By Sarah Forbes
Today is Wednesday April 28th and the moon is full tonight. The day starts out normal enough for Melanie, getting breakfast ready for her two teenage boys while she gets them ready for school and also trying to pacify 20 month old Maelie who woke up hours ago. It’s not much work for Mel to keep Mae happy when Kasey is around; he is always looking for any chance he gets to spend time with his baby sister. Kasey looses track of time playing with his sister and Melanie comes over reminding him he has ten minutes before he has to leave for school and he’s not even dressed yet! Those final ten minutes are spent with the boys running around the house rushing to get out the door in time to make the bus. Finally, its 7:00am and the boys just flew out the door on their way to school. There is peace and quiet in the house again momentarily, enough for Melanie to sit down at the table and return all her attention to Mae. Melanie now finishes up breakfast with Maelie so she can get her bathed and dressed for the busy day ahead.
For most mothers, getting their infant bathed and dressed is a simple step in their normal daily routine; however this is not so easy for Melanie and Maelie. This is because about nine months ago Maelie suffered second and third degree burns on eighty percent of her body due to an unfortunate accident at a Chinese buffet restaurant when Maelie pulled a pot of boiling tea onto herself in her car seat. After this incident, Maelie spent 22 days in intensive care at Hasbro Children’s Hospital and two more weeks in the hospital after having two skin grafts, a tummy tuck, and lots of physical and emotional healing to do. Today, Maelie still continues to heal well, however there is still plenty of extra care needed in her daily life. After bathing Mae in an oatmeal bath, Melanie has a special ointment she puts on her scars before putting her baby in a nylon compression suit to help promote proper healing of her scars.
As Melanie does this for her twenty month old daughter she thinks to herself, “I wish witches had the powers that Hollywood portrays us to have, I could just wiggle my nose and make everything right and get everything done.” Many witches do not have the super human powers and abilities that Hollywood and the media claims we do and things can’t always be perfect, but we can always pray. As Maelie gets settled playing with some toys, Melanie sits on the floor with her closes her eyes and silently prays to Artemis, the Greek Goddess and protector of women and children. Mel prays to Artemis to give her and her little princess Maelie Ruth the strength to get through this beautiful day. Right at that moment, Melanie suddenly flashed back to the events leading up to that awful day, she saw Maelie reaching for the hot tea that was placed right in front of her, she heard the blood curdling cries of her 10 month old that was now soaking in a pool of scolding tea. She saw her beautiful baby girl lying in the hospital exhausted and in pain with tubes going in and out of her and remembering the awful pain they both had to endure.
Then Melanie remembered something else, the way the members of the coven all came together for the sake of her little princess. Some came to the hospital every day bringing gifts, laying healing hands, or just giving moral support to this very special family. Others sent out long distance healing through prayer, spells and meditation. Even now, on the 28th of every month (the day of the month Maelie was born on) at 8:00pm (Mae’s lucky number 8) the coven members stop what they are doing wherever they are and pray and/or meditate for the healing of Princess Maelie. All these events just flashed in like seconds of time, and Mel opened her eyes from prayer. Mae was still sitting quietly and contently playing with her toys and Mel smiled when she saw her. She knew that whatever adversity came her way, she could overcome it, if not alone, with the love and support of her coven.
While Mae was playing, Melanie had a chance to get most of the housework done, so when it was time for Mae to take a nap Mel was able to get on the computer and check the coven’s website to see if anything had been posted. Nothing new had been posted on the site since she checked yesterday afternoon “okay” Mel thinks, “nothing new on the site, time for some surfing on Facebook and Farmville.” Farmville is a virtual world on Facebook that Mel enjoys spending her free time on. After about an hour of feeding her “Farmville” livestock and tending to its garden, Mae wakes up from her nap, a little groggy and cranky, but Mel knows how to get her out of that. In less than five minutes, mother and daughter are sitting on the floor of Mae’s room playing with the toys and identifying with the moon and stars on the ceiling and the statue of Quan Yin on Mae’s dresser. Quan Yin is the Chinese Goddess of Mercy and one of the most widely appreciated in the Buddhist tradition. She is seen as the mother figure of the Buddhist faith who is known for her unconditional love and forgiveness and like Artemis, is also a protector of women and children.
