Sunday, 23 November 2014

Samhain Ritual.

My first self written ritual.

Items on altar;

Black cloth, grandmothers shawl, recent ancestor photos, flint arrowhead to represent long passed ancestors. Crow and Goddess offering bowl to represent Cerridwen and her cauldron. Items from nature at this time of year. Sweet Chestnuts, various coloured fallen leaves. To represent  elements, Water from Chalice Well and White Spring. Sand from Norfolk, Feathers from The Caister beach and stones from Great Yarmouth beach.
Smudge space and self with sage.

I ground myself by sending roots down and bringing light to my heart and sending a cord to the Mother star and bringing the light to my heart. I push the light from my solar plexus to surround me in my space.

Calling the Wheel of Britannia.

Beginning in the North West.

I call upon you Cerridwen, Helle, Dark Mother, Sheelanagig, keeper of the cauldron, bringer of death, transformation and rebirth. One who cuts the cord at the point of death. Come with your crows, your toad, your hawk and your sow.  I invite you with love and respect to come and be with me and in my home on this night of Samhain as the veil thins between the worlds. Hail and welcome Cerridwen, Dark Mother. I breathe you in to me and bring you to the centre of my space.

Turning to the North.
I call upon you Danu, Skadi, Mother of air. Woman of bone and stone. Calleach of winter, holly woman. Come with your Buzzard, your eagle, your wrens, your sylphs. Bring your breath of wind to bring change and to clear our cluttered minds. Bring your spiritual wisdom. Come lady of ancestors. Hail and welcome Danu. I breathe you in to me and bring you to the centre of my space.

Turning to the North East.
I call upon you Briget, Bride, Bridie, Idunna, Mother the Maiden. Come with your innocence of childhood, your inspiration, your poetry, your smith craft. Bring your swan, your snake your wolf. Your cow with red ears and your fabled unicorns. Come Willow Woman. Hail and welcome Bridie. I breathe you in to me and bring you to the centre of my space.

Turning to the East.
I call upon you Artha, Mother of fire. Come Sulis. Come lady of springtime. Hazel woman. Come with your  greening, your energy,  your enthusiasm. Come with your passion, your warmth and your protection. Bring your bear, your hare, your red hen, your cat, your green woodpecker and your dragons of fire. Hail and welcome Artha. I breathe you into me and bring you into the centre of my space.

Turning to the South East.
I call upon you Rhiannon. Mother the lover. Come Damara. Come Rhiannon, on your white mare from the sea. Bring your flocks of small birds, your doves. Come with your loving nature, your joyful sensuality and sexuality and your independance. Hail and welcome Rhiannon. I breathe you into me and bring you into the centre of my space.

Turning to the South.
I call upon you Domnu. Mother of Water. Come Nehelannia. Lady of the holy springs and wells, Queen of the deep. Bring your whales, your dolphins, your seals and selkies, Come with your emotion, your compassion, your healing and your understanding. Hail and welcome Domnu. I breathe you into me and bring you into the centre of my space.

Turning to the South West.
I call on you Ker. Abundant Mother. Come Harbondia. Deer woman, first lady to plant grain. Come with your horned creatures. Your cows, goats, sheep, deer, stag and white hind. Come Mother with your Harvest, your abundance, wealth, prosperity, generosity and nurturing care. Hail and welcome Mother Ker. I breathe you into me and bring you into the centre of my space.

Turning to the West.
I call on you Banbha. Mother of earth. Come Erce. Come Gaia. Bring with you your Boar, badger, fox, elves and earth dragons. Come with your grounding, your security and bring my ideas to manifestation. Hail and welcome Banbha. I breathe you into me andbring you into the centre of my space.

Turning to the Centre.
I call upon you Brittania, great Mother of all. Lady of Avalon, Boudicca. Weaver of the web of life. Come with your Raven, black cat and faeries. Bring your magic, mystery and divine love. Hail and welcome Brittania. I breathe you into me and bring you to the centre of my space.

I call upon you ancestors recently gone and long passed. As the veil thins I ask you to join me in my ritual. Hail and welcome ancestors.

I honour you ancestors, You are the line from which I come and I thank you.

I honour you Great Dark Mother Cerridwen. As I near your cauldron I ask you to take my doubts and wait for your answer.

Sitting at Cerridwen's feet, I listen for her voice. I ask what I can do for her. I wait for her response. (See end of ritual format)

I thank Cerridwen for attending me and my request.

I eat oat cakes and drink juice to honour all who attended. I share them with the earth and with the animals.

I thank the ancestors for attending and ask them to watch over my progress. I bid them farewell and good journeying.

I give thanks and bid farewell to each of the Goddess's in turn. Asking each of them to remain in me and my home so that I may learn.

