Ritual of the Dark Quarter
at the Southeast Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute (SUUSI)
July 20, 2006
by Shining Spirits
(Gather for conversation, assigning parts, learning chants. HPS then asks group to breathe and ground. And the ritual begins:) HP: The Moon is gone from our night sky. Within the cycle of life, there comes a time when the light is dimming and energy is retracting. Here, we draw together to focus shared personal power upon the tasks at hand and to prepare ourselves for the coming return of brighter days. (HP turns on both candles. He holds his own candle up as HPS cleanses with water. After cleansing, HPS picks up her candle and says;) HPS: Be ye far from us, O ye profane, for we are about to invoke the power of the goddess and the god. Enter we now into the darkness and into their presence with clean hands and a pure heart, lest we defile the source of life. (Adapted from Dion Fortune.) 2. (HPS leads group past bowl and to Circle. As each pass the water they cleanse. HP stands by bowl with his candle. When all have gone, he cleanses, and follows. HPS leads group around Circle once, and then around again if necessary to reach their places.) (Proceed to Circle chanting:) Goddess of the night We join here this hour As we now unite Bless us with your power. (After all have formed a Circle and are in their places-) 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 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. (from Witches WebPage) HP/HPS: And now, let us begin. (HPS rings bell three times.) CASTING THE CIRCLE (Castings go outside Circle so that all are included within it.) 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. (HPS casts Circle with wand.) Chant: We cast our circle here tonight Without the moon's redeeming light. (HP takes up athame and casts Circle.) Chant: In darkness without moon or sun United we become as one. (HPS takes candle and casts Circle.) Chant: Gathered in the candle glow Our Circle is safe from every foe. HPS: The Circle is cast! The Bell is rung, The Candles are lit, The Chant is sung. Our Hearts are open, The Altar is set, The Cauldron is ready, The Group is met. We now proclaim to everyone That our Ritual has begun. (HP taps altar three times with Athame.) HP: Blessed be! All: Blessed be! QUARTER CALLS: HP: By her sweet breath which is air, And by the fire, her spirit fair, By water which fills her place of birth, And by her body, our sacred Earth. By these names, our quarters call, May the Spirits join us all. Let us call the directions, beginning at the East. East: Spirit of East we do invite to join our circle in dark of night. Your Air now brings us winds so chill. Our rushing lives become quite still. Our thoughts and words in somber quest invoke you now with all the rest. HP: South South: Spirit of South we need your light. We need your warmth on this dark night. We beg you, make the shadows go. We seek creative passion so. Be with us on this night so black With fire and heat which now we lack. HP: West 6 West: Spirit of West, of water clear Please join us as we gather here. We need your insight as we strive to find our dark side here alive. We need your feelings deep and strong To move us like a sacred song. HP: North North: Spirit of North, of sacred Earth Be with us for our soul's rebirth. Nurture us in our awesome task There in the dark, is what we ask. As darkness deep within is found, Please join us on your hallowed ground. HPS: We are between the worlds, In shadows of the waning moon, Beyond the bounds of time, Where day and night, Birth and death, Joy and sorrow, Meet as one. MAGICAL WORKING (Invoke the Dark Goddess) (HP walks the circle during this speech and faces each direction as he names it.) HP: Oh sacred lady of darkness, We sought your presence on the wild hills of the North, But in the loneliness We found you not. We sought your presence in the light of the East, But in the mists of dawn We discerned you not. We sought your presence beneath the sun of the South, But where shadows shrink We could not see your face. We sought your presence where the water sleeps in the West, But in the silence We did not hear your voice. We came in search of you. We are the last children of the Goddess, Daughters of light and darkness Sons of life and death. (HP now turns to HPS who has assumed the bowed head position. She raises her head to assume the drawing down the moon position as he speaks. HP kneels.) HP: Join with us, Dread Lady of the Shadows, Goddess of Life and Transformation, and the Giver of New Life. Open wide, I pray thee, thy arms through which all must pass. Yet it is the knowledge of thee, the knowledge of death, that makes us complete in life. Charge of the Dark Goddesss (adapted from Lynne O'Connor) HPS: I am here. I am the Dark Goddess. You sought me and found me not, For I am in the shadows. I am in the dark where you choose not to look. I have been known to many people by many names. I am Lilith, Kali, Tiamet, Hekate. I am the Black Maddona, Cerridwin, and Morgaine. I am the Dark Goddess. I am the Crone. I am with you tonight. 