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We Can Reimagine

Co-written by Jamie Robyn and Melissa Hope. Being presented at Vancouver Pagan Pride Day 2016 on September 10th, 2016. Inspired in part by “We Are the Dreamers of the Day: Capitalism and the Failure of Imagination“.

Tools and Materials: String and Sharpies, copies of the script to give out, quarter representations, altar and cloth, singing bowl or bell, painted tree on canvas, bowl of leaf stickers and bowl for sticker backs, four bowls of grapes, four pitchers of water, offering bowl and goblet, compostable cups and paper bag.

Setup: A string marks the boundary of the circle with Sharpies clipped to it. In the West quarter, a stack of copies of the script. A central altar with a bell or singing bowl, quarter and spirit representations, a painted tree on canvas, a bowl of leaf stickers. Under the altar: Four bowls of grapes, four pitchers of water, an offering bowl and offering goblet, a stack of biodegradable cups, a paper bag to collect the cups, and an empty bowl for the sticker backs. Each quarter person has their leaf with their predetermined message in their pocket or otherwise on them.

 

Territory Acknowledgment:

Centre: We would like to begin by acknowledging that the land on which we circle is the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwu7́ mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səli̓ ́lwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

 

Ritual Information:

North: Silver Spiral is an eclectic group of Pagans who have been practicing together for many years. Our ritual structure is based on Wiccan principles, but definitely rises from and honors the varied beliefs of our members. As a collective we work in a non-hierarchical framework, rotating roles and responsibilities to ensure that we are able to celebrate the turning of the wheel in a way that makes sense for everyone. The ritual structure you will experience at VPPD is representative of our tradition.

East: We have a few notes on what you can expect during ritual. There is a very low emphasis on deities in this ritual. There will be no public speaking required. When moving about in the circle, we do not require that you follow any specific direction – move in the way that makes you the most comfortable. We will be chanting during ritual. You are welcome to chant, hum, clap, dance, drum – whatever feels good. The chanting will likely go on for a very long time (longer than may feel normal or comfortable for some people). When you hear 3 rings of a bell, that indicates that the chant will continue through one more round and then come to an end. Does anyone want a copy of the ritual script to follow along with?

South: If at any time you need to leave the circle, please feel free to do so. You can walk away at any time, and if you need to leave but would like to return to the circle we welcome you to do so. You do not need to ask permission or follow any specific procedure to leave or return. If you choose to stay but want to opt out of an activity, simply move back and place your hand on the opposite shoulder.

West: Our food and drink blessings will be water and grapes. We will be using sharpies to write at one point during the ritual, but if you are sensitive to the scent you are welcome to abstain or ask for assistance.

Centre: You are welcome to bring a chair and sit during ritual. If you have limited mobility, we will assist you in gathering any materials you may need. Just stay where you are and raise your hand at those parts to indicate you would like delivery. This is not a kid-oriented ritual, but children are welcome. If you need to explain things or answer questions during ritual, please feel free to do so.

 

Preparation:

Everyone stands outside the string circle.

The quarter people each start half a circle from their own quarter and simultaneously make a quarter circuit clockwise, saying together (probably three times, depending on the size of the circle):

With purpose and intent, I cleanse this space.

Then they each greet each person in the quarter circle from one quarter before their own on the way to their own quarter, welcoming them to step over the drawn circle with the greeting:

Welcome to our sacred space.

To which the person entering responds: Blessed be.

Everyone holds hands and closes their eyes while the West leads the breathing meditation:

Breathe… [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Breathe… [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Breathe… [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Feel the ground beneath you. [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Feel the air around you. [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Come home to your body. [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Prepare to enter sacred space. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

 

Building Sacred Space:

The Centre caller picks up the bell or singing bowl. All the quarter people walk to the centre.

The North quarter caller picks up the element’s representation from the altar and carries it around the circle clockwise while saying:

We cast this circle in honour of Earth.

All repeat:

We cast this circle in honour of Earth to create and open sacred space.

The Centre rings the bell. When the quarter person gets back to their quarter, they stay there with the element representation.

Repeat with each quarter caller of the other elements in clockwise order, ending with Centre/Spirit. After the last circuit, the Centre caller says:

The space is set. The circle is cast. Blessed Be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the North and the direction quarter caller says:

To the North, I send this call: Earth, bless us with your gift of knowledge as we reimagine for today and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the East and the direction quarter caller says:

To the East, I send this call: Air, bless us with your gift of curiosity as we reimagine for today and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the South and the direction quarter caller says:

To the South, I send this call: Fire, bless us with your gift of creativity as we reimagine for today and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the West and the direction quarter caller says:

To the West, I send this call: Water, bless us with your gift of imagination as we reimagine for today and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the Centre and the direction quarter caller says:

To the Centre, I send this call: Spirit, bless us with your gift of openness as we reimagine for today and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All quarter people place their elements on the ground on the string circle.

 

Invocations:

South invokes a deity:

Divinity of reflective creation, deities of our tribes, we invite you to our rite. Blessed Be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

North invokes another deity:

Spirit of contemplative action, deities of our tribes, we invite you to our rite. Blessed Be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

 

Centre of Ritual:

Centre: You know what we are not.

North: We are not the ancient Celts or Greeks.

East: We are not the ancient shamans or witches.

South: We are not living in the times of ancient pagans.

West: We are not the same as ancient pagans.

Centre: You know what we did.

