This work is intended to introduce students to the Inner experience of the basic Druidic Order of Ritual. This script in particular accompanies the Simple Shrine Ritual video. We have MP3 recordings of the script, guided (22 MB) and unguided (33 MB).
The rite should be administered by an elder ritualist, with the elder reading the guidance portions of the text and the student performing the words and deeds of the rite itself. If this is not possible it could be led by one student for another, a single student could record the guidance and play it back during the rite, or the student could simply practice the guidance portions until she knows them by heart.
If there is a Guide, s/he should be certain to experience and project the described visualizations as completely as possible. This helps create the atmosphere that will draw the student along into the spiritual reality of the Druid's Sacred Grove.
The student should have a completed Shrine, and a good, comfortable seat placed before it, located so that she can reach all sections of the work area. The Guide, if any, will sit close to one side to recite into your ear, and should be prepared with the full text of the working (including meditations). If the Ritualist works from a script, it should be a bare script with only actions and spoken words (no meditations).
Materials Needed: Small bell, fire-pot or candle & censer with incense (the Tinteann – 'hearth'), cauldron with blessed water the Coire Tobar, or Tobar – 'well'), world tree symbol or wand or staff set up as a pillar (Bile – 'tree'), images of patron deities, a horn or cup for pouring and drinking, an offering bowl before the Fire if the rite is indoors, offerings (corn meal, silver, olive oil or essential oil), ale for offering and drinking, and a tool with which to take an omen.
The oil might be kept in a vial, from which small offerings are poured, but it is slightly more traditional to use a bowl of oil and a spoon or small ladle to give it to the fire. If one uses incense, then powdered incense spooned on to charcoal gives the same feel. Non-burnable offerings are made into the offering bowl, which is emptied into earth after the rite.
(The text to be read by the Guide is given in italic. The ritual instructions are in plain type, and the spoken ritual is in bold.)
The Guide and the Ritualist take nine breaths together.
The Guide leads the Nine Breaths Centering, then begins:
So, breathe deep, and feel the flow of the Light and Shadow in your flesh and spirit... you are seated here, at your own Shrine of Druidry... if you have let your eyes close, open them now... breathe, and continue to feel the flow of the Two Powers... let your body relax... settle in your seat... as you gaze upon the symbols and tools of your Shrine... remember to hold fast to this relaxation... this detached focus... as you work your rite...
You will begin by sounding nine knells or knocks, and making the Opening Prayer...
Give nine knells on a bell, then raise hands to the sky, and say:
I am here to honor the gods. Be with me, Oh Shining Ones, in my working; forgive any errors, and grant me, I pray, your blessing.
So you have begun... breathe deep, feel the flow and shine of the powers, and let your power of vision awaken... let your mind's eye remember the land on which you sit... on which the building that holds your Shrine sits... the land beneath all the human things you know... in that land lives the spirit of the Earth Mother... let your imagination see the Goddess of the land... in whatever form is true for you... as a great woman of strength, wisdom and vast generosity... see her robed and crowned, her form twined with life and changing forms... see her become clear and real in your vision's eye... fill your heart with love for the Earth that sustains you, and open your heart to her love... as you offer to Her...
Offer a pinch of corn meal into the offering bowl, saying:
Earth Mother, I am your child. Mother of all I pray you bless and uphold my rite, as you uphold the whole world. Earth Mother, accept my sacrifice!
Know that the Mother of All underlies all your work... now, in your vision eye, see a triple beam of light shining down upon your from above... turn your palms up to the sky... and let the Three Rays of the Awen shine on your head and hands... this is the Light of Inspiration... the Fire of Wisdom that brings swift, clear power to the Druid's mind... feel its power in you as you honor it, saying:
Place your hands on your heart and open to the light of inspiration, saying:
Power of Inspiration, attend the shrine of my soul. Quicken my tongue that I may work this rite in beauty and in truth.
The Imbas shines down upon you... the Mother of the Land surrounds and supports you... you are about to conjure the Shrine of Druidry, to do as the wise ancients did... to make offering to the powers and to come to know the Grove, the Gate and the Blessing... Child of the Earth, is it your will that this be so?...
State the purpose of the rite, saying:
I have come to do as the wise ancients did, to make offering to the powers and to know the Druid's ways. So be it!
