Rite of Release for a Pet or Familiar

Ritus ad Animal Familiare Liberandum

Apollonius Sophistes
© 1998

Equipment and supplies: Sprig of evergreen, grave gifts (food, toys etc. that the animal enjoyed), libations (drinks the animal enjoyed in life, especially water), talking stick (optional, to be deposited in grave), incense, candles, flowers, etc. as desired.
We come to bid farewell to ______.
By Nature's sacred law, each life must end,
so others may be born upon the earth.
Each soul is made unique and lives awhile,
before returning to the womb from which
all life is born. Although we all must die,
we're always sad to wish a friend good-bye.
[Make the Manus Cornuta (Horned Hand: first and fourth fingers extended from fist) with right hand. Trace Invoking Pentagram (top to lower left) while saying following.]
We make the Horns of Nature, wild and fierce,
the crescent moon, to call the Queen of Beasts.
Descend to us from Heaven, this we pray;
allow this soul to speed upon its way.

Breath deep three times; inhale all Nature's breath,
the cosmic soul, where we return at death.

[Everyone takes three deep breaths.]
In your mind's eye now look toward the West,
and see the land where dwell the spirits blest.
[Point first and middle fingers of right hand to animal's body and say the following.]
By every holy name, my little friend,
I bid you to accept your short life's end,
and leave behind your spirit's earthly shell,
of no more use, although it served you well.
May Artemis protect you on your way,
from us your friends, and from the light of day.
[Take up some or all of grave gifts.]
We bless these gifts, which gave you joy in life,
to speed your way until your journey's end,
so you may venture forth with little strife.
You will not be forgotten, little friend.
Let each remember, or just say good-bye,
in silence or out loud, as they think right.
[Each person may say what he or she remembers about the animal, just say good-bye, or remember in silence. This may be done informally, while depositing the grave goods, or by passing a talking stick, which is deposited after all have held it. This is a good time for saying prayers, reading poems, e.g. epitaphs from the Greek Anthology (VII.207) or Catullus (3). The Priest speaks last; after personal reminiscences, he or she continues as follows.]
We won't forget the joy you've brought our lives;
though gone from earth, in us your soul survives.
[Take up sprig of evergreen.]
Through seasons warm and cold, the evergreen
grows on; through Nature's life and death it's seen.
[Lay evergreen on grave.]
Perhaps you too will come to us again,
to share our lives in love, and be our friend.

For now your soul is free.
Farewell and blessed be.

[Throw kiss. Flowers etc. may be placed on grave at this time.]
The Rite is done.

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Last updated: Mon Mar 2 13:55:51 EST 1998