Ritual For Women Reclaiming The God
The session begins with everyone telling how the figure of the God had been “spoiled” for them – i.e., by patriarchal and/or sexually repressive religions, by the destructive aspects of male energy (war, domination), etc.
The altar is decorated with symbols of the God – ours had antlers, a crystal phallus, grain & grapes, a plastic goat from a Celebrato Doppelbock beer bottle, an abstract figure of Baron Samedi (a T shape made of dowels and dressed in a black frock coat with a top hat, a red scarf, and a cane), a couple of statues of Chinese sages or bodhisattvas.
I. Quarters: E – Myrddin, S – Weyland, W – Taliesin, N – Freyr (sorry this is so sketchy; I just improvised them on the spot. Check out their respective mythologies for ideas on how to invoke them)
II. Guided Meditation
Ground and center. Sink into the earth. All around you, the breathing of sisters becomes the breathing of the worlds’ winds. The heat of other bodies becomes the fire of all life. The rush of blood in your ears becomes the murmuring of the sea. The floor becomes a rich, loamy field, fresh ploughed.
Feel the soil. Rub it between your fingers. See it and smell it. It is dark, almost black. It smells of compost, somehow smoky. It is smooth, crumbly, free of rocks, firm to support roots but loose to let them spread. This is mother. Lie down upon her body and embrace her; feel her warmth, warmth from the sun, seeping into you, comforting you.
Rise up. At your side, hanging from your shoulder, is a bag. When you reach into it, your hand comes out full of seeds. Walk back and forth in the field, scattering the seeds. Feel the soil give under your feet. Feel the sun overhead; it is hot, and you are getting tired. Keep on, rhythmically reaching into the bag and casting the seeds abroad. Your sweat runs off you into the furrows, soaking into the soil. Now the whole field is planted. Now you can sit at the field’s edge and rest.
You are tired. You feel as though you could rest for days. You sit easy, balanced, rooted like a stone. You are a stone. You are the guardian stone of this field. You watch, as days pass. Slowly, slowly, the sun rolls overhead, clouds fill the sky and empty over the field with thunder and lightning. Slowly, slowly, the field turns from brown to green, as the first sprouts force their way from the soil. Days pass. Weeks pass. The sprouts look first like grass, then stalks appear and grow ever longer. At the top of each stalk, swellings become new seeds. The clusters of seeds grow, blanketed in their chaff, the heads of grain grow brushy, bearded. The grain turns gold from green; the heads bow down under the weight of their seed.
And now you see people coming into the field, women with sickles in their hands. They are singing a dirge, a mourning song. They come into the field and cut the stalks, killing the plants! You are a stone, but you feel your heart break with grief for this killing. Soon, only stubble is left; the women have taken the grain away. Before long, more women come, and set fire to the stubble. You feel the heat of it warming your stone body. You feel cracks open inside you. Soon, the fire burns out, and the field is left black as it began. The women return with seeds, planting as before. The weather turns cold, and your stone-self cracks apart; pieces of you fall onto the field.
Your awareness is in the field now, in the seeds. Sleeping in the earth, under the snow. With spring, you feel the earth warming, and you know without knowing how that the sun is above you. You push upward, toward the unseen sun. You send down a tap root to help push you up and to feed you, and in the other direction you send a shoot with two leaf buds. Before long, you burst out into the sunlight. All around you are other plants. As the days pass, you grow with them. When the thunderstorms come, you feel that this rain is richer, and you feel blessed. Seeds drink rain and eat sunlight and grow heavy upon you. You cannot hold them up; they pull you down. You are oppressed, and at a standstill. You sense movement in the field, and then there is a sharp pain! You are cut off from your root! Your power to transform sunlight slips away from you like blood! You are dying! You are taken away from your mother field and thrown on a hard floor. You are beaten, broken apart, scattered. You are dead.
But some awareness remains with you. You feel the pieces of yourself gathered up in human hands, and then scattered again, this time on softness. It is mother! They have returned you to mother! And now you are more than you were before; before you were a single plant – now you are a dozen plants. The cycle is repeated, all of your selves are killed and thrown about, and now you are hundreds of selves! You die, you are torn apart, you are regathered, and reborn. Your hundreds of selves speak in this voice: even this am I, and I am god.
