Gratitude Meditation

In order to transform we must ferment. In order to ferment we need to take stock of our current situation. We often frame these mental exercises in terms of what we want. When you go to a workshop and someone says we are always transforming, I think most of us naturally start to think of what we want that transformation to be, of what we want. That’s normal because when we do magic we have trained ourselves to visualize our intent, and to manifest it. We are witches, that’s what we do. But what if we set all that aside for a moment. This is Mabon, our thanksgiving. At this time, we give thanks for our harvest. What I am going to lead you in today is a guided meditation on gratitude, but not just for what we have harvested this year. Today I want you to consider all the things we don’t stop and take time to be grateful for. This world can be disappointing, it can be heartbreaking and disheartening, but in the midst of all the pain and struggle there are thousands of tiny moments, of beauty. If we incorporate into our fermentation, the practice of noticing and embracing these tiny moments with gratitude, how might that change the result of our transformation? Imagine living out of a place of gratitude. How might that change our view point?

Close your eyes. Let your body come to rest comfortably. Take a few deep slow breathes and prepare yourself to enter a meditative state. The sounds of the camp start to fade into the far distance. The sounds you notice only flicker past your consciousness and you immediately let them go. You take a deep breath down into your feet and legs, and when you release the breath you allow all the muscles in your feet and legs to go limp and utterly released and relaxed. Now take a deep breath into your upper legs and lower back and when you release allow all the tension in these muscles to flow out through your exhale. Now breath deep into your abdomen and solar plexus…when you exhale you sag with the release of every muscle into complete relaxation. Breathe again and this time fill your upper torso, shoulders and neck…as you exhale your head goes heavy and the muscles in your neck release and all the tension dissolves. Finally take one last breath in that pushes all the way up to your crown chakra, and when you exhale the muscles of your scalp, your forehead, your face and all down your neck sag in release as the last tiny remnants of tension and stress whosh out of your body with the last exhale. You are floating. Your body has no weight. Picture yourself reaching out your hands and long white roots shooting down from your palms into the ground. Then plant your feet on the ground and feel the roots shoot out of the soles of your feet and dig deep down through the earth. Your roots lock into place in the ground and are connected to the mother earth. You feel the warm, solid, earthy energy of the earth surging up through your roots and through your body, as your heart beats all the energy that was in your body, contaminated by fear, worry, stress, and anger is pumped through your veins, down your roots and back into the earth. Your energy and the earth’s energy pass each other like blood in your veins and now your whole body is pulsing with the earth’s heartbeat of solid grounding energy.

Now as you float in this meditative trance, take your mind, and allow it to start registering all the sensations we push into background noise so they do not distract us from the immediate task. The air on your skin, small breezes like bands of silk, the hair on the back of your arms stands up, your neck tingles, the smell of grass fills your nose. The world is sensation, and your life is not a long strand of pearls, each pearl a moment. Moments pile up and become a lifetime. The moments of pain stand out in our memory, but there are a thousand more smaller moments of joy. The feeling of burying your nose in your dogs fur, and breathing in his smell and feeling him nuzzle back, the taste of ice cream, the magical delight when a butterfly lands on your arm. We fade these moments into the background. But not today. Today we remember and treasure each one. Take this time and relive in your mind those moments that make life this amazing tapestry. Recognize them. See them, name them. And as you do so you will start a new process in your fermentation. Now you will start to hold gratitude for these small pleasures in life. This changes the course of your transformation. With each breathe grab a new moment out of time and hold it in your heart. Feel the gratitude. Let your heart rest in that gratitude. Then breathe and bring a new memory, find a new moment to hold dear. Now that you are grateful for them, you will find the small moments seem to multiply. You noticed so few before, now you notice so many more. The experience of living becomes more beautiful, more sacred. And on and on the cycle goes. As you evolve. As you ferment and transform.


Originally used by Yarrow Coven, 1997

The altar is set up and quarter candles are lit. Everyone has carved a jack-o-lantern, and these are placed at the perimeter of the circle.

As each covener comes to the circle, entering in the west, Priest anoints feet, saying:

Priest: May the energy of the earth rise up through your feet
and give you power.
Priestess smudges each person, using a feather, and saying:

Priestess: Enter this circle in perfect love and perfect trust.
Priest casts circle widdershins, walking around it once and saying:

Priest: I cast this circle in the names of the ancient Gods and Goddesses.
Here may they manifest and bless their children.

