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throughout. Actually, each of the directions was read by different people, and the introductions were either by the leader of the ritual or the person whose direction it was. So, Peter did the introduction and reading for East. I did the introduction and Martha did the reading for South, and so on. These are not, word for word what was said but the broad outlines. The readings are the exact bits. North seems longer, but it didn't seem so that night. Perhaps the time spent discussion and meditating evened it out. Or perhaps North needs to be cut since the ritual may be being done at a time we are not involved in a major war. I do tend to get wordy and it is possible the Northern HP did cut it & I don't remember. I did the whole Above bit because I knew the people of the book and their writings well and respected them. This section is integral to the rest and SHOULD NOT be taken out due to squeamishness of participants. The recognition of the holiness in all of these faiths is the purpose of the whole thing. The fact of a meal afterwards is assumed. After rituals it is necessary to ground, and after one of this magnitude people need to vent, discuss, learn. There is a pamphlet, next in this blog, which has more complete information about the faiths. Things If raining: large trash bags for ponchos, small trash bags for hats [it was raining] light rope and extension cord designate the ritual space, including all the separate altars. Unless mentioned (Eastern altar is set up previously) the altar supplies are brought from the central altar to the directions. Tables may be set up with appropriate cloths or other things, but the movement from outside to inside and out again sets up the flow. blue water bowl and pitcher (for hand washing) rock or a flowering branch [Incense is a possibility] (East) Cloth on central table to start goblets & cups (& wine & juice) (from the central altar to the worshipers moving past East) candles / Eşu candle (red), Olódùmarè candle (white) / Orunmilla candle (red) / Oşun candle (yellow) (Southern altar) Western altar doesn't exist. (Shakers also known as Plain Folks) sword (for Northern altar (called stalli, not altar)) books statuettes (Gods & Goddesses of the Underworld.) chimes readings, and intros for those who wanted cheat sheets. We started inside the church (Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington, KY) Introduction This ritual starts here. Inside the safety of the modern concrete building of UUCL. Here we gather as Americans often do, in safety. Separated from the realities of Nature. When it rains, or gets too hot, or too cold, or [whatever it is doing now]. We stay inside. Tonight we are honoring different paths, all of which in some way enrich my life, all of which honor, in some way, the earth as
she is. Using World faiths as cues, we will honor the local, indigenous Cherokee Nation’s directions. What follows is a celebration of the many faiths in this one world. Fuller explanations of these paths and the stories contained herein will be spoken more fully after this ritual, and available in a short pamphlet available at the pot-luck. We start at East: with the pre-Buddhist faith of Japan, known as Shinto. We go Sunwise around the circle, to Africa, through Ifá, then the United States, in what the Europeans call the West, with the Shaker sect of Christianity, In the North, we recognize Vantru [Ásatrú], and the center directions are: Above, The Jewish / Christian / Islamic monotheism, Below celebrates, well, Below and we center Within to the chimes of Buddhism. Please note that these are not direct worship services of any of these faiths, not a Meeting, nor Tambour, nor Sumbel. / Not consecration, nor quarter call, nor communion. Any libations to these Deities are the libations of the individual to the Gods. The group as a whole does not participate. If you want to do a libation for the Divinity, there is an alcohol and non-alcoholic drink and cups on the altar. We ground to place using Shinto traditions. We'll begin with a brief introduction and explanation of what the ritual will involve, including an explanation of Kami; spirits that dwell in nature. The ritual will proceed along these lines : Ceremonial washing of hands from water dipper. It may seem silly to wash your hands in a downpour, but as the rain is a gift from the Kami, the ritual washing of hands is our gift to the kami. With this ritual of purity, we show intention, and recognize the movement from secular space to sacred space. we move from the concrete to the grass from more human interference to less. At the growing down tree, we move a step farther, to nature which fought human interference and won. Walk through a gate and, facing the growing down tree, clap hands to get the attention of a Kami. Stand in the rain or at a place where you can see the growing-down tree. Then the reading. Then when you are settled, you may wish to give libations. if you do, alcoholic beverage is in the dragon goblet and nonalcoholic beverage in the unicorn goblet. Whether you libate or not clap 3 times to remind them of your honor for them, bow to the spirit / Kami and come around to the south to form a semi-circle in front of Martha August East Grounding to space Breathe All things have life. An energy about them that connects them to the world. And deep within each of us is something that responds to that energy. With our inward senses we can hear the voices that were once the Gods of the peoples who wandered among them. The voices of the natural world, of the mountains and trees, rocks and free running water. The voices that tell of our own interconnection with all that is.
We only need to listen. Breathe deep. Quiet your mind. Listen to the drum of your heart.