Come back to your one self now, your one human self. You are sitting beside the field, where you sat down, with the empty seed bag at your side. You leave it there, you rise up, and turn away from the field, to the woods at the back of the field. You feel leaf mold and twigs underfoot. All around you see life springing up out of death. Where trees have fallen, new plants are growing up through the rotting trunks. Where animals have died, their bodies have decayed to provide food for the plants all around. All around you, life is living off of death; this is the nature of life, its horror and its wonder. You hear a noise nearby and turn to look; there is a magnificent stag just on the other side of a bush; you blink, and it is gone. Was it only branches?
Everywhere around you, green things are full of the fire of life, as are you. You feel life thrilling through you, like electricity. Something else is exciting you – what is it? You cannot quite tell. Is it a scent, a sound, a sense? Something, there on the edge of your hearing, something you can almost touch, a faint scent you half-remember. What is it? You are aroused and determined to track down the source.
Everywhere you turn, you see glimpses, half-seen, of something. Something flitting through the trees. Is it a deer? A wild boar? A feral goat? A bear? On the bushes you find tufts of hair. Before you see tracks – cloven hoofed, toed, clawed. What are you following? Do you dare go on? All around you is the pulsing of elemental forces: the fire of life, the wind of breath, the water of blood, the earth, the earth, the earth, powerful and dark and unknowable.
Above you, the sky darkens, the wind rises. You hear thunder and the baying of hounds, crying for blood and death. You tremble with fear and excitement; white hounds with red ears burst out of the bushes, surrounding you. They growl – but they are wagging their tails. Are you their prey, or their master? You feel antlers on your own brow; are you the stag they hunt, or the hunter who cares for them? Now there are people with the dogs, and you feel the love of the people, the respect. Your death will feed them, give them their needs, and they are giving you their love. You know their hunger, and you feel great compassion for them. You lie down and leave your body to them; they sing with joy as your self flies up overhead, outward, spreading, into the trees and plants and animals and everything.
You are suddenly overwhelmed by the feeling that you are being caught up in the cosmos; you are everything and nothing; you are not yourself; you have no self; you feel a sudden, unreasoning terror; you are still; you are all.
Slowly, something breaks into your fear. You hear a sweet, low, breathy piping. The piping calms you, and you know now in your heart that you are always a part of everything and everything is within you. You are still; you are all; you are life and death and rebirth; within your own human body is the microcosm of all that is. The Greeks name this all “pan”.
You stand back in the wood, hearing the music, smelling the smells of plants and animals, feeling that pulse of power filling you, informing you, empowering you. You are ecstatic! You take to your toes and dance with joy! Around you, animals come out of the forest to dance with you, rejoicing in life!
You see the light of the sun filtering down through leaves, and the light seems to take a shape. What is that shape? Who do you see? The god stands, smiling, welcoming, before you. Who is he? He is all things to all people; what is he to you? His eyes are sad and wary as a deer’s. How will you deal with him? He reaches out to you; you have been as he, you have died and risen, you have been the life of wildness, you know that he has been within you as you; will you welcome him back as he, the god?
You do touch him, and welcome him. He throws back his head to laugh for joy! And now you dance together, as one, for you are one. Sit up. Feel your body! Touch your body and feel your flesh, feel the heat of life under your flesh. Breathe and feel the wind within you. Move, and feel the joy of the dance! Rise up, and dance this invocation!
He is the storm that scours the land
He is the guide of hidden ways
He is the holly and the oak
He is the hunter and the prey
He is the lord of stag and bear
He is the slayer and the slain
He is the blade of sacrifice
He is the blood that heals all pain
He is the word that made the worlds
He is the song in every throat
He is the ivy and the grape
He is the lord of ram and goat
He is the heat in limb and loin
He is the rapture and the fright
He is the first lord of the dance
He is the flame upon the height
He is the sower and the seed
He is the stone beside the track
He is the bearded heads of grain
He is the leaf and branch and bark
He is the lord of horse and boar
He is the blackthorn on the mound
He is the pulse of woodland’s heart
He is the home and holy ground
He is the salmon in the pool
He is the winner of the mead
He is the hazel and the ash
He is the secret in the reed
He is the speaker of the rune
He is the coracle on sea
He is the swallowed and reborn
He is the rider of the tree
When all have danced to satiation, bring the dancing to a close, then say:
Look around and see the all in your sisters! Reach out and embrace the god you see there! Feel the presence of the god!
What/how do you feel now?
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