Watching the time, Mel leaves Maelie playing in her room to get some lunch going for the two of them. It’s about 12:30 now and the boys will be home from school soon. Shawn will be rushing around trying to find something to eat before going to work. Kasey usually has a story about what happened at school, has a snack (that he sometimes shares with Mae) then sits on the floor to play with his precious little sister. Mel uses this time for packing up her bag for ritual. The witches I know, Melanie and my dad included, have a sacred “magic” place in their house like a spare room or in their yard or garden called an “alter room”. So when they have to go to a ritual that is at a location other than their own home they need to pack their tools and supplies from their alter room to take with them. It’s now 4:00pm and the members of the coven are expected to be at the hall at 6:00pm to get ready for tonight’s Full Moon Ritual. Shawn is already at work and Kasey is doing his homework now so Mel can give him a ride to his friend’s house on the way to ritual. Mel’s bag is now packed and she gets a bag of toys ready for Mae to bring to ritual, gets her in her car seat and Mel, Mae, and Kasey are in the minivan all ready to go out for the night.
This month’s full moon is the Wind Moon at it has been decided that the ritual will be led by Dee. Dee was initiated into the coven almost two years ago and is considered a Priestess. She wrote and posted the meditation, ritual, and spells to the coven website earlier in the week. She had asked at the April monthly meeting for each person who will be attending ritual to bring three packets of different seeds of their choice. “Hmm” Mel thinks, “I love my garden, I have a feeling this will be a fun ritual.” Dee also wrote that the coven members would be sharing the seeds, taking them home and planting them, so that we each have our own coven garden. “Aww” Mel said aloud, she was excited and can be sentimental at times, although she would never admit it.
When my dad, my sister Brooke and I arrive at the hall where the ritual would be held, everyone, including Mel and her little princess, was already there. My dad, who is known by the members of the coven as Brother Dug, set down the ritual bag that he had packed and made his way around the room greeting all the other members with a hug and kiss. My dad was especially happy to see that Lady Di (Mel’s mother) had brought Mady to ritual tonight. Mady is our oldest Elder and lives in a nursing home and is not able to drive so someone usually has to drive to her nursing home to pick her up. Usually my dad, Brother Dug, gives Mady a ride but he couldn’t tonight and was very glad to see that the coven stepped up and gave her a ride.
Once the greetings are done, the coven members start buzzing around the room to get things situated and ready for ritual to begin. Tables and chairs are being moved, lights are adjusted, and tea kettle is on the stove heating up some water for the tea leave reading in tonight’s ritual. Once everything is in place, the coven members all get their stuff from their bags and start setting up an alter, of sorts, on the table space in front of them on a long folding table seating about eight to ten people. This alter space is where that member will sit or stand for the duration of the ritual. Brooke and I don’t have much to set up and neither does Anthony (Dee’s son) so we help by keeping Maelie occupied while the rest finish setting up.
Lady Di gets her home made tea blend she has prepared for ritual and scoops a teaspoon of loose tea into everyone’s teacup, and then adds the water that was heating up on the stove when we first arrived. Tonight there are not enough Inner Circle coven members to fill all the parts of the ritual so Brooke agreed to represent the North, I represented the Goddess, Anthony represented the God, while Melanie took on the role of the East. You can really feel the positive energy flowing now as everyone sits down with their hot tea in front of them and the calming smell of burning sage filling the room just waiting for ritual to begin.
Mel, being the East and representing the element of Air, has lit a sage smudge stick and makes her way around the table smudging each and every person that will take part in the ritual. Smudging with sage removes all the negative energy within the person and the space around them to make for peace of mind and a peaceful ritual. As Mel moves to each member, they greet her with their arms out to each side and their feet spread slightly so that their body resembles a pentagram. The pentagram is a five pointed start with one of the points pointed upward; the five points represent the five elements of Air, Fire, Water, Earth, and Spirit. Mel starts at the feet, and moving up the body in a spiraling motion, she waves the sage smoke over their body removing all negative energy and aligning the chakras. When Mel has smudged the person back to front, she then stands in front of them and closes the smudging by saying “Blessed be.” The member repeats this blessing back to her and takes their seat at the table.
