Thursday, June 27, 2013

An Earth Ritual for a Departed Friend

An Earth Ritual for a Departed Friend

by Searles O'Dubhain


Let the friends of the departed one gather together and discuss the life of the one who has gone on. Let many toasts be made to the good that has been done and would have been done. Let special toasts be done for those things that will be done by those present to finish the work that the friend would have done, honoring the spirit of the departed one. When these things are done (at whatever time, both in the oath giving and the work of fulfilling) let the spirit of the friend be near and within the work.


After the gathering has come together in pledges and sureties; through oaths of toasting for the friend's work that is yet to be done, then let those who are tied together in spirit approach the burial site

Let everyone circle the place of rest and burial three times in the direction of the Sun.

At the first encircling, let the group chant the name of the departed friend,

"Name of Friend,
Name of Friend,
Name of Friend,

There was beauty in your form,
There was music in your voice,
The speech of true friendship."

At the second encircling, let the group again chant the name of the departed friend, saying:

"Name of Friend,
Name of Friend,
Name of Friend,

You were the gift of hospitality,
You were the means of generosity,
The food of life's friendship."

At the third encircling, let the group once again chant the name of the departed friend, saying:

"Name of Friend,
Name of Friend,
Name of Friend,

You return your Wealth to the Land,
Your Life is the Sea surrounding us,
The Sky above us is the Light of your Spirit."

When all have stopped encircling let the following words be said:

"The World Tree grows within our Center.
The World Tree grows within our Center."


The Light of the East:

"The face of Nature laughs in the springtime, her breath fresh and her eyes clearest blue.

Horses gather at the river's edge to drink its fresh clean water, the sparkling waterfall cries with joy as its torrent hits the rocks.

The blackbird's call is wild and free, rejoicing at the new abundance of food, the cuckoo, that lover of warmth, begins its happy chorus.

Sheep and cattle gobble the crisp, juicy grass, the meadows are alight with the colors of flowers in bloom.

The Sun glints through the fresh green leaves, the wind rustling through the branches in the harp of Nature, playing a song of love.

Men are vigorous and strong, women pretty and gay; the whole world is in love with its Creation."


"You, "Name of Friend" are at the Center of that Creation.
You,"Name of Friend"are in the Land of Forever Spring."

The Warmth of the South:

"Nature's face smiles in the summer, her breath sweet, her eyes soft hazel.

The sea is calm, its waves gently licking the sandy beach, the rivers skip quietly down the valleys, speckled salmon leaping in their crystal waters.

Bees struggle to carry in their feet the sticky harvest from the flowers, ants scurry hither and thither to find food.

It is the season for long journeys, for the days are long, robbers have no darkness to hide their evil deeds, so the lanes are safe.

A cheerful breeze sweeps the tops of the trees, while below the heat settles on the earth, the dogs are too warm to bark, the cats to lazy to hunt.

Men must rest every hour from their sweaty labors, and women work in the shade, people are at peace with their Mother."


"You, "Name of Friend", have been embraced by the Earth Mother.
You,"Name of Friend", are now a part of Life's Song."

The Harvest of the West:

"Nature's face is lined with care in autumn, her breath short and her eyes golden brown.

The rivers are murky and low, and the ponds muddy and slimy, neither people nor animals can find clear water to drink.

The birds are fat with eating the berries of the hedges, they must fill their bellies before the days grow cold and short.

The horses are weary carrying the heavy harvest on their backs, the grass which the sheep and cattle eat is thick and tough.

The leaves turn yellow at their edges, and then become brown and brittle, the winds blow them from their branches.

Men spend every hour in the fields cutting the corn, while the women gather fruits and nuts from the forest, people have no time to remember their Beginnings."


"You, "Name of Friend", are the early Harvest of Life's finest.
You, "Name of Friend", are our memory of Life itself."

The Darkness of the North:

"The face of nature is solemn in winter, her breath chill, and her eyes pale.

Ducks shiver as they float in icy ponds, the sea heaves, its waves beating against the cliffs.

The birds' song is muffled and sad, as they search for scraps of food, only the
ravens are glad, feeding on crimson blood.

The tiny animals are asleep in their holes, with food for the winter, the cattle and sheep huddle for warmth.

The trees are bare, the wind whistling through their branches, the earth is barren and dark, covered with black wet leaves.

The men cut wood for the fire, while the women cook hot, thin soup, people contemplate death, when they shall meet their Beginning again."


"You, "Name of Friend", have trod the Sod of Death.
You , "Name of Friend", have created the Sod of Life."


Special friends and loved ones may share their honorings with the gathering about the departed friend. When everyone has shared their blessings and thoughts, the ritual leader should address the group once again.


"The Earth is our Mother who holds "Name of Friend" in Her arms:

Body to the Earth, Life to the Sea, Spirit to the Heavens."

""Name of Friend" is one with the Elements:

Stones and Bones,
Earth and Flesh,
Plants and Skin,
Water and Blood,
Wind and Breath,
Moon and Dreams,
Stars and Thoughts,
Sun and Inspiration,
Heaven and Soul."

""Name of Friend"The River of Spirit that flows within the Tree of Life.

"Name of Friend" is the Tree of Life that grows between the Worlds of Creation."

"We ask that the blessings of our gods be upon you, and within you , and that you are always to be found within our Sacred Center, our own Tree of Life."

"May the Three Gods of Danu Dream you,
Inspire you,
And Chant your Name,
Across Time, across Space, across Lives,
In Darkness and in Light,
Within the Fires of the People and the Gods."

After these words are read (or said), then let each that is around the Tree of Life take a handful of soil from the grave and leave a stone or a flower in return.

Say these words to the Gathering:

"We are here in the Center of Life and Death,
Surrounded by the seasons and a part of the Tree itself.
Here in our hands is the Sod of Death that will live again.
Let each of you take it into your lives,
to be a new Life and a new Beginning."

""Name of Friend", we leave a part of you here and take a part of you with us,
to be planted and nurtured and to bloom again in the Spring time.

When the Center connects us we will hear your voice and , sing with you
When the Center surrounds us we will be together, though never far apart,
When the Center opens for us, the Tree of Life will bloom again in the beauty
of the Three Worlds."


"We are going home with you, to your home, to our home,
We are going home with you to your home of winter.
We are going home with you, to your home, to our home,
We are going home with you, to your home of autumn, spring and summer.
We are going home with you, "Name of Friend", friend of our hearts' home and our
home of friendship."

Each should take their Sod of New Life to their homes and special places, perhaps to grow a tree, or a flower, and perhaps to share a song with a special friend in the beauty of the Moonlight.

Much of this ritual uses poetry adapted from the following works:

_ Anamchara _ by John O'Donohue.
_ Carmina Gadelica _ by Alexander Carmichael.
_ Celtic Fire _ by Robert Van de Weyer.

Feel free to change it and use it as you see fit and is appropriate for the honoring of your friend.


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