This marks my 18th anniversary of becoming a dedicated Pagan. In that time, I’ve learned a lot about myself and the world around me. It’s only opened up doors to more questions and more pathways yet unexplored. In this ritual, I honor the Native spirits of the land who first helped me in my journey as a child.
Priest: Mabon is a time when animals grow restless in anticipation of the coming winter. They are seen roaming the lonely, forgotten fields, fiery-leaved forests and in the chilling swells of lakes and rivers. For a moment, you can walk between these lands as both human and animal as we are all driven by the same beating drum. Life, escaping and chasing death in an endless spiral of cause and effect. The animals do not farm the land as humans do for they have no allegiances to countries and kings. They take only what they need and so, theirs is a harvest of will and instinct to survive. This ritual takes us through the turning of the wheel for an animal guide and helps us connect to the animal medicine we are seeking on our path.
Priestess: Envision yourself standing upon one of the powerful branches of the Spirit Tree that embraces Father Sky. Raise your hands to the Sky, you are now the Spirit Tree with your roots going deep into the loam of Mother Earth. The Spirit tree is unbreakable and eternal yet its presence is felt as only a spark within our hearts and a testament to our strength is measured by how high we are willing to climb the Spirit Tree.
(Participant 1 enters the Circle dressed as Father Sky. He wears clothing of white and grey to symbolize the clouds of the coming fall season. As He enters, He places pieces of howlite on the ground towards the center of the Circle preparing the minds of the audience to accept attunement to a higher consciousness)Priest: Father Sky, I call you into my Circle from the Wintry North. Soon Your skies will twirl and dance from vibrant blue shades to blotchy grey clouds. Father Sky, soon Your dance will block out the life-giving sunlight and the trees will lose their lushness and plants will wither. The world will hold its breath at the sound of Your fearsome howls. Only the strongest of us will find the will within us to brave Your troubles upon the earth and learn the lessons of our inner strength.
(Participant 2 enters the Circle clad in a bright red dress to invoke Mother Earth. The fiery red represents the warmth and comfort of home and planet. As Mother Earth enters the Circle, She walks towards the center, dropping pieces of Carnelian along the ground to harness and direct the flow of positive creative energy inside the home.)Priestess: Mother Earth, I call you into my Circle from your domain, the golden flames of the Southern Fire. You will enter our homes in the foulest of days and bring us laughter. As an ever-present Mother, You will be watching Us as young children who play and grow within Your protective gaze. When spring comes, You will leave our homes and yet keep a string within our beating hearts. When we leave the comfort of our hearth to toil in the spring fields, we seek You.
(Participant 3 enters the Circle wearing a bright yellow dress or robe. She may be adorned with trinkets representing the bear such as claw or teeth. As She enters the Circle, making the movements of the bear as it walks through the forest, She drops pieces of Citrine towards the center of the Circle to represent the forces of Truth working on the audience.) Priestess: From the East comes the stoic Black Bear of the wood. Lumbering and swaying rhythmically in Order as She moves through the forest on the hidden deer trails. She enters our Circle as the fierce warrior of truth who stands alone in Her efforts. The Black Bear is not a social creature. Her appearance is frightening. Her fur is as black as the coal heart of the Mountain. Ragged teeth and claws in the likeness of volcanic glass and eyes that are like the icy winds that collapse the Birch trees. Black Bear woman, come and speak the truth to us!
(Participant 4 enters the Circle wearing a black robe or dress. He may be adorned with the trinkets that represent Coyote such as teeth, claw or a tail. Coyote will be dancing very wildly as He does this to represent the movements of the Coyote on the hunt. As He walks towards the center of the Circle He drops pieces of Snowflake Obsidian on the ground to represent the Chaotic unknown and the bright stars on distant horizons.) Priest: The howl to the West haunts our hearts and minds and floods our dreams with the unknown. Coyote enters the circle dancing and beating His drum. He’ll twist when you think He’ll turn and cry mightily to the heavens when His head should bow in respect. He is never motionless and is always ever-changing. The Coyote’s smile gleams with the promise of new stars on our horizon and His ever-present laughter rips us from our stagnant thoughts and thrusts us to new places. Coyote Man, sing us a song that stirs our spirits and shows us the narrow path to You!
Priest: (The Priest holds a velvet or canvas pouch out to the audience and towards the Participants who act as the Directions. The Directions each take the pouch and place a small private blessing in the pouch in the form of words and sacred herbs as it is passed clockwise around the bonfire. The pouch is then handed back to the High Priest.) We now call with many voices to the sky, the fields, the waters and the mountains for the voices of our animal guides to be heard today. We call to those teachers who would guide us towards becoming better stewards of the land and of ourselves. We call You, sacred animals of Spirit, to be with us in this Circle and to make Your presence known to us! We seek a better understanding of our place in the Tribe and in the World. As we accept the honor of Your lessons, we give an Oath of Promise to you that we will strive to better understand You and to Honor the land that You first tread.
In the pouch is the names of local animals. Horse, Weasel, Black Bear, Deer, Porcupine, Coyote, Raccoon, Owl, Morning Dove, Hummingbird, Monarch Butterfly, Orb Weaver Spider, etc. The pouch is passed around the Circle going counter-clockwise in order to have these energies dispersed to each member of the Circle evenly. Each member of the audience takes ONE piece of paper and studies the name upon the tiny parchment.
For the rest of the year, that Tribe Mate can create a spiritual name for themselves with that animal and find a way to incorporate the attributes of that animal into their place within the Tribe. The primary effort is to meditate upon this animal in times of stress or disruption in order to seek a place of balance. The audience may choose to make an oath to this animal and to the directions that have been called in the Medicine Wheel ceremony.
Priestess: We now close our ritual with this feast that we have prepared for our animals and the land. (Participants 5 and 6 or the High Priest and Priestess produce a large serving platter with the bounty of the land upon it so that animals can feast at the expense of people. It would be preferable to have locally grown vegetables if possible. People in the audience can offer their own foods as long as it isn’t anything too processed. They may also leave offerings of birdhouses, etc.) We do not tell them to leave the circle for They were here long before us. We are now left to bond with the spirits that have presented Themselves to Us.