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Farewell to the Dead 

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Parlor Rites

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Have the body prepared by a commercial funeral service.  At the time of the funeral have everyone stand around the casket or urn in a circle.  Have them place their hands on the lower back of the Woman on either side. 

The room should remain comfortable for the living Women.  If possible, put the Altar at the head of the deceased Woman.  The Handmaiden goes around the room and lights all the candles except the candles at the feet and head of the deceased.  The High Priestess then lights the candle at the head of the body using the Handmaidens candle.  The Kore will light the candle at the feet with the candle that is placed at the head of the deceased.  They will position themselves so the High Priestess will have her right side to the head of the deceased Woman.  The Handmaiden to the deceased Woman's left.  The Kore will have her right side, and the Messenger her left of the feet of the deceased Woman. 

The High Priestess instructs the circle of Women to move counterclockwise.  As they do, each Woman present says aloud what they liked and disliked about the Woman who has died.  They are to scream, cry, shout and/or be soft spoken.  They need to be completely satisfied that they have said everything that they haven't said to the Woman before she died.  The High Priestess, Kore, Handmaiden and Messenger are to confront and assist everyone present to participate. 

To assist someone in participating, stand directly in front of them and move with the line as you ask them questions about the deceased Woman such as:

WHAT COLOR EYES DOES SHE HAVE? DID YOU LIKE HER? DID SHE HAVE CHILDREN? WHERE DID SHE COME FROM? HOW TALL WAS SHE? WHAT WAS HER FAVORITE COLOR? DID SHE HAVE A HOBBY? DID SHE LIKE ICE CREAM? DID SHE WORK? DID SHE HAVE ANY PETS? HOW MANY? PLANTS? WHAT DID SHE DO IN ORDER TO PLAY? WHAT GOOD TIMES COME TO MIND? DID SHE LIKE YOU? ARE YOU RELATED? DID SHE LIKE HER MOTHER?

When the Woman has answered one or two questions and is participating again with the group, the Priestess returns to her position.  When the participants grow quiet and the High Priestess feels that everyone is complete, then she says:

BLESSED BE THE WINE OF LIFE AND LOVE BLESSED BE THE WOMAN WHO IS THE CUP
BLESSED BE THE WOMB OF THE MIGHTY GODDESS

WOMAN OF THIS EARTH WE MUST RETURN TO TIME
THE NIGHT IS ENDED AND THE NEW DAY SHINES
THE MOTHER-GODDESS GIVES FORTH LOVE THAT IS TRUE
GIVE THANKSGIVING TO HER WHO GAVE BIRTH TO YOU

Everyone repeats:

SO MOTE IT BE

BLESSED BE

The High Priestess instructs everyone to move in a clockwise direction; there is to be absolute quiet.  At some point the High Priestess says "Stop".  Then picking a place to start, she hands the wine filled Cup to someone within the circle.  They make a toast and take a drink in the name of the deceased Woman.  After everyone in the outer circle has toasted, the Messenger, who takes care of refilling the Cup, takes the Cup from the Last Woman who toasted.  She takes a drink before handing it to the Handmaiden, the Kore and then the High Priestess.  The High Priestess returns the Cup to the Altar. 

To Close the Circle have everyone say:

I RETURN TO Time, space, events, or whatever. 

As they are saying this the Handmaiden goes around counterclockwise in the room, putting out the candles, starting in the East and ending in the North.  The Kore and then the High Priestess put out their candles leaving only the Handmaidens candle lit.  The High Priestess says:

THE CIRCLE IS BROKEN

The Coven remains until the Last Woman has left. 

GRAVE SITE RITES

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At the time of the burial, the High Priestess advises everyone participating to bring a representative gift for the deceased.  It must be a gift that they know that the deceased would have liked, such as a very tiny house.  They tiny house is to represent, say, the $1,000,000 house that you knew that she always wanted. 

The participants are to form a circle with their hands on each others lower back to surround and face the casket and grave. 

Standing at the foot of the deceased Woman, the High Priestess holding a lit black candle says:

DEATH HAS NO SECRETS
BUT IF YOU WOULD SEEK DEATH
THEN FIRST SEEK LIFE
FOR HOW WOULD YOU KNOW DEATH UNLESS YOU LIVE LIFE

DEATH AND LIFE ARE ONE
AS THE WAVES AND THE OCEAN ARE ONE
AS THE SKY AND THE STARS ARE ONE
AS THE BODY AND THE EARTH ARE ONE

AND TO SEEK LIFE IS TO SEEK RETURN TO THE GODDESS AS WE ALL DO IN DEATH

The Handmaiden will raise her white handmaidens candle high above the head of the Representative Woman as she says a farewell to the deceased Woman.  The Representative Woman probably organized the funeral. 

The cemetery personnel lower the casket into the ground at the completion of her oration.  The High Priestess then puts out her candle and picks up a handful of dirt and throws it onto the casket. 

The friend directly behind the Handmaiden comes up to the grave and throws into it a handful of dirt and her trinket gift.  As she does so, she tells everyone why she bought it.  She returns to her place in the line and the next Woman to her left comes forward and does the same until the circle is complete.  The High Priestess then says:

BLESSED BE THE WINE OF LIFE AND LOVE
BLESSED BE THE WOMAN WHO IS THE CUP
BLESSED BE THE WOMB OF THE MIGHTY GODDESS

WOMAN OF THIS EARTH WE MUST RETURN TO TIME
THE NIGHT IS ENDED AND THE NEW DAY SHINES
THE MOTHER-GODDESS GIVES FORTH LOVE THAT IS TRUE
GIVE THANKSGIVING TO HER WHO GAVE BIRTH TO YOU

Everyone repeats:

SO MOTE IT BE. 
BLESSED BE

The High Priestess says:

THE CIRCLE IS BROKEN

Everyone kisses and hugs and goes home or whatever.