Readings for the Opening Ceremony

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Readings for the Opening Ceremony
 
     

SUGGESTED READINGS CATEGORIES
Indigenous/Native American
Divine Feminine/Goddess
Hindu
Vedanta
Buddhist
Zoroastrian
Jewish
Christian
Sikh
Islam
Other Prayers & Blessings from world traditions

Natives of the Americas

The clear sky.
The green fruitful earth is good;
But peace among men is better.

~ Omaha

In beauty I walk.
With beauty before me, I walk.
With beauty behind me, I walk.
With beauty below me, I walk.
With beauty above me, I walk.
With beauty all around me, I walk.
It is finished in beauty.

~ Navajo Chant

O' Great Spirit:
Let me always remember,
how soft and damp the grass feels beneath my feet.
Let me greet with respect the elder when we meet.
Let me see you in the things I find wrong.
Let me hear you in the chant of the warrior's song.
Let my touch be gentle when I strike out.
Let my voice be a whisper when I really want to shout.
Let me step lightly when the going is tough.
Let me ride the waves when the water is rough.
Let me remember you are always there.
Then, Great Spirit, I will not despair.

~ Alberta Marie Gurno Downwind (Woman Standing in the Back Watching)

(This can be spoken while standing in a circle)
The Circle has healing power.
In the Circle we are all equal.
When in the Circle, no one is in front of you. No one is behind you.
No one is above. No one is below you.
The Sacred Circle is designed to create unity.
The Hoop of Life is also a circle.
On this hoop there is a place for every species, every race, every tree, and every plant.
It is this completeness of Life that must be respected in order to bring about health on this planet.
To understand each other, as the ripples when a stone is tossed into the waters, the Circle starts small and grows…until it fills the whole lake.

~ Chief Dave, Oglala Lakota, grandson of Red Dog/Crazy Horse’s Band

Truly her power gives She us.
Give thanks to Mother Earth
Who lies here.

We see on Mother Earth
The running streams;
We see the promise of her fruitfulness.

Truly her power she gives us.
Our thanks to Mother Earth who lies here!

~ Native American Pawnee Hymn

I think over again my small adventures,
My fears,
Those small ones that seemed so big,
For all the vital things
I had to get and to reach.

And yet there is only one great thing,
The only thing,

To live and to see the great day that dawns
And the light that fills the world.

~ Inuit

Native American Prayer for Creating Sacred Space : (As you read this, ask participants to stand and face the direction you are referring to.)

To the winds of the South
Great serpent,
Wrap your coils of light around us,
Teach us to shed the past the way you shed your skin,
To walk softly on the Earth. Teach us the Beauty Way.

To the winds of the West.
Mother jaguar,
Protest our medicine space.
Teach us the way of peace, to live impeccably
Show us the way beyond death.

To the winds of the North.
Hummingbird, Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Ancient Ones
Come and warm your hands by our fires
Whisper to us in the wind
We honor you who have come before us,
And you who will come after us, our children's children.

To the winds of the East.
Great Eagle, Condor
Come to us from the place of the rising Sun
Keep us under your wing.
Show us the mountains we only dare dream of.
Teach us to fly wing to wing with the Great Spirit.

Mother Earth.
We have gathered for the healing of all your children.
The stone people, the Plant people.
The four-legged, the two legged, the creepy crawlers.
The finned, the furred, and the winged ones.
All our relations.

Father Sun, Grandmother Moon, to the Star nations.
Great Spirit, you who are known by a thousand names
And you who are the unnamable One.
Thank you for bringing us together
And allowing us to sing the Song of Life.

~ From Alberto Villodo, The Four Winds Society

There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and so swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore.

They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.
Know that the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river,
keep our eyes open and our heads above the water.

And I say, see who is there with you and celebrate.
At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves.
For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over.
Gather yourselves.

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.

~ Message from the Hopi Elders

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Divine Feminine/Goddess

Obsience to Her Who is Pure Being, Consciousness, Bliss.
As Power, Who Exists in the Forms of Time and Space,
And All That is Therein, Who is the Divine Illuminatrix in All Beings."

~ A Tantric Prayer

Oh Goddess, Source of Gods and Mortals,
All-Fertile, All-Destroying Gaia,
Mother of All, Who brings forth the bounteous fruits and flowers,
All variety, Maiden who anchors the eternal world in our own,
Immortal, Blessed, crowned with every grace,
Deep bosomed Earth, sweet plains and fields fragrant grasses in the nurturing rains,
Around you fly the beauteous stars, eternal and divine,
Come, Blessed Goddess, and hear the prayers of Your children,
And make the increase of the fruits and grains your constant care,
With the fertile seasons Your handmaidens,
Draw near, and bless your supplicants.

