A Ritual of Transformation for Samhain
Fort Lauderdale Witches Ball - October 26, 2002
Players: Taliesin Moved Outside: Cerridwen Cauldron Creidwy Stirrer Afagdu Wreath Gwion Princess Outside: 300 Candles Spirits Altar Tools Drummers Quarter Altars Gwynn ap Nudd Jar Candles Fire Tender Sword Quarter Teams Quarter Callers Props: Cauldron Strong smelling fluid in Cauldron Six clumps of herbs Stirrer Wreath The Memorial Wreath is set up early in the evening in the church lobby. People are invited to tie ribbons to it in memory of the departed. There is an Attunement at 9 PM and a mini ritual at 10:30 PM to "Contemplate the Great Cycle." Begin the Seasonal Enactment at 11:30 PM: (Taliesin speaks from the stage. Everyone is asked to clear a circular space in the center of the Sanctuary.) Taliesin: Permit me to introduce myself. I am the great Celtic Bard, Taliesin. I wander the land. I tell the stories of the people. Tonight I bring you Ritual, a Theater for the Soul: The Dark Goddess is known to us through many names, Lilith, Kali, Tiamet, Hekate, Nix, The Black Maddona, Nemesis, the Morgaine, and of course, Cerridwen. Now let me tell you of Cerridwen. Truly, she is one of the great Goddesses of the Celtic World. Although, in her story, she embodies all three lunar aspects, Maiden, Mother and Crone, she is primarily worshipped in her Crone aspect. She is worshipped through her Cauldron of Wisdom, Inspiration, Rebirth and Transformation. (Cerridwen appears in front of the stage.) Taliesin: The cauldron has an intimate association with femininity, together with the cave, the cup and the chalice. The association of femininity with justice, wisdom and intelligence goes back to very ancient times. (As named, Creidwy, a very ugly Afagdu, and Gwion step forward, circling the room and acting appropriately.) Taliesin: Cerridwen was originally known to the people of Wales. It is told that she lived on an island in the middle of Lake Tegid with her two children, a beautiful daughter, Creidwy, and a very ugly son, Afagdu. To compensate her son for his unfortunate appearance, Cerridwen brewed a magickal formula, known as "greal", which would make Afagdu the most brilliant and inspired of men. For a year and a day. Cerridwen kept six herbs simmering in her magickal cauldron, known as "Sparkle." She placed her cauldron under the constant care of a boy named Gwion. (Cerridwen and Gwion act out.) One day, while Gwion was stirring the cauldron, a few drops of the bubbling liquid spattered on his hand. Unthinkingly and in pain, Gwion, sucked his burned hand, and, suddenly, he could hear everything in the world, and understood all the secrets of the past and future. With his newly enchanted foresight, Gwion knew how angry Cerridwen would be when she found he had acquired the inspiration meant for her son. He ran away, but Cerridwen pursued him. Gwion changed into a hare, and Cerridwen chased him as a greyhound. (Drummers drum. Cerridwen pursues Gwion to left side of the circle.) Gwion changed into a fish, and Cerridwen pursued him as an otter. (Drummers drum. Cerridwen pursues Gwion to rear of the circle.) Gwion became a bird, and she flew after him as a hawk. (Drummers drum. Cerridwen pursues Gwion to right side of circle.) Finally, Gwion changed into a grain of corn, and Cerridwen, triumphant, changed into a hen, and ate him. (Drummers drum. Gwion disappears and Cerridwen struts triumphantly.) Later when Cerridwen resumed her human form, she conceived Gwion in her womb, and, nine months later, gave birth to an infant son, whom she, in disgust, threw into the water of a rushing stream. (Drummers drum. More acting by Cerridwen.) (Princess appears, gestures like picking up a baby, and then steps onto the stage and presents Taliesin. Drummers drum triumphantly.) He was discovered by a Princess rescued. And thus he grew up, and grew into me, the great Celtic Bard, Taliesin. Princess: Transformations of all kinds are an integral part of Celtic mythology. The center of this mythical element is often a cauldron. In the Celtic Mystery Tradition, there are three types of cauldrons, the Cauldron of Transformation, the Cauldron of Rejuvenation and Rebirth, and the Cauldron of Inspiration. Cerridwen's Cauldron symbolizes the merging together of all three of these aspects. Taliesin: The Celtic afterworld is called the Summer Land, or the Land of Youth, and the secret that opens its doors is found in Cerridwen's cauldron: the secret of immortality lies in seeing death as an integral part of the cycle of life, where every death brings rebirth, every ending a new beginning. Princess: The ancient cauldron of the Goddess was reinvented