Calling the Circle
Light the altar candles
White candle in the center:
While lighting the center white candle, say
Mother of all life, soul of our being, center of all our longing,
who shines for all and flows through all,
be with us, guide us, now and always
Candles representing the four directions:
As we light the candle of the east, we remember that it represents the
element of air, morning, spring, and birth.
As we light the candle of the south, we remember that it represents the
element of fire, noon time, summer and adulthood.
As we light the candle of the west, we remember that it represents the
element of water, evening, autumn, and maturity.
As we light the candle of the north, we remember that it represents the
element of earth, night time, winter, and old age.
The circle is open, where night and day, birth and death, joy and sorrow meet as one.
This is the time of the summer solstice in our hemisphere,
When the light part of the day is at its longest.
In our part of the earth, Life reaches Her fullness.
She spreads Her radiance; Her greenness peaks.
She fills to capacity; opens completely.
And so She turns back toward the dark…
We celebrate Her radiance, a fullness of being
And the generous pouring forth of it.
And we raise energy for healing remembering
We are open channels for the moving energies of life.
Adapted from Glenys Livingstone, Starhawk
Check in time
Share what we brought to the altar, or a life story.
Centering time (15 minutes)
Into the quiet with a reading; out of the silence with chimes
It is a difficult
lesson to learn today,
to leave one’s friends
and family and deliberately
practice the art of solitude [and meditation]
for an hour or a day or a week.
For me, the break is most difficult….
And yet, once it is done,
I find there is a quality
to being alone that is
Life rushes back into the void,
fuller than before!
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Celtic Daily Prayer
Ritual: The Four Paths and Celtic Spirituality
Creation Spirituality recognizes that all of creation exists within cycles, rhythms, and seasons of growth. Just as there are four seasons, four winds, four geographical directions, so too are there four paths of spirituality. Understanding these paths helps us find our place in our spiritual journey and in the larger scheme of things. (Matthew Fox)
Each of the four paths will be honored in the following manner:
Awe and wonder… These are the joyful, ecstatic moments in our lives when we are filled with praise and thanksgiving for the beauty and grandeur of life. (Matthew Fox)
•Light the small yellow candle
•In Praise of Air by John O’Donohue
Let us bless the air,
Benefactor of breath,
Keeper of the fragile bridge
We breathe across.
Air waiting outside
The womb, to funnel
A first breath
That lets us begin
To be here,
Its invisible stock.
Air: vast neighborhood
Of the invisible, where thought lives,
Entering, to arise in us as our own,
Enabling us to put faces on things
That would otherwise stay strange
And leave us homeless here.
Air, home of memory where
Our vanished days secretly gather,
Receiving every glance, word, and act
That fall from presence,
Taking all our unfolding in,
So that nothing is lost or forgotten.
•(moment of silence)
Letting go…These are the lonely, quiet moments in our lives when we are asked to sink into darkness and nothingness, to let pain be pain, and accept the mysteries of life. (Matthew Fox)
•Light the small black candle
•For Suffering by John O’Donohue
May you be blessed in the holy names of those
Who, without you knowing it,
Help to carry and lighten your pain.
May you know serenity
When you are called
To enter the house of suffering.
May a window of light always surprise you.
May you be granted the wisdom
To avoid false resistance;
When suffering knocks on the door of your life,
May you glimpse its eventual gifts.
May you be able to receive the fruits of suffering.
May memory bless and protect you
With the hard-earned light of past travail;
To remind you that you have survived before
And though the darkness now is deep,
You will soon see approaching light.
May the grace of time heal your wounds.
May you know that though the storm might rage,
Not a hair of your head will be harmed.
•(moment of silence)
Creativity…These are the fertile moments in our lives when we find creative expression and outlet for all the joy and suffering of our existence. Freeing creativity helps us move beyond our sorrow or stagnation.
•Light the small green candle
•In Praise of Water by John O’Donohue
Let us bless the grace of water:
The imagination of the primeval ocean
Where the first forms of life stirred
And emerged to dress the vacant earth
With warm quilts of color.
The well whose liquid root worked
Through the long night of clay,
Trusting ahead of itself openings
That would yet yield to its yearning
Until at last it arises in the desire of light
To discover the pure quiver of itself
Flowing crystal clear and free
Through delighted emptiness.
The courage of a river to continue belief
In the slow fall of ground,
Always falling farther
Toward the unseen ocean.
The river does what words would love,
Keeping its appearance
By insisting on disappearance;
Its only life surrendered
To the event of pilgrimage,
Carrying the origin to the end.
Seldom pushing or straining,
Keeping itself to itself
Everywhere all along its flow…
Let us bless the humility of water,
Always willing to take the shape
Of whatever otherness holds it,
The buoyancy of water
Stronger than the deadening,
Downward drag of gravity,
The innocence of water,
Flowing forth, without thought
Of what awaits it,
The refreshment of water,
Dissolving the crystals of thirst.
Water: voice of grief,
Cry of love,
In the flowing tear.
Water: vehicle and idiom
Of all the inner voyaging
That keeps us alive.
Blessed be water,
Our first mother.
•(moment of silence)
A time of befriending new creation….These are the prophetic moments in our lives when we are called to share our talents and gifts with the hurting, fractured, dysfunctional aspects of our society. In so doing, we honor our connection to all of creation. (Matthew Fox)
•Light the small purple candle
•In Praise of the Earth by John O’Donohue
…Let us thank the Earth
That offers ground for home
And holds our feet firm
To walk in space open
To infinite galaxies.
Let us salute the silence
And certainty of mountains:
Their sublime stillness,
Their dream-filled hearts.
The wonder of a garden
Trusting the first warmth of spring
Until its black infinity of cells
Becomes charged with dream;
Then the silent, slow nurture
Of the seed’s self, coaxing it
To trust the act of death.
The humility of the Earth,
Opening to receive
Our worn forms
Into the final stillness.
Let us ask forgiveness of the Earth
For all our sins against her:
For our violence and poisonings
Of her beauty.
Let us remember within us
The ancient clay,
Holding the memory of seasons,
The passion of wind,
The fluency of water,
The warmth of fire,
The quiver-touch of the sun
And shadowed sureness of the moon.
That we may awaken,
To live to the full
The dream of the Earth
Who chose us to emerge
And incarnate its hidden night
In mind, spirit, and light.
•(moment of silence)
Concluding the Ritual:
Join in a circle for a circle dance, ending with this reading:
(From Anam Cara by John O’Donohue)
Old age is a second time of innocence. There is the first innocence when we are children; but that innocence is based on naïve trust and ignorance. The second innocence comes later in your life, when you have lived deeply. You know the bleakness of life, you know its incredible capacity to disappoint and sometimes destroy. Yet notwithstanding that realistic recognition of life’s negative potential, you still maintain an outlook that is wholesome and hopeful and bright. That is a second kind of innocence. It is lovely to meet an old person whose face is deeply lined, a face that has been deeply inhabited, to look in the eyes and find light there. That light is innocent; it is not inexperienced but rather is innocent in its trust in the good and the true and the beautiful. Such a gaze from an old face is a kind of blessing.