A Midsummer Ritual For Global Warming

Notes for Planning:

This ritual is the mirror of the Yule/Midwinter ritual in the series.  

The working for this ritual uses the "Full Height of Our Power" chant from the album Elemental by Kellianna, available at http://www.kellianna.com/buy.php or through iTunes. You may want to consider a central fire for this ritual, if you are in a place where that is possible.  It is not necessary, though.

The form of this ritual is based on the work of the Temple of Witchcraft, but feel free to change the details to align with your own tradition, if you feel so moved.

This version of the ritual is written for three officiants, but it is fairly flexible and can be easily adapted to 1, 2, or 4.

You will notice that we are calling fire in the east and air in the south.  Many groups call air in the east and fire in the south.  The directions in this ritual are in the alchemical/underworld pattern, which places opposing elements opposite each other.  This arrangement makes for more confrontational, and therefore potentially more powerfully transformational energy.  Since this ritual is designed to confront a long history of imbalance and a huge threat to our environment, this energy seemed appropriate.  If you are using this ritual, I invite you to try this arrangement, even if it is not your usual practice.

 Introductory Remarks

Officiant(s) give any directions they feel are necessary to help attendees participate fully in the ritual, and answer any questions.

Entering a Meditative State

It is helpful for everyone in the room to enter a light trance together before the ritual begins.  There are lots of ways to do this.  Here is the version we use in the Temple of Witchcraft.

Officiant: Please rise as you are able.  Close your eyes.  Take a few deep breaths and relax your body.  Relax your head and neck, your shoulders and arms, your back, abdomen, legs and feet.

Take a deep breath and relax your mind.  Release all thoughts and worries from the day.  Take a deep breath and relax your heart.  Feel the love of the Goddess and the God.  Feel perfect love and perfect trust.  Take a deep breath and relax into your soul.  Find your inner light, which you can follow for guidance and protection.

Now picture a giant screen before you, like a blackboard or movie screen.  This is the screen of your mind.  On this screen, visualize a series of numbers counting down from 12 to 1.  As you count down, you will enter a meditative state.

12.  See the number 12.  12.  11. See the number 11. 11.  10. See the number 10.  10.  9. See the number 9. 9.  8. See the number 8. 8.  7. See the number 7. 7.  6. See the number 6. 6. 5. See the number 5. 5.  4. See the number 4. 4. 3. See the number 3. 3. 2. See the number 2. 2.  1. See the number 1. 1.

Cast the circle

Officiant walks the circle clockwise three times, using the Wand to cast the circle with these words:

(First round) I cast the circle to protect us from all forces that would come to do us harm.

(Second round) I charge this circle to include the most perfect forces for this night's work, and to keep out all other forces.

(Third round) I charge and consecrate this circle to be a space out of space, a time out of time, a temple of perfect love and perfect trust, where the highest will is sovereign.

As I will it, so mote it be!

All: So mote it be!

 

Call the quarters

One officiant can do all the quarter calls, a pair can alternate, or four people can each call a quarter.  Substitute the spirits or deities you have a relationship with in each quarter, if you wish.

All turn to face North, raising non-dominant hands to draw in the energy of the quarter.  To the north, we call to the element of earth and to the Stag to guide and to guard this circle.  Please add your energy to this night's work.  Hail and welcome!

All: Hail and welcome!

All turn clockwise to face East, raising non-dominant hands to draw in the energy of the quarter.  To the east, we call to the element of fire and to the Horse to guide and to guard this circle.  Please add your energy to this night's work. Hail and welcome!

All: Hail and welcome!

All turn clockwise to face South, raising non-dominant hands to draw in the energy of the quarter.  To the south, we call to the element of air and to the Crow to guide and to guard this circle.  Please add your energy to this night's work.  Hail and welcome!

All: Hail and welcome!

All turn clockwise to face West, raising non-dominant hands to draw in the energy of the quarter.  To the west, we call to the element of water and to the Snake to guide and to guard this circle.  Please add your energy to this night's work. Hail and welcome!

All: Hail and welcome!

Evoke the Goddess and God

Officiant 1 lights the Goddess candle on the altar, and speaks: We call to the Goddess, she who is Maiden, Mother, and Crone, the Weaver and the Web.  We call to the Lady who guides us and guards us and holds us all in her love.  Hail and Welcome!

All: Hail and Welcome!

The God candle is not yet lit.  Officiant 2 speaks:  I call to the Oak King, the God of warmth, light and summer.  Be present with us on this, the longest day, the moment of the height of your power.  Hail and Welcome!

All: Hail and Welcome!

Officiant 3 speaks:  I call to the Holly King, the God of cold, darkness, and winter.  Be present with us on this, the day when the world begins to turn again toward darkness.  Hail and Welcome!

