Saturday, July 2, 2011

A celebration of liberty—a July 4th ritual

Many years ago, I first designed a ritual to celebrate the freedoms we have developed in America over the 235 years since our country declared its independence from England. Since I'm a big fan of fireworks—as a Fire Mage or budding pyromaniac, you know—I set up an outdoor center for the celebration with set pieces at each of the 4 quarters, and in the center for above, below, and center. Using sparklers to call the quarters at night is really neat, since they leave a visual trail behind as you draw whatever protective or invocatory symbols you wish to use at each point. We would then invoke the particular freedom at the point and set off the firework to honor that freedom and its Goddess. (I'm using the Roman goddesses that are personifications of the virtues because much of our American system of freedom is drawn from the Roman republic model.)

You don't need to use fireworks, sparklers, or other incendiaries, if they are illegal in your community. The standard invocatory tools, such as candles, incense, or your wand works just fine. If you use incense, you can choose a neutral scent for all of the quarters, or one which resonates with each element. The idea is to create a truly sacred space for the Goddess Libertas to appear and manifest freedom in your life for the coming year.

If you are not American, you can still conduct this ritual to draw these qualities of freedom into your lives. These freedoms are a statement of hope for the future and of solidarity with each other, even though they are expressed in terms of the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Conducting the ritual augments the energy of all people directed toward freedom of person, property, and fortune, so feel free to use it whenever you want to empower freedom in your life and in those of your fellow beings.

I am changing the word, "men," to "beings" quite intentionally. The Founding Fathers used the term, "men," as a referent for equality all human beings, even though they had no intentions of applying it to everyone human at that time. In our more enlightened age, I choose "beings" because not only should freedom apply to all people, but to animals and others around us who are made to suffer to serve our ends. By doing this, I empower the hope that all beings will be treated with respect in the future, and choose to work toward that goal.

This may be done as a group, or as a solitary rite. If the latter, remember to bless yourself with freedom in the name of Liberty, at the end!

Here is the ritual:

Hail East, powers of Air, I (we) invoke the Goddess Fides ("fee-des") who brings good faith and honesty, moral integrity. Lady crowned with an olive branch and garbed in white, who carries the cup of faith, I (we) ask you to bring us Freedom of Speech that we may send forth our words to all those beings who still suffer under oppression, asking that they be allowed freedom of body, spirit, and mind that our Constitution guarantees to us. Blessed Fides, may we be faithful, honest, and moral in our speech!

Hail South, powers of Fire, I (we) invoke the Goddess Pax who brings peace and goodwill. Oh, Daughter of Jupiter and Justice, who bears the scepter of justice, the cornucopia of plenty, and the olive branch of peace, we acknowledge the right to bear arms to protect ourselves and our fellow beings while recognizing we ultimately want to turn away from aggression. We vow to become bringers of peace, to speak peace in the face of turmoil, and to advocate against the use of arms whenever we may.  Blessed Pax, may we be makers of peace!

Hail West, powers of Water, I (we) invoke the Goddess Spes, who brings hope for the future, for good harvests, and children. Ultima Dea, we ask your aid in freeing all beings from slavery or bondage, that they may share in the bounty of your cornucopia and be crowned with the flowers that you bear. Blessed Spes, may we hope to see freedom for all beings everywhere who still struggle against oppression, bondage, and slavery!

Hail North, powers of Earth, I (we) invoke the Goddess Securitas, who holds the scepter of state. We ask that you bring us security within our homes, security of our persons, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing we are free. Blessed Securitas, we ask you to bring security, safety, and peace of mind to all those beings who suffer under oppression!

Hail Sky, powers of Light, I (we) invoke the Goddess Felicitas, bringer of good fortune, happiness, and bliss. You who carry the cornucopia of plenty and the caduceus of healing, we thank you for the freedom to worship as we choose, standing under the light of heaven, rather than hiding in the dark for fear of our fellow Man. Blessed Felicitas, may all beings gain the freedom to worship the Divine as it manifests in their own hearts, finding the bliss that comes from true belief.

