Friday, January 20, 2012

Bereavement Prayers

Throughout history, and the time before history as we know her, people from cultures across Gaia, walking their various spiritual Paths, have always spoken with Goddess and the Ancient Ones of their respective beliefs. There are times that words "get in the way", if you will... And other times that we just simply don't know what to say. Times of grief and bereavement are two of those most precious and tender times. Perhaps that's what makes it so much more difficult. And yet, we long to find comfort in one another, in our beliefs, in Goddess, in the Ancient Ones.

I am a Death Midwife (more on the meaning of that in a few weeks, when we're upon the letter "D"). As such, I have been privileged to serve others as they are birthed from this mortal plane into the OtherWorldly Beyond. One of the great honors while doing so is to offer up prayers over the one who is Transitioning, to bless them on their Way. In a time when it seems no words are ever the "right ones", be it the death of a beloved animal companion, family member, loved one, or perfect stranger, speaking directly to Goddess and the Ancient Ones somehow always carries us to Her arms of solace and love.

As such, I give you some of the prayers I have offered in times of grief and bereavement. The first several are prayers I offered up during the time of my mother's recent passing. Below those, you will find a prayer I wrote for the death of a beloved animal companion. Naturally, you will want to put your loved one's name within the brackets as shown below. It is my deepest hope that these prayers - even a line or two to offer to someone who is filled with grief - grant you comfort for yourselves and for those with whom you grieve in your hours of need.

Bedside Prayer for One Who is Departing ~ written by Rowan Galahadria MistWalker

The black mantle of She Who Stirs the Cauldron
Is upon my beloved [mother].
The white light of the Shining Ones
Calls to my beloved [mother's] Spirit.

A perfect calm is upon sea and land,
Peace is upon the moor and meadow.
The blessing of the One Who is Three is upon my beloved [mother],
I sain Brighid's cross over her head, her breasts, her belly, her hands and feet.

Day of your ever-lasting peace and reunion with Ancestors gone Before you,
The bright and shining day of your death,
Goddess take you to Her breast and hold you in Her arms.
I pray She bid you welcome to the Realm of the OtherWorld.

Blessed Be, and blessed be what shall come of it. **********************

To "Sain", as in the second stanza, is to "make the sign of". It is a symbol of blessing. Yes, this prayer was choked out through tears! But I meant every word. Sometimes, those who linger are simply waiting for our "blessing" - our "okay" to go ahead and Go. This is never easy... And yet, how can we withhold our blessing upon a dying person's last wish - to be blessed as they Journey? And so it was that I wrote the above prayer with many, many tears and spoke it less than gracefully, though I did so with a heart full of Love and Trust in my mother's timing - in Goddess' timing.

Some may wonder what the last line of this prayer means, beyond the "Blessed Be"... Change is inevitable, and Death is one of the greatest "Bringers of Change". With the parting of our dear one from their mortal body, we begin to learn new lessons - often, whether we want to or not. The line, "and blessed be what shall come of it" asks Goddess to bless our Paths as we learn how to walk in the new reality that lies before us, to accept the lessons with compassion for ourselves and others in the time of adjustment. It reminds us to be gentle with ourselves and those around us who are also grieving.

A Blessing to Carry On ~ by Rowan G. MistWalker

Now shall I bathe my face
In the nine rays of the sun,
As my beloved [mother's] face is bathed
in the luminous light of the OtherWorld.

Now shall I lift my head
To walk the road that rises to meet me
As my beloved [mother's] head is lifted
By our ancestors who have gone before her.

May I find peace
In the arms of Goddess
As [mom] has found peace
In the Great Beyond.

May I find succor and the steadying Presence
of She of 10,000 names
As [mom] has found succor and the blessed Presence
of the Shining Ones in the OtherWorld.

So mote it be.  *****************************

A Blessing for the Bereaved ~ by Rowan G. MistWalker

Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet Earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars.
Deep peace of the infinite Peace to you.

~ Adapted from ancient Gaelic runes by Rowan Galahadria MistWalker

And another:

A Blessing for those who are Grieving ~ by Rowan Galahadria MistWalker

The Goddess, Brighid, touching the brow and heart
Spake this beannacht (blessing) of healing:
"Deep peace I breathe into you,
O weariness, here,
O ache, here!

"Deep peace, a soft, white dove to you,
Deep peace, a gentle, quiet rain to you,
Deep peace, a tree of great size to you,
Deep peace, a crackling fire in your hearth.

"Peace that is deep, breathe into you,
From a gentle breath of the east to you,
From a warm wind of the south to you,
From a sea breeze of the west to you,
From a cool and soothing mistral of the north to you.

"Peace of silver moon,
Peace of golden sun,
Peace of flocks of stars,
Peace of Earth,

"Deepest peace steadfastly support you as the green of the fields.
Deepest peace fall upon you as the sparkling dew falls,
Deepest peace light your way as the flame of a candle,
Deepest peace of the surety of the dawning of a new day,

"Deep peace draw up around you as My mantle spread,
Deep peace, wrap you in a warm embrace as My twining hair,
Deep peace fill your Being with safety as My long spear,
Peace in heart,
Peace in mind,
Peace in Spirit."  Blessed be.  ******************************

And, finally, I leave you with this prayer I wrote for the death of a beloved animal companion:

Prayer for the Death of a Beloved Animal Companion (this example for a feline)
~ written by Rowan G. MistWalker

Open the Way, Artemis, for this One to travel.
The Way is open.
Be his/her Guide, even unto the Gates of Bast's Fields,
Which You have traversed in the Before-Time.

May his/her Road be clear, Artemis, for this one to Journey.
The Road is clear.
May the Shining Ones welcome him/her
As They part the Mists to welcome and embrace this Transformed One.

May he/she find our other Beloved Companions who have gone before,
That they may play in the fields of catnip and bask in warmth together.
May he/she flourish greatly in the Land Beyond.
He/She will flourish.

May the emptiness within [kitty's humans] be transformed, Artemis.
The emptiness will be transformed.
Let [kitty's humans] memories become invocations of Joy,
That they may know peace and boundless love again...
They shall know peace and boundless love again.

Blessed Be.  ************************

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Belated Beginnings Due to Bereavement

Let me start by saying this is not the subject matter that I had envisioned the first post of this blog. For those of you who are taking part in the Pagan Blog Project, please know this is not my first post for the first of our two weeks focusing on "Things that Begin with the Letter 'B'"...

Last summer, I had the privilege of conversing with Caitlín Matthews through a series of written correspondence. In great part, due to her encouragement, I created this blog to begin sharing prayers to Goddess, as well as other thoughts and ideas imparted by the Wise Women that I have been blessed to know. To my great distress, within days of creating this blog, my mother fell gravely ill. Mum Crossed Over after a two month long arduous battle. I spent those two months by her bedside, singing to her, talking to her, praying over her, giving her reiki... Upon her death, I simply had no reserve with which to begin sharing the thoughts I wished to convey through this blog.

Now, on the cusp of Imbolc and having grieved for a goodly period of time, I find I am ready to begin. The Pagan Blog Project came at a most auspicious time, though I beg your forbearance in my tardy beginning.

Tomorrow is the first post of our thoughts and musings on all things Pagan with the letter 'B'. And so it is, without fail, I shall post - and, with a bit of winter-weather luck (ie. being snowed in), I'll even get those two back-posts done for the letter 'A'!

So then. I begin.

~ Rowan Galahadria MistWalker