All: Hail and Welcome!

Story

The story is told that in the beginning, there were two gods who were brothers.  And like many brothers, they struggled with each other for ascendance and power.  One brother was the King of the forces of life, light, and warmth.  He wore a crown made of green oak branches and brought with him all growth and vitality, fertility and abundance.  He was called the Oak King.

His brother was the King of the forces of death, cold, and darkness.  He wore a crown made of the prickly holly branches and brought with him all withering and decay, stillness and hibernation.  He was called the Holly King.

The brothers were identical in strength, and so year after year the same pattern was repeated.  Each year, the Oak King would grow strong and mighty and during his time of dominance, the light would gradually increase, bringing with it warmth and abundance.  But each year, at the height of his power, he would be thrown down by the Holly King.  In the wake of the Holly King's victory, the light would gradually wane, and as it did, cold would come and the land would go dormant.  But at the height of the Holly King's power, he would be challenged again by the Oak King and would fall.  And the cycle would repeat again and again and again.

Alone, the brothers were equals, but soon there came a race of beings known as people.  The people watched this cycle, and pretty soon, they began to take sides.  The people loved light and warmth, and they feared darkness and cold.  And so, each year, they would celebrate the victory of the Oak King, but they would mourn the victory of the Holly King.  When the two struggled with each other, the people would lend the strength of their voices and their bodies, their minds and their spirits to the Oak King, but the Holly King was without their support.  And so time went by.

Over time, the people's adoration of warmth and light only grew, and so they began to invent ever new ways to find light in the darkness and warmth in the cold.  And finally, if they wished it, they could spend all of their time in the light they had created, and they could be warm all year long.  But their efforts to stay always in the light and the warmth were not without consequences. 

Generations passed and generations again and the people did not at first notice the shifts in the balance.  But finally, they could ignore it no longer.  The people began to notice that darkness was disappearing from the land, driven out by millions of lights the people had created.  Animals, birds, plants, even people began to suffer the effects of light unbalanced by darkness.

But it was not just darkness that was disappearing.  Cold began to flee, too.  The whole world began to get warmer.  Summer began sooner and lasted longer.  Ice that had been frozen far longer than the longest memory of the oldest person in the land began to melt.  Migrating birds and animals began to be confused about when to begin the migration.  Plants found themselves rooted in climates that no longer supplied their needs.  The air was changing, and the winds that had brought rain and taken it away again began to flow in unexpected directions, causing drought here and flood there.

The people began to see that their support of warmth and light over cold and darkness had altered the balance of the whole world.  They began, slowly, one at a time, to realize that the Holly King was dying.  And for the first time, this thought filled them with fear.  What would happen if the balance continued to be destroyed?  Could they even survive in a world without the Holly King?

And in the world of the gods, the Oak King realized it, too.  And though they had been competitors all these many centuries, he also realized that he loved his brother deeply, and could not live without him.  The longest day came, and the Oak King and the Holly King met again, but this time, the Oak King had no heart for the fight.  He lay down his sword and spear.  He came, open-handed to his brother, who was struggling just to stay on his feet.  The Oak King wrapped the Holly King in a tight embrace.  At the moment of his greatest power, the Oak King promised to give some of that power to the Holly King to restore the balance, and together they decided to lend some of their combined power to the people who would help them to heal the earth.

Great Rite in Token

Officiant 2 lights the God candle on the altar while Officiant 3 speaks.

As this rite seeks to restore balance, we light this candle now for the God who wears the faces of both the Holly King and the Oak King, the Lord of light and the Lord of shadow, the Lord of life and the Lord of death, the Lord of warmth and the Lord of Cold.  We call to the two-faced God, the Singer and the Song.  We call to the Lord who guides us and guards us and holds us all in his love.  Hail and Welcome!

All: Hail and Welcome!

Officiant 1 holds the Chalice, Officiant 2 holds the blade.  The blade is plunged into the Chalice as Officiant 3 speaks:

As the Sword is to the Grail, The Blade is to the Chalice, Truth is to Love. We bring together the energies of the Goddess and the God. So mote it be.

All: So mote it be.

Officiant 3: Blessed be.

All: Blessed be.

The Chalice is passed to all participants with the words "May you never thirst."  The response is "Blessed be."

Meditation

Officiant 1 leads the following meditation.  Officiants 2 and 3 should be in meditative space, too, connecting with the energies of the Oak King and Holly King (or their own guides/deities who can help in this rite), so that they can work to direct the energy of the working that will follow.

Get into a comfortable position and relax your body.  Follow the sound of my voice as I count down from 13.  There is no need to visualize numbers this time.

13. 12. 11. 10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1.

