On the Feast of the Assumption 2016, Soeur Marie Courage and a friend who is an ordained minister built a rose petal mandala in honor of the Blessed Mother in Oakland, CA, as part of Raylene Abbot's International Peace Petal Pilgrimage. Thank you, Mother Divine!
Contributed by Sr. Marie Intégrité
Anyone can do this practice, and I encourage you to do so. Words are power. Power that can lead to actions. Like a candle, your light is bright, and it spreads. Imagine a world filled with candles lit by peace, and all the light radiating from them filling the world. THAT is the purpose of this working.
No prayers, candles, or incantations can bring back the dead, But for those whose spirits are aching, it's a start. And for those feeling helpless as to what to do, it's a start. Hopefully this practice will inspire you to take actions to create change.
You will need:
White 7-day, glass-jarred, novena candle (easily found in grocery stores).
Red string or ribbon
Print out a copy of the prayer below.
*add anything else you'd like to the practice*
What to do:
1. Wrap the red string/ribbon around the candle.
2. On the candle, with a sharpie, write the words "Bringer of Peace" (or any other words of power you'd like. Could be the name of your deity, another prayer, or a sigil you've crafted)
3. Daily, light the candle and repeat the prayer. I like to do these things at the start of the day, but it's your choice. Sit for a few moments, visualizing light emanating from your core and going out into the world. Continue the visualization to see millions of points of light over the world, all expanding. Lighting all the dark corners. Casting out shadows. Stay with your visualizations for as long as you need.
Contribution to Peace, found at the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose, CA
I contribute to Peace when I strive to express the best of myself in my contacts with others.
I contribute to Peace when I use my intelligence and my abilities to serve the good.
I contribute to Peace when I feel compassion toward all those who suffer.
I contribute to Peace when I look upon all as my brothers and sisters regardless of race, culture, or religion.
I contribute to Peace when I rejoice over the happiness of others and pray for their well-being.
I contribute to Peace when I listen with tolerance to opinions that differ from mine or even oppose them.
I contribute to Peace when I resort to dialogue rather than force to settle any conflict.
I contribute to Peace when I respect nature and preserve it for generations to come.
I contribute to Peace when I do not seek to impose my conception of God/Goddess upon others.
I contribute to Peace when I make Peace the foundation of my ideals and philosophy.
So Mote It Be.
4. Say aloud "I am a bringer of peace" as you put out the candle.
Continue this practice everyday until the candle is complete, then take the red string/ribbon and tie it on your wrist as a reminder that you ARE a bringer of peace. (repeat the prayer as often as you would like.)
You can refill the candle jar, and gift it to another person to follow the practice. Or use the jar as a vase in your home. Or dispose of it sacredly. Just don't throw it away....
Add to or adjust this to fit your needs. Any spiritual path can follow this practice. Make it your own.
Contributed by Sr. Marie Intégrité
You wake up in the morning, heat the water for your tea, or make a cup of coffee. You turn on the news or the radio. Perhaps you turn to an online news or social networking app instead. You scroll through the posts of people's cats, political memes, and some kind of Buzzfeed quiz that will reveal to you which X-Men character you are most like. Whichever way you access the information regarding events happening in this world, it still hits you like a ton of bricks....
Another death by police hands. Another senseless mass killing. Yet another suicide bomber destroying the lives of innocent people... Nearly every week we get word of these horrible tragedies, and it can feel overwhelming.
I have cried tears of sorrow for these souls and their families. I have felt anxiety and fear for my family, and the families of friends. I have screamed words of rage. I have sat at my altar with wet cheeks, begging the Great Mother for an answer to my question: "WHY?"
WHY does humanity continue to harbor hate in their hearts? WHY do we still have people who feel it is in their righteous power to kill others? WHY haven't we evolved enough to be beyond acts of great violence? WHY does this keep continuing?
I have felt lost as to what I could do to better the current situations in the world.... I could certainly protest. I could contribute money to good causes. I could do my best to educate those around me on how to be accepting of others regardless of race, gender, religion, or whom they love... While these are all noble ways to affect change around me, I felt it wasn't *quite* enough. I needed to do something more, something on an energetic level.
