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Rite of Rebirth
By: Barbara H.

I performed the Rite of Rebirth this afternoon with great joy. I have felt during my study in the Path of Self that I was becoming a better more creative person who is taking responsibility for my own life. I also seem to be able to trust my inner knowing and hearing without question and can act on this knowledge.

My awakening came at the dark altar. The Goddess gave me my golden headband with the cobra that circles my forehead. Then She lifted a veil up over my head and said "you may go now child." I also saw very bright colors before this happened, bright blue and red.

Rite of Rebirth
By: Cerridwen Awen Quinne

The night before the rite, the Elders of the FOI and other guides came to me during Dreamtime. All were female. One of them put the necklace of Rebith around my neck, while others were annointing my body. This same FOI guide who placed the necklace on me is rather forthright, which I prefer. “It is time to grow-up,” she said. She said this without judgement or accusation, and I knew that she was right. At least two of the women present appearred to be quite elderly, with very boney hands and long fingers; they were wearing black robes. It is still difficult for me to tell who is incarnate and who is not, but they all work together, whether their conscious minds know it or not. It seems that the Fellowship spans many dimensions.

I had spent many days reading over the Rite before I actually performed it on September 17, 2005. With every reading, I could feel aspects of myself stir within me, as if preparing for what is to come. The day of the ritual, I spent quite some time preparing my space. I used a rain rattle and sage for clearing. Isis and Osiris stood on my altar, with my Matron Goddess, Cerridwen, in front of them. Interestingly enough, much of the jewelry used in the ritual came from the storage unit that I had emptied at the end of the Path of Self. I took a cleansing shower after my space was prepared. The women whom I had seen that night before were all with me, waiting for me to begin. And so I did.

I confess that my veil did create some awkward moments during the rite, often blurring my vision, and its length flapped around a bit, but the descent itself felt real and powerful. I did feel quite bare there, stripped of my abilities as symbolized by the removal of the adornments. As I sat in front of Allatu’s altar, I could feel the women around me. I felt the urge to lie down to meditate, and as I did, I called out to Cerridwen. Suddenly, I heard, “It is I who wishes to speak with you!” And there was Allatu on a stony throne immersed in darkness. The darkness muted her features so that I was only able to perceive piercing blue eyes, and, unlike the descriptions of Her, subtle outlines of horns on her head. I was in the same darkness, lying there looking-up at what should have been a very intimidating figure, but She was not. When I ackowledged Her, Her manner of communication changed and became more subtle, as if She were quite content that She had my attention now. She then simply began to send me a rush of thoughts that I can only paraphrase now. She communicated to me that my request for rebirth also signifies the rebirth of those around me, for as I am reborn so will others experience a transformation, for we are all connected. This means that my relationships with those close to me will change. These bonds will mature and we will see each other quite differently now. I appreciated this message, because I had been feeling that some very old relationship patterns had been “holding me back” from being all that I AM. I now understand why this change in the nature of my connections to others is an important component of my rebirth. I suspect, however, that it will be my perception of these connections that will change.

After the delivery of this message, I embarked on my ascent from Allatu’s realm, gave thanks to all aspects of Deity involved, and closed the ritual. The women were still with me, pleased with the results, but one claimed that “it wasn’t over yet.”

Several nights later, I was awakened by a Dreamtime experience with one of the Elders. She began to tell me that everything I had prepared for is coming into fruition now. Allatu also visited me and reminded me to keep my thoughts in check. I am now understanding that my first interaction with Her during the rite itself planted a seed: she forced me to evaluate my perceptions of others that were feeding a very negative cycle. My rebirth is internal, and the release of old perceptions and thoughtforms is akin to an exorcism. Once you get used to thinking in a certain way, the internal changes needed to yield external ones is very, very difficult—and painful. I know that this is all a part of “growing-up,” as the Elder had told me. It’s time to quit living as the wounded child and to be freed from the fetters of limiting thoughtforms and belief structures.

