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Beltane Celebration

You are sitting in a small meadow, waiting with many others for the Beltane ritual to begin. Your feet are bare in the grass, a soft, green carpet, and you run your soles over the smoothness. A grasshopper bounds away from your intruding paw, and you render it an amused apology. The sun is fine and warm, a welcome thing after the cool, wet days of April. The air smells fresh and clean, full of the droning of bees and chirping of birds as the liveliness of spring emerges.

Across the green, the drummers gather, chatting animatedly, readying their instruments to add music to the day. A consensus is reached, and the big, deep voice of the djun djuns booms out, setting the pace. Djembes and ashikos quickly follow, adding rhythm and counterpoint. Shakers are taken up and make the music more full. Someone begins to play a lively tune on a flute, picking up on the drummers’ beat. Several people, men and women both, begin to dance; their movements are graceful and energetic. Feet stomp, skirts swirl, and arms wave in joyous abandon.

The music is entrancing, and you find yourself drifting. The murmur of voices creates a drone that relaxes you further, and you ease yourself back on the grass. Your breathing deepens, and your back conforms to the contours of the soft ground beneath you. You close your eyes and see the red of the sweet May sun behind your lids. Your heart twins the beat of the deep drums, and you slide away into dreaming.

You open your eyes to find yourself lying in a different meadow, the drumming a distant sound. You sit up and look around you. Tiny yellow butterflies chase one another over the waving grasses and birds sing in the nearby trees. No one else is present, and you feel the desire to return to your own meadow and the drumming. But as you get up, two people emerge from the trees, a man and a woman; she in a gown of pale blue with a crown of ivy, he in deep green with oak leaves twined in his hair. They smile at you and beckon you forward, and you join them at the center of the green.

Welcome are you on this Beltane day,” the Lady says to you, the blue in her eyes intensified by the color of her dress. “You are come at a special time, and glad are we that you shall witness this rite.”

Indeed, welcome,” says the Lord, reaching out to grasp your shoulder and giving it a friendly squeeze. “This is the day that my Lady and I join as one, to further the turning of the Wheel.”

You feel quite honored to be a witness to such a special occasion, and you step back a bit to give them space.

The Lord turns to face his Lady, and the love between them is nearly palpable. The glow of affection in their eyes radiates beyond their bodies and includes you in the love. He takes her hands in his, and begins to speak.

Greatest of my heart, the Wheel has turned yet again to Beltane, and on this day, once more I ask you to join me in the never-ending dance of life, death, and rebirth.”

Her voice is like a bell, clear, and full of emotion. “My Beloved, we have walked this road together for ages uncountable, and shall walk on together for eternity.”

My love for you is immeasurable,” he says. “Brighter than the sun, richer than the most beautiful music, deeper than space; this is what I feel for you.”

She replies, “As infinite as grains of sand are the days I shall love you. Unmovable as a mountain is my faith in our love, and pure as the crystal waters that flow deep in the belly of the earth.”

I would give my life for you,” he offers her.

And I for you,” she says.

Will you again handfast to me, my love? Will you once more join your path with mine, that we may share all that the future brings?” asks the Lord.

With all of my heart, I accept your hand, sweet husband,” she replies. “Never shall I part from you, not even in death.”

They embrace and share a long kiss. You drop your eyes to give them a private moment, and when you look again, they have turned their faces toward you. The Lady speaks.

Here you have seen us pledge ourselves, one to the other, as we do here at every Beltane. Since time began, we have made this yearly promise, that the land shall be fertile and life shall continue.”

We are seed and soil, fruit and tree,” says the Lord. “We are the warming sun and the nourishing rains. Without our love, surely would the earth perish and all life cease.”

You, too, are part of this cycle,” the Lady says to you. “By your actions are others affected, and by your love do they heal and grow and flourish. Temper all of your actions with compassion and answer anger and adversity with love.”

She strokes your hair lovingly and the dream begins to fade. But the feeling of being touched lingers and grows. You come back to yourself, open one eye, and find that a dear friend is sitting beside you, petting your head.

It’s time for ritual, sleepyhead” she says fondly, and stands, holding out a hand to help you up. You rise and join the forming circle as the leader calls out a Beltane greeting to all.

