invocations

Facing the moon alone…

February 2016 030When all is said and done I think every Witch should, at some time, face the moon alone, feet planted on the ground, with only his or her voice chanting in the starry night.

–Laurie Cabot, Power of the Witch

I will never forget the first time I heard someone recite the Charge of the Goddess from memory. Bare-breasted, she strode around the fire in sacred circle at a large goddess festival in Kansas, delivering the words with power, grace, and confident resonance. I thought: I will do that someday.

In February of this year, we took a family trip to Dauphin Island. While there, the afternoon of the full moon, I February 2016 148decided that the time had come. I was going to memorize the Charge of the Goddess. First, I thought I would only memorize it a piece at a time. It seemed “too big” to do in a single sitting. I had it printed out on a piece of paper that rapidly became damp with the salty sea air. I drew a labyrinth in the sand with my toes, set one of my goddess sculptures at its entrance, and drew a Womanrunes card.

One stanza at a time, slowly I began to repeat the poem* aloud:

hear ye, the words of the star goddess
the dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven..
.

Over and over, I said the words, letting them twine around my tongue and in the air, experimenting with cadence and rhythm. After I could reliably repeat one section, I’d move to the next, letting it build in my memory until I could put the two together confidently and then moving to the next.

I am the beauty of the green earth
the white moon amongst the stars..

I stared into the waves, listening to them rise and fall along with my words. My three older children dug in the sand. My husband fished. My toddler toddled around and then came to sit on my lap and nursed to sleep for nap time:February 2016 073

before my face
beloved of all…

I whispered into his damp hair. I felt in an altered state of consciousness. The words began to wind their way through me, becoming a part of me, embedded in me. I danced with them as I have never danced with another piece of writing. I felt them merging with me. I sang them aloud. I stated them fast and slow and I built, adding the next line and then the next…

for behold, all acts of love and pleasure
all my rituals.

I turned over hard thealogical questions as the words spun their magic through the air. What does it really mean that “all your learning and seeking shall avail you not, lest your know the mystery.” Do I really feel the goddess within? Do I find her within myself or is she only outside and if she is only outside, does she really exist at all? Tears came to my eyes: do I even like myself?

Two hours passed. My baby awoke and returned to digging in the sand. My husband packed up his fishing gear. The sky began to darken and spit rain. I stood and danced the words into the sand with my feet.

let your divine innermost self
be enfolded
in the rapture
of the infinite

I felt rapturous. I felt triumphant. I had done it. Faster and faster my feet stamped the sand as I called the words into the waves. I spun in circles with my toddler chanting and laughing and offering my devotion before the sea, beneath the moon.

the mystery of the waters
the desire in human hearts…

February 2016 179*I used Shekhinah Mountainwater’s adaptation of the Charge, originally by Doreen Valiente, as included in the book Ariadne’s Thread.

Categories: blessings, ceremony, chants, Goddess, invocations, liturgy, moon wisdom, nature, poems, practices, prayers, priestess, resources, ritual, sacred pause, spirituality, womanspirit, woodspriestess | 2 Comments

Day 10: Maiden of Spring (#30daysofspring)

Arise! March 2016 029
Let us greet this morning with smiling faces
Hair unbound
Hearts full of glee
Birdsong in one hand
Roses in the other
Let us dance to River’s music
And Earth’s heartbeat
Under quickening leaves
We are full with the promise of spring.


When I saw the prompt and painting for today, I instantly had this poem pop into mind!

Categories: #30daysofspring, blessings, invocations, poems, priestess, sacred pause, theapoetics | Leave a comment

Day 9: Hecate of the Three Ways (#30DaysofHecate)

She who shows her incisors
She who midwifes death
She who illuminates the crossroads.

She who gathers and releases
She who creates and destroys.
She who covers and reveals.

She is the darkness and the light within it.
She is the crossroads and the path.
She is the guardian and the wayshower

before her and behind her is the knowing unknown.

I was inspired to create a new little Hecate-themed blessing bundle through my participation in ‪#‎30daysofhecate‬ as well as that persistent sensation of drawing inward as we move into the waning part of the year.

