Tag Archive | ritual

A Samhain blessing and journey


This weekend was hard, it was beautiful, it was chaotic, it was terrifying, it was so painful and sometimes so loving it’s hard to describe.

Mary is gone now and off to whatever adventures we can’t follow on. She is no longer in pain but we are because she left a huge hole in our hearts.

She smiled at each of us before we sent her on her journey and I will treasure that smile for the rest of my life. I was honoured to spend time with her Friday just holding her hand and being with her. She was going in and out of being present but she knew I was there and that was enough.

Saturday we gathered the family and said our goodbyes. We decorated the altar and her bed. We covered her with her green cloak and the wings of Isis I brought along with BunniHoTep sitting on the end of the bed. It made her smile. We brought her favourite ritual tools and goddess images and the Brighid’s cross from the living room. She was surrounded with love and when we started the rite she was paying attention. Di, S, her step daughter, although I hate to call her step, she was her daughter and I did the rite that Caroline had written for us so beautifully. It was so hard to read it. I’m glad I wasn’t doing to alone. Denise had asked me to do it since she knew she couldn’t and I was supposed to do it alone originally since we had no idea that the others would come but they did.

It’s one thing to priestess for a stranger or someone you don’t know well but for someone you consider your sister, it’s sooo hard. Mary, Denise and I began the Grove together with Laura. We’ve taken every step along the path together from Grove creation to Companion to Bard and then to Druid and finally, Arch Druidess. Along the way we added our sister Diana who is now our Bard and we have Companions in the Grove but for the three of us, it was our dream and we created it together. You don’t get to create many dreams with people you love so much and I’m so lucky that we did.

It was a gift to do the rite and it was a gift to sing her way home to the Summerlands. Talking later after it was over we all saw the same thing but from different angles. I know I saw Laura and Lady Olivia reach out to her and take her hands and then she was gone. It took a small interval that felt like an eternity for her body to stop fighting to breathe but we all knew the instant she was gone and her body was no longer the Mary we loved but an empty vessel.

So on that holiest of days of the Druid calendar, Mary passed from our sight. We will be together again. We’ve all been together many times. We will play together and sing together. We will have ritual together and who knows maybe we will create other Groves together. But the love will always remain and the love will always bind us together. All we need to do is follow the ribbons of love that bind our hearts together. For only love remains.



Creative Ritual – Beltane in the ICU

We did a Beltane ritual last Sunday for M in the hospital. If you want to do creative ritual, a room in ICU will be the place to try it if you have to. No scents, no fire, nothing that you normally would think about to have ritual. So you get creative. After a visit to the hospital’s little coffee place on Friday we had an idea.

We decided coffee and tea had all the elements you need to build the ritual even if M can’t drink either any more.

Earth is the beans and the tea leaves that start it

Air for the lovely smells that the air carries.

Water, well, you can’t have coffee or tea without water.

Fire – the lovely warmth that turns beans and leaves into a libation

And Spirit for what they do for you when you are tired and depressed.

We added a battery powered candle and a very cool tea light that cycled through about 7 colours and our singing voices and a ritual was born.

We sang the Knot of Isis and Epona’s Creed for her and we started with my coven’s chant that was born in one of our first rituals almost 30 years ago: Earth, Air, Fire and Water, render power unto your daughters and it’s a nice round when it gets going.

The tricky part of the whole thing was timing it between the nurse, the respiratory therapist and the hospitalist and housekeeping’s visits. We managed it but it was close.

It was lovely to see M’s mouth moving with the words even though she can’t sing aloud any longer.

Our Solstice ritual

Out Yule Ritual Saturday – Prayers by me

Set up large altar in center 2 long tables?

Hand out glow in the dark goodies Kris and Kat

Carols before Ritual

Lights out

We hear a voice or two:

Tune is O come O come, Emmanuel (plain chant) reworked by ElfKat

O come, O come, O Solstice Light

And shine upon our hearts so bright

The light of love that echoes here

And shines out to all who love us here

Rejoice, Rejoice, and listen to your heart

A single light that brightens the dark

Rejoice, Rejoice and listen to your heart

And share the spark of love in every heart.