©LSG 2015

To Summer

To Summer

 

So fresh and green, the rolling hills,

Exulting ‘neath the daystar’s heat;

Growing wild as Nature wills

The peas and apples, the golden wheat.

All the creatures born in Spring

Explore the reaches of their domain

On hoof and paw, with scale and wing

In rich warm sun and flowing rain.

And now we humans rest at last

By pool and stream and sandy beach –

And babies, senses growing fast,

Explore the world within their reach.

We leave, as though by starter’s gun,

Our homes, with windows opened wide

To bask beneath the lovely sun

And invite the Summer winds inside.

On this longest day of light

We celebrate the Sun’s ascent –

The shine of strength, the glow of might –

Before be starts his Fall descent.

And with the dying of the sun

The fields begin to ripen full;

The harvest will have well begun

As Sol shall feel the Winter’s pull.

But Summer has a lot of time

Before the wings of Autumn blow,

And we will revel ‘neath the shine

Of our beloved Sun’s warm glow.

Away have gone the days of cold,

The frosty chill of Winter’s breath.

We celebrate, as plants unfold,

New life once more defeating death.

 

© Lorelei Greenwood-Jones, 2009

Maiden, Mother, Crone and Warrior

Maiden, Mother, Crone and Warrior

 

Sweetest Maiden Sister,

Lover of the wild,

In all respects a blossoming

And happy little child.

We name you Springtime Maiden,

Treading softly through the trees,

Awakening the flowers,

Your laughter on the breeze.

Beneath you, seeds are sprouting;

Above you, warm, the sun.

Around you, animals are born

Now that Spring’s begun.

The innocence of childhood,

The joy of simple things;

We find in you beginnings new

And pleasure without stings.

Blodewedd of blossoms,

The Vernal Goddess bright

Who brings the rains that nurture seeds

And longer days of light.

 

Great Goddess Mother,

Watching over all,

Lovingly we praise you

And you hear us when we call.

We call to you as Brigit,

The hearth and home you rule,

The holy wells and blacksmith’s forge

With love the burning fuel.

We name you, too, as Lakshmi,

Of wealth and hope you sing;

Candles lit in praise of you,

For happiness you bring.

The fullness of the Summer

With fields so ripe and round,

Your body in its glory,

The grand and fertile ground.

The King Stag your companion,

Your partner, God of love

Who walks with you in fields if green

And in the clouds above.

 

You, the Elder Goddess

Honored Lady of the best,

The Wheel can’t turn without you –

Our fair planet needs to rest.

You are the Harvest Goddess

Within the grain and corn,

And all that falls will rise again,

Life’s promise thus reborn.

We name you as Nokomis,

The Goddess of the field,

Giving of your body

When the gardens fail to yield.

We call to you as Winter Queen

Who puts the earth to bed –

The Goddess of the quiet times,

Keeper of the dead.

Rising with the crescent moon,

Falling with the rain;

Walking Winter’s frozen land

So silent once again.

 

And the Mighty Warrior,

She of sword and spear,

Confident within herself,

Strong – no sign of fear.

We name you as Diana

Who hunts with spear and bow –

The lives you take are done with honor,

And respect you show.

And you, the Goddess Morrigan,

The Celtic Queen of war,

Black crow of the battlefield

Who feasts on death and gore.

Goddess of the Dark Phase,

Of those things that we hide,

Our anger and our vengefulness,

The things we keep inside.

But also you’re our power

The strength of blood and bone,

The competence of women

That the brave have always shown.

 

© LSG 2:02PM 1.19.2010

Owning “Stuff”

Stuff

A Compilation Article from Maine Pagan Digest

[Ed note: The opinions expressed here are from many different people, so the subjective “I” is not specific to one person. Good luck!]

The Holidays are behind us, to which many of us breathe a sigh of relief… until the credit card bills come in. Did you get everything you wanted? So what? What do things truly matter? Remember being devastated as a child when that extra special toy did not arrive under yon tree? Do you still feel that way? A friend told us of a quote, which essentially said that fretting over things you don’t have is wasting what you do have.

