Choose four participants. One carries a rock, representing the earth, and stands to the North. One carries a feather, representing Air, and stands to the East. Another stands to the South, carrying a candle or some incense to represent Fire. A fourth can hold a cup of Water to the West -- if you're fortunate enough to hold your ritual near an ocean or river, use that to represent Water. On your altar, in the center of the circle, place a picture or some other memento of the person you are saying goodbye to. Form a circle, and call upon the elements. Invite the powers of the four directions to come watch over you. Stand in the center and say:
Take me now, take me now
for to face the Summerlands*.
By the earth and wind and the fire and rain
I'm on my way,remember me.
Turn to the North and say:
Take me now back to the earth
from which we spring and then return.
I shall cross over, now it is my turn.
I am not afraid Remember me.
Repeat this verse, turning to each of the four directions. Substitute the different elements where appropriate.
Finally, touch each family member with your athame as you say the following:
Blood of my blood
Bone of my bone
Flesh of my flesh
Keep my soul alive
I will live on
Within your hearts
I am not afraid
If you have ashes for the deceased, you may wish to scatter them at this time. Take a moment to reflect on the good memories you have of your departed friend or family member.
*If your particular tradition believes we go to some other place after death, feel free to substitute the appropriate place name for "Summerlands." If you're not sure where we end up, you can simply say "the other side."