A Druid Naming Ceremony

The back yard of the family welcoming in the new child. Ritual space is set up with a water-filled cauldron, a main altar, and a small hibatchi with fire in the center of the yard. A large oak in the yard serves as the "World Tree." Parents and child sit in a swing to the side of the ritual area. The main deities are chosen for their significance to the newborn and his/her family.

Three flanking altars form an outer circle for . . .

Nature Spirits

(low table with a green bowl of earth, green candle, and a smaller green cup with whiskey)

Ancestors

(low table with a navy bowl of local water, navy candle, and a smaller navy cup with whiskey)

Deities

(low table with a light blue bowl of feathers, blue candle, and a smaller blue cup with whiskey)

PRELIMINARY WORK

Set up space: Nathair - Druid in Charge (DIC)

Pre-ritual briefing: DIC

"It was traditionally the mother who named a new child, after its time of danger was passed. This family has already named their baby by filing a legal birth certificate with the state. Now though, they wish to name him before their community after his time of danger has passed. We come to welcome this new person, extend the hand of friendship and community, thank the Deities for his safe arrival, and ask their continued blessings."

[Mundane details of the rite are addressed and explained]

Individual meditation: [all meditate until the musical signal calls them back together]

BEGIN THE RITUAL

Musical signal to gather: DIC

[Chimes rung. The group gathers and processes to form a circle around the ritual space.]

Opening prayer to Earth Mother:

"Earth Mother, you are our home, the ground beneath our feet. We honor you, and seek to live in balance with you. We ask your presence in our ritual today. Earth Mother, blessings and welcome!"

[A small bowl of cornmeal is taken from the main altar and sprinkled on the ground before the World Tree.]

All respond: "Blessings and Welcome!"

Invite Bard (Brigit):

"Brigit, you are known for your healing, as well as your craftwork, but today we call you in your aspect as Bard. Help our words to be inspired, our movements graceful, and our wits sharp to please you and all gathered as we perform this ritual. Brigit, Blessings and Welcome!"

All respond: "Blessings and Welcome!"

OPENING THE GROVE

Grove meditation: DIC

[A guided meditation is led asking all to imagine themselves as trees with roots deep in the earth, and branches entwined with each other in the sky.]

Unity chant:

"We are a circle within a circle, with no beginning and never-ending" (three times)

Statement of purpose:

[The child's father steps into the circle holding him . . .]

"It has long been the custom of a community or group to welcome its new members with a ceremony. Communities are as important today as they have always been, though they are now often groups of choice and not of location. You represent this child's community, you who will be his role models, his friends, and his confidants. We come together now to welcome him into our midst, and bless (name) as he begins his walk through life with us."

Outsiders offering:

[Takes a small cup of beer from main altar and pours it out away from the group.]

"Outsiders, we leave this offering to you who are not concerned with what we are doing today. May you enjoy this drink and leave us in peace."

ESTABLISH SACRED CENTER

[The three elements of the sacred center are honored as usual, but after that, a blessing is also asked for the child. The father steps to the center of the circle holding the baby.]

"We know little of how our ancestors worshipped in times passed. What we do know is that they had three things at their sacred sites: a hearth, a pit, and a deep shaft. The hearth was for the sacred fire, the pit for a sacred well, and the shaft for a pole, or bile - the World Tree."

Fire

"Sacred Fire, like you we come to dance for a short while, and like you we are hungry and must be fed. You cook our food, light our way, and keep us warm in winter time. O, sacred fire, we burn with you."

[An offering of whiskey is poured into the fire.]

All respond: "O, Sacred Fire, we burn with you!"

"O, Sacred Fire, lend your passion and will to this child. May he keep the fires of life kindled in his heart!"

[The child is presented to the fire — close but not over!]

Well

"Sacred Well, you are the womb from whence we spring. You are the waters of the mother, the collective unconscious that gives birth to creativity and life. You hold the water that nourishes us through out our lives. O, Sacred Well, we flow with you!"

