Imbolc Rites and Charms

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Imbolc means 'in the belly', im - within, bolc - belly, but has many variant names. Another possible source for the name is from the Irish 'imb fholc', washing oneself. This could result from the purification aspects of the holiday.The Irish called it Óimelc (Middle Irish) or Ouimelko (Old Irish), meaning 'ewe's milk' (oi - sheep, melc - milk). Other spellings for the holiday include Imbolg, Oimelk and Oímelg. In Scots Gaelic, the holiday is called Là Féill Bhride (holiday of Brid or Brigit). Another Irish name for the holiday is Lá 'il Bríde (day of Brid or Brigit). In common modern Irish and Manx, the holiday is called Candlemas Day.-Taken from The Wheel of the Year at Muin Mound Grove, ADF by  Rev. Skip EllisonImbolc TraditionsStone Creed Grove ImbolcSonoran Sunrise Grove ImbolcBrighid's Day RitualA Rite for BrighidBrighidnassadh RiteAn Imbolc to BrigidA Solitary Imbolc
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Explore some of the ways you can add folk practices into your Imbolc celebration. Imbolc is a festival of purification and a celebration of the first signs of spring. It is the time when the milk begins to engorge the udders of the livestock in preparation for the first births of spring. It is an important date in the beginning of the agricultural year. Preparations for spring sowing, hiring of farm workers for the coming season, fishermen taking out their boats after staying in for the winter season, seaweed gathering on the coast to be used for fertilizer, and the gathering of shellfish all begin at that this time. The larder of the housewife and the hay stores of the farmer were also checked to make sure that only half had been consumed. Most of the elements of the traditional celebration can be seen, as referring to sexual intercourse and fertility: the men, having the charge of making the "little Brid doll" often from the phallic dasher of a churn; the women preparing the "bed" for the don; the churning of butter; the emphasis on birth and milking; and the use of straw, which was the traditional material for the birthing bed for human and beast alike, etc. In folk practice, it appears mostly as a holiday centered on the household, but it can easily be turned into a community celebration as well. Below are some customs that have long been associated with this sacred holiday. Feel free to modify them to match your needs and the particulars of your family and community. Spring Cleaning This is the time to give your home a good thorough cleaning in preparation for a visit from Brigit. If you happen to have a fireplace, it especially should be cleaned very well. As a part of the magical purification of the house a birch branch should be used to symbolically sweep the floors. Birch has strong associations with Brigit, and has long been used for rites of purification and new beginnings. All of this work should be completed prior to the eve of Imbolc, when a small dish of butter should be placed on a windowsill and a fresh fire kindled in the hearth or a candle lit in honor of Brigit. Making the Brideog If possible (and applicable) this work should be done by the man of the household or a group of men in your grove. Long pieces of straw or rushes should be gathered and fashioned into the shape of a doll. The image should be dressed in white doll clothing or merely wrapped in a white cloth in the manner of a dress. Her image should be decorated with bits of greenery, early flowers, shells and pretty stones. An especially pretty shell should be placed over her heart. For the greatest magical effect, the doll can be built around the handle of an old butter chum dasher. When finished, she should be consecrated with a few sprinkles of sacred water while invocations to Brigit are spoken. The resulting effigy is called a Brideog (BREE-JOG), or "little Brid" and is an important component of the traditional Imbolc celebration. Brigit's Crosses This is the most widely practiced custom associated with Imbolc. Following the making of the Brideog, the extra straw should be gathered up and saved, for use at the family or grove feast on the eve of Imbolc. For the best results, the straw should be soaked in water for a couple of days prior to the feast. Pan of that evening should be devoted to making Brigit's Crosses. These are weavings of straw that can be as simple as a few strands or amazingly elaborate. Most folks are familiar with the three or four-armed variety but there is a great number of different regional patterns including what most people in America know as a "God's Eye" pattern woven around two sticks. At the end of the evening each person should take their cross home, sprinkle it with a bit of sacred water and speak a request of Brigit for blessing and protection of the home and family members. Old crosses from previous years should be moved to the rafters or attic of your home, and the new crosses hung in their place near the entryways to the dwelling. Crosses that were woven by the children should be hung on the wall over their beds, and if you happen to have a barn or out-building you should hang one there as well. They are especially effective in protecting the household and its inhabitants from fire and lightening. Throughout the year, the crosses may be taken down temporarily when a Brigit blessing is needed: the a healing of a sick child; tucking between the mattresses to assist in conception; placed upon a basket of seed being carried out to the garden for planting, etc. Divination The eve of Imbolc is the best time of the year to perform divinations specifically pertaining to the future welfare and prosperity of your family. Imbolc Feast On the eve of Imbolc, a family or community feast should be held. When all is prepared, and the table is set, the persons who were involved in the making of the Brideog should go outside and retrieve her. The doll should be placed on the outside of the building next to the open door. The men should get on their knees before the doll (the traditional gesture of respect for the Brideog) and shout into the house, "Go on your knees, open your eyes, and admit Brigit!" The celebrants inside should answer, "Welcome! Welcome! Welcome to the holy woman!" The Brideog should then be carried into the house and leaned against a leg of the feasting table. Begin the feast with a prayer of thanks. Brid's Bed As the evening of the Imbolc £east winds down, the women of the household or grove should gather up the last of the straw and fashion an oblong basket in the shape of a cradle called "leaba Brid" (LAWA BREE) or "the bed of Brid". Place the bed near the hearth If you have one. Then place the Brideog into the bed and place a small straight wand of birch with the bark peeled in the bed beside the figure. This wand is called "slatag Brid" (SLAH-TAHG BREE) or "'the little wand of Brid. If you have burned a fire during the evening the ashes of the fire should be scraped smooth. In the morning check the ashes for marks of Brigit's wand or better yet, her footprint to prove that she had visited during the night. If no marks are found, burn some incense in the hearth or near the spot where the bed was placed, as an offering. Brideog Procession This is a special type of procession similar to caroling that members of your grove can do on the eve of Imbolc (or one of the preceding nights if necessary). Arrangements should be made ahead of time so that people can sign up for a visit and know what to expect. They should also be advised that it is best to do the spring cleaning before the Brideog visits. Assemble a company of participants, called "Biddy's" or Brideogs and prepare the songs for the event. Take the Brideogs from house to house to offer blessings and entertainment to the families who live mere. Dressing in unusual clothes and wearing funny hats will add to the fun of the event and, is quite traditional. A young lady, traditionally the prettiest of the crowd, should be selected to carry the Brigit doll. When you arrive, ask for admittance to the house (it is considered very bad luck to be uncivil to a Brideog) and everyone should file in. Entertain the household with a couple of songs (traditionally song, rhymes and music on flute, violin, and later, accordion were used) and recite a prepared Brigit blessing for them. If the household does not already have one, they should be presented with a Brigit's cross for protection and blessings through the year. Before going, the family should present the Brideogs with an item of food, especially one associated with dairy, to be used at the community feast (or as an alternative you can collect non-perishable food items for a homeless shelter). Blessing of the Brat Brid During the day before Imbolc, the woman of the house or women of the grove should take a small piece of cloth (larger if it is for the entire grove) and lay it on a bush outside. During the night, as the goddess roams to bless the houses of her followers, she will pass by, touching and blessing the cloth. Collect the cloth in the morning and tear it into small pieces. These pieces of doth, individually called a Brat Brid (BRAHT BREE]), should be distributed among the children and females of the household. The Brat Brid will give them protection throughout the year where ever they go. These pieces of cloth may be sewn into the clothes or jackets of the children to insure that it won't be lost. Blessing the Bratach Brid The Bratach Bree (BRAH-TOCK BREE) is a large piece of cloth, such as a shawl that Brigit will bless in the same fashion as the Brat Brid. Instead of being torn into pieces on the next day this cloth should be kept as a sacred relic and charged repeatedly year after year. The Bratach Brid can become quite powerful over time and can be used to help insure safe childbirth and to cure sterility by placing it over the patient and asking for Brigit's help. It was once fairly standard equipment for country midwives in Ireland. In addition to being used for human mothers during childbirth it was also spread across the back of birthing cows to ensure the health of the calves and an abundant supply of milk. Bibliography Carmichael. Alexander, Carmina Gadelica Hymns & Incantations, ed. C. J. Moore, Edinburgh; Books. 1992 Danaher, Kevin, The Year In Ireland, Irish Calendar Customs, Minneapolis: Mercier Press, 1972 O Cathainn, Seamas, The Festival of Brigit, Celtic Goddess & Holy Woman, Dublin: DBA Publications Ltd., 1995 Rees, Alwyn and Brinley Rees. Celtic Heritage, Ancient Tradition in Ireland and Wales, London: Thames and Hudson, 1961