On the screen of your mind, picture a giant tree, larger than any tree you have ever seen.  This is the World Tree.  Its branches reach up to the heavens, and its roots dig deep into the earth.  Imagine that the screen of your mind is a portal, like a doorway or window, something you can easily pass through.  Pass through the screen of your mind and stand before the great tree.  Hear the wind in its branches.  Smell the earth where the roots dig in.  Feel the texture of the bark.  Know the World Tree.

Place your hands on the bark and hold the intention of visiting the Oak King and Holly King.  Search in the roots of the tree for a tunnel.  Find a tunnel and follow it.

The tunnel leads downward, sloping gently.  You follow the tunnel deeper and deeper.  Notice the way the tunnel feels.  What is it made of?  Is it rough or smooth?  Do you smell earth?  Do you hear anything?  Follow the tunnel deeper.

The tunnel begins to open out, and you find yourself walking through a forest.  Follow the path through the forest.  Now you are coming to a clearing in the forest.

Before you are the Oak King and the Holly King.  Wait in the clearing until you meet a guide.  The guide might be one of the Kings or it might be an animal or plant spirit.  Who comes to speak with you?

Once a guide is before you, introduce yourself.  Ask your guide for help in finding the power you need to be an ally with the Oak King and Holly King in restoring balance.  What do you need in order to be as powerful as you can be?  What is your work in restoring the balance?  Who can help you in this work?

Continue talking to your guide.

Your guide may give you a gift, an item, an image, a word or idea to give you power in your work.  Look within and see if you have something to offer to your guide.  Thank your guide for their help and wisdom.  Offer thanks to the Oak King and Holly King.

Find your way back to the path through which you came.  Follow the path back through the forest.  The path becomes the tunnel.  Follow the tunnel as it slopes back up.  Follow the tunnel up and up until you stand once more before the World Tree. 

Thank the World Tree for this journey. 

Come back through the portal in the screen of your mind.  Come back to this circle.  Come back, come back, come back.  When you are ready, open your eyes and rise.

Wait until all risen or at least opened their eyes.

Working

Officiant 1 continues to lead the participants while Officiants 2 and 3 participate in the working, channeling the energy raised to restoring balance and cooling the earth.

Officiant 1 invites participants to rise and dance in a circle clockwise around the central altar, using the "Full Height of Our Power" chant.  Ideally, this should be accompanied by drummers and singers who can gradually increase the volume and speed as energy is raised. 

When Officiant 1 feels that the energy has peaked, s/he stops the dance by shouting the last syllable and raising his/her hands, a sign to the drummers and singers to stop.  Then s/he directs the participants:

We are going to send the energy of this circle now to empowering the Oak King and Holly King in the quest for balance.  We raise our hands slowly, saying "EE-AH-OH", releasing on the "OH'.

All: EE-AH-OH!

Officiant 1: So mote it be!

All: So mote it be!

Officiant 1 now directs everyone to ground any excess energy. 

Thanks to the Goddess and God

Officiant 1:  We thank the Goddess, she who is Maiden, Mother and Crone.  We give you thanks for presence and blessings this night.  Stay if you will, go if you must.  Hail and Farewell!

All: Hail and farewell!

Officiant 1 extinguishes the Goddess candle.

Officiant 2: We thank the God, the Oak King and Holly King, the Lord of light and the Lord of shadow.  We give you thanks for your presence and blessings this night.  Stay if you will, go if you must.  Hail and Farewell!

All: Hail and Farewell!

Officiant 3 extinguishes the God candle.

Release the Quarters

Each quarter should be released by the same person who called it. 

All turn to the North, raising dominant hands to send the energy of the quarter back out of the circle.  To the north, we thank and release the element of earth and the Stag.  We give you thanks for your presence and blessings.  Hail and farewell!

All: Hail and farewell!

All turn counter-clockwise to the West, raising dominant hands to send the energy of the quarter back out of the circle.  To the west, we thank and release the element of water and the Snake.  We give you thanks for your presence and blessings.  Hail and farewell!

All: Hail and farewell!

All turn counter-clockwise to the South, raising dominant hands to send the energy of the quarter back out of the circle.  To the south, we thank and release the element of air and the Crow.  We give you thanks for your presence and blessings.  Hail and farewell!

All: Hail and farewell!

All turn counter-clockwise to the East, raising dominant hands to send the energy of the quarter back out of the circle.  To the east, we thank and release the element of fire and the Horse.  We give you thanks for your presence and blessings.  Hail and farewell!

All: Hail and farewell!

Open the Circle

The same officiant who cast the circle now walks the circle counterclockwise once, opening the circle with the wand.

I cast this circle out into the universe.  May it join with the circles of our siblings, through space and time to the highest good.  The circle is open but never broken.

All: Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again.