Autumn Ritual


Contents List:

Occasion
Cassette Tape
Preparation
Members' Entry
Commencement
The Procession
Intonation of M-E-H
First Meditation
Discourse
Second Meditation
Dispersal
Members Exit

Return to:

Temple Guide

See also:

Crypt Description
Discourses
Ritual Music

Occasion

An Autumn Ritual, also called a PEACE-Ceremony, will be celebrated as near as convenient to the Autumnal Equinox on 23 September.

Cassette Tape

As most readers will have cassette recorders or similar sound-reproducing devices, participants may wish to prepare in advance of each occasion a tape wherewith to replay both the sounds and the silences described in the following ritual. You may thus punctuate the proceedings with your own musical selections and "join in" with your previously recorded mantra intonation when the tape is replayed.

You may also pre-record your own reading aloud of the discourse provided for each "Ritual" and replay it at the appropriate time. Words always have greater penetration when spoken aloud; and some of us find relaxed listening more satisfying than reading.

Whilst the Discourse and some minor details of the Ritual may vary from occasion to occasion, the personnel and the order of service will always be the same and will last no more than 45 minutes.

Preparation

The Elder of Water will be the Conductor for this ritual.

The Elder of Fire controls the lighting.

The Elder of Air controls the music. (Readers are free to make their own choice of music. See Ritual Music for pieces suggested as being suitable for this ritual.)

The Elder of Earth censes the Crypt and guards the door.

A gong (ideally tuned to D below middle C) is provided for the use of the Conductor, and a censer for the use of the Elder of Earth. (For the purpose of recording a tape, if no gong is available, any suitable percussion instrument such as a tubular bell from a wind chime may be substituted.)

Under the supervision of the Conductor, the Elders prepare the Crypt, ensuring that it is spotlessly clean, that the lighting is suitably adjusted, that suitable music is provided, and that all the furniture is correctly positioned. The altar is covered with a cloth of a deep red colour.

The Elder of Earth censes the Crypt with incense suitable for the occasion and hangs the censer on a hook provided on the East side of the Altar. When all is ready, the Elders proceed to their seats and meditate quietly on the significance of the occasion.

The Light-Bearers, Grail Maiden and Messenger prepare themselves in the Vestries.

The members assemble in the Ante-Chamber.

All preparation should be completed five minutes before the time appointed for the ceremony to begin.

Members' Entry

TAPE BEGINS HERE

The Conductor strikes the gong once.

The Elder of Earth throws open the Crypt doors, allowing the light from the East of the Crypt to shine into the Ante-Chamber, and says:
"Members may now enter the Ritual Crypt and take their seats".

The Elder of Air starts solemn music appropriate for the Entry of the Members.

Running time 5 minutes

Commencement

When all the Members are seated:

The Elder of Air fades out the music.

The Elder of Earth closes the crypt door.

The Elder of Fire restores the light in the Ante-Chamber.

The Procession quietly forms up in the Ante-Chamber.

The Conductor strikes the gong twice and says:
"Please rise. Place your right hand over your heart as a token of your sincerity of purpose".

The Elder of Earth:
"Let LOVE stream forth into the hearts of men"
and all present respond:
"All men are one and I am one with them."

The Elder of Air:
"Let all the LIGHT unite to heal the hearts of men"
All respond:
"All men are one and I am one with them."

The Elder of Fire:
"Let LIFE be ruled by SOUL to serve the hearts of men"
All respond:
"All men are one and I am one with them."

All remain standing with hand on heart.

Allow 2 minutes.
Running time 7 minutes.

The Procession

The Conductor strikes the gong three times.

The Elder of Earth throws open the double doors and stands on the South side of the entrance.
The Elder of Air plays suitable Processional music.

There now enter in procession:
Four Light-Bearers in the form of a square, each carrying a candle lamp.

In the centre of the square is the Grail Maiden, bearing a crystal bowl filled with filled with ears of corn, a bunch of purple grapes, and a red apple.

The Messenger follows three steps behind the rear of the square.

The Grail Maiden halts at the West of the Altar, and the Messenger halts at the same time.

The first two Light-Bearers halt when they are abreast of the East side of the Altar.

The rear Light-Bearers halt when they are abreast of the West side of the Altar.

The four Light-Bearers turn to face the Altar, and place their lamps, one on each corner.

The Grail Maiden places the crystal bowl with the corn and fruit in the centre of the Altar.

The Elder of Earth closes the Crypt Door.

The Elder of Fire extinguishes the light in the Ante-Chamber.

The Light-Bearers turn away from the Altar, and proceed to their seats beside the Elders in the corners of the Crypt, but remain standing with right hand on heart.

The Grail Maiden processes via the South side of the Altar to her seat in the East of the Crypt and turns to face the West but remains standing with right hand on heart.

