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Meditation Archive - THE CIRCLE OF WELCOME RITUAL by Caitlín Matthews
This ritual is adapted from The Celtic Wisdom Oracle. Use tarot-cards or other oracle cards.

Although we may theoretically understand the fact that all human beings are intimately related to each other through Common Ancestors, it is sometimes true that we purposely exclude certain family members: those who did something that affected the family honour, who were imprisoned, mentally ill, or who just didn’t get on well. No-one talks about them, tells their story or keeps them in mind. The shutter came down and behind it they stand forgotten.

Such forgotten family members of the past generations cast a long shadow: we may know who they are or just be aware that there is some individual or group of people who are excluded from the family circle and that their pain and abandonment affects the living members of the family now who act out that trauma in resonant ways. Remembering forgotten ancestors is a healing way to reconnect them to the family circle and to lift the trauma. Although not all ancestors acted wisely and some are not easy to love, yet we keep a place for them and include them. This is a beautiful way of working. When we include those who have been excluded, the burden of abandonment and betrayal is lifted from the shoulders of ourselves and the whole family, and we can all feel at home.

In this ritual you make a welcoming semi-circle of cards around a candle which represents the hearth to which the Exile may be invited. Take it slowly and feel your way.


1. Put a tea-light in a holder in the centre to represent the ancestral hearth to which everyone is welcome.  Have a glass small/bowl of water near to hand.
2. Place an object to represent a Divine Ancestor behind the flame.
3. Choose some female Cards to represent the Line of Mothers; choose some male Cards for the Line of Fathers.
4. Place a stone to represent the Exiled Ancestor whom you’re welcoming and say,’ This stone represents….’ (the person of group you are working for)
5. Hold the stone. What does the Exile need most? Look through the Line of Mothers and Line of Fathers to select one card from each line to act as sponsors of the Exile. Which of the Cards welcome the Exile unconditionally? What do they say to the Exile? Speak these words aloud, as if the person or group were in the room with you.
6. Place the Exile between one of the Mothers and one of the Fathers as sponsors who support him or her. How does the Exile’s stone feel now? Moisten the stone with water from the glass in token of the Exile’s cleansing and long thirst.
7. What welcome does the Divine Ancestor make to the Exile? Speak this welcome aloud.
8. Finally make your own welcome, saying, ‘As one of your descendants I witness your return to the family hearth. I am holding you in my heart as one of the family. May you find the welcome that you have longed for.’
9. Move the stone to the Hearth and leave it there overnight with a glass of water.
10. After you’ve dispersed the cards of the ritual, keep the person/group in your prayers and remember them whenever you light the candle on your shrine.

© – John and Caitlín Matthews Site design by Ocelot Solutions

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