Thursday, 21 December 2017

Se'Var Religious Service : December 21, 2017

A crowd of Free and slaves gathered at the Temple this morning for the Se'Var service led by High Initiate, Blessed Rafayil.  

The Winter Solstice and the Festival of Se'Var occurs on this day and Campus celebrated this with those able to attend.

**Se'Var Service with permission from High Initiate, Blessed Rafayil**

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): The procession forms up outside the temple, preparing to enter.

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): The servants of Priest-Kings gather on the night of Se'Var at the entry to the Temple, the thurifer at the front with his smoking incense, an initiate with bells, and the initiate carrying the High Initiate's ceremonial staff.  Behind them is the High Initiate in his ceremonial robes and high hat.  He is followed by the choir of singing slaves led by their en.

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): Within and without, the Temple is decked with festive boughs, garlands, and winter-flowering plants. Burning candles and fire bowls flicker in opposition to the darkness of the season, celebrating the resting of the Central Fire as it prepares for the return of light.

 Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): The procession walks into the temple.  The three initiates at the head of the procession move to one side of the temple and take their places there.  The choir take their places on the opposite side of the temple.

 Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): The High Initiate bows before the Sacred Circle, the turns back alone toward the front of the temple to complete his preparations.

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): The High Initiate turns to the people gathered before the Temple and says, "On this shortest day of the year, when the hours of darkness are longest, let us gather here to honor Priest-Kings, and beg them once more to grant us the victorious return of Light."

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente) gestures and the great bar at the entrance rings out three times as he chants after each peal:

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): "Lar-Torvis sleeps now in the Great Darkness. Grant in your mercy, Holy Ones, that he may soon awaken."

 Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): "Lar-Torvis lies bound in the power of the longest night.  By your might, Priest-Kings, strengthen him that he may escape."

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): "Lar-Torvis waits to return, bringing beauty and fertility again to the land with the advent of spring. May the Holy Ones hasten his coming."

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): The Initiate turns to the people gathered before the Temple and says, "Be reverent before Priest-Kings" and the choir adds, "For it is good to pray to the Immortal Ones at the Festival of Se'Var."

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): The Initiate bows his head, then raises his hands in adoration to the Eternal Circle above the altar.

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): He then turns to the lavabo bowl by the entrance, rinses his hands in the water of purification and dries them by passing them over the flame of sanctification as he chants: "Priest-Kings, Immortal Ones, purify me, I pray you, so that I may rightly serve you in your sacred Temple."'

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): "This holy night, purify my mind, that I may know your Truth and proclaim it."
This holy night, purify my heart, that I may show your love and mercy to all.
This holy night, purify my hands, that I may help and heal all who are in any need.
This holy night, purify my ears, that I may hear your voice and obey
This holy night, purify my feet, that I may walk in the way you have set for me to follow.
This holy night. purify my whole being that nothing unclean may touch or enter it.
This holy night of Se'Var, keep me secure within the boundaries of your Eternal Circle until the light returns."

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): The Initiate dips his fingertips once more into the blessed water in the bowl and touches his lips so that his mouth may be purified to speak the words at the altar of the Holy Ones, saying,

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): "Priest-Kings most holy, most mighty, most glorious, make me clean before you, so that no profane thought may turn me from the flawless contemplation of your Will. and no impure act may defile my complete obedience to the holy laws under which you have set me.  This sacred night, and always, accept my service, and make me truly your blessed one, that I may perfectly serve your Will. Hear me, Priest-Kings!"

 Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente) makes a gesture of warding and says, "May nothing unworthy of you, O Holy Ones, enter into this, your consecrated space."  He turns to the gathered people once more and raises his voice. "Come with their favor, as their people, into the Temple of Priest-Kings, to do them honor. Praise be to Priest-Kings!"

