Nova Scotia Coast
Leader : Ocean's Edge Date : 05 January 1996
Ocean's Edge stands on a moonlit beach of a large open cove. It is not a sandy beach, but rocky, covered in smooth pebbles and small bits of broken shells. To either side of the cove large rocky cliffs loom from the water. The wind blows icy but it stirs the blood, the night is clear and the moon and the stars are reflected brightly in the shimmering mirror of the bay. Opening her arms to all who would come and share this night. Warmly friends are greeted. To the left a small steep path leads up the cliffside as we follow single file to the top of the rocks. And out at the end of the land, where the cove meets open water, and one can feel the vastness of our mother Atlantic, one still feels as if you could just reach out and touch the shores of the ancient homeland the Scottish highlands. There stands here a large odd looking building, obviously dishelved with disuse. Hewn of rock and timber, still it stands many years after the last person has closed the doors behind them. As we near one can see that it has in fact two stories, the first quite tall and the second very low. Huge double doors of solid oak, beaten with age are slowly pulled open on rusty iron hinges. We leave the doors, open facing north, facing the cold harsh North Atlantic, and the salt air fills the room. The room itself it a large hall, along the southern wall directly opposite a tiny staircase, the tattered remains of many ships standards but dominating the wall, a large figurehead, despite it age and disrepair, the lovely features still shine through, she who is both Goddess and sea. Dominating the right wall is a massive fireplace, built of rock as tall as man, hewn out of the very cliffs on which we stand by men who knew the joy and blessing of such a labour, it oaken mantle now blackened with age and salt air holds two oils lamps of a kind referred to as hurricane. The left side of the room is a huge bar, again of oak it runs a good twenty-five feet down the side of the room, affixed to the wall behind three more lamps of the type seen on the mantle. A large fire roars in the fireplace keeping back the bite of the wind through the open doors but not the chill. A short way into the room, but still near the northern entrance stands a rough altar. It is not pretty, but it has dignity, built of the timbers of many a good ship lost, it wood dark and rough, it speaks of an age long past. As we gather in the center of the room, Ocean steps to the altar, and turn to my beloved friends.
"Welcome dear ones to this place, the land of my birth, and the birth of my forefathers. This room despite it's lack of grace was a sacred place to my people. For this room in many ways was the definition of their lives. It was here the blessings were said before the boats put to sea, and it was here they returned to, to drink the ale and whiskey and thank she who had seen them home safe. And to count the ones who did not return, and to drink to their safe passage to other seas. And in the small rooms above us abed was always found for those who had none. Many years have past since the blessings have been said, and the stories told upon the return of the boats. For this was once a land of a strong proud people, but mark well the lesson of this place, for so as the earth and the seas are laid bare, so shall mankind follow it. When time and technology moved on, forgotten were the men of the earth, the ones who toiled their lives away in the dark tunnels of this place, bringing to us all, the life sustaining coal and oil, that kept the lamps and the fires burning. And when the factory ships came from across this vast ocean seeking the riches of this place; cod, turbot, sole, lobster, scallops and others. But the greed of man defies even the great will of the Goddess, and as the fish were gone so went three centuries or more of a proud strong people and their proud but simple way of life, a life born and lived of she who was a stern but well loved Mother, my Mother the North Atlantic. As witches, our histories are tales woven together, fabrics made of generation after generation of oration, the story teller a much revered position. And so to it was with the people of this place. On a night such as this one the lamps would be lit, and the drinks would be poured and they would gather round and the stories of more than 3 centuries of history would be told. Tonight I welcome you to this place to honour our Mother and our Father to add our weavings to the tapestries and to leave the threads hanging for our children and their children to pick up. And in so doing we honour also this place and the people and way of life now lost but not forgotten.
Cold wind on the harbour and rain on the road
Wet promise of winter brings recourse to coal
There's fire in the blood and a fog on Bras d'Or
The giant will rise with the moon
'Twas the same ancient fever in the Isles of the Blast
That our fathers brought with them when the "went West"
It's the blood of the Druids that never will rest
The giant will rise with the moon.
So crash the glass down! Move with the tide!