I have had an epiphany.

While not a wealthy man, monetarily, I have too much “stuff.” Dumb stuff that I don’t need. Good stuff that I never use. Some stuff that I really don’t like but for some reason can’t get rid of. It is all getting in my way and requires me to get more space to keep all my stuff from the elements. (Sounds like the George Carlin bit huh?) Knowing that I don’t need it and having all this stuff that I already have somehow has never kept me from wanting more stuff that I don’t need. This gift season it really has struck home as folks have asked me what I want for the holidays, as if getting just that next thing will make my life more enjoyable. I really sat down and thought about it with the intention of making a list the other day and realized that even if I got everything on my list that this would not change all that is most important to me in my life so why bother. I suddenly realized that on our deathbeds in our old age (hopefully) I don’t think we’ll look back on our life and say “I wish I had gotten more stuff.” It is more likely that we would wish that we had spent more time enjoying and sharing our short lives with those we love.

Ben Franklin once wrote something to the effect that “if everyone else in the world were blind he should not want fine clothes and furniture.” I think he was right. (He usually was.) So in this traditional time of the making of resolutions, I wish to go on record as saying that it will be my endeavor to rid myself of much of my unneeded stuff this year and to attempt not to accumulate anything unneeded in its place. I will choose to be content with and thankful for the blessings that have been bestowed upon me and my family.

Many of you know about my STUFF, especially those of you from the old Sunday groups who got some of my STUFF, and those of you wonderful people who have helped me move my considerable mountain of STUFF from home to home. Every now and again, I go through phases of wanting to get rid of STUFF. And a lot of it is “stuff.” I frequent yard sales and Salvation Army and such, looking for new things, interesting things. And I know why.

I found this pattern back in 1988 when I was living with a boyfriend who got called into the armed services 5 months early. He left a large hole in my life… a hole I unknowingly decided to fill with STUFF. I needed something new, something to like, something to distract me. I sometimes bought animals and pets, for a way to have something to love, something that needed me. And even though I know this, I still buy STUFF. I see this trait in some of my friends, and we are all in the same boat — the U.S.S. STUPH.

My parents tend to hoard, and I dread the time when we will have to clean out their home. They have almost every check they have ever written, an entire basement full of things that they “might” need. They saved clothes for me from high school (and a size 12 I may never be again, speaks the size 24). They have things that have not moved (Not. Moved.) since we moved into that house in 1982.

“It’s only $1, $3, it’s on sale….”  I need to find out what is causing my need for STUFF. Am I running away from something, trying to shift focus from other issues? What is so lacking in me that I need so much STUFF to “validate,” if that is the case?

Your material things do talk to you (“Put me away!” “Diet so I’ll fit!” “Are you ever going to read me?”). I have found that that’s why I am a binge-and-purge consumer — I get things cheap too, and later on throw everything out and start over. After a while I can’t take the stuff talking to me, and as my apartment is also quite small, I find I feel better and calmer, the less STUFF there is around.

Of course, when I told my daughter about this phenomenon last year, she said, “Well, I guess I don’t have to clean my room, then. My stuff doesn’t talk to me.”

Here’s some hints….  I hope they help.

* Look, seriously SEE your stuff, each individual object. Are there things in your house that are just there because they’ve always been there, and are so much a part of the wallpaper that you overlook them? Ask yourself: Do I use it? Do I NEED it? When was the last time I used it? What purpose does it serve? Why do I own it, why did I buy it?? What does it mean to me, and why am I keeping it? If there are no really good reasons, ditch it.

* What are your things saying to you? Are the books you bought and never got around to reading telling you something? Is that size 10 dress hanging in your closet and not on your size 14 butt? WHY? What is it saying to you? That you failed a diet? That you should be “thus and such” a body size or type? If you don’t like what it’s saying to you, junk it.

* As it is difficult for us “stuffies” to get rid of things, try this. Start boxes in your storage area. Mark one “Month,” one “6 Months” and one “Year” with the appropriate dates. Put those things you may use in the “Month” box. Those you rarely use in “6 Months” box. And the things you just don’t use or are really uncertain about in the “Year” box. Leave those boxes closed (but for putting more in) for the allotted time. If you have wanted nothing or used nothing from those boxes in that time span, DO NOT OPEN THEM – GIVE THEM TO GOODWILL. Whatever is in them, if you can’t remember and it has had no use to you, IT’S GONE.  You are free.

