This is the ritual that Ocean and the Clan conducted in September of 2001, shortly after the events of September 11th, as our special healing for ourselves, for the victims of these horrendous attacks, and for the world itself…
Carrying a long, white taper in a silver spiral candlestick, Michelle steps forward to the altar, turns to face the Clan, and places the unlit candle at her feet. With a silent gesture, she beckons to the Clan, who step up to the Vigil Altar and claim their own candles for use in this special Candlelight Vigil ceremony. In the distance, to the west of the circle, in the land of the setting sun, can be seen bagpipers, dressed in their kilts, their instruments resting against their shoulders, as they prepare to play their own musical tributes to those whose lives we remember tonight.
Ede steps forward and places a special memorial item of reflection in the middle of the circle. Facing the clan, in sign and voice she explains to all:
I bring a fireman’s hat- it was my uncle’s hat and has special meaning for me, as well as being a good symbol of those lost in the line of duty.
Once the circle has been re-established, both speaking and signing, Michelle addresses the Clan:
Tonight, we have gathered here for both sorrow and joy, for death and life, to grieve and to rejoice. This was meant to be a time of celebration, but now, even in the face of tragedy, the need to celebrate is even greater than before. We have seen the response of good people since this crisis began, of people who have given wholeheartedly to bringing sanity back to the world. Prayers, money, blood, clothes, and most of all, hope and compassion have been given freely. Now, as a Clan, we will give in our own way tonight. With the blessings of the Lord, the Lady, and the Spirit that resides within us all, we will give the gift of magic to the world.
Pointing to the candle at her feet, Michelle continues:
Our gift cannot be touched, cannot be felt by mortal hands, but it can be sensed, by the heart and by the soul. Tonight, together, we will use the power of the five elements to send healing into the world…
The candles are the earth, that which will be consumed to send our thoughts of healing.
The flames are the fire, purifying and bright, bearing our thoughts and prayers to the Goddess and God.
The breath of our voices, the wind through our hands, they are the air, carrying on the four winds our prayers and magic to those in need.
Our tears are the water, cooling and soothing balm for our pain and the pain of others.
And our thoughts, our prayers, they are the spirit, infusing something of ourselves into our work, that the world might feel it.
Michelle picks up her candle and lights it from the Sacred Flame, holding it up to the darkening sky, then steps forward towards the Clan as one by one, people light their candle from hers, then from each other’s. Some of the candles are as described:
Wolf Wind ~ a blue globe which shines from within, decorated with stars, moons, and a sun.
MoonPearl~ a 3 x 5 evergreen pine pillar on a round clear crystal holder
Ocean ~ a large blue pillar candle, embedded with seashells, resting on a white antique china plate
SpiritWolf~ a spiral taper of deep violet and gold
Cailleach ~ a white taper candle
Denise ~ a small narrow handmade taper the color of heavy cream, made from the wax of bees.
ShadowRaven ~ a beeswax candle, with green and blue ribbons tied to the bottom; the ribbons hanging down from it.
Rylah ~ a molded, heavy taper beeswax candle, with flowers and bees painted all over it and red, white and blue ribbon tied to the bottom with the ends hanging down.
Luna ~ a purple pillar candle, which when burning, the wax runs down the sides in a lighter shade of lavender.
Ede~ a candle of a square shape – made at home in a milk carton, it is mostly white, with spots of other colors in it. It is placed on a metal plate.
Terra Nova ~ a yellow and blue candle carved with symbols of the sky.
When all of the candles are lit, as one, the Clan forms a circle, the candlelight shining on faces marked by tears. The Clan then turns to face outward, takes one step forward, places the candles in a circle on the ground, then step back and turns to face each other again. In the background the bagpipers play a soft, mournful melody. Even the Deaf members of the Clan respond to the tune, for these are sounds not heard with the ears, but rather, felt with the heart.
All join hands, bow heads, and pray, magic flowing through them, down into the earth, up into the sky, and most of all, through one another. Some members of the Clan prefer to pray silently, while others offer up their prayers in sign and/or voice:
We have seen great tragedy in the past weeks. This is a time when day and night are equal, a time of balance. Let us look back upon the losses and all we have endured and see not endings but the eternal beginnings in the cycle of life. Let us look forward to what can be gained, to peace and understanding among all people. It is my prayer that all of us and all those outside of our clan be blessed with all of the balance of the Path on this day and the difficult days to come.
