Midsummer Rites and Charms

Articles on Ritual and Practice

Ritual & Charm Categories

none's picture
We have no specific evidence to show that this holiday was observed by the ancient Celts. We do though, find a word in Old Celtic, Medro-saminos, that means '(of) Mid Summer'. Midsummer is also known as Litha and Alban Hefin (from Wales - point of summer). "Litha" means "stone" and is associated with calendars.A solstice is an astronomical point and, due to the precession to the equinox, the date may vary by a few days depending on the year. The summer solstice is the midpoint of summer, when the sun is above the horizon for the longest period, has its northernmost rising and setting, and its highest elevation at noon. It is the apex of the sun's splendor, the longest day and the shortest night.-Taken from "The Wheel of the Year at Muin Mound Grove, ADF" by  Rev. Skip EllisonWWTDD at the Summer Solstice?Sonoran Sunrise Grove Midsummer RtiualRaven's Cry Grove Summer Solstice
Category: 
Earrach's picture
Let's see.... Well, considering the available evidence, we have virtually no idea what the ancient Druids really did for the solstices and many "Celtic Studies" sources feel quite comfortable asserting that the Celts did not even observe the solstices and equinoxes at all! In my book that's just scholarly hokum. Too often, in good books and in bad, the Celts of archeology are confused with the Celts of Irish and Welsh folklore. There are many good reasons that the Celts probably did have solstice and other Sun rites and just because it's not mentioned in the corpus of "Celtic" folklore, first written-down by the Irish monks one thousand years ago, tells us exactly -zero- about what the pagan Celts actually did over two thousand years ago. Thus: A lack of evidence does not constitute evidence to the contrary. "Celtic" or not, early medieval folklore is not an accurate view back into the pagan Iron Age. The common assumption that the Celts had little regard for the Sun is simply wrong. There is an overwhelming body of physical evidence from Celtic and Romano-Celtic archaeology in support of solar symbols, Sun-wheels, Sun-faced gods and solar thunder-gods placing near the top in the lists of Celtic religious iconography from Europe and the British Isles(1). Two thousand years before the Druids of the le Tene period Celts and three thousand years before the Irish monks, the people of the British isles were already obsessed with the solstices and equinoxes. This assumption is supported by a large body of "hard" archaeological evidence. Stonehenge is just the most celebrated and flashy of a number of late Neolithic/Bronze Age sites laid out with the obvious intention of framing the rising or setting of the Sun on the solstices or equinoxes. Do we, following a Neo-Druidic path of spiritual exploration, limit ourselves to not using powerful themes, even those established by the regional predecessors of the Druids, simply because there's a lack of evidence for the Druids having used them? I think that, just as long as we aren't found doing something in the style of the Stonehenge folk, saying "the Druids did this...", we are freer to follow the Spirit of Ancientry, as we see it, without the unnecessary constraints of "scholarship" de jour. We are not "Anciente Druides"... we are who we are, pursuing a modern spiritual path, informed by the artifacts of the Celtic and Indo-European cultures and the few fragments of their lore which have survived the millennia. We study, absorb and meditate upon these fragments and proceed with our only true guide: our own personal "lights". We are NeoDruidic and should be able to embrace that term with pride. Why not at the Sun? Postulate: generally speaking, we modern pagans tend to cling to witchy, gothic, lunar, and night-side themes and exhibit a distinct aversion to "solar" themes. Hence, the pursuit of the Solar Principal or the exploration of Sun-worship as an option is all but ignored as "too male, too left-brained for my tastes..." I believe this suppression of a major aspect of our being poses a severe spiritual imbalance to the modern soul. Many Neopagans compensate for it unwittingly by feeling themselves called to the "Warrior" path, in which the male principle is often still safely gelded by limiting the deities they follow to ferociously "yang," yet clearly female, characters like Kali and the Morrigan. I'd venture this makes some sense for women and perhaps a little less sense for men -but don't think for a second I'll sit still for my analysis being labeled "sexist". I feel the whole point here is that androphobic* personal and political agendas sometimes can inadvertently hurt us on a spiritual level, limiting our choices and resulting in an unnecessarily distorted and sexist view of the world. Here we need to recognize that "sexism" does not mean "anti-female"; it means any extreme prejudice based on gender. Am I in trouble yet? Big trouble? Well, hey: I'm sorry; I'm not really here to bump heads on gender-politics, I'm just trying to get some paganfolk to examine their tendencies toward Heliophobia (avoiding of the solar) and to suggest that its roots are probably based on the pervasive post-Aquarian-culturethink: "SUN": male / left-brained / aggressive / oppressive / tight-assed & dangerous. Many readily will point out that the Sun has not been considered male by all religions around the world and, even in the Western Branch of the Indo-European, we find examples such as the Norse at times addressing the Sun as a Goddess, "Sunna", the very word from which we get our word "Sun." The Sun DESERVES our love and worship and we deserve to love and worship the Sun, without guilt. The Sun is without a doubt at least one half of our reason for existence on this beautiful planet, the other of course is the great system of Life on the Earth's surface we call Nature. It may seem natural for us to see them as a grand dyad: Mother Nature and Father Sun; but it's not altogether necessary. The choice is up to you... must we then muddy it up with "mortal" gender and familial issues? At one point in our past, most of us, in a moment of rebellious insight threw-off the chains of our cultural conditioning and embraced things "witchy", "magical" and "Druidic" and found ourselves doing-so because of the beauty and truth and power we found in them. The resistance we broke-through in that moment was the web of falsehoods and negativity that society had spun around them. There is a similar agenda holding us back within our own subculture, a largely unspoken but ever-present agenda which would turn our face away from the sunrise... NeoDruidic Solstice / Solar Devotional activities There are many routes by which we can open our minds and souls to the Sun within the context of a modern Druidic spirituality. Here are some starters for personal contemplative and ritual techniques: Meditate on the Sun, its actuality, physical glory and spiritual dimensions in your life. Leave the gods and goddesses, heroes