Categories: #30daysofHecate, blessings, endarkenment, Goddess, invocations, moon wisdom, night, poems, readings, ritual, sacred pause, seasons, spirituality | Leave a comment

Invocation to the forces of nature

East, power of air, we welcome you. First breath of the morning. Sweet breath of the baby. Deep breath of the soul. Welcome to our circle. January 2014 103Sweet breeze. Brave wind. Swirling. Stirring. Sweeping away and through. Breathing with us. Welcome air, welcome east.

South, power of fire, we welcome you. Fire of the sun. Fire of the heart. Fire of the spirit. Fire of connection and love. Welcome to our circle. Heat of transformation. Forging strength. Crucible of change. Burning in our hearts. Welcome fire, welcome south.

West, power of water, we welcome you. Sweet life’s ocean. Waves of change. Crests of power. Flowing. Growing. Changing. Healing. Welcome to our circle. Rivers. Oceans. Streams and lakes. Cool, comfort, soothing space. Blood flowing within us. Welcome water, welcome west.

North, power of earth, we welcome you. Solidness of body. Strength of bone. Height of mountains. Reach of trees. Heartbeat of Gaia. Welcome to our circle. Strengthening us. Holding our bodies. Stability. Rooted around and within us. We are people of the earth. Welcome, earth, welcome north.

I’m in the final phases of creating the Ritual Recipe Kit that we are going to be giving away with the official launch of Brigid’s Grove on February 1st (sign up for our newsletter and you’ll get the kit too!). As I’ve contacted authors to ask for permission to use several different pieces in the book, I had the sudden realization that almost everything I was asking permission to use was an invocation. The kit contains rituals for maiden, mother, and crone as well as some bonus rituals. For each ritual, I’d used an invocation written by someone else. My husband said, “instead of trying to get permission to use these, why don’t you just write one?” I thought about all the things I’ve written over the past year and while some are invocations of sorts (like my body prayer and this body blessing), I’ve never actually written a “traditional” invocation. I also thought about all the rituals I’ve done and all the coursework I’ve completed and realized I’ve never used an invocation of my own during any ritual or class. Ever. My first thought was, “no. I can’t do it, we’ll just wait to hear back about the permission.” Then…I thought…maybe I can do it?! Yesterday was a beautiful day and so I took my big old drum and headed to the woods. And, surprise! I had an invocation in me after all.  At first, it ended up being a little song again—weird because of my notable non-skills in singing—and I sang it out and then came back in to type it up like I do all of my poems. After looking at it for a while, I re-formed it out of the poetry and into the format you now see above. It isn’t perfect, but hey, it is my first time! 🙂

Categories: invocations, liturgy, prayers, priestess, readings, spirituality, theapoetics, woodspriestess, writing | 1 Comment

Moonpriestess

Moonmaiden  Sept 2013 023
Moonmother
Moonpriestess

She tilts her face to the sky
she opens her arms wide
she draws it down
clean
healing
holy moonlight
enlivening her being
lightening her footsteps
and guiding her path

Moon guide
moon guardian
shining one
sacred spirit
we call upon you
for healing
for wisdom
for inspiration
for guidance

You connect us
in sacred rhythm
to the heartbeat
of the planet
the pull
of the tides
the pulse
of our blood.

We hope
we laugh
we sing
we pray
we dance
by your light
in your rhythm
we drum
in your sacred power

Keeper of ancient wisdom
witness to unfathomable eons
may we be forever
inspired by our connection to you
enlivened by your wisdom
and guided by your truth

Moonpriestess
Moonmama
Moon maiden

Thank you
blessed be.

This was the second of two poems/prayers that I wrote before leaving for the Gaea Goddess Gathering. During the festival the moon was full and beautiful and as it crested over the trees at the top of the ridge where the main rituals and drum circles were held, it literally felt like it was energizing the circle. We also noticed a cool morning effect during which the full moon and sunrise could be witnessed at the same time.

Sept 2013 054And, the following morning I took a misty morning, sunrise stroll around the lake with my sister-in-law. During last year’s GGG, I was too focused on recovering from my hornet sting to really connect to the land. This year, I didn’t expect to connect with the land, since I’m already so connected to my own land, but I connected anyway. The lake is beautiful in the morning sunrise and so was Venus Sanctuary (a little meadow near the lake).