Not too long ago, a group of pagans made a call out on social media to hex a convicted rapist who was given a slap on the wrist for his crimes. If a group of magical people can work a hex together, couldn't a working for Peace for the greatest good be done together as well?
After the horrid tragedy at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL, I found myself crying at my altar once again. My eyes locked onto a prayer card I picked up only a few weeks prior at the San Jose Rosicrucian Museum, and I was inspired to write and post on social media a working that anyone could do to aid in spreading a white light of love and peace throughout the world. I found myself reposting this working again shortly after I heard about the horrible attack in Nice, France. I share it here with you here, in hopes that you might join me and others in this practice.
Author's Note, from guest contributor Lou Florez:
Transparency as a spiritual tool and discipline has been a foundational message in terms of the ongoing work of decolonizing my personal practice. In order to engage integrity with this directive it is important to name my privilege as it relates to patriarchy, sexism, misogyny, and conversations about women and their experiences. I am a cis-gender man and by birth have been afforded rights, resources, access to power, safety, financial opportunity, as well as, structural and systemic privileges in the cultural, governmental, and family spheres. As such, my voice will be weighed and given more legitimacy than Priestesses and change makers who have been doing the work longer than I have been alive. Another foundational corner stone in my exploration of liberative practices centers itself in the intersectional analysis of systems of oppression; meaning that as a facilitator of ritual space, ceremony has to inhabit multiple points of access in terms of resources and reflections of historically under-represented populations.
Contextualizing the Ceremony:
I am not Catholic or Christian but have had a personal relationship with Mary Magdalen as a holy ancestress in the religious/magical traditions of the West, as well as, a one of the many patronesses of agency, sovereignty, sexuality, and embodied authority, divinity, and grace. Being that I work a Catholic influenced form of Rootwork and Hoodoo, the form through which I was taught to venerate and honor Spirit follows the following structure. For those who practice multiple Afro-diasporic traditions you can see the similarities. Here is the general outlne this ceremony will follow:
- Set space
-Offering water to cool, open, and help aide in coalescing the individual and communal consciousness to task at hand.
- Asking that any negativity be averted and the ways of communication be cleared
-who are you/ how do you name yourself?
-who is in the room with you?
-who are your teachers/ who has uplifted you/ spiritual influencers?
-Evoking/Inviting Spirit in the room
-who are you calling?
-what qualities/ personality of Spirit do you want to build a relationship with?
-what is your intention for bringing them in the space?
- Divination/read it
-is it accepted?
-acknowledge every being in the room
-release the space with intention
Perform the Ritual
- Set Space
- Libation- Pouring of Waters
Cool Water, Cool Road, Cool House, it is the Owner of the Day we respect. It is the Spirits of the East we respect. It is the Spirits of the West we respect. It is the Spirits of the North we respect. It is the Spirits of the South we respect. It is the first medicine holders and diviners we respect. It is the first Mothers, Wise Mothers, Mothers who fly on the right we respect. It is the Spirit of the Earth we respect. It is the Spirit of the Divine Messenger of Transformation we respect. It is the Spirit of those who live in the Realm of the Ancestors we respect. We give respect, we give respect. May it be so!
- Removal of Obstacles
Let illness be averted from our path
Let poverty be averted from our path
Let confusion and frustration be averted from our path
Let our enemies not find our door
Let witchcraft be made impotent at our feet
Let death never see us
Mothers, Fathers, hear these words and let be so!
- Naming those present at ceremony
I come before this altar today (state your name)
- Naming teachers and those who inspired you
I respect all those teachers who have taught me the ways of medicine and spirit. I recognize and honor my lineage of blood and affinity (name names)
- Ancestral Recognition
Ancestors I call you. Ancestors I call you. Ancestors I call you. I call you three times. Ancestors who have preserved the mystery of featherless flight. You create the words of reverence and Ancestors you are welcome at this house. Please come today. Ancestors you are welcome at this house. Come and accept our offering. Whatever good things are eaten in the Realm of the Ancestors please partake. If the earthworm pays homage to the Earth, the Earth shares Her abundance. If the child honors their parent they never suffer from neglect. All respect to the powers of the Praise to the Fathers. Praise to the Mothers. Praise to the Fathers. Praise to the Mothers. Praise to the Ancestors, we ask for your help and give you thanks. Ancestors we ask for good health and we ask for the power of transformation from the Realm of the Ancestors and we give you power. Please come today. Ancestors you are welcome at this house. I give thanks. I give thanks. I give thanks. I respect all those teachers who have taught me the ways of medicine and spirit, living and dead. Ancestors, I am greeting you my friends. When I do not know which road to follow I will turn to the wisdom of the Ancestors. May it be so.
