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
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
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
and witness your signature on the day as you walk with
And we shall know both the wisdom of your life,
and the admonishment of your death - to create a world
In the deep of the night, we will turn to the North,
and witness in the stars that you are given a place
And we shall ever know you in our dreams,
as alive and fulfilling your own dreams beyond your
In the deepest center of our souls, we will feel your
and find ourselves humbled by the true essence of your
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
And as the family anchors of this earthly home front,
We know there isn’t any distance between loving
And we make this solemn promise in the memory of your
To keep the hearth fires burning for our troops still
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Now, unfortunately, the store is closed
on Sundays. But that’s okay, because it gives
us another reason to take a trip back there.
Gail a.k.a. WinterSky
High Priestess Ancient Cauldron Coven