Sept 2013 097

Categories: blessings, GGG, Goddess, invocations, liturgy, moontime, nature, poems, prayers, priestess, spirituality, theapoetics | 1 Comment

Group Blessing for Full Moon

20130722-213416.jpgTonight is the night of the full moon
The night of Selene–wise and knowing
Tonight we connect with her power and it is ours
Tonight we vibrate with the pulse of the moon
Knowing, sensing, and feeling our connections
We flow in many dimensions.
Our eyes are opened and we see with clarity in our visions
Our ears are opened and we hear the voices of our souls
Our mouths are opened and we are filled with love
Our wombs are opened and we are in touch with the source of our creativity
Our feet are opened and we walk on our own true path
Our hands are opened and our power is manifest.

–Diane Mariechild (MotherWit, page 30)


Taking a photo of the gorgeous full moon last night, yet again demonstrated to me the truth in this Facebook meme…

20130723-105639.jpg

Categories: invocations, liturgy, moontime, prayers, quotes, ritual | 2 Comments

Woodspriestess: Shakti Woman

Shakti woman sil11
coiled within
fiery voice
running snakelike up my spine
bursting free
in the language and poetry
of leaves and stones

Poems gather within me
coiled at the base of my spine
stirred in the cauldron of my belly
cradled by the bones of my hips
waiting until such time
as they spiral upwards
through my chest and throat
and past my waiting lips
speaking words
in patterns I’ve never heard before
and yet that waited inside me to be born.

Shakti woman July 2013 007
unfurling
speaking through my mouth
caressing the planet with her breath
divine union
oracle
open heart
open throat
sweet
rich
biting
burning
energy of creation

Shakti woman
I honor you
I carry you
looped loosely
like a belt around my hips
shining from my eyes
tasting your words on my tongue
and in my heart.

For several days after I wrote my Outraged Ancestral Mother poem and prayer other specific “character” poems kept coming to my mind. Prophet Woman was the first, but she was followed by several others, like Shakti Woman. For some reason, I felt like I needed some distance before they felt “safe” enough to publish.

July 2013 012

Categories: Goddess, invocations, liturgy, poems, prayers, readings, spirituality, theapoetics, womanspirit, woodspriestess | 4 Comments

Carpriestess: Prophet Woman

She’s been waiting July 2013 011
curled up
knees to chest
head to arms
sleeping
thinking
biding her time
but her eyes have flickered open
she’s stretching her arms
unfolding her legs
wriggling into her purpose
until it fits like a glove

She’s opened up her heart
and her throat
and her voice comes pouring forth
like a swirling river
her ear is tuned
to the hopesong of the forest
her heart is tuned
to the rhythm of the earth
she feels the Goddess sing through her
alive in her blood
and she steps forth…

She rattles cages
she stirs the pot
she shakes things up
she asks hard questions July 2013 034
she refuses to accept no
and you can’t.

She digs deeper
she twists harder
she wonders more
she speaks her truth.

Soon cages bend and open
veils fall away
fires of curiosity are lit
in hopeful breasts
and wisdom no longer belongs to secret places.

The world is reborn
knowing love as the ground of being
and the source of all creation.
and refusing to kill anything
but illusion and despair.

Prophet Woman
she’s a warrior
speaking now
her voice is quiet
in this moment
but I hear
the distant thunder
and I feel
the breath of change
against my neck.

7/3/2013

On the way home a couple of days ago, I was listening to Matthew Fox and Karen Tate speak on the Voices of the Sacred Feminine talk show (see: Mary Magdalene & Matthew Fox on the Vatican, Pope & CIA 05/22 by Karen Tate | Blog Talk Radio). At the end of the show, Fox said that a spiritual presence that needs to be “brought back” and that is of vital importance is the “prophet warrior.” This archetype is that of a loving spiritual activist. Immediately after hearing this, some lines about “prophet woman” came floating into my mind. I was thinking about all the people who are “re-birthing goddess” on the earth or who are raising awareness of the “sacred feminine” or “divine feminine” or God-She or just about women—their bodies, minds, and spirits. I thought about my favorite Facebook presences: The Girl God, Journey of Young Women, The Gypsy Priestess, and Goddess Spiral Health Coaching, as well as many authors and publications that I so enjoy and I realized these are the prophet women speaking. I spoke aloud into my little recorder and when I got home, I typed up my poem and sent it to The Girl God: Prophet Woman.