The Messenger simultaneously proceeds via the North side of the Altar to a seat in the East to the North of the Grail Maiden, and turns to face the West but remains standing with right hand on heart.

Allow 5 musical minutes.
Running time 12 minutes.

Intonation of M-E-H

The Conductor: "Please lower your hands and be seated."

All except the Conductor are seated.

The Conductor: "We shall now intone the mantra M-E-H. To obtain the best results, I ask that you sit up straight, rest your hands in your laps unclasped, palms down, and place your feet flat on the floor, slightly apart.

"There exists in India a secret knowledge based on the study of sounds and varieties of vibratory modality according to the planes of consciousness. As each of our centers of consciousness is in direct communication with a plane, one can by the repetition of certain sounds put oneself in communication with the corresponding plane of consciousness.

The different sounds used in mantras regulate the breath and bring about balance and equilibrium. Over the course of many centuries, yogis in India catalogued different combinations of sounds which, when intoned aloud, modulate the rhythm of the breath and, through resonance, harmonise the inner vibration. The whole body is a living resonator; every atom is affected by sound. Different vibrations influence the various organic systems.

The vibrations created by the intonation of M-E-H have a soothing and calming effect, slowing the heartbeat and bringing balance and harmony. They act on the solar plexus and thereby thereby stimulate the organs influenced by the sympathetic nervous system.

The vowel sound M-E-H, in which the 'E' is pronounced as in "wet", is intoned on C natural above middle C.

"I shall intone M-E-H once, and you will then intone it with me three times in unison."

[Before demonstrating the sound, the Conductor may sound the correct note on a pitch pipe, harmonica, piano, or other instrument - if available.]

Conductor demonstrates: "MMMMM-EEEEEH".

After the demonstration, the Conductor says: "For the first time, Breathe in deeply!"
Intone in unison for not less than ten seconds: "MMMMM-EEEEEH"

Conductor: "For the second time, breathe in!"
Intone in unison for not less than ten seconds: "MMMMM-EEEEEH".

Conductor: "For the last time, breathe in!"
Intone in unison for not less than ten seconds: "MMMMM-EEEEEH".

Conductor: "This concludes the intonation of the vowel sound for this ritual."

Allow 5 minutes.
Running time 17 minutes.

On completion, the Conductor sits.

First Meditation

When the Conductor is seated, the Elder of Fire rises.

Elder of Fire:
"At a time when Nature is producing a harvest for the nourishment of the body through the hardships of winter, let us reflect also upon the spiritual harvest of Peace produced deep within us by the ministrations of Light, Life and Love. Let us in meditation give thanks for what we have received and ask that in the coming months we may be ready to share these blessings with others."

Elder of Fire sits.

Silence (or personal choice of meditative music) for 5 minutes.
Running time 22 minutes.

Discourse

After 5 minutes, the Conductor rises and sounds the gong once.

Conductor:
"The Worthy Messenger will now share with us a Message of PEACE appropriate to this occasion."

Messenger:
Gives
Discourse

(8 minutes on this occasion)

Second Meditation

Messenger concludes: "Let us now meditate for a few moments on the profound peace which is the fruit of spiritual growth. May our lives bear witness of that peace as we enter the darkness of winter, and may we use the quiet time as a preparation for further spiritual growth in the next cycle."

Messenger sits.

Silence (or personal choice of meditative music) for 3 minutes.
Running time 34 minutes.

Dispersal

After 3 minutes, the Conductor rises and sounds the gong twice.

Conductor:
"Please rise, and place your right hand over your heart".

The Elder of Earth opens the door to the Ante-Chamber and stands on the South side of the door.

The Elder of Fire restores the light in the Ante-Chamber.

Silence (or personal choice of processional music) for 3 minutes.

The four Light-Bearers proceed to their stations and turn to face the Altar.

The Grail Maiden proceeds by way of the North and takes her station facing the East at the West of the Altar.

The Grail Maiden removes the bowl containing the fruits of the earth from the Altar and the Light-Bearers remove the lamps.

All turn to face the West and the Light-Bearers form a square with the Grail Maiden in the centre.

The Messenger proceeds by way of the South to take station three steps behind the Grail Maiden, and all exit from the Crypt.

The Elder of Earth closes the door to the Ante-Chamber, but remains standing beside it.

The conductor sounds the gong three times.

Members drop their hands.

(3 minutes)
Running time 37 minutes.

Members Exit

Conductor (Air):
"This concludes our sacred Ritual. Members may now leave the Crypt starting with those in the South-East."

The Elder of Earth opens the door to the Ante-Chamber.

The members exit to suitable joyful music.

Allow up to 8 musical minutes. Total running time 45 minutes.

TAPE ENDS HERE

The Elder of Earth closes the Crypt doors when the Members have all gone.

The Elders meditate quietly in their seats for a few moments before clearing away the burnt incense and ensuring that all equipment is turned off and the Ritual Space is secured.