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Monday, December 24, 2007

Midsummer ceremony

It feels strange to celebrate Midsummer in December, when here in Australia February is usually our hottest month.

Nevertheless, the Star Circle met last week for Litha – probably our last or maybe next-to-last meeting. We had in fact disbanded a few months back, as life is taking us into new explorations and adventures; but came together in the astral recently to do some work to help a couple of friends. Now one of our beloved members is moving to Tasmania, so we decided to have a last gathering in the flesh. Maybe she will also have a farewell bash next year at the property she's leaving, which has often been the scene of our rituals – but that might well be a party to include others rather than a Star Circle meeting as such.

On this occasion we met at my home, which has also been the venue for many rituals. My son who is staying here at present decided he didn't want to attend the ritual, so he took his laptop down to the pub and did some work. We phoned him when it was time to return for the feast.One of us invited her new boyfriend, but he had to work that day. So it was just us, a sentimental occasion as we did our thing together again after a gap, knowing it was most probably the final gathering in the physical.

Altar

Our altar always includes God and Goddess figurines, representations of the Elements at each corner, and a happy little gnome who reminds us of the strong connection our Circle has to the Nature Spirits and Devic Kingdom. On this occasion we added an elegant, colourful faery figurine, obviously a flower faery. We had a big oil burner in the centre to bring present all the elements: the flame of the candle, the water into which the oils were added, the fragrance as the oils heated, the clay from which the oil burner itself was made. We used floral oils for summer: rose, rose geranium, jasmine, lavender. Someone brought sprigs of rosemary (still smelling beautiful on my personal altar).

Casting Circle

We cast Circle our favourite way, holding hands, each in turn kissing the cheek of the one on our right and saying, "From hand to hand the power is passed, from hand to hand the Circle is cast." Then we raised our joined hands in the air with a whoop of joy before bringing them down fast and letting go decisively to ground the energy.

This was our ceremony:

Invocations (adapted from the Correllian tradition)

The ritual sword was used to inscribe a pentacle in each direction as the invocations were spoken.

EAST

I invoke You, O God, in Your form as Golden Lord of the East; Hero—Champion of the Goddess, Lord of the Dawn and of Spring! Your breath is in the Air and the greening buds of leaves and flowers. May Your wind bring fresh ideas and inspiration to our Circle.

High Priestess: As the sword is raised, see the pentacle inscribed. Then imagine a column of pure white light arising in the East at the border of the Circle. See the column as strong and pure and filled with energy.

See similar columns as each direction is addressed.

NORTH

I invoke You, O God, in Your form as Red Lord of the North; Lover—Consort of the Goddess, Lord of Noonday and of Summer! Your spirit is in the Fire and the growing crops of the fields. May Your flames bring passion and vitality to our Circle!

WEST

I invoke You, O God, in Your form as Blue Lord of the West; King—Right hand of the Goddess, Lord of Sunset and of Autumn! Your blood is in the Water, in the harvest which is reaped and in the falling leaves. May Your waves bring empathy and compassion to our Circle!

SOUTH

I invoke You, O God, in Your form as Green Lord of the South; Sorcerer—Guardian for the Goddess of the Gates of Life and Death, Lord of Midnight and of Winter. Your flesh is in the Earth, the dormant trees and seeds which wait for rebirth. May Your soil bring wisdom and understanding to our Circle!

DEITY

1. GOD

O mighty God, we invoke You in Your name of Lover! Loving and beloved Consort of the Goddess, Lord of Life and Growth – Your fiery passion and shining heart radiate love throughout the Universe. Inspire us with Your spirit of service and devotion! Share with us Your joy in life and living! Be with us O God, and guide us we pray in this our sacred ritual! We bid You Hail and Welcome!

All: Hail and Welcome!

High Priestess: Imagine the God entering the Circle, in any way that makes sense to you – perhaps in human form, or as a shower of glittering light, or a ball or tower of light appearing in the Circle.

2. GODDESS

O holy Goddess, we invoke You in Your name as Mother! Creator and sustainer of life, source of all fertility and abundance. You nourish and succour us, Your children. From You all things proceed and from Your loving heart are provided for! Share with us Your all-reaching compassion and providence! Inspire us to embrace love for all life! Be with us O Goddess we pray in this our holy rite! We bid You hail and Welcome!

All: Hail and Welcome!

High Priestess: Now visualise the Goddess entering the Circle.

ANCESTORS

O mighty Ancestors, Beloved Ones Who have gone before, we invoke You and ask You to join us and to bless us! Ancestors in the Craft, Priestesses and Priests, Pagan Mothers and Uncles, Spiritual family which aids and supports us – lend us Your inspiration and Your love, Your guidance and Your aid at this time we pray. Beloved Ones, we bid you Hail and Welcome!

All: Hail and Welcome!

Reading

We sat in Circle, and I read from Practising the Witch's Craft, a chapter called The Sabbats by Caroline Tully: a section on traditional Litha (22 June in the Northern Hemisphere) with dancing around bonfires, and the very different Australian experience. For one thing, bonfires are liable to be banned at this time of year, which is the start of the bushfire season! Tully writes:

"Australian Litha: 22 December

"The night sky unveils Orion the Hunter and his dogs, including Sirius the brightest star in the sky, rising in the east. Summer is Australian society's festive time, school holidays begin and workers take time off. Down south, many native plants are flowering and fruiting, pygmy possums, kookaburras and sacred kingfishers are attending to their young, and dolphins can be seen along the coast playing and hunting near the shore. In the north, it is the time of the early monsoon. The wet season begins after the summer solstice and is caused by seasonal change in the direction of the winds. After the sun moves south of the equator, Australia warms up while Asia cools down. Dry, chilly winds blow outwards from Asia, gather warmth and moisture from the oceans, and subsequently bring summer rains to northern Australia. As the season progresses, heavy rains fall daily and plants grow quickly. Freshwater crocodiles hatch, blue-tongued lizards and bats give birth, and the dangerous box jellyfish wash out of creeks into the open sea."