Many members of my family this year have been hard to buy for, because they literally don’t “need” anything. My son in fact has more clothes than we can fit in the bureau and more toys than the room can hold. I try to do practical things (grocery gift certificates and such) and that helps. Maybe after the holidays, my family and I can discuss what we **!NEED!** and how we can give that to each other.

Thank you, Aracos, for starting the thread on Maine Pagan Digest.

Brighid

Imbolc lays before us deep

As all the world lies still, asleep.

And in this time of seeming death,

We’re livened by Midwinter’s breath.

The celebration of this time

Is done with stories, song and rhyme.

Here in Winter’s deepest cold

We find you, Brighid, kind and bold.

 

With joy, the bride doll now is made –

The children dance a brisk parade.

Old and young folk, one and all,

Do bless the lovely white-clad doll.

And then the bride is laid abed

With blossom garlands at her head,

And at her feet, all shod in white,

A candle, lit to share its light.

 

Lady of the Holy Wells,

We chant your name and ring the bells

To honor you this special day,

Our trials and fears all laid away.

Crosses made of golden wheat

And flowers are laid at your feet.

The bread is baking, tried and true –

With mead, full cups we lift to you.

 

Lady of the blacksmiths’ fire,

You of love and heart’s desire,

Shed your glow on all our lives,

Sons and daughters, husbands, wives.

Forge us in the glowing coals,

Strong in body, mind, and soul.

Lady Brighid, shining bright,

We seek your blessings on this night.

 

Brighid’s Flame

Saint_Brigid's_crossIt is a cold Imbolc day in the countryside, and wintertime restlessness has made your feet wish to wander. Bundling yourself up against the chill, you don thick socks, warm long underthings, a heavy jacket, mittens, boots, and a hat. Bidding farewell to your warm home, you venture forth into the cold afternoon air, and begin your journey.

You are newly come to this area, and have not had the opportunity to explore much beyond your own yard. The harvest kept you busy, and the snow set in early. Heading west, you set an easy pace, enough to keep you warm but not enough to wear you. There are small clouds, some which seem to threaten snowfall, but the ground is nearly bare in places due to a January thaw.

Continuing for some time, you wander past stone walls and open fields, past small forests and frozen streams. Then ahead, in a meadow, you spy a building standing alone. It has begun to snow lightly, and the wind has picked up, so out of curiosity and the desire to rest from the cold, you venture forth.

It is a stone building, a small chapel-like structure with a thatched roof. The path to the door is wide and well kept. The windows are of stained glass, and the door is heavy oak hinged with large iron pieces. Seeking respite from the wind, you grasp the large iron handle and pull the door open.

You enter a small antechamber and pull the door closed against the elements. The noise of the wind is greatly muffled here, and it feels good to be out of the cold. You shake the snow from your shoulders and move forward through the archway into the larger chamber.

The light from outside makes the stained windows glow with a multitude of color, spilling a rainbow on the stone floor. Low wooden benches line the walls, inviting rest for the weary traveler.

On a wooden table in the center of the room, there is a stone lamp, lit. The flame is bright and warm, and dances in the slight breeze. Also on the table, you see flowers – white roses, daisies, lilies, all fresh and alive despite the winter’s cold. It is then that you realize that you are relatively warm in here, not just the simple warmth that comes from being out of the wind, but almost comfortable enough to remove your outer layer. You wonder at this, since there is no visible heat source other than the small flickering flame of the lamp.

You move from the table to one of the benches and release a sigh of contentment as your feet no longer bear the full weight of your body. You adjust a little, finding the right spot to relax. Now at rest, your mind wanders to events in your life that have been troubling you; frustrating situations, difficult decisions, and painful processes. The dancing flame catches your gaze again, and your eyes are drawn to its glowing presence. The flame waves gently, back and forth, like a shining fish’s tail through calm water. It lulls you into a state of well-being, and your lips form a half smile. Your eyes grow heavy but do not close, though your lashes cause the candle flame to soften and blur.

