After the Orlando shooting, a small group of LGBTQIA Pagans came together to create a ritual for the dead of Orlando. The group is called Wands Up for Orlando. One of the founders, Salvatore Caci, wrote:
Why “wands up”? In the movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, after the death of Dumbledore, all students of Hogwarts take their wands and raise them into the air to light up the sky and sweep away Voldemort’s evil curse. Similarly, we want to sweep away the curses of intolerance and violence with the light that shines from our hearts and hands joined together and in support of one another.
Together, we have written a ritual to commemorate the dead of Orlando. We want to emphasise that, as many of the dead may have been Catholics or have had an ambivalent relationship with religion, we are being respectful of that. We performed divinations to check that the ritual would be welcome and needed.
You can sign up for the Facebook event to show your support, and we would love to see photos of people’s rituals (whatever you feel able to share).
The ritual is available in English, Italian, Spanish, French, Polish, and German. We suggest that it be performed between 25 June and 2 July. It can be performed alone or with your group. We have tried to make it adaptable to any Pagan or polytheist practice. Obviously, people can change it if they want to, and we have left plenty of room for personal choice.
It also turns out that fans of Harry Potter came together for an Orlando vigil at Wizarding World, and raised their wands. Luis Vielma, who was killed in the shooting, worked there.
Outline of the ritual
Our ritual begins with creating your sacred space in your usual way.
This is followed by asking your beloved dead, ancestors, spirits, deities, to bless the ritual. Deities who seem appropriate to this ritual are La Llorona and Baubo, Dionysus and Antinous – all queer – but choose whichever deity or deities you have a relationship with.
We will then pour a libation into a bowl, offering it to the queer ancestors.
Light a candle (one candle per person is even better).
We will then offer a prayer for the LGBTQ / Latinx dead, and read the names of the dead.
This is followed by a declaration of intent to build LGBTQIA community – both within the Pagan community and more broadly.
There will then be a reversion of offerings – sharing the libation with the Earth and the ancestors and deities and spirits.
Each participant can be given a white ribbon to represent the unity of all the colours of the rainbow.
There will then be an inclusive sharing of wine.