This was our ritual:
LONG BEACH WOMANSPIRIT WINTER SOLSTICE RITUAL, 21 December 2013
THE WAY OF ELEN
Set-up and items to bring.
1. Things to bring:
Reindeer headdresses – everyone
Greenery for Altar – anyone
Baskets – everyone
lantern candle holders and red, white, green candles – anyone
peppermint sticks – ?
Ca – mulled cider
C! – Lucina crown, hot cups, bowls, Yule log & ribbon, pens, paper
P- Green altar cloths, votive candles, cutlery, napkins, plates, Elen picture, Swan headdress
K – Aluminum foil (we cover the table/ altar that has the candles & tealight attendees bring)
Main Altar: Elen picture. Green Altar cloth, red, green, white candles, greenery, pictures
Small Altar – aluminum foil and some sparkly star stuff. (This Altar is for lit votive candles)
Smudging – Winter Solstice incense, blessing with Solstice oil
Caroling – lead by ElfKat. Songsheets will be available
THE WAY OF ELEN RITUAL
Introduction – (J)
It is Winter Solstice Eve and tonight we are sharing stories about
Elen of the Ways that Caroline Wise, a wisewoman from London told us.
Elen is not a herstorical figure; she is a Hidden Goddess of
Ancient Britain. Indeed, Her story begins long before there were
nations – She belongs to the times, 10,000 years ago, when there were
only children of Mother Earth. Since She is soooo old, she has
many gossamer threads hidden in stories. She has a direct link to
Lucina – (C!)
We will begin with our traditional celebration of Lucina, a
Scandinavian Sun Goddess
Lucina procession – Ca
We can select a Lucina from the community. Light people’s votive
candles. Process around singing "Celebrate the birth of the Sun"
Before sitting down, people will place their votive candles on a
small Altar in front of the main Altar.
Meeting of the Sun Goddesses – (Beive)
At the procession’s end, Lucina sees a Goddess flying through the
sky – this is Beive, the Sun Goddess from Lapland (Finland)
She flies through the sky on a sled made of reindeer antlers. Beive is
an "eye in the sky" and She can see what’s happening on Earth.
Lucina asks Beive what She can see on this Winter Solstice Eve.
Beive responds that She sees people looking for the Reindeer Woman
Elen. The Goddesses agree that they will shed some Solstice light
on these people to help them find Elen.
Calling in Elen
(from C!’s notes): *Elen is balanced within the elements.
* In North England she is very much about springs and wells. (Water) – (M) (Spring Season?)
* In summer she is the golden land. Blackbird (Earth) – (D)
* Autumn – crossroads; show me a way through the forest by firing
your arrow. (Air) – (A)
* Winter – drawing in and healing; bring evergreens inside to
visualize the greening & reflection time. Also gathering & warmth &
close friends….Storytelling time. (Fire) – (C)
*As the pole star, Cygnus, she is the way by which birds
navigate. Her name means `Star Path." (Center) – (J)
Everyone sings the Song – the 3 verses/the chorus
Storytellers of Elen appear:
Helena, Empress of the Crossroads – (M) Crossroads, the true Cross – the constellation
Cygnus the Swan
Elen, Lady Sovereignty (C) – Awakening the Land, the shamanic flight of Mascen
Elen, The Green Lady (Kat) – Venus, The Goddess of the Gardens, The Underground Stream
Elen, The Mistress of the Old Straight Track – (K) Ley Lines, Shamanic Flight, Road builder
Elen, The Reindeer Goddess – (A) – Visions of Elen with antlers, `Elen’ means `deer’ in
several languages. `Doe, a deer, a female deer’ with antlers is a Reindeer.
She puts Herself into the consciousness of the Wisewoman, Caroline Wise and the
Elen of the Way seekers in London. A vision of Elen with deer horns appears.
Then the mystery of shamanic flight, the long straight track and Elen the Reindeer
Ancestor is revealed.
Elen of The Star Path (P) – Cygnus, the Swan, the Pole Star
Dancing Around the World Tree
Select a tall woman to be the Tree that reaches to the Stars. She
wears a Swan Headdress. We sing the Song and dance around Her.
Maybe some of the shiny gossamer wings are used. Maybe some gossamer
ribbon to dance with.
The Final Mystery of Elen or When Santa Claus was a Woman – (J)
The young Sami Shamanka seeks the mystery of Reindeer
flight as part of her training. She sees the Reindeer dancing and
figures out how to use the magic red and white mushroom (amanita
muscaria) to fly. On Winter Solstice Eve, she shows her people her
new skills. She is dressed in red and white, partakes of the magic
red and white mushroom. Reindeer antlers appear on her head and her
community sees her fly out the smoke hole of the community yurt. She
follows the reindeer herds along the first long straight tracks. She
flies a long way south, gathering special herbs and plants along the
way. Then she returns to her people, coming back into the yurt’s
smoke hole with her bag of green gifts. 10,000 years later, the Flying
Reindeer Shamanka not only persists as Santa Claus,??????
When the story is finished, people are invited to partake of red
and white peppermint sticks (in lieu of mushrooms) and there is a
pathworking (i.e., meditation) where we all fly. Callista! will be
the lead reindeer. There will be the shamanic drummers.
