Splinters-be-gone from each one’s eye
Let all behold the earth, the sky
The web of life in which we breathe
The common ways we love and grieve
To see with love, and with love see
And as …
Ritual of the Splinter
This ritual grew out of a discussion in our Wiccan book group regarding our response to our political situation in the autumn of 2017. It’s based on an image from the fairy tale “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Anderson.
A troll (coincidence noted) has devised a magic mirror, and the reflections in the mirror show everything in its most banal, ugly and unpleasant aspect. The mirror makes the most beautiful landscape look like “boiled spinach” – and shows living creatures and relationships in the worst possible light. The trolls believe the mirror shows things as they truly are and thrust the mirror in everyone’s faces, eventually carrying the mirror to the heavens to enlighten the Gods. Whereupon the mirror laughs itself to pieces, and falls to Earth, in splinters, shards and pieces as small as a grain of sand. Some pieces made into spectacles, some into windows, some stick in the eye, and some in the heart, which turns to solid ice. One splinter lodges in the eye of a child.
The child, Kai, once loving and devoted to his friend Gerda, casts her aside and goes off to play with the big boys, delighting in cruelty, bullying and one-upsmanship, abandoning his friend and all things feminine. When playing with the boys Kai is seduced by the Snow Queen, the embodiment of cold reason, and Gerda spends the rest of the story attempting to retrieve him.
This ritual is concerned with the mirror and the splinters, as an archetype of the narrow place we find ourselves in at this time, not so much with the rest of the story, which also has many interesting points – for another time.
Imagine the five of Pentacles in the Coleman-Smith/Ryder/Waite deck, with the beggars outside the stained glass window, left with nothing, and the splinter in their eyes distorting the stained glass to remove even the hope of improvement.
Imagine businessmen and trolls reaching for more and more goods, more power over others, looting the common springs of trust, feeling and beauty, denying that commonality is even good, let alone possible.
Wait, we don’t need to imagine that.
So, for the sake of this ritual we have a splinter problem – our vision is distorted, our sentiments distorted, even our vision of possibilities is distorted. It’s very easy to see the effects of the splinters in the eyes of our political opponents, not so easy to see the effects on our own perceptions. The ritual is not for a minute suggesting that all points of view are equal – things are as good or bad as they are, and it’s for us to discover. I am suggesting that the demonization and uglification in the times we’re living in are affecting all of us, and that the first step towards getting well is to realize we are sick; the second is to remove the source of infection.
This ritual is about removing splinters.
A pair of tweezers, fireplace tongs, heavy gloves, needle nose pliers or any implement suitable for removing splinters of the desired size and configuration. One per practitioner or working pair, consecrated in advance in the interest of time and flow.
A cauldron, to symbolize a visualized cauldron in the ritual
according to tradition
Improvisation 1 – The Problem
Visualize splinters in the eyes of people in the world. Nobody is immune. See the light of hope and imagination in different faces, and the light withdrawn as the splinter reflects back a distorted reality. Look over familiar scenes of hate, of finger pointing, of arguments that go nowhere … and in each see the splinter in each eye as a lurid driving presence, goading us to see the worst as what must be most real.
See a crowd of people as beggars in a sunlit meadow, scrabbling to grab at scraps of grass while surrounded by rich orchards they pointedly ignore, splinters protruding from each face.
See a crowd of people surrounding a rich feast, carrying long forks. Each fends the other away with their fork and spears a morsel, yet the fork is so long they cannot bring the food to their mouth.
Improvise on these ideas, but not too long,
Improvisation 2 – The Charging
Focus upon the tool or tools of choice. Invest the tool with energy, make it hard yet flexible, and glowing with light of a piercing clear bluish-green-white nature. Make the tool of a subtle substance that can pass through ordinary matter. Any other substance than mirror shard is like water to the tool and the tool can flow through any part of the body without affecting it, grasping only mirror fragments.
Charge the tool with an invocation of the rune, but do not close or seal
Improvisation 3 – The Action
Recommence the rune as a chant
Revisit each scene improvised in the initial “problem” part of the ritual.
In each scene, see the tool glide through any solid object as if it were immaterial, magnetized, drawing and grasping each sliver of glass in a firm magnetic grip and placing it in the common cauldron.
Visualize each scene transformed as the splinters are withdrawn.
People awaken in the meadow as if from a dream, and stroll among the apples, tasting and smiling and greeting one another as friends.
People at the feast turn to one another, and begin to feed one another with their long forks, breaking out the beer, wine and other potions of amusement.
Spend a moment seeing us as we could be, even with our opponents, letting go of misunderstandings and joining in a common determination to live well in beauty.
Improvisation 4 – Recycling
The mirror shards are in the cauldron but the mirror is no less dangerous for being concentrated in one place.
Continue to chant and connect the cauldron bottom in a tunnel to the core of the earth. See the fire in the Earth’s heart, too hot for any spell or intent to endure. The fire renders all to its elements, dilutes all concentrations, returns everything to its proper proportion. Even radioactive substances becomes stable when immersed in the Earth’s heart fire. Energy released becomes generic and repurposed to the Planet’s purpose.
Continue the chant to allow the Earth to fuse the shards in the cauldron to a single mass, a reconstituted mirror.
Stand up to raise the cone and let the bottom of the cauldron open to the tunnel to fling the fused mirror down the tunnel, the opposite of the troll’s original attempt to elevate the mirror. See the fire pull the mirror so strongly that nothing sticks to the tunnel’s walls. See the mirror return to the fires of purification, harmless.
Seal the Spelle.
Cakes and Wine
Remember to ground in the evening