To be performed on a Friday during a waxing moon at one of the “Benson bubblers” drinking fountains in Portland.
You will need:
- a rose, preferably one grown in Portland soil, with the stem cut to 4-6 inches in length
- a joss stick of frankincense or fir incense
If you know and regularly perform a banishing or protective ritual, do this at home before going to the bubbler.
Stand before the fountain in a relaxed and stable posture. Take deep and slow breaths, letting them cleanse you of all distracting thoughts as you breathe out, and filling you with the life force all around you as you breathe in. Your feet stand firmly on the sacred ground of your city. Continue until you feel focused and ready.
Light the incense and hold it in one hand. Hold the rose in the other.
Imagine the figure of Portlandia. She is a powerfully built woman in a Greco-Roman style robe of blue and green, edged with with gold. She holds a trident in her left hand and with her right hand makes a gesture of welcome and openness towards you. At her feet are roses and a bubbling, ever-filling spring or cup.
Above her head flames a six-rayed star.
With the incense stick, make a six-rayed star over the bubbler fountain in this manner:
- make a horizontal equal armed cross on the plane parallel with the surfaces of the fountains a foot or two above the surfaces
- place the tip of the incense stick in the center of the cross just drawn and make a vertical line, first going upwards and returning to the center, then going downwards and returning to the center
“I invoke Portlandia, indomitable,
bright goddess of my city.
Copper lady of the two rivers and the western hills,
wielding the trident,
Come in peace, honored one,
heed my call.”
“I, name , a native of *the city of your birth, who has attained the freedom of the city of Portland, do approach your holy fountain. (*substitute “a native child of this place” if you were born in Portland)
I thank you for your gifts, and for your presence in this life. [bend down and take a sip of the water]
As you come open-handed with free-flowing gifts for all who thirst, so do I come in blessing and in bounty.
As I have been given, so do I give in turn. [place the rose into one of the fountain chalices so that the stem is in the water as best you can]
May this offering nourish and sustain you in mind, body, and spirit. May it please you, may it refresh you.
O Portlandia, blessings upon your being and your name.”
Float open right hand, palm down, over the fountain chalices and pronounce or vibrate a word of blessing/benediction/fiat from your own spiritual or religious tradition, such as “Amen”,”So mote it be”, AWEN, AUM, etc.
Touch the water’s surface with that hand and then touch heart.
Bow, take a step back, and then go.
On imagining the image described: The details of the image may differ slightly depending on the operator. She may hold the rose, or she may hold the ever-filling cup. She may exhibit a wide variety of physical characteristics. She may reach towards you or simply show the open palm of peace and welcome. She may be seated, standing, or kneeling as in the statue. Begin with the described image, but don’t worry if some details shift.
This may be done at home or some other place in Portland in front of a cup filled with water from one of the fountains. This short ritual may easily be expanded for home use. I kept it brief as performing it in a public place at the bubbler fountains may require that. The invocation may of course be expanded to include a litany of epithets, or things you wish to remind Portlandia about herself, or appropriate extemporaneous inspirations. One might even compose a hymn to Her in the style of the Orphic Hymns, and recite it. Creating additional brief versions as “stealth blessings” are also an option. There are many possibilities.
Please feel free to talk to Portlandia, expressing what you need to and/or asking questions, after the placing of the offering. This conversation is best followed by a period of silent meditation (listening) before closing.
Like most ritual, this one is best done “off book”. Memorization will allow you to give your best attention to physically performing the ritual and communicating what is necessary. That being said, if memorization is a significant road block for you, don’t let it stop you from celebrating this ceremony.
Portlandia’s iconographic parentage:
Lady Commerce from the seal of the city (1878), and prior to that, Brittania
Urizen (Blake), “The Ancient of Days”, reason and law
God in “The Conversion of St,. Paul”, Tedeo Zuccari
installed Oct. 6, 1985, morning
dedicated Oct. 8, afternoon
the Portlandia plaque poem:
“She kneels down,
and from the quietness of copper
We take that stillness
deep in the earth
becomes her city.
If she could speak
this is what she would say:
Follow that breath.
Home is the journey we make.
This is how the world
knows where we are.”