My friend and co-facilitator of The Welcoming Circle, Theresa “Tree” Higgins passed away on the Summer Solstice. Due to scheduling conflicts a gathering in her honor was postponed until yesterday. I was asked to conduct the ritual and with the help of a beautiful prayer from a friend, put the following together to remember my fallen Norse sister. I share it with you in case you need to do something similar for a departed loved one. I used a lot of Tree’s own words from a ritual she wrote for The Welcoming Circle.
CELEBRATION OF THE LIFE OF
THERESA “TREE” HIGGINS
MEDITATION SONG “Norupo” by Heilung
Norwegian Rune Poem, 13th Century
CALLING OF THE QUARTERS (written by Tree Higgins)
Hail, Guardian of the East! Keeper of sacred winds
that carry our love beyond this realm.
Hail, Guardian of the East, stand and protect this sacred circle!
Hail, Guardian of the South! Bearer of the Phoenix
who dies in fire and is reborn of his own ashes!
Hail, Guardian of the South, stand and protect this sacred circle!
Hail, Guardian of the West! Keeper of all the rivers of crossing!
Hail, Guardian of the west, stand and protect our sacred circle!
Hail, Guardian of the North! Keeper of the earth
from whom all things rise and all things return!
Hail, Guardian of the North, stand and protect our sacred circle!
ANOINTING (written by Tree Higgins)
I will now anoint those willing so that the light once shared with the departed
may shine for awhile here.
(While anointing) Let the love you have been given
and the love you gave
be the light that shines through the Veil.
ANCESTOR RITUAL (written by Tree Higgins, adapted)
We stand here and now to honor those
who have passed from our sight but not our hearts
and to honor our ancestors whose sacrifices and choices
made it possible for us to be here today.
We will take a moment in silent reflection for those we have lost,
especially Tree Higgins. And then we will go around the circle
and allow people to share a memory of our fallen sister, Tree.
(Share a memory.)
BLESSING OF THE CUP (written by David Taliesin; prayer to Hel source is unknown)
The cup in the center of our altar is filled with mead,
the ancient drink of the Vikings.
Tree had a Viking heart and a Viking spirit
that was not easily extinguished.
We pour our love and memories into this cup
As we offer a prayer to the Norse goddess Hel.
In pre-covid times, we would pass this cup
and everyone would have a drink from it.
But, today, we will release the contents of this vessel
to the earth after our gathering is finished.
I will also offer everyone the chance to taste a little mead
in the individual cups provided.
Let us pray, Goddess Hel, Keeper of the Dead, Lady in Blue,
and Caretaker of Those who pass on, we come to you now
with offerings and prayers to ask for guidance
and help in this trying time.
Our friend and sister, Theresa “Tree” Higgins has passed on
and now walks the long and winding path to the land beyond.
It pains us to not have her with us
but we are confident she has arrived in a more peaceful place
than the one she left behind.
We come to you and trust that you have met her early on her journey
and walk beside her. Guide her so that she is never not lost or alone.
Lead her so that she does not stray.
Care for Tree as you have cared for so many before her.
Of this I humbly and kindly ask you.
From ourselves to the earth to you, we give this gift.
RELEASING THE QUARTERS (written by Tree Higgins)
Hail, Guardian of the North! We thank you for your watch.
We release you now. Please go freely on your way.
Hail, Guardian of the West! We thank you for your watch.
We release you now. Please, go freely on your way.
Hail, Guardian of the South! We thank you for your watch.
Please go freely on your way.
Hail, Guardian of the East! We thank you for your watch.
Please go freely on your way.
Now the circle is open but it is never unbroken
because it is a circle woven in love.
Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again!