Once each member has been smudged and blessed and is sitting at the table, ritual can now begin. Lady Di starts off tonight’s ritual with a guided meditation and breathing exercise as we all create an energy ball within our hands. We when bring that energy to our crown chakra located at the top of the head, then we slowly distribute that energy down our bodies; to our third eye, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, throat, heart, hands, nature, body, and finally our feet. I can feel the tingling of energy running through my body as I bring the energy to each part of my body. This is one of my favorite parts about coming to ritual, this feeling of being full of positive energy, clarity of mind and peaceful thoughts and the meditation that clears the mind to be able to reflect upon oneself.
Now that the ritual has begun, it is time for Brother Dug to draw the Runes for the ritual as he is the coven’s Rune Master and the runes drawn will determine the direction of the ritual. He stands, with his velvet rune bag in hand, gives it a gentle shake to mix up the runes and starts moving around the table deosil (clockwise) and stops to draw a rune out of his bag for each of the four quarters (East, South, West and North). As he stops at the East quarter, he draws the rune Ehwaz. Ehwaz is the rune of movement and progress, transitions, physical shifts, new attitudes or new life. Brother Dug announces to the coven the name of the rune he has drawn and interprets it as it relates to the ritual. He announces that this rune insures us that the seeds we will be planting will thrive with new life and grow strong. Moving to the South, he again draws a rune from his bag, this time its Gebo, this is the rune of gifts, partnerships and relationships. He tells the others that the seeds are truly a gift and we will develop a relationship with them as we nurture and protect them while they grow. In the West he draws Teiwaz, the victory rune. Enough said, “we will be victorious in growing our little gardens.” Brother Dug continues to the North where he draws the rune named Mannaz. My dad seems to be confused as he draws this rune because Mannaz represents the “self.” After thinking about it for a moment, he then realizes that the “self” relates to the seeds, not him, for a correct relationship to the “self” is very important. It tells us that when we understand the self, a willingness to change is effective now and from this change, we will learn to flow correct relationships with others, as well as with The Divine. These seeds are blessed by The Devine and when mature and fully grown will represent The Divine “itself.” Back again at his spot at the table as High Priest, he draws one last rune for Spirit. This time he draws the rune Perth, the rune of secrets revealed. He announces to the others, “The secrets revealed here are the secrets of which seeds we will receive, and how they can teach us something about ourselves and the coven.
Melanie picks up her broom she has brought with her and prepares to sweep the boundaries of the sacred circle, within which the ritual is held. A witches broom is not used for flying, as the media depicts it, nor is it used for cleaning. The bristles of the broom do not touch the floor, it doesn’t clean, it simply clears the negative energy from the circle. As she makes her way around the circle with Maelie helping her following with her little broom, all the members of the coven recite, “With her broom in hand Mel draws the boundaries of the circle, from East, to South, to West, to North. Here we mark our sacred place, safe beyond all time and space.” After her first of three passes around the circle, the coven members representing the quarters follow behind Mel with the elements of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. We all continue to recite, “With Air and Fire beyond all time, we charge with energy divine, and from the heart and mind remove all fault, we purify with Water and Salt, where you are cast, no unknown spell or purpose last.” While this is being done, the representatives of the quarters are fanning sage smoke, carrying a lit candle, sprinkling Holy Water and Salt around the perimeter of the circle. When this is finished and everyone is back at their spot at the table, we all raise our arms high to the powers above and say, “Let our powers meet as one for the good of all and harm to none. Let this day be full of loving, giving, healing, and dreaming and let our good dreams come true along the way. We are gathered here this day to do magick.”
Lady Di then picks up her Athame, a double bladed knife used only to create or direct energy, never to cut. Standing outside the circle with her back toward the other members, and her Athame pointed away from the circle, she moves deosil around the circle chanting, “I conjure and create thee O Circle of Power that shall be a boundary between the world of man and the Realm of The Mighty Ones, a sphere of protection that shall preserve and contain all powers raised within. I now bless and consecrate the O Circle of Power, to be a place of peace, love, power, and trust.” When she has finished and has returned to her spot as Elder High Priestess, everyone holds high their own Athame, Wand, or Crystal Rod and say, “This is a time that is not a time, in a place that is not a place. We stand between the boundaries of time, where night and day, joy and sorrow, birth and death meet as one. This circle is cast and this ritual has begun.” I feel very surreal now as we are in this sacred circle and all I feel is high spirits, peace, and love for my coven family as I stand within this spiritually cleansed sacred space. The outside world is now far behind us as we all enter our sacred ritual.