Rite of Rebirth
By: Katinka

I performed this ritual on Tuesday the 31st of August. Afterwards I had strong feelings that this ritual set something in motion. No flashes or appearances, but I experienced someone present and a touch of something that is greater than me. It was the loving presence from the Goddess Allatu who told me to accept and embrace my dark side instead of hating it. I discovered a deep fear inside myself that my darker aspects should hinder me to become a priestess. To act "good" in a stiff and unnatural way can cause problems. Dark and light are together like day and night are together and complementary. In the dark earth in winter can seed grow and develop. I felt the presence of the Gods, even now. My initiation and the call of my rebirth were heard between the worlds. It is an oath and a promise that is forever. I feel radiant and my view and senses are widened and much more sensitive. A beautiful experience!

Rite of Rebirth
By: Tara K.

This was an extremely intense ritual experience. It was a very scary sensation to be losing myself and descending into the Underworld. I felt helpless, cold and alone. It is amazing how the imagination truly can place you within a context. With the extinguishing of each candle, I felt a little sense of panic come over me. By the time I began to feel a little more comfortable with each "loss" - each thing I had to give up - I was once again facing increased trepidation. The near-blackness of the room left with only the red candle burning was very effecting. I felt I was actually in another place - far from the safety of my room.

I sat before the candle and meditated. I closed my eyes and heard a voice - the same voice of the Goddess I've heard before - repeating over and over. "There is no death. There is only life. The soul knows no death. Where you think you see death, there is life - perhaps hidden, but it is there. There is always life."

When I opened my eyes, in the glint of the candlelight, there was a tiny bug of some sort, dancing in the shadows on the wall, gleefully, as if to show me that, indeed, even in the places you least expect it, you can find life bustling with energy. I closed my eyes, and when I opened them again, the little bug was gone, as quickly as it had first arrived. An involuntary smile came to my lips and all my fear vanished. The ever-present terror at the prospect of death that I've had since earliest childhood also seemed to begin to fall away. I began to see that death is simply change - it is not an ending by any means.

In the weeks since I enacted the ritual, I have been overwhelmed by how at peace I feel. Ever since I can remember, I have awoken in the middle of the night several times a week in a cold sweat, panicked over the thought that I would die someday and perhaps no longer exist. Since I performed the ritual, I haven't had that feeling once - not even anything remotely like it, whether I was awake or asleep. I'm no longer as terrified of everyday dangers - and I'm no longer afraid for the fate of the people I love.

Rite of Rebirth
By: Luna

In many ways this was a difficult, if ultimately worthwhile ritual. During the descent phase I was reminded of a Zen-like meditation I'd tried years ago that involved mentally stripping away the superficial layers of what one thought of as one's identity: "I'm not my clothes. . . I'm not my room. . . I'm not my job. . . I'm not my body". . . etc. The Rite of Rebirth however, took me through some not-so-superficial layers very quickly, and I confess that it was not at all easy to part with such precious gifts, many of which were newly acquired, even in the abstract, even temporarily. Stripped bare, I reluctantly sat before the red candle hoping that the darker aspect of Her presence would reveal itself as a friend, a force of regeneration and release. What I felt was more a deep sorrow than fear, a sorrow that was somehow connected to the sense of my own mortality and that of those I love, to the idea that all the love and beauty of the world that I cherish is entirely ephemeral. (While this idea has lost some of its power over me as my spiritual studies progress, it has roots that run deep are pretty stubborn.) As I meditated, emptying my mind, the single message that came to me was a simple one: "I am here." It was the voice that I knew as Hers, the Bright Lady. As I sat in the dark of the bottom of my mental universe, stripped of so much that I held dear, the Goddess of Light was still with me. She revolved before my mind's eye revealing each of Her faces, in turn, that are dearest to me: Selene. . . Brigid. . . Bastet. . . Isis. . . Hestia. I began my ascent with relief, and emerged exhausted.

