From guest contributor Lou Florez:
Transparency as a spiritual tool and discipline has been a foundational message in terms of the ongoing work of decolonizing my personal practice. In order to engage integrity with this directive it is important to name my privilege as it relates to patriarchy, sexism, misogyny, and conversations about women and their experiences. I am a cis-gender man and by birth have been afforded rights, resources, access to power, safety, financial opportunity, as well as, structural and systemic privileges in the cultural, governmental, and family spheres. As such, my voice will be weighed and given more legitimacy than Priestesses and change makers who have been doing the work longer than I have been alive. Another foundational corner stone in my exploration of liberative practices centers itself in the intersectional analysis of systems of oppression; meaning that as a facilitator of ritual space, ceremony has to inhabit multiple points of access in terms of resources and reflections of historically under-represented populations.
Contextualizing the Ceremony:
I am not Catholic or Christian but have had a personal relationship with Mary Magdalen as a holy ancestress in the religious/magical traditions of the West, as well as, a one of the many patronesses of agency, sovereignty, sexuality, and embodied authority, divinity, and grace. Being that I work a Catholic influenced form of Rootwork and Hoodoo, the form through which I was taught to venerate and honor Spirit follows the following structure. For those who practice multiple Afro-diasporic traditions you can see the similarities. Here is the general outlne this ceremony will follow:
- Set space
-Offering water to cool, open, and help aide in coalescing the individual and communal consciousness to task at hand.
- Asking that any negativity be averted and the ways of communication be cleared
-who are you/ how do you name yourself?
-who is in the room with you?
-who are your teachers/ who has uplifted you/ spiritual influencers?
-Evoking/Inviting Spirit in the room
-who are you calling?
-what qualities/ personality of Spirit do you want to build a relationship with?
-what is your intention for bringing them in the space?
- Divination/read it
-is it accepted?
-acknowledge every being in the room
-release the space with intention
Perform the Ritual
- Set Space
- Libation- Pouring of Waters
Cool Water, Cool Road, Cool House, it is the Owner of the Day we respect. It is the Spirits of the East we respect. It is the Spirits of the West we respect. It is the Spirits of the North we respect. It is the Spirits of the South we respect. It is the first medicine holders and diviners we respect. It is the first Mothers, Wise Mothers, Mothers who fly on the right we respect. It is the Spirit of the Earth we respect. It is the Spirit of the Divine Messenger of Transformation we respect. It is the Spirit of those who live in the Realm of the Ancestors we respect. We give respect, we give respect. May it be so!
- Removal of Obstacles
Let illness be averted from our path
Let poverty be averted from our path
Let confusion and frustration be averted from our path
Let our enemies not find our door
Let witchcraft be made impotent at our feet
Let death never see us
Mothers, Fathers, hear these words and let be so!
- Naming those present at ceremony
I come before this altar today (state your name)
- Naming teachers and those who inspired you
I respect all those teachers who have taught me the ways of medicine and spirit. I recognize and honor my lineage of blood and affinity (name names)
- Ancestral Recognition
Ancestors I call you. Ancestors I call you. Ancestors I call you. I call you three times. Ancestors who have preserved the mystery of featherless flight. You create the words of reverence and Ancestors you are welcome at this house. Please come today. Ancestors you are welcome at this house. Come and accept our offering. Whatever good things are eaten in the Realm of the Ancestors please partake. If the earthworm pays homage to the Earth, the Earth shares Her abundance. If the child honors their parent they never suffer from neglect. All respect to the powers of the Praise to the Fathers. Praise to the Mothers. Praise to the Fathers. Praise to the Mothers. Praise to the Ancestors, we ask for your help and give you thanks. Ancestors we ask for good health and we ask for the power of transformation from the Realm of the Ancestors and we give you power. Please come today. Ancestors you are welcome at this house. I give thanks. I give thanks. I give thanks. I respect all those teachers who have taught me the ways of medicine and spirit, living and dead. Ancestors, I am greeting you my friends. When I do not know which road to follow I will turn to the wisdom of the Ancestors. May it be so.
- Evoking the Creator (light white candle)
I give honor to the Womb of Creation, Monarch of the first Messengers I praise. Eldest Parent of the Ancestors. The Ruler who never faces death. Spirit of the Earth, I praise you with your praise names. You mold the light to create all things. Owner of the Mystery of Nature, whose words are the Queen of Creation. Keeper of the unknowable Mystery. Source of all the Heads in Creation. Chief Diviner of the Light who will always be praised in the sacred Grove be present in this ceremony.
- Evoking Mary Magdalen (light red candle)
Saint Mary Magdalen, Our Lady of the Ecstasy of Creation, hear our prayers. Apostle of Apostles, first witness of the act of transcendence through grace, it is you who up lift us. Saint Mary Magdalen hear our prayers, Great Lady who tramples the injustices of misogyny, hear our prayers. Honored Wise Woman, Blessed Queen who forsook the ignorance of man and claimed her divine right as the living embodiment of the Womb of Creation, hear our prayers. It is you who have been denigrated through sexism and it is you who uplifts all those who have been violated by the patriarchy, Our Lady hear our prayers. We pray for all Women this night and uplift all those who have been wounded and are in sorrow, Saint Mary Magdalene hear our prayers.
In a group, all women present take turns recounting their experiences, struggles, joys, hardships, prayers for each other. Light a tea light on the altar for each participant to uplift their lives and their prayers to heaven. All men present, witness, be silent, don’t take up space, and support.
If you are doing this ritual by yourself, light tea lights and pray for the upliftment of all women in our lives and in the world. If you are a woman, recount your experiences, struggles, joys, hardships, and prayers to Mary Magdalen herself.
Present the shrine with flowers, honey, incense, wine, perfume oils, and images of beauty and love.
Divine a messages from Saint Mary Magadelen for the group or individual. Ask through divination (tarot, runes, oracle cards, etc) Receive message and contemplate it. Then, ask: i this complete? If not what needs to be given? Listen to spirit or use futher divination to help you receove all information needed.
Speak words of reverence and gratitude, then close the ceremony in your own words.
This liturgy was inspired by the works of St. Hildegard, St. Theresa, as well as English translations of Oriki by Awo Falokun.