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Foto de Ian Corrigan
1: Procession - as usual2: Opening Prayers - as usual3: Awen Invocation - as usual4: Outdwellers - as usual5: Statement of Precedent -As our ancestors once did, so we do today, and so our children will do in the future. We are here to pay homage to the Brigid, Lady of fire and to Dagda, the all father, to the Gods, dead and the sidhe and to the rising light of the year. Now is the time of stirring when the earth begins to soften and the waters to flow. While frost still bites and winds blow, and the light is growing stronger, and life begins to wake. This is the feast of Brigid, the Goddess of Fire and Water. She is the year's midwife who births the sun. Also we make offering to Dagda, the lord of perfect knowledge. Through the union of fire and water, the ancients, our forebearers, worked magic to call in the spring. So let us join together as one folk to make our offerings in joy and reverence.6: Grove Attunement - as usual7: Vertical Axis - as usual8: Opening the Gates - as usual9: Kindred Offerings - as usual10: Key Offerings -Imbolg is the time of the hearth fire, and the thawing and stirring of earth's watres. First we will offer to the red god, the hungry God, the best of the Gods, DagdaDagda most honored To you we make sacrifice To Eochaid the All Father You, the Fire Beneath the Cauldron Hear us, Old Giant, God with the Great Staff Ruad Rofessa, Lord of Perfect Knowledge Fire of the Sacrifice, Great in Appetite To you we do honor, Excellent God Mate of the great queen Fergus the mare's son Chieftain of Danu, bountiful giver Flame in the belly that sustains life, Flame in the eye that comprehends life Be in us as we are in you Boiled in the cauldron Upon the sacred fire O harper of the seasons, taker of sacrifiice Druid of Oak and Hazel Dagda Mor-Great good God Accept our sacrificePorridge ladeled into offering bowlSound three knellsInvocation of BrigidBehold the lightener of the stars Brigid of the mantels She comes on the crest of waves With harpers of the sidhe praising her Arising in splendour From the mighty one below Brigid of the auguries Song and the voices of the Bards for her Brigid of the waters Brigid of the kindling Brigid thou source of joy and life Healers and artisans honor your spirit Brigid, woman of wisdom Thou mid-wife of sweet wisdom Of bright beauty shining like stars Joy were it to those who behold you O Brigid the skillful O Brigid of the triple spirit O Brigid who comes in light and shadow Thrice blessed be your flaming path. BRIGID ACCEPT OUR SACRIFICEO triple one, Lady of fire and water, Goddess of poets, healers and smiths, we give you the gift of welcome. Come into our temple and bless our rite.Door to the hall open and a maiden carries in the Brideog, once around the center as a Hymn to Brigid is sung Brideog is placed in the bed and bannock offering is made surround with 9 candles. Wand is placed by her side. Offerings: bannocks, milk, beerPraise Offerings11: Prayer of Sacrifice - as usual (oil,milk,bannock offered)12: Omen - as usual13: The Blessing Cup - as usualFinal Blessings:THE DESCENT OF BRIGID Brigid of the mantles, Brigid of the hearth fire, Brigid of the twining hair, Brigid of the auguries Brigid of the fair face, Brigid of the calmness Brigid of the strong hands, Brigid of the kine Brigid, friend of women, Brigid fire of magic Brigid the foster mother, Brigid woman of wisdom. Brigid the daughter of Danu, Brigid the triple flame. Each day and each night I call the descent of Brigid. That the power of healing be within us, That the power of poetry be within us, That the power of shaping be within us, In earth, sea and sky and among all kindreds. Kindle your flame in our heads, hearts and loins, Make us your cup, your harp, your forge, That we may heal, inspire and transform, All in your honor, Brigid font of blessing. Brigid above us, Brigid below us, Brigid at every airt about us. Brigid in our truest heart.Receiving the fire
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Pre-Ritual PreparationIn the Henge:The fire is prepared, the well opened, the World Tree Offering Bowl placed in position and the following items placed on or near the altar: A standing horn for the Waters of Life, 2 drinking horns, 2 ritual pitchers, bowl for aspersing, a sea shell for the smudge stick, bell, offerings (Whiskey in a bowl with a ladle; corn meal and dry oatmeal in a small bowl; silver for the well; ale in a small drinking horn; herbs, flowers and stones in a small bowl; a small wreath of twigs; Milk for the Waters of Life — also water; small drinking cups; a loaf of ritual bread), a taper by the fire, and divination tools. A couple drops of Holy Water is poured into the Well and into any water used in the ritual. A wand is placed on the Altar. A basket-bed is placed on the Altar and the Brideog doll is placed on the Altar of Brigit. At the Outdweller's Altar: A small bowl is filled with water from the Well and taken to the Outdweller's Altar. A standing horn of ale is placed on the Altar. At the Gathering Place: At the place of the procession's beginning, a sage smudge stick is prepared and lit for the Procession. Before the Procession begins: Druid 1 welcomes the people and gives the briefing. This will include creating the Sacred Center and Opening and Closing of the Gates, as well as Praise Offerings. The Bard teaches the People any new songs. The Seer leads the People in taking a moment to center. ProcessionDruid 1 carries the smudge stick while the Lead Drummer creates a rhythmic drumbeat and the Bard leads the People in song as they process to the Outdweller's Altar outside the Sacred Precinct. The Bard leads the People in singing:We Approach The Sacred GroveWe approach the Sacred Grove With hearts and minds and flesh and bone. Join us now in ways of old; We have come home.(Repeat until Procession is ended) PurificationAfter the People arrive at the Outdwellers' Altar, Warrior stands to the east of the Altar, facing the People. Druid 1 says: Warrior! Make offering and appease the Outdwellers who will not support our ways.Druid 2 takes up the bowl of sacred water and stands at the south of the Altar. Druid 1 stands at the north of the Altar with the smudge stick.Warrior says: Mighty spirits, dark or light, You who care not for our way, Outdwellers! We know your might, Your forbearance we'll repay!Holy ground where you can play We do now establish here. Have some fun and don't dismay, Stick around and have a beer!Bíodh sé Amhlaidh! (BEE-uh SHAY OW-lee) So be it!Warrior makes an offering of ale to the Outdwellers, pouring it on the altar. Druid 1 smudges and Druid 2 asperses Warrior .Druid 1 says: Children of the Earth! Come forward and be purified as we enter the Sacred Precinct.Druid 1 and Druid 2 go to the entrance of the sacred precinct. Druid 1 censes while Druid 2 asperses the People as they Process through the grove towards the Henge. The Bard leads the People through the grove to the Henge with Druids 1 and 2 following last. Meanwhile, drums are beating and as the People are purified, the Bard leads the People in singing: The Portal Song Chorus: By Fire and by Water, between the Earth and Sky, We stand like the World Tree, rooted deep, crowned high. By Fire and by Water, between the Earth and Sky, We stand like the World Tree, rooted deep, crowned high!Verse:Come we now to the Well, the eye and the mouth of Earth. Come we now to the Well, and silver we bring. Come we now to the Well, the waters of rebirth. Come we now to the Well, together we sing.Repeat Chorus We will kindle a Fire, bless all and with harm to none. We will kindle a Fire, and offerings pour. We will kindle a Fire, a light 'neath the Moon and Sun. We will kindle a Fire, our spirits will soar!Repeat Chorus Gather we at the Tree, the root and the crown of all. Gather we at the Tree, below and above. Gather we at the Tree, together we make our call. Gather we at the Tree, in wisdom and love.Repeat Chorus The People find their places in the Circle of the Henge, leaving room for Druid 1 and Druid 2, who enter last. Druid 1 holds the bowl of burning charcoal. Druid 1 circles the Henge deosil, censing the space, and then returns to his place. WelcomeDruid 1 rings bell thrice-three times while saying: Nature Spirits! (rings bell three times) Ancestors! (rings bell three times) Shining Ones! (rings bell three times) Welcome! We shall meet here at the Sacred Center when we open the gates to the Otherworlds.The Earth MotherDruid 1 says: I-mah-lah! Earth Mother! Bearer of all life! We show you honor! The People kneel and kiss the Earth. Druid 2 says: I-mah-lah! We build our fire upon Your bosom, claiming this place as our own. Bíodh sé Amhlaidh! (BEE-uh SHAY OW-lee) So be it!Druid 1 offers the corn meal and dry oatmeal to the unlit Fire. Druid 2 lights the fire. The People say:B?odh s� Amhlaidh! (BEE-uh SHAY OW-lee) So be it!Rhythmic drumming begins to accompany the Bard. The Bard leads the People in singing: Earth Mother Earth Mother, we honor your body Earth Mother, we honor your bones Earth Mother, we sing to your spirit Earth Mother, we sing to your stones(repeat as necessary) Purpose and PrecedentDruid 1 says: We gather here on the Feast of Imbolc, the Feast of our Goddess Brigit when renewal begins for the Earth Mother.Druid 2 says: As our ancestors did, so do we now. We are here to offer worship to Triple Goddess Brigit: the Goddess of Inspiration, Fire and Healing.Druid 3 says: This is the season of the first milk for the lambs and the start of Spring, when seeds planted begin to take root.Storytellersays: So now, Children of the Earth, let me tell you of Brigit, our triple-Goddess.Druid 1 says: So let us join together as one folk to make our offerings in joy and reverence! Bíodh sé Amhlaidh! (BEE-uh SHAY OW-lee)The People say: Bíodh sé Amhlaidh! (BEE-uh SHAY OW-lee)Imbas(Inspiration in English; Awen in Welsh) Rhythmic drumming begins to accompany the Inspiration Invocation. Druid1 says: Brigit! Great Triple Goddess! We ask you for inspiration for our Rite!Sanctifier takes smoking sage bundle to the appropriate Shrine and censes the image. She returns the incense to the altar. While this