Altar tools and pieces:
A black altar cloth (if available)
goblet of ale and dish of cakes
dish of salt
bowl of water
incense
fire candle
A statue or candle each for the God and Goddess

All Coveners' athames should be placed on the altar before the Circle is cast.  Each covener shall bring a single white candle to represent their past animal friends, plus a small token for the departed spirits.  The token they shall hold or have near them in the circle until the appropriate time.  The candles will be placed on the altar before the Circle is cast.

Each quarter will have their own candles, east-yellow or white or grey, south-red or orange, west-blue or purple, north-green or brown or black.  All candles on the altar, except the spirit candles, shall be lit before the Circle is cast.
 
HPS will challenge the coveners:
Let those who wish to attend the magickal circle this evening enter of their own free will.  Else depart now in peace.

Everyone who wishes to enter enters now and will stand in a semi-circle before the altar, the HP and HPS standing before the altar.

Cast the circle, saying:
"In thy names, Lord & Lady, do I cast this magickal Circle." 3 times.
Salt Blessing:
Place the tip of the athame or fingers into the salt while saying the blessing then draw an equal armed cross at the end.
"Blessings be upon you, O Creature of Salt!
 May you be an aide & protection to us in our rites.
 In the names of our Lord & Lady."
Water Blessing:
Place the tip of the athame or fingers into the water while saying the blessing then draw an equal armed cross at the end.
"I exorcise thee, O Creature of Water!
 That thou cast from thee all impurities.
 In the names of our Lord & Lady."
 
Combined Blessing:
"Salt & Water, where thou art cast,
 no spell nor adverse purpose last,
 not in complete accord with me;
 and as I will, so mote it be!"

Put 3 scoops of salt into water with athame or 3 pinches of salt from fingers into water, stir, draw invoking Earth pentagram.

The Self Blessing (to be done by whole coven):
"Blessed be our feet which have brought us in these ways.
 Blessed be our knees which shall kneel at Her sacred altars.
 Blessed be our womb/phallus, from whence springeth all life.
 Blessed be our heart, which are Her temples and Her shrines.
 Blessed be our hands, that they may grow mighty in Her works.
 Blessed be our lips, that we may always sing Her praises.
 Blessed be our eyes, that we may see Her in all things.
 Bless us, Mother, for We our Your children."
 
Now the elements will be taken in turn around the Circle once. You take the Element, start at the correct quarter of the Circle, and walk slowly around the Circle, offering up the element at each quarter.

Aspergences (said by the person holding the Element):
East:  With the sweet air of life
       Do I bless and make sacred
       A fitting place within this O
       For the Guardians of the East.
South: With the bright fires of light
       Do I bless and make sacred
       A fitting place within this O
       For the Guardians of the South.
West:  With the warm waters of love
       Do I bless and make sacred
       A fitting place within this O
       For the Guardians of the West.
North: With the firm salt of law
       Do I bless and make sacred
       A fitting place within this O
       For the Guardians of the North.

The Elements will be replaced on the altar in their proper positions now, if they haven't already.  The people calling Quarters shall now retrieve their athames from the altar, if they have them, then walk to the Quarter they will be calling, and stand there, waiting. Each person does it separately, unless otherwise directed to do so by the HPS.

East:  Guardians of the Watchtowers of the East,
       I, (name), do summon, stir, and call ye forth
       To bless us and guard our Circle.
       Be ye welcome in peace.  Blessed be!
  [draw invoking pentagram of the east, be sure to do it
  correctly or the wrath of the HPS shall be upon you.  :) ]

South: Guardians of the Watchtowers of the South,
       I, (name), do summon, stir, and call ye forth
       To bless us and guard our Circle.
       Be ye welcome in peace.  Blessed be!
  [draw invoking pentagram of the south]

West:  Guardians of the Watchtowers of the West,
       I, (name), do summon, stir, and call ye forth
       To bless us and guard our Circle.
       Be ye welcome in peace.  Blessed be!
  [draw invoking pentagram of the west]

North: Guardians of the Watchtowers of the North,
       I, (name), do summon, stir, and call ye forth
       To bless us and guard our Circle.
       Be ye welcome in peace.  Blessed be!
  [draw invoking pentagram of the north]

Now we shall call the God and Goddess to come into our holy Circle.  The HP calls for the Goddess and the HPS calls for the God.

HP:    Lady, Goddess of the Green Earth,
       Of firtility, of love,
       Goddess of life, death,
       And of rebirth,
       Goddess of the moon.
       We ask you to join us tonight
       To celebrate the New Moon,
       And the passing and rebirth of loved ones.
       Be ye welcome in peace.  Blessed be!
HPS   Lord, God of the Greenwood,
       Of the hunt, the chase,
       God of the Underworld,
       The taker of life,
       God of the sun.
       We ask you to join us tonight
       To celebrate the New Moon,
       And the passing and rebirth of loved ones.
       Be ye welcome in peace.  Blessed be!

The HPS now stand before the altar facing the centre, head bowed and arms across the breast.  The coveners start to move deosil round the Circle, chanting the name of the Goddess (ex: Oh gracious grandmother crone).  They move around completely three times then stop.  The HP stands before the HPS.

HP:        Dark is the night as we reach this turning point.
           Here is a time of death; yet a time of birth.
Covener:  Endings and beginnings.
           Ebbing and flowing.  A journey done; a journey yet to
           start.
Covener:  Let us honor now the Crone-Mother darksome and divine.
           Let us give of our strength and in return see rebirth.
HP:     Behold, the Lady of Darkness; Mother, Grandmother.  Old yet ever young.

The HPS slowly raises her head and spreads her arms outwards and upwards.  All kneel.
 