Then breathe deep, and feel the flow of the Two Powers in you... and gaze upon your Shrine... upon your Fire and Well and Tree... now take up the silver that you will offer to the Well... see your Coire Tobar filling with the Underworld Power even as the water fills it... you give your offering into the dark waters, as you say...
Offer silver into the cauldron, saying:
In the deeps flow the waters of wisdom. Sacred well, flow within me.
Gaze upon your Tinteann, and make sure that the flame is burning well... take up your offering to the Fire... see the Power of the Heavens fill the common fire in your hearth, shining beneath it's common light... as you make you offering, saying:
Make an offering to the Fire, saying:
I kindle the sacred fire in wisdom, love and power. Sacred fire, burn within me.
Now sprinkle your Bile with water, and see the Dark Power flowing up from beneath.. and cense your Bile with incense or flame, and see the Bright Power flow down in from above... Breathe deep, and see the Fire and Water present in your shrine as they are in your flesh... as you say:
Sprinkle and cense the world-tree, wand or self, saying:
From the deeps to the heights spans the world-tree. Sacred tree, grow within me.
Now the Fire and water are present at the center of your Shrine... as they are present in your heart... breathe deep and fill yourself with the Fire and Water... with these powers you will cleanse the Shrine and yourself... begin to quietly speak the charm of cleansing as you take up the Coire and sprinkle the Shrine and yourself...
See the Deep Power flowing in the whole Shrine washing away ill, repeating:
By the might of the Water and the light of the Fire, this Shrine is made whole and holy.
You sprinkle all with the Water and you feel the rinsing of the clean, dark Underworld Power... that washes away the bits and remains of your life's thoughts and deeds... that washes away the half-connected cobwebs of the spirits... leaving you and the Shrine clean... as you replace the Coire and take up the incense...
(Ritualist switches to censing herself and all, continuing the charm.)
As the smoke of the incense drifts, it carries the shining Power of the heavens... that turns every ill to ash... that warms all that it touches, filling all with pure flame... leaving no room for ill... leaving you and your Shrine flowing deep and shining bright... you finish the censing, and return the incense to its place... breathe deep, and spread your hands over your Shrine...
The Center has been blessed, and the Shrine has been cleansed... now fill your Inner Eye with the Middle Realms... the Land on which you rest... the Sky that arcs above you... the Sea that surrounds you... in the Center stand the Fire and Well and Tree... with this vision all around you, speak the charm:
Spread your hands, and encompass the whole shrine in your awareness, saying:
Let the sea not rise, and all ill turn away.
Let the sky not fall and all ill turn away.
Let the land hold firm and all ill turn away.
The Fire, the Well, the Sacred Tree, flow and flame and grow in me!
In Land, Sea, and Sky, below and on high!
Thus is the Sacred Grove claimed and hallowed.
So be it!
So, with the Worlds gathered around you... you are seated at your Shrine in the Center of the Worlds... here at the Crossroad of All That Is, you can open a Gate to the Otherworld... first, it is proper to offer to the God of the Gates...
Call up the vision of the Deity who you will ask to aid you in opening the Gate of the Grove... see, if you wish, the Deity's form of flesh... strong and beautiful... you may choose to see the face, eyes shining with secret knowledge... you might see the robes and gems, the tools and weapons of the Keeper of Gates... you may only feel the Deity's presence... an aura of shining, shadowed mist, a power that sees far and opens the roads of seekers... take up your offering, and sacrifice to the God of gates, as you say:
Offer oil or incense to the fire, saying:
I make this offering to the Keeper of the Gates. Gatekeeper, Lord of the Between, Keeper of Roads and Opener of Ways, join your magic with mine to guard and ward the gate of this working. Gatekeeper, accept my sacrifice!
Here, in this place, you have already drawn closer to the Otherworld... already you are surrounded by the Inner Vision of the Worlds... but you can open a deeper gate, here where the Center is strong... a single point, here above your Hallows, that will be for you as the Door of the Otherworld... see the Gate-God turn toward you... hands open... to lend strength to your spell... gaze at your Shrine... and look for a spot that seem to be the Center of the pattern you have woven... breathe deep, and see the power gather there... see a mist form in that spot... put your palms and fingers together, flat... and point your fingers at that spot... as you say:
Now let this sacred center be the boundary of all worlds,
Let the Fire open the Gate
Let the Well open the Gate
Let the Tree hold fast the Way Between.
By the Keeper of Gates, and by my Will and Word, let the Gate be open!
