Signs of a True Elder, Master or Priest

Signs of a True Elder, Master or Priest

Author:   Patricia Telesco 

I have been very disturbed by the increase in the use of titles like Priest, Priestess, Elder, Teacher, Shaman, Lady, and Lord in our community, specifically by those who really do not have the training to claim such honorable terms. You would not see anyone in the Christian church calling themselves by such a title without ordination and schooling, yet among neo-pagans it seems that nearly anyone who wishes to can take up a title and wield it for boon or bane.
Now, I realize that at the heart of things we are our own Priest and Priestess, but that’s far different than being the spiritual guide for many people (not to mention the difference in Karmic implications). To use a title without having earned it in the eyes of others, through training, or by calling is to dishonor all those who have earned their place as our teachers, elders, priests and priestesses. It also doesn’t present the most positive, responsible image of neo-paganism to outsiders who view such antics as manipulative power trips (often rightly so).
Reading one book does not make anyone an expert. Attending a year’s worth or rituals does not qualify a person for eldership or priesthood! In a world of seemingly shake-and-bake shamanism and instant priesthood, the route to true magical mastery isn’t traversed quickly or without sacrifice, and it can’t be found in the yellow pages. And it certainly has very little to do with a fancy or powerful sounding title. At its pinnacle, adepthood isn’t about impressing people; it’s a way of living and being. In other words, the focus is not on “talking the talk,” but on “walking the walk.” What are some of the signs of a true elder, master or priest?
How about someone who:

  1. Reclaims ancient knowledge, tradition, and powers, keeping them alive for future generations
  2. Safeguards magical history so that we can learn from the past in building the future
  3. Personally accepts the responsibility implied by gaining and using mystical knowledge and skill
  4. Honors the earth as a sacred space and use its resources wisely
  5. Acknowledges that life is an act of worship, and strives to keep his or her words and actions in accord
  6. Respects individual diversity, knowing there are many paths to enlightenment and that each person is a sacred space unto themselves.
  7. Embraces creativity and change as a fundamental necessity in keeping magic vital
  8. Encourages balance in all things, especially in his or her own life
  9. Teaches others the ways of magic in simple, understandable steps (no “instant enlightenment” no fluffy bunny magick).
  10. Offers metaphysical aid, consultation, and insights freely to those in need, without personal expectations of gain
  11. Gives back something to their art, or those who practice it
  12. Realizes that tools are only helpmates to magic. Real power comes from the mind, heart, and will working in harmony with earth and Spirit.

In some ways a priest or elder doesn’t ever “arrive” — we are always getting there, realizing that the more we know, the more we realize how LITTLE we know (smile). When we finally reach this understanding, we’re often ready to teach and lead with both heart and head; in balance is spiritual wisdom. In fact, I would hazard to guess that most people who are truly our priests, priestesses, elders and teachers are those who don’t have to say so – we just know it by the example of their lives!

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Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft – A.6. The Sabbat Rituals (1949)

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft – A.6. The Sabbat Rituals (1949)

A.6. The Sabbat Rituals (1949)
November Eve
Walk or slow dance, Magus leading High Priestess, both carrying Phallic wand or broom, people with torches or candles.  Witch chant or song:

“Eko, eko, Azarak Eko, eko, Zomelak Bazabi lacha bachabe Lamac cahi achababe Karrellyos  Lamac lamac Bachalyas cabahagy sabalyos Baryolos Lagoz atha cabyolas Samahac atha famolas Hurrahya!”

Form circle.
High Priestess assumes Goddess position.
Magus gives her Fivefold Kiss and is scourged.
All are purified [that is, bound and scourged with forty strokes, as in the initiation rituals].
Magus assumes God position.
High Priestess invokes with Athame:  “Dread Lord of the shadows, god of life and the giver of life. Yet is the knowledge of thee the knowledge of death. Open wide, I pray thee, thy gates through which all must pass.  Let our dear ones who have gone before, return this night to make merry with us.  And when our time comes, as it must, O thou the comforter, the consoler, the giver of peace and rest, we will enter thy realms gladly and unafraid, for we know that when rested and refreshed among our dear ones, we shall be born again by thy grace and the grace of the Great Mother.  Let it be in the same place and the same time as our beloved ones, and may we meet and know, and love them again.  Descend, we pray thee, upon thy servant and Priest (name).”
High Priestess gives Fivefold Kiss to Magus.
Initiations if any; all others are purified.
(Note: Couples may purify each other if they will.)
Cakes and Wine.
The Great Rite if possible, either in token or truly.
Dismiss [the guardians, and close down the magic circle; the people then stay to] feast and dance.

