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Thursday, June 24, 2010

MIPC: Witch's Funeral

[Scene: Mausoleum. A beautiful ivory-colored coffin sits on a pedestal amongst the flowers. An ivory-dressed, Wiccan Priestess stands before a blue silk covered altar table, which is adorned with a ceremonial chalice. A tied, silver cord lays before the chalice, three lit candles surround it, symbolizing birth, death, and the rebirth. To the unaware mourners, however, the service comes across a part traditional, part New Age. Piper, Phoebe, Leo, Cole, Darryl, and Victor are seated close to the priestess. Piper and Phoebe dab at their eyes and Cole keeps his eyes peeled for any trouble. The funeral program, which bares the symbol of the triquetra above the name, read: "PRUDENCE HALLIWELL, 1970-2001; "Forever in our Hearts."]

Priestess: That which belongs to fellowship and love. That which belongs to the circle, remains with us. The wheel turns. As life is a day, so our sister has passed into night. Nothing is final, and we who remain behind know that one day, we will once again share the bread and wine with our sister. O' blessed spirit, we bid you farewell, for you await a new destiny.

(With that, she unties the silver cord and gently lays it into the chalice. She blows out the candles. Mourners standing, shaking hands, crying, etc. Darryl goes over to Piper and Phoebe to hug them and people begin to pay their respects. Phoebe thanks another mourner, then turns to the last of the mourners, whom she doesn't recognize -- Paige, who shifts over anxiously.)

Charmed, "Charmed Again"
Original Air Date: October 4th 2001


Commentary: Just like other religions have ceremonies to honor and/or mark life events such as births, deaths, marriages, coming-of-age, etc....Wicca is no different. However, unlike many other religions there are no standard rituals for these instances in the religion of Wicca, therefore, you will find many different rituals from which to compare the Witch's Funeral seen here. 

Nonetheless, there are certain elements which many Wiccan Funerals have in common. Typically, there will be an altar where the High Priest or High Priestess will cast a circle, invoke the deity, and open (at least) the western gate (the gate associated with death and rebirth).  That being said, due to the fact that Wicca is still somewhat an 'outsider' religion and many people who identify as Wiccan often come from families who identify as one of the more mainstream religions some (if not all) of these elements may be performed before guests arrive or eliminated all together. 

As stated above the three candles represent life, death, and rebirth (as many witches ascribe to a belief in reincarnation). The silver cord rsed in the ritual represents the silver cord which is said to connect a person's physical body to his or her spiritual body. The silver chalice is one of the four main tools associated with witchcraft (along with the wand, pentacle, and athame) and is often said to represent, among other things, the "fount of life" that is, the vagina (whereas the athame, represents a penis). The fact that during the ritual the priestess unties a knot in the silver cord represents severing the ties between the individual's spiritual body and their physical one. Dropping the cord into the chalice would be indicative of sending the person's spirit back through the gate from which the soul came into this world. 

The priestess' words as life is a day, so has our sister passed into night reflects the witch's belief in reincarnation (a theme which appeared on the show many times). The bread and wine alluded to refers to a rite at the end of a ritual where the participants partake of food and drink giving thanks for their blessings. This seems to indicate that the witches believe that the individual will reincarnate into their family/coven in another life (another fact that was proven to be so throughout the series). 

I think the symbolism of the rite seen in this episode is both simple and beautiful.  I think that it could be very easily be adapted for use by practicing Wiccans and Pagans. However I would replace the chalice with the cauldron, as it is more traditionally associated with transformation and regeneration. 

Carolina Dean

Links:

Charmed Again Script 
See the Scene (Youtube Video)








1 comment:

Dessa Blackthorn said...

Beautiful, just beautiful!