Memorial Day Ritual
This is a copy of the script written for a Memorial Day and
Warrior's Honor Ceremony performed at the Heartland Pagan
Festival in 1992. It was written during the festival by She-Wolf
and Gary Stanfield, and is the latest of a few editions.
This ceremony was intended for participation by any persons who
can accept the Wiccan ceremonial format and who have been
or are likely to become touched deeply by war. Realistic acceptance,
loving reconciliation, and emotional catharsis are the major themes.
Fears, regrets, sympathies, feelings of caring, and grievings are dealt
with intensely. Adventure, patriotism, the joy of battle, etc.
The setting is outdoors in mid-morning light in a clearing among trees.
There is a fire in the center of the temple space and an altar at
the northernmost point of the circle.
MARTIAL HONOR CEREMONY
1. Defining of the Temple Space and Time.
All participants form into a circle as a drum beats slowly and
steadily (about one beat per second). When the time comes to
start, the HPS breaks from the circle and begins to define its
outer limits with a sword. After she has just begun, the priest
raises an old, rust-marked sword into the air -- this cues the first
speakers. Alternating male and female voices call out (one from
each quarter as the HPS passes):
"Uncounted thousands of battles! Uncounted thousands of wars!
Over uncounted thousands of years!"
Then the HP puts down his sword as the HPS rejoins the circle.
2. Calling of the Quarters.
The priestess, taking one step forward from
her position next to the altar says:
"Guardians of the East, Spirits of Air
Breath of life, lost to those who have died
attend our rite and protect this circle."
"Guardians of the South, spirits of fire
Heat of battle, warmth of living flesh
attend out rite and protect our circle."
"Guardians of the West, spirits of water
Sweat of our bodies, blood that was spilled
Attend our rite and protect our circle."
"Guardians of the North, spirits of Earth
Symbolized by salt, once the soldier's pay
Earth to which we all return
Attend our rite and protect our circle."
HPS then asks attendees to sign themselves, sealing their auras.
[This can be done with a pentagram, hammer sign, or other sigil]. She
returns to her place by the altar.
3. Interdenominational Invocation of a War Deity.
HP takes one step forward from his position next to the altar and says:
"As we must accept the parts of our psyches associated with our
pasts in war, we must honor deities of war in our pantheons.
We honor you -- Athena, Indra, Woden, Mars, Morrigu, and
many others. Please come to us now."
Someone costumed and equipped to portray a war deity emerges
from the circle to near the center of the temple space and says:
"Now also honor those humans who were honorably involved in warfare:
Those who were your enemies and those who were your friends;
Those who volunteered and those who were pushed by circumstances;
Those who were heroes and those who were just in it;
Those who fought and those who only stood ready;
Those who survived war and those who did not;
Those uncounted millions of your times and of times past --
They have no need to be ashamed."
"Do not admire mindless rape, plunder, nor terrorizing. Do not admire
raids upon the defenseless -- although in war some predation is
"And since there is no shame in being a victim of a mighty tide,
you shall extend compassion to refugees and other civilian and
"Raise your right fists into the air to salute honorable warriors
and to civilian heroes and heroines." (War deity raises his/her
right fist as this order is given. After the deity drops the salute,
the others drop it also).
"Give the salute of embrace to signify compassion for refugees and other
victims." (War deity crosses his/her arms over his/her chest to signal
the start of the salute of embrace and everyone else does as the war
deity does. The war deity signals the end of the salute by dropping
War deity returns to circle.
HP: "We thank the war deities for their attendance."
HPS: "Let us be mindful that sometimes the warrior is the victim also."
"Spirits of air, we thank you for your attendance. Receive in peace
the spirits of those who were raised on funeral platforms. We bid
you hail and farewell."
"Spirits of fire, we thank you for your attendance. Receive in
peace those whose funeral pyres burned brightly. We bid you hail
"Spirits of water, we thank you for your attendance, Receive in
peace those lost or buried at sea. We bid you hail and farewell."
"Spirits of Earth, we thank you for your attendance. Receive in peace
those buried in the earth. Mother earth, return to us again in new
forms, if it be their will, the spirits of those who have fallen."
"For those who have fallen!" (She pours wine on the fire in the
center of the temple space).
"And the bread of compassion for the victims of war." (She
crumbles bread and drops it onto the ground).
HP: "By this ceremony may each of us be strengthened --
deity, spirit, and living human alike."
"Nor this circle is open, but not broken."
"Please ground, and you may hug."
Next: Celtic Workshop (from Internet)