This Easter, my family and I attended a Christian mass. We went to the same service we attended last year. I have a longing every so often for the high ritual and amazing music that can be found in these services. My practice is to skip the Creed and zone out during the sermon, and then I can enjoy the rest. While it’s a Christian service, I can read between the lines sometimes to see the Dying God of Neo-Paganism. But I still long for language more explicitly Pagan. Recently, at the Feminism & Religion blog, Carol Christ wonder “What Happened to Female Imagery for God in Christian Worship?”: Is there anywhere we might go and hear the names of God Herself spoken in a Christian context?
I found myself wondering this again during the Easter mass today. I was reminded then of a book, “The Crafted Cup: Ritual Mysteries of the Goddess & the Grail” by Shadwynn , which presents a Christo-Pagan liturgy of the Ordo Arcanorum Gradalis. (It looks like the OAG holds services in Flint, Michigan.) I will share a somewhat altered version of it below. It’s got some nice alliteration and it is just the kind of thing I was longing for today. I know anything smacking of Christianity turns some Pagans off. But I was raised in a “low church” with a very stripped down liturgy, so high mass doesn’t really trigger me the way it may some Pagans. I would just love to experience this live.
[The liturgy of the host is performed by the priest and the liturgy of the chalice is performed by the priestess, or these roles may be reversed.]
The grace of the Goddess be with you! The grace of the God be with you! Let us lift up our spirits to the Lady and Lord of life!
Invocation of the Goddess
In the union with all the faithful from ages past, seekers of the way, companions on the quest, we give honor unto thee, O high and holy Lady, for thou art the triune glory of heaven, earth, and underworld: virgin Maiden, Mother of the God, Crone of ageless wisdom, who hast revealed thyself as Dana to the Celts, Isis to the Egyptians, and Hecate to the Greeks.
Thou art the divine shekinah, who shineth forth from above the seat of mercy. Thou art Hagia Sophia, the unfathomable wisdom of the Cosmic Christ. Thou art the queen of heaven, wheo gives hope to all who call upon my name. Therefore, with gods and celestials, spirits and elementals, we invoke thee to be here within the sacred precincts, as we hail thee in joyous salutation:
IVO EVOHE DANA!
IVO EVOHE ISIS!
IVO EVOHE HECATE!
May our prayers be made one with the petitions of those who have gone before us, as we prepare a pathway to thy presence with the sacrifice of the God.
Invocation of the Ascending Solar God
Let us give praise to the glory of the God celestial, stretched forth upon the cosmic cross, soon to rise above the circle of the equinox. Son of righteousness! Sol invictus! Solar savior! We hail thy triumph over the season of shadow!
From thy majesty proceeds the very light of nations, the shining brilliance of illuminated truth, in the manifest splendor of the sacred. Hallowed blaze of heaven, thou art the living light, source of inspiration to sage and saint, priestess and prophet. Therefore, we add to the adoration of the ancients as we ascribe to thee praise and honor, O ascendent king of planetary gods!
God of light, god of life, dying daily, thou descendest into darkness, rising early, thy radiance renews the day!
[Extend hands over the chalice and paten.]
Gracious Goddess and glorious God, be pleased to accept these offerings from the staples of life, that by thy magical touch, they may become for us the true bread and true wine, the body and blood of thy divinity, granting sustenance to the soul and strength to the spirit. As we will, so mote it be.
[Make sign of cross over paten and sign of pentacle over chalice.]
The Liturgy of the Host
Holy Mother, we make manifest here the memorial mystery of thy beloved son and lover, known from of old by innumerable names: Adonis, Attis, Dionysus, Tammuz, Osiris, Orpheus, and Jesus.
We offer this mystery in memory of their dying: Adonis, the beautiful god slain in the blossom of his youth; Attis, with the stains of scarlet transformed to violets beneath the sacred pine; Dionysus, torn to shreds by the Titans; Tammuz, for whom the women of Jerusalem wept; Osiris, his body scattered over the earth; Orpheus, who descended to hell; and Jesus, the suffering servant suspended in agony between heaven and earth;
But our grief has given way to joy, for in death the gods are not deserted! To them has been restored the renewal of life, and we rejoice in their resurrection!
Behold! The crucified God has risen in strength from the tomb triumphant, harrowing hell and death’s domain, ascending in radiance of the solar glory.
Behold! Osiris has been raised up by Isis, he who was torn to pieces has been regathered as one, restored by her mighty words of power, even as the scattered grains have been gathered into one loaf, that it may now become for us the body of the God, prepared as sacrifice, that he may rise anew, transformed in us, bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, spirit of our spirit.
With this eucharist, we celebrate the sacred feast of shepherds, sons, and saviors. In their dying, we are broken. [Break the host.] In their rising, we are healed by hope. [Elevate the host.] In their glorification, we are filled with light as living luminaries, shining forth into ages to come.
Behold the bread of life, the golden Lord of harvest, the sprouted seeds of Ceres! [Ring bell three times.] Blessed be the firstborn God of the living grain, laid low by the scythe of sacrifice, ground fine for flour, that we might live! Behold the first fruits of a greater harvest! Behold him whose love is unto death, that life may rise anew!
The Liturgy of the Chalice
Gracious Goddess, enchant us anew with forgotten dreams from the other side of consciousness, hidden beneath subterranean layers of defending dragons, beyond the gates of guarding gargoyles, into the holy mystery of the uncharted darkness within ourselves, for we are bold the seek the treasures of Taliesin, the cauldron of Ceridwen, the wise blood of blessing.
Harken to us, that we may be satisfied by the blood-red mead of bounteous joy overflowing from thy magical cauldron of inexhaustibility. Hearken to us, that we might be enlightened by the precious drops of inspiration which from age to age spill over from thy cauldron of omniscience. Hearken to us, that we might be regenerated through hope that gives new life in our deepest despair, even as our lives are sacrificed in thy cauldron of transformation.
Holy queen of the glorious grail, we offer to thee here this humble crafted cup, that it may become for us a manifestation of the mystery of the womb of the wine of wisdom, the holy and venerable vessel of the vine. [Raise the chalice and lower it.] Descend, we pray, upon this cup which we offer, that it may become for us the channel of thy grace, the dispenser of thy favor, the tabernacle of a precious presence.
Behold in symbol, the vision of Galahad, the hope of Glastonbury, the shrine of Avalon! [Ring bell three times.]
Drink now from the grail the elixir distilled from the knowledge of good and the discernment of evil, the very condensation of the gnosis. Taste now the forbidden fruit of Eden, a gift from the Goddess for the fullness of life and the experience of immortality.
“Blessed be the Bread of Life”
“Blessed be the Grail of the Goddess”
We have tasted from the plate of fullness. We have sipped soothing drops from the cauldron’s cup, that our spiritual sight might be enlightened.
Holy Lady of the sacred chalice, from thy grail ever flows the nectar which alone can quench questing spirits. Goddess of earth, clothed in beauteous array, we thank thee for the hopeful exuberance of life’s renewal at this joyous season, as we look with eager expectation for the splendor of spring’s fulfillment.
Radiant Lord of the living light, thou hast risen above the dangers of the dark, that the brightness of thy beams might grace us with thy glory and inspire us with hope for the fullness of the coming season. We thank thee for the confidence which thy continuing ascendance evokes within us, for thou art the living symbol of the light which cannot be quenched, and we rejoice before thee at this, the beginning of they season of strength!