Young friends and old whiskey are burning inside
Crash the glass down! Fingal will rise
With the Moon
In inclement weather the people are fey
Three thousand year stories as the night slips away
Remembering Fingal feels not far away
The giant will rise with the moon.
The winds in the north, there be new moon tonight
And we have no Circle to dance in it's sight
So light a torch, bring the bottle and build the fire bright
The giant will rise with the moon!
"Come my friends for tonight we weave."
Ocean steps to the circle, taking SongSpring hands in her own and kissing her cheek.
"Welcome my friend".................
SongSpring emerges from the circle and returns the kiss of her dear friend Ocean and hugs her warmly. Her robe and cloak are gently moving in the cold wind to reveal countless shades of green and brown woven delicately into the fabric. The moonlight above and the light of the many lamps in the ancient room made the colors seem to shift and blend together, swirling in patterns that seem older than time itself. She moves towards the altar slowly, lights a silver candle upon the altar representing the Goddess, pauses a moment, raises her hands high above her head, then speaks.
"Blessed Lady, Goddess of Many names, we welcome you among us this night, as we come to this place and time which both is and is not, to celebrate in each other and in You."
SongSpring pauses for another moment, lowering her arms. She closes her eyes as a warm, nurturing smile emerges upon her lips. She again raises her hands, but this time they form silent words, sign language. She circles her open palm about her face slowly to form the sign of beautiful, then as she closes her hand to the right of her face, she moves her hand to softly stroke her cheek in a slow downward motion forming the sign meaning girl or Maiden, as her hand draws down, she opens her palm, facing her fingertips upward while touching her thumb to her chin, the sign of Mother, then she fluidly closes her hand again while drawing her hand down and ever so slightly moving it from side to side, tracing a very long, imaginary beard, forming the sign meaning age... representative to her of the Crone.
"Maiden, Mother, Crone... all of these you are, from each aspect of you we learn. From your earth, we learn. From the seasons of the earth and in our life, as the wheel of time passes, as we continue to dance the spiral dance of life, we are ever learning, forever continuing the journey onward, the journey without end, my we ever learn as we chose each path. May you always remind us ever of the time from whence we came. Forever bring to our minds those whom have gone before, reveal to us the lessons they leave for us, forever remind us so that in keeping our past alive we may better shape our future. May we come together this night, emerging for one moment from our individual paths, to join together and to be a part of this sacred Circle. Guide us this night as we celebrate in Your Mysteries."
SongSpring turns away from the altar after taking a deep breath, breathing in the sweet incense burning upon the altar, and merges back into the circle making way for Red Deer...
...who moves thrice deosil about the circle. On the first round, he pauses to take the hands of each celebrant gathered for the ritual. As he moves on, a gossamer thread of light is spun from one person to the next. During the second and third turns, Deer moves the thread about those already gathered, finally reaching the altar and attaching the fiber there. As the energies of those gathered, of this ancient place, and of all who have and will worship here reverberate through the web of light, he silently bends to press his forehead against the rough wood.
"Papa, You who are born, having died. We rejoice in your return. We invite you here, within this time and place at the center of all times and places, to celebrate in each other and in you. During the first moon after Yule, draw strength from the bounty with which You and Mama have blessed us. Grow strong and again illuminate the languorous riot of summer. Feed from the light which now flows between us an find the best dream caught in this web to nourish your time of increase."
Above the altar, Deer traces three sigils, symbols to all of the forms our Father wears...
"Blue God, Green God and Horned God... teach us, enlighten us, dance with us. Assure that, as we celebrate these mysteries, we find the threads which lead back to our lives outside this circle, and hold a part of us always here."
As Deer returns to his place in the circle, he pauses to pluck one of the threads which link all here. A pure note arises, and all present feel the vibration which passes between them. "Listen well, my friends, for this sound is of a nature to bring one back to the circle in time of need." Deer then looks to Sharon...
...who faces East. Raising her arms, she speaks:
"Great Guardian of the East, Shining One of Light, Air and Intelligence, we welcome you this night. Join us, bless us, watch over and protect us as we gather. Empower us with Your gifts for we greatly need them all!"
