A Cathartic Mother’s Day Ritual

Reverend Allyson Sbazo

Background

In today’s world, abuse is rampant. Mistreatment and outright neglect, painful punishments, and other nightmarish things happen to some as we grow up. When the world pauses to celebrate days like Mother’s Day, those of us with abusive parents stop to ask ourselves, “What do WE do?” For many, the answer is to ignore the holiday, or to lash out at others around us who may not be aware of our pain. This is counterproductive to a healthy spiritual life, though. Working through our feelings of abandonment, imperfection, guilt, and anger is very important, because it frees us up to look at our bare souls. This ritual is created with the idea of releasing anger and hatred for your mother, allowing you to embrace motherhood in different and much more positive ways.

This is written up as a ritual for a single worshiper. Please feel free to adapt it for use with groups.

Set Up

Assemble all the items for the ritual: a bell or drum, wine, fresh water, a bowl for holding dirty water, a bowl for wine offerings, a branch, a candle or oil lamp, barley, a goblet, gifts for each of the Goddesses, and a small meal or feast (for after ritual). Have them ready, either on the altar or in the basket, as appropriate. The wine should be a bottle reserved just for that ritual. Any left over may be imbibed by the attendees, considered sharing with the Gods. Take time to bathe and completely cleanse the body and soul of any miasma.

Procession

Walk quietly, piously, into the ritual area. This marks the change from profane to sacred space. You may wish to ring a bell or beat a drum slowly to accompany the pace. Treat this as seriously as a procession with a hundred people!

Purification of the People

Just outside the sacred space, have a vessel of spring or sea water and a bowl waiting. You should wash your hands with the water, into the bowl (the water in the bowl is considered unclean, and so should not be touched). If more than one person is attending, the water is poured by the priestess, and the bowl is held by the priest. When by yourself, simply pausing to wash your hands in the bowl is fine, and the water should be disposed of away from your home or garden later.

Sanctification of Sacred Space

The remaining water in the vessel is used to sanctify the sacred space and the altar. Use a branch to scatter droplets of clean water around the entire area to be used during the ritual. As you walk, you can hum, sing, or recite a prayer. End the cleansing by sprinkling yourself, then take the offering basket up to the altar, and place it before it or under it.

Ritual Lighting of Sacred Fire

The oil lamp/large candle is lit with a blessing to Hestia. This should be impromptu and not scripted. Other candles can be lit now, using a taper lit from the oil lamp.

Tossing of Barley

Scatter barley around the sacred space and altar, from a container of barley.

Preliminary Invocation

The priestess says:

You who are beyond death!

Goddesses of the Sacred Heights, the Earth around me, and the Great Below,

Hear me call!

Bless me with your presence,

Mothers of Gods,

for I wish to honor you.

Libations

Water and wine are mixed together in a wine glass or chalice. Pour the wine in first, filling the goblet half way, and then add the water. Then say:

Dear Hestia,

Receive this libation, and rejoice,

for your joy is mine this night.

Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth,

Guardian of the Home,

For you I pour out the first portion,

Accept and delight in my offerings.

For tender hearted Hecate,

Bright coiffed Lady of torches and light

Protector of childbirth and children,

Accept and delight in my offerings.

For Ox-Eyed Queen of Heaven,

Hera, thou Mother and wife,

Dark eyed one, peacock clad Goddess,

Accept and delight in my offerings.

Rhea, Mother of the Gods themselves,

Mysterious one, Great Mother,

Wise and wizened one,

Accept and delight in my offerings.

Celebration

On the altar, place a gift for each Goddess called, one at a time. Take a few moments to speak from the heart, saying what that Goddess means to you, and why. Explain to the Goddesses called that you are asking their aid in overcoming anger and negative emotions in regards to your own mother, and that your offerings are made with their help in mind. Enumerate your problems carefully, and bluntly. You may wish to have them written down, so that you can remember your issues. This can take as long or as short a time as you wish, but you should not be afraid to wallow just a little bit in your emotions. This is a good time to yell about your mother, and to allow the negative things to well up, and be cried out.

Last Libations

Once you are done, share some of the wine with the Goddesses, and then use the last part as a final libation to them. Say:

Receive these libations, and be kind,

for your joy is shared with me this night.

Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth,

Hecate, Mistress of Childbirth,

Hera, Queen of Heaven,

Rhea, Mother of the Gods,

For you I pour out the last portion,

In thanks for your help and your comfort.

Accept and delight in my offerings.

When you are done, quietly extinguish all candles and incense, if necessary. Clean up, and take any offerings outside, dispose of the dirty water, and generally tidy your altar space. Then, go have some food, with a small portion set aside for the Goddesses, in thanks.

 

Bibliography:

Neokoroi – The Temple Keepers. Template for Noumenia Ritual. [1]

Sannion’s Sanctuary. Hellenic Polytheism. [2]

Fairbanks, Arthur. A Handbook of Greek Religion. [3]

Diasia/Chloaia. A ritual. [4]

 

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