HPS    Hear me!  Honor me and love me now and always.
        As the wheel turns we see birth, death and rebirth.
        Know, from this, that every end is a beginning;
        Every stop a fresh starting point.
        Maiden, Mother, Crone... I am all of these and more.
        Whenever you have need of anything, call upon me.  I, and
        my Lord are here-for I abide within you all.  Even at the
        darkest of times, when there seems no single spark to
        warm you and the night seems blackest of all, I am here,
        watching and waiting to grow with you, in strength and in
        love.  I am she who is at the beginning and the end of
        all time.
        So Mote It Be.
All:    So Mote It Be!

The HPS folds her arms again.  There is a moment or two of silence.

HPS  You may all stand.  Now is the time to pay homage to our dearest animal friends who have passed us by into the Sumerlands.  Please come and light your candles so that we may help light their way for them.

Now all coveners, in turn, come and light their individual candles then sit back down in the circle holding their candle.

As the Coveners do this the HPS will say:
We meet today in both sadness & joy.  We are sad because a chapter has closed; yet we are joyful because, by the closing, a new chapter may begin.

The HPS will be the last to light her candle.

HPS  We light these candles for you, our animal friends, For the time we shared together.
      We give thanks for the love we bore for one another.
      We give thanks for the touch of your soft fur,
      Your shining eyes, kisses from your rough tongue.
      We give thanks for the sound of your voice.
      Go now to your rest.
      We will miss you, our friends,
      As you travel on your way.
      But we know that someday, somewhere,
      If the gods will it,
      We will meet again;
      And the meeting will be one of love.
      May the blessings of the Lord and the Lady
      Be with you as you travel on your way!
      Know that my love and blessings go with you
      As you travel to the Land of the Eternal Summer.
      Blessed be!

Now everyone takes a token gift for the departed friends (ex: a dog/cat cookie, a chew bone, fish food, things of this nature) and places it on the altar with their candle.
      Let us be bound together in love,
      That we may merry meet again!
      Blessed be!

HPS
  "It is not growing like a tree
   In bulk, doth make animals better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
     A Lily of a day
     Is fairer far in May;
   Although it fall and die that night,
   It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions, we just beauties see,
And in short measures, life may perfect be."

A moment of silence is held again.

Cakes and Ale:

HPS  "Now is the time for us to give thanks to the gods for that which sustains us."
 
HP:   "So be it.  May we ever be aware of all that we owe to the gods."
Either the HP and HPS stand before the altar to bless the cake and wine or the HPS can designate two Coveners, one male and one female to bless the cakes.  They come and stand before the altar.

The Female takes the athame and holds the handle between her two palms, with the blade pointing down.  The male takes the goblet in both hands, and kneeling, holds it close to his chest.  The Female slowly lowers the point into the wine, with the words:

Female:   "As the Athame is to the male,
Male:      So the Chalice is to the female.
Both:      And conjoined, they be One in truth.
           For there is no greater power in all the world,
           Than that of a man and a woman
           Joined in the bonds of love.
 
The Female raises the athame.  Male holds goblet for her to drink, then SHE holds it for him to drink.  Goblet is then passed around the Circle for all to drink, Priest and Priestess drinking last (or again).

The Male covener takes up the plate of cakes and holds them before him.  Female touches each of them with the point of her athame, and says:
    "This food is the blessing of the gods to our bodies.  Let us
     partake of it freely.  And, as we share, let us remember
     always to see to it that aught that we have we share with
     those who have nothing."

She takes a cake and eats it, then takes the plate and offers to the male, who takes and eats.  The cakes are passed around the Circle, Priest and Priestess taking last (or again).

HPS   "As we enjoy these gifts of the gods, let us remember that without the gods we would have nothing."
HP:    "Eat and drink.  Be happy.  Share and give thanks.  So Mote It Be."
All:   "So Mote It Be!
"
Everyone may sit now to eat, drink and talk.  HPS will ask everyone to tell a story about an animal friend they knew or a pet they once had who has passed on now.
Once the talking has died down it is time to bid farewell to the Lord and Lady.

Everyone stands.

HPS   Horned one, thank you for attending.
       The ritual is at an end.
       But 'ere ye depart to your lovely realms,
       We bid you Hail and Farewell!
HP:    Gracious Goddess, thank you for attending.
       The ritual is at an end.
       But 'ere ye depart to your lovely realms,
       We bid you Hail and Farewell!

Quarter Dismissals:
North: Guardians of the North, Farewell,
       Our O now we are ending,
       You did your task, and did it well,
       I thank you for your tending!
       Go in peace.
  [draw banishing pentagram of North]

West:  Guardians of the West, Farewell,
       Our O now we are ending,
       You did your task, and did it well,
       I thank you for your tending!
       Go in peace.
  [draw banishing pentagram of West]

South: Guardians of the South, Farewell,
       Our O now we are ending,
       You did your task, and did it well,
       I thank you for your tending!
       Go in peace.
  [draw banishing pentagram of the South]

East:  Guardians of the East, Farewell,
       Our O now we are ending,
       You did your task, and did it well,
       I thank you for your tending!
       Go in peace.
  [draw banishing pentagram of the East]

Now the HP takes the Fire candle around the Circle Widdershins at this point, and then stamps his foot three times.  He is "absorbing" the Circle.
 
HP:   This Circle is open, yet unbroken.
      All ye entities here gathered,
      I give you leave to depart in peace.
      Blessed be!

All:  Blessed Be!

The Circle is now open and it is recommended that a group hug is given to ease any pain felt at this time.

written by Kethera
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posted to the solo-pagan list 1996

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