is happening, Two Bards invoke the Inspiration, singing in Call & Answer: Lady Brigit (Words by Peggy Kaan)Lady Brigit of the Bards Blessed fount of Inspiration Spark the flames within our hearts Lead our creative explorationLady Brigit hear our song As we bring offerings of praise Let Your blessings make us strong That we may serve You all our days!Druid 2 offers whiskey to the fire. The Bards together say: Bíodh sé Amhlaidh! (BEE-uh SHAY OW-lee)The People say: Bíodh sé Amhlaidh! (BEE-uh SHAY OW-lee)The Three RealmsDruid 1 says: Let us establish the Three Realms here! We see the Sky arching over our heads like a great, upturned bowl. We feel the Land here under our feet, and we sense the Sea surrounding us outside our Nematon.Rhythmic drumming begins to accompany the Bard. The Bard leads the People in singing: Unity In The Three Realms Beside you I stand, hand in hand, On this Sacred Land. With one breath we cry, you and I, To the Sacred Sky. And together we one day will be Across the Endless Sea.The Three Worlds and AttunementDruid 1 says: We establish the Three Worlds of the Heavens, Midworld and Underworld when we attune ourselves with their powers, and magnify them within us.The Seer leads the 2 Powers meditation to attune the company to the Earth and Sky powers and to join the company in spirit.Opening the Sacred CenterDruid 1 says: Druids! Let us open the Sacred Center!The Lead Drummer starts a moderately fast, rhythmic drumbeat. The other drums in the circle join in. They continue until the Gates are opened. The following actions take place simultaneously until everyone is in position. Druid 1 takes silver and goes to the Well. He stands to the SW of the Well and faces the center of the circle. The Seer goes to the SE quadrant of the circle, getting a ladle of oil from the main altar on the way. He stands in the East facing the altar of Manannan mac Lir in the West. Druid 2 goes to the Fire, getting a ladle of whiskey from the main altar on the way. She stands to the SE of the Fire, facing the center of the circle. Druid 3 lights a smudge stick at the fire and goes to the Tree. Warrior draws water from the well, using the bowl there, and goes to the Tree. The Bard moves widdershins around the circle, leading the People in quietly and slowly chanting: Well and Fire and Sacred Tree, flow and flame and grow in me...The Bard continues moving widdershins around the circle during the entire working, until he opens the Gates. The chanting continues, only interrupted by the People saying the final line of each of the three following invocations. Druid 1 offers Silver to the well, with these words: Sacred waters 'neath our feet, Unformed powers of the deep, Fountain upwards now to fill us, Sacred Well, flow within us! The People say: Sacred Well, flow within us! The Bard leads the People in chanting: Well and Fire and Sacred Tree, flow and flame and grow in me...Druid 2 offers whiskey to the Fire, with these words: Sacred fire, light of Heaven, Holy power of Transformation, Create Order out of chaos. Sacred fire, burn within us! The People say: Sacred fire, burn within us! The Bard leads the People in chanting: Well and Fire and Sacred Tree, flow and flame and grow in me...Druid 3 censes and Warrior asperses the World Tree. Druid 3 and Warrior say in unison: Sacred Tree, which joins together Powers of chaos and of order, Grant us wisdom, strong and ageless. Sacred tree, grow within us! The People say: Sacred tree, grow within us! The Bard leads the People in quietly chanting: Lord Manannan, Lord Manannan, Lord Manannan...Sanctifier takes the smoking sage bundle from the Bard to the Manannan Altar and censes the image, then returns sage bundle to the main altar. Meanwhile, Seer makes an offering of whiskey to the fire, saying: Gatekeeper! We ask in reverence, Open now the sacred boundary. Manannan mac Lir, come to us, Ward us as we walk in safety!The People say: Ward us as we walk in safety!The Bard leads the People in quietly chanting: Open the Gates; Open the Gates, Open the Gates...The chanting, drums and rattles continue. They increase in speed and volume. Druid 1 holds the bottom of his staff, pointing the top of it at the top of the World Tree. He begins to spin widdershins, faster and faster. When his staff first passes the Fire, Druid 1 says: Let the Fire open as a Gate!He continues spinning at least one full revolution.As his staff passes over the Well, Druid 1 says: Let the Well open as a Gate!He continues spinning at least one full revolution. As his staff passes by the Tree, Druid 1 says: Let the Tree connect the Worlds!There is a loud drum roll ending in a strong stroke. The chant, drumming and rattles stop. Druid 1 stops spinning, holds both hands (and staff) in the air and shouts: Osclaítear na geataí! (OS-kluh-TEER na GAH-thay)Let the Gates be open!The People shout: Let the Gates be open! Kindred OfferingsDruid 1 says: Druids! Make our Offerings to the Kindreds — the Ancient Ones, the Noble Ones and the Shining Ones.NATURE SPIRITS The drums begin again, pounding out a moderate beat. Druid 2 makes offerings of herbs, flowers and/or trinkets scattered around the Nemeton's edge or hung on the World Tree, while: The Bard sings these or other words: All you Spirits of the Land Come and hear from us firsthand.Fin and feather, fur and skin, Come and hear our mighty din! Leaf and stone and Fairies, too, Let our Sacred Pact renew!Land-spirits, accept our offering! The People say:Land-spirits, accept our offering! ANCESTORS The Seer sings these or other words: Ancestors, you Mighty Ones,Witness now our humble actions. Kin of heart and Kin of blood, Ancient Ones, we call you Sacred! Come unto us now, we pray, Join us at the Well this day!Ancestors, accept our offerings! Druid 2 makes an offering of ale on the ground beside the Sacred Well. The People say: Ancestors, accept our offerings! DEITIES Druid 3 says these or other words: Shining Ones, O Great and Boundless; Gods and Goddesses, come to us!You are welcome by our fire, Let us know what You desire.Known and unknown DeitiesMeet us at the Boundaries!Shining Ones, accept our offering! Druid 2 makes an offering of whiskey to the fire. The People say:Shining Ones, accept our offering! The Bard leads the People in singing: Hail All The Gods Hail all the Gods, Hail all the Goddesses,Hail all the holy ones we've brought together!Powers of the sky, Powers of the sacred earth, Powers of the underworld we've brought together.Hail all the Gods! Hail all the Goddesses! Hail all the Gods and Goddesses!(repeat)Key OfferingsDruid 1 says: Mighty Brigit, we call upon You!Druid 1 invokes the Goddess. Druid 2 offers whiskey to the fire and Sanctifier takes the smoking sage bundle to the Altar of Brigit and censes the image, returning the sage to the main altar. Druid 1 stands in the west, facing the Altar of Brigit and says: Invocation to Brigit Chorus Spark of Inspiration, burning In our minds and in our hearts, Healing Lady, Fertile Lady, Light our way in Winter's dark!Cold light filters through the branches Making rainbows in the ice, Winter's chill is deep and heavy, Summer's warmth would sure be nice.Silently, the Earth, now sleeping 'Waits the call of Goddess bright. Put Your hand into the River, Warm us as you bring the light!ChorusSpark of Inspiration, burning In our minds and in our hearts, Healing Lady, Fertile Lady, Light our way in Winter's dark!In our hearths the fires are burning, Candles flame all through the night, Goddess, heal us in our yearning, Let Spring come into our sight!On the hilltops, ewes are bleating As with milk their teats grow full. Lambs of spring are soon to join us, Suckling through their mothers' wool.ChorusSpark of Inspiration, burning In our minds and in our hearts, Healing Lady, Fertile Lady, Light our way in Winter's dark! Through the soil the first green shoots of Spring appear upon the earth, You are coming, Goddess, to us Bringing hope of Life's re-birth!Join us now, O Goddess Brigit, Healing flame shall fill us up. Let us drink from Your great Chalice, From Your bounty, let us sup!ChorusSpark of Inspiration, burning In our minds and in our hearts, Healing Lady, Fertile Lady, Light our way in Winter's dark! Mighty Brigit, accept our offering!The People say: Mighty Brigit, accept our offering!Praise OfferingsDruid 1 says: Children of the Earth, as the spirit moves you, come forward and take the wreath and make your Praise Offerings to Lady Brigit, the Kindreds or your Patrons. You may offer silver to the Well, sing songs of praise, recite poetry, dance or do whatever would please the Kindreds most. You may also make a donation to the Grove by placing it on the altar.Druid 2 stands quietly holding the wreath. As a person comes forward to make a Praise Offering, he hands the wreath to that person. When the Praise Offering is done, he takes back the wreath and silently holds it until the next person comes forward. The OmenDruid 2 offers the wreath to the fire, while: Druid 1 says:Seer, what blessings do the Powers offer us in return for our offerings?While the wreath offering burns, The Seer takes the Omen . He interprets it, discovering if our Rite and our offerings are pleasing to the powers. While the Seer is preparing to read the omen, the Druids prepare the Waters of Life. BlessingsThe Return Flow Druid 1 says: Please stand and hold hands while we prepare the Waters Of Life.The People all stand and hold hands in a circle.Druid 1 pours mead into the large drinking horn. Druid 2 fills another horn with waters from the Well. They are hung on their hangers. Druid 1 takes Sacred Water in a horn or chalice and stands in front of the Altar. Druid 1 says: O Mighty Brigit! O Noble, Ancient and Shining Ones! We have offered to you, so we ask for your gifts in return.Druid 1 elevates the Waters . Hallow these waters! Bless our lives with love, magic and bounty as we drink of your essence. Kindreds, we ask you, give us the waters of life! The People say: Give us the waters of life! Druid 1 gives the bread to the Sanctifier . Druid 2 takes the horn of water and Druid 1 takes the horn of mead. Druid 1 pours holy water in each horn and a few drops on the bread. The People let go of each other's hands and the drinking horns and bread are passed. All drink from one or the other horn while the Bard leads the People in singing: Pour The Waters Pour the waters, raise the cup; Drink your share of wisdom deep; Strength and love now fill us up As the elder ways we keep.