Then, between one breath and the next, there is a shimmer of tiny bells, and you realize that a white-clad figure, a woman, is standing beside the table, looking at you. Your eyes open fully, but you are not startled. Indeed, Her presence is calming, gentle. You wonder how She came to be here, for you did not hear the door open, and it is the only entrance into this small stone building. Then you notice that Her feet are bare, and She has on no warm outer things, only a white gown and a garland of green gracing Her head. A question forms on your lips, and She smiles, drawing a breath to speak.

“Welcome are you, child, to this sacred place, on this holy day. Here does My flame ever burn; here do I hear those who beseech Me.”

In wonder and awe, you realize that you are in the presence of the Goddess Brighid, and She smiles again at your expression. You rise quickly, and stammer an apology for your intrusion.

She laughs gently. “Indeed, fear not, for this is a place of safety and rest for those who are weary. Ever is this a sanctuary for those seeking rest and hope. Though you spoke not, I heard the storm within your heart, and I respond.”

“Oh my Lady,” you cry out, “how is it I can bear the troubled times facing me? There seems to be no hope, no answers. I’m lost.” Your voice breaks on that last word, and tears come to your eyes.

Brighid comes to your side on silent feet and takes you within her arms. She lays a hand upon your head, bringing it to rest on her shoulder, and She strokes your hair.

“I am the promise of Springtime. Within Me lies the purpose and power of new life coming and dark times passing. Though at times your strength is truly tried, keep My flame alive in your heart. Balance your actions with compassion; keep words of love in your mouth, for truly do I listen. You are never alone, Beloved; you need only call to Me, and My light shall shine forth from the depths of your darkest night. The flame into which you gazed is as constant as My love for you, and never shall it be extinguished. You are precious to Me, dear one. It is through your own acts of love that you draw strength, so love and love well, even when it is hard to do so.  Every act of anger brought against you is an opportunity to be answered with love. I say that not lightly, for it is those times that shall surely try you, but in those times will you gain your highest power. Answer anger with grace, hatred with compassion, fear with light, and always shall you be borne by My flame.”

Your breathing slows as you listen to Her words, and the tension drains from your body. Though your troubles are still present in your mind, you can see more clearly now, and feel that you have the strength to endure, if not succeed. You expel a deep sigh that seems to lighten both your spirit and your physical form, and you lift your head from Brighid’s shoulder. Smile answers smile, and you drop your eyes, feeling a bit shy in such a sacred presence.

“Return here when you wish,” She says, “for this door is always open to you. Bring your troubles and your joy; come in calm or in turmoil. Here shall you ever find peace.”

“Thank you my Lady, with all of my heart,” you say, and slowly, She fades from view.

The Lady of Yule

The Lady of Yule

 

On the night of Yule

The stars shone like jewels

In a sky that was clear as black glass

I was walking through woods

And stopped where I stood

With my heart in a seeming morass

 

Finding sadness everywhere

I was lost in despair

In this season of coldness and death

But my head turned around
As the wind bore the sound

Of a baby’s first in-taken breath

 

I entered a clearing where a fire blazed on

And a woman sat wrapped in warm furs

A child at her breast lay in comfort and rest

And then my eyes gazed into Hers

 

I was lifted above

My heart bursting with love

As I knew Her, the Goddess of Life

Having just given birth

Bringing new life to Earth

‘Twas the promise of the end of strife

 

The sweet newborn child

In this woodland so wild

Was the Hope and the gift that we need

And the Green He shall bring

With the coming of Spring

When the tendril shall split from the seed

 

She spoke to me then in a voice clear as rain

And she told me, “Child, look deep within

For the green in your heart which never departs”

Tears of gratitude rolled off my chin.

