Rite of Return
"Goodbye my lovelies, be well. Care for each other, care for the community, respect and remember our traditions." Her soul raising above her body, reaching out to her children one last time before breaking apart, the slivers separating and fleeing the hut. The last words to escape her lips before it ended, "Goodbye my lovelies, be well." The last of her soul dissolved her children share a tear filled mournful moment of solemn silence. Offer a prayer, and prepare their mother's body for the Rite of Return.
The Rite of Return is a funeral tradition passed down through the Druid order that symbolizes the passage of life, so that new life may come into the world. The origins of the rite stretch back to the dawn of the Mortal Era, when Moloi could still be found on the larger continents. The earliest versions of the ritual involved a Moloi who would absorb the body of the deceased. With their kind all but extinct, the deceased is now buried, as a semblance of returning what they are to where their ancestors came from so long ago.
The Rite of Return begins with a moment of silence, and a prayer to the Triple Goddess. After, a group of 7 individuals carry the body, their most coveted item, and 4 jars to the burial site.
The BearersThe bearers are 4 members of family, or the community with whom the deceased was closest. They begin by placing the body diagonally on the sheets or furs of their death bed and place with the body the items they cherished most during their time. The group then each moves to and clasps a corner. Those who knew the deceased longest, whom had the most intimate relationship with, lifts the head corner. The side corners lifted by the deceased closest relatives, while the feet are lifted by the child of the deceased, if any, or a close friend. As they make their way to the burrial site, the head is always kept facing North. Upon reaching the burial site, the body is lowered into the ground, the corners of the sheets or furs draped over the corpse as loose wrapping.
The AspectThe Aspect are 3 members of the community not related to the deceased. The Aspect represents the Triple Goddess, and each of the members represents her different forms. The Aspect walk behind the bearers in a line, and carry the elemental jars. The first aspect, a young maiden, whom carries an jar of dirt. The young woman and the element of the ground symbolizing a beginning, potential, and growth. The second aspect, a pregnant woman, carrying the jars of fire and water symbolizing the fluidity of life, and the raging passion of youth. The last aspect an elderly woman, who carries the jar of air, symbolizing the wisdom that comes from age and the fleeting aspect of life. Upon reaching the burial site, after the body is wrapped in the sheets of their death bed they place the jars at the four points around the body. Dirt placed at the feet, a sign of the journey they made during their mortal life. Fire placed on the right, as it is that the daylight begins in the east, and water to snuff out the light in the west. The day and night of the life, and Air placed at the head, a symbol for the memories and experiences the many pieces of their soul would carry into the next lives.
After the jars have been placed a Druid in attendance uses their magic to move the ground, burying the body. Offering a final chant for the deceased, and prayer for the Triple Goddess.