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Rite of Lughnasadh: Feast day of Lugh Samildanach

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:

Song: Come We Now as a People
Come we now as a people, to gather at the sacred Well,
Come we now as a people, to gather in the warmth and the light of the fire.

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 the company intones or chants.

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 Purpose And Precedent

The Children of Earth are gathered in the Sacred Grove to keep the rites of Lughnassadh, the First Harvest, The Victory of the Growth, the Gathering of the Folk in Peace.

Now is the beginning of the Time of Ripening, when the labor of the Folk brings the Land to bear, when the Power of the Sun gives itself to the Power of the Earth. We gather in a moment of rest and pleasure, before the labor of the harvest. We come to the Sacred Grove to honor the Lady of Sovereignty, the Great Queen. In this season she is the Earth Woman, the Red Goddess, the Flower Woman whose embrace binds, whose love is Fate.

We honor especially Lugh, the Shining Young Hero, the Sacred King. He is the Master of All Skills, the Holy Champion who turns aside drought and storm, protecting the earth. On this day the Golden God is wed to the Blossom Goddess, that the earth may come to fruit.

As our forebears did, so do we now, and so may our descendants do after us. Now let us keep the Old Ways. Let us honor the Powers and work our Magic that we may gain bounty and wealth in this season.

Now let us open the Ways Between...

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

Invocation of Morrigan

Red Woman, Great Queen of the Earth, the Children of Earth offer you welcome. We call to you in the ripening grain. We call to you in the fruiting branch. We call to you by the reddened spear. We call you forth from the beauty of blossom and thorn. We offer you clear water, gentle as rain.

(water poured)

Holy One, Raging One, Prophetess, Enticer, Joy and Bane of Heroes, Flower Bride, Lover, Devourer, Great Queen, we call to you. In the season of ripening, you are the fruits and bounty of the land, arrayed in desirable beauty beneath the sun. We deck you in blossoms to welcome you to our Grove...

(Red blossoms are placed in a basket before the Well)
Descend in Beauty, Arise in Might, O Throne of Sovereignty! You whose hair is the Golden Grain; you whose flesh is the firm sweet soil, we offer you the Seat of Honor in our Sacred Grove. Bring to our Grove the Blessings of your bounty, and delight We pour red wine for you, who drink up the love of the sun

(Wine poured)
Great Queen, come into the Grove of the Wedding.

A corn dolly is brought out and carried once around the ring. Nine roses are used to twine in the corn dolly. A charm for the nine roses:
Lady, accept this gift of raiment We adorn you for the Rite of Joining We robe you in flowers, O Lady of Sovereignty With garments of red, the hue of life's blood With garments of crimson, the hue of magic's might With garments of scarlet, the Rose of Summer's Perfection We offer you welcome, Queen of the Summer We offer you welcome, Mead of the Sweetness We offer you welcome, O Morrigan the Mighty.

The Dolly is then placed at the foot of the Bile.

Invocation of Lugh

Thou Lugh the Victorious, We make our Grove under your shield, O Lugh of the White Horse And the Brilliant Blades. You of the Perfect Form, Child of Light and Shadow, Slayer of Balor, be in our midst. Accept this ale in welcome Thou Champion, King of All

(ale poured)
We may our circuit in the joy of the Samildanach The Clever One, the Sure Hand The Bard and the Smith. May we be at peace Under the hand of the Chieftain of Danu, Taking joy in the feast Of the Wedding Day of Lugh We offer this bread, That the harvest may flourish by the hand of the ploughman.

(bread offered)
By the Sacred Three of Glory Hear now your people's call By the Spear and by the Raven Come, we pray, among your folk O Lugh the Victorious Our Light and our Guide O Lugh the Victorious Accept this offering of fruit And be present in your strength.

(fruit offered)
Light of the Sky, come into the Grove of the Wedding!

A Spear is brought into the Grove, decked with greenery and blossoms. It is carried once round the ring, then stretched over the Fire. It is held there for a time, then brought out and laved nine times with water, saying:
May the strength of Lugh be over us, May the beauty of Lugh delight us, May the skill of Lugh be upon us. Be welcome, Shining One, and behold your bride Be welcome, White-Silver One, and succor the earth Be welcome, Hand of Striking, and drive away the hail. In the Grove of the Old Ways In the ring of your people In the hearts of all who honor the earth.
 

