Second Ritual For Bast
Gwen called me up to tell me that her nineteen-year old Siamese cat
Coco, who raised her from a small child and taught her innumerable
wisdoms, had just come out of surgery and was not doing well. She
talked about how her sister Lisa went to the vet every day to sit with
him, talk to him, and give him her love. Gwen said she was burning a
blue candle next to his picture in order to promote his healing, and
was that O.K.? To answer her I mentioned as a gentle aside that I had
heard that green was also good for healing. We talked cats for a
while. She cried. I remembered Buttons, fought tears, and then I
understood what pain she faced here. She kept talking until I offered
that I too might do a healing spell on his behalf. She jumped on my
words with an eager "Oh! Would you?!" and I suddenly understood the
real question behind this phone-call.
I explained that a cat who has seen nineteen summers has really had
the best of it already, and that a spell which holds him to a body
which is obviously failing him might be no kindness. She agreed. I
explained that he might just be ready to go, now...since she has been
raised, and even her little sister Lisa--with whom Coco lived--had
just graduated college. I agreed to do a spell which sent him energy
to do with as he chose, either to heal or to move on. She made a
hopeful sound that with healing, he might choose to stay, then she
I went quiet, thinking how best to do this. I mentally reviewed past
spells that have worked, and why. Spells of "recovery" (whether they
have been for illness, or finding Buttons when he was lost in a
strange and distant city, or simply gaining the return of stolen
things) have worked best when I look at the web as it was before the
undesired event, compare it to the web as it is after, and (if the
difference is not too great) then shape the web with my mind until it
resembles what has been and consequently have the item in question pop
back into my reality like a watermelon seed squeezed between thumb and
Here I sought to couch this knowledge within the Wiccan framework I am
studying. I understand how the use of a ritual (or a language, an
image, a habit, anything) taps into all those who have ever used the
same thing, and knits their gifts together on the time-line. More
mundanely, I understand how my own establishment of the habit of
ritual will build powerful cues in my mind which make spell-work more
efficient. Out of respect for what my teachers have been showing me,
I determined to do it perfectly...while no one was around for me to
feel awkward before.
How might my Priestess teacher compose her Altar? What things, and
what Deity shall be the focus? Well, obviously Bast...and such things
as Bast might like. I thought back to the ritual I wanted to do with
Bast for healing Le-oh. I plundered the memory of it for useful
items. I remembered: Bast likes golden necklaces and other shiny
things, images of cats, soft lights that don't damage night vision,
and suddenly, I laughed aloud as I was inspired to offer Her cat-nip.
It just felt right. So I laid these all out (along with the "usual"
things): My first piece of jewelry--a golden cat pin, inscribed "Save
a Cat" from the Save a Cat League of New York, my finest gold chain,
two teak cats from the orient, my golden ankh, scarab necklace, and
the spread-winged Horus-falcon I got when I visited the exhibition of
Ramses II. I placed a bud-vase next to the water cup and went out
into the night to gather a perfect sprig of fresh cat-nip.
A deep breath, and I began by lighting the tiny oil lamps on Her
Standing before Her altar I closed my eyes and reached for the images
of the web when Coco was well and compared how it is now. Images
slipped and swam. The differences were great. I pictured Gwen, her
candles and photographs, and knitted us all into the circle with a
breath. Then the images left. I opened my eyes and spoke softly but
aloud. (I'm trying to cultivate that ability.) Before me, my cat
images glimmered. I remembered the scene where Thomasina visits Bast.
I went there too. I breathed energy into myself, and held it in my
belly, as my Sensei taught me. Then I said:
"Oh Bast--I'm here on behalf of your charge Coco, and his human, my
friend Gwen. Coco is old, and it may be that his time has come. It's
true he has lived long, but some cats do live longer. If this is
still something about which there is uncertainty and choice, let him
use this energy to heal. If it is really time for him to go, then I
don't wish to stop him. Let him use this energy to go on into what
ever comes next for him, and have an optimum and right... 'coming
forth into the day'."
(I wanted to say 'death and re-birth,' but suddenly that wasn't
here...) I then continued, asking:
"Oh Bast, how hard is it to just let things be as they have been, for
just a little longer? He is old, but old-age isn't a crime..."
and suddenly a voice broke in just behind my right ear, and in
perfectly lucid English She answered softly:
"...and Death is no punishment."
It shook me a moment. As soon as She said it I recognized She was
right-- (hence--right side? Or R/L Brain?) It humbled me to realize I
had thought that death WAS punishment. I knew that She was gone as
soon as She had spoken, and there would be no point to turning to
look. I felt the energy go out of me toward Coco, and I knew the
spell had worked but that I hadn't gotten the answer Gwen wanted.
That saddened me, even knowing what She said. I thanked Bast, thanked
and dismissed the watch-towers, and went to bed to think about it all.
Early the next morning Gwen called to thank me for talking to her, and
to tell me there was no need to make the spell for Coco. He had died
in his sleep during the night...now at least he wouldn't have to face
I told her I had already done the spell, and it was my feeling that
Coco was o.k. I mentioned that I thought he had taken the energy for
use in his next reality. I said everything I could think of to help
her feel better. I don't recall whether I told her what Bast said to
me or not.
When I went to the altar to take it all down, I noticed the water
level on the cat-nip had dropped below the stem and it had withered.
Somehow that was fitting. It meant many sad and happy things all at
once. It meant that She had accepted the gift by taking the essential
freshness of the offering; It meant that things die, and that's
natural; It meant that when the vitality is gone, the flesh can not
stay. So it is with what I know of death.
Next: Beltane Ritual (Lynna Landstreet, W.C.C.)