One of the things I love best about pagan ritual is the embodiment of creating sacred space. It’s not just about entering a room and calling it sacred, it’s about being present to the physicality of the room, recognizing our connection to and grounding as part of creation, and visualizing the protective and enlivening presence of the immanent divine. There is intention in creating that sacred space, that ‘time out of time, place out of place’ where we can meet that which we call holy. In some circles, participants are asked to face in the four directions as we ‘call’ them into our presence. And as we do, we do have the sense that we are visualizing the energetic circle being formed around us.
That embodiment is reflected beautifully in this piece by UU composer Amanda Udis-Kessler; her lyrics connect us humans to the interdependent web not just as things to see but as things to feel and be changed by.
Mother Earth, beloved garden, living treasure under foot,
All our days you ground our being: sage and thistle, grass and root.
Herbs to heal us, plants to feed us, land to till and tend and plow.
With the pendant, deep as midnight, North we ask you: be here now.
Father Air, your inspiration holds together all that lives.
As we breathe, our minds see clearly, leading us to love and give.
Raging whirlwind, whispered breezes, violent gale and gentle cloud.
With the blade as sharp as morning, East we ask you: be here now.
Brother Fire, great transformer, share the passion of the sun.
In our hearths, your warmth revives us, cooks our food and heats our homes.
Flaming candle, blood within us, blazing desert, will to grow.
With the wand, directing power, South we ask you: be here now.
Sister Water, ever flowing, ocean, river, pond and rain.
Drink we now and quench our thirsting, cleanse us, we begin again.
Mist and ice, a host of changes, all that courage will allow.
With the cup, the holy chalice, West we ask you, be here now.
Lover Spirit, intuition in the center of our souls.
In your love we find relation. All connected, we are whole.
Timeless mystery, quiet conscience, deepest values, voice inside.
With the drum and with the cauldron, this we ask you, be our guide.
I really like this piece. It’s great, of course, for calling the directions to set sacred space. But it’s also great for talking about how we connect to the planet we call home. Of course, there are issues with the binary language – another case of how far we have come in just 13 years. I’m not sure what to replace them with, and I don’t know if our composer has considered a change, but I hope she has.
Meanwhile, it’s lovely to sing, easy to play, and a definite keeper.