A Light enters the darkened room and moves to the center

A voice in the darkness says

ElfKatLove is the beacon we are all drawn to.”

A voice from a different place around the room

Kris  “We are love and we are drawn to each other.”

Two people from different places repeat.

Anniitra & Pat “Love is the beacon we are all drawn to.”

Priestess light candles around the room

All Priestesses PresentLove is life, love is light, love is the beacon we are all drawn to.


People should bring their elemental offerings up after each elemental invitation and place on altar

Pat  Call in Earth and our love for Mother Gaia and her creatures

Bring things to an empty table that symbolize our love of Earth. Priestess speaks about how we can care for the Earth

Kris  Call in Air and our love for the stars and the moon and all that fly over head

Bring things to the table that symbolize our love for Air. A priestess speaks about love and its relationship to Air, How it carries words and music?

Anniitra – Call in Fire and the desires we have and the fires of earth that warm us and our hearts

Bring things to the altar symbolizing Fire in our lives. A priestess speaks about Fire and our desires?

Callista! Call in Water and the waters within us and the ones without and all that swell therein

Bring things to the table of Water. A priestess speaks about the Water within us and outside us?

Joanne – Call in our spirits and all spirits of friends and family, past and present to celebrate our love

Bring things to the table of our spirit. A priestess speaks about the Spirit within us and how we share it and ourselves with others?

Joanne speaks about love and light

Sing “It’s in every one of us”

Everyone holds a candle and passes the love, ie: the light, from one to another around the circle.


ElfKat We share love in this season dedicated to the light and love’s return to our lives and seek to remember that is always there even when we forget. All we have to do is open our eyes and ask that it be shown to us.

Kris Love is the look in a friend’s eyes

Callista Love is a cat’s purr

Diana Love is helping another without being asked

Pat  Love is in the sunlight on our faces

Anniitra Love is the warmth in the darkness

 Joanne Love is the colour in a bird’s wing

ElfKat Love is the flash of a disappearing squirrel’s tail

Priestesses Love is all around us

Help us to see it.

Callista talks about St Lucy/Lucina and other gift giving traditions

Turn the lights on in the room and share the token gifts

Pass plates of cookies our food so that all may be without hunger

O My Goddess! I wrote the Yule Ritual

I’m having fun, for the first time I wrote our TOILA Yule ritual.  No one had volunteered to do it and I had a minor brain storm. Rituals are not usually my thing. I lead the carols every year and take the pictures but this year my inner Arch Druidess wanted to run around and play.

It’s nothing elaborate, in fact it speaks to the simplicity that is forgotten this time of year but is the root of the story of the season. It isn’t about the gifts or worrying you are going to forget something. It’s about sharing the light of love that is in all our hearts and that sometimes we forget.

Last night at about 3 in the morning when we were being hit with 60 mph winds (that denuded one of the big palm trees up the street) and it was pouring buckets (A nice bright red on the Doppler radar) I had the words come to a carol that I have been trying to re-write for years. I love plain chant and Gregorian chant and I love the carol, O come, O come Emmanuel, and try as I might over the years I haven’t found the right words. They came last night in the storm.

“O come, O come, O Solstice Light

And shine upon our hearts so bright

The light of love that echoes here

And shines out to all who love us here

Rejoice, Rejoice, and listen to your heart

A single light that brightens the dark

Rejoice, Rejoice and listen to your heart

And share the spark of love in every heart.”

And the ritual starts like this:

A Light enters the darkened room and moves to the center

A voice in the darkness says

Priestess 1 “Love is the beacon we are all drawn to.”

A voice from a different place around the room

Priestess 2 “We are love and we are drawn to each other.”

Two people from different places repeat.

Priestess 3 & 4 “Love is the beacon we are all drawn to.”

Priestesses light candles around the room

All Priestesses Present “Love is life, love is light, love is the beacon we are all drawn to.”