Praise Offerings

As usual. The last praise offering is:
The Tale, and the Wedding
Hail the Sun of Summer - Golden One, Brightest, Warmth of the Green Earth.
Hail the Sun of Summer - Crown of Striving, Gem of the Heavens, First among Lights
Hail the Sun of Summer - Father of Earth, Eye of Burning, Fire of Noontide.
Yet now is the Season of Darkening, the Time of Ripening, when the night and the moon call the earth to fruit. It is the time of the tender goddess, the Maker of heroes, the Old One's Daughter. Who can tell of the fate of the earth?
If the Sun does not die, the green turns to gray.
If the Sun does not die, red turns to black
If the Sun does not die, the earth will burn dry!
So the God's man mated with a woman of the Giants, in magic and courage. And of their union was born the Child of Light and Shadow - Lugh, whose name means light. Fostered in the Isle of Apples, he learned every skill - thus is he called Samildanach - Master of All Arts.
How like a Spear is the Ray of Dawning
How like the dawn is the Rising Light of Victory
How like Victory is the Joy of Wisdom
So it as that in the last battle of the Gods and Demons it was Lugh who struck down the Baleful Eye of Burning. When the Sun's Fire becomes poison to the earth, when the Maiden of Bounty is imprisoned in the Tower of Day, it is Lugh of the Long Arm who strikes the blow. It is Lugh who struck down the Poison Eye, who defended the Holy Earth against hail and flood and drought and blight.

The Eye Loaf is brought out and a simple 'dance' between the spear and loaf holders leads to the spear being driven into the loaf, while the folk sing:
Song: Chant of Lugh's Victory
The Sun must die that the earth may live The Darkness rises in its turn
That the Land may freely give Milk and Honey, Ale and Corn

The two hallows are brought to the center, and a rope of blossoms is used to bind the doll to the spear, saying:
Thus do we join the Shining Ones' Prince to the Lady of the Earth. By this joining may Lugh be the Ward and Guardian of the earth. By this joining may the Earth be the Throne of Joy and Delight. May the grain, and our lives, grow green and golden as the hair of the Goddess. May the ray of the westering sun be as the Spear of the Champion. Lugh and Morrigan, be present in these images, hear us your children.

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 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 Lugh, o Morrigan, we give you our love, our respect, our devotion as we pray you...
All: Morrigan and Lugh, 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)

The Blessing

Children of the Earth, in this season of fruition you are offered a boon! Choose now, and hold this prayer in your mind and heart as we draw at last, the Blessing. Let none drink of this vessel holding ill will to any here in their hearts! Let this be the cup of peace and fellowship!

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 Lugh and Morrigan!

BEHOLD THE WATERS OF LIFE!

Hallowing the Grain

Bring out the Loaf on the Spear, saying:
Bright Lugh, Queen of Phantoms, here is the Head of the Grain, the Body of the Shield of the Sky. Let this be as the First Loaf of Harvest, shared between us and you.

Half the Loaf is broken and put into the Offering Shaft or Bowl.
Now Shining Ones, we pray you, hallow this bread. Let it be the bounty of the Earth, the Generosity of the Mother, the Strength of the Hero to us. Let it be the growth of wealth, the soundness of flesh, the delight of wisdom to us. Let it be the food of our bones, of our flesh, of our lights. Behold, the Bread of Life!

The Loaf is shared and the cup is passed in the usual way, while the folk sing:
Song: 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.

Final Blessing

When all have drunk, the Druids lead a final meditation:
The Ale of Blessing flows in us, filling us with the magic of Morrigan and Lugh. As the year turns, let us welcome the lengthening of the Dark. Let the effortless abundance of the land calm and satisfy our spirits, allowing us to receive the Harvest's Bounty. Let the gain of the passing year be ours, to fill our lives with contentment. May the Life of the Earth be in us. May the Strength of the Earth be in us. May the Wisdom of the Earth be in us, until the Harvest is brought in. 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)

Works

Works (if any) are brought before the grove

Closing

When all is done, the druids lead a resettling, then begin to close the grove, saying:
We have been blessed by Lugh and Morrigan, 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 Morrigan and Lugh,
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.

Eath Mother, we thank you!
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.