(Repeat until all have drunk from the horns) The WorkingsThe Brideog Druid 2 rings the bell three times, and says: O Mighty Brigit! As in days of old, come and join us here in our Nemeton!The Bard begins chanting: Birgita (Words by Lisa Theil)Birgita, Birgita, Goddess of the flame Birgita, Birgita, Goddess of the flame Awaken the flame within my being Awaken the sacred fire within my beingAs the chant begins, a maiden enters from the east carrying the Brideog. She goes deosil around the circle, showing the Brideog to all in turn, ending up in front of the altar. She places the Brideog in the bed and then returns to the edge of the circle. Druid 1 places the wand in the bed with the Brideog, saying: May the blessing of the Lady Brigit be upon us and on this place.Closing the GatesDruid 1 says: The Mighty Ones have blessed us! So as we prepare to depart, let us give thanks to those who have aided us.A drum beat begins and rattles fill the sound. Druid 2 says: O Mighty Brigit, we thank you!The People say: We thank you!Druid 3 says: Gods and Goddesses of elder days; mighty Ancestors; noble Spirits of the Land; our Kindreds, we thank you!The People say: We thank you!Seer says: Gatekeeper, warder of the ways, for your presence and power, for your guiding and guarding, we say: We thank you!The People say: We thank you!Druid 1 says: Earth Mother! We give you all remaining offerings, for what comes from the Earth may return to the Earth.The Druids make all remaining offerings to the Well, Fire or World Tree Offering bowl. Druid 1 says: Earth Mother! For holding up the world and granting us Your blessings, we say: We thank You!The People say: We thank You!Druid 2 says: Now we end what we began.The drums begin to play and the Bard leads the People in chanting, starting quietly and building in speed and intensity:Close the Gates... Close the Gates... Close the Gates...Druid 2 holds the bottom of his staff, pointing the top of it at the top of the World Tree. He begins to spin deosil, faster and faster. As the staff passes the fire, Druid 2 says: Let the fire be flame!As the staff passes the well, Druid 2 says: Let the well be water!As the staff passes the World Tree, Druid 2 says: Let all be as it was before!There is a loud drum roll ending in a strong stroke.The drumming and rattles stop. Druid 2 stops spinning, holds both hands (and staff) in the air and shouts: Dúntar na geataí! (DUN-tar na GAH-thay) Let the Gates be closed!The People say:Let the Gates be closed!The GroundingDruid 1 says: Great energy has been raised within us this day! Let us be grounded once more.The Seer leads the People in grounding. The RecessionDruid 2 then rings the bell thrice-three times. Druid 1 says: Please stand and hold hands in this Circle.Walk with wisdom, children of the Earth. The Rite is ended! Bíodh sé Amhlaidh! (BEE-uh SHAY OW-lee) So be it!The People say: Bíodh sé Amhlaidh! (BEE-uh SHAY OW-lee) So be it!The Bard leads the People in singing as they stand holding hands in the Circle. After one time through, the Bard leads the People singing out of the Circle: Walk With Wisdom Walk with wisdom, from this hallowed place; Walk not in sorrow, Our roots shall 'ere embrace.May strength be your brotherAnd honor be your kin; And luck be your lover Until we meet again!(Repeat until Recession is ended) At this point, a party/potluck is held for the assembled people.
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Foto de CeisiwrSerith
This ritual is designed to be performed as a part of the standard ADF ritual, inserted immediately before the opening of the gate. It replaces the lighting of the fire.The nemeton is set up indoors, both for practical reasons in much of ADF territory and because, as a hearth goddess, Brighid should be worshipped inside. The door to the room is closed. In the center is a Brighid's cross about three feet across, made up of four boards arranged in the proper shape, with a gap in the center. The gap must be just wide enough for the brass Brighid's cross, which will be carried in to fit over it, with no danger of falling through. Such crosses are available in stores that sell Irish goods; if there are none in your area, the brass cross can be left out of the ritual.In one of the spaces formed by the cross's arms is a large candle; in another is an offering bowl; and in another is a basket. In the fourth will be put the bowl of water used to purify the participants after it has been used for that purpose. On the arms themselves are at least as many candles as there are people present. Surrounding the cross is a circle marked on the floor, perhaps with a cord (we used clothesline--a nice domestic touch).On a table are matches and a container of milkThe celebrants are two druids at least one of whom (D2 in this ritual) must be a woman; a fire tender also a woman, a young girl who will impersonate Brighid; and a Bard, who may also be one of the druids.PROCESSION As people leave the assembly area to go to the ritual site, they are each given a Brighid's cross.HISTORICAL PRECEDENT This may be said either at the very beginning of the ritual or when everyone has assembled in the nemeton.D1: We are here today to celebrate the feast of Imbolc. D2: It is the feast when the promise of the return of warmth is affirmed. D1: It is the feast when we are purified in anticipation of this event. D2: It is the feast when we are honored by the presence of Brighid. LIGHTING THE HEARTHD1: In the midst of our world we light the hearth fire, where the sacred and the mundane meet under the care of the Triple Bdghid. Bard: We call to Brighid, the flame on the hearth.  All: Come to us, come to us, bless us with your presence.  Bard:We call to Brighid, inspirer of poets.  All: Come to us, come to us, bless us with your presence.  Bard: We call to Brighid, strength of smiths.  All: Come to us, come to us, bless us with your presence.  Bard: We call to Brighid, power of healers.  All: Come to us, come to us, bless us with your presence.There are three knocks on the door.D2: Lady Brighid, come in, come in, come in, you are thrice welcome! All: Lady Brighid, come in, come in, come in, you are thrice welcome!The door opens and a girl enters. She is dressed in red and carries a brass Brighid's cross in her left hand and a container of water in her right. She comes to the nemeton and goes straight to the center. She stops there and hands both cross and water to D2. She steps back to take her place in the circle. D2 pours the water into a bowl and then washes the brass Brighid's cross with it. This done, she places the brass cross on top of the wooden cross and places the large candle on top of it. She lights it and begins to sing:Burn in our midst, O fire of Brighid, Opening to the sacred world, One who inspires our every deed, Center of the spiral unfurled.The others pick up on this song and come forward one at a time to the hearth. When each reaches the center, she stands to be anointed with water by D2 on the forehead, the hands, and the feet. If there are too many people for one person to do this comfortably, another woman may help D2. After being anointed, each person goes to the wooden Brighid's cross and lights a candle with a match lit from the center candle. She then puts her Brighid's cross down in the basket provided and returns to her place. After one person has been anointed, the next one comes forward. Males may not cross the circle around the cross and, instead, are handed first the basket to put their crosses in, and then a candle and a match lit from the center candle by the fire tender. They light the candle and then give it back to the fire tender, who puts it into place. When all are done, D2 lights any remaining candles and Dl says:D1: Be our priestess, Brighid, drawing the gods near and conveying our offerings to them.D2 pours milk into the offering bowl for Brighid.D2: Mother Brighid, unite us all, for by worshiping at a common hearth we are made one family, one people. D1: She is there at the hearth fire, tall and lovely, with red-gold hair, clad in flames, with shining face and hands held wide. All: Brighid is in our midst!D2 takes the bowl of water and asperges the bowl of crosses, saysD2: Bless these crosses, Gende Brighid, and with them the homes to Which they go and with them the people who enter those homes, and with them all that occurs within.She puts down the bowl and goes to stand beside Dl. From this point on, the ritual proceeds as usual when the Waters of Life are distributed, the crosses are distributed as well.COMMENTARYThe traditional elements of Brighid's Day celebrations, such as encircling the home, marking crosses on structures, and washing, all imply a purification aspect to this day. It is indeed possible that the original meaning of "Imbolc" was "purification" (Hamp 111). This may be compared with "February," which has that meaning.The young girl impersonating Brighid is taken from Irish folk custom (Danaher). The brass Brighid cross may be used at other rituals as a way of marking the center fire as the grove's hearth, either by putting it under a cauldron, if one is used, or hanging it from a short pole, if the fire is built on the ground. "Burn in our midst" are words by Ceiswer Serith, music bv Gwynne Green. Men are not allowed within the circle around the cross, first, as an honor to the hearth deity, who is uniformly a goddess in Indo-Europcan cultures, and second, as a reflection of the hedge of Brighid described by Gerald of Wales. This hedge surrounded a sacred area in which a perpetual fire, tended by women, burned in honor of Brighid. Males were not allowed to cross it.SOURCESBrayer, Dorothy Ann. "Saint Brigit and the Fire from Heaven." Etudes Celtique (1992) 106-13._____, The Image of St. Brigit in the Early Irish Church." Etudes Celtique (1987) 209-15.Danaher, Kevin. The Year in Ireland. Cork: 1972.Gerald of Wales (Gualdus Cambrensis). This History and Topography of Ireland. 1951. Trans. John O'Meara. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books, 1982.Hamp, Eric. "Imbolc, Oimelc." Studia Celtica 14/15 (1979/80): 106-13.Kondratiev, Alexei. The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual. Chester Springs PA: Dufour Editions, 1998.O Cathasaigh, Donal. "The Cult of Brigid: A Study in Pagan-Christian Syncretism In Ireland." Mankind Quarterly 19:4 (June 1979): 311-28.