I finally, give thanks to Brittania and ask her to remain in me and my home to guide and teach me.

I tone Nolava and send left over energies to the people who need it. Friends, family and those unknown to me.

I ground any access energy and send it back to the earth where it wont be wasted.

Answers from Cerridwen:

Cerridwen was clear tonight. She told me not to doubt as I know my path, I know I am worthy and I must have faith.

She asked me to find ways to honour, help and speak to the Crones I meet and by doing so I will honour her.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Journey Begins with Cerridwen

What the Crone Means to Me

I'll get you my pretty!"

Think of the Crone and maybe that's how you might imagine her. Cruel, dark, evil! Is this true of all older women? We live in an aging society and, with luck, we will become crones too, so we need to prepare ourselves for what is to come.

As a young girl I was taught to respect older women. I would see old women as Grandmotherly figures who I would always have to call Mrs so and so. Some women, who were close friends of my family, were known as Auntie this or that, even though they had no relationship to us at all.

In TV or film older women have most often been seen as fearful hags, battle axes, forgetful silly women and, very occasionally as soft, wise, kind, Grandmotherly figures. Which of these is closest to the truth?

If a person looks at a photograph of an old woman they may not see beauty. A young man, for instance, may see a figure of fun. A young woman may think the photo is ugly. A middle aged person may see a glint in the eye and softness in the wrinkles of the old woman. So it depends on our own stage of life as to how we perceive age and aging.

How can we make these assumptions without knowing the person, their life and what has shaped them into the person they have become.

Similarly, the word Crone can be seen as a negative word...old crone, cronies! Some may see old age or Croneship as ugly. Trees in winter can look like bare bones, creaking, stiff and unpleasing but in the Spring and Summer the wore beautiful green clothes and in Autumn, their robes are spectacular. An old person or Crone is someone with years of wisdom. They have seen it all and learned lots from it. They are our living history lesson if we choose to listen. They are our future selves.

Crones are in all our lives. Both known to us, as a spiritual guide and in nature around us. Elderly friends, neighbours and elderly folk that we meet, Parents, Grandparents, Ancestors, Goddess and the period of seasonal change between Autumn and Winter.
In my life, Crones have played an enormous part. Beginning in my furthest memory, with my Great Grandma Rose. I consider myself very fortunate to have memories of her. I remember collecting wild flowers for her when we visited. She always received them as though they were priceless blooms. Her house smelled of cakes and I remember her flour covered hands. She passed away when I was around 10 years old. She was a kind and beautiful soul. She took on the role of Step Mother to my Grandmother and all her siblings and was much loved and respected.

There was an old woman who lived alone in a house near to my Fathers' parents cottage in Ireland. We were afraid of her. She seemed a strange lady who sat in her stone house and we would push the bellows for her whilst she sat near the fire. She made tinctures, herbal medicines and she was reputed to be a wart charmer. She was an archetypal Crone. Wise, mysterious, kind, outspoken. Her name was Lizzy and Dad told us he thought she was a witch. I always knew she was!

I remember being a small child at family parties when one or another elderly relative would start to tell a risque story. The Younger adults would seem shocked. The old ones would grin because they had reached a point in their lives when they could do and say what they liked because no one was in authority over them. They were the elders! I watched them fall apart when partners died but build themselves up again. Tougher and stronger because they'd learned one of lifes big mysteries.

The Crones I have known seem to have accepted that things for them had changed. I can't recall how many times I've heard an old woman say "I can't do that any more" or "Speak up, I can't hear very well" I doubt that was always the case but people do tend to take things on face value and, I guess a wrinkled face hasn't much value. We need to scratch the surface to meet the beauty in the person. We need to talk to elders but most of all, listen. It's how we will learn what to expect and therefore embrace and enjoy the Crone years when we reach them and not spend a life in fear. I learned to cook, preserve, craft and budget at the knees of my family Crones. I would be only half the person I am now without them.
So, what does the Crone mean to me?

To me a Crone is wisdom, beauty, fun, harshness, sadness, happiness, fairness, patience and impatience. The Crone is everything that has gone before and everything that is to come. She is the one I seek out if I need to know something. The Crone is at the beginning of the transition to that great transformation. I am not afraid of her. She comes to us all if we are lucky. I hope I am one of the lucky ones.

I have a full 10 years before Croneship but I'm not afraid of it now because I have learned so much from nature, family members and friends who have become Crones. The one abiding thing I have learned is that the Crone is in us all from the cradle to the grave and I believe when I meet her it will be a remembering.

I hope I can be as wise, kind and completely outspoken, funny, soft, caring and mysterious as some of the Crones I have known. It is, I think, a great responsibility to be a Crone. I believe that by the time I reach Croneship, I will have earned the right to be a little naughty and irreverent.

I certainly intend to try.