[An offering of silver is dropped into the well.]

All respond: "O, Sacred Well, we flow with you!"

"O, Sacred Well, lend your creativity, your ongoing capacity for change and renewal to this child. May he know a lightness of being!"

[The child is presented to the well.]

Tree

"Sacred World Tree, you are the axis of the universe. You hold the upper world high in your branches, and the lower world below in your roots. In you, meet both fire and water, light and dark. O Sacred Tree, we stand with you!"

[An offering of honey is poured before the tree.]

All respond: "O, Sacred Tree, we stand with you!"

"O, Sacred Tree, lend your strength and endurance to this child, May he keep his roots firmly planted in Mother Earth, and his sights soaring with the stars!"

[The child is presented to the tree.]

Call in Gatekeeper (Danu):

"Danu, you are the gateway, the mother that brings us into life. We call on you to watch over us and guard the gate between the worlds as we walk the elder ways. Danu, Blessings and Welcome!"

All respond: "Blessings and Welcome!"

OPENING GATES

[The three Druids calling the Kindreds come to the center with their staffs as the gatekeeper is called in. They form an upright triangle with the tops of their staffs touching over the well. As the gates are called open, they slide the sticks down until they form an open horizontal triangle. Walking backwards (carefully!) they retreat to their world's altar and leave the staff behind it on the ground.]

"Let the gates be opened!"

MAIN OFFERINGS

Call in Nature Spirits:

"We call to the spirits of this place: those of fur and feather and scale. We call to the spirits of green growing things, and the spirits of soil and stone, rock and pool. We honor you and thank you for letting us share this space with you. Blessings and Welcome!"

[An offering of whiskey in a small cup on the Nature Spirits' altar is taken and poured on the fire.]

All respond: "Blessings and Welcome!"

Call in Ancestors:

"Now we invite our honored Ancestors. Ancestors of body, mind and spirit, those who gave us form, taught us, and helped shape our beliefs, welcome. To the honored family of this child who dwell beyond the ninth wave, we most especially bid welcome . . (name the child's departed great grandparents, etc.). Blessings and Welcome!"

[An offering of whiskey in a small cup on the Ancestors' altar is taken and poured on the fire.]

All respond: "Blessings and Welcome!"

Call in Deities:

"The children of the earth call out to the Tuatha de Danaan, the children of Danu. High Ones, we ask that you be with us in this rite. We also welcome the patrons of all those gathered today. Blessings and Welcome!"

[An offering of whiskey in a small cup on the Deities' altar is taken and poured on the fire.]

All respond: "Blessings and Welcome!"

Invite in patron power (Dylan):

"Dylan, Lord of the Sea, God of the waves, son of Ariahnrod, we call to you asking that you might join us in our rite today. Dylan, Blessings and Welcome!"

All respond: "Blessings and Welcome!"

Praise offerings - Master of Ceremonies (MC):

"Now is the time in the ritual where we offer gifts to the Gods. Those who have gifts for the child may also bring them forward. Who has something to offer?"

[Participants take turns coming forward, either giving things they have made to the child or the high ones, or singing a song, or reading a poem.]

FINAL SACRIFICE

[When all who have gifts to give are finished, the MC takes a cup of whiskey from the altar and pours it into the fire as a final sacrifice.]

"Are there more gifts? No? Then let the Gods accept our sacrifices, and for those who could not be with us today in body, but are with us in spirit, we offer this final sacrifice."

[The whiskey is poured into the fire, or in front of the World Tree.]

Seek an omen: DIC

[Ogham sticks are pulled from a small bag giving a reading from the Three Kindreds on how the energy will be returned.]

Meditation on omen:

[DIC leads a short meditation on the divination given.]

BLESSING and WORKING

Waters of Life:

[Takes the two chalices from the main altar- one of wine and one of water - and holds them up towards the sky.]

