Our High Priestess, WinterSky, her husband, and the High Priest, Aryel, went to the dedication ceremony for Sgt. Patrick Stewart's plaque on the Wall of Honor, bearing the pentacle honoring his pagan religion. There are two videos here and here on YouTube showing the ceremony. Here is WinterSky's account of the trip.

Here is my account of:

The Dedication Ceremony for Sgt. Patrick Dana Stewart's Plaque with the Pentacle on the Wall of Honor at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

Held: Saturday, Dec. 2, 2006

Ceremony Performed by Rev. Selena Fox, Senior Minister of Circle Sanctuary and Executive Director of the Lady Liberty League.

Driving from Sacramento, CA, my husband Joe, Ancient Cauldron High Priest Aryel and I arrived late Friday afternoon in Fernley, NV. We stopped and checked in at the first RV resort, as we entered the town of Fernley. We then proceeded on to find the Veterans Memorial Cemetery where the services were to be held so we would know exactly how to get there the next day. As we turned down the little road that led straight into the cemetery, all three of us commented at the same time what a beautiful cemetery it is. We then drove around to make sure we would have a big enough place to park the RV. That being done, we were going to park and walk around the cemetery, but noticed that a service was in progress, so we quietly left. We headed off to find a place to eat and found a wonderful cafe/restaurant and Indian Museum called the Wig Wam.

The weather was cold in Fernley, and boy did it get colder. It got down to 11 degrees that night and the next.

Saturday morning we headed back to the Wig Wam for some hot coffee and breakfast.

We had just finished with our breakfast and were having a last cup of coffee when my husband noticed a group of people being seated in another section of the restaurant, he said “look, I think they are here for the dedication too, they are wearing Pentacles”. Naturally, Aryel and I both turned to look at the same time, then we got up and headed over to introduce ourselves. It was Roberta Stewart, Selena Fox, Rev. Patrick McCollum and several others. Introductions were made all around and then we were asked, by Roberta, to join them, and of course we did. It seems everyone there had cameras and pictures were being taken, and taken, and even more were taken.

Roberta and Selena filled everyone in on a situation that happened the evening before. We found out that someone had been shooting in the cemetery that night and did some damage to at least one headstone or plaque. It appeared to be random and Sgt. Stewart's plaque was NOT damaged, and it did not seem to be connected to the services in any way, but it was agreed among those of us present that morning, that we should go earlier to the cemetery and do a cleansing and blessings ceremony before the regular services began.
Selena then proceeded to go over the details of the dedication ceremony and she realized that no one had brought a CD player. She had planned on playing the CD “Sacred Cave Ritual” and the Symbol song by Celia, since Celia could not be there to sing it in person.
After breakfast was finished and all the details for the ceremony were covered, we all headed out to meet up again at the cemetery to do the cleansing and blessing ritual. Selena also wanted to be sure to be there early, in case some of the people planning on attending had not gotten the time change announcement for the services and may have showed up early.

Joe, Aryel and I decided to go in search of a portable CD stereo player. We tried the local pawn shop, but the only portable one they had was way to small to be able to be heard by all in attendance. We found a shopping center with a Radio Shack store and were able to get a nice little portable CD / stereo player that would work. Bill and Agnes Murphy were the owners of the Radio Shack and gave us the batteries free when they heard what it was for. The support from the community was wonderful.

We finally arrived back at the cemetery, at the “Wall of Heroes” and the cleansing and blessing ritual was done.

We helped to get things set up and it was lucky we had brought the RV. We were able to use the generator to get some electricity to test all the filming equipment. Todd Berntson of Witchy Films is doing a documentary with Roberta Stewart. It's about the “Pentacle Quest“. Todd has been very supportive, working with Roberta through this whole thing. They both will continue on with it as the quest continues. Todd will let us all know when the documentary is complete, where it will air and when it will be available.

The ceremony was absolutely beautiful. I don’t remember the exact order of things but I will give an account of most of it.

It was a beautiful, clear day and even though it was sooooo cold, the attendance for the ceremony was well over 50 people, from as many as 6 different states that I knew of.
Selena kept the music from the CD “sacred Cave Ritual” playing gently in the background.
Aryel and I were assigned to help greet those attending and to be sure everyone signed in the guest book. This was wonderful, as it allowed us the opportunity to meet each person attending personally.

Since Aryel and I had brought our drums along, Selena asked us to start things off by drumming until all were seated and ready to begin, then she rang the bell and the ceremony commenced with a warm welcome by Selena as she lead us in a “divine attunement”.
Selena asked all Veterans present to go up and stand before Sgt. Stewart’s plaque in honor of all our Veterans, especially our Pagan Veterans. They all saluted Sgt. Stewart’s plaque together.