and lore for later. If you cannot approach the Sun in it's devastatingly present and neces-sary actuality in your life, you are not spiritually ready to appropriate the mythic lore associated with the Solar Principle for personal work. Start by learning to -not- ignore the real Sun. Compose a Salutation of the Sun that you can do at sunrise or sunset, or any time, even while you're driving to or from work. Sunrise or sunset rites and salutations can be very powerful and personally transformative. Ask a Yoga or OTO practitioner about their experiences with solar devotions. Just as important, share your experiences others. Observe and mark the seasonal progress of the Sun, particularly its rising and setting, from one or several of your favorite locations. The external component of this activity can be referred to as "Henge Building", even if you are not dragging boulders around but simply keeping notes of the sun's rise/set points, apparent altitude or shadow lengths on certain days. In so doing, you are bringing the external and the internal solar aspects together in a magical way; you are building a trans-dimensional solar-temple in your life. Get yourself a big (4") magnifying glass and learn to light your Sacred Fire from the Sun's rays. Solar Need-Fire building is a rite in itself. Experiment with using the burning- glass to purify your tools and to "store" the Solar Principle in a quartz crystal: putting something away for a rainy day (or The Dark Night of the Soul...). Begin your personal quest for the perfect Summer Solstice sunrise... Notes *androphobia: male-avoiding / male-fearing; misandery: male-hating Green, Miranda. Gods of the Celts, London, 1986 Green, Miranda. Sun Gods of Ancient Europe, NY, 1991 Webster, Graham. Celtic Religion in Roman Britain, London/NJ, 1986
Category: 
KirkThomas's picture
PRE-RITUAL PREPARATIONThe fire is prepared, the well opened, the World Tree Offering Bowl placed in position and the following items placed on or near the altar:Drinking horns, bowl, branch or sage sprig for aspersing, a sage smudge stick, bell, offerings (fragrant oil in a bowl with a ladle; corn meal and dry oatmeal in a small bowl; silver coins; ale in 2 small drinking horns; bread in a small bowl; herbs, flowers and stones in a small bowl; whiskey in a small bowl or container; a small wreath of twigs; mead or apple juice), and divination tools.At the place of the Procession's beginning, a bowl with burning charcoal is prepared.Before the Procession begins, Druid 1 gives the briefing. The Bard teaches the The People any new songs and the Seer leads the The People in taking a moment to center.**** PROCESSION ****Druid 2 carries the bowl of charcoal while the Bard creates a shamanic drumbeat and leads the People in song as they process to the Stone Circle.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)**** OPENING PRAYERS ****Druid 1 rings bell 9 times and says:Let us now offer to the Earth, who is our mother, bearer of all life, so that we may honor and revere her. The People kneel and kiss the Earth.Druid 1 takes corn meal and dry oatmeal to fire pit while Druid 2 brings the bowl of burning charcoal.Druid 1 offers the corn and oat meal to the fire pit, saying:We build our fires on the breast of the Earth; On her our hearths are formed. Let us now make our offering here And make this place our sacred space. Mother of All, receive this gift! The People say:Mother of All, receive this gift! Druid 2 places the burning charcoal in the prepared fire pit, lighting the fire, saying:We build our fire here, claiming this place as our own. May the Kindreds bless us and all our endeavors. Biodh se! The People say:Biodh se! The Bard invokes the Awen, singing:Power of inspiration, attend to us; Come into our hearts' shrine. Guide our rite in the way of truth. O power of inspiration in this holy place, O power of inspiration at this holy time. Biodh se! The People say:Biodh se! **** PURIFICATION ****Druid 1 lights a smudge stick at the fire, while Druid 2 draws water at the well. Meanwhile,Seer takes a horn of ale and goes to the Outdwellers' altar, at the south of the Nematon, saying:Outdwellers!Ancient spirits of the Outer Dark, You that would hinder us, take now this offering. Be on your way, and trouble us not. Seer makes an offering of ale to the Outdwellers. As he returns to the circle, Druid 1 and Druid 2 meet him at the entrance and one smudges and the other asperses him.Druid 2 says:We purify you from the Outsiders' influence. We cut you off from them, That you might return to the people. Druid 1 uses smudge stick to cense while Druid 2 asperses the People.Meanwhile, the Bard leads the People in singing:The Portal SongChorus: 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 ChorusWe 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 ChorusGather 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**** GROVE ATTUNMENT ****The Seer leads the 2 Powers meditation to attune the company to the Earth and Sky powers and to join the company in spirit.**** FIRE, WELL AND TREE ****Offerings are made to the Sacred Center.Druid 1 goes to the well. He offers Silver to the well, with these words: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!The People say:Sacred Well, flow within us! The Bard offers oil to the Fire, with these words: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. The People say:Sacred fire, burn within us! Druid 2 draws water from the Well. Druid 1 hands lit smudge stick to the Seer (the Seer lights a smudge stick from the Fire if the original has gone out).The Seer censes and Druid 2 asperses the World Tree. The Seer says: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 to your depths Raised to your heights Strengthened in your strength. The People say:Sacred tree, grow within us! Seer gives smudge stick to Druid 1.**** PURPOSE AND PRECEDENT ****Druid 1 says:As our Ancestors did, so do we now. We have come here together to honor the Kindreds and welcome the Monsoon. May the Mighty Ones, the Noble Ones and the Shining Ones join with us today. Druid 2 says:We are here to celebrate the Feast of Midsummer and to call on the Shining Ones to bring us bountiful rains this season. The People:Biodh se! (bee shay) So be it! **** OPENING THE GATES ****Druid 1 says:Sacred is this land to us; sacred is all land to us, for it is the world in which we walk. The Seer says:Waves of the sea, you are touches of the Otherworld dancing endlessly to rise and recede at our shores. The Bard says:Skies above, you are the very world of the Gods of our people, with shining eye, sweeping winds, and blessings raining down. Druid 2 says:We are here in the Sacred Center of the worlds of land, sea and sky. Here the Gates Between The Worlds may be opened. A drum beat begins and rattles are used to fill the sound. The People begin to chant, over and over: Open the Gates. Open the Gates. Open the Gates……When the chants, drums and rattles are well established, Druid 1 says (over the chants):Gatekeeper! Open the ways for us. We walk in your holy ways; we walk the Sacred Road. Share your power with us; ward us as we walk in safety. Gatekeeper, accept our sacrifice! Druid 2 makes an offering of oil to the fire.