November/December 2014 Gift Guide Issue
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This article was written by Sandra Kynes on November 28, 2006
posted under Samhain
Items for this ritual include: Two white candles and four black candles; Four small sprigs of bittersweet; One branch of bittersweet; Strands of black, white and red yarn cut to twelve-inch lengths placed in a basket on the altar; Pomegranate seeds in a bowl; A piece of candy.
Samhain is a time of transition as the earth prepares for winter’s rest and we prepare for our journey through the dark of the year. Samhain is a time to reflect and remember ancestors, loved ones, including pets, who no longer walk this earth. It is important to remember them and speak their names.
Samhain is a time of transition when we begin our journey through the dark of the year. Just as Persephone descended to the Underworld to guide the spirits of the departed, so we descend into ourselves to find the path our spirits needs to follow. This year has waxed with the fullness of life and now wanes into shadow. Our souls take rest in the dark as the wheel of the seasons makes its final turn.
Following are instructions for working with the cord during the ritual. Take three strands of yarn—one of each color. Very slowly, twine them together. You can braid them or simply knot them together. Tie at least three knots. If you want to use more knots, do so in multiples of three. Work your love into the yarn. When you have finished, hold the yarn between your palms and send your energy to your loved ones. They will feel your warmth.
Holding the branch of bittersweet, walk widdershins (counterclockwise) around your circle, saying:
Tonight I cast my circle with bittersweet for tonight is bitter sweet with thoughts of those I love who have passed to Tir-na-nog. This is the time of Hecate, Cerridwen—the Dark Mother who stands alone. This is the time to contemplate the cycle of life, death and rebirth for tonight the veil between the worlds is thin. The circle is cast. Hallowed is this space decreed.
Place the branch of bittersweet on the altar.
Place a sprig of bittersweet at the edge of your circle before calling each direction. Light a black candle after speaking.
I look to the North, place of silent caverns. Spirits of Earth, you nourish me in life and wrap your welcoming body around me in death. Gather here in the name of Inanna; in the name of Tammuz. Be with me this night.
I set my gaze to the East, source of breath. Spirits of Air, you are with me at the beginning and depart with me when I leave this realm. Be with me in the name of Astarte; in the name of Dumuzi. Be with me this night.
I call to the South, source of transforming flame. Spirits of Fire, your brilliant spark guides me through the cycles of life. Come in the name of Hestia, in the name of Horus. Be with me this night.
I turn to the West, place of deep wells and underground springs. Spirits of Water, you carry me through the ebbs and flows of life on your never-ending tides. Join me in the name of Isis; in the name of Osiris. Be with me this night.
Light one of the white candles after saying:
Dark Mother, you come to me alone this night in mourning for your son; in mourning for your consort. The God has departed to the Underworld and the Wheel of the Year follows him into darkness. Crone of the Ages, I call on you, be with me this night.
Light the other white candle, and say:
I take time to honor those I love, those who have gone before. In remembrance I speak their names.
Say the names of those you want to remember, then continue:
Hecate, Cerridwen, guide the spirits of those named here this night.
Take time to honor those you have named and to celebrate their lives. Hold in your mind the memories of those whose names you spoke. Think of how they have touched your life. Feel their presence with you in this hallowed circle.
As you work with the cord/yarn chant:
Mother of Darkness, these names I share,
Of those I love now in your care.
Guide them gently with love so sweet,
Blessed be until we meet.
When you finish chanting, place the yarn on your altar. Set the piece of candy with it. This will carry the intention to sweeten your loved one’s journey into their next life.
Take the bowl of pomegranate seeds from the altar. Lift it and say:
This year has waxed with the fullness of life and now wanes into shadow. My soul will take rest in the dark as the wheel of the seasons makes its final turn.
Squeeze the pomegranate seeds, and with a finger place a drop of the juice on your lips, then say:
May my spirit find its path.
Take time to contemplate the dark months ahead and how it can be a time of renewal for you. Use your usual method of grounding.
Dark Mother, Ancient and Enduring One, guide me, watch over me and my loved ones both here and departed. I stand at this gateway with you and thank you for your gifts of restoration and renewal. Blessed be.
Extinguish both white candles. In turn, extinguish the black candles.
Water of Life, you sustain me before birth and nourish me as I grow. Spirits of Water, thank you for your presence this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. Blessed be.
Fire of Renewal, like a brilliant sun you warm me and remain forever a guiding light. Spirits of Fire, thank you for your presence this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. Blessed be.
Breath of Life, you carry me through my life as a constant companion to the rhythm of my heart. Spirits of Air, thank you for your presence this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. Blessed be.
Mother Earth, at my journey’s end may I return to rest in your loving cradle. Spirits of Earth, thank you for your presence this night. Stay if you will; go if you must. Blessed be.
If I fear death I cannot fully live, and if I fear life I will not find solace in death. Every beginning has and ending and every ending has a beginning. The cycles of my life continue in faith and unity with the love of the Goddess. Blessed be.
Before I met Merlin Stone I was blind. It took her a little time; she gave me a strong dose of love, and from then on I could see—see the world as a feminist, that is. Merlin converted me, so if you haven't yet read her work, be prepared to bring the Goddess into your own life as well.
I'm Lenny Schneir. Shortly after meeting Merlin in 1976,... read this article
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