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.
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.
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.
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
Lovely or terrible, powers of chaos-dark,
Who in your striving join in the Making of the Worlds
Take this offering and trouble not our working.
Likewise we acknowledge in ourselves
All those things that separate us from the Wholeness of Things
We contemplate these ills and enemies and for this sacred time, we set them aside!
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
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:
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.
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.
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 chants:
By the might of the waters
And the light of the fires
This grove is made whole and holy!
Purpose and Precedent
Slainte agus failte! Welcome to Bealtainne, the Hinge of Summer, the Day of Blessings. The earth grows green again, warmed by the power of the Sun and the Waters’ cool strength. Shoot has become bud and bud is flowering as all life burns with the kindling of love’s fire. Now we rejoice in the warmth of May, and look forward to the greater heat of summer.
In elder days the feast of Bealtainne was a day of power and duty, when every fire was extinguished and every clan held fast to its luck for the coming season. The folk left their work and went into the greenwood. They roved among the blossoms and made love to one another to celebrate the Power of Life. They went into the Groves and made their worship to the Gods and Goddesses that sustained them.
As the ancients did before us, so we do now, and so our descendants may do in the future. We are come into the Grove to worship as they did, to offer to the Ancestors; to offer to the King and Queen of the Sidhe clans and all the Nature Spirits; and to offer to the beloved Shining Ones. Today we honor Aine, the Queen under the Mound, the erotic power of renewal. Today we honor the Mac Oc as Aengus the Harper, the enchanting life of the Earth. Today we kindle new flame in ourselves as we dance among the Bealtainne fires. And tonight, may we practice the Rites of Love in whatever way our spirit may guide us, to sustain the Power of Life.
Ta go maith!
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!
An offering of oil is given to the Fire. The Summoner then conjures the Gates, making an opening triskel on the Fire and Well, saying:
Hold to your center, Children of Earth, and see, arising from the Well, shining in the Fire, centered on the Tree, a sparkling mist… warm and refreshing, the Mist of Magic. See the Mist form the Gate. See it as a door, perhaps a bridge, a subtle opening in the fabric of life, enhancing our awareness of the otherworlds.
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!
Now let us give offering to the Powers of Blessing, that our work may be made strong…
The Druids make proper offerings to each of the kindreds, standing at the fire.
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.
(An offering of food and/or drink is made onto the ground or into a shaft)
Ancestors, accept our sacrifice!
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.
(An offering of herbs, flowers and/or trinkets is scattered around the nemetons edge or hung on the tree)
Land-spirits, accept our sacrifice!
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.
(An offering of scented oil is poured on the fire)
Deities, accept our sacrifice!
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.
Honoring the P/Matron Powers
A cloaked woman emerges, stands to the north of the Hallows with head bowed and cloak closed. Druid speaks:
In elder days in Erin, the goddess was the mother of clans, called Aine, queen of the tribes of the sidhe. Aine the mighty mated with mighty men and from them she bore many peoples. As each of those grew old she would renew her youth and love again. So for us the living earth goddess grows old with the winter and renews her youth in this merry, magical time. With each of her renewings she brings the flow of new life, the erotic blossoming of every kin, not just for the continuing of clans, but for the delight and regeneration of all beings. So we call her Aine Glas – Green Aine!
- Aine the ancient
Calleach the mighty
Bones of the Earth
Answer your children
- Mother to maiden
Winter to summer
Root into blossom
Answer us, changer
- Flow now the waters
All hearts rejoicing
Laughter and loving
Bounty and blessing
- Now in the hinge-time
Wise ones are calling
Show us your wonder
O maiden of May!
All: Aine, accept our sacrifice!
An offering of scented oil is made to the Fire. The woman removes her cloak to reveal a young maiden, erotically dressed.
All cry: Hail the queen of the May!
The May Queen speaks, saying:
Let the goddess of Earth hear our call, as I hear it! Blessings upon all who do honor to the Shining Ones.
In this season of renewal we do honor to the Goddess of the Wells, for the sacred well is the eye of the earth.
Aine Glas is the Water of Spring, the giver and receiver, the gate of the Sidhe!
Maiden holds large bundle of cut flowers, says:
Now let the well be dressed, honoring our simple symbol of all the worlds’ sacred wells.
Nine men come forward in turn to dress the Well, surrounding it with flowers.
Song: Way to the Well
When all are finished the Druid speaks:
Surely it is true that when the maid of May appears in any place or any heart the delight of love cannot be far behind. In Erin the power of love’s joy was worshipped in Aengus Og, the son of Dagda and Baonn. He is the golden harper, whose music wakens longing and fulfillment in mortal hearts. He is the silver voice, calling all to come away from earthly care and join in the joy of May. Now let us welcome the young lord.