- Evoking the Creator (light white candle)
I give honor to the Womb of Creation, Monarch of the first Messengers I praise. Eldest Parent of the Ancestors. The Ruler who never faces death. Spirit of the Earth, I praise you with your praise names. You mold the light to create all things. Owner of the Mystery of Nature, whose words are the Queen of Creation. Keeper of the unknowable Mystery. Source of all the Heads in Creation. Chief Diviner of the Light who will always be praised in the sacred Grove be present in this ceremony.
- Evoking Mary Magdalen (light red candle)
Saint Mary Magdalen, Our Lady of the Ecstasy of Creation, hear our prayers. Apostle of Apostles, first witness of the act of transcendence through grace, it is you who up lift us. Saint Mary Magdalen hear our prayers, Great Lady who tramples the injustices of misogyny, hear our prayers. Honored Wise Woman, Blessed Queen who forsook the ignorance of man and claimed her divine right as the living embodiment of the Womb of Creation, hear our prayers. It is you who have been denigrated through sexism and it is you who uplifts all those who have been violated by the patriarchy, Our Lady hear our prayers. We pray for all Women this night and uplift all those who have been wounded and are in sorrow, Saint Mary Magdalene hear our prayers.
In a group, all women present take turns recounting their experiences, struggles, joys, hardships, prayers for each other. Light a tea light on the altar for each participant to uplift their lives and their prayers to heaven. All men present, witness, be silent, don’t take up space, and support.
If you are doing this ritual by yourself, light tea lights and pray for the upliftment of all women in our lives and in the world. If you are a woman, recount your experiences, struggles, joys, hardships, and prayers to Mary Magdalen herself.
Present the shrine with flowers, honey, incense, wine, perfume oils, and images of beauty and love.
Divine a messages from Saint Mary Magadelen for the group or individual. Ask through divination (tarot, runes, oracle cards, etc) Receive message and contemplate it. Then, ask: i this complete? If not what needs to be given? Listen to spirit or use futher divination to help you receove all information needed.
Speak words of reverence and gratitude, then close the ceremony in your own words.
This liturgy was inspired by the works of St. Hildegard, St. Theresa, as well as English translations of Oriki by Awo Falokun.
From Soeur Marie Verité:
My eighth-grade class at the parochial Immaculate Heart of Mary grammar school began preparations to receive our Confirmation into the Catholic Church when I was thirteen years old. Confirmation is kind of a big deal in general because it’s the “confirmation” of the vows a Catholic child’s godparents took when that child was baptized, usually as a baby. Confirmation, they told us, was when we stood up in front of God and everybody and said, “Now I’m able to speak for myself and I can wholeheartedly say I’m a soldier for Christ.” Not in those words, exactly, but that was the basic idea. And it was a big deal at that age because we got to dress up in our best Farrah-Fawcett hairdos and our new Candies platform shoes and parade around in front of each other and our families like we were finally somebody. We practiced the prayers and processions for weeks, and the day we received our special red Confirmation gowns was like a holiday – although I will take to my grave the sound of our teacher Miss Paul’s gravelly voice admonishing us with disapproval and disdain to pay attention as to when to sit and when to stand, because “You don’t want to stand out like a sore thumb.” You know, because of the red gowns. God forbid, Miss Paul. God forbid.
We were to choose a sponsor from among our friends and family (well, actually we were to choose a sponsor from among the adults we knew, not from amongst our own personal friends, which would have been hilarious and awesome but hardly conducive to the spiritually solemn tone principal Sister Anne Christine and celebrant Father Kenny were hoping to strike). I have no idea now who my sponsor was: I think my parents roped one of my mother’s friends from her bridge club into doing it for me, or maybe it was one of my mother’s sisters. I can’t recall, because frankly the idea of calling up a grown-up and saying, “Hey, there’s this thing I have to do and I need someone to stand up and promise to Jesus, the Holy Mother Church, the Archbishop of the Diocese, the priests and nuns of the parish, and all my family and friends that I’m not a lunatic truant possessed by Satan. Want the job?” terrifies me even now, forty years later. I can’t imagine how thoroughly I disassociated during that phone call when I was thirteen.
