It has long been my wish to bring the multiple Pagan covens/groves/gatherings who practice separately on Long Island together for community Rites of Passage. This is my attempt to start a tradition for the full moons of the starting of the dark of the year and the starting of the light of the year.
November’s full moon was on the 6th, so we had our assemblage on the nearest Saturday to that. Mother Moon was still in her full light and shining on us. My aim here was to begin with a Croning/Saging ritual for any and all “ladies and gents of a certain age.” That age is entirely up to the individual person, mind you. I invited Pagans from across Long Island who would like to be part of the Croning/Saging’
For everyone else, my intention is to honor the crones and recognize us/them for making it this far. There was a full moon circle prior to the Croning/Saging to get us all in the energy space. I would asked for 9 volunteers to accomplish this. The volunteers, mostly came forward on the day.
My thanks to: Stacey, Megan, Jacob, and John, Matt and Kimber, and Artie without whom our Assemblage would not have come together. With muscle, knowing, and aplomb, they all made the vision in my head real. From bringing light to the dark with both generated electricity and a warming fire, to setting up the ritual space, to laying out food and drink for all to share. Stacey created a most perfect and beautiful ritual circle that every single person commented on either coming or going. Megan made food happen in my kitchen and transported and fetched the things I could not. Jacob made fire, both elemental and electrical. John picked up my wonderful children and supported me in the effort as greeter for the people as they arrived. Matt and Kimber threw themselves into setting up the food and drink with decorations so there was a sense of place. It was definitely a village that came together.
On November 8. 2014, I awake as a Crone. Our ritual was elegant and heartfelt. I cannot name all of the people who were there, but I can say that everyone was moved and felt what they came for, a rite of passage from mother/warrior to crone/sage.
Twenty folks braved the chill and gusty winds to foray out to HOG community farm for the first ever LI Pagan Full Moon Rite of Passage Assemblage. There was food and drink and a roaring fire [that melted the fire blanket] and plenty of chairs to sit around it. From 6:30 to about 8 pm, we all sat ’round the fire talking, joking, laughing, eating the delicious morsels that everyone brought to share. We broke into song with drums, bells, tambourines, and Laser Plumb Bob broke out the acoustic viola to add sweet gypsy-like strains above the voices and percussion. Estelle sang beautifully and so did John. There were additions here and there and we enjoyed each other’s company. Matt started a Capella Black Sabbath in his inimitable way, which brought still others into the chorus. Megan especially. Stacey joyously rocked along and sang to every song. Jacob held the beat. Whispers of conversations from Linda and Dawn joined the music and Artie sank back into his chair and took it all in. Kimber, always the watcher, seemed to be recording the event mentally while she snuggled close to Matt to keep warm. As the Moon shook free from her cloudy shroud and we began.
Coming Into the Circle: [made of fairy lights in the grass]
Two designated women [ARCH KEEPERS] create an entry arch with their hands/arms raised. When each person walks in between the arch, she/he is embraced between the women and they say: “BY WOMAN YOU WERE BORN INTO THIS WORLD, SO BY WOMEN YOU ARE BORN INTO THIS CIRCLE.” She/he then steps over a burning bowl of sage to be purified and goes to stand by one of the arch keepers. This continues until everyone is standing in the circle. At the end, the ARCH KEEPERS step across the sage bowl and take a place in the circle. From their places, the ARCH KEEPERS turn to the person to their LEFT and clasp hands saying “from heart to hand we stand” until all are holding hands.
ARCH KEEPERS say: Call the Quarters
CALLING THE QUARTERS:
East Caller leads and lights the yellow candle on the center altar.
South Caller leads and lights the red candle on the center altar.
West Caller leads and lights the blue candle on the center altar.
North Caller leads and lights the green candle on the center altar.
ARCH KEEPERS call the Goddess/God and light the white candle on the center altar.
ARCH KEEPERS: THE CIRCLE IS CAST!
Entire Group: The circle is cast, we are between the worlds.
RAISING ENERGY FOR THE FULL MOON
Once it is decided, by consensus, what the intention of the Moon Ritual will be directed toward, all will begin raising energy through drumming, tambourines, humming, chanting etc. Depending on the number of people present, we will walk in a deosil direction around the center altar focusing our chants and intentions on the candles burning there. As the energy comes to a crescendo the entire group raises our arms [to any extent possible] to send our intentions to the moon and to the world.
Grounding the energy back to the earth, all move back to their places where they have begun.
