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Rite of Imbolg: Feast day of Brighid

Pre Ritual Briefing/Claiming & Saining

A druid briefs the public on the general outline of the rite, and runs through the words (spoken) and tune (sung) of the chants being used. Meanwhile, other druids claim & sain the ritual space.

Grove Attunement

The Druids lead a meditation intended to attune the company to the Earth and Sky powers and to join the company in spirit. This might conclude with an intoning or a proper chant or hymn.

Processional:

With singing, arrive and circle the hallows deosil. The Druids complete the sigil, then give the opening prayers.

Opening Prayers

A: Earth Mother:

An offering of Grain is made to the offering bowl, saying:
Danu beloved ancestral mother of prosperity and plenty
From whose starry womb the green earth springs
You who are the bearer of all life
We pray you bless and uphold this rite.

B: Invocation to Brighid

Spirit of Bardic Inspiration:
Brighid, O' lovely lady of the green mantle,
Goddess of poetry, of bards, of fire and fertility,
Brighid, we pray you; as our thoughts form words from inspiration and flow into melodies - let your flame flicker in our hearts and compel us in our work.

C: Outdwellers:

An offering is made to the south of the Grove, saying:
Ancient dark ones, we make this offering to you.
You who dwell in the outer dark
You who stood against the gods
You twisted and misshapen
You cold of heart and dim of mind
Take this offering and trouble not our working.
Likewise we acknowledge in ourselves
Weakness and perversity
Hatred and spite
Cowardice and ignorance
We contemplate these ills and enemies and for this sacred time, we set them aside!

D: Purification

Fire and Water: Druids draw water from the Well and light a censer from the Fire. They quickly cense and asperge the company, while they chant:
By the might of the waters
And the light of the fires
This grove is made whole and holy!

Triads: Fire, Well & Tree

Silver is offered to the Well, Oil to the Fire, and Incense and Water to the Bile as the Company sings..
Song: Portal Song:
Chorus
By Fire and by Water, between the Earth and Sky,
We stand like the World-Tree rooted deep, crowned high.

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:

Chorus

We will kindle a Fire, Bless all, and with harm to none,
We will kindle a Fire, and offering pour,
We will kindle a Fire, A light 'neath the Moon & Sun,
We will kindle a fire, our spirits will soar.

Chorus

Gather we at the Tree, the root & the crown of all,
Gather we at the Tree, Below & above,
Gather we at the Tree, Together we make our call,
Gather we at the Tree, In wisdom & love.

Chorus

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.

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 Mac Lir, accept our sacrifice!

Gate Trance

Now, we turn our minds to Magic... make yourself comfortable, straighten your spine, and breath deep... Renew your center... Earth below and Sky above... feel the currents of light and dark... flowing in your flesh, and in our Grove... feel the presence of our circle... see before you our simple Hallows, the shining Fire, the dark within the Cauldron... the currents of Fire and Water swirling around the Bile... See, with your vision's eye, by imagination and by will... see rising from the Hallows a mist... Silver-grey, cool and thick... rising to swirl around your form... rising around your hips... rising around your chest... rising to enclose your head... Filling our Grove with Magic's Mist... the Mist of the Borderland... that separates the common world from hidden truth... feel the mist grow thick behind your back...

An offering of oil is given to the Fire. The Druid then conjures the Gates, making an opening triskele on the Fire and Well, saying: Now, lord of ways, join your magic with mine and let the fire open as a gate, let the well open as a gate, let the tree be the crossroads of all worlds. Open as a road to our voices and to the spirits. Let the gates be open!
All: Let the gates be open!

The Mist... feel it thicken, feel it swirl and shift and rise upwards... surrounding and encompassing us as the gates to the otherworlds... Breathe deep, and feel the flow of Light and Shadow in your flesh... breathe deep and feel the Mist around you... flowing in and through and out of the Gates... Let the Mist enclose you, turning your mind inward... turning your eye toward the Gates themselves...

(Silence)

Kindred Offerings

The druids make proper offerings to each of the kindreds, standing at the fire.
We make offerings to our kindreds with whom we share the 3 worlds of Land, Sea and Sky:

Ancestors

The children of the earth call out to the mighty dead. Hear us, our ancestors, our kindred.
To all whose bones lie in this land, whose hearts are tied to it, whose memory holds it; ancient tribes of this place, we offer you welcome. To all of our grandmothers and grandfathers, our own beloved dead, blood-kin and heart-kin, ancient tribes of our blood, we offer you welcome. To all those elder wise ones who guide their people, poets and seers, judges and magicians, wise women and men of ancient days, we offer you welcome. So, o mighty ones, we call to you as our kin, in the love of the all-mother, to join in our magic. Come to our fire, spirits; meet us at the boundary. Guide and ward us as we walk the elder ways. Ancestors, accept our sacrifice!

(An offering of food and/or drink is made onto the ground or into a shaft)

Nature Spirits

The children of earth call out to the spirits of this land. Hear us, companions and teachers.
To all our allies, kindreds of stone and stream, crystal and fertile soil, pools and mighty seas, kins of the earth, we offer you welcome. To all our allies, kindreds of the growing green, herb and flower, shrub and mighty trees, root and stem and fruit. Green kins, we offer you welcome. To all our allies, kindreds of fur and feather and scale, all who walk or fly or swim or crawl, we offer you welcome. So, o noble ones, we call to you as our allies, in the joy of life upon earth, to join in our magic. Come to our fire, spirits; meet us at the boundary. Guide and ward us as we walk the elder ways. Land-spirits, accept our sacrifice!

