Now our Lady the Goddess had never loved, but she would solve all the Mysteries. Even the mystery of Death, and so she journeyed to the Underworld.
The Guardians of the Portal challenged her thus: Strip off 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 are all who enter the Realms of Death the Mighty One.
Such was her beauty, that Death himself knelt 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 hand on thy heart.
She replied: I love thee not. Why dost thou cause all things that I love and take delight in to fade and die?
Death replied: Lady, 'tis age and fate, against which I am helpless. Age causes all 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; abide with me!
But she answered: I love thee not!
Then said Death: An thou receivest not my hand upon thy 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 feel the pangs of love!
And Death raised her, and said: Blessed be! And he gave her the Fivefold kiss, saying: Thus only mayest thou attain to joy and knowledge.
And he taught her all his Mysteries, and they loved and were one. And she taught him her mystery of the sacred cup which is the cauldron of rebirth. And he gave her the necklace which is the circle of rebirth and taught her all the Magics.
For there are three great events in the life of man: Love, Death and Resurrection in the new body; and Magic controls them all.
For to fulfill love you must return again at the same time and place as the loved one, 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 this is all the Magics.
Traditional, from the Gardnerian Book of Shadows.
Note: although our tradition is not Gardnerian, we are informed by it, among other things. This piece of liturgy is not a part of our own tradition, but is appropriate to this season and the concept of the Lord of Death as a beneficent being.