Coveners call quarters.

Evocation of the God and Goddess.

Priest: All hail to the Four Quarters
and all hail to the God and Goddess.

Priestess: We bid the Lord and Lady welcome
and invite them to join us,
witnessing these rites we hold in their honor.

Priest: This place is not a place.  This time is not a time.
The circle is cast, and we are between the worlds.

Priestess: Beyond the bounds of time
where night and day, birth and death,
joy and sorrow, meet as one.

Priest: Now is a time of change
for this day belongs neither to the old year
nor to the new.
Now do we leave the light and enter the darkness.
Yet we do so gladly,
for we know it to be
but the turning of the mighty Wheel of the Year.

Priestess: The veil between the worlds is thin on this night —
the night of Samhain, the Night of Remembering.
We have gathered here in this sacred space
to honor and remember our ancestors and friends
who have gone before us into the Summerland.

Priest: Reach out now,
each of you in your own way,
and remember those you have known, and thought lost.
From this, gather strength.
Know, all of you, that there is no end, and no beginning —
That all is but a sacred spiraling dance
that moves ever on, and never ends.

Priestess: Let us now declare now the names of our ancestors —
each woman through the female line,
each man through the male line.
Let us drink a toast to each, living or dead,
and to those whose names we do not know.
If there is someone special whom you wish to remember here,
honor them, speak of them, tell their stories —
let your words breathe life into their memories.

Take up now the Cup of Remembering,
and drink at toast to those who have given you so much.

A quiet, heartbeat drumming begins.  The Priest takes up the Cup of Remembering and recites his genealogy, drinking a toast, and pouring a little out on the ground.  He speaks of the person he has chosen to honor and remember.  He may speak as long as he wishes while he holds the Cup.  Only when he is finished does he pass the Cup to the Priestess, and then around the circle widdershins.

When the coveners are finished the Priestess invites the rest of those present to come forward and speak in the same way.
When all are finished…

Priest: Through the Cup of Remembering we give life to our ancestors.
We are all one people,
and tonight we eat and drink together once more.

Priestess: We are not the first; we will not be the last.
Life flows through us and beyond us.
That which is remembered is yet alive;
Those whom we remember are with us still.
We have spoken their names…and we remember.

The song  Song for Samhain may be sung here….or some other appropriate song.

Cakes and Ale.  Priest and Priestess first pour/place a portion into an offering vessel (or the ground), then serve each other.  They then serve the rest of the circle widdershins. If many people are present, a second set of coveners may also pass the cakes and ale.

Priest (with cakes): May you never hunger.
Priestess (with ale): May you never thirst.

Priestess: Gracious Goddess,
we thank you for the joys of summer and the bountiful harvest.
Return again as the wheel turns,
and be with us once more in the springtime.

Priest: Blessed God, we bid you farewell
as you journey through the tunnel of darkness
that bears the light of the Goddess at its end.

Priest: The old year ends,

Priestess: The new year begins.

Priest: The Wheel turns,

Priestess: And turns again.

Priest: Goddess-Summer prepares for her slumber.

Priestess: God-Winter draws his dark cloak around us.
Both: Hail and Farewell!

All: Hail and Farewell!
Dismiss quarters widdershins.
Priest: The circle is open, but unbroken!

Priestess:  (beginning song)
Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again!

(c) Yarrow Coven 1997, May not be reproduced, copied or distributed without permission.  Thank you.

Song for Samhain

Fare thee well our fellow travelers
As you journey on your way.
Into the land of Tir Na Nog
To return another day.

You were once our kin beloved.
You once walked upon this land.
You shared our laughter and our pain,
Gave us strength and held our hand.

And there are those whom we know not —
You’re our family all the same.
Though generations have gone by
We still share a common name.

O come feast within our circle.
As we speak your name this night.
O join us here where time stands still
At the dying of the light.

We will honor you this Samhain
And we’ll tell your tales of yore.
So merry meet and merry part
‘Til our souls entwine once more.

Fire Child

Light streaming
Light Streaming
Making my Fire Child glow


Light streaming
Light streaming
Making my Fire Child grow


 Fire Child sing
Fire Child dance
Fire Child you’ll be mine


Fire Child sing
Fire Child dance
Fire Child you are mine