The month following the rite has been a challenging one. I seem to be purging all sorts of negative emotions and experiences through unhappy dreams. . . More than ever, as I face life's challenges, Her power message resonated within me: "I am here." As I face my fears, She is there. As I continue to grow and challenge myself as an artist, She is there, more present in my life than ever.

Rite of Rebirth
By: Barbara

I was very aware of the Goddess as a pillar of light on my right side. Each gate was a powerful experience of actual surrender and later reclaiming. I went through each as through I WAS in the actual Descent and felt more than my usual sense of self doing each action. It was solemn, grave, weighty and somehow graceful, beautiful in a dark, mysterious way. I felt in a space of stone and shadow, not in my room. I saw the Goddess at each gate and saw Her surrender. Time slowed down. Each thought stayed in the air. Each gate was like the sound of a gong, going on and on. I watched each attribute fall away for a long time. At the bottom, I heard a *very* beautiful voice speaking in a language I could not grasp - several times.

As I emerged, pure joy overflowed, the kind that takes me beyond myself and is so rare. When I turned outward to the FOI centers I distinctly heard in my mind, "It is done." After I thoroughly closed the ritual and sat there a lingering bit, I heard again, "It is done" and knew this meant I had been accepted.

The ritual seems to have brought me a lasting connection with the Goddess of the Underworld. The "dark side" of a few life situations has come up to the surface, and some clearer awareness of my own repressed dark side is coming up within. Strangely, this is either enriching the situation or changing it. Within myself, I'm expressing it with some creativity.

Rite of Rebirth
By: Lady Lilith
At the very moment that I started the ritual, with the first words that I as Candidate spoke, I began to cry tears that seemed to come of their own free will. It was as if I were meant to be cleansed both inside and out before I could be reborn. The cleansing tears continued to gently flow through the invocation, story narration and creation of images and into the ritual itself.

At the challenge of each gate I felt a lightness of spirit that gradually built until I reached the 5th gate and gave up my girdle (belt) in order to pass the gate. This girdle from the Middle East, jingles and jangles with each subtle movement, like the sound of sweet rhythmic bells softly tingling. The sound not only halted my tears, but left me with a feeling of purity. The tears cleansed and allowed me to open my spirit to receive the seeds of rebirth. At the yielding of my veil I felt that my being surrendered itself. There I stood before my altar, completely open, and naked of adornments and with a pureness of being that I never felt before. I was ready to receive.

As I spoke the words of the storyline, it was as if the very breath of the words spoken from my lips sounded deep within my soul. I had passed into a different realm where my being was encompassed in openness. I began the meditation. It was then that my tears, one drop at a time began to flow again. "Tears of joy, tears of the sky and tears of the earth", these were the Divine words of the Goddess that softly reverberated into my ears. It was a voice that mimicked the bell-like sound of my tingling girdle left at gate 5. It was the cleansing power of the element of water in my tears and the gift of Her bell-like voice sounding the words that washed away the old and purified me for the new.

The tears ceased as I began the bestowal of spiritual gifts. At each gate I was slowly filled with a growing sense of richness that I cannot find words to describe. Then again at the 5th gate when my Middle Eastern dancer's belt was received back, I once again heard the jingling sound of the belt which triggered the feeling that the Goddess was with me. I felt Her empowering energy enclose around and embrace my center. I actually felt the presence of Her arms embracing me, hugging me. I continued on until the closing and after the words "May I now go forth with the Divine Blessing", I heard the tingling jingling bell-like sound again, of a voice so divine and light that it merely whispered into my ears: "From the depths dawns the light above." I was reborn.