February Eve
After usual opening, all are doubly purified [that is, with eighty strokes].
Dance round outside circle, High Priestess with sword girded on and drawn, Phallic wand in left hand.
Enter circle.
Magus assumes God position.
High Priestess gives Fivefold Kiss, invokes: “Dread Lord of death and Resurrection, life and the giver of life, Lord within ourselves, whose name is Mystery of Mysteries, encourage our hearts. Let the light crystalize in our blood, fulfilling us of resurrection, for there is no part of us that is not of the gods. Descend, we pray thee, upon this thy servant and Priest (name).”
All should be purified in sacrifice before him.  He then purifies the High Priestess with his own hands, and others if he will.
Cakes and wine.
Great Rite if possible, in token or real.
Games and dance as the people will.
Dismiss [the guardians, and close down the magic circle; the people then stay to] feast and dance.
May Eve
If possible ride poles, brooms, etc. High Priestess leading, quick dance step, singing

“O do not tell the priests of our arts.For they would call it sin,
For we will be in the woods all nightA conjuring summer in.

And we bring you good news by word of mouthFor women, cattle, and corn:
The sun is coming up from the south,With oak and ash, and thorn.”

Meeting dance if possible.
Form circle as usual, and purify.
High Priestess assumes Goddess position; officers all give her the fivefold kiss.
She purifies all.
High Priestess again assumes Goddess position.
Magus invokes, draws down moon, “I invoke thee and call upon thee, O mighty Mother of us all, bringer of all fruitfulness, By seed and root, by stem and bud, by leaf and flower and fruit, by life and love, do we invoke thee, to descend upon the body of thy servant and Priestess here.”
Magus gives Fivefold Kiss to High Priestess.
All should be purified in sacrifice before her, and she should purify Magus and some others with her own hands.
Cakes and wine.
Games.
Great Rite if possible, in token or truly.
Dismiss [the guardians, and close down the magic circle; the people then stay to] feast and dance.

August Eve
If possible, ride poles, broomsticks, etc.
Meeting Dance if possible [the double-spiral dance described in Witchcraft Today, p. 167].
Form circle.
Purify.
High Priestess stands in pentacle position.
Magus invokes her: “O mighty Mother of us all, Mother of all fruitfulness, give us fruit and grain, flocks and herds and children to the tribe that we be mighty, by thy rosy love, do thou descend upon thy servant and Priestess (name) here.”
Magus gives Fivefold Kiss to High Priestess.
Candle game:  Seated, the men form a circle, passing a lighted candle from hand to hand “deosil”.  The women form circle outside, trying to blow it out over their shoulders.  Whoever’s hand it is in when it is blown out is 3 times purified by whoever blew it out, giving fivefold Kiss in return.  This game may go on as long as the people like.
Cakes and wine, and any other games you like.
Dismiss [the guardians, and close down the magic circle; the people then stay to] feast and dance.

Signs of a True Elder, Master or Priest

Signs of a True Elder, Master or Priest

Author: Patricia Telesco

I have been very disturbed by the increase in the use of titles like Priest, Priestess, Elder, Teacher, Shaman, Lady, and Lord in our community, specifically by those who really do not have the training to claim such honorable terms. You would not see anyone in the Christian church calling themselves by such a title without ordination and schooling, yet among neo-pagans it seems that nearly anyone who wishes to can take up a title and wield it for boon or bane.

Now, I realize that at the heart of things we are our own Priest and Priestess, but that’s far different than being the spiritual guide for many people (not to mention the difference in Karmic implications). To use a title without having earned it in the eyes of others, through training, or by calling is to dishonor all those who have earned their place as our teachers, elders, priests and priestesses. It also doesn’t present the most positive, responsible image of neo-paganism to outsiders who view such antics as manipulative power trips (often rightly so).