Now it is time to open the quarters. Mel starts in the East; raising her crystal point high in the air (Mel doesn’t like using an Athame) and calling the keeper of the watchtower to join us, as well as the elementals of the East, the Faeries and Sylphs. When she is finished, we all respond, “Hail and welcome.” This is followed by the South calling upon the Crones, Sages, and Salamanders (elementals of fire), the West asking the elementals of Water, the undines to join us, and finally the North and the Gnomes and Diggers of the Earth.
After the Quarters have been opened, the coven then calls upon the God and Goddess chosen for the specific ritual. For tonight’s ritual we will be honoring the Green Man and the Goddess Flora. We will now call upon the Goddess Flora first and since I am representing the Goddess in tonight’s ritual I call upon her, “Flora, Goddess of fruit and seed, come join our circle. And bless these plants with what they need to grow healthy strong and tall so we can enjoy them one and all. Flora, Hail and Welcome!” To my words the rest of the coven responds with, “Hail and Welcome!” As each coven member says these words they raise their Athame to the sky then bring it to their lips to kiss it, touch it to their heart, and back up over their heads. This is done again for when Dee’s son Anthony calls upon the Green Man who is the honored God for tonight’s ritual. “Green Man, please join us in our sacred space and watch over our seeds wherever they are placed. Whether flower, herb, or fruit; nourish them from leave to root. Green Man, Hail and Welcome.” The Coven again responds with “Hail and Welcome!” as we kiss our Athame, place it over our heart and then back into the sky.
The Quarters are opened, the God and Goddess have been called upon for tonight’s ritual and now it is time to pass the offering tray. Our offering tray is quite different from that which is passed in Christian Masses in that we do not collect money from our members. Instead, everyone in attendance is expected to bring a piece of fruit that they will add to the bowl. When all have added their fruits, my sister Brooke stands over the bowl and says:
“Homage to you Our Lord and Lady who has given sovereignty in this Holy Temple. May the divine company make way for you. Receive on your table of offering what is given by the ones who honor you, that you may be mighty in your transformation in the Holy Place. Behold, we have offerings that you may live thereby and we may live thereby. Avert any anger that is in your heart against us. We offer pure things giving.”
Mady, representing the West then sprinkles the tray with Holy Water saying, “Everything good and pure upon which The Divine lives. Receive at this hour of your appearing these goods from the domain of the Lord and Lady. And as you receive life, may you give life, and as you make manifestations in your Holy Temple, may all women and men and Beings of Earth give Honor to your Names.”
My father and Melanie as the High Priest and High Priestess start their way around the circle to bless the elements. They first go to the Eastern Quarter, they stop, since Mel represents the East as well as High Priestess, she holds out the cast iron cauldron with the sage smudge stick burning. My dad then holds his Athame about two inches above the cauldron. Waving his Athame through the smoke in a circular clockwise motion he says, “O Great Father, bless this creature of Air to your service, may we always listen to the spirit winds that carry the voices of the ancient ones.” Now, continuing on to the South, Dee holds up a burning red candle and Brother Dug (my dad) passes his Athame through the flame in the same manner he did with the smoke. This time he says, “O Great Father, bless this creature of fire to your service. May we always remember the sacred flame that dances in the soul of all creations.” Mel and Brother Dug then raise their hands high in the air forming a “Y” with their bodies and say “O Great Father, we give you honor” and bow toward the center of the circle representing Spirit. They then continue to the West where Mady awaits anxiously with her bowl of water in her hands. This time Mel holds out a medium sized Crystal Point (in place of an Athame) and dips the tip of the point into Mady’s water saying, “O Great Mother, bless this creature of water to your service, may your love flow to and through us like the rivers to the oceans.” In the North waits my younger sister Brooke holding a small bowl filled with Sea Salt. As Mel and our dad approach, my dad is real serious but Melanie does a quick little skip on the way to the North, stopping in front of Brooke with a silly playful grin. Mel loves our family and loves acting like a kid, although during a ritual this can sometimes irritate Lady Di (Mel’s mother). Pulling herself together, Melanie takes her crystal and places it into the salt Brooke is holding saying, “O Great Mother, bless this creature of Earth to your service, may we always be aware that you are the roots of our very creation.” My dad and Mel take a slight step back and again while facing the center, they raise their hands and say, “O Great Mother, we give you our honor.” The two of them then bow and once again take their starting places within the circle and again raise their arms and this time say, “O Great Creator, we give you our honor.”