She speaks! 🙂

Categories: invocations, poems, prayers, readings, spirituality, theapoetics, womanspirit, women | 4 Comments

Collaborative Orisha Poem

Orisha altar. A little cluttered! (there are three different areas, one for each orisha)

Orisha altar. A little cluttered! (there are three different areas, one for each orisha)

Spirit of change
destiny sweeping
good vibrations
respect
and thunder.

Float freely
release
and encourage.

Momentum building
crescendo

Water wisdom.

At our last session of Rise Up, we were talking about the Yoruban Orishas, specifically Yemaya, Oshun, and Oya. After dancing together to honor the orishas, we looked into a bowl of water and each spoke aloud what had come to us following the dance. I wrote down what we said and the result was just what was supposed to happen: we’d created a collaborative poem about the orishas. I thought it was a neat experience 🙂 We did a double session of Rise Up this last time and I think it was too much to try to do at once since we kind of lost our steam. Next week, I had planned to do our next Rise Up class followed by our summer retreat, but now I think we should do only the retreat and keep Rise Up on a different day. It took a lot out of me to try to do two classes back to back and I could tell the rest of the group wasn’t really “feeling it” either. I have a tendency to always want to multitask and to double-up to be efficient, but sometimes there is a price to be paid for efficiency and in this case it was a lack of “steam” or connection during our time together. The dancing was fun and invigorating, but I felt like during other portions of the class people started to get bored or otherwise unfocused. I also left out some details about what to bring for our collaborative project and so that was confusing for people too and I kept losing my place in terms of what to do next, because the two classes blended together in my head and I couldn’t remember what went with what. I’d also had a bad morning with my kids (described on my other blog) and that dramatically impacted my ability to be present with our circle. In general, I felt like I basically failed with this particular session, though I try to remember that success or failure of a group endeavor does not rest with only one person, there is a collective responsibility to the usness of a group and a group is a living system with a personality and life of its own. At least our group poem worked pretty well! 🙂

Categories: blessings, community, friends, invocations, poems, priestess, spirituality, womanspirit, women's circle | Leave a comment

Woodspriestess: Outraged Ancestral Mother Prayer

Outraged Ancestral Mother Goddessgarb 002
fill my veins
with your singing

Sweep me up.
Stir my passion
until I might be worthy
of your chorus
of enraged beauty.

Embed your
call for action
in my feet
that I may never again
walk in thoughtlessness
or inattention
each step
becoming
a beat of your drum.

I will howl with you
in the hurricane’s roar
and the tornado’s fury

I will crack my lightning
and split my life open
gaze at the red pomegranate seeds within
and I will eat
Knowing that some part of me
will belong in the underworld
forever.

Lash the remainder of my heart
to hope
bind my heartstrings
around destiny
and open my throat
that I might bellow
on the winds
of change
and inspiration…

Categories: Goddess, invocations, nature, poems, prayers, spirituality, theapoetics, womanspirit, woodspriestess | 9 Comments

Woodspriestess: Pelvic Cradle

One hand on pelvic cradle April 2013 001
one hand on solid stone
I complete the energetic circle
that brought me into being

of this earth
on this earth
from this earth

my body woven with the mysteries
of time and space
my life connected
to those around me
human and nonhuman

closed eyes blessed by sunshine
body held in stone embrace
mind stilled
shoulders relaxed
heartbeat in my veins
matched to the pulse of Life itself

She is weaver
and web
I am weaver
and web
and this great, grand, unimaginable
tapestry of being
is holy and eternal
magnificent and microscopic

hand on pelvic cradle
hand on solid stone

energy flow
of cellular connection
unbreakable
in its potency
everchanging

hand on pelvic cradle
hand on solid stone

I draw in the breath of life
draw in my awareness of connection
to the intricate web of incarnation

Goddess is my name for
that which holds the whole
that which weaves the all
that which knows the story of the ages

hand on pelvic cradle
hand on solid stone

I feel the fire in my heart
the red thread in my veins and womb
connects me to women of all times and places
the breath of life in my lungs
the kiss of Earth along my spine…

(3/31/13)

I’m out-of-town right now and away from my sacred space in the woods. Luckily, I’m still surrounded by trees and beautiful countryside. It is hard sometimes when traveling to maintain my sense of connection/grounding/”real life” and so when I came across this poem from last month, I knew it was the perfect time to post it. I needed the reminder of my own connection and groundedness!