When the Flight ends, we sing a final verse (maybe a new verse) and
chorus of the Song.
Elen is thanked.
Center – (J)
Fire – (C)
Air – (A)
Earth – (D)
Water – (M)
The green gifts that people have brought are passed out by the
There is something about priestessing a ritual when it goes right that is the best feeling. It kind of site near your heart afterwards and glows. It’s funny when you ask the Goddess to go to the next level you hope you are ready for the ordination/initiation/consecration and then you go through the ritual and the new state settles in. Saturday night I felt like an Arch Druidess for the first time, like it had been absorbed and settled, like it was me and not like I was trying to be an Arch Druidess, if that makes any sense at all. For once I wasn’t terribly nervous or insecure about what I was going to do.
Saturday night TOILA did our Solstice ritual and in honour of Laura we did the Elen of the ways ritual, Laura wrote for us several years ago.
7 of Elen’s incarnations visit the ritual during the evening. At one point I had a moment where I was struck by a weird version of the Christmas Carol ghosts and Elen’s incarnations mingling and almost started giggling.
The 7 visions of Elen were: Helena, Empress of the Crossroads – Crossroads, the true Cross – the constellation – Cygnus the Swan. Helena was the mother of Constantine.
Elen, Lady Sovereignty – Awakening the Land, the shamanic flight of Mascen
Elen, The Green Lady – Venus, The Goddess of the Gardens, The Underground Stream, gardens and the greenways.
Elen, The Mistress of the Old Straight Track – Ley Lines, Shamanic Flight, Road builder
Elen, The Reindeer Goddess – – Visions of Elen with antlers, `Elen’ means `deer’ in
Several languages. `Doe, a deer, a female deer’ with antlers is a Reindeer.
Elen of The Star Path – Cygnus, the Swan, the Pole Star
Dancing Around the World Tree
The Final Mystery of Elen or When Santa Claus was a Woman – Elen as bringer of gifts
I was Elen of the Green Ways. Since for much of the northern hemisphere the earth is not very green but is in hibernation and because I couldn’t find a lot of information of her as the Green Woman counter part to the Green Man and because the others seem to be doing a lot of history of the different parts of Elen, I chose to do something a little different. I took people on a meditative journey through the resting earth. We visited things that were peacefully sleeping and travelled with an earthworm creating more fertile earth and stayed with a seed from a pine tree as it consumed its seed and started to send down roots and waited patiently to grow through the earth when spring warmed the soil further. I didn’t want to do the traditional tree type meditation and I didn’t want anything about actively growing above the earth. This isn’t the time for that. This is the time of year for contemplation and storytelling. I wanted them to rest a bit after all the information and other stories. I think it worked. It felt like it did.
Diana and I led the carols and that went well and the Reeds brought their instruments and played before while we were getting ready and doing the final check up and run through. I can never stand to abandon the room while everyone else gets ready in the kitchen. It makes me feel like a bad hostess. And people need to feel welcome and there were fewer of us than usual so no one was minding the front desk. So someone needed to be there to answer questions, so Diana and I flitted between the kitchen and the main sanctuary.
We usually do the ritual the weekend before so we weren’t sure anyone would show up but we had a lot of people so that was really nice. We were afraid since it was on Solstice Night no one would show up so we didn’t put out that many chairs in case it was just us. It was nice to put out more chairs.
The only bad part was that it was supposed to be our coven celebration but usually the date is chosen by Laura and Laura wasn’t there to do that for us anymore so we got a late date. It’s sad but the coven after almost 30 years is dying or maybe even dead at least for some of us. I stopped on the way to drop off the gifts I made or ordered and the coven sister who answered the door could have cared less what I was there for or why I was going to miss our gathering. She was kind of rude and very dismissive. So I’m having to accept what I do not want to after so long, that I just don’t mean that much to her and maybe the rest of them and that maybe it’s time to let it go and die a natural death. It’s been that kind of year anyway. Just another thing to grieve on top of the rest. A bit depressing to go with the high of the ritual. Damn!
Thought it was time for a commercial
The Tales of BunniHoTep:
The Heart Town Witch and other stories:
Miss Kat’s School of Genteel Witchcraft:
Now you may hear the beat of a drum or the song of the wind. It may be the dancing of light on water or the midnight barking of the fox, but whatever awakens your desire to return to the wild,
The Shaman within you is ready for initiation into the mysteries. It may manifest itself in the form of a desire to study an esoteric science or philosophy and apply what you learn to the world. It may involve travel or even a personal sojourn for the sake of gaining confidence and experience. But however the desire to begin a new spiritual chapter emerges, you are now in an emotional and intellectual position to bring forth real change in your life for the benefit of everyone.
This process of focusing, mediating and applying wisdom and knowledge from the Otherworld to bring physical effects to everyday reality is the work of The Shaman.
Being a shaman, able to see the complexities of life and death, and acting on this knowledge for the benefit of all, can be a heavy burden to carry. (Responsibility, ten of wands).
The Shaman has a deep rooted balance within themselves, and can assume a place of status within society without compromising their integrity and losing sight of the higher purpose they are working for.