Lay down before you the tools you will need:
the hammer, the dagger, the horn, the bottle of mead,
the salt, the candle ready to be lit,
they keys and the handful of soil, rich as you could find,
best from an ancestor’s grave if you can;
lastly your own blood, so freshly drawn
it has not yet begun to clot.
Best to perform this rite in secrecy;
behind a locked door, at the least,
or deep in the forest, shielded by old oaks and ash trees.
On the bank of a raging river,
or as close to the top of a mountain
as you can climb;
unhallowed eyes have no place watching you now.
You must be clean to perform this work;
the gods and the spirits will know
if shadows lay down alongside your soul,
and then what you intend will be for naught;
you will fail.
Do not undertake this working lightly;
you need not wear a funereal visage,
but whatever it is you seek to achieve
will find no aid in giggles.
When you are ready to begin,
fix in mind your purpose and your need,
all that has brought you here;
do not let your thoughts wander.
For focus is the final tool you bring to this rite,
and without it, all your efforts are for nothing.
Show respect to those you bespeak,
gods and spirits and ancestors,
for they are greater than you
–yes, they are–
even the smallest of them knows things
you have yet to learn,
and if you mock them, dismiss them,
or deal with them with derision,
you will never learn those things–
at least, not from them.
Above all, remember:
this is holy work,
not for dullards or the vain, or the jeering;
there is a place in this work for the holy fool,
but the key word there is ‘holy’,
When you have finished, do not forget gratitude;
thank those whose aid you have asked for,
and do not be too impatient.
Some works take longer to carry out than others,
and do not forget:
sometimes you will ask a question,
request a favor,
and for reasons we may never understand,
the answer can still be ‘no’.
If this is the case, do not be disheartened;
remember that those we entreat
know more than we do,
and perhaps they do not grant our requests
to save us from something far worse,
down the line.
Many times, it has been so.
Pack away your tools,
clean up the spot where you have performed
this most holy ritual,
and go back, for the moment,
to the task of living your life
until it is time for the next rite
to be carried out.