Hail Ground, powers of Stability, I (we) invoke the Goddess Concordia, bringer of harmony. We thank you for the freedom to assemble as we choose, in groups large and small, to offer up service to our communities in the patera (sacrificial bowl) you carry, that we may give back to others the freedoms we have received. I (we) invoke your sister Goddess Salas, who brings well being, health, and prosperity to take our offering of service through our assembled fellows and feed our service to your Snake of Wisdom that we may find a way to make all beings free. Great Concordia, Great Salas, help us to assemble and find the wisdom to use our freedom to free all others who labor under oppression!

Hail Sacred Center, powers of Unity that brings all beings together in this single time and single place that is all times and all places, I (we) invoke the Goddess Libertas: servos ad pileum vocare! We ask that you set the cap of Freedom upon our heads that we may show all beings that "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all beings are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." 

"We the People of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure Domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defence, promote the General Welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..." ask the Goddess Libertas to guide us in coming together in Peace and Wisdom to address the ills and oppression that exists in this world. We ask that you lend us your powers to bring Freedom, Justice, and Tranquility to all oppressed beings everywhere they may be.

Oracle of the Goddess Libertas:

I, and my sister Virtues, look forth upon your land and see that the high-minded goals of Freedom stated by your Founding Fathers remain unfulfilled. People still discriminate against one another, fostering hatred because of immaterial differences they imagine are important. But with Freedom comes responsibility to use that Freedom wisely and well, to improve the lot of your fellow men, whether at home or abroad, until all live in safety and security, happiness, wealth, and hope! And do not forget the other beings with whom you share the Land, who often live in horrendous conditions, whether in a factory farm or in the neglect of a home where they are not loved and cared for properly. No matter how bleak the future may seem, you must have faith and hope that the future can be made better, and that every act you do in my name furthers the goal of Freedom for all. 

As you look upon my statue, which stands in the harbor at Ellis Island, remember the poem of Emma Lazarus, "The New Colossus," dedicated to my honor:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
<End Oracle of Libertas>

Let us send forth rays of Peace, Freedom, Justice, and Tranquility, Safety, Wealth, and Well Being to all those beings who linger under oppressive regimes around the world, who suffer unjust confinement, or who need help removing the veils of slavery and discrimination that prevent them from being the free beings they were born to be. <Silvery and Gold lights may be seen streaming forth to all directions.>

Now, let us each, in turn, come forward to accept the blessings of Freedom. <As each individual comes before the Priest/Priestess leading the group, he/she lays a wand upon the individual's head.>

With this vindicta, I consecrate your life to Liberty and Freedom. Vindicavit in libertatum! <The officiant turns the individual around, showing them to all assembled.> Hunc hominem liberum voles! Go forth a free man/woman/child/being, and work to bring Peace and Liberty to all. 

<Consecrated and freed individual walks around the circle clockwise, and exits a free being to wait for the others to finish the celebration.>

<After last individual has been consecrated to Freedom, priest/priestess dismisses the circle.>
I (we) give thanks to the powers of Air in the East, and to the Goddess Fides for our Freedom of Speech. Go forth with my (our) blessings!

I (we) give thanks to the powers of Fire in the South, and to the Goddess Pax for our Freedom of to Bear Arms in self-defense and to choose to lay them down to promote Peace. Go forth with my (our) blessings!

I (we) give thanks to the powers of Water in the West, and to the Goddess Spes for our Freedom from slavery and oppression. Go forth with my (our) blessings!

I (we) give thanks to the powers of Earth in the North, and to the Goddess Securitas for the Freedom of our homes, persons, and possessions. Go forth with my (our) blessings!

I (we) give thanks to the powers of Light Above us, and to the Goddess Felicitas for our Freedom to Worship as we believe in our hearts under your skies. Go forth with my (our) blessings!

I (we) give thanks to the powers of Stability Below us, and to the Goddesses Concordia and Salas for our Freedom to Assemble in health and happiness on your Earth. Go forth with my (our) blessings!

I (we) give thanks to the powers of the Sacred Center of all that is, or was, or ever will be, and to the Goddess Libertas for the ability to live as Free beings, without oppression, slavery, or unjust imprisonment. May I (we) spread forth your message of Liberty to all beings who remain in the Darkness of oppression and slavery, and work towards freeing them to walk in your care. Go forth with my (our) blessings!

National Archives,
Wikipedia, articles on the Roman Virtues,
Statue of Liberty State Park, Emma Lazarus' "The New Colossus,"
Statue of Liberty Wallpapers,

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