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:Let the Gates be open! The People shout:Let the Gates be open! **** KINDRED OFFERINGS ****NATURE SPIRITSDruid 2 makes offerings of herbs, flowers and/or trinkets scattered around the Nemeton's edge or hung on the World Tree, while:The Bard says:All you spirits of the land, come to us now! You Noble Ones of fin, fur and feather; of skin, leaf and stone; We call you to our sides! Come to the fire, spirits; meet us at the boundary. Land-spirits, accept our sacrifice! The People say:Land-spirits, accept our sacrifice! ANCESTORSDruid 2 makes an offering of ale to the ground at the side of the Sacred Well and an offering of bread to the fire, while:The Seer says:Ancestors, come to us now! You Mighty Ones, kin of heart and kin of blood, Those whose bones lie in this land, We call you to our sides! Come to our fire, spirits; meet us at the boundary. Ancestors, accept our sacrifice! The People say:Ancestors, accept our sacrifice! DEITIESDruid 2 makes an offering of oil to the fire, while:Druid 1 says:Shining Ones! Hear us, eldest and brightest. Gods and Goddesses of this place, known and unknown; Deities of those gathered here, we offer you welcome! Come to our fire, Shining Ones; meet us at the boundary. Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice! The People say:Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice! **** KEY OFFERINGS ****The drums and rattles begin again. An appointed Pagan leads the assembly in a winding line dance, going faster and faster.At a time Druid 1 feels is appropriate, he motions to the lead drummer with a pre-arranged signal, halting all drums and the dancers with an abrupt stop. The dancers fall to the ground. Druid 1 is in the center.(Druid 1 senses the energy flowing in chaos all around. He gathers it in through every pour of his body, channels it, like a funnel. He raises both arms, hands to the sky, and sends the energy through himself up to the sky.)Druid 1 shouts:Taranis, bring us your rain and storm, bring life to this parched Earth! Taranis, Lord of Thunderstorms! Hear our thunder and echo it with your own! Druid 2 offers whiskey to the fire.The Bard leads the People in singing:Hail All The GodsHail 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)**** PRAISE OFFERINGS ****Druid 1 passes a wreath around the People, asking that as the wreath passes, each person name their personal Patrons, if any, and make a praise offering of any kind to the Kindreds.**** SACRIFICE AND OMEN ****The Celebrants prepare the final offerings.Druid 1 says:We have given of our love and our wealth to the Kindreds and to our Patron Deities. Noble Ones, Mighty Ones and Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice! The People say:Accept our sacrifice! Druid 2 offers the wreath to the fire, and any other offerings to the fire or World Tree Offering Bowl, while:Druid 1 says:While our offering burns, please meditate on your own needs, those of loved ones, and those of the community. During the meditation, 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.**** BLESSINGS ****The Return Flow The People all stand and hold hands in a circle.Druid 1 pours mead or apple juice into the large drinking horn. Druid 2 fills another horn with waters from the Well. Both are elevated.Druid 1 says:O Taranis! O Noble, Mighty and Shining Ones! As we have given you gifts and sacrifices, so we ask you for gifts in return in accordance with the laws of hospitality.Taranis! We ask you for storms of rain, to save our parched Earth! O you mighty Kindreds! Hallow these waters! Bless our lives with love, magic and bounty as we drink these sacred waters. Behold the waters of life! The People say:Behold the waters of life! The People let go of each others' hands. The drinking horns are passed and all drink from one or the other while the Bard leads the People in singing:Pour The WatersPour 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)**** CLOSING THE GATES ****Druid 1 says:The Mighty Ones have blessed us! With joy in our hearts let us carry the blessings of the Kindreds from our Grove into our lives and work. Each time we offer to the powers they become stronger and more aware of our needs and worship. 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 1 says:Taranis, we thank you! The People say:We thank you! Druid 2 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! Druid 1 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 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.Druid 1 says:Now we end what we began. Let the fire be flame! Let the well be water! 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:Let the Gates be closed! The People say:Let the Gates be closed! Druid 1 says:Walk with wisdom, children of the Earth. The Rite is ended! The People say:Biodh se! So be it! Druid 1 then rings the bell nine times.The Bard leads the singing as the People process out of the Grove:Walk With WisdomWalk with wisdom, from this hallowed place; Walk not in sorrow, Our roots shall 'ere embrace. May strength be your brother And 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.*************************************************************************Later in the evening, those wishing to may sleep overnight in the Stone Circle. Just before sleep,Druid 2 says:We sleep tonight in this sacred place. May the Ancestors, Nature Spirits and the Gods and Goddesses grant all of us their communion in sweet dreams. Biodh se! *************************************************************************MORNING RITUALAbout ½ hour before dawn, all rise and have coffee and bathroom breaks. The fire is re-kindled.The following takes place just before dawn breaks over the mountain:INVOCATION TO THE SUNDruid 2 rings the bell 9 times.Druid 1 says:We are here to greet the Midsummer Sun! The People say:Biodh se! So be it. The Seer says:This is the time of year when the Sun begins its long retreat to the south and the days begin to shorten. But this is also the height of summer! So we sing our praises to the Gods and Goddesses of the Sun. The Bard leads the People with rattles in singing:Hail All The GodsHail 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 until the Sun rises)As the Sun appears over the top of the mountain, the singing stops at the end of the verse.The People chant together (from the Carmina Gadelica):Hail to thee, thou sun of the seasons, As thou traversest the skies aloft; The steps are strong on the wing of the heavens, Thou are the glorious mother of the stars.Thou liest down in the destructive ocean Without impairment and without fear; Thou risest up on the peaceful wave-crest Like a queenly maiden in bloom.Druid 1 says:Walk with wisdom, children of the Earth. The Sun is risen and the song is ended. Biodh se! The People say:Biodh se!