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Foto de CeisiwrSerith
This is a ritual to invite Brighid into your home to be your hearth guardian, or to renew your acquaintance with her if she is already that. It may also be used to ask Brighid for favors, or simply to enjoy her presence.If you have an image of Brighid, put a candle or oil lamp in front of it. (An image is not necessary; the flame itself is an image.) If you are fortunate enough to have a fireplace, lay a fire in it instead, but do not light it. In front of your fire source, put a bowl. Next to it put a pitcher of milk. Stand or sit so you are at a comfortable level with respect to the fire. Extend your arms, bent up at the elbow with your palms facing forward. This is called the "orans position," and is a common one for Pagan prayer. Nod your head or bow to the fire source and then say:I invite you into my home, you who are the Queen of the Hearth, you who are the fire's bright flame, you who are the burning shining. I call to you, Brighid, to come to me. I ask you, Brighid, for your bright presence.Light the fire source, saying:The fire of Brighid is the flame on my hearth.Pick up the pitcher in your right hand. Hold it up before the fire (you may put your left hand under it to steady it if necessary), and say:A gift for you, Brighid of the Cows, A gift for you, Brighid of the Blessings.Pour the milk into the bowl, saying:My prayers are poured out with this milk My words and deeds flow straight to Brighid.Put down the pitcher, and, if you have a request, make it now. (I usually pray to Brighid for healing, inspiration, or home protection). If you are not making a request (and it is good to just commune with the goddess for a while from time to time), sit or stand in meditation on the flame. A good mantra to use is, "The fire of Brighid is the flame in my heart," while visualizing a fire burning in your heart. This mantra may be used at other times, to renew or establish a relationship with Brighid, or just to feel her comforting presence. It may be considered an offering to her in and of itself. When you are done, extinguish the candle or oil lamp, saying:She ever burns, Lady of Fire, in my heart, in my home, on my family hearth (or "every hearth" if you live alone.)Take up the orans position again, nod or bow, and the rite is done.If you are using a fireplace, use the same words and the nod or bow, but leave the fire going. Spend some time by it, especially as a family. Brighid likes that.Leave the bowl of milk in place for 24 hours, and then put it outside for the land spirits.
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Foto de GwynneGreen
The names that are in parenthesis are members of the Grove.Bardic invitation to Brighid: (Gwynne) Oh, Brighid, quickening embers in breasts of poets to flaming inspiration warming cauldrons of art pouring forth beauty. As fire here burns in your honored seat, kindle within us a blaze that our spirits leap and dance above the hearth. Flashing inferno of hearts flickering sparks of tongues have come here to honor you Brighid.Chant to call to Mor Righan: (Gwynne)Opening prayer: (Finealta)Tha sinn annseo chum urram a chur air na Diathan. (PhoeneticsPH: hah shin anshaw hum orum ahoor air na jee-uh-han).We are here to honor the Gods. As our feet turn to the paths of our ancestors, we come to this sacred place. May we as one Tribe stand among the worlds in this blessed nematon where all come together that our prayers and sacrifices may honor the high Ones of our ancestors as countless generations of our people have done before. Bitheadh e mar sin (PH: be-ugh a marshin)Lighting the fire: (Saoirse)Seo an tine choisrichte (PH: show an chinuh khees-rick-ta). Behold the sacred fire. Welcome Daigre (PH: die-gruh), shine forth and fill us with light as the fire in the head warms us with inspiration.Fenealta and Rob perform this section together with Fenealta positioned in the center of the ritual area and Rob positioned at the edge beyond the folk. Fenealta will stae here line with an immediate response in Gaelic by Rob.(Fenealta: Rob:)From the center to the edge. Seo an neimhaidh seo From the center to the edge Dion nan Diathan air an neamhaidh seo From the center to the edge Gu robh beannachd nan Diathan agaus ar sinnearan air an neamhaidh seoOpening the gates: (Finealta)Oh Manannan, master of the sea and the ways between, we ask that you open your cloak to part the mists upon the shores of this world. Throw wide the gates and give passage to all who come in peace. A Mhanannan fosgailtear na geataichean (PH: a wa-na-nan fos-gal-chuhr na gyat-a-ken).Worlds: (Wry)Clouds are seen in a pool. Which is reflection? These words. Sounds or echoes? Our world, all worlds, a knot-work bound together. Where does it start, where does it end? We stand not between but among the worlds, a foot on either shore. As the steps of our journey carry us through spiraling mysteries.Oghma as protector: (Reuladair)Oghma Sun Face, eloquent champion of the Tuatha De Dannan, shining protector of the people we ask that you stand with us that we may be safe to celebrate in peace. Hold forth your sword that it might turn back all harm and allow no disruption among the people.Gods (Murghail)In great ships they loaded their 4 treasures and themselves, leaving behind forever the 4 great cities, and sailed through the skies to find a new world. This is how our gods, the Children of Danu, come, and in your coming may you be welcomed. May the fires burn in your honour, may there be songs in your presence, and may feasts be laid before you.Chant: By the gods aboveAncestors (Shaya)Honoured Dead, those who were before and yet live on as we who shall live on as our children. Hear our voices across the sea and among the apples of youth. Receive this gift and show to us your favor.”Chant: Mothers and Fathers of OldGod staves (Finealta) startsPraise and Sacrifice(Finealta):Have the people brought praise that the Gods may be honoured?(Anfa Finn):They have. (lead this section)(Finealta):Are there sacrifices that the Gods may be honourd?(Iolar Orga):There are. (lead this section)Divination: (Art Feruibe)Oghma right word, bringer of the sacred ogam. We ask that you speak to us and tell us what the High Ones would have us know.Mix waters: (Lyn, Paul)Waters: (Noah) carries cups around, Bobby passes out cups, Paul carries bowl of waters, JD serves water.(Finealta): Raise cup and say:seo an uisge beathaAll: Seo an uisge beatha(Finealta):Gods and Goddesses of our ancestors, rulers of these realms and the forces that fill them. We ask that you guide and protect, this, your Tribe as we journey now through the season of darkness toward the dance of light. May we continue to honor you and so receive your aid and favor.(Finealta):If there are items to be blessed or consecrated, let that be done.Candle lighting ceremony: (Saoirse)Women may light their own candle, not male may pass into the hearth area and must pass their candle to Saoirse.Waters of mystery: (Lyn)Thank Gods of Tribe: (Murghail) Face God-staves and say:High Ones of our people for your many blessing and for your presence in our world and our lives, we thank you. Tapadh LeibhAll repeat: Tapadh LeibhAncestors: (Shaya)Mothers and Fathers of blood and spirit, most honoured ancestors, we thank you for you’re your blessings. Be at peace. Tapadh LeibhAll repeat: Tapadh LeibhThank Oghma: (Reuladair)Oghma, great champion of the people, for your protection and guidance we thank you. Tapadh LeibhAll repeat: Tapadh leibhThank Mannanan (Finealta)Mannanan, keeper of the gates we tank you for opening the realms to our words. A Mhannana, Dùintear na geataichen. Tapadh Leibh.Thank Brighid: (Anfa Finn)Thank Fire/ extinguish flames: (Saoirse)As these flames are here extinguished, may they burn forever in our hearts. Daigre, Tapadh Leibh.All Repeat: Tapadh LeibhThank Mor Righan (Anfa Finn)(Finealta):The High Ones have been honoured, the sacrifices have been made. May we go forth from this place as one people bound together by our ways. May the High Ones continue to bless and guide our people and each person. Na Diathan libh.All respond: Agus leat fhin
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Foto de SeleneTawny