At the point, the ARCH KEEPERS will collect the people who have elected to go through the croning/saging and put their chairs around the center altar. One woman speaker will then explain Croning:
WHAT IS A CRONE? IN THE OLD WAYS, ELDERS WERE VENERATED AND APPRECIATED FOR THEIR TIME SPENT UPON THE EARTH. IN THESE MODERN WAYS, IT HAS COME TO PASS THAT EACH FEMALE HAS THREE PRIMARY PHASES IN LIFE:
*MAIDEN – THE TIME OF LIFE PRIOR TO MENARCHE [THAT’S PERIODS FOR THOSE WHO DON’T KNOW]. IT IS A TIME OF FREEDOM AND LEARNING THE WAYS OF THE WORLD
*MOTHER – THE PRODUCTIVE YEARS – THIS CAN HAPPEN BY THE ACTUAL BEARING OF CHILDREN, A CAREER AND THE PRODUCTION THAT COMES WITH IT, THROUGH PRODUCING ART, MUSIC, POETRY, LITERATURE OR A MYRIAD OF OTHER BIRTHINGS
*CRONE – THE WISDOM YEARS – THE TIME AFTER MENOPAUSE, OR AFTER HYSTERECTOMY, OR UPON BECOMING A GRANDMOTHER OR AUNTIE TO ONE’S OWN CHILDREN’S CHILDREN OR TO STUDENTS, MENTEES, OR YOUNG FRIENDS. THIS MOMENT CAN COME EARLY DUE TO MEDICAL INTERVENTION OR LATE DUE TO ANY WOMAN’S OWN BIOLOGICAL SYSTEM. IT IS ACCEPTED IN MANY TRADITIONAL SOCIETIES THAT TURNING 50 SIGNALS THAT CHANGE.
HERALD THE CRONE! HUZZAH!
Then, one man speaker will then explain Saging:
WHAT IS A SAGE? IN THE OLD WAYS, ELDERS WERE VENERATED AND APPRECIATED FOR THEIR TIME SPENT UPON THE EARTH. IN THESE MODERN WAYS, IT HAS COME TO PASS THAT EACH MALE HAS THREE PRIMARY PHASES IN LIFE:
*YOUTH – THE TIME OF LIFE PRIOR TO ADOLESCENCE [BEFORE YOUR VOICE CRACKS AND YOUR HAIR GROWS IN ODD PLACES]. IT IS A TIME OF FREEDOM AND LEARNING THE WAYS OF THE WORLD
*WARRIOR – THE PRODUCTIVE YEARS – WHETHER OR NOT A MAN HAS SERVED AS A WARRIOR IN THE ARMED FORCES, OR HAS BEEN THE BIOLOGICAL FATHER OF ANY CHILDREN, HE IS THE PRODUCER OF AN ARRAY OF PIECES OF THE WORLD WHETHER THAT IS MONEY THROUGH A CAREER, OR BY PRODUCING ART, MUSIC, POETRY OR LITERATURE
*SAGE – THE WISDOM YEARS – IT IS ACCEPTED IN THE OLD WAYS THAT THE SAGE CAN BE SEEN AS THE MENTOR, TEACHER, HERMIT, GRANDFATHER, UNCLE. IT IS ACCEPTED IN MANY TRADITIONAL SOCIETIES THAT TURNING 50 SIGNALS THAT CHANGE.
HERALD THE SAGE! HUZZAH!
The speakers then announce:
SINCE OUR EUROPEAN-AMERICAN, JUDEO/CHRISTIAN CULTURES HAVE DEPARTED FROM RECOGNIZING AND GRANTING THE RESPECT OF AGE, WE NEO-PAGANS [NO MATTER WHAT TRADITION WE FOLLOW] COME TOGETHER FOR OUR RITES OF PASSAGE, FOR OUR CRONES AND SAGES HERE AT THE TURN ON THE YEAR TO THE DARK.
TONIGHT WE CLAIM AND RECLAIM WHAT IS OURS. TONIGHT WE REMEMBER RESPECT FOR OUR ELDERS, SISTERS AND BROTHERS. TONIGHT WE CLAIM THE TITLES: CRONE AND SAGE.
The women and men participating should be seated around the altar at this point. For each person, the female and male speakers approach and ask:
What is your heritage? He/she answers : I am ____________________ daughter/son of ____________________ who is daughter/son of _______________________ [as far back as they wish to go]. [Note: Crones should use mother’s side, Sages should use father’s side.]
HAIL, _______________________ DAUGHTER/SON OF __________________. IS THERE ANYONE HERE WHO WOULD LIKE TO SHARE SOMETHING THEY FEEL OR KNOW ABOUT THIS CRONE/SAGE?