Spread your hands wide... and let your vision eye see the mist part... as though the fabric of your Inner world parted... even the reality of your material air... and see the Gate appear... opening in whatever vision is true and real for you... opening so that you can gaze into it... shining with a shadowed light... a light that is, itself, also the Gate... and so, by this work the Grove is made, and the Gate is open... in this place you can come into the presence of the Spirits... and they into yours...
Now it is proper for you to make your offerings to all the beings of the Worlds... you may not yet have a close knowledge of the Ancestors, the Landspirits and the Deities... but whenever you light the Fire and make the offerings, they will surely turn their faces toward you... open your heart to the Holy Beings, and begin the invocation...
Fill the horn or cup with ale and raise it, saying:
Gods and Dead and mighty Sidhe, Powers of Land and Sky and Sea,
By Fire and Well and sacred Tree, offerings I make to thee!
To those who dwell below, to those who dwell above, to the tribes of spirits in land, sea or sky.
Hear your true worshipper (your name) as I make due sacrifice.
First you call to the Mighty and Beloved Dead... feel the blood flow in your flesh, and become aware of the Great Chain of Life and Death... the human bodies and spirits, kin of blood and heart, who at bring strength and wisdom from the past... offer to the Ancestors, saying:
Old ones, my ancestors, remember me as I remember you! Ancestors, accept my sacrifice!
Pour a quarter of the ale into the bowl.
Now you call to the Wild and Noble Spirits... feel the breath in your body, the land beneath you, and be aware of the Uncounted Clans of beings who share the world with humankind... who bring wonder and fortune from the worlds' bounty... offer to the Spirits, saying:
Raise the horn, and say:
Spirits of this land, Aid me as I aid you! Spirits accept my sacrifice!
Pour a quarter of the ale into the bowl.
Now you call to the Holy and Shining Deities... the powers of Heaven and the Deep flow in your own spirit... as in the Deities, whose being itself is made of that Fire, that Shadow... the undying Gods and Goddesses of every real, who bring love and illumination... offer to the Deities, saying:
Raise the horn, and say:
Gods and goddesses of elder days honor me as I honor you! Shining Ones accept my sacrifice!
Gods and goddesses of elder days honor me as I honor you! Shining Ones accept my sacrifice!
As you have made your offerings, so the eyes of the Gods and Spirits are turning toward your Fire, upon the Shrine... the loving faces of the Ancestors... the strange eyes of the Other Kins... the shining gaze of the Goddesses and Gods... open your heart to the Kindreds, as you say:
Mighty, Noble and Shining Ones, be welcome at my Fire! So be it!
So, rest a moment in the presence of the Powers...
If there were other offerings to make – to Gods of the seasons, to especially honor one of the Powers, you would make them now... but it always proper to work a rite in honor of all the Kindreds together...
Now, as you prepare to make the central sacrifice, open your heart again to all the Powers and Beings of the rite... breathe deep, and let your breath move the power in you, bringing it into your hands... take up your final sacrifice... and hold it in your hands... let the Powers carry all your love and reverence, your awe and you aspiration, into the sacrifice... and give the offering into the Fire, as you give all your worship through the Gate... as you say:
Offer the last of the ale and make an offering of oil to the fire, saying:
Let my voice arise on the flame
Let my voice resound in the well
Oh honored ones, Mighty Dead, Noble Spirits, Shining Gods
Hear me now as I offer up this sacrifice.
Accept my worship and reverence.
Grant me the Druid's Wisdom, and give me your blessing!
Your words, your will and your worship flow up from you, through the Gate, to the Gods and Spirits... for a moment hold the presence of the Powers in your mind, as the smoke of your sacrifice rises to them...
This is the hinge of the rite... until this moment your work has focused on sending your voice and you power outward... you have sought to make yourself heard... now the Powers have received your gifts... have heard your call... and the tide of the rite is turning... turning so that the flow returns from the Gods and Spirits toward you... the focus is now upon you and your Shrine... as the blessing of the Gods comes to you...
First it is proper to seek an omen of the Gods' will and willingness in the rite... open yourself to the flow of power that is beginning to come through the Gate... take up your divining tool and seek an omen, saying:
Cast for a simple omen, with this charm:
(name and nature of the beings one is asking), I have offered to you.
Now let the true sight be in me, the true speech be mine,
Answer me now, O spirits, what blessing do you offer me, in return for my offerings?