Pagan leaders and Elders were asked to participate in reading “Keepers of the Fire”. I share that with you here:

Keepers of the Fire
By: Rev. Kay J. Ahl
(AKA: Tia Hu)
2005 Rev. Kay J. Ahl

In dawn of each new day, we will turn to the East,
and see your shining face, SGT Patrick Dana Stewart,
in the radiant light of the rising Sun.
And we shall know that you have joined as One,
with the Creative Power of the Universe.
In the bright day of noon, we will turn to the South,
and feel the warmth of your courageous, honorable spirit in our hearts.
And we shall know the full living expression,
of your soul on Earth and your spirit hereafter.
In the glorious canvas of Sunset, we will turn to the West,
and witness your signature on the day as you walk with honored ancestors.
And we shall know both the wisdom of your life,
and the admonishment of your death - to create a world of peace.
In the deep of the night, we will turn to the North,
and witness in the stars that you are given a place of remembrance.
And we shall ever know you in our dreams,
as alive and fulfilling your own dreams beyond your allotted years.
In the deepest center of our souls, we will feel your constant presence,
and find ourselves humbled by the true essence of your spirit.
And we shall pray that like your, we will be ‘Keepers of The Fire,’
Each in our own way, will live and love with honor and with courage.
And as the family anchors of this earthly home front,
We know there isn’t any distance between loving hearts.
And we make this solemn promise in the memory of your lives,
To keep the hearth fires burning for our troops still serving,
Until they all come home!
With Love, Gratitude, and Respect for Our Fallen Hero,
SGT Patrick Dana Stewart,
And Your Loved Ones.

Pagan Leaders and Elders then returned to their seats.

There were several speakers: Roberta Stewart, Selena Fox, Chaplain William Chrystal, Rev. Patrick McCollum, Mato Witko, Paula Johnson, Jill Medicine Heart Combs, and two representatives from one of the Senators offices, sorry I can’t remember the names.
If I have forgotten anyone, I apologize, but my memory isn’t up to par.

Roberta said a special thanks to everyone who helped and supported her in this quest.
Again, I wish I could remember the words that were spoken, but something I can share with you is that Roberta made that day even more special, keeping Patrick and their memories warm against her…..she was wearing the blouse she wore when she first met Patrick, the skirt she wore on their first date and she wore his jacket.

What was wonderful about this ceremony was the unity. The unity where we had those of other religious beliefs present to show respect and support in allowing the Pentacle to be put on this plaque and to fully support this battle, that all Soldiers, regardless of their religious beliefs be allowed to proudly place the symbol of their beliefs on their Veteran Memorial Plaque or headstone.

There was a Christian Blessing, a reading of a Jewish Prayer, and a Native American Blessing ceremony, where Roberta was given a Sacred Pipe to hold as the blessing of the four directions was done at the plaque.

As you can see, those of other religions are standing with us on the Pentacle Quest.

Selena explained the Pentacle, and its five points and she did a special blessing of the plaque with each element, being sure to touch each element to or toward the plaque.
As those of you who do ritual know, there is usually something that stands out or makes its presence known during a ritual, and this one was no exception. So it was very interesting when Selena did the element of air blessing, especially since Sgt. Stewart was in aviation. During that part of the blessing, a small bright yellow plane flew over. Both Aryel and I, and only a few others in the gathering that day heard it and looked up. The plane seemed to appear out of no where, fly directly over the ceremony and then disappeared just as quickly. All those of us who saw this happen, just smiled at each other, knowing how spirit makes its presence known.

Selena did a group participation where she mentioned many things we are thankful for, for all those who have helped with the Pentacle Quest, and with each mentioned, everyone chanted “We Are Thankful”. The energy, already very powerful, continued to grow with each chant. You could feel the warmth, feel the love, feel the unity, feel the thankfulness.
Everyone then stood silently as The “Symbol” song was played and Roberta and her daughter walked up to touch the plaque. Then everyone else lined up to walk up in turn and touch Sgt. Stewart’s plaque, and give a silent prayer or blessing. This part touched me so much, when I looked up saw my husband who was standing off to the side, helping Todd with the lighting. We looked at each other and I then went over to take his place for him so he could give his respects. He stepped to the end of the line, and then behind him stepped the Sheriff. They were the last two. As my husband's turn came, he started approaching Sgt. Stewart's plaque and suddenly stopped short. I sort of froze too, not sure if he was going to go up, when he went erect in the military stance and saluted Sgt. Stewart, then he walked up to the plaque and patted it as one would a dear friend on the shoulder. You could hear the intake of breath and followed silence from those attending. Naturally my tears continued to flow as did many through out the gathering. What a proud moment that was for me.

