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Our founder, John Belham-Payne, passed away on February 15th 2016. Read more about John and donate to his memorial fund here.

John Belham-Payne. 1952-2016. RIP.

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March 2016: The Pagan Federation make timely donation to the Foundation for the financing of opening the exhibitions in Brighton . . . . .  read more

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The Funeral Of Doreen Valiente

Order Of Service

(The service is started by lighting the altar candles and incense)

The Introduction:

John Belham-Payne: Ladies and Gentlemen, it is our sad task today to pay our last respects and bid farewell to the earthly remains of our beloved friend Doreen Edith Valiente, who passed over into the next life on Wednesday 1st September 1999 at 6.55am. It was my privilege to be with her at this time and I consider it a great honour to be able to carry out one of her last requests, which was to have a simple Pagan funeral.
Many of us here today are practicing Pagans who will understand the significance of the ceremony that we are about to carry out, but for others amongst us who have different beliefs I will explain what we intend to do in the hope that you enter into the spirit of the religion that was the very base of Doreen’s life. The good news for those who have heard me sing is that there will be no hymns for me to lead you in. You will instead hear pieces of classical music which Doreen herself loved so much.
You will see that there are four people who stand at strategic positions, each at one of the cardinal compass points. Their job is to call on the elements that supported Doreen throughout her life, and they will call on these elements to aid our work today. We traditionally begin in the East which for us represents the element of air. In the south we have the element of fire. Then we move West and to the element of water then finally in the north the elemental spirit of Earth. It is of the Earth that we are born and upon our death it is to the East that we return. Today we are using these quarters also to represent the different periods of Doreen’s life. In the East and with the elements of air we celebrate her birth on 4th January 1922 and her early years. South and fire for her youth through to the time she was married to the Spanish freedom fighter Casi Valiente. The west and water for her Autumn years and the time when her life really blossomed, in Doreen’s own words, she had met her “soul mate” Ronald Cooke who she loved more than anyone else in her life. Whenever she mentioned Ron her eyes would light up. It was in this period that she wrote most of her books. The North and East represent the last few years of her life after Ron died. On several occasions Doreen told me that she wished she had gone at the same time as Ron, and I believe that without him her life ceased to have the same meaning and when her recent illness came upon her it was almost welcome.
At the end of the ceremony we will again return to the quarters and dismiss their responsibilities for supporting Doreen in this life, and as we believe in life after life, we look forward to the day when we meet again. I am sure that there is nothing contained in what we are about to do that could cause offence to any of you with differing beliefs, but if you would prefer to wait outside I’m sure Doreen would understand.

The Ritual:

John: Let us take a few deep breaths so as to prepare ourselves. Breathe deeply and remember the love you have for Doreen and the joy she brought to you. While we do that I will consecrate the water and the salt.

(John consecrates the water and salt)

East: (Holding aloft the photograph of Doreen)
“Spirits of the East, Powers of air, we call you into our circle. Bring us clarity of vision, bright memories of our beloved Doreen and the knowledge of sunrise and new beginnings. Remember then this face of a small girl fresh to the world full of the joys of springtime and innocence. Blessed be.”
South: (Holding aloft the photograph of Doreen)
“Spirits of the south, powers of fire, we call you into our circle. Bring us the courage we need to face the reality of death, keep our passion alive even in our sorrow, and bring us the warmth of the hearth and the cleansing power of fire. Remember then this the face of a young lady passionate and principled. A student and the wife of a Spanish freedom fighter. Blessed be.”
West: (Holding aloft the photograph of Doreen)
“Spirits of the west, powers of water, we call you into our circle. Open our hearts and let our tears and our love flow. Bring us healing and renewal. Remember this then the face of a lady now fully matured a wise woman. A writer and teacher. Her openness, grace and faith paving the way for the Old Religion, so misunderstood, to become acceptable again. This is the time of Doreen’s life when she was at her happiest. She has found the love of her life. She was content. Blessed Be”
North: (Holding aloft the photograph of Doreen)
“Spirits of the North, Powers of the Earth, we call you into our circle. From you we come; to you we return. Bring us strength, nurturing and the knowledge that all that dies becomes a part of you again. Remember this then, the face of an older Wise Woman, an honoured Crone. This time is the short winter of her life separating the loss of her beloved Ron and her own passing. For those hat remain, this winter was too short. Blessed Be.”

The Address:
John: “We meet here today in both sadness and joy. Sad because a chapter has closed, yet we are joyful because, by the closing a new chapter may begin. We meet to mark the passing of our beloved sister, Doreen Edith Valiente, for whom this incarnation is ended. We meet to commend her to the blessing of the God and Goddess, that she may rest, free from illusion or regret until the time shall come for her rebirth to this world. And knowing that this shall be so, we know too, that the sadness is nothing and that the joy is all.”