- Orphic Hymn to Gaia, Translated by Virginia Stewart

Mother of the Light, may you reign as a Goddess of Wisdom within my soul.
Be present for me now and in every moment of eternity.
Take my hand and lead me to the Birthing Light of God within me,
For there shall I find my purpose in life revealed.

Mother, greet me at the door,
Embrace me in your loving countenance and smile gently upon me.
As your lost child, give me assurance that your grace is with me always.
All streams spring from the fort of your heart.
Your eyes shine as the blue sea into my heart,
And you forever find me worthy of your love.
In the spirit of this revelation, I offer to reveal myself fully to you,
Who is my Divine Feminine being, at all times and in all ways.
Amen.

~ Rev. Maia Chrystine Nartoomid

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Hindu

The light that lives in the sun,
Lighting all the world,
The light of the moon,
The light that is in fire:
Know that light to be mine.

My energy enters the earth,
Sustaining all that lives:
I become the moon,
Giver of water and sap,
To feed the plants and the trees.

Flame of life in all,
I consume the many foods,
Turning them into strength
That upholds the body.

I am in all hearts,
I give and take away
Knowledge and memory:
I am all that the Vedas tell,
I am the teacher,
The knower of Vedanta.

~ From the Bhagavad-Gita, Ch. XV, “Devotion to the Supreme Spirit”
(tr. Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood)

Still your mind in me, still yourself in me,
And without doubt you shall be united with me,
Lord of Love, dwelling in your heart.

But if you cannot still your mind in me,
Learn to do so through the practice of meditation.
If you lack the will for such self-discipline,
Engage yourself in selfless service of all around you,
For selfless service can lead you at last to me.
If you are unable to do even this,
Surrender yourself to me in love,
Receiving success and failure with equal calmness
As granted by me.

Better indeed is knowledge than mechanical practice.
Better than knowledge is meditation.
But better still is surrender in love,
Because there follows immediate peace.

~ Krisha to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita

Shivo Bhokta, Shiva Bhojya
Shivo Karta, Shivah Karma
Shivah Karanatmakah

(Translation)
Shiva is the experiencer and the highest object of experience. Shiva is the goal of Sadhana. There is nothing apart from Shiva. There is nothing other than Shiva. Whatever there is, is Shiva. There is nothing, which is not Shiva. There is no place, which is not Shiva. There is no time, which is not Shiva. To be aware of this is to be aware of Shiva.

~ Shiva Dun from the Shiv Prarthana

"O God ! Giver of life, Remover of all pain and sorrows, Bestower of happiness, the Creator of the Universe, Thou art most luminous, adorable and destroyer of sins. We meditate upon thee. May thou inspire, enlighten and guide our intellect in the right direction.

- Arya Samaj translation of the Gayatri Mantra

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Vedanta

May there be peace in the higher regions;
May there be peace in the firmament;
May there be peace on Earth.

May the waters flow peacefully;
May the herbs and plants grow peacefully;
May all the divine powers bring us to peace;
The Supreme Lord is Peace.

May we all be in peace, peace, and only peace;
And may that peace come to each of us.

~ The Vedas

Although my Spirit may wander the four corners of the earth,
Let it come back to me again so that I may live and journey here.
Although my Spirit may go far away over the sea,
Let it come back to me again so that I may live and journey here.
Although my Spirit may go far away to the flashing beams of light,
Let it come back to me again so that I may live and journey here.
Although my Spirit may go far away to visit the sun and dawn,
Let it come back to me again so that I may live and journey here.
Although my Spirit may go far away over the lofty mountains,
Let it come back to me again so that I may live and journey here.
Although my Spirit may go far away into all forms that live and move,
Let it come back to me again so that I may live and journey here.
Although my Spirit may go far away to distant realms,
Let it come back to me again so that I may live and journey here.
Although my Spirit may go far away to all that is and is to be,
Let it come back to me again so that I may live and journey here.
Although my Spirit may wander in the valley of death,
Let it come back to me again so that I may live and journey here.