[Contrary to this description, Australia has been suffering years of drought, with serious effects. However this year we have recently had some widespread rains.]

Meditation

We meditated on the venomous coldblooded snakes appearing at this time of year to bask in the sun, and on the legendary Rainbow Serpent revitalising the land at this time. Again quoting Tully:

"At the sun's zenith, the twin snakes encircle the arms of the primordial Goddess, delivering creation and destruction. Revere the double serpent-power, giver of life, bringer of death."

We raised kundalini.

Magickal working

Often in these rituals we focus on things we'd like to let go of from our lives during the coming months. At Litha we considered rather the things we chose to invite into our lives. We wrote them on sheets of flowered paper (pink roses!), each in turn spoke words claiming what we had written, and burned the paper outdoors in my big burning dish – careful not to let the wind carry away any sparks. They burned fast, indicating the rapid manifestation of our desires. We formed a circle around the bowl of ashes, and did a hand dance of manifestation.

Closing ceremony and opening of Circle

Using the ritual sword to inscribe the closing pentacles:

ANCESTORS

Beloved Ancestors. You Who have gone before, Your wisdom and Your example guide us. We pray that You will be with us and aid us as we go forward, that we may call upon the strength and knowledge of the past, even as we build the future. We thank You for Your presence and Your aid at this time, and at all times. May You Blessed be in all things. We offer You our love and our respect! We bid You hail and farewell!

All: Hail and Farewell!

DEITIES

1. GOD

Divine Lover, Holy Consort of our Holy Goddess! Lord of everlasting love, strength and vitality, we thank You for Your presence and Your aid this day and at all times. We offer You our love, and our respect! We bid You Hail and Farewell!

All: Hail and Farewell!

2. GODDESS

Most Beloved Mother Goddess, holy and ever-abundant Womb of Creation! You Who created and Who sustains all! We thank You for Your presence and Your aid at this time, and at all times. We offer You our love and our respect! We bid You Hail and Farewell!

All: Hail and Farewell!


SOUTH

We thank You, O God in Your form as Green Lord of the South; Sorcerer—Lord of Midnight and of Winter! We are grateful for Your guidance and Your aid in this our holy ritual! From our hearts — With love and with respect — we bid You hail and Farewell!

All: Hail and Farewell!

High Priestess: See the tower of white light pulled down by the sword, and all the other towers similarly as the directions are farewelled.

WEST

We thank You, O God in Your form as Blue Lord of the West; King —Lord of Sunset and of Autumn! We are grateful for Your guidance and Your aid in this our holy ritual! From our hearts — With love and with respect — we bid You hail and Farewell!

All: Hail and Farewell!

NORTH

We thank You, O God in Your form as Red Lord of the North; Lover—Lord of Noonday and of Summer! We are grateful for Your guidance and Your aid in this our holy ritual! From our hearts — With love and with respect — we bid You Hail and Farewell!

All: Hail and Farewell!

EAST

We thank You, O God in Your form as Golden Lord of the East; Hero—Lord of the dawn and of Spring! We are grateful for Your guidance and Your aid in this our holy ritual! From our hearts — With love and with respect — we bid You Hail and Farewell!

All: Hail and Farewell!

Devoking the Circle

High Priestess:

Behold: As Above, So below! As the Universe, So the Soul! As Within, So Without! May the Circle be Open, but never Broken! Merry Meet — Merry part — and Merry Meet again!

Then we joined hands and sang three times:

"May the Circle be open but unbroken, may the Peace of the Goddess be ever in your heart. Merry meet and merry part and merry meet agai-ai-ain", and once more raised our arms with a triumphant whoop, and dropped them firmly, letting go our hands to release the energy. One woman brushed away a tear.

Feasting

However we didn't dwell on the finality of the occasion. Instead we enjoyed the usual abundance, with dhal soup, bread rolls and spicy dip, all sorts of exotic savouries, bean salad, a huge platter of fresh tropical fruits accompanied by a big bowl of honey yoghurt, and Australia's favourite dessert: pavlova and cream. We drank champagne, white wine, and sparkling grape juice for the non-imbibers. There was much loud talk and laughter. My son did all the dishes to leave me free to be with my guests.

With a nod to that other festival being celebrated at this time of year, we each brought a present for a lucky dip. "Under $5, hand-made or pre-loved," I specified ... and they were all delightful gifts!

Spell for uncovering deception

One person received a big plaster crescent moon with a face in profile, to hang on his wall. I told him how to use it magickally:

If you ever suspect someone is deceiving you, stand with your back to this moon where it hangs on your wall and look over your shoulder at it, thinking of the person. If the person is a woman, look over your left shoulder, if a man the right. If they are deceiving you, they will have to make contact with you some time, some way, in the next 24 hours. If they don't, you will know you were mistaken.

(I have tried this and it worked dramatically. The person arrived on my doorstep unexpectedly, saying she "just had to" come and see me. When I faced her with my suspicions, she crumbled and admitted I was right.)

Epilogue

It was good to gather together again, and I just couldn't get my head around the idea of goodbyes. I think that coveners form unbreakable bonds, as it says in our closing chant. We might miss each other's physical presence in some ways, but deeper down we remain united, and for me that feeling prevails.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds beautiful, Rosemary. Merry Midsummer.

    xx

    ReplyDelete