Know that there is already a bond between this land’s spirit and you. Extend your perceptions into the space of its physical incarnation. Open your mind to the other world, the world of Spirit, the place where all the things that are can speak, and where your object dwells as Kami, as one of the beings that hold together the world. See and feel its shape and power. voice of the spirit within you. Hear the sound of the world singing. Hear the
Greet the tree’s [or rain’s] spirit with respect. It may well be that you are old friends, but in this place, and time, formality is probably in order. Inquire after its health, and that of its relatives, remembering that its answers refer to the devas of the planet. Make small talk on large subjects... Speak of your place, and they will respond with their own. peak of your needs, and they will tell of the gifts that indwell in their physical natures. Remember this... South Intro TD, whom some of us know, died recently. Martha and I particularly notice his absence from this particular incarnation. This circle is about beginnings. In Ifá theology, TD has gone back to Ilé Ifá, the central point of creation for the whole earth. In under a month now, TD will become Egungun, an ancestor. May our own ancestors welcome him gladly home. South and West from here lies the continent of Africa. Before we knew that we were alive, from Africa we came. From Ilé Ifá we came. One by one and family by family, we came from Ilé Ifá. Here is a story from that beginning time. Orunmilla “clothe us in your wisdom” )0()0( Light candles Reading Òrúnmilá needs a divination. The Hen who scratched the earth, intrepid ÈnìyànIfa who scratched the earth at Ile Ifa performed divination for the Diviner. Òrúnmilá saw the work go bad. “Bitterness took over the world. Restlessness took over the streets.” Ifa went to ÈnìyànIfa to fix the work gone bad The Diviner wants to build a world Hen sent Ifa to Olódùmarè Where he got the word, ask Oşun, beg Oşun. When you ignore the woman the work goes bad.
Ifa asks Oşun. Orunmilla begs Oşun Things go right Oşun makes things go right This is what the Diviner needs. This is what the world needs This is what Ifa needs. Ifa thanks Hen. Hen praises Ifa Oşun makes all things right Oşun makes all things go right we recognize that all can be made right Talk for a bit about the Ifa creation myth. Then move the group to the Western altar. West Intro Here in the West a leader was born, lived out her life and died. In 1736 she was born in England - in 1784 she died in New York State in the newly formed USA Here, in the West Mother Ann gifted us. She gifted us all with new ideas and new ideals. She gave us the gift of the Mother within the form of Christianity. It is recorded that Mother Ann bought a woman from her owner and offered her a place in the Quaker community as a place to stay while she decided what to do. She could go North, get a local job, marry, or, in a year and a day be given the option of joining the community. When the woman cried for her children, who had been sold away, Mother Ann offered the comfort of the Holy Mother. After all, how can there be a Holy Father without a Holy Mother. That just didn’t make sense. Years later, as a member of the Quaker community, this ex-slave was gifted by the Holy Spirit as she worked with the rest of the community at harvest. Change voice or person to separate the reading from the introduction. God gave me this gift Reading is actually the song “Oh I love Mother” from “Mother Wove the Morning”
North Intro In the North, where midnight creates In the North, when bitter nights In the North the world was naked in War. The moon we see here watched the wonders The Vanir Njord, values her wisdom Northern skies.
the miracle of day at night show nakedly brilliant stars made of violence, onto the world’s ending is the moon who carries Freya’s wisdom as she wove the spells of night. teaches various people what she knows. Northern traditions.
Sword pointed to the North: With this sword I recognize that the peace we have is made possible by those who have fought before for freedom
Thank you Same words are repeated to the East, South, and West, visualizing a protective barrier. Again facing North, point Sword up, then down. Place sword against altar. May my mind in this place be devoted, as is my will, to the service of Njord both a sea god and teacher of the moon wisdom. Njord! Givers of riches! Leader in commerce, pleasure, and peace!.Knowing one! Tonight we gather to honor those who, after you, are called wise and giving!" Hail Njord First reading In earliest times did Ymir live, was nor sea nor land nor salty waves, neither earth was there nor upper heaven, but a gaping nothing and green things nowhere From the south the sun, by the side of the moon, heaved his right hand over heaven’s rim, the sun knew not what seat he had, the stars knew not what stead they held, the moon knew not what might she had. Night was born of Nor Waxing and waning moon to tell the time for men the wise gods made
the tale of the creation of the world / Vanir after winning the war, hostages to prevent war taking over the world. pause for a moment and remember the warriors, both those at war, and those who wait at home, alone, to see what comes back from that war. Libation to warriors Second Reading: In Connecticut the Kuwait lives rhythms A vision of the Mother Lexington laughs, forgets. I offer my sacrifice, my sacrifice of trust my everyday sacrifices moon keeps watch caused by remembered ruins dancing moon over far places We who love, still love sacrifice of pain to the God of peace Njord my sacrifice of hope in pain I offer them
"Njord, we gather to know you again. I offer you sacrifice, not of blood, for enough of it is shed, but rather of the sacrifice of my human efforts, my struggles, and my devotion. May it aid us, Gods and humankind alike, in our fight against those who would wage war or to accept gray slavery in Middle Earth. Njord, accept the sacrifice, not as from slaves, for we have no master, but as a sign of my communion and kinship with you and the community!"
