Ancestor Ritual

This is the ritual we did at last night’s Welcoming Circle:

ANCESTOR RITUAL

CASTING THE CIRCLE—(Llewellyn’s Sabbat Essentials, adapted)

Take up your wand or athame. Then walk around your designated area three times. The first time around, say:

We take this place to hidden space
Between worlds, between veils,
Where life and death can interlace.

The second time around, say:

All within this sacred round is protected,
From sky to deep below ground.

On the third round, say:

May all beings that truly see our good
Come guard this circle—come,
From city, sky, water, or wood!
So mote it be!

CALLING THE QUARTERS (David Taliesin)

Elemental Spirits of the East and of Air, keepers of wisdom and mystery, whisper into our ears all that we need to know. May the cool fall breezes that rustle the leaves beneath our feet point us in the direction we need to go. Hail and welcome!

Elemental Spirits of the South and of Fire, purifiers of heart and mind, burn away the clutter and confusion from our lives so that we may have absolute clarity regarding your will for our lives. May the bonfires of fall that give us light and warmth, bring comfort to our weary souls tonight. Hail and welcome!

Elemental Spirits of the West and of Water, vessels of peace and compassion, may our thirst for justice and equality be quenched. May the fall rains which nourish the roots of the trees, give strength to the dreams you have planted in us. Hail and welcome!

Elemental Spirits of the North and of Earth, stewards of hearth and home, gather around us the community we need to make us feel safe and loved. As the fall harvest continues, we ask you to bring about a harvest of good things into our lives, Hail and welcome!

Everyone face toward the center of the circle. (David Taliesin)

As the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer,
We learn to see in the dark.
We search for the deep, hidden mysteries of the Divine,
And dine at Wisdom’s table of intuition and creativity.
Great Spirit, who is known to us by many names,
Be with us tonight. We are blessed by your presence.
Hail and welcome!

WELCOMING THE ANCESTORS (adapted from John Beckett, patheos.com, Under the Ancient Oaks)

Let us now invite our ancestors to join our circle. (Light first candle.)

Fathers, Mothers, Grandfathers, Grandmothers,
ancestors we knew in this life, we invite you to our circle. 
We thank you for giving us life,
for caring for us when we were young and helpless,
and for teaching us to stand on our own. 
We remember you at your best.

If there is an ancestor you would like to remember,
Call their name now, silently or aloud. (Pause for names)

Beloved ancestors, accept this offering of food and drink, given with honor and with love. (Pour drink and crumble bread into cauldron)

(Light second candle)

Great, great, great grandparents,
ancestors so old your names are lost to us,
we invite you to our circle. 
We live in times very different from yours,
but we are not so very different,
and a part of you lives on in us.

We cannot call the names of these ancestors
because we do not know their names.
But think now of that ancestor
who first crossed the great ocean,
who survived war and plague and famine,
who first learned the skills that would create civilization. Remember them now. (Pause 6-8 seconds)

Beloved ancestors, accept this offering of food and drink, given with honor and with love. (Pour drink and crumble bread into cauldron)

(Light third candle)

Ancestors of spirit, mighty dead,
we invite you to our circle.
We do not carry your blood but we carry your spirit:
your thoughts, your ideas, your dreams. 
We thank you for inspiring us and enlightening us,
and for founding and creating the traditions and institutions
that mean so much to us.

If there is a spiritual ancestor you would like to remember, call their name now, silently or aloud. (Pause for names)

Beloved ancestors, accept this offering of food and drink, given with honor and with love. (Pour drink and crumble bread into cauldron)

(Light fourth candle)

Ancestors most ancient, you who share few of our genes,
you who lived on a very different Earth
so long ago we can barely conceive it,
we invite you to our circle. 
We thank you for surviving under most difficult circumstances. Homo erectus, Homo habilis, and Australopithecus;
long-extinct mammals and even-older vertebrates;
smaller and simpler creatures stretching back to the first life.
Sometimes we struggle to see ourselves in you,
but without you we would not be.

Remember these most ancient ancestors,
and remember that some of them are also
the ancestors of other species alive today. 
When St. Francis called the wolf his brother,
he had no way of knowing just how right he was. (Pause 6-8 seconds)

Beloved ancestors, accept this offering of food and drink, given with honor and with love. (Pour drink and crumble bread into cauldron.)

SHAMANIC DRUMMING AS WE MEDITATE AND LISTEN FOR WISDOM (David Taliesin)

CAKES AND ALE (adapted from John Beckett, patheos.com, Under the Ancient Oaks)

Let us now share in this celebration of our ancestors. 
If you aren’t ready to join in, for whatever reason
or for no reason at all,
simply let the bread and cup pass you by.

As you share these with the person next to you,
say these words “May you never hunger” for the bread,
and “May you never thirst” for the chalice. (When all have been served, place the bread and chalice back on the altar.)

CLOSING (David Taliesin)

Elemental Spirits of the North and of Earth, we thank you for your presence in our circle tonight. Stay if you will, go if you must. We bid you farewell!

Elemental Spirits of the West and of Water, we thank you for your presence in our circle tonight. Stay if you will, go if you must. We bid you farewell!

Elemental Spirits of the South and of Fire, we thank you for your presence in our circle tonight. Stay if you will, go if you must. We bid you farewell!

Elemental Spirits of the East and of Air, we thank you for your presence in our circle tonight. Stay if you will, go if you must. We bid you farewell!

CLOSING CONTINUED (adapted from John Beckett, patheos.com, Under the Ancient Oaks)

Ancestors we knew in life,
Ancestors whose names we know not,
Ancestors of Spirit, and Ancestors most ancient;
we thank you for attending our circle
and blessing us with your presence.
May there be peace and love between us now and forever.
Stay if you will, Go if you must!
We bid you farewell!

CLOSING CONTINUED (David Taliesin)

Great Spirit whose hidden wisdom
Has been revealed to us tonight,
We give you thanks.
Give us strength to act upon what we have learned,
And illumine the dark days of autumn
With your insight and creativity.
Stay if you will. Go if you must,
We bid you farewell!

And now the circle is open but never unbroken
Because it is a circle woven in love.
Whatever energy is left in this space
We return to the earth with a spirit of gratitude.
Merry meet and merry part, and merry meet again.

Portions of this were written by David Taliesin, ©2019, http://www.sabbatsandsabbaths.com

About David Taliesin

My name is David Taliesin. I'm an writer, teacher and retreat leader who explores the connections between Christian and Pagan Spirituality. E-mail me with any personal comments you'd like to share and I will do my best to answer them. You can also contact me through my Facebook page www.facebook.com/davidtaliesinauthor
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