Category: 
ToddCovert's picture
OFFICIANTS: Presiding Druid (PD) Sacrificer (SAC) Bard (BARD) Other Druids (D1, D2, etc.)HALLOWS OF THE NEMETON:Cauldron filled with water (some from the members homes) Fire altar, to be lit from a candle brought from the PD's home Bile (sacred tree)Call to the Rite Thrice-three chimes announce the rite.Protecting the Hallows A Druid (D1) lights a flame in the South and speaks:D1:"Ancient and Dark Ones of the deep and the wild, You who held this place of old and would hold it once again, I light this flame against your return, But invite you to take of it what warmth you will." An offering of grain (or other food) is made to the South of the Hallows.D1:"Accept this offering and trouble not our rite, Nor hinder the forces of prosperity in this time. Biodh se." All: "Biodh se amhlaidh."PD:Go raibh maith agaibh; thank you. Brothers and Sisters, you may enter the Nemeton."Participants enter the Hallows, sunwise. A chant may be sung at this point.Statement of PurposeWhen participants are settled and the altar fire is lit, PD speaks:"May we pray with a good fire. As our Ancestors did in times before and our children may do in times to come, Let us honor the Gods in the Old Ways. This is the time of the Solstice, when the Sun is at its height and the Land graces us with abundance. But this also marks a turning of the year, a turning toward the dark half of the year. This is a time to honor prosperity and fertility, but it is also a time to remember that all gifts have a cost. It is our custom--as with so many others at this time--to honor the dying God. In our Grove, we honor Miach, the Irish god of healing, who, in dying, brought healing herbs to the Land. In the Celtic Lands, Midsummer is the time to gather these herbs. We shall hear the tale of Miach and his sister, Airmid, shortly." If it is deemed desirable, PD leads a meditation at this point.Invocation of the Awen BARD:" A Bhrid! Lady Brigit! We call on you to guide our rite in the way of truth. Let our words be fit and so our hearts. Let it be so--biodh se amhlaidh!" All: "Biodh se amhlaidh!" Consecration of the HallowsPD:"Let us begin by sanctifying the Hallows by which we make offering."The Well: D1:"Sacred Source, Cauldron of making and unmaking, Fathomless Sea, bountiful Spring, Mother of the Rivers, you who were known of old as Danu. We honor you here with this offering. May we be nourished in body and mind by you."An offering of silver is made to the Well."Uisci naomh, sruthaigh ionainn. Sacred Waters, flow within us."The Fire: D2:"Sacred Fire, sacrificed and sacrificer, You who rise to meet your Father the Sun And your Sister the Moon, Holy flame of hearth and altar, known of old as Belenos. We honor you here with this offering. May we be strengthened in spirit and honor by you."An offering of oil is made to the Fire."Tine naomh, loisc ionainn. Sacred Fire, burn within us."The Bile (Sacred Tree): D3:"Sacred Tree, rooted deep and crowned high, Center of the Earth and axis of the Worlds, Most honorable of the Kindred of this place. May your roots drink deep of the Waters below." Water from the Well is poured at the base of the Tree. "May you draw life from the Fire of the Heavens." The Tree is censed with incense lit from the Fire. "You hold the very mystery of Life, Piercing the Sky, yielding to the Waters, We honor you here with this offering. May we grow in love and courage Each time we gather around you."The Tree is annointed with fragrant oil."Crann naomh, fas ionainn. Sacred Tree, grow within us." All: "Sacred Tree, grow within us."Purifying the ParticipantsPD:Let us make ourselves ready for the working of the rite."Druids cense and asperge the participants as the Call for Peace is made: To the East: PD:May there be peace in the East, ancient Leinster, source of Prosperity."To the South: PD:"May there be peace in the South, ancient Munster, source of Harmony."To the West: PD:"May there be peace in the West, ancient Connacht, source of Wisdom."To the North: PD:"May there be peace in the North, ancient Ulster, source of Strength. Here in the Center, let peace rule over this rite." Biodh se amhlaidh."All: "Biodh se amhlaidh."Opening the Gates to the OtherworldsPD:"We now call on Manannan Mac Lir, Our Lord of the Gates to the Otherworlds, To make open the portals for our worship."D1:"A Mhanannain Mac Lir, Gatekeeper, Sidhe King, Shrouded in mist or met at the crossroads, Let our words sound in the depths of the Well."Oil is poured on the waters of the Well.D1:"Let our words rise on the Fire to the Shining Ones."Oil is poured on the Fire.D1:"Let the Sacred Tree carry our words to all the Worlds."Oil is annointed on the Tree."A Mhanannain Mac Lir, oscail na Geatai anois. Let the Gates be open!"Invoking The Three KindredsPD:"Let us now give honor to the Three Kindreds, That they may honor us in return."Honoring the AncestorsD1:"A Shinseara! Ancestors! You who guide our steps, You who carry the honor of the People to the Otherworlds, We honor you here."Ale is poured in the Well and the remainder set in a cup on the altar.D1:"We honor you with the first portion and offer this cup for your taking. Ancestors, come to our hearthside and guide us in our rite. Biodh se amhlaidh."All: "Biodh se amhlaidh."Inviting the Spirits of the LandD2:"A Sprideanna na talaimh! Spirits of the Land! Kindreds of fur, fin, and feather, Of bark, leaf and blossom, of rock, soil, or crystal. Fair folk, green kin, and totem beasts! We honor you here."Flowers or fruit or the like is placed amongst the Hallows.D2:"We thank you for sharing this place with us and offer these gifts in return. Earth Spirits, come to our hearthside and join us in our rite. Biodh se amhlaidh."All: "Biodh se amhlaidh."Offering to the DeitiesD3:"A Dheithe! Shining Ones! Highest and mightiest, First among the Kindreds, worthiest of honor, Ancient of the Tuatha De Danann, we would offer to you in this place. Deities of this place, known to us or unknown, Gods and Goddesses of all those here, Patrons and Matrons, We would offer you like honor. Join us at our fire, o Shining Ones. A Dheithe, glacigi ar n-iobairt seo! Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice!"All: "Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice!"Oil is poured on the FireHonoring the Patrons of the RitePD:"Attend now the tale of Miach, ancient bringer of healing, of his sister, Airmid, and of his sacrifice at the hands of his father, Diancecht."One of the Druids recounts the tale (to be provided in advance, of course) of the slaying of Miach by Diancecht and of Airmid's attempt to preserve the healing herbs brought forth from his grave on her mantle, the Brat Airmid.PD:"As Miach, in dying, brought forth healing herbs, let us now ourselves make offering of this effigy and see what it will offer to the Land and the People."A large god-mask in straw is brought forth. One of the Druids steps forward with a sword.PD:“As Diancecht slew his son by cleaving his head in twain providing a harvest of healing herbs, let us likewise deal with this effigy and see what it may offer to the Land and the People”The Druid slashes open the mask with the sword.PD:"Tear apart the man of straw and cast him in the Fire...will he live again?"The participants are urged to tear the straw of the great mask apart and cast it on the Fire. An effigy made of herbs on a litter is revealed when this action is complete.PD:"And here we see the healing herbs, cultivated at this season for centuries."D1: Offers an explanation of the various herbs and their properties.PD:"But Diancecht, the master physician of the Tuatha De Danann, would not allow mankind the gift of perfect health and healing. And so these herbs, having been made known, were scattered. And so we shall, knowing that we can only reclaim them through patient nuture and cultivation, but trusting that the Land holds them in trust for us when we need them.. So let us carry forth this Green Man and scatter him on the Earth as token of our trust in the Land to provide what we need."The gates of the ritual site are opened and the people process out, the Green Man before them. Upon reaching a suitable patch of earth, the people are offered an opportunity to offer praise.Praise OfferingsPD:"Let any who would offer praise here do so."Time is allowed for all who so wish to make praise offerings.Main OfferingPD:"We will allow those who wish to make further offerings to the Hallows of the Nemeton before we conclude the rite, but now, let us return these gifts to the Land in trust."The people scatter the herbs, asking whatever in return they may.Taking of the OmenPD:"Having made offering to the Gods, let us see how our offering was received."SAC consults ogham (or runes) and announces the results of the omen-taking. If the omen is inauspicious, further offerings may be made and a second omen taken. If the omen is again unfavorable, the rite should be ended, with due thanks made to the Kindreds. If the omen is auspicious, the rite proceeds and the participants process back to the Hallows.Seeking the Blessings of the DeitiesAs the people enter the ritual site, one of the Druids (D2) is waiting with the cup elevated.PD:"In our custom, a gift calls for a gift. Having offered to the Shining Ones, We seek their blessings in return."PD pours ale (or the like) into a cup and holds it up.PD:"Shining Ones, we seek the blessings of the three Cauldrons, Of Wisdom, of Plenty, and of Rebirth. We would share in your magic. And so we say as one folk: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!"All: "Shining Ones, give us the Waters!"PD:"We would stand in fellowship with you And feast at your side and proclaim ourselves your People. And so we say again: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!"All: "Shining Ones, give us the Waters!"PD:We have offered of our love and our work to you; We have shared our hearthside, And, as a gift calls for a gift, We say one last time: Shining Ones, give us the Waters of Life!"All: "Shining Ones, give us the Waters of Life!PD elevates the cup saying:"Is iad seo na h-Uisci Beatha! These are the Waters of Life!"The cup is passed among the participants.PD:"As you share in the blessings of the Mighty Kindreds, Do not hesitate to salute or otherwise honor them. At this time, the Gates are still open and offerings may yet be made."When all have had a chance to drink from the cup and make any offerings, the rite proceeds.Thanking the KindredsPD:"Let us now give thanks to the Powers we have honored here." (The same Druids who offered to invite each Kindred thank them here:)D:"Miach, Airmid, grave Diancecht, go raibh maith agaibh. We thank you."All: "We thank you."D:"A Dheithe! Deities! Go raibh maith agaibh. We thank you."All: "We thank you."D:"A Sprideanna na Talaimh! Earth Spirits! Go raibh maith agaibh. We thank you."All: "We thank you."D:"A Shinseara! Ancestors! Go raibh maith agaibh. We thank you."All: "We thank you."BARD:"A Bhrid! Lady Brigit! Go raibh maith agat. We thank you."All: "We thank you."PD:"To all those Powers that have aided our rite, We say once more: go raibh maith agaibh. We thank you."All: "We thank you."PD:"We return to the Earth those blessings we have left unused." SAC makes libation from the blessing cup.Closing the GatesPD:"We call once more on Manannan Mac Lir to close the gates."D1:"A Mhanannain! Gatekeeper and Sidhe King! We thank you for guiding our prayers to the Otherworlds. We thank you for guiding and warding our steps in all the Worlds. Let the Fire now be but flame. Let the Well now be but water. And let the Tree now be no more than the true heart we carry forth from this place. A Mhanannain Mac Lir, dun na Geatai anois! Let the Gates now be closed!"Closing of the RitePD:"As we started, so let us end."Thrice-three chimes are sounded.PD:"Brothers and sisters, go in peace and blessings. The rite is ended."The Participants may process forth from the Hallows as deemed appropriate. Feasting ensues...
