by Pascal Languirand, as noted in this chapter footnote16.

31 This is the seasonal flower of my region.

32 This process with the salt water is adapted from Starhawk, Truth or Dare, p.304-305.

33 This is the direction for the Southern Hemisphere. It is opposite for the Northern Hemisphere.

34 This is a Welsh word (pronounced NWIVE’ry) meaning a sense of vigour and energy. See Caitlin Matthews, The Celtic Spirit, p. 207 and 208.

35 This is the direction for the Southern Hemisphere. It is opposite for the Northern Hemisphere.

36 This “Well” has traditionally been associated with Brigid, and may be extended to include the Well of Creativity that the whole Universe itself is. Swimme uses this “Well” metaphor in “The Timing of Creativity, Canticle to the Cosmos, video 10.

37 We sing this to the tune of “Ave Maria”.

38 See image in Hallie Iglehart Austen, The Heart of the Goddess, p.9. It is good to have this image visible, as well as images of any other Goddess named.

39 Sung to the tune of “Ave Maria”.

40 The dance that we do at this Seasonal festival of the Virgin is one that I learnt as the “Miserlou” from Jean Houston, at her workshop in Sydney in 1990. The music for this dance is listed by that name in a selection of “Sacred Dances”, available from Dog Ear Productions, 32 Cat Swamp Road, Woodberry CT 06798-3018.

41 The “Underworld” may be inside a house or outside in a garden. It is worth considering that “inside” a house/building may be more “outside” of Gaia, and thus perhaps better represents a place of getting lost.

42 An excerpt from Charlene Spretnak, Lost Goddesses of Early Greece, p.114-118.

43 This footstomping done at Spring Equinox is traditional to this Earth-based Goddess religious practice, yet it also finds resonance with Australian Aboriginal religious practice. In Aboriginal dance and celebration the movements of the feet are significant, as David Tacey describes in “Spirit and Place”, EarthSong journal, issue 1, p.8. It is traditional “for the feet of the dancer … (to) … strike the earth with much energy and vigour.”

44 I have used ReTURNING by Jennifer Berezan, with Linda Tillery and Sharon Burch. Edge of Wonder Records, 2000. EW 13. Recorded in the Oracle Chamber in the Hypogeum at Hal Saflieni, Malta. Make sure it is set to repeat if is thought necessary, so it doesn’t need attending during the process.

45 From Deity by Wendy Rule. Shock Records, 1998. WENDY007. See APPENDIX H.

46 This is inspired by Brian Swimme, Canticle to the Cosmos, video 5, and various other teachings of his.

47 Excerpt from ‘The Charge of the Goddess’ by Doreen Valiente, in Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, p.90-91.

48 Dance Instructions: number off as 1’s and 2’s. All 1’s face right, all 2’s face left. All 1’s go in and under first, all 2’s go out and over first.

49 Written and taught to me by thea Gaia – with a slight variation of my own added in.

50 This is inspired by Brian Swimme, The Universe is a Green Dragon, p.123

51 I have used “Huron ‘Beltane’ Fire Dance” by Loreena McKennitt, from Parallel Dreams, 1994, QUINLAN ROAD LIMITED.

52 I use this ungendered form of metaphor for lovers when possible, for the sake of inclusiveness – not just of same-gender sexual relationships, but also of all inner metaphor for the Beloved of the soul.

53 See Chapter 6 fn24.

54 My first experience of this “Give-Away” process was with Moonskins ritual group in Woolongong NSW, Summer Solstice 1995, Margi Curtis and Graham Wykes.

55 My own variation of a chant in Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, p.190.

56 A process from Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, p.190.

57 I use “Ignacio” by Vangelis Papathanassiou. Belaphon BLPS-19242, which Jean Houston has used in her Underworld experience (referred to in Chapter 6 fn29).

58 Based on the process in Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, p.191.

59 Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, p.191.

60 based on the process in Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, p.191-192.