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): The Initiate turns and walks down the marble floor, through the white railing, to the altar, as the choir raise their voices in a hymn:

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): "We gather here
for Se’Var has come
the year’s shortest day.
The gardens stand barren
The trees are bare of fruit
On the year’s longest night.
Yet bright and warm
the firelight shines
on your holy altar
Though it seems
that all is lifeless in winter-tide
our faith in you, Priest-Kings, is sure.
The Central Fire
will shine again
for so command the Sardar
And to all of you
Who gather here, the Holy Ones command:
use this time of waiting wisely
Turn your supplications
Toward the holy mountains
and pray to the Sardar
That spring will come again
and it may bring, if you are obedient,
what each of you desires."

 Kitten Serpente: Come, come into the Temple, all Free People!

Kitten Serpente: The voices of the choir grow silent as the Initiate bows to the Golden Circle over the altar.  He makes the gesture of the Sacred Circle, holds his hands up to the altar and chants: "Come, we beseech you Priest-Kings, and attend us here this night.  Incline your ears to those who cry to you out of winter's silence."

 Kitten Serpente: "Praise be to you Priest-Kings, holy and mighty,
Who bring forth light out of darkness."

Kitten Serpente strikes a spark with flint and steel, and lights the candles on the altar, then the coals in the altar brazier.  When the brazier is burning evenly, he casts a measure of incense into the burning coals, chanting: "Let our prayers rise like this incense to the Sardars, as we offer gifts to Priest-Kings in token of our obedience.  Receive our offerings this holy night of Se'Var, O Priest-Kings, and send us your favor."

 Kitten Serpente: The Initiate turns to the people in the temple and says:
"We gather now to celebrate the Year-Turning of Se'Var, the Second Resting of the Central Fire, and the coming of true winter.  For these three days the Central Fire stands still in his progression, pausing between the waning and the waxing of the light, at the darkest point of the year's cycle.  Out of this darkness, I, their anointed one, call upon Priest-Kings to send to their people the return of light.   May they hear me."   He turns back to the altar and continues:

Kitten Serpente: Priest-Kings, Holy Ones, who first brought forth from the primordial darkness the sun, the moons, and all the sparkling lights that glitter in the night sky, receive now our homage and our supplication.

 Kitten Serpente: All things, all chances, are yours, Priest-Kings, and are given for our instruction. All is held according to your will within your Eternal Circle.  Yours alike are plenty and want, joy and sorrow, storm and stillness, the midwinter feast and the starving time before En'kara returns. Yours alike are life and death, rain and drought, the Home Stone victorious in battle and the City scattered and lost beneath the shifting sands.  Yours are male and female, high caste and low, slave and Free, of every City, and of the lands outside the walls.

 Kitten Serpente: Yours now is the long, still night of winter, where all things seem hidden in frozen, lifeless ground,  Yet with you there is always mercy.  In the midst of the year's deepest darkness, you have set your bright moons and shining stars in the clear night sky, as a sign and a beacon, to give us hope, to guide us home.

 Kitten Serpente: Against a barren world outside, you have set for us the strong ramparts of community, to shelter us warmly within the joys of friendship and affection.  Send your blessing, Holy Ones, upon all those whose lives are closely linked with ours.  May your favor rest upon this Gorean Campus, upon those who teach and those who learn, for they are your servants and their piety is toward you forever.  Guard, guide and keep all our Free people, that in all they do, it may be according to your Will and for the benefit of this place of learning which you have given us.  Send your blessing also upon all our slaves that they may be obedient, diligent in their duties, and pleasing.

Kitten Serpente: Therefore, now, holy Priest-Kings we pray that you will send us peace, health, and success, prospering your faithful people in all their rightful purposes, and fulfilling their petitions made here before you. Preserve us in your mercy from all ill fortune, and above all, from your anger and the dreadful Flame Death.