Mel and Brother Dug then bow in honor to the Creator and now it is time for Mady’s Blessing. Mady always writes a very nice blessing for the Goddess of each ritual. Mady is 78 years old and more mentally and physically fit than most 50-60 year olds even though six years ago she broke her back. She is very highly respected amongst all coven members and brings a great amount of positive energy to every ritual she attends. This is the part of the ritual that she wrote for Flora, the Goddess honored in tonight’s ritual:
“Flora, Roman Goddess of Flower or the flowering plants we worship you as the Goddess of seeds and fruit, your function is to make grain, vegetables, and trees bloom so the harvest will be good. Lady of Gardening we ask for your blessing so drought, neither flood will affect the land. So Mote It Be.”
After Mady has finished her blessing, the “Great Rite” is performed. Originally, in the “old” religion, The Great Rite was the joining of the High Priest and High Priestess in a sexual manner to symbolize the joining of the God and Goddess, or Lord and Lady. However, in our Coven as in most modern day Covens, the act is performed by Brother Dug and Melanie using the chalice to represent the female aspect and the Athame to represent the male. As everyone stands, in unison we recite, “As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul.” As this is being said, we all motion with our arms the phrase being said; for example, “above” arms outstretched, “below” arms toward the earth, “within” arms crossed over our chest, “without” arms from our chest straight out to the sides, and “universe” a sphere-like shape with our arms over our heads. Everyone then picks up their Athame and Chalice and holding them out in front of us we say: “Athame to Chalice, spirit to flesh, as the Goddess and God are conjoined within, they bring blessedness to life.” While we say this we place the tip of our Athame into the Chalice and Mel also lifts her Chalice high and says. “As the Chalice is to the Goddess” and my dad holds his Athame high saying, “so the Athame to the God” and places his blade into her Chalice. Together Mel and my dad announce loudly but gently, “May you never thirst” and the rest of the Coven responds, “May we never thirst.” The flat side of the Athame’s blade is then held under the Chalice as if the Chalice were sitting on the Athame as we still hold both in our hands and keep the Athame in place as we all drink from our cups.
My sister Brooke now brings the basket of bread over to Lady Di and holds it in front of her. Lady Di circles her wand over the breads deosil saying “bless these breads unto our bodies, bestowing upon us the gifts of health, wealth, and eternal blessing which is love! May you never hunger” To which the coven responds, “may we never hunger!” Brooke walks clockwise around the circle offering each member to take a piece of bread and repeats to them, “may you never hunger” to which Brooke will respond, “blessed be.” When this is completed Brooke then takes her seat back at the table as well as everyone else and we all quietly sit down and enjoy our bread while we sip on our herbal tea. This bread is not a wafer as in many mainstream religions, but actual bread that is brought by and sometimes made by the host. Tonight Dee brought some homemade sweet bread which is one of my personal favorites and it tasted so sweet and perfect! As we sit eating our bread, we sort of take a little recess from the ritual to talk quietly amongst ourselves and catch up with one another. Maelie is running around being the little wound up 20month old that she is, trying to get one or any of us to play with her. Lady Di quickly sees that we are all starting to drift a little from the ritual and gives Brother Dug a little nod to let him know that it is time for his toast. My dad stands, his Chalice in hand, and we all follow by doing the same. He raises his cup high in the air and states: “Now let us all lift our cups in honor of Flora and the Green Man, we are all grateful for the blessings you bestow on the plants and woods. Flora and Green Man, We Honor You! Haazaah!” I’m not entirely sure what Haazaah means but I find it to be a really fun word to use and understand it to be our Coven’s equivalent of “Cheers” or “Salute.” We all then respond with, “Haazaah” and then drink from our Chalice at the closing of the toast.