Earth Mother - CornmealWell - Silver or CrystalFire - OilLand - CornmealSea - WaterSky - IncenseOutdwellers - AleManannan - ShellsAncestors - SageNature Spirits - Herbal MixShining Ones - OilGods and Goddesses - OilWaters of Life - Mead or Ale and WaterThe Sacred Grove is arranged as described. The celebrants hallow the Grove; the Fire is lit, the Well is filled, the Tree is blessed. Consecration of Space followed by a musical signal Well:Sacred well, let your waters flow down, down to all the sweet waters beneath the earth. Once again we ask you to become our mouth of the earth, our eye of the earth, our opening of the earth. Beeche. Fire:Sacred fire, become once again all the fires who have burned and who ever will. And may you carry our words, praise and love up to the Gods and Goddesses, Ancestors and Nature Spirits. Beeche. Tree:Sacred Bile, roots going into our Mother below and your crown stretching to the heavens above. We ask that you connect our world with all the other worlds. Beeche.  Procession (chant - We Approach the Sacred Grove by Sean Miller) With singing, arrive and circle the hallows deosil. The Druids complete the sigil, then give the opening prayers. Aspurging and Censing as people enter the area Well:May we wash away all Earthly cares. Fire:May the Spirit rise within you.  Opening Prayers Chant: (Author unknown) Earth Mother, we honor your body Earth Mother, we honor your bones Earth Mother, we sing to your spirit Earth Mother, we sing to your stonesSenior Druid: (cornmeal)It is the custom among our people, our folk and our grove, to bestow a kiss upon our Mother. O beloved mother of all From whose starry womb the green earth springs You who are the bearer of all life We pray you bless and uphold this rite. Mother accept our offering!  All: Mother of all accept our offering  Two Powers Meditation  Well, Fire and Tree  Well: (silver or crystal)O sacred waters that flow and swirl beneath all being accept our offering! Let us know the elder depths within ourselves the source of all, the well of elder wisdom Sacred Well, flow within us!   All: Sacred well, flow within us! Fire: (oil)O sacred fire that consumes and transforms True and holy light of the shining ones Accept our offering! O sacrificed and sacrificer Let holy flame warm our spirits and our lives. Sacred Fire, burn within us!  All: Sacred fire, burn within us! Tree: (sprinkled and censed)O sacred pillar, boundary of all worlds, Stand at the center of the sky, Stand at the center of the sea, Stand at the center of the land on which we dwell. Let us be deepened in your depths Raised to your heightsStrengthened in your strength Crann naomh, fas isteach mise! ("crown neev, fahss ish-tack mish-uh") Sacred Tree, grow within us!  All: Sacred tree, grow within us!  Historical Precedent This is the night of Imbolg, the spoke on the Wheel of the Year that celebrates the revival of life for the Earth Mother and the beginning of spiritual regrowth for her inhabitants. We watch as the waxing light basks and warms the Earth, awakening her from a long winter hibernation. Seeds planted begin to take root. Plant yourself firmly like the Cosmic Tree and feel newborn life replenish your soul. Look to the sky, that your aspirations may reach up like limbs to touch the pinnacles of your devotion. May we be refreshed and renewed as we rejoice in ritual and song in honor of the Goddess Brighid, bringer of Light, the goddess of healing, poetry, fertility and inspiration. Naming the Deity of Ritual Goddess:Brighid, Known for many skills,Daughter of the Daghda and Boann, Mother of the sacred flame. We acknowledge you!  All: We acknowledge you!  Establishing the Boundaries Land: (cornmeal sprinkled around the outside of the sacred space)By the Fire and Well. Let the blessed land be the founding of this sacred Grove. Let the land hold firm and not open up and swallow us. Sea: (water sprinkled around the outside of the sacred space)By the cleansing of water, let the primal sea be the boundary of the grove. Let the Sea not rise up and drown us. Sky: (incense is thrown into the fire)By the light of the Fire, let the shining sky be the roof of this Grove. May the Sky not fall down upon us.  Outdwellers Ancient Dark Ones, You who dwell in the outer dark,You cold of heart and dim of mind. Trouble not our working, for we leave behind, our weakness and perversity, our hatred and spite, our cowardice and ignorance. We offer this ale for being the keepers of these energies, so we may continue our rite in Peace and Harmony. Opening The Gates O Manannan, Lord of the Gates, Lord of Wisdom, open the ways for us. We walk in your holy ways, we walk the Sacred Road. Share your magic with us, ward us as we walk in safety.Manannan MacLir, accept our sacrifice! All: Manannan MacLir, accept our sacrifice! Now, lord of ways, join your magic with ours.(each ritual officer opens their gates)Fire:Let the fire open as a gate. Well: Let the well open as a gate. Senior Druid:Let the tree be the crossroads of all worlds. Open as a road to our voices and to the spirits. In Unison:Let the gates be open!  All: Let the gates be open!  Kindred Offerings Chant: Gods and Dead and Mighty Sidhe, Powers of Earth and Sky and Sea, By Fire and Well, by Sacred Tree Offerings we make to yeAncestors: (sage)People of old times, our Ancestors, our Kindred. Share with us the bond of life upon Earth. Share with us comfort, knowledge and blessing. Speak to our hearts that we may become one with you all. Ancestors, accept our sacrifice!  All: Ancestors, accept our sacrifice Nature Spirits: (herbal mix)Spirits of old times and of this place, our companions, our teachers. Share with us the renewal of the Earth. Share with us comfort, knowledge and blessing. Speak to our hearts that we may be one with you all. Nature Spirits, accept our sacrifice!  All: Nature Spirits, accept our sacrifice! Shining Ones: (oil)Gods of old times, our mothers, our fathers. Share with us your power to regenerate the Earth. Share with us comfort, knowledge and blessing. Speak to our hearts that we may be one with you all. Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice!  All: Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice! After all the offerings have been made, the druids recenter the company and lead an attunement to all the spirits that have been called, and a proper chant or hymn is sung to the three kindreds. Invocation of Deity (oil) Come, daughter of the Eternity Come, Brighid of the Flame Come, sister of Infinity Bring healing to the lameCome, Mother of the Waters, Come, Brighid of the Well Come, Muse of many daughters Come, lover of the Anvil Come, Brighid of the Hammers Come, Artesan mose able Sing of sparks and glimmersBrighid, we invoke thee Known to many ages Healer, bard, and artesan she Many names to call her ownMidwife, war chief, Goddess Come into our Nemeton Our hearts we offer guileless Come into our NemetonSenior Druid:And at this time we call upon our Grove patrons and matrons, Daghda and Danu, Odin and Freya, we ask them to join with us tonight for our working. Senior Druid:Now is the time for individual offerings, if there are any among us who would like to make a praise offering, be it song, poem, or story, you may do this now.  Sacrifice and Omen Senior Druid:So we have given of our love and our wealth to the lord and lady. Now let our voices arise on the fire, let our voices sound in the well let our words pass the boundary to the otherworlds. O lord, O lady, we give you our love, our respect, our devotion as we pray you...Lady and Lord, accept our sacrifice!  All: Lady and Lord, accept our sacrifice! All are led to send their energy through the gates to the powers, meditating on the deities and the nobles.Senior Druid:Having prayed to the powers, let us open to them, asking what blessings they offer us in return. Omen is taken as usual. The seer then interprets the omen, leading the company to contemplate the things they would ask of the powers, especially as suggested by the omen. Company recenters in preparation for the blessing.Chant: Power of the spirits The Blessing Senior Druid:Close your eyes and let your body still. Using your inner vision, let your mind roam to look around and above us. Look at the crowd of friends gathered on this plane and on the other planes. Spirits of this place, Ancestors and Shining Ones, all of them looking at us with love in their hearts! We ask you now, gathered host, return to us your blessings! Give them to us into this cup of water and this cup of mead. Gathered Host, we ask this of you! Behold the Waters of Life!  All: Behold the Waters of Life! We give this first offering to those of the Fold and of the members of the Grove that couldn't be with us tonight. May these blessings give them the strength and nourishment to do what they need!Chant: Pour the waters, raise the cup Drink your share of wisdom deep Strength and love now fill us up As the elder ways we keep Share the first loaves, break the breadEat the fruits of Mother Earth Strength and love now fill us up As the elder ways we keep Thanking the Deities (oil) Brighid, we thank you for your aid and your blessings tonight. As this rite is ending, we give you this gift in parting, given out of love, with nothing asked in return.Brighid, we thank you! All: Brighid, we thank you!  Thanking the Kindreds (oil) Shining Ones:Shining Ones, we thank you for being with us tonight. As this rite is ending, we give you this gift in parting, given out of love, with nothing asked in return. Shining Ones, we thank you!  All: Shining Ones, we thank you! Nature Spirits:Spirits of this Place, we thank you for being with us tonight. As this rite is ending, we give you this gift in parting, given out of love, with nothing asked in return. Spirits of the Earth, we thank you!  All: Spirits of the Earth, we thank you! Ancestors:Ancestors, we thank you for being with us tonight. As this rite is ending, we give you this gift in parting, given out of love, with nothing asked in return. Ancestors, we thank you!  All: Ancestors, we thank you! Senior Druid:Manannan, once again you have lent your strength to us. You have been our Gatekeeper and Magician. Now that our rite is ending, we give you this gift in parting, given out of love, with nothing asked in return. Senior Druid:Mother of all, to you we return all we leave unused. Uphold us now in the world as you have in our rite. Mother of all, we thank you!  All: Mother of all, we thank you!  Closing the Gates Senior Druid:Now by the keeper of the gates and by our magic, we end what we began. (each ritual officer closes their gates) Fire:Let the Fire be again a fire Well:Let the Well be again a well Senior Druid:Let all be as it was before In Unison:Let the gates be closed!  All: Let the gates be closed!  Reversing the Two Powers Meditation  Closing Senior Druid:Go now children of the Earth, in peace and harmony, this rite has ended.  Chant: Let us journey onChildren of the Earth Carry the Nemetons blessings Into our lives and workAs we journey on Children of the Earth Let the Nemetons blessings Bring peace to home and hearth
