A lesson and ritual for a group of newcomers (specifically incarcerated men) which was developed originally to satisfy an assignment in Survey of Chaplaincy, a course presented by Patrick McCollum at Cherry Hill Seminary in 2005. The Creation myth and the attributes of the directions are adapted from McCollum’s book Courting the Lady.
Standing in the center of the circle of newcomers, beside altar with wand in hand:
Nothingness, piled upon Nothingness, gathered in the center which is also the whole of everything, which is Nothingness.
The Mother formed Herself from the Nothingness. She looked around. (look around, ending up facing East)
She was Alone – All One. In Her loneliness She screamed.
Lazra meck, Her scream, the light of darkness, went away from Her (walking toward the East, wand extended and searching) –
Until it realized it was separate from Her and moving away from the only Other that there was. (stop moving)
Here – this place of realization, this enlightenment, this first place, we will call East. Here we celebrate illumination, light, the element of Fire.
Here lazra meck began to seek the path back to the Mother. (begin walking toward South, tracing the circle with the wand)
bringing the illumination, the fire – in a shining arc –(stopping at South)
until the light takes on form and substance, and becomes solid. Here, this place of solidity, we will call South. Here we celebrate form and substance, matter, the element of earth.
Again lazra meck continued seeking the path to the Mother (begin walking toward West, tracing the circle with the wand)
heavy now with substance and illumination, yet incomplete (stopping at West)
until it found itself churned in the cauldron of creation, the womb of the Mother, and coming to birth in the waters of life. Here, this place of birth, of life, we will call West. Here we celebrate Life and the element of water.
Alive now, lazra meck continued seeking the path to the Mother (begin walking toward North)
living substance, illuminated, yet incomplete (stopping at North)
until it found the Mother’s gift of spirit, of soul, the anima, and became a complete and independent being, alive, aware, and determined. Here, this place of inspiration, we will call North. Here we celebrate Spirit and the element of air.
Complete and independent, lazra meck still longed to rejoin the Mother (begin walking toward the East)
and chose to continue the search (stopping at East and turning toward the center)
until lazra meck recognized a place it had been before and from there (walking inward, embracing wand)
retraced its path and reunited with the Mother.
In our circle, in our sacred space, this is the center of the Universe. Very small actions here can lead to major changes in the outside world. We take particular care with what we say and do here – one way of thinking of it is that what we do comes back to us, three times over, but not necessarily in the ways we predict it will. (One good reason for a Witch not to turn someone into a frog)
We will learn more ways to make magic, to do it effectively, but for the first try, we’ll start with the basics. The first step is Intention. What do you want to do, and why?
Here in sacred space today, each of you will have the opportunity to do one small bit of personal magic, with the rest of us helping. Think about it for a minute. What would you like to change in your life – something that could happen in the next week or so? If what you want is something big – I hear what you’re thinking, and remember, we’re starting small here – maybe break it down a little and pick a manageable piece. State your intention or request to yourself. Look it over to make sure it’s not going to hurt anyone else or yourself. See if it’s something you can ask the Mother for.
When you’re all ready, I’ll ask you to come up one at a time to the altar. While the man at the altar states his intention – or makes it a prayer to the Mother – the rest of us will focus our attention on supporting his magic. At the altar, state your intention or request quietly. The rest of us really don’t need to hear what it is. We will trust you that what you are asking is intended without harm, and we will focus our intention on your request.
We’ll start with the East and move around the circle the same direction we cast it.
(when all have finished)
The focus and intention of a community is stronger than that of any individual. By all working together, by supporting each other, we can each have more success in our personal endeavors than we could separately. Even when we don’t know what the other guy’s needs are, just by focusing our intention on supporting him we can make a difference.