WARNING: This is probably going to sound silly to a lot of you. It sounds silly to me too sometimes.
Day 1: Cleansing the Altar, Cleansing the Leather (form of belt)
So, day before, prepping all the items for the altar, I look at my cleansing ritual and it feels a little scant. How am I banishing? How am I making this a sacred space? I decide I shouldn't just use a typical elemental banishing, and instead start playing with the idea of what the elements would be to a cow, before fashioning a prayer based in that reality.
Earth beneath your hooves,
Grass within your mouths,
Night cool you,
Day guide you,
To herd above, Herd within, herd below, and herd beside.
May you grow as your herd grows.
The bell sounds, and you are coming home,
the bell sounds, and you are safe.
May this be a sacred space where a new calf is born.
Day one, I recite this, making an offering of water and grass. Milk is used to anoint the leather, and a bell rang to cleanse. I feel as if it isn't quite working and begin intoning “Om-moo”. The spirit of the cow that makes the leather seems still upset until the very end, as I continue until it works. The realization of the slaughter of animal for clothing that is, in many ways, simply a fashion statement brings me a little sadness, but the realization is that these are creatures who no longer can care for themselves in the wild. They are tied to us as so much of our food and various products are tied to them. This too is sacred.