Category: 
none's picture
Midsummer is usually celebrated near the Summer Solstice, around June 21st. Historically, bonfires were common for this time, and people would both dance around them and sometimes even through them, though it was usually the cattle which were driven through the fires as a purification measure. Like Maitag, this high day is often associated with love and fertility.Midsummer RitualA Midsummer Ritual to Sol
Category: 
Member-65's picture
The musical signal will be given to call the folk for the ritual.D1: Wir sind hier um die Goetter zu Ehren.Folk: We are here to honor the Gods.Led by the clergy, the folk processes to the ritual site & form the A.D.F. sigil singing Processional Chant.The Fire Maiden (FM) will light the fire and make an offering.FM: I kindle the sacred fire of nine woods in wisdom, love, and power. Sacred fire burn within us.Folk: Sacred fire burn within us.FM will then sense the site and the folk.The Keeper of the Well (KW) will pour the waters and make an offering.KW: In the depths flow the waters of wisdom. Sacred waters flow within us.Folk: Sacred waters flow within us.KW will then asperge the site and the folk.The Tender of the Tree (TT) will dress the Dolmen.TT: From the depths to the heights spans the world tree. Sacred Tree, grow within us.Folk: Sacred tree, grow within us.TT will then asperge and cense the Dolmen.D1: The fire, the well, the sacred tree,Folk: Flame and flow and grow in me!D1: In land, sea and skyFolk: Below and on high!D1: Thus is the sacred grove claimed and hallowed.Folk: So be it!D1: By the cleaning of water and fire let all ill turn away from me and mine. So sind Sie!D1: We call upon you Nerthus, mother of all, be with us today and always. Honor Nerthus! The folk kneel and kiss the Earth.All stand and the Earth Mother Hymn is sung.The folk will be led through the Grove Meditation and then will chant a Unity Chant.D1 will state the ritual purpose and historical precedent. See Yggdrasill, the cosmic tree, the axis of the universe that connects the nine realms. Now we call upon Heimdall, the gatekeeper, so we can connect to the realms and the shining ones. Watch the fire and Yggdrasill and see Bïfrost, the rainbow bridge, manifest to us. Heimdall, shining one, guardian of beautiful Bïfrost, son of nine waves and sounder of the ill fated horn, you who can hear the grass grow and even hear the wool growing on the sheep, we ask you father of all men to open the gates. You who teach us the runes and our Wyrd let us walk in your light so we may journey and learn in safety. Leuchten uns hervor, Heimdall.The folk will chant the Gatekeeper Chant.D1: Listen to the music of the universe, the music of Braggi and draw inspiration into your hearts.The Bard will invoke Braggi:Bragi, Odinson, Best of the wordsmiths And first of the skalds. You with the tongue of gold Whose words are like the finest mead, We ask you best of bards To bless us and make our words mix well. Bragi, let your inspiration flow! A cup is poured for the outdwellers and they are acknowledged.D1: Draw the strength of nature as we call the nature spirits.D2will come to the center and pick up the offering of seed and says: Landspirits, join us in this celebration. Accept these offerings:D2 pours a little pile of seed on the Dolmen and then spreads some around the outside of the circle, then returns to the center and says while D1 lifts the bowl: Hallow these waters. Share with us lore and blessings.D1: Seih den Lebenswassern da!Folk: Behold the Waters of Life!The folk chant Fur and Feather.D1: Remember the wisdom of our past kin as we call them.D3 will come to the center and pick up the offering of flowers and says: People of eld, honored dead, our kindred, join us in this celebration of joy as you taught us in days of eld.D3 puts a few flowers on the Dolmen and then dresses the well, then returns to the center and says while D1 lifts the bowl: Hallow these waters. Share with us lore and blessings.D1: Seih den Lebenswassern da!Folk: Behold the Waters of Life!The folk chant Mothers and Fathers of Old.D1: Feel the protections of the gods as we call them.D4 will come to the center and pick up the offering of oil and says: Gods and Goddesses of old times and new we ask you to join with us in this celebration of nurturing joy.D3 pours a little oil on the Dolmen and then on the fire, then returns to the center and says while D1 lifts the bowl: Hallow these waters. Share with us lore and blessings.D1: Seih den Lebenswassern da!Folk: Behold the Waters of Life!The folk chant Hail all the Gods.The folk are now led in a meditation of recentering and merging of the new energies.D1: Sunna, mother sun, on this day of days, we join together in your honor. Join with us in this celebration of light. Loki, blood-brother of Odin, fire god, initiator, today we give you honor. Join us in celebration.D1: Have the folk brought praise?Bard: They have.D1: So sind Sie.The Bard now conducts the praise offerings.The story of Balder is told.D1 holds up an evergreen branch and says: Our praise goes up to you on the wings of eagles; our voices on the wind. Hear us Sunna, Loki, we pray to thee as we offer up this sacrifice of life. Accept it and open our hearts and give to us of your peace and life. So sind Sie!Folk: So be it!While the omen is being taken the folk will quietly chant Come Druids All.The diviner reveals the omen.The folk are led in a meditation on grove and personal needs.D1 raises the cup:FM: Of what does the Earth Mother give that we may know of the continual flow and renewal of life?Folk: The Waters of Life.FM: And from whence do these waters flow?Folk: From the bosom of the Earth Mother. The ever-changing All Mother.FM: And how do we honor this gift that causes life?Folk: By partaking of the Waters of Life.FM: Has the Earth Mother given forth of her bounty?Folk: She has!D1 takes the cups saying: Sunna, Loki, we have praised you, hallow these waters and