HearthBeats: Notes from a Kitchen Witch

Milestones: rituals for life’s moments

MM and welcome to my kitchen. Come in, sit down and grab a cuppa something yummy while we chat. This month I would like to talk about milestones of life. These are the moments in your life that make a huge difference as well as some that are smaller but equally important. We all know the big ones; marriage, birth, death, but what about coming of age? What about Croning? These and some others are important as well.

I am sharing some ritual ideas and plans for some of the life rituals that I have been involved in.

First as I see it is the birth rite. When your child is first born, or about to be born. Having a ritual that will ask the goddess of birth and motherhood to come in and watch over you and your child during this time. Creating a sacred space for your birthing to happen. Many of us will set up a circle, calling the element to bring the energies so that the baby will be exposed to them firsthand. Call of God and Goddess to be present at the birth and to guide and protect during the birth. This is a personal event and can only be written and enacted by the parents and the High priest or priestess involved.

Second would be the naming ritual. This is when you would present your child to the circle and to the Goddess and God in a formal setting, placing the guidance for the future with the deity of your choice. You would Name your child in front of the God and Goddess and elements you would start by bring all involved to the space. Casting circle, calling you elements and deities as well as your ancestors. Then picking up your child you would introduce that child to each element, deity and ancestor and then to each person in the circle. At this time you would expect each element, deity, ancestor and person in the circle to “gift” your child with a blessings or gift that will assist in its growing up.

Third as I see it is the coming of age ritual. This ritual would happen around age 13, when a female begins her cycle and male would start growing facial hair. These are signs that there bodies are maturing and they would have been (in the past) considered adults. This is when the child is introduced as an “adult” to the elements. This ritual is when you may want to give your child elements that could be incorporated into their altars. Wooden Athame, flameless candles for the quarters, I went to the craft store and found figurines that could be used to represent each of the elements and God and Goddess. Or you could talk to a pagan friendly potter and have them shape representation for you. If your child has been raised in the craft then they will know how to honor their Altar. You may just need to guide them a bit.

Fourth on my list would be birthday rituals.. Every year we are alive is a blessing (of at least I hope you feel that way) and should be celebrated by reaffirming you beliefs and desires. This can be as simple as a birthday candle wish or as elaborate as a full blow ritual that you re-assert your commitment to your Deities.

Now I know some may think that I have the line up a little off as I am listing Marriage or Handfasting as less important than birth . Well times are changing and many women are choosing to have children but never to marry. Or same sex couples who either don’t marry or cannot yet by law marry are still having children. So in my order of important marriage is a bit down the list. This does not mean that I hold them any less sacred. I have been married to the same man for over 20 years. But many do not feel that traditional marriage is the way to go. Handfasting seems to be the ritual of choice. This entails casting your circle but leaving a door cut in it. Invite all the guests to enter and be welcome and then guide the groom in. circle him clockwise into the circle and stand him at the altar. When ready the bride enters in circle and is also walked clockwise into the circle placing her in front of the groom. Then close the circle. I personally do not ask who gives the bride away as I do not consider her property to give away. But if this is a choice of the bride then this is where that should happen. The official (HP or HPS) would bind their left hands together and allow then to speak either prepared vows or vows they have chosen. I have then guided them around the circle, introducing them as man and wife to each of the elements and Deities. Asking guidance for their energy to be separate but join together thus strengthening them. Then walk them again introducing them as man and wife to all the guests and then allowing them one last walk around the circle to the doorway (at this time people could be throwing flower petals or blowing bubbles until they leave through the door cut in the circle), the guests can follow out and then as they go forth the official and then thank the elements and Deities.

Sixth I would say is the Aging ritual or the croning rite. This is to celebrate that we have found a new phase of our lives. We are no longer maidens, youth that are running round fertilizing and propagating the earth. And we are no longer the Mothers (fathers), chasing kids and teaching them how to be good people. We are now the crones; the wise ones who have hopefully learn a wealth of information and can now help guide our children and their children in being a force of good in our world. Help guide the changes to heal rather than harm. This is a more personal ritual that is between you and your Deities or with your coven (group) and you and Deities.

Lastly would be the passing on ritual. The ritual that we would use to guide our loved one on to whatever afterlife we may believe in. and to raise energy to heal the damaged hearts of the living. In this ritual we, as the family of the dead, would cast circle, asking each element to watch over our loved on and guide them into the resting place. We would call whatever deity we may have used or that the dead used, and ask that Deity to light the way so that our loved one would not stray or become lost. Lastly we may ask our ancestors to make a place among them for a much beloved member of the family and to help them to transition and to add their wisdom to the mix. After we would ask each person to remember the loved one with a good memory, because that loved one will never truly be gone.. Only harder to reach. And as long as we keep them in our hearts we will never lose them at all.

Now most if not all of these rituals are causes for celebration. Even a death can be celebrated as a life well lived and a soul who is now able to visit with God and Goddess. I wish there to be a big beach BBQ as my “wake” I want to crying, just laughter and memories of how I may have touched their lives.. joyful that I am now moving on to my turn on the wheel.. and that I may yet see them in another form.

That being said, celebrate. Have a big happy party, enjoy life in it many many phases. Share happiness and love and live connected.

Thank you for coming and checking my kitchen out.

Blessed Hearth and Home

The Hearthkeeper