North: We studied.

East: We reclaimed.

South: We created.

West: We imagined.

Centre: You know what we are.

North: We are students of history and mythology.

East: We are explorers of language and concepts.

South: We are creators of new sacred stories.

West: We are ones who can imagine a better future.

Centre: Repeat after us.

North (softly): We know there are problems.

All: We know there are problems.

East (slightly louder): The world needs reimagining.

All: The world needs reimagining.

South (even louder): We can do that reimagining.

All: We can do that reimagining.

West (almost yelling): We can imagine a better world.

All: We can imagine a better world.

Centre (yelling): We are powerful!

All: We are powerful!

Centre: Our collective experiences equip us to imagine new, different ways of being in the world. Let us use our voices to affirm this power.

“Root Down” chant (recording here; Creative Commons License):

Root down, root down

Feel the earth move and be moved

Root down, root down

Feel the air move and be moved

Root down, root down

Feel the fire move and be moved

Root down, root down

Feel the water move and be moved

Moved to imagine, moved to ignite,

Moved to create and moved to incite.

Root down (x3)

We slow the chant then Centre gongs the bell 3 times to indicate one more round and then stopping.

Centre: What needs to be reimagined?

North: What if instead of capitalist competition, our roots were cooperation – what would our world be like? Perhaps more people would barter. [Posts leaf on tree.]

East: What if instead of inequality, our roots were equality – what would our world be like? Perhaps more women would hold positions of political power. [Posts leaf on tree.]

South: What if instead of environmental destruction, our roots were connection – what would our world be like? Perhaps more people would invest in sustainable energy sources. [Posts leaf on tree.]

West: What if instead of oppression, our roots were empowerment – what would our world be like? Perhaps more people would work to listen and respond compassionately to one another across our differences. [Posts leaf on tree.]

North: What if instead of individualism, our roots were community – what would our world be like? Perhaps more people would actively support those attempting to bring people together. [Posts leaf on tree.]

Centre: Let us chant again to energize ourselves to imagine a world that is more cooperative, more just, more sustainable, more loving, more connected. We invite you to reflect as you spiral into the centre to gather a leaf, then return to the outer circle to write your ideas. When you are ready and feel energized, place your leaves on our tree as we chant.

Restart the “Root Down” chant, slowly.

North leads the spiral dance in to pick up a leaf from the altar and back out to re-form a circle. East stays out of the dance and watches for people not spiralling in and with hands up; East joins the end of the spiral and takes the whole bowl of leaves back out to deliver the leaves to those people.

Let the chant slowly gain momentum as people write on their leaves using the Sharpies around the outside of the circle and place them on the tree.

Centre gongs bell 3 times to signal last round of chant once the leaves have been placed and energy feels good.

 

Food and Drink:

Centre: We will now ground through a food and drink blessing.

Centre puts the bowls of grapes on the altar and South blesses them:

By the Divine, this offering is blessed, and we share this food in the spirit of community. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

South puts a few grapes in the offering bowl and says:

To the deities of our tribes. Blessed be. (All repeat: Blessed be.)

Then one bowl of the grapes is passed clockwise around the quarter people, with each saying to the next: May you never hunger, and each responding with: Blessed be.

The quarter people each take one bowl out to their quarter and start it being passed clockwise with each participant saying to the next: May you never hunger, and each responding with: Blessed be.

While the food is being passed, the Centre person puts the pitchers of water and the compostable cups on the altar and the North blesses them with the athame:

As the athame is to the lover, so the chalice is to the loved, and joined they are one in truth. Blessed be. (All repeat: Blessed be.)

North pours a portion from one of the pitchers into the offer goblet and says:

To the deities of our tribes. Blessed be. (All repeat: Blessed be.)

Each quarter person takes one of the compostable cups and one of the pitchers is passed clockwise around the quarter people, with each saying to the next: Thou art divine, and each responding with: Blessed be. Once all the cups have been filled, North toasts: May you never thirst. All respond with Blessed be and drink.

The quarter people each take a pitcher and a stack of the compostable cups out to their quarter. They hand out a compostable cup to each person, keeping pace with the pitchers being passed from person to person clockwise, while each participant fills their neighbour’s cup while saying Thou art divine. The recipient responds: Blessed be.

Once all the cups have been filled and the pitchers are returned to the altar, North toasts again: May you never thirst. All respond with Blessed be and drink.

 

Devocations:

Everything will be devoked in reverse order.

North thanks the second deity invoked:

Spirit of contemplative action, deities of our tribes, thank you for your blessings. Go in peace. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

South thanks the first deity invoked:

Divinity of reflective creation, deities of our tribes, thank you for your blessings. Go in peace. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

 

Closing Sacred Space:

All turn to face Centre and the direction quarter caller says:

To the Centre: Spirit, thank you for your gifts. Go in peace. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

Repeat for West/Water, South/Fire, East/Air, and North/Earth.

The Centre picks up the bell again.

The quarters pick up their element representations and simultaneously walk the circle counter-clockwise to take down the circle. At each quarter point, starting with their own, they pause and salute outwards and the bell is rung. When they get back to their own spot, they salute inwards once for the centre, the bell is rung one more time, and then the Centre says:

The circle is open, but never broken. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again!

 

Creative Commons License
Root Down by Jamie Robyn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

 

Creative Commons License
We Can Reimagine by Jamie Robyn and Melissa Hope is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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