(An offering of herbs, flowers and/or trinkets is scattered around the Nemetons' edge or hung on the tree)

Deities

The children of earth call out to the shining ones. Hear us, eldest and brightest. To all the shining ones, first children of the mother, wisest and mightiest, loving and comforting, gods and goddesses, we offer you welcome. To the gods and goddesses of this place, ancient and powerful, known to us or unknown, gods of this place, we offer you welcome. To all the deities of those here gathered, you whom we worship, you who bless our lives, o patrons and matrons, we offer you welcome. So, O shining ones, we call to you as our elders, in reverence and love, to join in our magic. Come to our fire, shining ones; meet us at the boundary. Guide and ward us as we walk the elder ways. Deities, accept our sacrifice!

(An offering of scented oil is poured on the fire)
See these beings now at our fire. See them ringing our Grove, mingling their energies with ours. The Gods, Dead and Sidhe, joining us as we sing to them Song: Kindreds Song
Gods & Dead & Mighty Sidhe, Powers of earth & sky & sea.
By fire & well, by sacred tree, Offering we make to ye.

Key Offerings

Imbolg is the time of the hearth fire, and the thawing and stirring of earth's waters. First we will offer to the red god, the hungry God, the best of the Gods, Dagda.

The Invocation to the Dagda

Dagda 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 sacrifice
Druid of Oak and Hazel
Dagda Mor-Great good God
Accept our sacrifice!

Porridge offered into offering bowl
Sound three knells

Invocation of Brigid

Behold 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 sacrifice!

Ale is offered into offering bowl.

O 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.

The door to the hall opens, and a maiden carries in the Brideog (Bree-Og), once around the center as a Hymn to Brigid is sung. Brideog is placed in the bed and bannock offering is made. Surround Brideog with 9 candles. Wand is placed by her side, and she is given offerings-bannocks, milk, beer

Praise Offerings

Sacrifice:

All are led to send their energy through the gates to the powers, meditating on the deities and the nobles. The druids prepare the final offerings (Oil, milk, bannock) and say:
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 Brigh, O Dagda, we give you our love, our respect, our devotion as we pray you...

All: Brigh and Dagda, accept our sacrifice!

The Omen

The Omen is cast

What use have you for: _______?
What use have you for: _______?
What use have you for: _______?
Meditate now on how you will take this blessing...
Do the Children of the Earth desire the blessing?
(All respond)
Do you come in honor to the Elder Ways?
(All respond)
Do you desire that every one of us be Blessed?
(All respond)

Hallowing the Waters

The Druid draws water from the Cauldron into a cup and elevates it, saying:
We draw water from the magic caldron; we fill the Blessing Bowl. O Mighty, Noble and Shining ones we have honored you. Now we ask for a Blessing as a gift calls for a gift. Now let us enchant the Blessing Cup, that our work may bear true fruit. This is the outpouring of Blessings from the Mighty Ones, from all the Powers, from the Caldron of Wonders! Drink we now the draught of the Gods. Drink in Wisdom, Wealth and Strength, so that we may live our lives in truth, joy and honor.

So, O Mighty, Noble and Shining Ones, hear and answer us! Hallow these waters Brigh and Dagda!

Behold the waters of life!

Final Blessing:

This may be read as the blessing cup is passed or after all have drunk, as a meditation.

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

The Fire is used to light candles, and they are passed to each of the folk, as all sing a chant to Brigid’s Fire. When all have the flame, the Seer leads a meditation to draw the flame into each of the folk. It might flow in this order:

Renew the center
Feel the presence of the Blessing in the belly. Recall the nature of the omen, and open to the potential for manifestation. Feel the Drink as water, flowing through the whole self. Allow the Flame to be reflected in the water within. Reflected in the loins, in the heart and in the head. This is the Fire of quickening, of warming, of illumination. When it shines into the Water of Blessing it stirs it, and brings the future out of the winter's past. May it bring to each of us the inspiration of the poet, the strength of the smith, the compassion of the healer.

Now moisten your fingers and snuff this outer flame... Draw the Fire into yourself, the warmth of your own heart's hearth... Take home the candle, and may the Fire of Brigid see you through til spring.

Closing

When all is done, the druids lead a resettling, then begin to close the grove, saying:
We have been blessed by Brigh and Dagda, offering we have given and Blessings we have received by the Mighty, Noble and Shining Ones. But now it is time to return to our common world, 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 be come 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.

O Brigh and Dagda,
All: We thank you!
O Gods and Goddesses of elder days!
All: We thank you!
O spirits of this land!
All: We thank you!
O ancestors, our kindred!
All: We thank you!
To all those powers that have aided us, we say again...
All: We thank you!

Druids renew the company's centering once more:
Finally, see the receding mist fade completely away, the Well, Fire and Tree becoming the common tools they were before, and remember that while our grove fades, the vision and memories of our rite are there always for you to use, and to carry with you in our common world.

The druids go to the center, bearing the wand. They speak:
O Gatekeeper, warder of the ways, for your presence and power, your guiding and guarding we say...
All: We thank you!

Druid makes the closing sign over the hallows with the wand, saying:
Now by the keeper of gates and by our magic we end what we began.
Now let the fire be flame
Let the well be water;
Let all be as it was before.
Let the gates be closed!
All: Let the gates be closed!
Then any unused offerings, return flow, incense, water etc. is given to the earth, saying:
Mother of all, to you we return all we leave unused. Uphold us now in the world as you have in our rite.
All: We thank you!

Go now, children of the earth, in peace and blessings. The rite is ended!

Recessional

The bard leads a proper chant as the company recesses from the Grove to join the feast.