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In Gratitude

PURPOSE: To give thanks to the universe in general and to our ancestors, spiritual guides, and the powers that watch over us. It can be used to address a general intent shared by the group (which all are thankful for), or it can be used by each individual to thank for specific reasons. In addition to giving thanks it is also a dedication to the elements to continue to accept and use the gifts they bestow and to nurture their qualities in balance within.

COMMENTARY: This ritual was created and initially performed by a Sibylline Class. It is deceptively simple. After performing it our group realized how healthy and healing it was to "say thanks" rather than to ask for something. We made time to see the gifts and love that grace our lives. We became aware of how much there was to say thank you for and at how the action of saying thanks strengthened our love for others and for ourselves.

TOOLS

  • 4 different color candles for each quarter
    (red, blue, green, and yellow)
  • 1 white candle for spirit
  • Broom
  • Thank you notes and pens
  • Gratitude incense (or another favorite one)
  • Salt and water
  • Athame or wand
  • Chalice (2 – one for saltwater and one for beverage)
  • Cauldron
  • Sage for smudging
  • Cookies and Juice for "cakes and ale"

PREPARATION

  • The altar is laid out with all the tools (notes, pens, athame, cookies, chalices, sage, and any other items that are appropriate for the group)
  • The color candles are placed on the watchtower points (yellow/east/air, red/south/fire, green/north/earth, blue/west/water)
  • The white candle is placed either in the center of the circle or on the main altar – it represents spirit.
  • Any other tools that the group brings may be presented at this time. It is possible to create an altar for each watchtower with gifts and representations of that element.
  • Each element is assigned to a specific ritualist who is responsible for the main greeting and invocation of thanks. In this way each person in the ritual contributes. Spirit is reserved for a group meditation.

RITUAL

Sweep the circle clean

Smudge the participants

Ground and Center as a group

All participants gather in front of the main altar set in the East as a symbol of the rising sun and new beginnings but if the group is in need of a specific quality to manifest it may be positioned elsewhere.

Blessing of the athame, chalice, salt and incense (infusing them as the elements of creation)

Basic Saltwater Purification
(calling in and sanctifying the elements of creation earth air fire and water, and consecration of the tools)

Watchtowers

The candles at each watchtower are lit by their designated person. As they light the candle they read their invocation indicating gratitude for the attributes of that specific element. Each invocation is written by the participant if there is need to follow a specific style or focus this should be outlined to the participants before the ritual. The Invocations below were written by our group.

EAST/AIR
Hear me Guardians of the East, the element of Air.
I Call to you tonight with open heart and clear voice to offer thanks...
For the wind that brings inspiration and plays with our thoughts...
For the ability of communication that offers us with the power of understanding...
For the new dawn that greets us and offers a place to begin anew.
For the moments of poetry, song, and story that blossom within.
We thank you for the breath that gives us life.


WEST/WATER
Guardians of West – Element of Water
We call you today to thank you for the gifts you give to our lives
Because water is always surrounding us
From our mother's womb to the waves of the ocean
From a sprinkle of rain to an intense waterfall
The blood in our veins and the tears in our eyes
You give us emotions, love, dreams, imagination
You cleanse us and heal us
Thank you for being here with us today and always
We honor and we thank thee

NORTH/EARTH
Powers of Earth,
We thank you for your gifts and blessings in our lives,
The food that nourishes us,
The homes we live in.
We give thanks for our bodies and their abilities to sustain us,
To feel pleasure,
And to dance upon the Sacred Ground.
We honor and thank thee,
Powers of Earth!


SOUTH/FIRE
We offer our thanks to the South, the element of Fire…
For bringing us the long days of summer so that we may enjoy evening sunsets over the lake…
For inspiring us to explore new expressions of our creativity while still embracing the arts we love…
For lighting the passions within, so that we may connect more deeply with the world around us…
For delivering us the strength and courage we need to open ourselves to all that life brings…
We thank you for the spark that burns within us all.

Goddess & God Invocation

Hail to the Lady of the Moon
Goddess of the standing stones
Your children have gathered, and we call You
Lady of a thousand voices
Ever waxing, ever waning,
Come if You will to our Circle
Hail and welcome

Hail to the Lord of the Earth
God of the ancient groves
Your children have gathered, and we call You
Lord of a thousand names
Ever living, ever dying,
Come if You will to our Circle
Hail and welcome.

Writing of Gratitude & Thanks (10 minutes)

After the four directions have been called the group meets in the center and sits. The High Priest/ess directs the group to begin writing the thank you notes. The thank you notes can include anything the person is thankful for.

"Let's begin writing our thank you notes, let our hearts guide us in this task".

Meditation & Introspection (10 minutes)

After the group has finished their notes it is time for a guided meditation. Flowing and peaceful music may accompany the meditation if desired.

May our spiritual guides lead us to this trip to our inner self where we will find all the positive and negative things that helped us being here tonight, in body and spirit.

[The meditation begins with a progressive relaxation of the body. Once everyone has entered a light trance continue with the following.]

“Before you is a door. It can be as simple or as ornate as you prefer...
Open the door, and enter into a room of your creation... In this room, you are surrounded by things that make you feel safe, comfortable, happy, and peaceful.
In the middle of the room are several chairs... One of which you feel particularly drawn to... Go now, and sit in the chair..."

"Take some time to release any nervousness or apprehension you may have about encountering your nonphysical companions..."

"Once you feel ready, stand, and look at the wall in front of you... You notice there is another door that wasn’t there before... Approach the door, and mentally invite your non-physical companions to come to you; you’re spirit guides, angels, ancestors, totems, and anyone else in the spiritual realms you wish to include... Open the door, and carefully observe the beings that come in... Invite them to sit in the chairs with you.. Speak with them about whatever you like, and be sure to take the time to listen to their wisdom..."

"It is now time to say goodbye... As your non-physical companions begin to leave through the door they came through, feel their love and energy surrounding and blessing you. Once they have left, close the door... Now leave the door through which you came through, and return to this time, this place. Feel your body. Wiggle your fingers and toes, and when you are ready, open your eyes.”

After the meditation the group may wish to spend a few minutes sharing their thoughts.

The Thank You notes are placed in a glass bowl and blessed with the elements. They are burned with fire in a cauldron of incense. Then sprinkled with water to douse the embers. After the circle is open, the ashes are buried in the earth.

Cakes & Ale

An offering of Bread and juice is made to the divine first.

The rest of the feast can then be then shared with the group. Foods that are particularly flavorful such as strawberries, sourdough, apples, honey, etc. remind us of the sweetness of life.

Open Circle

The High Priest/ess says farewell and opens the circle. Alone or with the group the High Priest/ess buries the ashes of the Thank You notes.

*From “Call of the Elements” by Dianne Sylvan, originally published in Philosophy of Wicca.

     


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