I would like you to know that my husband is not Pagan, but he fully supports me in my beliefs and is often participating in our events by helping out in one way or another. My husband is a Veteran and he was in Desert Storm. We are a military family, my daughter is a Veteran, she served in the U.S. Army and my son is currently in the U.S. Navy, which he has made his career. So my husband and I being there, we stood proud to represent both our Pagan and Military family and communities.

During the ceremony, Selena summarized a statement by a mother of a Wiccan soldier killed in action in Iraq this past May. The soldiers mother, who is not a Wiccan, is fighting for her sons right to have the Pentacle on his headstone/plaque.

Selena summarized another statement by a widow who is also fighting for a Pentacle for her husband, of a Korean War Veteran, who died in 2005.

Selena also talked about how the Pentacle Quest is still being fought. That although Nevada has approved to have the Pentacle on the Veterans Memorial Plaque, that the battle is not over for all our other Pagan Veterans and Soldiers, its not over until it is approved for all. Selena then continued to summarized other letters of those who are also joining the Pentacle Quest battle.

We listened as Jill Medicine Heart Combs spoke of her husband, a Wiccan Veteran who has been in a VA hospital for more than a year now. He is currently in a coma, and is close to death.

Selena then had everyone come up and circle around the Wall of Honor where Sgt. Stewart’s plaque with Pentacle proudly rests and in concluding the ceremony, everyone joined hands in that special circle and chanted:

“Liberty and Justice for All!”

I wish I could share the entire ceremony with you, word for word, and although I can’t, I hope you were able to feel some of the energy created at this ceremony. I also hope you were able to stop for a moment that day and be there with us in thought and spirit.
After the ceremonies everyone headed over to the reception, where everyone got to meet and spend time sharing. Many stayed and waited for the news to come on and we were very impressed with the positive coverage they did. We were thankful.

As I mentioned many people had their cameras and of course there were lots of pictures.
We will have all the pictures we took and those we receive from others who will be sharing on our web site soon.

Until then I am attaching a link to one of the news articles.

Sgt. Patrick Dana Stewart can now rest in peace and his wife Roberta, their daughter and family are now able to be at peace over this part of the Pentacle Quest. The Pentacle is now on her husband's plaque, as it should be, but her battle continues. Roberta is continuing her work with Selena Fox and Lady Liberty League and the many others on this quest until the battle is won and the Pentacle is approved to be on the Pagan Veteran’s grave markers, by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Pentacle Quest continues, and you can read about it from the beginning and keep updated by going to the Circle Sanctuary web site:

Before I close, I want to share one last thing with all of you, another touch of spirit:
When Aryel and I were at the sign in area, greeting those attending, we got to talking to a young man from Reno. We were sharing about the different pagan events both in the Sacramento and Reno area and he told us of a little store in Reno, called Avalon’s Gate and told us the cross streets it was on.

Well, naturally we thought we could remember a name like that and the cross streets were fairly easy too. So we didn’t write it down.

So on Sunday morning during breakfast we decided to stop in Reno and check out the store. Well…….

Yep! We did forget the name and the cross streets. We kept thinking about it, trying to remember, but couldn’t. When we finally got into the Reno area we stopped and looked in the phone book to see if we could find it. Nothing! Although we did find a few other spiritual/metaphysical stores we decided to try them in hopes that once there they would know the store we were seeking and would be able to direct us.

Since we have a Tom-Tom Go, my husband put in the address of one of the stores, and off we went to find it. On the way, the silly Tom-Tom Go decided to wait until we passed an exit that it told us we needed to take. Naturally we had to travel on to the next exit and in so doing Aryel chuckled and said, we weren’t suppose to take that exit and low and behold the next exit we came to was one of the cross streets we were told about! Of course, things happen for a reason. We both remembered that street, but couldn’t remember the other one and still couldn’t remember the name of the store. So we took a chance and turned anyway. Going slowly and checking out both sides of the street as we drove down it, we were hoping to find the store when there on a corner was a small park with a big sign: Stewart Park! Yep, you got it, we all spotted the sign, big as could be.

Aryel and I were excited, knowing that it was another sign we were on the right street.
Well good grief, neither of us noticed the next sign, the actual store sign. When my husband said, "Is that it?" Yes it was. The little store is in a house right next to the park!

We found it! Thank you Stewart for your guidance there.

Now, unfortunately, the store is closed on Sundays. But that’s okay, because it gives us another reason to take a trip back there.

Magickal Blessings,
Gail a.k.a. WinterSky
High Priestess Ancient Cauldron Coven

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Last updated April 8, 2012

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