The Cord of Life (Emrys and Sara)

Poetry, Messages and Memories about Doreen

The Chant:

The river is flowing
Flowing and growing
The river is flowing
Down to the sea
Please Mother carry me
A child I will always be
Please Mother carry me
Down to the sea

The Descent of the Goddess:

John: “Now we will hear the legend of the descent of the Goddess into the underworld".

(Raise the coffin)

Ralph Harvey: In ancient times our Lord Cernunnos, the Horne’d one, was (and still is) the Consoler,the Comforter. But men still knew him as the dread Lord of Shadows, lonely, stern and Just. But our Lady, the Goddess would solve al mysteries, even the mystery of death; and so she journeyed to the Underworld.
The Guardian of the Portals challenged her, ” Strip of thy garments, lay aside thy jewels; for naught mayest thou bring with thee into this our land.”
So she laid down her garments and her jewels and was bound, as all living things must be who seek to enter the realms of Death, the Mighty One. Such was her beauty that death himself knelt, and laid his sword and crown at her feet, and kissed her feet saying “Blessed be thy feet that have brought thee in these ways. Abide with me; but let me place my cold hands on thy heart.”
And she replied “I love thee not. Why dost thou cause all things that I love and take delight in to fade and die.”
“Lady,” replied Death,” It is age and fate, against which I am helpless. Age causes al things to wither, but when men die at the end of time, I give them rest and peace and strength, so that they may return. But thou, thou art lovely, return not and abide with me. But she answered “I love thee not.”
“Then” said Death, “An thou receivest not my hand on your heart, thou must kneel to Death’s scourge.” “It is fate better so.” she said, and she knelt. And Death scourged her tenderly. And she cried “I know the pangs of love” And Death raised her and said, ” Blessed Be” And gave her the five fold kiss, saying ” Thus only mayest thou attain joy and knowledge.”
And he taught her all his mysteries and gave her the necklace which was the circle of rebirth. And she taught him the mysteries of the sacred cup, which is the cauldron of rebirth.
They loved and were one for there be three great mysteries in the life of man and magic controls them all. To fulfil love, you must return again at the same time and at the same place as the loved ones and you must meet, and know, and remember, and love them again.
But to be reborn you must die, and be made ready for a new body. And to die, you must be born and without love you may not be born. And our Goddess encircleth to love, and mirth, and happiness, and she guardeth and cherish her hidden children in life. And in death she teaches the way to her communion and even in this world she teacheth them the mysteries of the magic circle, which is placed between the worlds of men and the realm of the mighty ones.

The Committal:

John: "The legend completed, let us now share, as the Goddess has taught us, in the love feast of wine and cakes. as we do this let us remember our sister Doreen, with whom we have shared this communion in the past, and as we do so we lovingly place our sister in the hands of the Goddess. So mote it be."

Music By Elgar (Close curtains)

“Goddess of fire,
sun’s fire, lightening,
flame on the hearth,
fire that cleanses and destroys,
fire that purifies,
now take our beloved Doreen
let her become flame and ash,
from Doreen’s spirit
a pure flame will arise.

When we warm our hands
at the fireside on Samhain’s frosty night,
let us join again with our loved one and remember
the joy and knowledge she gave.

~Go in Peace Doreen Valiente~

Banishing the Quarters:

North: "Spirits of the North, powers of the Earth, thank you for the land that Doreen walked upon, for sustaining the harvest that fed her, for the beauty in the plants and trees that gave her so much pleasure.
For Doreen this lifetime is over an therefore I dismiss you of your responsibilities towards her. Depart now to your fair and lovely realms. Hail and farewell."
West: "Spirits of the West, powers of Water. Thank You for quenching Doreen’s thirst – For bathing her – for filling her spirit with understanding – for allowing the creative writing to flow. For Doreen this lifetime is over and therefore I dismiss you of your responsibilites towards her. Depart now to your fair and lovely realms.Hail and Farewell."
South: "Spirits of the South, powers of Fire, thank you for warming Doreen in her lifetime. For the warmth of the summers that she enjoyed and for the spark that we will always remember as Doreen Valiente.
For Doreen this lifetime is over an therefore I dismiss you of your responsibilities towards her. Depart now to your fair and lovely realms. Hail and farewell."
East: "Spirits of the east, powers of Air, thank you for supporting Doreen with every breath she took, and may the last breath that she took in this life become the first that she took in the next.
For Doreen this lifetime is over an therefore I dismiss you of your responsibilities towards her. Depart now to your fair and lovely realms. Hail and farewell."