Rite of Rebirth
By: Ana'sarina de El'y'sa

This was a tough ritual for me, but it was very rewarding. As I removed my crown and surrendered with it the light of my spirit, I felt my connection to my spirit dissipate. As a being of Spirit with a heavily leaning toward spirituality, I felt empty and incomplete. As I removed my ability to hear the Divine, my magic, my will, and my ability to fly between the worlds, more vital parts of myself were pared away. I felt each one truly depart and lock themselves away from me, leaving emptiness where they should have been. I did not realize how much I used magic and will to do small things like snuff candles, maintain my balance while standing on one foot, and keep veils from falling off. I felt as if I had very little - if any - control over the world around me. When I passed through the seventh gate, I felt small, naked (even though I wore my robe), hollow and very weak. I was actually trembling.

As I sat in front of the altar and remained open to the Goddess and any impressions, both Allatu and Ishtar appeared in front of me. Since I had relinquished my ability to hear the voice of the Divine, they each took turns filling my body and placing their message for me directly in my mind. They both spoke of love, and how love is the basis for life and magic. Whether "light" or "dark", all actions of the Goddess are based in love. They taught me more about how to use my love to guide me to do that which it Ma'at.

I thanked the Goddesses, feeling joy in my heart. As I passed out of the Underworld through the seven gates and reclaimed that which I had left behind, I felt cleansed, healed and rejuvenated. It was like my entire Self had undergone a good scrubbing and mending and was shiny new. As I replaced the parts of myself I had relinquished, they shone brighter than they ever had. The arts of myself returned more in harmony with each other, with myself, and with the Universe. I felt more whole and complete than I had before I had given them up. I felt stronger, more focused and clearer. I was joyous, and my heart was filled with love.

Rite of Rebirth
By: Christy D.

I descended through the gates, feeling a loss at the removal of each item. When I extinguished the final candle and went to sit at the altar with the one red candle I was bare and cold. I read through the story. I called to the Goddesses asking what I was there to find and see. The candle was flickering wildly for a while as I gazed into it, but it finally settled down. My eyes finally came to rest on a dark shadow where the candlelight was not striking and I felt the emptiness growing heavy inside me. I then heard a voice in my head, whose voice I don't know. She said: "This is the darkness of grief in your heart. Do not be afraid of this darkness because it was born in Love and shall die in Love. It is as much a part of Love as the bright flame above it."

And I began to cry, sob and become very cold focusing on the darkness of the grief inside myself, on all the people that are not gone from my life through death or circumstances, on the heartbreak in my relationship with my littlest one's father who could well be my own Tammuz taken into the dark cold underworld if he continues on his path.

I couldn't stop crying, but I finally managed to call for help from Ishtar and Allatu. I managed to hear the voice again: "Heal my child, heal. Through the darkness of grief you still manage to Love, and this is your strength. Heal my child, heal. Your love is your strength, return and walk in the light."

And these words lifted me up out of the crying and I felt stronger again. The message was again echoed that grief and love are partnered, but to love anyway is a great gift. As I relit the candles and reclaimed the items and what they represented I felt courageous. I felt strong and definitely reborn.

Rite of Rebirth
By: Taurin

During the ritual, my newborn daugher slept (which was pretty rare) and I was able to complete the ritual without interruptions. I enacted the ritual and it wasn't until the very end when I was grounding myself that I felt the presence of the Goddess. I felt a sense of completion and renewal and a sense of being recharged after all the recent events in my life. This sense stayed with me for several days and things have started to fall into place for me as a new mother. I have felt a presence when I am with my daughter that is female and has been very comforting and helpful to me. I have been very unsure of if I was doing anything right from changing diapers and breast-feeding to being a good mom. I have many times since felt, heard, or seen a female figure that has been encouraging and comforting. I now feel more and more in tune with the Goddess, my daughter, my body and myself.

Rite of Rebirth
By: Brunnhilde

I performed the Mystery Drama the Rite of Rebirth on February 22, 2001, dark of the moon. I chose this evening and moon phase specifically because of the nature of the ritual and the encounter with the dark Goddess.