 

I met Her that night

And my soul knew delight

That I never would lose Her a-more

For the love that She spoke

In my spirit awoke

And had opened a hard-shuttered door

 

I no longer fear cold

Or the Sun getting old

For I know that the Winter shall fly

And the light will return

It’s the lesson I learned

On a deep and dark night of Yuletide

 

© Lorelei Greenwood 12.9.2012

Winter Queen

With stately grace and slow, the Winter Queen walks the sleeping land. All has been measured and counted in; the Earth is now at rest. It is not without love that she brings the cold season, but a deep need for silence and sleep. The world has been so busy, occupied with living and growing, and now it is time for slow and quiet. She brings the breath of Winter in her passage, rattling empty branches and sending a skirl of snow over the brown grass. With each step the earth becomes iron; with the cold, the water turns to ice. Her white cloak and gown match her long white hair, glowing a silver-blue under the full moon light as she sends a swirl of frost from her fingertips to line the branches and cover the panes with delicate pictures. Such fragile beauty belies the underlying strength, reminding us once again not to judge too quickly. An owl soars past on silent wings, her presence barely marked by the swift rushing of air. Within the Wintertime trees of the quiet forest, the red deer walks with the Queen, his hooves muffled by the fallen leaves. He pauses for a drink at the stream, and all is still once more. This is the world of the Winter Queen, calm and silent, everything at rest.

Darkness and Light’s Return: A Ritual for Yule

In the darkness, I hear the wind. It speaks in a timeless language that I have all but forgotten except in my dreams. Here and there a familiar word but all is confusion and mystery. I feel left out, uninformed. There is too much to know and, to learn, to understand, and I am overwhelmed in the face of my ignorance.

In the darkness, I yearn for fire. The black that surrounds me steals my confidence and every sound and lump of shadow turns to threat. There was a time when I knew these things, when I held power over the events of my life. I dare not move for fear of doing the wrong thing, and I languish, unfulfilled.

In the darkness, the deep river of time relentlessly carries me onward, and I am lost in the flow. With no landmarks to guide me, nothing to buoy me, I flounder and choke, my needs unmet and unheard. I’ve lost sight of where I am, where I’ve been, and I don’t know where I am being taken.

In the darkness, the boundaries of the cavern restrict and confine me. The immovable boulders and bottomless holes make the going a perilous venture and impedes my progress. Afraid of movement but unwilling to remain still, my screams of frustration rebound against the walls and are my only company.

You enter this space in darkness on the longest night of the year. Our bodies have felt the impact of the lessening light and have called out for the return of the Sun. Our moods have shifted, and like those animals that prepare for Winter hibernation, our bodies begin to slow down and are less willing to part with the life-sustaining nutrients and fats that we ingest.

Perhaps it is we in this modern age who feel the impact more than our predecessors, as we continually adjust our environments to suit our desires. We need be neither too hot nor too cold; we have sources of light when we wish it and the fortune of plentiful food in great variety in our cupboards or markets or restaurants. Because our sources of artificial light extend our work and play time, our bodies are out of synch with the natural rhythms of the seasons. In the midst of all this comfort, there is still an indefinable sense of loss, whether we are aware of it or not, and we yearn for that which we cannot name.

We all wish an end to darkness, to times of difficulty and pain. We are so fortunate to have so many remedies and entertainments easily at hand, and yet it is easy to take it all for granted. How different would our lives be if, next fall, we chose to store enough food for the Winter and promised ourselves not to buy anything new until the Spring? What if we turned off the television and computer and lived with what entertainments our own minds and talents could conjure? We would find ourselves yearning for foods that we are used to obtaining by the mere passing of paper at an ever-open marketplace. We would find ourselves challenged to create amusements and diversions, or to be filled by those created by others in this world of Hollywood blockbusters and top 40 hits.

Even with the plentitude of pastimes that surrounds us, Winter is dull and without life, and we must look harder to find the beauty of our beloved Earth instead of it being handed to us as though we were spoiled children calling for sweets. Turn back to your younger days and find the wonder again in the intricate patterns of frost on the panes; the dazzling sparkles of ice-touched grass that seem sprinkled with diamonds; the brittle crunch of ice under your boot-clad feet; the safe comfort of home as you come in after a cold afternoon and warm yourself inside and out.

At this blessed Yuletide, we honor the turning of the Wheel as we hear the God speak in His two voices.

(The two halves of the God stand back to back and turn slowly together as they read. The Holly King wears a crown with holly leaves on top -– Oak leaves are on the bottom.)