by patriarchy as the Holy Grail of Arthurian legend. It was transformed into a solar symbol, the Chalice used by Yeshua, at the Last Supper. Very little of its mystical meaning was changed; however, and it remains a symbol of enlightenment and spiritual transformation. (Taliesin and Princess explain what happens next.) Taliesin: Following this enactment, we move on to our Ritual. Gwynn ap Nudd, the Gatekeeper, will lead you. You will receive a candle. You will pass outside into the Outland to our Memorial Garden and on to the Underworld. Princess: I will guide you on your way through the Outland. The drummers will provide your rhythm. You move on to the Great Circle were you will meet the Grand Lady Cerridwen. Taliesin: There the spirits will swirl about you moving you around the circle. We will all hail the Great Goddess Cerridwen. Now Outside: (Make sure wreath is moved) Taliesin (HP) and Cerridwen move out to Circle. Cauldron and wreath are brought out to Circle. Princess leads the group into the Circle. HP: Be it known that the ritual is about to begin. Let none be here but of their own free will. Be it known that the practice of our religion Involves secrets, even in this, the Outer Court. Share with no one on the outside the names of those gathered in this our Circle tonight. HPS: You have not arrived here by chance. You have put yourself on this Path long ago. We shall walk some of it together and rejoice. We first began in past sorrows, in past lives. We were of the Wicca, gazing at the stars, Feeling deep unnamed secrets; touching the Earth in joy and sensing life within; seeing birth and knowing that it was a miracle, a Mystery, a joy; being still in the forest, being warm in the water... We are all lights, and we follow the Path through the Goddess and the God, by all Their names, and in growing, we grow in brightness, following the cycles of Sun and Moon, and glowing in Divine Radiance. HP/HPS: And now, let us begin. (HPS rings bell three times.) Casting of the Circle: HP: By the air that is her breath and the fire that is her bright spirit; By the water that is her living womb and the earth that is her body, We shall cast a Circle and make this place sacred and apart. (HP cast Circle with sword.) Chant: "I cast this Circle `round and `round, By its magick we are bound." (HP returns to alter. Places point of athame in salt and as he adds three portions of salt to the water HP says:) (HPS takes up salt water and proceeds around circle.) Chant: "By water and salt we purify, Our sacred space twixt Earth and Sky." (After HPS returns to alter. HP takes up smoking censer or cauldron of incense and proceeds around Circle.) Chant: "Smoke and fire in the air, We see witches everywhere." (HP rings bell.) HPS: The Circle is cast! The Bell is rung, The Candles are lit, The Chant is sung. The Book is opened, The Altar is set, The Cauldron is stirred, The Group is met. We now proclaim to everyone That our Ritual has begun. (HP taps altar three times with Athame) QUARTER CALLS: We will call the elementals at the quarters to join us: "Come join us elementals of Air, Sylphs of the East, breathing the breath of reason. Inspire us now, touch our minds, as muse to our soaring thoughts, Be with us now." "Come join us elementals of Fire, Salamanders of the South, of heat, of passion, or energy, of life itself! Lend us your vigor and strength. Kindle our hearts. Be with us now." "Come join us elementals of Water. Undines of the West. source of feeling and emotion, of dreams and intuition. Let flow the currents of your inner knowing, that we become in tune, with the torrents that surge within us, Be with us now." "Come join us elementals of Earth, Gnomes of the North, Emerge to us from your caves, deep within the ground below us. Earth is our final home, our ground of being, rich in mystery and abundance. Help us ground ourselves in nature, firmly rooted in your soil. Be with us now and lend us your strength." HPS: We are between the worlds, Beneath the Thunder Moon, Beyond the bounds of time, Where day and night, Birth and death, Joy and sorrow, Meet as one. (Invoke Cerridwen.) HP: Join us, Cerridwen, Dread Lady of the Shadows, Goddess of Life and Transformation, and the Giver of New Life. Open wide, I pray thee, thy Cauldron through which all must pass. Yet is the knowledge of thee, the knowledge of death, that makes us complete in life. (Cerridwen appears.) (Charge of the Dark Goddess) Cerridwen: "I am the Darkness behind and beneath the shadows. I am the absence of air that awaits at the bottom of every breath. I am the ending before life begins again, the decay that fertilizes the living. I am the