Reading one book does not make anyone an expert. Attending a year’s worth or rituals does not qualify a person for eldership or priesthood! In a world of seemingly shake-and-bake shamanism and instant priesthood, the route to true magical mastery isn’t traversed quickly or without sacrifice, and it can’t be found in the yellow pages. And it certainly has very little to do with a fancy or powerful sounding title. At its pinnacle, adepthood isn’t about impressing people; it’s a way of living and being. In other words, the focus is not on “talking the talk,” but on “walking the walk.” What are some of the signs of a true elder, master or priest?

How about someone who:

Reclaims ancient knowledge, tradition, and powers, keeping them alive for future generations

Safeguards magical history so that we can learn from the past in building the future

Personally accepts the responsibility implied by gaining and using mystical knowledge and skill

Honors the earth as a sacred space and use its resources wisely

Acknowledges that life is an act of worship, and strives to keep his or her words and actions in accord

Respects individual diversity, knowing there are many paths to enlightenment and that each person is a sacred space unto themselves.

Embraces creativity and change as a fundamental necessity in keeping magic vital

Encourages balance in all things, especially in his or her own life

Teaches others the ways of magic in simple, understandable steps (no “instant enlightenment” no fluffy bunny magick).

Offers metaphysical aid, consultation, and insights freely to those in need, without personal expectations of gain

Gives back something to their art, or those who practice it

Realizes that tools are only helpmates to magic. Real power comes from the mind, heart, and will working in harmony with earth and Spirit.

In some ways a priest or elder doesn’t ever “arrive” — we are always getting there, realizing that the more we know, the more we realize how LITTLE we know (smile). When we finally reach this understanding, we’re often ready to teach and lead with both heart and head; in balance is spiritual wisdom. In fact, I would hazard to guess that most people who are truly our priests, priestesses, elders and teachers are those who don’t have to say so – we just know it by the example of their lives!

 

Let’s Talk Witch – The Ritual

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The Ritual

For a Witch, ritual is ultimately about fulfillment-fulfillment of everything it is to be a Witch or Wiccan, or a human, for that matter. During ritual, the eternal and the temporal dance on the same stage. Human spirits can become on with the Divine, their energies merged with each other and the energy of the world. Ritual brings the unseen, timeless realm to your doorstep and allows you to freely explore it. It also provides a construct through which to build more energy than spells provide and direct it outward to a need or goal.

Ritual is both personal and communal. It can evoke deep individual experiences and perceptions, or initiate incredible meaning for a group. In a group setting, someone trained as a priest or priestess may facilitate the ritual, bringing every member of the group into the pattern. In some cases, each member takes a turn or plays a role in the ritual. Solitary practitioners enact rituals alone, following the steps devised by other priests and priestesses before them and/or designing their own procedure.

Not all witches or wiccans work ritual frequently, and many do not follow the exact process. Each ritual, and each group enacting a ritual, is likely to have its own flavor and form, as unique as the people at that gathering. That is how it should be, for among witches human diversity is considered a strength, not a weakness

Mabon Comments & Graphics
With the High Priest through with Banishing The Elements, the High Priestess finishes tonight’s ritual with a Circle Banishing:

Equal night and equal day
Soon the light will fade away
Equal day and equal night
This circle fades as does the light
Thus the magick we invoke
Fades anon like wisps of smoke
Until we next decide to play
Equal night and equal day

So mote it be!

“Blessed be” and “Peace be with you” are given between all in the circle.

Getting Handfasted: Start Early on Your Rite!

Getting Handfasted: Start Early on Your Rite!

by Paul Stephens

So you’ve decided to get married. Everyone is congratulating you and offering you best wishes. You are going to be busy picking colors and people to wear them, finding flowers and someone to arrange and deliver them.

I hate to ask, but have you asked your priest or priestess if they are available on your happy day? Have you written the ceremony? Do you even know what kind of ceremony you would like to have? Did you know that most priests and priestesses would require that they see you and your mate-to-be for at least three premarital evaluation sessions to see if they will perform the ceremony? There is always so much to think about with a wedding or handfasting that you might well have assumed that this friend of yours would have nothing better to do than to spend the weekend before your ceremony and the day of your ceremony with you and all your family and friends.