61 I use “Le Fleuve” from Odes by Irene Pappas and Vangelis Papathanassiou. Polydor 2473 109.

62 I call this “The Harvest Dance” – the version we do is based on the Menousis dance that I learnt from Jean Houston. As we have been doing it: form a circle holding hands, take three steps to the right, pause, then three more steps to the right, pause and sway LRL. Take three more steps to the right, pause, take two steps into centre with right foot each step, two steps back out with left foot each step, the sway RL. Add gathering motions with joined hands with the steps into the centre. The music, named “Menousis”, is on Odes referred to in fn.59.

63 I have used Leornard Cohen,“Dance me to the End of Love” available on Leonard Cohen: More Best Of 1997 Sony Music Entertainment, and “Lady Midnight” available on various compilations as referrred to at http://www.leornardcohenfiles.com/lp-compil.html

64 The triangle recalls that Demeter was the “Mother of the Great Triangle of Life, the Mystery of the Universe, complete in all Her parts: Creator, Preserver, Destroyer.” Carolyn McVickar Edwards, The Storyteller’s Goddess, p.178. The purple is a colour I associate with the grief of this season, as well as with the status of Sovereignty/royalty, which the Beloved One-Persephone is descending to.

65 “Child” may be preferred for male participants particularly, though some may choose to identify with and respond with “Daughter” as the ancient initiates – female and male – possibly did in the Eleusinian Mysteries. See Rachel Pollack, The Body of the Goddess, p.220-221. The term “Son” is not really an appropriate alternative given that the Mysteries are specifically a Mother-Daughter story, and also given that the Christian heritage of some participants may affect the Earthly-egalitarian significance of this male term; that is, in the patriarchal heritage “Son” has been above “Daughter”. In more recent times I have decided to use “Mabon” to address the men, particularly those that have obviously identified themselves as “Son of the Mother”.

66 “Sovereign” may be a preferred term, although women may enjoy reclaiming “Queen”. Male participants may prefer “Sovereign” given other cultural connotations of “Queen” for males and the desired solemnity of the moment! The alternative of “King” seems undesirable as it tends to designate dominance and highest status in the current cultural context.

67 All the ancients in the Eleusinian Mysteries – female and male – identified with Demeter. See Rachel Pollack, The Body of the Goddess, p.220-221. This is an identification with the Mother of all Life, the Universe.

68 This process is based on a ritual done with Women-Church in Sydney in 1990. Its primary author was Christine Doyle. The ritual was partly relating with the grief of the mothers of the “disappeared” in Argentina, but also with the grief of mothers everywhere who lose their children, grown or small, through war, violence and ecological mismanagement. In this ritual, it is a process for grief of any kind.

69 This term “lovers” was chosen as the term to include men in the process, as I felt that the term “fathers” was inappropriate to the ritual story. Also, frequently much of the pain and loss experienced by both the women and men present is directly associated with the “father” – personal and/or collective. Certainly “fathers” in almost any global cultural context are simply different from “mothers”. With the term “lovers” men may include themselves, and it remains appropriate to traditional Goddess story, as well as avoiding the possibility of patriarchal metaphoric imposition.

70 I have used “Gentle Sorrows” on Dreams by Sky, P.O.Box 4401, Santa Fe, NM 87502, USA. Also available at newagemusicbysky . I copy it three times in sequence so that it runs for the time needed.

71 Each one used to pause the music to speak, but one year we found this was unnecessary, and that it flowed better when the music was left on and the procession could keep going.

72 An adapted version of an old chant.

73 This has been sung by many, but the version I have is by The Gaia Choir on WOMANSONG. Byron Bay: BAHLOO MUSIC, 1992. Starhawk also refers to this chorus as “the Kore Chant”, The Spiral Dance, p.188.

74 Charlene Spretnak, Lost Goddesses of Early Greece, p.114-116, with some of my own changes.

75 Partly from Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, p.193.

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