Kitten Serpente: The Initiate turns to the table which holds the decorated tray of offerings: wine, water, salt and bread.  He sprinkles a few drops of pure water from the well of Gorean Campus into the flame, saying: "Receive this pure water from Gorean Campus, Holy Priest-Kings, water which is needful for our life, that all our lives may be preserved, to be made yours, and lived according to your laws." As the water sizzles and evaporates, the choir sings, "Accept this offering of life-giving water, holy Priest-Kings! We give you a gift; give to us your favor."

Kitten Serpente: The Initiate casts a pinch of pure white salt into the flame, saying, "Receive this salt of Gorean Campus, Priest-Kings.  As it saves from decay, purifies, and flavors that which it touches, so may we be saved from all danger, purified, and our lives flavored with delight."  As the salt is consumed the choir sings, "Accept this offering of sparkling salt, holy Priest-Kings!  We give you a gift, give to us your favor."

Kitten Serpente: Next, the Initiate breaks off a small piece of the honey-bread and drops it into the flame, saying, "Receive this honey-bread, made of fine sa-tarna flour and oil, and honey from our hives.  Holy Ones, we offer to you this symbol of our sustenance, that we may be maintained in security from all hunger and want." As the bit of honey-bread is consumed in the flame, the choir sings, "Accept this offering of sustenance from our lands, holy Priest-Kings! We give you a gift; give to us your favor."

Kitten Serpente: Finally, the Initiate sprinkles a few drops of sweet wine into the flame, saying, "Receive this wine which makes glad the heart of man, holy Priest-Kings, that our lives may be sweet and joyful, and our thanks for the good things you send us may ever ascend to you." As the drops of sweet wine sizzle and vanish in the flame, the choir sings, "Accept this offering of wine, holy Priest-Kings! We give to you a gift; give to us your favor."

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): The Initiate turns to the people gathered beyond the railing and says: "Let any who wish, present their petitions, aloud or in their hearts, before the altar of Priest-Kings at this time"

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): "Holy Ones, keep Gorean Campus in your favor, that it may prosper and all its people live together in happiness.  Let the slaves here have success in their studies, and all they do, and reach to the highest place they can.  May all live in health and joy, and the New Year be good in all things for your people, as light returns.

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): When the people have spoken, the choir falls silent and the Initiate turns again toward the altar, saying

Kitten Serpente: "In this winter night when the cold bites deep, hold us, your people, Holy Ones, safe in your presence, and illuminate the path you have set before our feet to follow.  Send your blessings to all who call upon you and grant their petitions.  Set those of the Initiate Caste, your anointed ones, -- and especially this Initiate to whom you have given the people of Gorean Campus to serve in your name, -- ablaze here and now with the sacred fire of midwinter, that your Blessed One may be a light in this dark time to your people, until the Light returns."  Hear me, Priest-Kings!

 Kitten Serpente: The High Initiate completes the ritual by casting a handful of incense into the brazier on the altar.

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): The High Initiate turns to the people gathered in the temple and chants in a joyful voice:
"Rejoice, rejoice all you people of Gorean Campus, and give thanks to Priest-Kings!  For now the year turns, and Lar-Torvis strengthens.  From this moment forward, the days lengthen and the world moves toward brightness and warmth. This holy day and this holy season are the gift of Priest-Kings. Let us give them praise and thanks!"

 Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): "The ceremony is completed. Go forth, all you faithful folk, with the blessing of Priest-Kings, to the Festival of Se'Var.  Ta Sardar Gor!" 
"As you leave, touch the candle on the stand to receive a candle and carry the Light of Se'Var home with you."

Blessed Rafayil (kitten.serpente): The Initiate walks slowly out of the Temple as the choir sings a hymn of praise and thanksgiving to Priest-Kings, and the people leave the building.   He pauses on the threshold to bless the slaves gathered there, saying, "May Priest-Kings bless you as their good beasts, and those of your Owners."

1 comment:

  1. was an incredibly beautiful ceremony to lead us Goreans into the holiday weekend.. thank you Blessed One