Before you start off on the wrong foot, let’s do a little time travel and look at how you should go about arranging your pagan wedding or handfasting. As soon as you confirm that you will be married, six to nine months before the ceremony but before selecting a particular date, get together with your priestess or priest — or, better, both — and find out what their calendars have open. They are busy people who teach classes, run meeting groups and manage circles, groves or covens. Often, they also attend meetings with various groups to organize multifaith gatherings —  and, unbelievably, they need time for themselves. Unless you have a very understanding group and a tolerant priest or priestess, you can forget sabbat rituals for your wedding day.

Once the four of you have set the date, you can schedule the evaluation sessions that most pagan priestesses and priests require before officiating the ceremony. You can discuss who will write the ceremony and resolve yourself to writing at least part of it. Where will it be? Outside weddings are always so nice — unless it rains. Be sure to plan alternatives, or plan for the worse and expect the best.

Speaking of the worst, I am reminded of a priestess who was involved in an accident a week before she was to perform a wedding. It is a good idea to have an alternate officiant so that the wedding can go on even if the worst should happen.

The priest or priestess will supply some ritual tools and weapons, but you will be required to supply some materials as well, so now is a good time to make that list. The plans thus far will take place before we tell Mom or call that nice lady who makes your robes. It might even happen before you pick the colors.

After spending the better part of a day with your officiant, you can begin thinking about the invitations, colors, wedding party and assistants. You can begin writing the ceremony first draft. You can begin making all the arrangements for flowers, tables, chairs, portable gazebos, music, gowns or robes and the caterers. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep, because until after the ceremony, you will have precious little time for sleep. You are the ones who have given yourselves plenty of time. You have six to nine months before your wedding.

Tool Blessing Ritual

Tool Blessing Ritual

A purification of objects for ritual use and their transformation into magical items.

(The area is prepared by placing a quantity of each element in the proper quarter, as well as preparing the altar in the usual way. If available, a cauldron (empty) is placed in the center of the circle.  Candles are placed at each  of the four  corners and  lit, progressing deosil  from the  east. Salt and  water are blessed, and  the celebrants are purified  with them. A magic circle is cast, and watchtowers summoned.  The god is then drawn down as follows: The priest stands before the alter in the Osiris position, arms crossed across chest and feet together.   The Priestess kneels before him with face and arms upraised.)

PS: Hephaestus, forger of magic,     descend upon this the body of thy priest and servant,     lend us the strength of your arms.     Prometheus, shape of man,     descend upon this the body of thy priest and servant,     lend us your fire and foresight.     Morpheus, weaver of dreams,     descend upon this the body of thy priest and servant,     lend us your subtlety and vision.
P: I am he, the shape-god,     forger, builder, artisan, smith.     With strength and craft I form the world.

(The Priest helps the Priestess to rise and she stands in the center of the circle in the god position, extending her arms outward and down, palms facing forward. The Priest kneels before her with head bowed.)

P: Clotho, spinner of the strand of life     Descend upon this the body of thy priestess and servant.     Lend us your wheel of making.     Hecate, caster of spells,     Descend upon this the body of thy priestess and servant.     Lend us the power of your magic.     Aphrodite, goddess of love,     Descend upon this the body of thy priestess and servant.     Grant us eros, philos, aristos, agape.
PS: I am she, the weaver-goddess,      Painter, poet, sculptor, witch.      With art and love I form the world.

(The priestess extends her hands to the priest and helps him rise. The priest cups both hands and scoops from the cauldron, then offers to the priestess.)

P: Drink now from the cauldron of Cerridwen, whose draughts bring    knowledge, peace and life.

(The priestess sips from the cupped hands, after which the priest drinks. The objects to be blessed are taken from the altar by the priest and moved widdershins to the west quarter, and immersed in the water there.)

P: Spirits of the west, in water born     In cool waters cleanse these tools     And wash from them all hurt and harm     This I ask, this charge I lay,     By oak and ash and bitter thorn.

(The objects are moved by the priestess to the south quarter and moved above the flames there.)

PS: Spirits of the south, in fire born     In shining flames purify these tools     And burn from them all impurities     This I ask, this charge I lay,     By oak and ash and bitter thorn.