~ Hymn of the Rig Veda

Asatoma Sat Gamaya
Tamasoma Jyotir Gamaya
Mrityorma Anritam Gamaya

(Translation)
Lead me from the unreal to the Real
Lead me from the darkness to the Light
Lead me from the temporary to the Eternal.

~ Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu,
Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu,
Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu,
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti!

(Translation)
May all the beings in all the worlds become happy;
Peace, peace and peace be everywhere!

~ The Vedas

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Buddhist

All things are made of one essence, yet things are different according to the forms which they assume under different impressions.

As they form themselves so they act, and as they act so they are.
It is as if a potter made different vessels out of the same clay.
Some of these pots are to contain sugar, others rice, others curds and milk; others still are vessels of impurity. There is no diversity in the clay used; the diversity of the pots is only due to the moulding hands of the potter who shapes them for the various uses that circumstances may require.

And as all things originate from one essence, so they are developing according to one law and they are destined to one aim which is Nirvana.
Nirvana comes to thee when thou understandest thoroughly, and when thou livest according to the understanding, that all things are of one essence and there is but one law.
Hence, there is but one Nirvana as there is but one truth, not two or three.

~ The Gospel of Buddha, LV

However innumerable beings are, I vow to save them;
However inexhaustible the passions are, I vow to extinguish them;
However immeasurable the Dharmas are, I vow to master them;
However incomparable the Buddha-truth is, I vow to attain it.

- The Four Great Vows, Zen Buddhism

You must be lamps unto yourselves.
Rely on yourselves, and do not rely on external help.
Hold firm to the truth as a lamp and refuge,
And do not look for refuge in anything besides yourselves.

~ Budda: Digha Nikaya 11:99 Mahaparinibbana Suttanta

May all living beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May we all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May we always rejoice in the happiness of others.
May we abide in equanimity, free from attachment and aversion.

~ The Divine Abodes, or the Four Immeasurables

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Zoroastrian

He who, in the first beginning, thus thought:
“Let the glorious heavens be clothed in light,”
He, by His supreme Understanding, created the principles of Truth and Right,
Enabling mortals thereby to maintain the Good Mind.
O Wise Lord, O ever-the-same Ahura,
By Thy Holy Spirit make these realms to flourish!
And so may we be like those making the world progress towards perfection;
May the Lord and His Angels help us and guide our efforts through Truth.

~ The Divine Songs of Zarathustra II, 23

We reserve and love all good thoughts, words and deeds that may have been presented here or else-where, now or at any future period. Because we are on the side of goodness.

~ Zarathustra

May understanding obedience conquer ignorant disobedience!
May Harmony triumph over Discord,
And Generosity of Spirit over Covetous Avarice!
And may Respect replace Derision.

~ Zoroastrian Prayer

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Judaism

Let the rain come and wash away the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender or skin color.
Let the warmth and brightness of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and feel the sorrows of our neighbors.
And let the light of the sun be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbors.
Let the earth, nourished by rain, bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts to reach upward to heaven.
Amen.

- A Prayer for the World - Rabbi Harold Kushner - 2003

Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.
Praised by His Name whose glorious kingdom is forever and ever.

~ The Shema (Deuteronomy)

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and praise Him, my inmost heart.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and remember His unchanging love:
Who forgives you for your wrongdoing, and heals you of selfishness and fear;
Who frees you from the darkest pit, and crowns you with his compassion;
Who pours light into you and makes you as fresh and vivid as a child.

The Lord gives himself equally to all men and women on earth:
He shines on the rich and the poor, the powerful and the oppressed.
He reveals his justice to all those who search to the depths of their minds.
The more they open themselves, the more they can feel His light.

The Lord is joy and compassion, patience and unchanging love.
Higher than the heavens above us, vaster than space, is His love.
Longer than ten billion years will He wait for us to return.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on us all.
For He knows what we are made of; He remembers that we are dust.

Our lives are as brief as the grass is; we blossom like a flower in a field:
When a strong wind comes, it is rooted up and disappears from its place.
But the Lord’s love is eternal, and His justice is everlasting.
His law extends through the galaxies and into the atom’s core.

Bless the Lord, you angels, echoing with the sound of light.
Bless the Lord, bodhisattvas, who have grown transparent in his love.
Bless the Lord, all creatures, through infinite dimensions of the world.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.

