Trans-affirming Ceremony at Equinox

presented by Kindred Spirits Traveling Medicine Show

Answer the call for transgender unity to honor, affirm, empower and celebrate ourselves at this liminal time of balance at the equinox -- our special time.

All are invited to this non-denominational, premiere event, to be formally welcomed into the greater family of gender-variant beings.

Composed by Holly Boswell
First performed Sept. 21, 2002 at SCC in Atlanta

Primary Officiant – Holly Boswell
Officiants from the Four Corners:
Androgyne & Intersex (SE) – Verba
Female to Male (SW) – James Green
Transcendent (NW) – Zantui Rose
Male to Female (NE) – Stephanie Sands
Drummers – Yvonne Cook-Riley, Angela Brightfeather,
Shelley Emerson, Zeek Christopoulos, Emily Singleton

1. The call to participate
2. Acknowledgment of sacred space & time, and of everyone gathered
3. Attestation of belonging through a litany of questions
4. Veneration of ancestors, deities, archetypes and trail blazers
5. An action by one and all that exemplifies, owns and honors our
6. Officiants affirm the value of trans, celebrants claim their power
7. Offerings: all are asked to declare what gifts they contribute to the
8. Consecration: officiants lead a simple chant, with drumming
9. Blessing of self, each other, and all who share our essence


Everyone wears black clothing. Officiants also wear a black ‘poncho’.
The heads of each of the 4 corner Officiants should look like their
archetypes. They will each bear a "standard" on a tall pole with
corresponding icons: Andro/Intersex: +O-> FtM: O-> Transcendent: O
MtF: +O

The Drummers will share a large gathering drum in the center of the

1. The Call
(from the podium at lunch, with soft drumming)
You are all invited to a special celebration at this magical time of the
equinox to honor, affirm and empower ourselves as gender variant people. This is a call for unity, and for an awakening to Spirit that is totally non-denominational, intended only to serve each of us as the unique and gifted beings we are. It will begin immediately after the keynote in the Sherwood Room, which is directly over the Banquet Hall lobby, and requires only 15 minutes. Seminars will resume at 2:00, so please be prompt. This will be the first ceremony of its kind, and will be repeated at the IFGE conference this Spring equinox, and elsewhere we hope for many years hence. Come join us, and be initiated into the greater family of gender
variant beings.

2. Acknowledgment
(There is a heart-beat pulse on the gathering drum, and the smell of sage in the room. Standards lie like spokes around the drum. All five Officiants usher everyone into the room, dispersing them to form a large circle. On a cue from the Primary Officiant (PO), drums stop and the other Officiants pick up their standards and move to their corners. PO will be free to move about, and is personable and spontaneous, not formal or detached.)

Andro/Intersex Officiant (A/I) speaks: Bless the Intersexed born to
this path, the Androgynes at the crossroads, and everyone else who transgresses the bounds of gender.

(3 drum beats)

FtM Officiant (FtM): Bless the Transmen, who boldly cross the great

(3 drum beats)

Transcendent Officiant (Tra): Bless those who strive to transcend the
human whims and dictates of gender.

(3 drum beats)

MtF Officiant (MtF): And bless the Transwomen, who gently cross the
great divide.

(3 drum beats)

PO: We are all creatures of the Earth. Let us honor the Great Mother, and all that has come to pass across her face. We are all children of Heaven. Let us honor the Great Father, and all that will come to be from this place. Let us honor ourselves here and now, perfect as we are, each of us blessed to walk our special paths. We are here now to manifest the dreams of Heaven on Earth. (Soft drum pulse of steady beats begins...) All Officiants in unison: We have crossed the human divide. We are bridges that span two worlds — one foot standing with men, the other with women. We embody all humanity, in the twilight between sun and moon — the time of balance. We are transgender, transsexual, intersex, crossdresser, androgyne, transcendent... and this is the equinox. This is our time. (drum pulse crescendo, then stop)

3. Attestation
PO: There are questions. If true for you, please answer "I am".
Officiants ask these questions:

Are you one who questions gender?
Are you one who suffers for your gender?
Are you one who revels in your gender?
Are you one who confuses pronouns?
Are you one who has changed your name?

Are you one who defies the expectations of your birth?
Are you one who is seldom seen for who you are?
Are you one who feels betwixt and between?
Are you one who must choose whether or not to lie about your gender?
Are you one who sees your kindred here assembled?

Are you one who proves the exception to the rule?
Are you one who walks a path of transformation?
Are you one who embodies the breakdown of dichotomies?
Are you one whose questions take you outside the paradigm?
Are you one who knows fear and courage, death and rebirth?