(The objects are moved to the east quarter by the priest and moved through the incense smoke.)

P: Spirits of the east, in sweet air born     In swirling winds polish these tools     And sweep from them all phantasm and illusion     This I ask, this charge I lay,     By oak and ash and bitter thorn.

(The objects are moved to the altar by the priestess, and placed upon the pentacle.)

PS: Spirits of the north, in cool earth born      In mother earth ground these tools     And take from them all spirits dark     This I ask, this charge I lay,     By oak and ash and bitter thorn.

(The person consecrating the tools now offers an impromptu or prepared charge to the items, stating their purpose and mode of use.  They are then taken up by the priestess and moved to the east quarter.)

PS: Spirits of the east, from the bright air come,     Fill these tools with the swirling energies of the whirlwind     Make them float like the breeze     Spirits of air, hearken unto me,     As I do will, so more it be.

(The tools are now taken up by the priest and moved to the south quarter.)

P: Spirits of the south, from wild fire come,     Fill these tools with the burning energies of the flames     Make them glow with bright fire     Spirits of fire, hearken unto me,     As I do will, so more it be.

(The tools are now taken up by the priestess and moved to the west quarter.)

P: Spirits of the west, from soothing water come,     Fill these tools with the calming energies of the warm rain     Make them flow like the tide     Spirits of water, hearken unto me,     As I do will, so more it be.

(The tools are now taken up by the priestess and moved to the altar.)

PS: Spirits of the north, from firm earth come,     Fill these tools with the ordering energies of the growing crops     Make them flourish like grapes on the vine     Spirits of earth, hearken unto me,     As I do will, so more it be.

(The priest takes the tools from the altar and steps backwards. The priestess stands at  the altar facing south towards the priest. The priest extends his right arm in parallel to the  ground, between he and the priestess, with the tools in his hand.)

P: I am the god, ever desiring.     I am the stag in the woods,     I am the sun in the noonday sky,     I am the lover in the dark.     I offer passion, strength, devotion and the swiftness of the hunt.

(The priestess extends her right arm in like fashion, and places her hand over that of the priest.)

PS: I am the goddess, ever nurturing.     I am the tempting beauty of the maid,     I am the quiet strength of the mother,     I am the infinite wisdom of the crone.     I offer life, love, warmth and the fruitfulness of the fields.

(Both step towards each other and turn their hands and arms so the fingers point upwards with the palms facing their own chest, cupping the other’s palm between and holding the tools. They clasp each other with their left arms.)

P&PS: Male and female, yin and yang, light and dark, action and stillness.    Apart we are forever incomplete, but together we form one.    In our joining we are blessed. In our union, the limitless energy    of universe is released and captured here.
P: As I do will,
PS: As I do will
P&PS: As we do will, so mote it be.

(The priest and priestess kiss, then release grasps.  If the number and size of the tools precludes them being held in one hand simultaneously, the latter charging section should be repeated for each. The tools are replaced on the altar. Cakes and wine are blessed and consumed and a period of relaxation and rest follows. The watchtowers are then dismissed and the circle opened.)

HARVEST BLESSINGS: A LAMMAS RITUAL

HARVEST BLESSINGS: A LAMMAS RITUAL

by TaTa Chakra a.k.a. TerraFire

From Oct 98-Oct 99 I had the great blessing of living in a run down farmhouse at the foot of Mount Pisgah just southeast of Eugene, Oregon. I knew when I moved in that my stay there would be impermanent but I quickly grew deeply attached to the beauty of this five-acre property.

The man who had lived there before my housemates and I was an avid gardener whose devoted labor had turned an acre of the property from old river bed full of blackberries into a resplendent garden of visual delight. Because this man had been on good terms with many of the local green witches there were many people, mostly women who came to the garden to harvest the herbs and make herbal medicines. The man had also planted plum apple, peach, cherry and asian pear trees. There were logan berries, gooseberries red and gold raspberries, elderberries and of course many many blackberries. He had trained the blackberries over a bower and around the fence so that they created a privacy screen.