She pauses, arms still raised. The atmosphere glows, each molecule of air vibrating with the Presence. Sharon smiles, lowers her arms, and whispers, "Welcome!" Then she steps back, making way for....
...Elenya, who steps forward from the southernmost point of the circle. The candle she carries flames brightly as she begins to speak:
"Hail Guardian of the South, ye Ancient Lords of Fire. We call upon you to witness this rite, protect this quarter of our circle, and charge it with your power. Please kindle our souls and spark in us all your flame of passion."
Elenya steps back into the circle, as the flame from her candle is reflected in the eyes of all those assembled. She smiles and awaits.....
...Cloud, who moves to the west and pauses for a moment to listen to the sounds of the sea.
"Powers of the West, first water of Water, crashing waves without, tide of change within, come to us as a stream of love, flowing through our lives. Whether the torrent that shakes our complacencies or the warm eddies that reassure our insecurities, ever present, ever changing."
"You who carry the past to the Source, wash our present to a future of love. We welcome your presence. Be here, now."
She steps back to await...
Midnight, who steps to the northernmost point of the circle... She feels the heartbeat of the mother earth beating for all of time beneath her feet... and though it is cold, she is filled with warmth...
"Ancient and Wise Guardians of the North, we do greet you this night and beseech you to remain with us and bear witness of this ritual, granting us protection and power.."
She pauses for a moment in thought, then returns to her place in the circle to make way for...
Ocean's Edge steps to the altar, turns and smiles warmly at her friends and companions.
"Gracious Lady, Blessed Lord we welcome thee this night, to this place, far to many moons have past since your presence has graced these hallowed walls"
Turning to the altar, she takes a small silver flask from which she splashes a golden liquid upon the altar and floor, takes one small sip, and passes the flask to SongSpring. Each take their sip and pass it to the next.
Then, turning to the open doors, to the sea, and the salt air, Ocean sings,
"Mother, let us joyfully remember all that has gone before, all that makes us who we are. Let us remember those who once were with us and are now departed, and left some of themselves with us, for their gift is great. And let us not forget that we are the living history of our children, each of our thoughts and actions change the future of the universe. And so this night I offer this tale of my childhood and my people, for it and they are who I am..."
Tom Finch turned to the waitress, "Bring me another Alpine,
I'll have one more before I go to tell Marie the news.
Well boys we're for it this time, the plant is closed for good,
Regean broke his promise and we're all through.
We're working men with no work left to do.
I always thought I have a boat just like my Dad before me,
you don't get rich but with the boats you always could make do.
But boats gave way to trawlers and packing turned to the meal.
Now that's all gone and we're all headed for the dole,
and the thought of that puts irons in my soul."
Tom Finch stood up and said good-bye, handshakes all around,
faces he'd grown up with now with their eyes cast down.
Slow foot along familiar roads above the harbour, with a passing thought,
now all of this is through, and I wonder how Marie will take the news.
The house had been so much of her, though it had hardly been a year.
She done his father's house so proud and had held it all so dear.
But there was hot tea on the table when Tom came through the door
and before he spoke she smiled and said, "I know.
The plant is gone, now how soon do we go?"
"We won't take a cent! They can stuff all their damned money! We've put a little by.
And thank god we've got no kids as yet, I think I'd want to die.
We Finches have been in this part of the world for near 200 years!
But I guess it's seen the last of us, come on Marie we're going to Toronto."
Taking again the flask as it returns. Ocean takes another small sip and raises the flask to the image of the Goddess on the far wall. In a voice almost a whisper and a tear in her eye,
"Mother, I remember."
Leaving the flask on the altar she returns to the circle, making way for.....
Owl, as she steps hesitantly before the altar. Bowing deeply, and with a self-conscious stammer, begins ...
"Welcome Lord and Lady of the realms beyond the common awareness. The elements of the earth give evidence and praise of your power. The followers of your many paths give reverence and acknowledge your presence here in this place under the beacon of the full moon, as the people of old sought refuge and safety within the beacon of the lighthouse still standing. As the efforts of man to shed light upon all, rise and fall with time, your light within us, passed from one to another, shall remain constant. As the web glows between and within us, may we come as one to give honor to you both, and in so doing, gain strength to withstand the storms in our paths."