Holly King: Now We have come ‘round to Winter.

Oak King: Now ends Our time in the darkness.

Holly King: My pace slows as I near the end of My journey.

Oak King: My pace quickens as I eagerly move toward My destiny.

Holly King: On the longest night, My reign ends.

Oak King: On the shortest day, My reign begins.

Holly King: Autumn brought death to the vibrant ambrosia of field and tree and to strong young animals. With them, I laid my head upon the stone most willingly, and with them, died.

 

Oak King: Spring will bring the promise of life while the earth lies in seeming death, and all that fell in sacrifice will be born anew as the earth wakes to again create Her bounty.

 

Holly King: Before me waits My Lady, slayer and Queen. From Her I learn of the true wealth that comes from giving of the Self, and that life continues beyond the certainty of death.

 

Oak King: I sit at the knee of My Lady, Mother and companion, and learn from Her the ways of growth and life and the playfulness of youth.

(The crown is turned from holly-side-up to oak as it is passed to the Oak King’s head)

Holly King: I settle into My rest, listening to the slow song of the sleeping earth, and reflect upon the things that darkness has shown Me.

 

Oak King: I walk strongly into the darkness with the assurance that all things shall pass, and I know that even though I cannot see, I am not alone.

 

Holly King: In the heart of darkness, I submit once more to the Wheel’s turning.

Oak King: In the heart of darkness I take up the crown to bring you light.

Holly King: From the darkness, into light.

Oak King: From the light into darkness.

Holly King: My brother brings the light to make the cold days easier to bear.

Oak King: While my brother brings gifts of life even as the light fades.

Holly King: We are halves

Oak King: Of the same

Holly King: Spinning endlessly

Oak King: Changing always

Holly King: Growing and dying

Oak King: Burning and fading

Holly King: The two become One

Oak King: As the One splits apart

Holly King: Dying

Oak King: Living

BOTH:Again.

Here we honor the passing of the dark and where it has led us. Without darkness, there is no light; without hardship, there is no gratitude and understanding; without pain, there is no relief.

This is a night of choice, a balance point from which the direction of your life will tip one way or another. Do you choose to allow yourself to rest gently in the arms of the Mother? Or do you bring yourself forth into light, birthing into a new world and way of being? The Spanish phrase for giving birth is “dar a luz”, to give to light. What light do you give, and what is given to that light? Do you bring light, share light, or reflect light?

In the light, the whispering trees sparkle with frost like a million diamonds in the shine of the moon. I now know that I don’t have to understand everything – it’s the listening that is important. I am grateful for the dark, as it caused me to accept my limitations and to work beyond them.

In the light, I find the answers and my fears melt in the burning of knowledge, for fear cannot live without shadows. The spark of desire and determination rekindle within me and I have newfound motivation and vitality. Grateful am I for the dark that tested my strength, for I discovered energy and courage I did not know I possessed.

In the light, I see the lines of my life clearly, forward and behind. I am able to release my expectations and accept where the flow of fortune takes me. I am grateful for the dark that took me where I was not expecting to go, and have learned to cherish the moments of my life.

In the light, I carve my own road and mark my passage on those things that sought to block me. The obstacles proved to be places of rest or reflection. Grateful am I for the dark that bound me, for it caused me to break from my self-imposed prison and ill-fitting structures to create a new form.

Grateful am I for both light and dark, for the candle-flame cannot dance without shadow. Though the going is sometimes not easy and we seem to sit in darkness forever, this time reminds us that Light always returns.

Samhain Prayer

 

In this night

where veils are thinnest

and the cries of our Beloved Dead

can be heard across waves of time,

think upon the past,

see where your feet have trodden,

and learn from the landmarks and trail blazes you left behind.

 

In this night

when Harvest is over,

abundance is gathered and cold awaits,

look to the future,

plan and ponder,

but lose not yourself in the dreaming that is so tempting on these long nights.

 

In this night

where past and present linger

and beings open up to the worlds beyond,

pay homage, do honor,

and count your blessings,

for the waves of time roll on with or without us as we pilot our own boats on this sea of life.