Behind the 16 more or less straight garden rows which had an irrigation system, was a ritual circle with three rings of wildflowers. My housemates and I dug a fire pit in the middle of this circle. We also began to keep bees, which was something that I had longed to do for many years. Bees are very sacred to me and the sound of their humming buzz is one I have always associated both with the cone of power and with my own inner guidance.

There were many lovely trees on this property as well, besides the fledgling fruit trees, there were two transplanted redwoods, not more than 30 years old, three old black walnuts  to which we assigned the archetypes of maiden, mother and crone. The plant being that I grew most attached to was a Cottonwood tree, which was at least 75 years old. This tree was at the far northwest side of the property just 6ft from both edges of the property line.

A thick growth of mugwort had been planted against the fence. The cottonwood tree welcomed me as her magical companion. I regularly meditated by the tree, created a directional invocation with her, held counseling sessions, taught classes and also did trance work laying in the grass beneath her branches with a mugwort breeze drifting over me. My housemate called the place fennel farm because no matter how much fennel we weeded out more sprang up in its place. Fennel Farm was the most idyllic place I have ever lived and the perfect setting for the 3rd annual Luscious Leo Lammas party.

The Luscious Leo Lammas party was a brainstorm of how to create a public ritual space with the organization Cauldron of Changes and simultaneously celebrate my birthday (Aug 1st) and the birthday of my dear friend Mike (Aug 7th). I also had several other close Leo friends whose birthdays could not be ignored, (take my advice: never ignore a Leo’s birthday if you hope to be close to them).

For several years we had held the party and ritual at Mike’s house in town but this year it would be at Fennel Farm and bigger and better than ever. In addition to the ritual we had a keg, a huge vegan birthday cake (it was Eugene, remember), party lights and tiki torches, a stage for performance of poetry and music and we also hired a local African Dance troupe “Foli Kan”. We made crowns for all of the Leo’s to wear and had a kids activity area.

Lots of people came prepared to sleep over night in tents and we prepared the neighbors and invited them to join in. I had written a special invocation chant for the Goddess and God and practiced this and a directional invocation song with a small group of other priests and priestesses. We spent a considerable time preparing the ritual space and gathering our ritual tools and props. As Night began to fall Mike and I (High Priest and Priestess), gathered the ritual attendees together at the gate that lead into the garden and the ritual space beyond. We explained the ritual to everyone, what would happen in what order and taught them the chants. Then the High Priest picked up a tiki torch and lead a procession into the ritual space singing “We are a circle within a circle” by the group Welcome to Annwyfn.

As the group of about 80 people created a circle entering the ritual gate in the east and traveling clockwise around to take their spaces, I walked the outer perimeter with my smoky quartz athamé casting the circle three times. The group continued to sing “we are a circle” as each directional priest/ess in turn raised their voice above the group to call in their direction. In the East the song goes “You hear us sing. You hear us cry, Now hear us call you, Spirits of Air and Sky” which the directional priest finished by marking an invoking pentacle in the Eastern Watchtower with his athamé. He completed the invocation by lighting the three Tiki Torches set in the East.

Three more rounds of the chant were sung before the Southern Priestess sang out loud and clear, “Inside our hearts, there grows a spark, love and desire, a burning fire.” She raised her wand and drew an invoking pentacle on the Southern Watchtower. The song continued again and the Western Priestess sang, “Within our blood, within our tears, there lies the altar, of living water.” Holding the chalice another invoking pentacle was described and hung in the air in the Western quarter.

The North Priestess took her turn singing strongly “Take our fear, take our pain, take the darkness into the earth again.” Holding her paten up as invoking the northern pentacle. Then all the directions sang together “The circles closes, between the worlds, to mark a sacred space, where we come face to face.” And the song ended. The High Priest and I thanked everyone for coming to participate in our Lammas ritual. We explained that we were going to chant to draw down the Goddess and God into each other. We called the God to us and into the High Priest. We Called the Goddess to us and into the High Priestess.  Everyone repeated this three line sing song refrain I AM THE GOD, I AM THE DIVINE, I AM THE DIVINE And the priest responded with the following: IN THE DARK I’M THE NIGHT IN THE DAY I’M THE LIGHT. Then everyone sang the Goddess chorus which was simply: I AM THE GODDESS, I AM THE DIVINE, I AM THE DIVINE and the priestess responded ” I AM THREE I AM ONE AND I CAN’T BE UNDONE”. While this sounds complex on paper it was rather simply done and the text of this singing invocation are given here in completion:

Singing Invocation of God and Goddess

Chorus refrain A: I am the God I am the Divine, I am the Divine

Chorus refrain B: I am the Goddess I am the Divine I am the Divine

Chorus A God response: In the Dark I’m the Night In the Day I’m the Light

Chorus B Goddess Response:       I am Three I am One And I can’t be Undone

Chorus A God response:     I am Young I am Old I am Green Black and Gold

Chorus B Goddess Response:       Maiden Mother and Crone In them Each I am Home

Chorus A God response:     I’m the Flowering Rod I’m the Bountiful God

Chorus B Goddess Response:      I am tree I am snake I will keep you awake

Chorus A God response:     I am Hoof I am Horn As I Leap through the Corn

Chorus B Goddess Response:       I Spiral and Wind As I Labrynth through Time

Chorus A God response:          I’m the One Inbetween I’m the Seen and Unseen

Chorus B Goddess Response:       I’m both Woman and Man Alchemist that I Am

Finish with both Priest & Priestess hands joined singing:

In My Heart and My Mind I am the Divine

The Priestess says: The God is Amongst us, Blessed Be!

The Priest Says: The Goddess is Amongst Us, Blessed Be!

After the invocation, the ritual continued with an explanation of Lammas, The High Priest and Priestess asked participants to look around them at the bounties of the earth and to think upon all of the goodness and wealth that the planet offers us daily. Their words spoken here were in the form of spontaneous offerings from the deities invoked. They explained that Lammas was the first harvest of three harvests, that this was the time of harvesting fruits and flowers, the time to celebrate community and friendships, the time to begin storing things for the coming time of darkness.

As the Description of Lammas ended the Priest and Priestess started Charlie Murphy’s chant “It’s the blood of the Ancients that runs through our veins, And the forms pass, but the circle of life remains” And as the drummers chimed in and the group picked up the chant the Priest and priestess took up a basket and bowl respectively and revealed a Mystery to all the participants in groups of two or three around the entire circle. The Priest showed his basket full of harvested fruits, vegetables and grains saying solemnly “This is the God” and the priestess showed her bowl of rich garden soil saying solemly “This is the Goddess”.

When the Showing of the Mystery was complete a brief grounding meditation was led and each person was asked to answer the Question “What Magickal gift is present in your life right now?” Participants were asked to think of the blessings of this gift to experience it’s presence in their life and to make their awareness of it as big as possible.

They were instructed to focus on the sense of gratitude and blessing and send it off to the earth and sky to anyone in need of it during the cone of power. The cone of power was facilitated by high priest and priestess with the help of the directional priest/esses and began with our imitation of bees buzzing. After several minutes of our toning getting progressively higher the cone was sent off and then held in resonance as we fell to the ground, earthing the energy. Several minutes of silence followed before the priest and priestess arose and moved again to the central altar. They brought out local Blackberry wine and freshly made blackberry juice and a rack of fresh honey comb. The Priest said the Feasting Blessing (from Starhawk’s The Spiral Dance, p.169)

All Life is Your own, All fruits of the earth Are fruits of your womb Your union, your dance. Goddess and God We thank you for blessings and abundance Join with us, feast with us, Enjoy with us! Blessed Be.

And we took the honey and wine and juice to each person as they laughed and made jokes and began to dance and sing again. When all had eaten and some had seconds, it was time to “devoke” the deities and directions, earthing again the powers we had raised and acknowledged. God and Goddess, each direction in turn were invited to leave and thanked for their presence. We sang “The Circle is Open” of course ending with Merry Meet and Merry part and merry meet again.

It has been a moving process for me to share this ritual with you, to consciously re-enter my experience of that sacred day in that beautiful and sacred place where I had the good fortune to live for a while. I hope that our ritual may inspire further rituals, that we humans may become more and more compelled to experience and express our closeness to the earth and our gratitude for her bounty. Blessed Be.

