Ritual to Columbia

Materials: an image of Columbia, such as a printout of some of the images on this site, one white candle, and one black candle

Light the white candle and place it to the right of the image of Columbia. Reflect on and give thanks for the freedom of religion we enjoy.

Hail Columbia, patron goddess of your district and of our government! You represent our highest ideals of freedom and liberty. Help us to strive towards the fullest expression of those values.

Light the black candle from the white one and place it to the left of Columbia’s image. Visualize Columbia on top of a solid wall, or a dome of protection that surrounds the Capitol and even all of DC. Visualize that this protection harmlessly neutralizes all forces that attack it.

Columbia, stand firm to defend the wall of separation between church and state that protects our precious religious liberty, so that we may continue to honor you. As we do, help us resist oppression and ensure justice. Hail Columbia!

This post was written by
Literata is a Wiccan who studies theaology and enjoys developing poetry and rituals. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including Mandragora and Anointed as well as multiple periodicals. She also blogs at Forging Futures and writes for her own site, Works of Literata, . When she's not leading Rose Coven, reading Tarot or communing with nature, she works on her Ph.D. dissertation in history and enjoys travel and spending time with her husband and four cats. Please note that everything Literata writes here is solely her own personal opinion. It does not represent the position of any organization with which she is affiliated.

9 Comments on "Ritual to Columbia"

  • Helen/Hawk says

    Is it possible to add link(s) to images of Columbia on this site? I’m especially interested in finding a link to Her statue in DC.

  • Max says

    I'm a longtime witch who is very much in favor of fighting DC40 and all fundamentalist takeover attempts. I will uphold the Statue of Liberty as a Goddess of Liberation versus the Spiritual Warfare extremists. But I'm not on board with hailing Columbia, or Britannia, or any other imperial figurehead, female or otherwise. Think of what Columbus did to Indian people, the Tainos: enslavement, killings, rape. Euro-Pagans should be natural allies of American Indians and all colonized peoples. I can't see Columbia as an appropriate symbol for "resisting oppression" because she has been a figurehead for the opposite. Just sayin.

    I'm glad you acknowledge that the principle of religious freedom has been repeatedly violated in this country. American Indian religions have been under near-constant attack and even now they are denied basic religious rights in treaty lands such as the Black Hills.

    Or the Statue of Freedom atop the Capitol, another possible choice.

    • I understand your objection to the name Columbia; I tried to address it in my essay on her as a figure. And if you notice, we have actually chosen the statue of Freedom atop the Capitol as a visual embodiment of Columbia – while explicitly acknowledging all the problems and paradoxes she represents. I choose to see her as a motivating symbol, one that also implies future potential. If you can’t see her that way, that’s fine with me; I’ll be happy about any efforts to protect religious liberty, no matter the symbols used.

    • Thank you for your comment, Max. Not sure if you'll get notified of my reply, but I thought I'd write it anyway in case others come by and see it. Especially today, one day after Columbus Day here in America, it is not only appropriate but necessary that we reflect and work to understand what Europeans wrought when they "discovered" this continent. Columbia — taking her name from Christopher Columbus himself — is a part of that which was wrought. Her mixed heritage should remind us of the darker parts of American history from which we cannot and should not hide.

      It is the imperial history of figures like Columbia and Britannia that, from my point of view, make the immensely suited for veneration: as a model they represent not only the good parts of ourselves, the parts that we want to strengthen and share with others, but also the darker side of our natures, the side that tells us we're better than the Other and that our views are the ones that should be most represented. We have come to understand that this latter part of ourselves is wrong-headed and deconstructive, but that doesn't make it any less a reality.

      Columbia can help us remember that history and serve to remind us of what happens when we don't remember that we are living in a pluralistic society wherein our views are just one view and not the view.

      – Dashifen –

      • Excellent points. The gods and goddesses have never been without their dark sides. Loki is one example, Pan another. Lugh got Cu Chulainn to rest during a battle so that an army of 150 children would be inspired to go to their slaughter and the invading army, horrified at what they just did, backed down.

        Deities also have a tendency to change over time. Hecate was originally not portrayed as the triple-goddess we know now. Thanks to Hesiod, Zeus became a god of justice as well as thunder. The most dramatic example were Elohim and Yahweh, whose worshippers not only for some reason decided that Elohim was a single god (instead of the term for the pantheon) and then conflated the two, but eventually decided they were the only god, period.

        So I think that the vision of Columbia you're sketching here, the combined matron of natives and colonists alike, united in our quest for justice and liberty, is a wonderful idea.

  • Sundragon says

    But just for the record, the sculpture atop the Capitol building isn't "Columbia." It's called "Freedom"

    • You are 100% correct, but we've often used that statue as a representation for Columbia because of the ideas and freedoms she represents.

  • Julie says

    Perhaps she could be a combination of Lady Liberty & Columbia. We can call her "Columbia Libertas" or something. I always saw Columbia, Lady Liberty, Libertas, etc. as one and the same. Why not?


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