give to us of your power and inspiration and vitality. Seih den Lebenswassern da!Folk: Behold the Waters of Life!The cups are passed while the folk chant Share the Waters.D1 says: The gods have blessed us. With joy in our hearts, let us return to the realm of mortals to do both their will and ours. Every time we invoke them, they become stronger and more alert to the needs of the folk . But now comes the time when we must prepare to depart. So let us give thanks to those whom we have invited here.Another offering will be made after each time the folk say Wir danken Sie. D1: Frey, Freya, Wir danken Sie.Folk: Wir danken Sie.D1: Vorfahr, Ahne, Wir danken Sie.Folk: Wir danken Sie.D1: Naturgeisten, Wir danken Sie.Folk: Wir danken Sie.D1: Braggi, Wir danken Sie.Folk: Wir danken Sie.D1: Heimdall, Wir danken Sie.Folk: Wir danken Sie.D1: By the keeper of the gates and by our magic we end what we began. Let the fire be flame and the well be water and the ways between be shut. Lassen die Toren zumachen.Folk: Let the gates be closed.D1: We have done as our ancestors did and as our children will do and the Gods have answered!The folk are led in a meditation of regrounding, recentering, unmerging and draining of excess power.D1: Let us go out into the world secure in the knowledge that our sacrifices have pleased the gods and that we go forth under their protection. The ritual is at a close.Folk: So sind Sie.The drum begins beating, the sigil breaks up chanting Walk with Wisdom.
Category: 
SeleneTawny's picture
TorchWandHorn (use two if available) (if two horns are not available, use one horn and a chalice)Offering BowlMeadAleHerbsEarth Mother - GrainOutdwellers - AleLandvettir - Ale or MeadAlfar & Disir - Ale or MeadAesir & Vanir - Ale or MeadSol - OilPre Ritual Briefing/Claiming & Saining Processional Sounding – blow horn Hammer RiteA priest/ess goes to the four quarters and makes the Hammer sign saying:Hammer in the (whichever direction you are in), hallow and hold this holy stead, (then goes to the center and makes the sign overhead saying) Hammer above us, hallow and hold this holy stead. (then towards the ground, make sign and say) Hammer below us, hallow and hold this holy stead. WelcomeWelcome to all who come to keep the Old Ways. We are here to honor the Gods, to celebrate the burgeoning fertility of Spring. Let us begin by remembering the Mother of All. Earth Mother(an offering of grain is made to the offering bowl, saying)We give this gift to you Mother Nerthus, springing forth this day. Look kindly on our work, Berchta, beldame of the wheel, Spin us good wyrd this day. O Mighty Mother of us all, Pray, fill our house with joy. Hail Earth Mother, accept our sacrifice.All: Hail Earth Mother, accept our sacrifice. Invocation to OdinSeer:Odin the One-Eyed, Rune Lord of Wisdom. Hear as we hail you Honor our working, Waken our word skill Quicken our Magic Skald speech be in us By your blessing, Odin OutdwellersHear me all you wights unhallowed, Etins, trolls and all the Out-garth Ravers, enemies of Asgard, Here we give you proper honor. Take this gift, here freely given, Trouble not our holy working, For our hall is well warded By the Redbeard's mighty-hammer Consecration of Space and Participants(purification with water, air and fire. Purify the area and participants with sacred water. Another will follow with the torch or lantern (fire))I charge thee all in the North In the name of Tyr To wash away that which does stain the soul, the spirit, and the land.I charge thee all in the East In the name of Freya To wash away that which does stain the soul, the spirit, and the land.I charge thee all in the South In the name of Thor To wash away that which does stain the soul, the spirit, and the land.I charge thee all in the West In the name of Idunn To wash away that which does stain the soul, the spirit, and the land.(fire tender walk the outer area with the lantern)Our kin, our homeland and our ritual space are purified with fire, air and water. Hailsa !All: Hailsa ! Meditation Triads: Fire, Well and Tree.Well: (stand before the well)Let these Waters become the well of Mimir. Grant us wisdom and keep ill away. May it's cleansing powers be here to stay.Tree: (stand before the tree)Let this tree become the ash Yggdrasill. From the depths and heights spans the world tree.Fire: (stand before the fire)Let this fire become Bifrost, the rainbow bridge. May it's sacred fire light our way. May blessing and wisdom grow each day. Statement of PurposeFemale:On this day we worship the Goddess Sol, daughter of Mundilfari, wife of Glen. Rider of the sky, to bring us the warmth and light of the Sun.Ritual Leader:All flows in cycles. The cycle of history has evolved for us a religious symbolism to acknowledge the seasonal cycle of the sun's apparent path through the sky. The midsummer solstice is the time when, because of the earth's tilt, the sun is at its peak of power and the day is the longest. While it is natural and good to celebrate the sun's blessings at this apex of summer, we also recognize that from this moment forward the light and warmth will begin to wane in a never ending cycle which guarantees its eventual return. Open the Gates(hold wand up to the tree with both hands and while invoking the gatekeeper, slowly bring arms apart keeping wand in right hand and visualizing the gates opening.)Ritual Leader:Wondrous Heimdall, watchman of the Gods, Rider of the mighty horse Gulltop, We ask thee to open the gates so that we may cross the rainbow bridge By thy will, let the gates be opened!!All: Let the gates be opened!! Kindred OfferingsLandvettir: (the horn is filled with ale or mead and elevated saying)To all those who dwell in this land, we give honor. Kindreds of soil, of the waters, of the sky, clans of tree and herb, of stone and stream and lake, tribes of bird and beast and creeping things, you we remember with honor as we drink. In the season of the awakening earth, we ask the spirit of the land to join us at our fire and feast, that all wights of good will may be blessed.