~ Psalm 103 (translation by Stephen Mitchell, A Book of Psalms)

May we see the day when war and bloodshed cease,
when a great peace will embrace the whole world.
Then nation shall not threaten nation,
and humankind will not again know war.
For all who live on earth shall realize,
we have not come into being to hate or destroy,
We have come into being,
to praise, to labour and to love.
Compassionate God, bless all the leaders of all nations,
with the power of compassion.
Fulfill the promise conveyed in Scripture:
"I will bring peace to the land,
and you shall lie down and no one shall terrify you.
I will rid the land of vicious beasts
and it shall not be ravaged by war."
Let love and justice flow like a mighty stream.
Let peace fill the earth as the waters fill the sea.
And let us say: Amen

- Jewish Prayer for Peace

O Praise the Lord, all ye nations;
praise him, all ye people.
For his merciful kindness is great toward us;
and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever.
Praise ye the Lord.

- Bible - Psalms 117:1-2 - King David

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Christian

I, therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, exhort you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all humility and meekness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, careful to reserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, even as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one Baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and throughout all, and in us all.

~Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians, Chapter 4, 1–6

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

~ Saint Francis of Assisi

Our father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.
On earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our debts
As we have forgiven our debtors;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
And the power, And the glory,
Forever.

~ Lord’s Prayer, Luke 11:2-4

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy
Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work too may be holy
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy
Guide me then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy. Amen

- St. Augustine's Prayer to the Holy Spirit

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
For thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

- Psalm 23, King James Bible

Let nothing disturb thee;
Let nothing dismay thee;
All things pass:
God never changes.
Patience attains
All that it strives for.
He who has God
Lacks for nothing:
God alone suffices.

-St Teresa of Avila, 16th Century

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Sikh

The Lord put His Light in this body,
And so it came into the world.
Yes, it came into the world when the Lord illumined the mind with His light.

The Lord Himself is the father and the mother,
Who created creatures so that they might see the world.

When one realized the reality, by the grace of the guru,
One comes to know that this world is a mere show.

Sayeth Nanak; Thus the Lord created the Universe,
Putting His light in every being.

~ Guru Amar Das

The Universal Creator God.
The Name Is Truth.
Creative Being Personified.
No Fear. No Hatred.
Image Of The Undying, Beyond Birth, Self-Existent.
By Guru's Grace.

– Mool Mantra

God adjudges us according to our deeds, not the coat that we wear.
That Truth is above everything, but higher still is truthful living.
Know that we attain God when we love,
And only that victory endures in consequence of which no one is defeated.

- Guru Nanak

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Islamic

Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget and fall into error;
Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden
like that which Thou didst lay on those before us;
Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden greater
than we have the strength to bear.
Blot out our sins, and grant us forgiveness.
Have mercy on us.
Thou art our protector;
Help us against those who stand against Faith.

- Qur'an - 2:286 - Al Baqarah

We begin in the Greatest Name of God,
Infinite Love, Overwhelming Tenderness.
Say: That the secret of secrets is this:
God is One,
The One and only One.
God is the Infinite Presence and Eternal Refuge in whom all things finally return.
God has no beginning, and never was begun,
And besides God, there is no one at all.

~ Surat al-Ikhlas (translation by Imam Bilal Hyde)

Say: We believe in Allah and that which is revealed unto us and that which was revealed unto Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the tribes, and that which was vouchsafed unto Moses and Jesus and the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Allah we have surrendered.

~ Al-cImran, v84 (translation by Pickthall)

Whether you love the One
or another human being,
if you love enough,
in the end you will come into
the presence of Love itself.

~ Jelaluddin Rumi - 13th century (Translation by Coleman Barks)

In the name of God, the infinitely Compassionate and Merciful.
Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds.
The Compassionate, the Merciful.
Ruler on the Day of Reckoning.
You alone do we worship, and You alone do we ask for help.
Guide us on the straight path,
the path of those who have received your grace;
not the path of those who have brought down wrath, nor of those who wander astray.
Amen.

- Fatiha, the 1st Surah of the Qur'an

"... Move beyond any attachment to names."
Every war and every conflict between human beings has happened because
of some disagreement about names.
It's such an unnecessary foolishness, because just beyond the arguing there's a long
table of companionship, set and waiting for us to sit down.

What is praised is one, so the praise is one too,
many jugs being poured into a huge basin.

All religions, all this singing, one song.
The differences are just illusion and vanity.
Sunlight looks slightly different
on this wall than it does on that wall and a lot different on this other one,
but it is still one light.
We have borrowed these clothes, these time-and-space personalities,
from a light, and when we praise, we pour them back in.

