Thank you for your willingness to participate in worship of the hands. Do you need a drink of water, a relaxing substance, or any words to help you feel good to do this ritual?
–I have what I need. Thank you.
Great. The plan I have in mind is… We both wash our hands at the sink. We come back here, and you light a candle. Then we hold hands and meditate together for just five minutes.
Then we do the ritual–there’s salt water, I pray for your hands, kiss them, and ask for blessings for them. Does that sound ok to you?
We wash our hands at the sink. You first. We return to the table, and there’s a large bowl of water and a small dish of salt.
You light the candle, and we hold hands. It feels awkward at first. I take a deep breath and settle in to hold your hands for five minutes. Feels formal and very happy.
The chime chimes, and we open our eyes, still holding hands.
Darling friend, I have loved you for a long time. I’ve especially loved your hands. I feel a deep respect for the work you do.
Your hands have helped you create important art. They’ve helped you love people, cats, plants, Mother Earth. You’ve written letters to me, made art for me, collaborated with me. Your hands have built and repaired, made food to feed yourself and countless people, and done many things.
Like anyone, you’ve made mistakes in your life. Your hands have helped you make mistakes, and they’ve done harm as well. I understand that I can’t understand, all your hands have done–good, bad, and neutral, magical, sacred, mundane.
I honor all that your hands have done, and the Mystery that dwells inside of them. They are part of you, and so I love them completely and without reservation–no holding back. I celebrate the good they’ve done, and I accept the harm they’ve done, one hundred percent. You are completely forgiven.
Then I kiss your hands, the knuckles that connect your middle fingers to your palms, which are large and little bony, on you. My lips feel happy to touch you there.
I invite you, Mother God, to witness this ritual of worship of the hands. I invite the directions to witness this ritual. For a moment I pause and imagine the directions.
Any spirits of the dead or elements hanging around this house and this land, please be invited to witness this ritual with joyful love. Thank you for your goodwill to this beautiful beloved creature who is my friend. I imagine spirits swirling around us with kindness. You told me before they’re welcome at your house.
going into the water
I pour the salt into the bowl of water, and mix the salt in the water. I take your hands again and submerge them in the salt water. We hold hands in the salt water.
Long ago I dreamed a powerful dream of wanting to go into the water with you, in little black boats. But the ocean was filled with storms, and I knew I would die, if I went into the water with you at that time.
Thank Mother God that the time is right now, to in some way, go into the water with you. Thank you for nourishing friendship, however it manifests.
I lift our hands from the salt water. There’s a towel we can dry them on.
Darling friend, my respect for you and your body is complete. I desire to kiss your hands and honor you being.
worship of the hands
I move my chair closer to yours. You’re facing the candle and its glow. I’m facing you and take your hand.
I take a deep breath and pause. Then I kiss the inner wrist of your right hand. Holding your hand and arm, I kiss it slowly, thinking of the bones inside of it, the miracle of how it moves.
I kiss your palm. The texture of your skin is different there. I kiss the canter of your palm, the muscle of your thumb–all of it, feeling how your palm is different from mine and different from my spouse’s.
Then I kiss your thumb, thinking of its strength. How beautiful it is. I slip into another mentality, blissed by this intimacy with you finally achieved. I slip into something like subspace or a trance.
Then I kiss your fingers slowly, blessing them with my mouth–the lengths of them, the very finger tips. Your fingers bend into curves, and I kiss your fingernails. Then I kiss the back of your hand also. My lips linger on a patch of hair I find, charmed.
You ok? I ask quietly.
You nod and shift your body, facing me, so I can access your left hand more easily. Your knee touches my knee. It feels like a big deal. Your arms are long, and I feel safe with you.
I kiss your left wrist and imagine the little wrist bones there too–the miracle of how your wrists can bend, swivel, and help your hands move so skillfully. I kiss your palm, savoring this joy of loving you.
Then I kiss your fingers tenderly, your fingernails, the backs of your hands, and you accept my love so freely given.
Mother God, please bless these hands to do the work of love. I hold your hands up into the air for a moment. Thank you for their active nonviolence and all they bring to the world.
When you formed them in the womb of the mom of my friend, you did great work. Thank you for the mother of my friend.
Thank you for blessing my friend with years of life, and all the ways you have kept this being alive, from simple breath and heartbeat, to times you saved my friend from calamitous injury.
I did not know you before, darling friend, and there may come a day when I don’t know you again. But right now, I hold and cherish you as a beloved manifestation of God. This moment, I embrace you, body and soul.
Then I hug you, and you hug me back. If feels different, that we are relaxing differently with this hug.
Thank you, Mother God, directions, and any witnessing spirits to this ritual. The ritual is ending now, if you would like to pay attention to other things.
Then I turn to you. I love you and thank you for accepting my attention in the form of this worship of the hands. Thank you for the good you do for the world and in my life. Thank you for working with me to find new ways to be friends that feel joyful, sustainable for both of us.
You are a sacred miracle, and I hope to remember this ritual indefinitely as a treasured enactment of my respect for you.
You extinguish the candle. We go outside into the night air. I look at the sky and thank Mother God for a good ritual. I feel that something in me is complete.
We eat snacks, and I ask you if liked that worship of the hands. You say yes. What we do for the rest of our lives is up to us.