Once we had done that, we got to choose our patron saint. I remember sitting in class and thinking about which saint I wanted to pick. I don’t think I debated long; most of the girls in my class were choosing St. Theresa of Lisieux or St. Bernadette or St. Lucy, all of whom are badasses in their own way, but all I could think of for some reason was my mother’s name: Joan. I looked it up and there she was: La Pucelle, St. Joan of Arc, woman warrior, martyr, wielder of a great and powerful sword, Patron Saint of France, badass. That was it. She wasn’t girly, she wasn’t feminine. She was a warrior for God. She didn’t seem to mess around: she spoke with the angels and got shit done. There was a problem in the fifteenth century with establishing the French monarchy in the wars with the English, so Joan got on that problem and fixed it. She didn’t talk about it, she didn’t whine or wheedle; she got herself a horse and a sword and went to work.
Well, ok. That’s not exactly how it happened. There was a great deal of testing and being rejected by the French authorities and lots and lots of talking and arguing and proving she wasn’t a “sorceress” before she even got near the French Dauphin, and there are some historians who believe that she never actually fought in any battles at all and never killed anyone but merely was present with her banner so as to encourage the French army who could see her and believe that God was with them. But still, I didn’t care. I was thirteen and romantic, and here was a heroine. Not just a saint, but a real-life heroine who saw problems and fixed them, who prayed and got her first vision from the angels when she had been my age. I felt empowered and emboldened by this woman, this fighter. This was somebody I could get behind. I didn’t question for a minute that she heard voices and maybe might have been crazy. I didn’t question that she was a zealot who rallied France into a religious war to get the Dauphin his throne back. Something in me resonates with that, and it’s something I’ve had to keep a careful eye on in all the years since, that willingness to hear God and do whatever needs doing in order to raise the Holy Flag: I question things now, watch out for those who would use my romantic warrior’s passion for their own purposes, and make sure that I never try to convince anybody to do anything in the name of the Divine that they don’t already want to do. I watch people’s ethics carefully, and try to keep a weather eye out for those who wield spiritual power without a moral compass, making sure I don’t fall victim to them like Joan did. My success in this endeavor has been varied, but at least nobody has burned me at the stake.
Her death haunts me. Sixteen years ago I took a summer acting class for fun, and one of the plays we worked with was G.B. Shaw’s “St. Joan.” I performed a few of her monologues, but it wasn’t until the teacher of the class had the idea to have two class members clasp my wrists and arms as if imprisoning me, and then had me speak her final speech as if I were fighting for my life, as St. Joan had been five hundred and sixty-nine years before, that I felt a movement in my soul. It still shakes me, sixteen years after that performance: the howling rage at the Church’s betrayal, the profound and passionate faith in a God beyond the politics of Man, and a love of the natural world not for its own sake but because it was evidence for anyone with eyes to see that God, the Divine, is present and immediately around us all.
My voices were right. … [T]hey told me you were fools, and that I was not to listen to your fine words nor trust to your charity. You promised me my life; but you lied. You think that life is nothing but not being stone dead. It is not the bread and water I fear: I can live on bread: when have I asked for more? It is no hardship to drink water if the water be clean. Bread has no sorrow for me, and water no affliction. But to shut me from the light of the sky and the sight of the fields and flowers; to chain my feet so that I can never again ride with the soldiers nor climb the hills; to make me breathe foul damp darkness, and keep from me everything that brings me back to the love of God when your wickedness and foolishness tempt me to hate Him: all this is worse than the furnace in the Bible that was heated seven times. I could do without my warhorse; I could drag about in a skirt; I could let the banners and the trumpets and the knights and soldiers pass me and leave me behind as they leave the other women, if only I could still hear the wind in the trees, the larks in the sunshine, the young lambs crying through the healthy frost, and the blessed blessed church bells that send my angel voices floating to me on the wind. But without these things I cannot live; and by your wanting to take them away from me, or from any human creature, I know that your counsel is of the devil, and that mine is of God. (“St. Joan,” vi)