If someone wishes to share this is the time.
WHAT NAME DO YOU TAKE AS CRONE/SAGE?
Each person states her/his CRONE/SAGE name, then the speaker says,
IN THIS GATHERED COMPANY, SEEN AND UNSEEN, AMONGST LIVING FRIENDS AND ANCESTORS PASSED, WE NAME YOU _________________, CRONE/SAGE AMONGST US.
Group: WELCOME _____________________!
Each Crone/Sage gets this specialized treatment until all are complete.
Female speaker repeats the Charge of the Crone:
“I AM THE BEAUTY OF THE DARK MOON AND THE DARK EARTH BENEATH YOUR FEET. I AM REPOSE IN THE EVENING OF YOUR LIFE. I AM THE SKIN AND BONES OF YOUR EXISTENCE. I AM SHE WHO IS WEATHERED BY TIME, AGED TO PERFECTION. I AM THE MIDWIFE TO THE DYING, PROMISE OF TRANSITION AND REBIRTH IN THE CYCLE OF LIFE AND DEATH AND LIFE AGAIN. ALL ACTS OF BIRTHING AND DYING ARE MY RITUALS.
I AM THE DARKNESS YOU FEAR AND WELCOME. I AM THE FREEDOM TO EXPRESS YOUR ESSENCE, I AM THE COURAGE TO CAST ASIDE THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS AS YOU LIVE LIFE ACCORDING TO YOUR OWN PLAN, IN TUNE WITH YOUR OWN TRUTH. I AM THE WISDOM THAT CAN GUIDE THE WORLD.
I – WHO HAVE BEEN CALLED CERRIDWEN, HECATE, DEMETER, KALI, AND BY MANY OTHER NAMES SPEAK TO YOU IN YOUR SEARCH! I AM THE ENERGY OF THE OLD, THE KNOWLEDGE OF WHEN TO END, OF WHEN TO CUT THE CORD. I WAS WITH YOU AT YOUR BIRTHING AND I WILL BE WITH YOU TO EASE THE TRANSITION OF YOUR DYING INTO THE WORLD BEYOND.”
Male speaker repeats the Charge of the Sage:
“LISTEN TO THE WORDS OF THE HORNED GOD,
THE GUARDIAN OF ALL THINGS WILD AND FREE,
KEEPER OF THE GATES OF DEATH,
AND WHOSE CALL ALL MUST ANSWER.
I AM THE HUNTER OF KNOWLEDGE AND THE SEEKER OF THE HOLY QUEST,
I – WHO STAND IN THE DARKNESS OF LIGHT AM HE WHOM YOU HAVE CALLED DEATH.
I – THE CONSORT AND MATE OF HER WE ADORE, CALL FORTH TO THEE.
I AM THE CORN AT HARVEST AND THE FRUIT ON THE TREES. I AM HE WHO LEADS YOU HOME.
I – WHO HAVE BEEN CALLED CERNUNNOS, PAN, HERNE, OSIRIS, HADES AND BY MANY OTHER NAMES, SPEAK TO YOU IN YOUR SEARCH.
SEEK ME BEST WITH LOVE AND STRENGTH.
HEAR MY CALL ON LONG WINTER NIGHTS AND WE SHALL STAND TOGETHER GUARDING HER EARTH AS SHE SLEEPS.
All: HAIL TO ALL WHO STAND TOGETHER WITH OUR COMMUNITY’S CRONES AND SAGES. BLESSED BE.
SPINNING THE COMMUNITY WEB:
Each Crone and Sage gets a skein of yarn. Chanting, they begin weaving our community web from one direction to another in any order that they wish. Each should pass off their skein to another member of the community to continue weaving the web. As they pass off the skeins, the Crones and Sages and speakers move back to their respective places in the circle. While the weaving is still underway:
RELEASE THE QUARTERS AND OPEN THE CIRCLE.
North caller releases the north and extinguishes the candle.
West caller releases the west and extinguishes the candle.
South caller releases the south and extinguishes the candle.
East caller releases the east and extinguishes the candle.
When the center is ready, end the weaving and release the Goddess/God and Extinguish the candle.
All: May the circle be open but unbroken. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again. Blessed be.
With scissors, cut apart the weaving to allow it be taken home by everyone taking part in the circle. SINGING.
Everyone took home pieces of the woven web for their personal altars and to weave into hair and clothing. Everyone also took part in taking the space down to and leaving nothing but footprints and energy.
We are planning our next Long Island Pan-Pagan Full Moon Assemblage in at the Full Moon just after Beltaine on May 4. Time will tell.