Gemstone of the Day for April 14th – Jasper

Jasper

The name means “spotted or speckled stone”, and is derived via Old French jaspre (variant of Anglo-Norman jaspe) and Latin iaspidem (nom. iaspis)) from Greek ἴασπις iaspis, (feminine noun) from a Semitic language (cf. Hebrew יושפה yushphah, Akkadian yashupu), ultimately from Persian یشپ yašp.

Green jasper was used to make bow drills in Mehrgarh between 4th and 5th millennium BC. Jasper is known to have been a favorite gem in the ancient world; its name can be traced back in Arabic, Persian, Hebrew, Assyrian, Greek and Latin. On Minoan Crete, jasper was carved to produce seals circa 1800 BC, as evidenced by archaeological recoveries at the palace of Knossos.

Although the term jasper is now restricted to opaque quartz, the ancient iaspis was a stone of considerable translucency. The jasper of antiquity was in many cases distinctly green, for it is often compared with the emerald and other green objects. Jasper is referred to in the Niebelungenlied as being clear and green. Probably the jasper of the ancients included stones which would now be classed as chalcedony, and the emerald-like jasper may have been akin to the modern chrysoprase. The Hebrew word yushphah may have designated a green jasper Flinders Petrie suggested that the odem, the first stone on the High Priest’s breastplate, was a red jasper, whilst tarshish, the tenth stone, may have been a yellow jasper.

THE LAST DRAGON

THE LAST DRAGON

by

Gerald del Campo

In the land of Oz lived a great Wizard named Albert Creemshaw.

He was loved by everyone, and became quite popular when he

destroyed the Last Dragon in a great battle between the forces of

oppression and the powers of Freedom.

When the villagers heard that the monster had been killed they

rushed the mountain side where the Dragon had its nest and

proceeded to break the eggs; thereby insuring the destruction of

the creatures forever.

What they did not know, was that Albert had snuck one of the eggs

out before the villagers got there. He cared for it in his Castle

and through his great magical ability he was able to genetically

alter the dragon fetus so that it would soon be the watcher of

the people; a symbol of freedom and great strength. But he kept

this a secret from the people because they were not ready yet for

the trial which awaited them; they would just have ganged up and

tried to kill the Little Dragon. He became a Hermit and loved

the little creature.

One day the Wizard received a message from his God that he would

have to move on, and release his body the way that a butterfly

sheds its cocoon. So Albert called for the Council of The Sword

and Shield, a ruling body of his most trusted students, and told

them about the little dragon. At first they were repulsed by the

idea of bringing up the offspring of the object of their misery;

but the Magician persuaded them by telling them that the little

dragon would soon be the symbol of freedom and strength: they

swore by the Warrior Gods they would care for it.

The following evening, while the Full Moon shined on the peaceful

waters of Oz, Albert and his God left forever.

Upon finding their Master dead, the Council released the

information about the Little Dragon to the people of Oz. The

people of Oz loved Albert as much as he loved them, and after

they saw how fragile this poor orphaned creature was they decided

amongst themselves that they would honor those raising the little

dragon, for the dragon would represent all of the things Albert

himself stood for.

Things went well, for a while. The favoritism displayed by the

people of Oz towards the Priests and Priestesses that cared for

the Dragon created turmoil: all of the sudden there were power

struggles within the Council, its members were fighting over who

would supervise the education of the Little Dragon, who would

feed it, who would educate it. They set up rules specifically

designed to make it impossible for others to reach the grades

appropiate to caring for the Dragon so that only a few on top

could reap the benefits associated with caring for the Little

Dragon.

One would say: “I have risked my life and given all so that the

little dragon could have food”, and his ego was pleased. The

other would say: “While you first despised the dragon I stood

fast in my duty to care for it, for I have kept my word”, and her

ego was satisfied.

The people were so impressed by the “devotion and selflessness”

of The Council that certain members were given gifts of silver,

gold, spices, and women. Treated as Gods for their sense of

duty.

Everyone at The Council became so preoccupied with the power

struggle, and with keeping their peers in lower positions that

they forgot about the little, fragile Dragon. When they finally

gained their senses, and returned to the Castle where it was

guarded they found it dead, starved from attention and

sustenance. They then realized that empty, lost feeling Albert

himself would have felt, if HE had killed the Last Dragon.