The Funeral Service for Keith Sauers
Lawspeaker of Ravenswood Kindred
May 7th, 2016
Goði: Chris Haviland of the Kindred of Ravenswood, Zionsville, Indiana
Family, Friends and Kindred – Attend now to my words! We are joined together in memorial to honor our fallen kinsman. Open your hearts and do not let this moment pass you by – for life is fleeting and we are here together – let our deeds this day be written among the heavens that we may never forget this man who is gone from us.
We are gathered here today to remember our dear friend Keith, to grieve for him and his family. Keith’s passing leaves us with many questions. We cannot begin to fathom the loss of his towering presence from our lives. But even as we question what has happened, we take solace from the sure knowledge that while the form has left this earth, Keith’s soul will remain with us forever. We know that the great wheel of life and rebirth turns always, and that by our remembrance we insure our future. Though the body has gone, his soul remains, fast and secure in our hearts, and when ready, we know he will walk in the midst of his folk once more.
Keith lived as large as any man has ever lived on this earth. His warm and loving spirit, his sense of adventure, and his overwhelming presence will fill my heart forever. He was a staunch and loyal friend and kinsman – he was always there, no matter what. Open handed and generous to a fault, he would give you the shirt off his back. As Lawspeaker for Ravenswood, Keith has held the oaths of every member since the beginning, decades ago when Ravenswood was born in Tell City, Indiana. He served in this capacity through both Dave and My turns as Godhi, forming the bedrock on which this kindred is built. There have been many occasions when Keith has helped us work through the inevitable challenges of being together, and always did so with kindness, fairness, and honor. In a world where so many people feel that it’s ok to say one thing and do another, Keith stood tall and refused to yield the moral high ground. We are much poorer for his absence. Keith made a real difference in the world, and I feel truly blessed for having known him.
In the holy writings of our folk, in the words of the High One, the thoughts of the Viking warrior regarding death and loss are recorded:
Cattle die, kinsmen die,
one day you die yourself;
I know one thing that never dies-
the dead man’s reputation
— Havamal 76
As Lawspeaker, Keith enjoyed a special connection with the Giver of Laws, Tyr. We will honor Tyr today, and invite him to watch over our departed kinsman.
Tyr! From thy stead deep within the Yrminsul we call to thee, thou mighty lord of laws and leavings of the wolf! Fare now forth from thy high-seat within the halls of Asgardh. Shine thy light of law and rightness over our deeds and doings, and honor us with your blessing as we bear witness to the passing of your Lawpeaker, Keith Sauers!
One handed God! Tyr!
Wolf –binder! Tyr!
War God! Tyr!
Lord of the balance! Tyr!
The Godhi pours ale into the horn, lifts it aloft, and says:
Tyr, we offer you this ale, blended with the might and main of our deeds, that thou shalt witness the offerings we make to our departed kinsman, Keith Sauers. Take well with our gifts, but not as from thralls – for we have no master, but rather as free men, and as a sign of our kinship and fellowship.
The Godhi passes the horn in turn to each true man and woman present, who drinks to offers a toast to Tyr in Keith’s honor. Please mention Keith in your toast. It is appropriate to offer a statement of what Keith meant to you or remember him in some way.
The Gydhja sprinkles the harrow while saying:
The blessing of Tyr upon this place!
Then the Gydhja sprinkles each of the gathered folk, saying:
The blessing of Tyr upon you!
The blessing bowl is poured out to the north of the harrow with the words:
To Tyr, and to all the Gods and Goddesses of our folk!
There is an ancient prayer among our people, uttered by those facing death. I know that Keith would have wanted it to be said for him today. Let us pray –
Lo’ there I see my fathers.
Lo’ there I see my mothers, my sisters, and my brothers.
Lo’ there I see the line of my people back to the beginning.
They call to me.
They bid me to take my place amongst them, in the halls of the Gods,
Where the Faithful and True live on forever
Keith, my brother, kinsman, and friend – We will never forget you and we will always love you. I wish you peace and rest. Come back to us when you’re ready – and until we meet again, rest safe and sound in hands of the Gods. Farewell!
The Rite is ended, the folk go on.