bottomless pit, the never-ending struggle to reclaim that which that which is denied. I am the key that unlocks every door. Cerridwen: I am the glory of discovery, for I am that which is hidden, secluded and forbidden. Come to my fiery Cauldron of Wisdom, Inspiration, Rebirth and Transformation. Come to me at the Dark Moon and see that which can not be seen, face the terror that is yours alone. Swim to Me through the blackest oceans to the center of your greatest fears--- the Dark Goddess will keep you safe. Cerridwen: Let our dear ones who have gone before, return this night to make merry with us. Join hands and circle slowing dosil around this Fire, my Cauldron. (Drummer drum. People circle. We toss the wreath into the fire.) We stand between the worlds. We face the womb of the Great Goddess from which all things are born and reborn again. As you circle about, call out the names of your departed loved ones while the veil is especially thin. (Drummers drum. Spirits circle about widershins inside the circle. The people call out names.) Let it be in this same place and this same time that we may we meet and know, and love them once again. I am the Opener of the Doorway of the Womb. (Quarter Teams light candles. Drummers drum.) Stand still. The spirits will now light your candles. It may be that two people will choose to hold a single candle together. The spirits come around and light your candles. Come forward, one by one, two by two, and toss your candle into the fire, Cerridwen's Cauldron. HP: We have not even to risk this adventure alone, For the heroes of all time have gone before us. The maze is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a God. And where we had thought to slay another, We shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, We shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, We shall be with all the world. Cakes and Ale: (Cakes and ale are brought out. The bell is rung three times.) (HP takes up basket of cakes which HPS touches with wand.) HP: Life is a Circle, We build ties that don't sever, We pass through the Cauldron, And go `round together. HPS: (Picks up one cake and crumbles it to the ground saying:) Great Lady, our thanks to you. We give ye back what is your due. (Cakes are distributed, and all eat.) HPS: Now feast we together one and all. May blessings on every one befall. Food for your bodies, good women and men, Bright blessings to you and all of your kin. We thank Lady and Lord, for we have a lot. May we always be mindful of those who have naught, And share what we have with all of the rest. Thanks to you, Gracious Lady, for we have been blest. (The HP places his athame in the HPS goblet) HP: Athame to chalice makes them one, Goddess of Moon and God of the Sun. A symbol we have for the Great Rite. May its magick continue by day and by night. The message is there for all the Earth to unite in a way that will bring us mirth. Joining together now we celebrate as Goddess and God, as mate to mate. HP & HPS together: Thus through these symbols we unite, For we are Goddess and God this night. (HP pours a small amount of ale into HPS' chalice, and pours a little onto the earth. Both salute the Gods, drink, and distribute ale around Circle.) HPS: Let the fruits of union promote all life. May we do our best to banish strife. May we all be fruitful each in our own way. as we celebrate life here today. HP & HPS: Eat, drink, and be happy, as happy as we. Share and give thanks. So mote it be. Dismissal: HP: Spirits of the departed. Thank you for joining us at this time when the veil is thin. Be on your way now. The dawn soon approaches. HPS: Great Lady Cerridwen. Thank you for your presence here this evening. Thank you for this meeting with the departed and the transformation of your Cauldron. HP: And now it is time to dismiss the elementals, moving widdershens, starting with the North. (North) "Be on your way elementals of Earth, Gnomes of the North, Return your caves, deep within the ground below us. Tarry not, and depart in peace." (West) "Be on your way elementals of Water. Undines of the West. Return to your streams and the oceans. Tarry not, and depart in peace." (South) "Be on your way elementals of Fire, Salamanders of the South, Return to the flames that give you life. Tarry not, and depart in peace." (East) "Be on your way elementals of Air, Sylphs of the East, Return to the winds, gentle or fierce. Tarry not, and depart in peace." Sung: "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 again." "Merry Meet, and Merry Part, and Merry Meet Again." HP: "The Circle is now open, but never broken."
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