Last night the full moon was gorgeous! I felt like gathering some women and having a ritual and I sure wanted some drums! We’re staying at a conventionally religious center though and while there are some kindred spirits in residence there are also those who would look very askance at rituals in the moonlight. So, I went out alone with my little altar items from home and sat under the moon for a while, admiring it, saying more goodbyes to my grandma, and trying to soak in some peace from what had been a pretty stressful and exhausting day.

April 2013 010

Sculpture made with a rock from “my” own woods

April 2013 006

April 2013 011

I like this picture that is hanging in the church where I go for wireless internet access once a day while I’m here. I would make it say “Nature IS Creation” though! 😉

Categories: blessings, invocations, liturgy, nature, poems, prayers, readings, theapoetics, womanspirit | 2 Comments

Body Blessing to and from the Mother

20130116-165127.jpg

Feet planted solidly on Mother Earth
Drawing up
Solid
Gaia energy
Rich life
Pulsing planet
Power of being

Shoulders back
Chest open
I breathe in the Breath of Life
Wind
Air
Oxygen
Swirling
Flowing
Breathing me

Spreading my arms
Hands open
I feel the pulse of my heart
Blood flowing
Life giving
Throughout my body
The blood of my womb
Matching the tides of the ocean
And the pull of the moon
Linked in watery wonder

Breathing deep
and clearing my mind
I feel the spark of life within
Fiery
Molten
Passion blooming
Vibrantly alive
And dancing
Twisting through my spirit
With energetic ecstasy

Breathe in
Breathe out
Draw it up
Draw it in

Resting now,
In the hand of Mother Goddess
Breathing with her
Standing with her
Resting with her
Knowing her
Deeply

Blessed be.

I composed the above as my first post as a regular contributor to the Pagan Families blog on Patheos!

Alternate:

This month I was also planning our winter women’s retreat and I decided to modify the blessing somewhat to use as our opening invocation. This was the first time I’d used something that I written entirely on my own and it felt vulnerable—I had to ask, “how was that? Was that okay? Did that work?” 😉

The purpose of the invocation is to ground us in our bodies, while also connecting us to the larger swirl of energies that surround us—as I composed it, I envisioned sort of a circle, in which we are embedded and moving within. I feel as if this invocation itself creates a circle and brings the immanent and transcendent together into shared space, as it both invokes the elements and awakens your body.

In this version, the words included in parentheses are optional replacements or additions, according to your specific group’s needs.

January 2013 051

Little herbal goddess doll we made during the retreat also.

Feet planted solidly on Mother Earth
Drawing up
Solid
Gaia energy
Rich life
Pulsing planet
Power of being

Shoulders back
Chest open
Breathe in the Breath of Life
Wind
Air
Oxygen
Swirling
Flowing
Breathing you

Spreading your arms
Hands open
Feel the pulse of your heart
Blood flowing
Life giving
Throughout your body
The blood of your womb (veins)
Matching the tides of the ocean
And the pull of the moon
Linked in watery wonder

Breathing deep
and clearing your mind
Feel the spark of life within
Fiery
Molten
Passion blooming
Vibrantly alive
And dancing
Twisting through your spirit
With energetic ecstasy

Breathe in
Breathe out
Draw it up
Draw it in

Resting now,
on the Earth
And in this circle (of women)
(In the hand of the Goddess)

Breathing with her
Standing with her
Knowing her
Deeply

Blessed be.

Categories: blessings, friends, invocations, poems, prayers, priestess, readings, ritual, spirituality, theapoetics, womanspirit, women, women's circle, writing | 1 Comment

New Moon Ritual

This is part of an assignment for a class in Ritual and Liturgy at OSC.

Sept 2012 3 050The altar is laid outdoors in sight of the new moon. It contains one candle for each direction as well as a central candle. Symbols are present for each direction as well: a stone and a glass globe for Earth, a feather for air, a bowl and a shell for water, a chalice for fire. Also on the altar is a Goddess of Willendorf and a handmade “Moontime” Goddess sculpture. The altar cloth is a deep green. There is also a candle for each participant.