And it goes on, the rest you will have to wait for. 😉

Road Trip Part 2 – The Memorial at Isis Oasis

Sunday was the day of the memorial but it was after the Gnostic Eucharistic Service – A mystical Marriage of Soul and Spirit. It didn’t bother the others to follow it but it didn’t set right with this renegade. At least I wore my appropriate priestess garb because I had brought my favourite t-shirt from Northern Sun http://www.northernsun.com/Heretic-In-Good-Company-Poster-%284189%29.html

But I didn’t. The mix of people at Isis Oasis is a little odd. There are a lot of older people as in way older than me and close to older than the gods and a lot of younger people that are in their 20s and early 30s and then the ones in TOILA or friends of TOILA who haven’t had their senses of the absurd or humour removed surgically. There are a lot of people who take themselves way too seriously and don’t approve of us. And it doesn’t help that I seem to have received their senses of the absurd in triplicate. I’m afraid anything that starts with interpretive dance no matter how good it is, is going to send me into wanting to giggle especially when they don’t bother to explain it until afterwards and it had nothing to do with the service as far as I could see and they admitted they just made it up as they went along. I had to do a modern dance performance in school and I’m afraid I was a spare tire going down the highway after escaping a tire change when everyone else was doing things like The Arrival of Spring. Gag.

Being raised a strict Presbyterian as well as in family traditions AND two years at Catholic girls camp does not lend itself to sitting through a Mass of any sort and especially not one with a Communion which the strict Presbyterian part was shouting wildly about. Presbyterians do Communion about 4 times a year. The rationale being that it made it more meaningful if it was rare. And you weren’t supposed to just take it. Only people that have cleansed their conscience and are ready to receive the mystery are supposed to take Communion so this Druid/pagan/Wiccan was not about to take Communion. It wouldn’t be respectful of the tradition. So I did what to do when I was in Choir in church and sat behind the minister. I let my mind wander. I went over what I was supposed to read during Laura’s service. I asked Laura to help me keep it together and anything else I could think of.

Finally an hour late, we got to do it. We kept it simple and sweet and short. We read Isis Rising II and sang Diana’s Isis Rising chant. We read Laura’s 7 selves which wasn’t done at the Memorial last weekend. I think it might be my favourite. A did Open Heaven’s Gate after C’s introduction and Linda read her tribute to Laura, Mother of Cats which is wonderful. We sang the Knot of Isis and were delighted when people sang with us and showed my slideshow at the end. Short, meaningful and not unwieldly which was good because one of us was always crying but never at the same time. That’s a very good thing when one is trying to sing. Mid song we discovered Isis Rising was a round and it was one of those moments that singers have when something snaps into place and becomes magic, even with the tears. There is something about blending voices and listening to one another sing that is one of the most magical things you can do and doing it in a ritual takes it a step further. I didn’t get to have a part in the Memorial really last weekend. They “let” me do something on BunniHoTep and the slideshow but nothing else and I admit it’s sticking in my craw. This went a long way to soothing some of that. The 6 of us were on the same mental plane and it flowed and being with 3 women that I adore and don’t think I’m incapable helped too. I’m so glad we did it now and didn’t have to watch someone else who didn’t love Laura the way we do perform the ritual. There were a lot of people there for the first time and I was surprised they all stayed for it. We all expected there would be an exodus after the Mass but there wasn’t.

Then Diana and I headed home, she to her kids and me because I needed to be at work Monday. A and C stayed the extra days. It starts Friday and ends on Monday but I can’t take that long to stay with people who are so serious and can’t seem to raise energy at all which is how TOILA usually gets in trouble there. We raise the roof when we get going and it’s why Lady Olivia when she’s there has a tendency to tell the others how wonderful she thinks we are and people get pissed. We got an apology letter from her when she stopped coming to visit us the weekend before Isis Oasis and not visiting other groups. I guess other people complained loudly about it. Now she may never come again and it makes us sad. We miss her but I’m glad we had her when we did. The last time she was here a film crew was following her around and Lady Olivia made them interview some of us on camera and that couldn’t have helped.

So we survived doing the Memorial and I loved doing one more service for Laura and once I thought I saw her laughing in the back of the hall. So you never know…