It was a tremendously rewarding experience. I'll admit, I was a bit nervous at the beginning. I wondered if I could face the Goddesses. As I progressed with the ritual, I could feel the comforting aspect of Ishtar, which gave me confidence and quieted my fears. As I met the successive gatekeepers, I felt as though I were journeying into a cave passageway deep into the earth. I could smell the earth and the dampness of a cave. At the 7th gatekeeper, as I dropped my veil and extinguished the candle, I gasped in awe (and or terror) as I saw Allatu standing there!

At first She seemed dark, frightening, menacing, intimidating, but after a moment I saw a white glow of light behind me. As the glow of light fell onto the dark figure Her fearsome features melted away and She appeared old but friendly. She was still clad in her dark robes, but She extended Her arms, welcoming me. Next, the dark and light entities seemed to combine into one figure and embraced me with the most warm, loving, nurturing hug I have ever experienced. It was truly awesome. It is difficult to describe.

Two nights later, I had a very intense dream. I traveled to an ancient stone temple. I was admitted by an attendant in a dark robe. I was asked to dress in a dark robe also. Then the attendant told me I would be shown "that which I seek." I followed the attendant down many stairs and passageways, deep into the earth beneath the temple. The air smelled damp and of the earth. It was cold and clammy feeling. Finally the attendant stopped and gestured - there. I looked and saw a structure similar to a fireplace. It had a pillar on each side, left and right. In the "fireplace" was a bright glowing light. I knew it was very sacred, the essence of Deity, the Grail. It was so intense, I fainted. The attendant stood patiently waiting for me to wake up. I could see myself on the stone floor, the attendant watching me, and the dark and light Goddesses watching me. When I regained consciousness, I felt the same intense embrace as during the ritual. The attendant led me back up, and out of the temple, bid me adieu and welcomed me to return another time.

When I awoke from the dream I knew this was a Divine encounter. In the days since the ritual and dream I have felt very calm, very loved. I have a deeper inner peace. On the mundane level, a lot of "loose ends" have come together. Projects and agreements that I started some time ago have finally come to completion. I have seen a sign of the Goddess every day: jackrabbits, owls, crows. This Rite of Rebirth was a wonderful experience and an opening of a new consciousness.

Rite of Rebirth
By: Singing Stones

This was the day before Easter. The day before the Christian Christ's rebirth. Two days before my 45th birthday; this was the year I designated as my unfolding year; the year when I would reveal my true self both light and shadow. My Rite of Rebirth.

I prepared with prayer and silence all afternoon and evening. About 8pm I shut off the phone, closed doors and drapes, and began.

I took a sacred bath with sage soap and just let any negativity flow off of me and down the drain. I visualized light flowing around and through me. As I prepared the altar and myself, I was no longer of this reality, but somewhere inbetween where all things are possible.

I felt myself stand with the Goddess Ishtar before the gates to the Underworld. With each surrendering, I felt heavier and heavier until, I too, stood before the Dark Goddess stripped of everything that held who I was or thought I was. I sat before the flame of my red candle, the only spot of light in the dark; numb in feeling except for the feel of stark, bleak aloneness. And as I sat, I began to be aware of a spark within myself; one piece of brightness in the night and a voice that called my name with such tenderness that tears sprang to my eyes. I cried softly into the darkness, "Mother?" The voice told me how I was never alone and would never be. I was special and precious in Her sight. As She talked and held me in Her love, I felt my soul start to stir and the small light grew brighter and began to illuminate all the dark corners filled with doubt and fear and seared them clean.

As I rose up through the gateways again, I felt each piece of me restored by the Goddess Herself with such love that tears flowed down my face and I knew the gift of Eternal Life had been given to me in that moment of darkness and the coming of light!

At the end of the ritual, I know I was different. It wasn't so much an outward physical thing as a deep settling down, taking root kind of coming home. I felt part of something much bigger like I had settled into my piece of a greater plan. Even in my Beltane celebration a few days later, I felt the celebration on a deeper level, as if I had finally connected with a force so ancient it defied definition. I felt like I was a vital part of that rite and all of life.

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