Interfaith Kirtan: Sacred Chanting Devotional
with Annika Mongan, Jonathan Furst, and Lizann Bassham
Sunday, November 15, 2015
Gather at 10:00 a.m. for a 10:30 ritual start. We will conclude by noon.
The Palace Garden
R.S.V.P. for directions
solarcrosstemple AT gmail.com
All true seekers are welcome!
Please join us for a morning of inspirational Kirtan and sacred improvisational chants!
Kirtan is sacred call and response chanting used traditionally in Hindu devotional worship, and reminiscent of sacred chanting from many cultures and religious traditions. We will be raising our voices to honor the wisdom of the soul using songs from Pagan, Sikh, Jewish, and other traditions.
This month's devotional, featuring chants that focus on the wisdom of the soul, will be led by Annika Mongan, Jonathan Furst, and Lizann Bassham, all of whom are witches in Reclaiming tradition. Annika, a Solar Cross member and the founder of an intentional Pagan community in Oakland, is also ordained as a Southern Baptist minister and connoisseur of eclectic devotional music. Jonathan is a Maggid (Jewish sacred storyteller) and Spiritual Facilitator for Keneset HaLev in San Francisco who has been organizing kirtans with Sikh, Jewish and Pagan chant leaders since 2007. Lizann is an Ordained Christian Minister in the United Church of Christ who serves as Campus Pastor at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, as well as a writer and musician.
Solar Cross Devotionals are simple monthly rituals designed to honor the Gods and Goddesses and to gather community together. Children with legal guardians are welcomed. Hospitality offerings of bread, juice, or fruit are always appreciated, as are donations, but nothing is required. The event is free, and there is no potluck. We invite you to gather at 10:00 a.m. for a 10:30 start. We will close between 11:30 and noon.
Devotionals take place in The Palace Garden, a lovely outdoor spot nestled amongst the fruit trees at a private residence in the East Bay. Dressing in layers is recommended.
For the address, please R.S.V.P. to Ankhira at solarcrosstemple AT gmail.com
About Solar Cross Devotionals
Solar Cross Monthly Devotionals are inclusive, family-friendly gatherings that embrace diversity in the Pagan community and beyond. Devotionals vary from month to month, are dedicated to deities from a variety of traditions, and are led by Solar Cross clergy and guests.
Held every third Sunday of the month in Berkeley, CA, Solar Cross offers these free devotionals as an opportunity to connect with divinity and community. Participants typically gather at 10:00 am for a 10:30 am start. Devotionals are frequently led by invited clergy and community leaders; recent guests have included Sharon Knight (Winter Solstice), Coru Cathubodua- A Morrigan Priesthood (Dagda), Ár nDraíocht Féin – A Druid Fellowship (Cerridwen), Golden Gate Kindred (Thor) and the Kemetic Temple of San Jose and the Temple of RA of San Francisco (Ma'at).
Devotionals are also led by Solar Cross clergy in the Heathen tradition--particularly at our annual Idunna Blot and Apple Harvest Celebration each September. Each year, we gather to harvest, wash, and press apples, offering Idunna the toast of the first press. A potluck barbecue, apple-butter canning, and festivities follow.
At other times, Solar Cross follows a simple, Pan-Pagan ritual format (see below). In warmer months, the devotionals are held outdoors in a tranquil residential garden setting; when it's chilly outside, we meet indoors at Terra's Temple, across from Ashby BART. The devotionals conclude by noon.
Offerings of bread, fruit or flowers for the altar are appreciated, but there is no potluck (except in September). Children under 18 with legal guardian are welcome. There is no charge to attend, although donations to Solar Cross are gratefully accepted. For information on the location of Bay devotionals, or to RSVP, please contact Ankhira: info.thorncoyle AT gmail.com
We realize that not everyone can attend monthly meetings in Berkeley, CA, and we invite those who feel called to participate in devotionals to do so in their own homes and communities. We like the idea of building the egregore for each deity we honor by participating in shared song, visioning, and liturgy. When tradition-specific liturgy is available, we invite guest clergy from that tradition to present it, and encourage you to do likewise. When a more pan-Pagan approach is desired, or if you are worshiping alone, we offer the following simple the ritual format.
Gather, say hello, make introductions, have tea/ coffee, get situated, assemble the physical altar(s). Ascertain which participants will help with portions of the ritual like Quarter calling, etc. This is also a good time to introduce the words of any chants or songs that will be in the ritual.
If in a group setting, the devotional leader should take a moment before starting to give participants a brief outline of the ritual, before inviting the group to ground and center.
Begin by lighting a candle. Open to the Holy Mother through prayer:
“Holy Mother, in Whom we live, move and have our being,
From You all things emerge and unto You all things return.
Open our hearts this blessed day.
Touch our bodies and our minds.
Walk with us through the gates of power,
In shadow and in starlight, in fire meeting earth,
In wind on the ocean, and the sweet kiss of life.
Blessed be our journey.”*
Next, honor the Quarters, Ancestors and Descendants. Some Solar Cross Devotionals are led by guest clergy who incorporate liturgy appropriate to their tradition and the deity (ex., Asatru for the Idunna Blot or Ceremonial Magick for Nuit). We also encourage an inclusive pan-Pagan format; this can be as simple as facing in each direction and saying words such as,
“We honor and invite the Powers in the East,
In the South, in the West, and in the North.
We honor and invite the Powers Above and Below.
We honor our Ancestors, who have gone before,
And we honor our Descendants, who have yet to come.”
Due to the open and simple nature of these gatherings, a formal circle/ sphere casting is not strictly necessary, but can be done at this point if desired.
Next, the devotional’s leader introduces the worship by giving some short background about the deity. For instance,
“We are here today to honor Persephone, the maiden of the spring fields who is also Queen of the Underworld. Her story, as it comes to us, is as follows…”
The story should be detailed enough to paint a picture in the minds of the dedicants, yet short enough to allow time for the rest of the service.
After concluding the story, the leader should shift the energy of the group toward meditation/ visioning, chanting/ drumming, or whatever method of raising energy is most appropriate to the deity being honored. After the ritual energy has come to fruition, participants should be encouraged to briefly share ideas and/ or messages that may have received.
This process of sharing is also important; however, the leader should monitor the group energy to ensure it doesn’t devolve into mundane chatter. While the energy is still potent, the Gods, Descendants, Ancestors, and Quarters should be thanked and bidden farewell, using liturgy appropriate to the tradition or simple wording such as:
“We thank and honor the presence of (Deity). We are grateful for your gifts of ___________, (etc.). We thank and honor the Descendants and the Ancestors, and our own place in the flow of time. We thank and farewell the Powers Below, Above, in the North, in the West, in the East and in the South.”
Finally, close the ritual with the short version of the Holy Mother Prayer:
“Holy Mother, in Whom we live, move and have our being,
From You all things emerge and unto You all things return.”
The formal portion of the devotional typically takes about one hour. After the official closing, encourage participants to remain for a while, sharing more of their experiences from the ritual and strengthening the ties of kinship and community. This is also a good time to make announcements about other upcoming events. Remember to share a portion of bread and fruit, etc., from the altar (if this was not already done as part of the ritual) saving some as an offering to the Gods and the land.
Thank participants for attending, and conclude the gathering.