Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Spell of the Spirits

I have an ongoing project to develop simple modern practical magic methods that employ the spirits, rather than working with "magical energies". It's been a while...
This charm is intended to be an easy spell for practical magic rites, usable especially by those who have developed alliance relationships with specific operative spirts among the Gods, Dead and Landwights. For newcomers it might serve as a general calling to willing spirits, but it is surely better used by those with a developed group of allies.
Arrange the materials for your spell within the form of the conjuring circle as given here. Many enjoy drawing or inscribing the form of the circle on the floor or ground, but it can simply be used as a schematic for altar-top arrangements. Also arrange a small fire, and a small black bowl of water in the center of the figure. In the three circles arrange three small offerings of incense (a single cone for each works well), ready to light. With everything ready, bless the Water and Fire, saying:
The Fire, the Well, the Sacred Tree, flow and flame and grow in me
In Land, Sea and Sky, below and on high,
Let the Water be blessed and the Fire be hallowed!

Purify all, and perform any other preliminaries, then perform this preliminary convocation, lighting the three offerings for the Kindreds for the three verses . When concluded, proceed to work your spell, or even to simply describe your desires to the attendant spirits, closing with thanks.
So gather now, my spirits bright
Or shadowy, by day or night
By Fire’s light and Water’s dark
Come to me now – hear me, hark!

Come to my work, be by me seen
Up from earth and stone and green
Out from the cloud and wind and sea
Sun, moon and stars, all come down to me.

Come you forth from the House of Clay
From the Court of Death to the world of day
Mighty Dead, forebearers all
Heart and blood, come to my call

The Shining Ones, their power divine
I drink their blessing, make it mine
Strengthen my mind, my heart, my hand
In Sea or Sky, and on the Land

You who are my allies true
Come to me now, I call to you
Gods and Dead, and spirits all
Hear me, hark; come to my call

Magic I make now, three times three
Spirits I call you, come to me.
Beneath the Sky, on Land or Sea
Hear my spell, and make it be!

Friday, November 4, 2016

A Simple Funeral.

It fell to me to manage the funeral 'service' for my younger brother on the occasion of his passing. A lifelong diabetic, he passed suddenly but not too surprisingly. As a completely 'unchurched' guy it did not seem proper to bring in a Christian minister, and the weirdo brother (that's me) got called on to manage the very simple service. I had three days to write an utterly secular yet ass-kicking piece, including the eulogy for my brother.
I must say, this was a tough writing project, even though short. After staring at the page a while, I gave myself permission to adapt an opening from another set of rites. I devised a centering/settling thing that even this audience would probably do. Unable to be completely without ritual elements (or fire) I chose the lighting of a single candle as the centerpiece. I attach the text.
The setting was a funeral home with its own chapel - very nice in that way. Guests moved easily from the viewing parlor to chapel seating, the coffin was closed and rolled in, and the little table and candle placed before it.
The performance went well, with a minimum of chokeyness on our parts. L. and I did it together in our alternating-voice fashion ( was giving the eulogy, so I wanted a second voice anyway).

The service was well-received by the mixed Christian and don't-care audience. We went to the dinner following and I did have The Conversation (eh... are you ordained? in...?) with some elderly ladies. They seemed tolerant behind their mild astonishment.
All in all, a win. We try not to be the 'groovy ministers', and to require some level of actual Paganism in our work, but for my brother, of course, I made exception.  I give the text, in case it might be useful.

A Very Simple Funeral
The front is set with a single candle on a table, in front (or on top) of the coffin if present.
1: Greeting (ending with):
•Death is a part of the cycle of existence. No form, no flesh, no name can be eternal – all arise from the nature of the world, and vanish again in their time – but some things remain. 
• Many wise people have believed that a soul, a spirit, remains alive after death, that death is just the leaving of one form for another, while our eternal essence carries on. We hope that this is so; yet, as long as human memory does not fail, we can be sure of another sort of endurance – we endure in our deeds, in the memories of those whose lives we have touched. The dead live in us, of that we can be certain, even as we look outward into the unknown adventure that may await us all.
• So, we are joined here by our memory, by our lives with **,  by our affection and by our sorrow. Let us spend a few moments preparing ….

2: Attunement:
• So let us pause for a moment to calm our hearts, after a difficult time.
Take a deep breath, and for just an hour let’s sigh away what we can of our tension and trouble.
And another deep breath.
• And, my friends, let us join hands for a moment, or touch a shoulder, or a knee.
And as we take a third deep breath together…
Let us abide for just a moment in silence, and rest in the comfort of friends and family.

3: Invocation
• And from silence, let us light a single candle.
• So that there is warmth, like the family’s fire.
• So that there is beauty, in the shining Light
• So that there is love unending, like a steady flame.
And if we may, let this light show the way for **’s  memory, to light up old corners of our lives with him, and let it be as if he might draw near us here, we who loved him.

(This is a good spot for music, or a recitation or performance, if there’s a need.)

S: So, let us share our memories of **.

3: Eulogies
(Following the Eulogies there might be a ‘prayer for the Dead’ in whatever fashion the family desires)

4: Closing
• So as we close, let us seek to go forth in peace, knowing that **’s life was well-lived and well-loved, and that he leaves behind a real legacy.
• Though we travel with our sorrow, I think we can be sure that if we could ask ** he would tell us to live our lives, love our loves, and, when we can, to have one for him.
• So, my friends let it be peace in our hearts, we are finished here.