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. I am the glory of discovery, for I am that which is hidden, secluded and forbidden. 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. I am the Dark Goddess. The Dark Goddess will keep you safe. 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 our dark shadow. And where we had thought to slay another, We shall slay ours selves. 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. (Adapted from Joseph Campbell) HPS: On this night of the Dark Moon, we have come together to share our spirit with others in this time of darkness. May we know that Transformation into the light cannot occur without the banishing of our darkest shadows. We must face the dark that is a part of life, that we may move into the light. We must let go of our burden that we may embrace life. HP: On this night of the Dark Moon, we will focus on the darkness with which we must live. And as we focus on that darkness we will begin to see the light. With the help of the Goddess and the God we will bring light to one another. HPS: 11 Going around the Circle working magick together, we will touch each of you. In that touch will be the light to bring you out of the darkness. HP: As we address one, we ask the rest to lend your strength through your hand or finger (demonstrates) sending your energy toward the one who stands in need as we all do stand in need. HPS: I am the Dark Goddess. Let there be no separation between us. For in me you shall find yourself, the source of your being and your light. And to me you will return. The beginning and the end. (HPS & HP move around Circle, pausing with each individual.) HP: Pray, tell us your name. Participant: My name is X. HPS: We do this for you, X. Group: We do this for you, X. (HPS & HP touch wand and athame to the shoulders of the individual. They raise their other hands high to receive power. Other participants focus strength through their right hands toward the individual.) HP: Through the strength of all Comes the force of power. HPS: Our light comes to you In your darkest hour. HP: So mote it be. Group: So mote it be. (Same procedure with each around the Circle. As the HPS & HP return to the alter-) HP: We now move forth in joy and love. The moon will soon return above. Insure that the magick will come true By helping it happen in all that you do. Chant repeatedly, with joy and fervor: She changes everything she touches And everything she touches changes She changes everything she touches And everything she touches changes Touches, changes, Changes, touches. HP: And now we all kneel to touch the Earth and ground the excess energy we have raised, returning it to the Earth for her nourishment. CLEARING OF THE TEMPLE HPS: We came together in love and friendship; let us part the same way. We have shed our burden in the presence of the Dark Goddess. We have gained strength and light From those who have joined with us. May we now go forth in wisdom and transformation. Let us spread the love we have known in this Circle outward to all; Sharing it with those we meet. HP: 14 Thank you Dark Goddess for your presence here. We ask you to remain quite near. Shining Spirits return, we pray, Be with us now in night and day. HPS: On this night and in this hour We have felt your magick power. We we've joined our strength where we must. We now go forth in sacred trust. HP: Let us now dismiss the Quarters, starting with the North. North: Farewell, Spirits of the North, We give you thanks for your presence here. Stay if you will, go if you must. The light will return. May there be peace between us. HP: East East: Farewell, Spirits of the East, We give you thanks for your presence here. Stay if you will, go if you must. The light will return. May there be peace between us. HP: South South: Farewell, Spirits of the South, We give you thanks for your presence here. Stay if you will, go if you must. The light will return. May there be peace between us. HP: West West: Farewell, Spirits of the West, We give you thanks for your presence here. Stay if you will, go if you must. The light will return. May there be peace between us. HP: Lady and Lord, our thanks to you for sharing this time together. Our thanks for watching over us; guarding and guiding us in all things. Love is the Law and Love is the Bond. (HP rings bell three times.) (HP & HPS each pick up and hold high their candle lanterns and hold them through this speech.) HPS: The light of renewal surrounds you. The shadow of darkness has gone from you. The power of magick flows through you. Wherever you are, the Goddess is, And all is well. Blessed be. (HP hands wand to HPS.) HPS: I shall open the Circle, My Lord. (HPS walks widdershins with wand around the outside of the participants to open the Circle. She returns to the alter and hands the wand to the HP who puts it back on the alter.) HP: The Circle is open, My Lady. HP and HPS: The Circle is open but unbroken, May the Peace of the Goddess, And The Strength of the God, Go in your hearts. All: Merry Meet and Merry Part, And Merry Meet again. Blessed be. HP: It is a part of my tradition that we hug one another following a Circle.