- Jelaluddin Rumi - 13th century (Translation by Coleman Barks)

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Other Prayers & Blessings from the World Traditions

All souls in the world are receptacles of the message of God;
and not only human beings but even the lower creation,
all objects and all conditions, convey to us the message of the one and only Being.

~ Unknown

Our Father which art divine consciousness.
Thou art the one I AM, this is Your holy Name.
Thou art all-Presence and Thy Will is One.
Thou art the great Provider, our Source.
Forgiveness is to remember that all is one in Love.
Thou leadest us for Thou art the Light in us.
Thy Kingdom is Truth.
Thy Power is Love.
Thy Glory is Life eternal.
Amen.

~ Veronika Wilcox of the Healing Circle of Light

Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.

- Adapted from ancient Gaelic runes

All you big things, bless the Lord.
Mount Kilimanjaro and Lake Victoria,
The Rift Valley and the Serengeti Plain,
Fat baobabs and shady mango trees,
All eucalyptus and tamarind trees,
Bless the Lord.
Praise and extol Him forever and ever.

All you tiny things, bless the Lord.
Busy black ants and hopping fleas,
Wriggling tadpoles and mosquito larvae,
Flying locusts and water drops,
Pollen dust and tsetse flies,
Millet seeds and dried dagaa,
Bless the Lord.
Praise and extol Him forever and ever.

- An African Canticle, Traditional African

O Thou kind Lord!
O Thou Who art generous and merciful!
We are the servants of Thy threshold and are gathered
beneath the sheltering shadow of Thy divine unity.
The sun of Thy mercy is shining upon all,
and the clouds of Thy bounty shower upon all.
Thy gifts encompass all,
Thy loving providence sustains all,
Thy protection overshadows all, and the glances of
Thy favor are cast upon all.
O Lord! Grant Thine infinite bestowals,
and let the light of Thy guidance shine.
Illumine the eyes, gladden the hearts with abiding joy.
Confer a new spirit upon all people
and bestow upon them eternal life.
Unlock the gates of true understanding
and let the light of faith shine resplendent.
Gather all people beneath the shadow of Thy bounty
and cause them to unite in harmony,
so that they may become as the rays of one sun,
as the waves of one ocean, and as the fruit of one tree.
May they be refreshed by the same breeze.
May they receive illumination from the same source of light.
Thou art the Giver, the Merciful, the Omnipotent

- Baha'i Prayers - `abdu'l-bahá

In the beginning was God,
Today is God,
Tomorrow will be God.
Who can make an image of God?
He has no body.
He is the word which comes out of your mouth.
That word! It is no more,
It is past, and still it lives!
So is God.

-Pygmy

Great Spirit!
Piler-up of the rocks into towering mountains!
When you stamp on the stones
the dust rises and fills the land.
Hardness of the cliff,
waters of the pool that turn
into misty rain when stirred.
Gourd overflowing with oil!
Creator . . . who sews the heavens together like cloth,
knit together everything here on the earth below.
You are the one who calls the branching trees into life;
you make new seeds grow out of the ground
so that they stand straight and strong.
You have filled the land with people.

Wonderful one, you live
among the sheltering rocks.
You give rain to us people.
We pray to you,
hear us, O Strong One!
When we beg you, show your mercy.
You are in the highest places
with the spirits of the great ones.
You raise the grass-covered hills
above the earth,
and you make the rivers.
Gracious one!

-Rozwi, South Africa

Great is, O King,
our happiness in thy kingdom,
thou, our king.
We dance before thee,
our king,
by the strength of thy kingdom.
May our feet
be made strong;
let us dance before thee,
eternal.
Give ye praise, all angels,
to him above who is worthy of praise.

- Great Is Our Happiness, Zulu, South Africa

Hear the words of the dancing God,
the music of whose laughter stirs the winds,
whose voice calls the seasons:
I who am the Lord of the Hunt and the Power of the Light,
sun among the clouds and the secret of the flame
I call upon your bodies to arise and come unto me.
For I am the flesh of the earth and all its beings.
Through me all things must die and with me are reborn.
Let my worship be in the body that sings,
for behold all acts of willing sacrifice are my rituals.
Let there be desire and fear, anger and weakness,
joy and peace, awe and longing within you.
For these too are part of the mysteries found within yourself,
within me, all beginnings have endings,
and all endings have beginnings.

- Charge of the God - Author Unknown

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