(Horn is passed as all sing a chant to the Nature Spirits, when done, the remnants are poured into the Offer Bowl saying)Let all the Earth and Sea and Sky receive with us the blessing of Sol! Hail Landvettir, accept our sacrifice!All: Hail Landvettir, accept our sacrifice! Alfar and Disir: (horn is filled with mead or ale and elevated)Alfar we honor Great men and fathers Who in their highday Heroes were reckoned Likewise the Disir Great and good women Mothers, grandmothers, Peace-weavers, wise ones Ancestors aid us, Hear as we hail you Offerings we pour to you In honor and love(horn is passed while all sing Mothers and Fathers of Old, when done, the remnants are poured into the offering bowl saying)Hail to the Alfs, all ringed round us, the fathers of the folk Hail to the Dises, all ringed round us, the mothers of our might. Hail to our kin, in the hidden lands, Hail the Ancestors, accept our sacrifice!All: Hail the Ancestors, accept our sacrifice! Aesir & Vanir: (horn is filled with mead or ale and elevated)We call to the Aesir and Vanir. Hear us eldest and brightest. To all you shining and deep ones, Wisest and mightiest, Cunning and fair, loving and comforting, gods and goddesses,(horn is passed while singing Hail all the Gods, when done, remnants are poured into the offering bowl saying)So, High Ones, We call to you as our elders, in reverence and love, to join in our magic. Come to our fire, Aesir and Vanir Meet us at the boundary Guide and ward us as we walk the elder ways. Hail Deities, accept our sacrifice!All: Hail Deities, accept our sacrifice! Key OfferingsSol: (oil to fire)Sol each morning at dawn you begin your journey in the east riding through the sky in your chariot pulled by Alsvid and Arvak, chased by the wolf Skoll to descend once more in the west. You stand at your highest stead on this the longest day, ready to begin your gradual withdrawal towards the cold and darkness of winter. We send you our praise & loving support at this, the moment of your highest glory. Hail Sol! Accept our sacrifice!All: Hail Sol! Accept our sacrifice! The Omen(stand before the tree holding runes up high)Seer:Hail Odin, Lord of the Shining Ones Thou who knowest the runes of wisdom. Grant me thy insight so that I may interpret thy ancient words(cast runes)This is our past This is our present This is our future.(interpret the meaning of each rune)The Blessing(Fill vessels with water and mead while saying)Children of the Earth, at this moment when Sol is in her greatest glory, you are offered a boon! Choose now and hold this prayer of manifestation of growing light in your mind and heart as we draw the Blessing. Let none drink of these vessels holding ill will to any here in their hearts. Let these be the cups of health, peace and fellowshipNow let the warmth of Sol, the Aesir & Vanir, of Alfar and Disir, and all goodly wights, shine in this blessing. We pray as your people, Hallow these waters O mighty and shining Offering we've given Pray gift us in turn Behold the Waters of Life!All: Behold the Waters of Life! (cups are passed while singing) Final Blessing (recenter folk)Ritual Leader:Now let us rest in silence, with the Power of the Between in us, and know the blessing as it manifests itself in our lives(silence for a time) Personal work if anyClosingRitual Leader:We have been blessed by Sol, offerings we have given, Blessings we have received by the Landvettir, Alfar and Disir, Aesire and Vanir. But now it is time to return to our common world, to continue our holy feast here in our hall in our mortal realm. Always remembering, that we mirror the halls of the holy ones, when our love for them is in our hearts and our bellies are full of their blessing. With joy in our hearts, let us carry the magic from our sacred grove into our lives and work. Each time we offer to the powers, they become stronger and more aware of our needs and our worship. So now as we prepare to depart, let us give thanks to those who have aided us.(with each, pick up offering bowl and hold high) Sol:We thank thee Sol for thy blessings, thy love and thy gifts. We honor thee and bid thee go in peace.All: We honor thee and bid thee go in peace Aesir & Vanir:We thank thee Aesir and Vanir for thy blessings, thy love and thy gifts. We honor thee and bid thee go in peace.All: We honor thee and bid thee go in peace Alfar & Disir:We thank thee Alfar and Disir for thy blessings, thy love and thy gifts. We honor thee and bid thee go in peaceAll: We honor thee and bid thee go in peace. Landvetir:We thank thee Landvetir for thy blessings, thy love and thy gifts. We honor thee and bid thee go in peace.All: We honor thee and bid thee go in peace. Ritual Leader:We thank all those powers who have aided us. We honor thee and bid thee go in peace.All: We honor thee and bid thee go in peace. (renew the center) Closing GatesWell:Let this well once again be waterTree:Let this World Tree be as it wasFire:Let this rainbow bridge once again be fire.Ritual Leader:Let all be as it once was.Ritual Leader:(hold hands to the side with wand in one)Wondrous Heimdall, watchman of the Gods. We thank thee for thy divine assistance. We ask thee to now close the gates between the worlds.(slowly raise hand and wand together visualizing the gates closing. Stop when hand meets wand directly in front of tree)In Unison:Let the gates be closed!All: Let the gates be closed! Ritual Leader:Hail Nerthus our Earth Mother, to you we return all we leave unused. Uphold us now in the world as you have in our rite. Hail Nerthus!All: Hail Nerthus! Announcement of the EndRitual Leader:Children of the Mother People of the old and ancient ways Friends of this rite May the sacred presence's remain within you always. Until we meet again. We wish your all peace, love and bright blessings. This rite is ended.CHANT
Category: 

Ritual and Practice