Wolf Wind ~
In darkness one finds hope. As Arthur will return, so we shall rise from the darkness and light our way again.
(places a special memorial offering on the Vigil Altar)
My memorial offering is a tapestry woven with hand dyed, hand spun yarns… it is a depiction of a plume helmeted Athena. She stands with a shield decorated with a Shuttle and Spindle, and an unsheathed sword. She has an Owl sitting on her shoulder, and she is flanked on the Left with Baast and on the Right with Anubis…. on the upper Right is a bowl filled with fire, and on the upper Left, is a dove. This tapestry shall hang as a reminder not only of the tragedies we experienced this month, but also of the strength and wisdom that allows us to endure and carry on.
“May the Divine give all of us the strength to endure
To heal and to move forward
in Love and in Balance.
May we heal in our hearts, minds and souls.
Thank You for giving us the promise of bounty as
a promise of Your constant Presence and Support.”
(places a homemade Sweet Grass braid on the altar)
The Native American Shamans used Sweet Grass to cleanse their spirits and the energies around them, I offer this braid as a symbol of my desire to see all spirits cleansed of sorrow, pain, grieving, anger, vengeance and ask the Divine Ones to recharge us all with the energies of healing, comfort, peace, harmony, and understanding.
Spirits of Earth and Humanity,
I want to describe to you what I’ve seen
yet no words can do
I’m sure you have heard our cries as
you live through us as as we through you
After my reaction of shock and horror,
Hearing no replies to my question “WHY”
I became filled with white hot rage
at those responsible for those actions
I wanted to destroy
Then a cold realization came over me,
I was thinking like them
I have become one of them
A sense of remorse entered me
for I saw the cycle of violence
How can I walk away from this?
Everyone has their own beliefs
Some are with such strong, unwavering
convictions and beliefs
Some Mormons believe it’s okay
to marry their very young niece
Some Southerners believe
segregation or slavery should still exist
Some Christians believe
discrimination based on
gender, race, religion,
sexual orientation, ethnic
Some believe it’s okay to kill
Having beliefs are one thing, but
acting out on your beliefs is another thing.
For this is my creed —
You are judged not by what you believe,
You are judged by how you treat others.
People, you and I, are entitled to our beliefs.
It is okay to hate.
Hate is a natural emotion.
It shows we are human
It is part of who we are
But we should not act out on those feelings
We cannot afford to have this emotion consume us
For It brings out the worst in us
and in humanity
For some, this hate becomes irrational
and destroys, for what reasons they chose
A popular cheerleader killed by a plain ordinary classmate
Couple of teenage boys on a rampage in a school library
A woman stabbed several times by her ex-husband
Thousands of Innocent Lives taken away by the
Flying Swords of Death
Grappling with reasoning for this horrific action
trying to understand and yet
not wanting to put myself in their place
How can I walk away from this?
I am comforted by the thought
what goes around comes around
once was the sword of death becomes
the Sword of Justice
(I unsheathe my sword)
It is my hope that the bearers of the Sword
do not lose sight of the humanity it beholds
and use it Wisely
(I put away my sword and place it on the Vigil Altar)
Maybe Justice won’t come from Mortal Beings,
Where in the rolling fields of the great plains and
the lush green forest,
the cries of humanity fall silently
Then by the Heavens and the Underworld
the Stars and the Moon
the Sun and the beautiful blue planet we call home
Amid the madness and chaos, so fleeting
Justice Will Prevail
And We will say again, if anyone asks us
“How are you doing?”
The reply will be
“I am doing just fine.”
For I know the
Spirit of Humanity
is strong in us all
Once all prayers have been offered, the circle falls silent once again. In the distance can be heard and felt a new sound… that of a lone bugler, as he slowly plays a final salute to those who gave their lives in the tragedies of September 11, 2001:
please feel free to leave a comment with your own candle and/or prayers