Are you one who seeks your true identity?
Are you one who yearns to be more fluid?
Are you one who holds contradictory points of view?
Are you one who mixes wardrobes?
Are you one who’s learned the difference between the performer and the mask?

Bless you all for being who you are.

4. Veneration
PO: Let us thank our gender variant ancestors for preparing a way
before us.

A/I: The human beings:
Adam before Eve, the Galli of Rome, Chui Chin of China, all the Amazons and Eunuchs, the Priestesses of Cybele, Joan of Arc, the Castrati of Italy, the Daughters of Rebecca in Wales, the Molly Maguires of Ireland, Madge Wildfire of Scotland, the Chevalier D’Eon, Governor Bradford of New York, George Sand, Boulton & Park, Black Elk, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, We’Wha, Jack Bee Garland, Quentin Crisp, Lou Sullivan, Sylvia Rivera, Venus Xtravaganza, Marsha P. Johnson, Brandon Teena, Freddie Martinez,& so many more...

FtM: The deities:
Lilith, Baphomet, Avalokitesvara, Shiva, Agdistis, Kuan Yin, Obutala, Krishna, Caeneus, Tiresias, Dionysus, Athena, Hermaphroditus, Brahma, Kolhamana, Phanes, Indra, Sphinx, Daksha, Misa, Prajapati, Bahuchara, Eon, Macha, Te Rongo, Kahukura, Oyamakui, Kucumatz, Mwari, Kiha, Nilus, Bathala, Abrao, Mohini, Ptah, Loki, Tupilak, Jinn, Bythos, Sedna, Taweakame, Ungud, Dzonokwa, Hera, Tiamat, & so many more...

Tra: The archetypes:
spirit in flesh, Nature as Divine, self-awareness, wholeness, healing, balance, the androgyne, alpha and omega, the cosmic bridge, the chalice and the blade, the alchemical marriage, the P.T.A., wisdom of the fool, the sacred clown, the absent-minded professor, the gentle giant, the madonna and the whore, death and rebirth, will and grace, moderation, ambivalence, ambidexterity, synergy, paradox, ompassion, peace, & so many more...

MtF: And those still living who are blazing our trail:
Virginia Prince, Merissa Sherrill Lynn, Jan Morris, Wendy Carlos, Ari Kane, Cheryl Chase, Jane Fee, Marcia Botzer, JoAnn Roberts, Phyllis Frye, Martine Rothblatt, Riki Wilchins, Kate Bornstein, Leslie Feinberg, James Green, Jason Cromwell, Gary Bowen, Dallas Denny, Terry Tafoya, Spotted Eagle, Chrystos, Ru Paul, all the hijra, mahu, radical faeries, musicians and artists, gender-queer kids, & so many more... PO: To all who have gone before, and all who walk with us now, we humbly thank you, and aspire to your vision and strength.

5. An Action
PO speaks, and demonstrates with other Officiants: Let us bow to one
another — all curtsy our femme spirit to the left, moon the cosmic trickster from behind, bow our butch spirit to the right, (deeply) and honor the One True Heart of All Being to the center. (palms together & gentle dip)

6. Affirmation
All Officiants in unison:
We honor and affirm the nature and value of our gender variant being. Do you claim your power?
All Celebrants should answer: I do. (3 drum beats, followed by 2
repetitions of the question)

All Officiants in unison:
Then let it be known by Heaven and Earth that we do own our nature.

7. Offerings
PO: As you are so bestowed with special gifts, what will you contribute to the world? Please offer your one word responses as I point in your direction.
Pan the circle. (May need a plant in the audience to get things going.)

8. Consecration
PO: Let us consecrate these gifts with song. All join hands. (Demonstrate the chant, with drum & bell & rattle:)
"Those who wonder who we are, let them know us by our gifts."
(This could be accompanied with a dance.)

9. Blessing
PO: Let us be seen and be received for who we are, and rejoice in our
special calling.

A/I: Bless yourself by saying: "Father/Mother, bless my Spirit in my
Flesh." (Celebrants repeat)

FtM: Bless each other by saying: "Bless you my family, as we walk this path together." (repeat)

Tra: And bless all who share our essence by saying:
"Bless us all with compassion, as we heal with love, and thrive."

MtF: Spirit bless us every one.

All Officiants bow to center, then in unison: Amen, aho, aloha. A final drum cadence (same as for the chant), as PO heads to the exit, followed by other Officiants. Drummers stop, bow to center, and follow.