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Date: 01/01/2014
  • Practices
  • Deep Time
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Invoking the Beings of the Three Times

from chapter 9 of Coming Back to Life by Joanna Macy and Molly Brown; second edition, published 2014. Please acknowledge the source when you use any of these practices.


Time: 5-10 minutes


This ritual invocation, to which the group members add their voices, affirms our connectedness with those who have gone before and those who come after us, as well as those living now. It evokes our solidarity with all these beings across time, and opens us to the inspiration they can offer. Heightening our sense of gratitude and responsibility, it strengthens the will.

Good for opening a workshop, or for that portion given to Deep Time, the invocation can also be used to open a public talk, ritual or a sermon.



Bring the group into a standing circle. Speaking with respect and conviction, invoke first the beings of the past, pausing at the end for people to murmur names of ancestors and teachers. These words of ours may inspire your own.

Be with us now all you who have gone before, you our ancestors and teachers. You who walked and loved and faithfully tended this Earth, be present to us now, that we may carry on the legacy you bequeathed us.  Aloud and silently in our hearts we say your names and see your faces…  

Then call on the beings of the present:

All you with whom we live and work on this endangered planet, be with us now.  Fellow humans and siblings of other species, open us to our collective will and wisdom.  Aloud and silently we say your names and picture your faces.

Again, pause to allow people to murmur names.

Lastly, invoke the beings of the future:

You who will come after us on this Earth, be with us now. It is for your sakes, too, that we work to heal our world. We cannot picture your faces or say your names – you have none yet — but we would feel the reality of your claim on life. It helps us to be faithful in the work that must be done, so that there will be for you, as there was for our ancestors, blue sky, fruitful land, clear waters.

Here again a pause, this final one in silence.



Before starting the invocation, teach the group this simple chant, using two notes of your choosing:  Gather with us now in this hour. Join with us now in this place.  The group repeats the chant three times after each part of the invocation.

If there is sufficient time for preparation, invite three participants to speak in turn one part of the invocation. The group can then respond with the chant.

Contributor/Author: Joanna Macy & Molly Brown