Participants circle up and place hands on each other’s backs and do a group hum of, “Om” and then toning with a bell.

Using the bell, each person names themselves and is called into the ritual circle (name repeated three times and then bell chimes)

The invocation chosen acknowledges the power of the various phases of the moon as the candles are lit in the appropriate directions (modified by a sun invocation by Luisah Teish in Jump Up):

East: In the East we call upon the power of the New Moon, the bright sliver of renewal. Here we ask for new beginnings and we commit to renewing ourselves.

South: In the South, we call upon the power of the Full Moon, the steady, energetic light that illuminates the world. Here we ask for strength to be with us, and we commit to using our strength for the good of the community.

West: In the West, we call upon the power of the Waning Moon, the deep light that calms the mind at the end of the day. Here we ask for a sense of satisfaction, and we pledge to take care of ourselves.

North: In the North we call upon the power of the Dark Moon and Night Sky, the time of incubation that permits us to rest. Here we ask for the vision of dreams, and we agree to meet our inner wisdom in that place.
Each participant takes a turn lighting their personal candle and sharing something they’re thankful for from the past cycle and then naming something they’d like to bring into this energy of new beginnings.

We will start a CD of flute music (Womanspirit) and engage in a dancing gratefulness prayer described in SageWoman magazine (number 64, page 10).

After the dance, we will join hands again and say a closing prayer to open up the circle:

Open up the circle of healing and trust.

To the South, innocence and joy,

To the East, new beginnings,

To the North, cool winds of reason,

To the West, nighttime for dreaming,

Up above, the source of light, the Sky,

Beneath our feet, the womb of life, Mother Earth,

Open up the circle of healing and trust.

Then, we’ll have time for a family drum circle!

September 2012 3 055

Categories: family, friends, invocations, liturgy, readings, resources, ritual, spirituality, womanspirit, women's circle | 1 Comment

Sun-Oriented Naturalist Invocation

Across the field at sunset in July.

Across the field at sunset in July.

East: In the East we call upon the power of the Rising Sun, the yellow light of morning. Here we ask for new beginnings and we commit to renewing ourselves.

South: In the South, we call upon the power of the Sun at High Noon, the bright, orange light that warms the day. Here we ask for strength to be with us, and we commit to using our strength for the good of the community.

West: In the West, we call upon the power of the Setting Sun, the deep red light that calms the mind at the end of the day. Here we ask for a sense of satisfaction, and we pledge to take care of ourselves.

North: In the North we call upon the power of the Moon in the Night Sky, the silvery Moon who permits us to rest. Here we ask for the vision of dreams, and we agree to meet our ancestors in that place.

–Luisah Teish in Jump Up

I am particularly attracted to invocations that use naturalist-based language and that appeal to a wide variety of personal beliefs, while still striking the chord of the sacred within us all. I’m preparing two moon rituals for an assignment and I think I’m going to rework the above into a Moon-oriented invocation…

Another idea from Teish’s book, unrelated to the above, is for an egg wish giveaway for a spring ritual. Children (or others) stir up wildflower seeds while sharing their blessings and wishes for people for the year. Encourage them to create a song, chant, or poem while they bless the seeds. They then fill up plastic eggs with seeds and give these to relatives and friends as a “blessing from future generations.” Nice idea for an equinox ritual!

Categories: family, holidays, invocations, liturgy, nature, ritual | 2 Comments

Circle Closing

Open up the circle of healing and trust.
To the South, innocence and joy,
To the East, new beginnings,
To the North, cool winds of reason,
To the West, nighttime for dreaming,
Up above, the source of light, the Sky,
Beneath our feet, the womb of life, Mother Earth,
Open up the circle of healing and trust.

(modified version of a closing found here)

A good source for ritual chants is this site.

I’m in the process of planning a New Year’s Eve ritual right now and working hard to find readings and songs that will work well with a multi-age, mixed gender group (my first ritual of the sort–I’m nervous!)

December 2012 108

Categories: invocations, nature, readings, ritual, spirituality | 2 Comments

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