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Foto de Rob Henderson
by Rob Henderson and Kami Landy written March 31st, 1999 Adapted from the Shining Lakes Grove 1999 Imbolc Rite, written by the SLG Liturgists with sections shamelessly stolen from the StoneCreed Grove Solitary Liturgy(This is my first attempt at writing a solitary ADF ritual. Well, perhaps "writing" isn't the right word, more like "assembling". Our Grove's Imbolc Rite this year was more scripted than our usual fare, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to do a solitary ritual. I'm adding some running commentary in the parentheses, so you can understand not only what you're doing, but why you're doing it. -- Rob)[Kami's commentary will be in brackets, like so.](If you've got your Dedicant's shrine set up, you should use that for this ritual. If you don't have such a shrine, you can make do with representations for the well (a bowl of water) with a piece of silver for the Well offering (a coin is fine), the fire (a candle - three candles, or a three-wicked candle, would be best), and the tree (a branch placed in a pot of soil is good). You'll also need:a separate bowl of water and a candle (to receive the blessings of Brigit)offerings for Brigit (see below for suggestions)offerings for the Outsiders (food or drink)For purifications: mud or red ochre; salt water; incense or smudge sticka straw "dolly" or rowan stick to represent Brigit, and a straw bed for her (optional)For the return blessing: red, white, and black ribbons attached to the frame of a doorway (optional)[Irish words used in the ritual: Brighid/Bríd [brizh] Bhrid [vrizh] Biodh sé [bee sheh] -- let it be so! Failte romhat [failcheh rowat] -- be very welcome Go raibh ma agat [GO ruh ma A-gat] -- thank you (singular) Go raibh ma agibh [GO ruh ma A-giv] -- thank you (plural) Slán agat [slan A-gat] -- go well (singular) Slán agibh [slan A-giv)] -- go well (plural) --a is pronounced [ah] for the most part.](Are you sick of these parenthetical comments yet? Me too! Let's get going.)[When we begin a ritual, first we purify the space and our selves, placing ourselves between three realms. Find the center of your working space, or of the traffic pattern of your home if you wish to see the whole thing as a microcosm of the sacred universe. In my house, there is a place where the steps up, the steps to the basement, and the traffic pattern between rooms, all meet. The corner of that wall is my center point.]PurificationsGo to the center and place a dab of red ochre or mud from your local area upon your forehead and wrists, or toss upon the ground a handful of seeds, dirt or salt, saying "Upon the firm and life giving land I stand."Then take some salt water, walk the boundary of your space sprinkling it—preferably in nine splashes—and say "The sea surrounds me, separating the wild from the tame."Third, light a stick of incense or a smudge stick and wave it in an arc over your head, saying "Above me the sky, realm of order and of wonder, that shall not fall as long as time endures."Consecrating the ShrinePour water into the Well, saying:"By the Goddesses of Waters By the Gods of Waters By the Powers Under the Earth I give thanks for the Waters of the Well. Let this vessel be as the Triple Well of Blessing in this Sacred Grove of Druidry."Light the Fire, saying:"I kindle this Fire To be a Flame of Magic To be a Flame of Claiming To be a Flame of Inspiration To welcome the Gods and Spirits to this Sacred Grove of Druidry."Walk around the ritual space three times, clockwise.(We begin the ritual by defining our sacred space, and preparing ourselves for ritual. The walking-in-a-circle may seem silly, but I've found it to be an effective way to get into a "ritual mindset". Besides, I like doing silly things.)Opening Prayers[From this moment, everything we do and say will be done and said in the place and the presence of the gods and spirits. Therefore, first we ask the blessings of inspiration, that our words will be a fit offering:](We start off by asking Brigit to inspire us, to make our voices and our words as beautiful as possible. You may not want to invoke a deity this early in the rite, so feel free to substitute you own invocation here. In general, we start off by invoking those powers which are most visible in our lives, and work our way toward the ones who are least visible. Our Grove Liturgists tried to make all of the invocations as Brigit-specific as possible, for this rite.)"Thus do I call and name the Brilliant one; Queenly Bríd, - brings the smith's fire, the healer's fire, the hearth fire, the well of vision, the well of inspiration, the well of healing, - midwife and baker, brewer and weaver, singer and wise one, giver of all great gifts. I call upon Brighid of the blessings, Brighid of the graces, giver of the blessings of inspiration- fire in the head that enflames us with holy words, silver on the tongue that shall fall sweet as honey on the ears of the gods and non-gods this day, grace of eye and hand, grace of voice and carriage, grace of intention and action, so that all that I do here will honour Her this day. Biodh sé!"(Our next invocation is to the Earth Mother, who is all around us and sustains our lives every day. We make an offering to the Outsiders, and ask them not to disturb our ritual. We then use the Two Powers Attunement to align ourselves with those powers, before opening the portals.)Invoking the Earth Mother: "Earth Mother, Mother of Peoples, Source of Waters. Your child thanks you for bringing the life to the land, for giving me a place and a foundation upon which to place my hearth, and I honor you."Outsiders Offering: Take an offering of food or drink and set it outside the ritual space, saying: "Outsiders, forces of chaos, you who choose not to be part of our workings, you dwell beyond our firelight and our gates, in the dark places between, you who are primal and unbounded, raw and untamed. I make you this offering, and ask that you not disturb us during this rite."Two Powers Attunement: (by Ian Corrigan)(You shouldn't read this section out loud while doing it, since it wouldn't work well with the deep breathing you're supposed to be doing. If you can, record a tape of yourself reading this, then play it back during the actual ritual. If you can't, then you can read it from a script and do the best you can with the visualizations. Of course, if you can memorize the whole thing, that would be the best way to handle it!)Begin, O seeker of wisdom, with your breath... breathe deeply, from your belly... in... and out... make your body comfortable... stretch if you need to, settle in place... and focus on your breath... observe your breath as it flows in and out of your body... and with each breath, allow your body to relax... let your breath carry away tension from your flesh.. relaxing your feet and legs... letting your belly soften and relax... breathing away tension from your shoulders and arms... from your neck... relaxing your face and mouth, your eyes... with each breath your body becoming warmer, comfortable and relaxed... your mind alert and prepared for magic... Now, with your body still and calm, imagine that from your feet, or the base of your spine, roots begin to grow downward... roots reaching and growing into the earth, down through soil and stone... deepening and spreading... reaching to touch the waters under the Earth... the Earth current... the dark, cool, magnetic power that nourishes and sustains life... as your roots touch this current it is drawn in and up toward your body... your breath draws the Earth power upward... into your body... the invisible, magnetic power fills your legs, energizing and strengthening... waters rise from the earth, into your legs... rising... into your loins... and pooling in your loins, a cauldron of Earth power... You breathe the power upward... rising from the earth, through your loins, rising up your spine... into your heart... pooling and filling a cauldron in your heart with healing, restoring energy... power rising from the deep, through your loins, through your heart... rising up your spine and into your head... filling a cauldron of wisdom and vision behind your eyes... and rising still, filling all your body and flowing out again through the crown of your head... through your hands... flowing out around your body and back into the earth... the power under the Earth flows in you... grounding you in the source of life... Now imagine the sky overhead... The sun and moon and, far beyond them, the stars... imagine a single star at the center of the sky, shining directly over your head... the center of your inner sky, your own pole-star...see a flash of light shining down from that star... streaming down between moon and sun... gold, silver and blue-white light... the bright, warm, electric power of the sky... the light touches your head, filling and illuminating the cauldron like sun on still water... shining from above... filling your head with warm, awakening power... flowing down into your heart... warming the cauldron... shining down through head and heart, illumining the waters... downward to reach your loins... The cauldron shines with sky power in your loins... Tingling, electrical light in head, heart and loins... the light flows downward into Earth, and you are shining and flowing with the mingled powers of Earth and sky... the raw material of