Articles/Essays From Pagans
February 1st. 2019 ...
Paganism and Witchcraft in the Media
September 25th. 2018 ...
Understanding the Unseen
August 25th. 2018 ...
A Little Magickal History
Men and the Goddess
Back to Basics Witchcraft: Magical Creativity for Small Living Spaces
Kitchen Magic and Memories
Why the Faeries?
Magic in Daily Life
An Open Fire: Healing from Within
Cernunnos: The Darkest Wood in the Moon's Light
Gudrun of the Victory Gods
Ares and Athena
La Santa Muerte... The Stigma and the Strength
The Lady on the Stairs
The Wheel of the Year in Our Daily Lives
July 26th. 2018 ...
The Importance of Unification: Bringing Together Community Members to Invoke Cohesivity
May 29th. 2018 ...
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
April 20th. 2018 ...
Nazis Made Us Change Our Name
January 25th. 2018 ...
Finding Balance: Discipline Wedded to Devotion
November 15th. 2017 ...
September 30th. 2017 ...
July 31st. 2017 ...
Sin Eaters and Dream Walkers
July 2nd. 2017 ...
On Cursing: Politics and Ethos
June 1st. 2017 ...
The Sacred Ego in Mediterranean Magical Traditions
April 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Knight of Pentacles
March 30th. 2017 ...
Tarot Talk: the Ace of Swords
January 10th. 2017 ...
The Gray of 'Tween
Becoming a Sacred Dancer
Little Dog, Big Love
December 9th. 2016 ...
A Child's First Yule
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
September 11th. 2016 ...
The Shadow of Disgust
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
An Open Mind and Heart
June 13th. 2016 ...
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
The Fear of Witchcraft
Magic in Sentences
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
December 20th. 2015 ...
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
May 6th. 2015 ...
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
January 1st. 2015 ...
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
September 28th. 2014 ...
Seeking Pagan Lands for Pagan Burials
Creating a Healing Temple
August 31st. 2014 ...
Coven vs. Solitary
August 24th. 2014 ...
The Pagan Cleric
A Gathering of Sorcerers (A Strange Tale)
August 17th. 2014 ...
To Know, to Will, to Dare...
On Grief: Beacons of Light in the Shadows
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Officiating At A Crossing Over Ceremony
Article ID: 13348
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,440
Times Read: 4,545
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Author: Lady GoldenRaven
Posted: September 20th. 2009
Times Viewed: 4,545
For those ordained clergy who perform crossing over rituals, have you thought about how to handle everything this entails? The vast majority of people who attend either hand fasts or crossing over rituals have no clue what will be happening. Most come from basic Christian upbringing and have stayed on that path.
Hand fasts are happy and exciting times and it is a much more relaxed situation, so it is easier to explain the ritual itself, the meaning behind calling quarters, etc. Crossing Over rituals, however, are much more complicated.
One must deal with not only counseling the grieving family who are pagan and have requested this service, but you must handle the grieving of those of the Christian faith. This makes it harder for them to comprehend any explanations given them.
Calling on the Crone or the Dark God and to travel through the Cauldron of Rebirth
Some will not be able to comprehend the truth behind our ritual. Some may get angry, still under the “influence” that we are performing some dark and evil ritual that can only have sinister complications.
They may also worry about the departed one’s soul. One must be skilled in the art of speech manipulation. You can say the same thing in many different ways and get the reaction you want. You have to feel out the person you are speaking to and figure out which explanation would work best in this situation.
While we understand the concept of reincarnation as well as the non-belief in a heaven or hell, others cannot grasp this concept. Others still think it is the work of the devil.
During The Service
Most people will not make waves during the service itself. However, it has happened. How does one deal with someone who may not only be in the anger stage of dealing with death, but one who cannot accept the pagan way?
Usually the family members will deal with this person. However, everyone present will be looking to see how the High Priestess/Priest deals with a potentially explosive situation. Above all, you must remain calm.
Also, this is not the time to engage the person in a “holy war”. Let the people know you understand the point they are trying to make and let them know you are available to speak to them to explain things in detail if so desired at another more appropriate time. Ask that they respect the wishes of the departed and his/her family and say you would be happy to speak with them after the service.
Whatever words you choose, choose wisely, as you will not only be looked upon as a leader by the pagans, but the non pagans will be watching closely. Do not give them any reason to doubt our role or the role of paganism.
When I am directing the service, I include all forms of paganism, Druidism, Wiccan, etc. into one group I call ‘Pagans’. To try to differentiate between pagan/heathen to those of the Christian religion is fruitless. Most do not view it as different denominations, paths, traditions, or whatever other name you give them. All they see is it is NOT a Christian service.
You may stand alone in front of the mourners and their families and friends. However, you are not alone. You are seen as a representative for all pagans. Represent us all proudly. In a way, you are a performer on stage with all the critics there watching and whether or not your show is cancelled depends on them.
Make sure to have a business card or other credentials on hand to show those who question your authority and right to perform this service. Also, you should APPEAR professional. This is not the time to play dress up and look like the stereotypical wytch all dressed in black with pointy hat.
One hint: Do NOT wear perfume or cologne. Most people overdo it to begin with, but regardless, odors are five times more potent when tears are shed. There are also people with allergies.
It is also wise to have your ritual in some type of binder or book. Showing up with the ritual jotted on paper napkins or ripped-out notebook papers does not show either professionalism or pride in your chosen path or yourself.
I also recommend carrying tissues. Even though most funeral homes supply tons of them, it is usually when you are sitting around speaking with someone one on one that he/she will begin to cry and need a tissue. You don’t want to break the connection to run to the nearest table to get any.
Make sure you spread yourself around. Be there to support whomever comes to you for your strength, wisdom, and comfort. Sometimes words do not come easy; there are times when words are not needed. So whether it is listening to someone without speaking or simply giving him or her a hug, be sure to be there. You may be surprised at how many of the Christians will seek you out for comfort and wise words.
Family and Friends
If you knew the deceased, it is okay to show some emotion in front of the masses of people, but don’t overdo it. Save pouring your heart out for after the ritual. If need be, take some time prior to the service to ground yourself and ask the Goddess to give you the strength to carry on and the wisdom to say and do the right things.
Those closest to the deceased (especially pagans whom you may have been close to in the same coven or what have you) will also understand that you cared for this person and that you are human. Make sure you allow ample time for anyone wishing to stand up and speak of the departed.
If you did not know this person except for being called upon to perform the ritual, take time to find out some personal things from the family so that you can personalize some of the ritual itself and also to let it be known you do care about the departed and their family.
If you knew the deceased, feel free to add words when the time is right, but keep in mind what may seem like a funny story to you may not be to others. Keep any of those embarrassingly funny stories between your ears.
After The Service
The ending of the ritual can be just as important as the beginning. People judge by first and last impressions. Stand at the doorway or end of pathway and greet all who will be leaving for home. Always give them the blessing of the Ancients in whichever way is appropriate.
The immediate family will be the last to leave. Make sure their needs are fulfilled before taking your leave. Assure them you are available for them in the future, both near and distant, to counsel, listen, guide, and comfort them.
Finally, speak to the director of the funeral home and discuss any pertinent topics.
For yourself, remember to ground yourself both before and after the occasion. Take a cleansing bath to wash away the sadness and negativity. Give thanks to the Ancient Ones, whichever Ones you may follow and thank them for giving you the strength, courage, and wisdom to be able to handle the job to the best of your abilities. Thank them for your good health as well.
And with that, I wish you all Good health and Blessed Be!
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