Contemplate the omen... review the meaning of the symbols, and let your mind formulate the message they bring you... the first flow of the Blessing... that now begins to grow stronger... take up your Blessing Cauldron, and pour in the ale, saying:
Refill the horn, saying:
I pour the ale of inspiration, I draw water from the well of wisdom
I fill the cauldron of my spirit, with this drink.
I call upon the Kindreds to give to me as I have given to you, as a gift calls for a gift.
Hold your Blessing Cup up to the gate... and know that ino this drink the blessing of the Gods, Dead and Spirits is pouring... in whatever way is true and real for you... a streaming light... a rising shadow... filling your Cauldron... Wisdom, Love and Power that is given to you... yours to accept... see your Cup shining with it, as you say:
Hold your Blessing Cup up to the Gate...
Oh (Patron Powers), hallow these waters! Let this ale be as the Fire of the Gods, as the Mead of Wisdom I open my heart to the flow of your blessing, I, your child and worshipper. Behold the waters of life!
Gaze for a moment into your Cup... see the Blessing that awaits you there... deep in the Waters of Life... the gift of the Holy Worlds... an offering to the Fire and Well within you... now raise your cauldron to your lips and drink... drink deep... and open yourself to the Blessing... feel it in your belly...
Breathe deep, and feel the Two Powers in you... feel the Blessing mingle with them... feeding the Fire... glittering in the Water... filling your loins... your heart... your head... it may be that images arise, as the Blessing fills you... remember this moment, this contact with the power of the Powers... as you say...
In other rites you might bring an intention, a specific goal, and this power would be turned, by your will and your vision, toward that goal... but for now... remember again the vision of the Sacred Grove... the Fire and Well and Tree in the Center... the Underworld beneath... Heavens above... the Land, Sea and Sky spreading out around you... and all the beings in all the worlds... hold this vision, as you affirm the Blessing...
Reverently drink the ale, saying:
The worlds are in me, and I am in the worlds
The spirit in me is the spirit in the worlds
By Fire, Well and Tree; By Gods, Dead and Sidhe;
The blessing flows and shines in me!
Biodh se abhlaidh!
(Pronounced "bee shay ow'-lee")
(If you have any remaining work, such as spells in pursuit of the intention, they should be completed at this time.)
So you have received the Blessing of the Powers, and you sit with the Worlds and the Kindreds all around you... now, as you prepare to end your rite, it is proper to give thanks to those who have aided you...
Breathe deep, and let the Blessing shine in you... fill your heart and mind with love for the world and its beings... with gratitude to the Sky, whose air you breathe, to the Land that sustains your life, to the Sea that maintains the balance of all life... be filled with gratitude to the Ancestors, whose lives made yours... to the Landspirits, with whom you share the world... and to the Gods and Goddesses who sustain all the Worlds... breathe deep, spread your hands and let your love and thanks shine out to the boundary of the worlds as you say:
When all is done, give thanks, saying:
(Patron powers), I give you my thanks!
Shining Ones, Mighty Dead , Noble Spirits
I thank you for your aid and blessing.
Triple Kindreds, Gods, Dead and Landspirits:
I thank you for upholding my magic.
Now return your attention to the Center... to the gate which stands open... to the Keeper of Gates... give your thanks to the gatekeeper God, saying:
Lord of the gates, lord of knowledge, I give you my thanks.
So, bring your hands together, fingers pointing toward the Gate, as you say:
Make a closing spiral saying:
Now let the Fire be flame, the Well be water,
Let all be as it was before, save for the magic I have made
Let the Gates be closed!
And see, in whatever way is true and real for you, the gate closing... the Mist draw together over the Center... and as the gate closes, the Vision of the Grove and the Worlds fades... you are seated in your seat, before the Hallows of your Shrine...
Breathe deep, and renew your center... feel the blessing flow in you... this flow of the Two Powers is not something that you ever need to banish... it is the balance within which your life is maintained... but for now, let your awareness of the Fire and water fade... hold fast to every drop and spark that you need... freely release all that you do not...
The rite ends with the Earth Mother, as it began... in every place and at all times, she upholds your life and your work... give her your gratitude, as you say:
Recenter and contemplate the entire working, and end, saying:
To the Mother I give thanks, for ever upholding my life and my work.
So the rite draws to its close, as you say, at last:
The fire, the well and the tree
Flow and flame and grow in me!
Peace and blessings to all beings,
The rite is ended!