As part of her ritual tonight, Dee will now lead us in a guided meditation. The meditation is personally one of my favorite parts of any ritual because it calms me and gets me to free and clear my mind of all stress and negativity. Dee has written her own guided meditation for tonight’s ritual and it was carried out as follows:
“You stand overlooking your freshly tilled garden; you breathe in deeply the clean new scent of Mother Earth. You feel the warmth of the sun shining on you. There is a peace within you knowing soon that this garden will be full of beautiful flowers, healthy vegetables, and helpful herbs. You kneel down and begin to place the seeds in the ground feeling the fresh soil in your hands knowing that you are filling the Goddess with life. Before you know it, your work is done and you have planted rows of new vegetation. You take the hose and start watering your work when a gentle breeze comes along and hits the spray of water and it hits your face making you smile. After you sit at the edge of the garden and reflect on the seeds that will soon be coming to life and making their way towards the sun. You rejoice as you see the green coming through the ground knowing soon that you will enjoy the bounty of your labors. You slowly rise up and walk away knowing you have helped the Goddess bring beauty and bounty to all.”
Now we all open our eyes when the guided meditation is complete and calmly head over to another table where we each put our three packets of seeds that we had all brought. Melanie puts them all face down and mixes them up on the small round table before us. We each go around one by one picking just one packet at a time, this was funny to me because even Maelie is taking part in the seeds activity by reaching out on to the table from my arms to pick the seeds she wants as well. After we have gone one by one around the rotation of the table a few times until all the seeds were gone, we each planted them in these mini starter containers with the soil and water that Dee had brought with her. I was sitting on the floor helping little Mae with planting her own seeds because she had tried to grab Brooke’s and spilled one of her plants over. “Oops!” Mae said allowed, and everyone laughed along, even Brooke. Now we all sit back down at the ritual table and bask in the lovely spell to the Goddess Flora that follows Dee’s meditation and the planting of the seeds, “Blessed Goddess Flora, we call upon you to nurture our seeds we sow, let the spring rains make them grow, may it be vegetation, fruit, or flower, may they be full of the Goddess’s power. As I will it, so mote it be.” After this brief spell the coven responds with repeating the last line, “So mote it be.”
Throughout the entirety of tonight’s ritual, each member has been sipping on Lady Di’s homemade loose tea leaf hot tea. As I reach the last sip of my tea I swirl the tea leaves and herbs around with the small amount of water left in my teacup. I start to see some images in the bottom of my cup, as do some of the other members of the coven. Directions on how to read your tea leaves are as follows:
1. Drink tea; leave a minute amount of liquid/tea in bottom.
2. Hold cup in left hand slowly swirl around 3 times clockwise.
3. Place cup upside down on saucer, hold for 7 seconds.
4. Placed right side up, handle facing the reader.
5. The larger images are the more important issues in the drinker’s life.
6. Objects on the left of the handle represent the past.
7. Objects on the right of the handle represent the future.
8. Images near the rim of the teacup represents the present or near future.
9. Top of the cup is seen as lucky.
10. Bottom is seen as the past.
11. Bottom is seen as unlucky.
When I looked down at my images of my left over tea leaves, I saw a few very different images to the right of my handle on the side of the cup leading up to the rim to represent my future. Some of these images included a bird, a duck, a galloping horse, and an autumn leaf. When doing a tea leave reading, seeing different images means different things. To see a bird means good news, a duck can mean that money is coming, a galloping horse means good news as well, and to see the image of a leaf can mean good fortune. So it was obvious to me from my tea leaf reading that good news, money, and good fortune are all in store for me in my near future. This was great news to me as I had just recently started a new job and got myself a better car. Things were looking up and this ritual was definitely bringing my spirits up and making me feel so happy and secure with my future.
After the tea leaf reading is completed and myself and Melanie along with the rest of the Coven have finished reading their empty tea cups and have finished socializing about their readings it is now about time to close the circle and end the ritual. First, Anthony and I will thank and dismiss the God and Goddess for joining us in tonight’s ritual. I begin with dismissing our Goddess Flora, “Flora, thank you for joining our circle tonight and bestowing your blessings upon our seeds, keeping them healthy with sun, water and free from weeds. The time has come to say farewell, we know you won’t be far from where our plants dwell. Flora, Hail and Farewell!” The Coven responds with same verbal response and motions that come after the openings for the God and Goddess also follow the closings with “Hail and Farewell!” Anthony Follows with the closing of the Green Mann, “Green Man, thank you for being here with us tonight and blessing our plants to grow in your sight. They will grow healthy and strong with the love from you on which they have drawn. Return now to your home in the woods. These plants will flourish as we know that they would. Green Man, Hail and Farewell!” “Hail and Farewell!” is echoed throughout the room and the God and Goddess have now left our sacred circle tonight.