drink / libate “Life is girt around with the contributions of those who have perished to add their points of light to our sky.” Those present may also hail family and friends who have served in the military and perhaps died in wars, along with others who have done brave and noble deeds. Njord! Moon-wise Leader in peace. Knowing one. Tonight we gather to honor those who, after you, are called wise and giving" Hail Njord Take up the SWORD and beginning in the North and going clockwise, call Njord's name at the four corners, and then, facing the stalli, point SWORD up, then down, calling His name each time. Stand Sword against stalli. Above Intro books for altar They are called the people of the Book, although, in actuality, there are at least three different books involved. They are called a Revealed religion, although that revelation may not be finished, those scriptures not yet sealed. The core of these faiths is not the ritual, but the words. “In the beginning was the Word.” Transcendent God. God above. Elohim, Adoni, Jahweh, Jehovah, Allah, Lord. Many names for what they agree are one God. A monotheistic deity who acts in His followers lives. Elisha, Jesu ben Mari, Mohamed, all prophets of that one God. All three religions recognize the first revelation, the first book. The books the Christians call the Old testament, and the Jews call the Torah or the Tanaka. This Scripture is not a unity, but a series of books. The first chapter in this book in this series tells of creation. You’ve probably heard it. Reading “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. Then God made heaven. Then earth and vegetation. Then the sun the moon the stars. Then the bacteria, kangaroos, viruses and other animals. Then, after all else was done, on the sixth day, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created they them; male and female created they them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be
fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. Other revelations of the Jewish community are in the commentary, notes by rabbis through the ages, the midrash, stories on the scriptures, and in the Pirke Aboth, the sayings of the Fathers. Pause The new book, from about 100 in the Common Era. The Bible, the Gospel, the New Testament. One God, Our Father, the Lord God in His three aspects. God the Father - God Being. God the Son - God Acting, God the Holy Spirit, God Relating. Here the prophesies and revelations of the one God are thought completed. The scriptures sealed. We will not be doing a ritual for these faiths, not because the religion lacks traditions, or that I cannot do them, nor even because some people here may have been burnt by these faiths. I do not do a ritual because the core of these faiths is not in the ritual, but in the words. “In the beginning was the Word.” The only section I am going to read from this scripture is from I John, one of the letters of John to satellite churches. Reading Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. ... Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. ... if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. ... There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? How do we meet? In perfect Love and Perfect Trust. Wicca was not the first faith to believe in this. Pause In the Common Era year 610, a new prophet started speaking in the old tradition, of the old God. The one God, the God the Jews call Elohim or Adonei, the Christians called Our Lord, or God, the Father. Now the name, for the same God, in Arabic is Allah. Lord. The Qur'an is the primary text of Islam, being the recited revelation of the Prophet, Mohammad The Qur'an is divided into books or chapters, each called a surah. There is no God but Allah, and Mohammad is His prophet. These readings are from the Surah Named for the Star and Moon. Reading By the Star when it setteth, Your comrade erreth not, nor is deceived; Nor doth he speak of (his own) desire.
It is naught save an inspiration that is inspired, Which one of mighty powers hath taught him, One vigorous; and he grew clear to view When he was on the uppermost horizon. ... The hour drew nigh and the moon was rent in twain. And if they behold a portent they turn away and say: Prolonged illusion. They denied (the Truth) and followed their own lusts. Yet everything will come to a decision And surely there hath come unto them news whereof the purport should deter, Effective wisdom; but warnings avail not. Below I'm sorry I did not write down the readings from the Chthonic deities because the person doing them never gave me the information. It was good, but I can't remember. This would need to be re-created if it was ever performed again.
Within – Buddhist Intro Within. Think Zen. Think meditation. Be at peace. If necessary, remind people how to be mindful of their breath. Ring Chime. After a while ring the chime three times softly and say quietly, that the feast / potluck, whatever will be held [wherever], when all are done meditating. When people get to the food area, remind them that people are still meditate and ask that discussion be quiet until all are ready (or have it so far away that talk won't bother the rest).