magic... the chaos of potential and the world order... These powers are balanced in you... yours to shape and use... always with you in some degree... But for now, allow the powers to recede... waters to the Earth, light to the sky... knowing that each time you attune to them you become more attuned, more at one with the powers... breath deep... and allow your awareness to return to your common senses... as you open your eyes...Opening the Portals(The Tree is aligned with the "World Tree," the center of our cosmos and the axis connecting all three Realms. The Fire when opened as a "gate" or portal carries our words throughout the realms on its smoke; and the Well or shaft becomes the portal to the Underworld and the connection with the primal waters of life. Once the portals are opened, we call upon Mannanan mac Lir in his role as a psychopomp (a fancy Greek word for "god who escorts the spirits of the dead") to guide and protect us in our rite.)Go to the center of your space and stamp a foot or tap a staff upon the ground, or thump a fist upon the wall if that's the center for you, or sprinkle water from your well upon the branch if you are using one, and say: "Here I declare sacred center, where all times and places meet. Let it be as the world tree, the central axis of the world, so that all spirits and beings of good will may be welcome here to share in this rite!" or: "World Tree, sacred center of the universe. Your roots delve deep into the earth, your branches reach the heights of the sky, and your mighty trunk connects them. May you be the strong center around which this rite revolves." Visualize the roots of the tree growing deep into the earth, and the branches reaching up to the heavens.Place the silver in the Well, saying: "Sacred well, whose waters flow and swirl beneath us. May your depths connect my spirit to the great underground sea and the ageless powers below." Visualize the bottom of the well connecting to an ocean in the depths of the earth.Place some incense in the Fire, saying: "Sacred fire, carry all offerings to the gods and the beloved dead. May you warm all my spirit and my life." Visualize the smoke and flame connecting to shadowy, stylized places where graceful and dimly seen beings receive the smoke as if it were solid.Invocation of Mannanan: "Mannanan mac Lir, Grey Walker, Keeper of the Gates. You guided the Ancestors to the Isle of Avalon. Open now the way and convey my welcome to the Queenly mother, hearth goddess, and to all those others I would welcome at this hearth, that we may share in this celebration together.Invoking the Kindreds(We invoke each of the three kindreds, inviting them to be with us during the rite. You may want to visualize them as you invoke them.)Ancestors Invocation: "At this altar, with this candle, in this sacred place, I call to you o ancestors. We welcome you to join me here, and to welcome as of old, Brigit, the hearth mother, who taught you - as you teach me - the ancient arts of brewing and baking and many great gifts. Ancestors, be welcome!"Nature Spirits Invocation: "Spirits of Nature, you who dwell within the land, gently waken to the steps of Bright Brigit.Be welcome here, You oystercatcher bird and hearth cat, honey bee and milk cow, you serpent coiled to do no harm - you companions of our highest queen, I honor and welcome you Among all that I welcome here today. Nature Spirits, Failte romhat!"Deities Invocation: "High and Shining Ones, gods who are dear to me, be welcome here this day, be honored and join in welcoming Brigit, honored among you as warrior-smith, poet-teacher, weaver and healer and giver of plenty- gifts that each of you may share: Oh divine ones, share in the feast of Brigit."Deity of the OccasionBrigit Invocation (We use a much longer invocation for Brigit - it is her day, after all!)Beside the hearth or the ritual fire, you will have placed a "Bride's (Scottish spelling of Brighid) bed" - a small straw or wood bed, made up nicely. Open your door, or go to the threshold, or stand by the hearth if you have one. Take a straw "dolly" or rowan stick to represent the goddess, or feel for her presence, and say:"Brigit I invoke this day, In the high places and the low, Beside the hearth fire and at the sacred well. The gentle queen I call to her hall, The place where the bed is prepared."By her many graces I call to Brigit who graces us this day; Grace of eye and grace of hand, Grace of word and grace of will, Grace of caring, grace of birthing, grace in mourning, Grace of carriage, grace of courage, Comforter and mother, Brigit of the Blessings I name the one Who blesses us this day!"Let us greet her, we who know her blessings. Come weaver and poet, Come brewer and baker, Come mother and healer, Come blacksmith and wordsmith, Beekeeper and hearth-keeper."Thus I call to the Mother and Queen; A bed is prepared at the seat of honor, Come grace the hearth seat, Brigit I invoke this day!"Place the dolly or stick on the bed, or gesture to the bed by the hearth and feel for the presence of the goddess nearby.OfferingsYou might place some bread and mead or ale beside the Bride's bed. A good offering would be preparing and kneading bread within the ritual. Write and recite some poetry, sing or tell a story to the goddess as you might do to entertain any guest. Spin or weave a small piece of work and offer it to the goddess- don't burn this one; put it on her shrine if you have one or give it to the next visitor who needs something comforting. Enjoy the sacredness and complexity of domestic work. Make a promise of hospitality to all who need it, or dedicate yourself as a healer, or vow to help a friend in childbirth. These are all the gifts and work of Brighid.Omen of Return(We ask the Kindreds, especially the Deity of the Occasion, whether our offering is pleasing to them.)Using your preferred method of divination, ask Brigit if your offering is acceptable. Since Brigit is a hearth goddess, fire scrying is an appropriate method. She is also sometimes associated with wells of vision and of healing, so you might choose to scry in water.Return BlessingsTake water from the bowl and anoint your head, hands, and feet, saying:"I take of the water of Brigit, to be cleansed and blessed."Take your candle and light it from the Fire, saying: "I ask the blessings of the triple Brigit. Blessings of inspiration - silver on the tongue; Blessings of hearth and healing - golden riches of honey; Blessings of courage, wisdom and strength. And the light of her flame to guide me this day, as I go forward to rebirth."Take your candle and go to the doorway, at which you will have placed long coiled ribbons in red, black and white. Uncoil and tape the ribbons around the door frame to make a sort of hoop. This is called the "críos Bríd"- the girdle of Bríd.Step through this circle, with your left leg first, and feel yourself being reborn. If you are able to go around and come back in by another door, go through the Críos three times. This is a charm for health, plenty and fertility. Then place the candle some place where it can burn safely.(In exchange for our offerings, we ask Brigit to give us a symbolic rebirth. The water washes us clean of those things we wish to be rid of, the flame represents the spark of life and inspiration, and stepping through a circle... well, I'll let you figure that out. The traditional ritual involved stepping through a large woven hoop, called a "críos" (pronounced "crish"), that was held by two other people. You might not have two other people to help you hold a real hoop, and I wouldn't want you to try contorting yourself through a hoop by yourself while holding a candle, so I suggest using a facsimile or a visualization instead. Also, the traditional manner of stepping through the críos was for the men (wearing pants) to step through, left side first, while the women (wearing long skirts) would have the hoop lowered over them and down to the ground, where they could step out of it. You can choose whichever method you prefer.)ClosingsThanking the deity of the occasion: "Bríd have I welcomed this day, to my hearth, to my home, to my life. May she go from here refreshed and made more joyous, as her blessing has renewed and uplifted me! Slán agat, a Bhrid!"Thanking the kindreds: "You shining ones, nature spirits and ancestors, I thank you for your presence in this rite and in my life! As I return to ordinary time and the daily world, your blessings travel with me. So to, let my blessings and love go with you. Slán agibh!"Thanking the Outsiders: "Outsiders, you whose ways are not ours, I thank you for your forbearance. Without you there would be no change, yet in this moment, your absence was as welcome as once your presence was needed! Go raibh ma agibh!"Thanking the Earth Mother: "Earth mother, I do not leave you, nor do you go from here, but as this rite comes to a close, once again I thank you for giving firm foundation to this hearth, for providing sustenance and life, that your child can give you love and honor. Earth mother, Go raibh ma agat!"Closing the portals: "Here have we met, gods and spirits, ancestors and I. But now the sacred well becomes once again a simple bowl of water, the ancient bonfire once again a candle, and this tree may no longer touch the very arch of the heavens nor its roots be those which hold the worlds in their embrace. Biodh sé!"Ending statement: "By Land, Sea and Sky, By Fire, Well and Tree I end this rite. I go forth with blessing, to bless the world in turn. Biodh sé!"
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Ritual and Practice