I stood at the pulpit and spoke the words into the microphone, while my witchy-sister stood on the stage with me, holding aloft a large, Tibetan singing bowl, facing each direction in turn. As I finished each blessing, she would echo, “Welcome, Air!” and then strike the bowl, loud and strong. We allowed the tone to ring free throughout the sanctuary until nearly silent. Then she’d turn to the next direction with Marine ceremonial precision, and I would continue the evocation.
When I first ascended those stairs to the upper stage in front of this large congregation, and introduced us with, “We are here from The Sojo Circle, as practitioners of Modern Witchcraft,” my voice caught in my throat. I won’t lie, I was scared to shaking to say that out loud, in that building, to those people, and my throat chakra clenched down until it hurt. The wounds of my Christian upbringing still tweak from time to time. The wave of shock, and clenching of sphincters in the pews, was palpable, too. The old propaganda about how we witches are “evil” is still a regular occurrence from pulpits like these. But I did say it out loud, with my head held high. Then we created some change in accordance with our Will…all of us, together.
By the end, there was an unfurling, a relaxing into these hopes and dreams, as we visualized a solution. We imagined an end to the suffering of our loved ones with HIV and AIDS, and a better world through inspiration, dedication, compassion, and justice.
I am still approached by folks who first saw me at that World AIDS Day service, in that Christian pulpit, and they tell me how much these words brought them solace. I offer them to you today, with the holiday wish that they continue to ring out for LOVE.
World AIDS DAY: Elemental Blessings for Change
By Heron Michelle
Blessings of the East and of Air!
We welcome you to this sacred space.
Come yellow dawn and soaring eagle.
Come intellect, wisdom and clear-communication for the highest good of our community!
Air! Open our minds and grant us understanding, and the knowledge we need to overcome this disease that threatens our kindred.
Amplify our voices to be resoundingly heard. Help us to speak our truths even when it is difficult. Bring the winds of change!
Let reason, and sensibility guide us in this battle we wage against the AIDS epidemic.
Grant us also the power to WONDER, so that our eyes are opened to new ways of thinking, to relinquish judgement and the powerlessness brought by rigidity!
Help us to discover new truths as they are revealed through our search for knowledge!
Powers of Air, bless our researchers, scientists and leaders.
Inspire us all!
With Gratitude: Welcome, Air!
Blessings of the South and of Fire!
We welcome you to this sacred space.Come red noon and baying wolf!
Come action, transformation and change for the highest good of our community!
Fire! Open our Will and grant us the fierce passion to create change so that we may overcome this disease that threatens our kindred.
Intensify our determination, give us strength to fight the good fight in this battle against the AIDS epidemic.
Grant us the grace to SURRENDER to the transformative fires that will temper us during this time of travail, burning away outmoded behaviors, fears and ideas that no longer serve our highest good!
May we align our personal will with the Divine Will of love, healing and balance.
Powers of Fire, bless our activists and warriors in their work for change.
Embolden us all!
With gratitude, Welcome, Fire!
Blessings of the West and of Water!
We welcome you to this sacred space!
Come blue twilight and watchful crow!
Come dreams, compassion, and empathy for the highest good of our community!
Water! Open our hearts and grant us the fearlessness we need as we DARE to break free from these banks that confine us; to overflow, cutting new trails, flowing past all social, institutional and human-constructed boundaries, without discrimination. Wash us clean from our fears. Teach us your lessons of acceptance for all our brethren with unconditional love.
Let these waters of love raise us all up, ebbing and flowing in the surety of your cycles, turn now this tide to VICTORY in our battle against the AIDS epidemic.
Grant us also the grace of ACCEPTANCE. May we honor all we’ve already accomplished, so that we may determine how best to get to where we need to be.
As we grieve for our lost loved ones, and care for those who are suffering, may we all find comfort, peace and rest on the journey.
Powers of water, bless our healers and spiritual leaders in their work.
Stir our hearts!
With gratitude, Welcome Water!
Blessings of the North and of Earth!
We welcome you to this sacred space!
Come black midnight and slumbering bear!
Come stability, foundation, manifestation of all that will serve the highest good of our community.
Earth! Open our ears and grant us the stillness we need to Listen as The Divine answers our prayers. Help us to trust in the process, to be patient. Open us to our Divine potential, and deepen of our trust in one another.
Grant us also the power to realize our ultimate potential; shine bright a light in the darkness so that we may understand that in all of nature, life is a cycle. For every down-swing, there must be an upswing. For every death there is a birth, and we will overcome all adversity in this battle against the AIDS epidemic!
Powers of Earth, bless our law-makers, civil-servants and builders in their work.
Strengthen us all!!
With gratitude, Welcome Earth!
Blessings of the Center! Great Spirit within us, around us, weaver and woven one, dreamer and dream! One Source known by many names and many faces, envisioned now in the minds of each of your beautiful children in this sacred space.
Nurture and protect us, awaken within us your unconditional love. Awaken within us that connection that we all share. Empower us all as we fulfill your Great Work within our community.
Be with us now in this sacred space!
Above and Below,