- The young son Maponos
Aengus the harper
Son of the Dagda
Whose staff is the strongest
- Born of enchantment
The son of the Mother
Sing, O enticer
Delighter of maidens
- Sap in the branches
All making merry
Bee to the blossom
Hie to the Maying
- Raise now the May-rod
Aengus we name you
Wonder child rising
Come to our calling
All: Aengus Og, accept our sacrifice!
An offering of scented oil is made to the Fire. The Bile, or other phallic rod is passed from woman to woman with much merry jesting, kissing of the pole, etc. … The May Queen then places the pole at the base of the Tree, saying:
Awake, O King-To-Be! Enter now the maiden Earth and bring joy and blessing to us all! Beannachtai!
Offering to the Sidhe
The Druids walk to the Tree. Clouts of many colors, sparklies and amulets are available to hang on the Tree. Druid speaks:
In the elder days Aine the goddess was a queen of the Sidhefolk, ruling form her mound. Likewise Aengus was a king of the gentle people, making the faery music beneath the World. Now we call to them to open the way to the people of peace.
On the feast of Bealtainne the veils between the worlds are thin. Now we honor the noble clans of the otherworld, the spirits of Earth to join our dance and receive due offering. Come to the gates, gentle and lovely ones. Hear our call, we the children of Earth, who remember you. We offer you our worship, our reverence and our blessing.
The druid will recite the various Powers of the Sidhe, and one of the folk will tie a ribbon or clout or whatever to the Tree for each. This should go on for Nine items:
You who rule in the wildwood, who give luck or bane, you who teach us the hidden ways and aid the wise, receive now these offerings made in your honor:
- To the queens under the hill — Oonagh the Lovely, Cailleach the Ancient, Medb the Mighty and all…
- To the kings under the hill — Finvarra the Handsom, Bodb the Red, Eochaid the Stallion and all…
- To all the Sidhe-folk of magic and wisdom — Inspirers and singers, enchanters and lawgivers, you who grant wisdom.
- To all the Sidhe-folk who are warriors, wardens and keepers, champions and hunters, wrathful protectors…
- To all the Sidhe-folk of the makers, iron Sidhe and gold Sidhe, wood Sidhe and clay Sidhe and the folk in the loom…
- To all the Sidhe-folk of the soil, tillers and reapers, cattle Sidhe and arbor Sidhe and folk of the hearth…
- To all the Sidhe-folk of the Earth, stone and soil, stream and pool, bird and beast…
- To all the Sidhe-folk of the sea, merrow and selkie, of sunlit shallows and the deeps…
- To all the Sidhe-folk of the air, trooping sidhe and the voices on the wind…
- To all of you we give these gifts and ornaments, asking you to bless us in the joy of the living…
All: Noble Sidhe, accept our sacrifice!
The company is instructed that if they do not have a praise offering they may come quietly to the Tree through the rest of the rite and make their offering. The Tree will be planted in the country after the rite.
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 Aine Glas, O Aengus Og, we give you our love, our respect, our devotion as we pray you…
All: Aine and Aengus, accept our sacrifice!
The Omen and Preparation for Return
(The Druid leads a re-centering, while the omen is prepared on a tray)
To you we have given, and from you we would receive.
Reveal to us now, our Blessing…
Seer speaks: Hear now the nature of the blessing the Gods see fit to bestow upon us.
Seer continues with a poetic/prosaic interpretation of the Omen. When done, s/he says:
What use have you for: _______?
What use have you for: _______?
What use have you for: _______?
Meditate now on how you will take this blessing…
The blessing of the Gods is poured from the cauldron of mystery, the cauldron of plenty, the cauldron of rebirth.
Do the Children of the Earth desire the blessing?
Do you come in honor to the Elder Ways?
Do you desire that every one of us be Blessed?
Children of the Earth, in this season of magic 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 Aine and Aengus!
BEHOLD THE WATERS OF LIFE!
Music is struck up and a line dance led by one of the Druids, dancing between the two Fires, maybe doubling back for kisses. All finally spiral into clump with a roar/om. Druids deepen trance one last time, then speaks:
Bless, O great ones true and bountiful
Ourselves, our kind and our friends
Our work and our wealth.
May the Waters of Life sustain us
May the Fire of Passion enliven us
From day to day through every turning moon
From season to season
Through all the sacred year.
Druids renew the company’s centering once more:
May the ancestors strengthen us
May the Sidhe-folk open our ways
May the goddesses and gods grant us wisdom.
Let the seeds of spring shoot and bud
And let our lives blossom with the May.
By our magic and by the blessings of the old ways
Let all our blossoms come to fruit!
Ta Go Maith!
Works (if any) are brought before the Grove
When all is done, the druids lead a resettling, then begin to close the grove, saying:
We have been blessed by Aine and Aengus, 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 Aine and Aengus,
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!
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,
Save only for the blessings we have received.
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!
The bard leads a proper chant as the company processes out of the Grove.