Next, we will dismiss the quarters starting with Brooke as she raises her wand in the air ready to release the keeper of the watchtower as well as the gnomes and diggers of the Earth. The dismissing of the quarters starts with the North and are spoken almost the same as they are when we call upon them. The exception being that at the end of the closing we thank them for joining us and then we all say, “Hail and Farwell!” as we dismiss them from our sacred circle. Once the North has been dismissed we then continue with releasing the West and the keeper of the Undines, dismissing the keeper and the Salamanders of the South and the keeper, Faeries, and Sylphs. The God and Goddess have been released from the circle, the quarters have been closed, and now it is just a room, a long table, and a Wiccan Coven who have just finished a monthly full moon ritual.
There are only a few things left to do, Lady Di as Elder High Priestess, will now bring the ritual to an end by closing our sacred circle. As she walks around the rest of the coven all standing around the table, she holds her Athame pointing it toward the outside of the circle as she loudly recites:
“ Bide the Wiccan Law ye must In perfect love and perfect trust Eight words the Wiccan Rede Fulfill An it harm none, do as ye will Lest in thy self defense it be Ever mind the law of three Follow this with mind and heart And merry meet and merry part And merry meet again This circle is open but never broken.”
Following this closing of the circle the rest of the Coven begins to chant, “From Merry Meet and Merry Part and Merry Meet again, This circle is now open, But never ever broken! So Mote it Be! Blessed Be!” Now that the circle is closed and essentially the ritual is now over, my dad stands raising his Chalice for one final toast. For this particular toast we all head outside behind the church with our Chalice’s in hand all raised high to the night’s full moon. Maelie loves going outside to see the moon; I think that ‘moon’ might even be one of the next words she says! She loves when her mother Mel takes her outside at night to see the moon, as soon as she is outside she points her finger straight to the sky and smiles. Once we are all outside and standing side by side again, my dad begins his toast by saying, “Now let us all raise our cups to the Coven of the Midnight Spirits. We are brothers and sisters, family and friends, teachers and students, counselors and healers. We share in joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, good times and bad. We love each other, our fellow man, and our beautiful Mother Earth. Coven of the Midnight Spirits, friends and honored guests…we offer this toast in Honor and Love.” He ends his toast with a powerful, “Haazaah!” that is echoed by the Coven’s loud energetic response of, “Haazaah!” As we all celebrate the end of our ritual, the toast with Brother Dug and then toss what is left in our cups out into the woods and give our thanks to the God and Goddess. The coven has now all been dismissed from the now open circle and we all return to the church basement quickly as it is very cold outside tonight!
As we all head back inside now shivering from the chilly spring air outside, each coven member starts to do their part in helping to clean their supplies off the table. We all start to clean up the room, my dad starts by sweeping the floor where Mae had accidently spilled Brooke’s soil earlier. Others do their part by setting up snacks and refreshments on the table where ritual was just held. There is juice and soda and some chips and some peach mango salsa dip that my dad loves and picked up especially for the occasion. There are other chips and cookies and things to snack on while we all sit around the table chatting and laughing as we catch up with our friends. My dad is sitting with his god daughter Maelie on his lap now while he is chatting with her mother Mel. We are all sitting around and having a good time while also periodically getting up to continue cleaning up the ritual room. When the room is all cleaned up and the conversation has died down, its getting to be late and Melanie wants to get Maelie home and to bed now because it is almost 10:30pm. Melanie heads home first packing up her ritual bags, searching the room gathering all of Mae’s toys, and Lady Di and my dad help Mel to get Maelie settled in the minivan and ready to head home. This was a long eventful day for mother and daughter as Melanie and her little Princess Maelie head home for the night. Maelie is sound asleep in her car seat in the backseat of the minivan and Melanie is left with a quiet and peaceful drive home. As Melanie pulls into her driveway back home and starts to unpack, she goes to the backseat and with a “proud momma” smile, picks up her sleeping baby and carries her to her bedroom upstairs and lays her down, still fast asleep. “It has been a long but rewarding day.” Mel thinks to herself as she walks out of Maelie’s bedroom and she is exhausted from a late night at ritual. She looks back on the night’s ritual and smiles as she walks down the hall to her bedroom, thinking of Maelie laughing and pointing at the moon with a huge grin on her face. This makes Melanie smile a little as she reaches over her husband to turn off the light and then turns over to fall asleep after a long day with her little princess.