"High Ones, we ask that you bless these waters, sending us your energy that we might take it and use it to do our working here today. Behold the Waters of Life!"

[Some wine and water is each poured into a silver cup belonging to the child, the rest is passed around the circle for each to drink from, or pour a small offering on the ground.]

MAIN WORKING

Naming: DIC

"Who will speak for this child giving him the name he will be known by?"

Mother:

"I will."

[She steps to the center of the circle holding the child and tells the story of why they chose the newborn's names — what each of them mean, if they came from relatives, etc. After she is finished she presents the child by his full name]

All respond: "(Name) Blessings and Welcome!"

Spell of blessing: DIC

"Now we will pass a token of goodwill, a necklace to hold our wishes and blessings for (name.)"

[All gathered pass a triskele pendant on a cord around the circle, sending a blessing or good wish for the child into the amulet.]

Affirmation of success: DIC

[The DIC takes the amulet and holds it aloft.]

"May the wishes of those gathered here today stay with this child and help him in his life. May the Gods make it so. By their will, it is done."

[The DIC places the necklace around the child's neck.]

UNWINDING AND ENDING

[As the Kindreds and Deities are thanked, the Druid doing that role takes a small amount of the Waters of Life set aside in the child's cup and asks for the High Ones' blessings with it.]

Thank Patron and ask his blessing on child:

[Anoint the pendant around the child's neck with wine.]

"Dylan, Lord of the Sea, King of the Waves, help us bless this child. May he know strength, and beauty, wisdom and compassion, the love of his friends, family, and high ones. Dylan, we thank you for your presence today. Join us at revels if you can, but go if you must. Blessings and Farewell!"

All respond: "Blessings and Farewell!"

Thank Deities and ask their blessing:

[Anoint the top of the child's head with wine]

"High Ones, Gods and Goddesses, we thank you for being with us today. We thank you for the safe deliverance of this child and ask that you continue to bless him through out his life. May it be a good one. Deities, Blessings and Farewell!"

All respond: "Blessings and Farewell!"

Thank Ancestors and ask their blessing:

[Anoint the child's hands with wine.]

"We thank the Ancestors for being with us today. May the path they have laid before us continue to inspire and guide us on our journeys. May the Ancestors watch over this child (name) and help him as he learns and grows. Ancestors, bless this child. Honored Dead, we thank you for your presence and ask that you join our revels if you are not needed elsewhere, and if not, we bid you goodbye. Ancestors, Blessings and Farewell"

All respond: "Blessings and Farewell!"

Thank Nature Spirits and ask their blessing:

[anoint the child's feet with wine.]

"Nature spirits, join us now in blessing this child (name). May he be blessed as he walks in harmony with you and Mother Earth on the journey of his life. Bless this child. Nature spirits, thank you for letting us share this space with you. May we not forget you and the lessons you bring as we all walk our daily lives. Blessings and Farewell!"

All respond: "Blessings and Farewell!"

Close gates and thank Danu:

[The three people who invited the Kindreds come forward to cross their three staffs in a triangle over the well.]

"Danu, we thank you for lending your presence here today as we blessed this child. Stay if you can, but go if you must. Blessings and Farewell!"

All respond: "Blessings and Farewell!"

"Let the gates be closed!"

[The three Druids let their staffs slide upward until the points meet at the top. They return to the circle.]

Reground and center:

[A reverse tree meditation has all gathered return from tree shape back to human shape.]

Thank Bard:

"Lady Brigit, we thank you for being with us today, guiding our words that they might be sweet for the wee one. Join us at revels if you are able, but if you are not, go with our gratitude and love. Blessings and farewell!"

All respond: "Blessings and farewell!"

Declare end: DIC

"This rite is ended, may all join us inside for revels!"

Autor Information

Alexandria Cauthen-Zach (Phoenix)

Articles by Alexandria Cauthen-Zach (Phoenix)

2018 Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc.

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