IMBOLC RITUAL AND CHILD BLESSING
Performed at the Unitarian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
February 2, 2003
Created and Directed by Eustacia Blackstar
Attendees may place seed packets in a basket provided. This will be placed on the altar to absorb the energy of the ritual. These packets may be retrieved after the ritual. Celtic music is heard as attendees gather. If there are DRUMMERS present, they may drum shortly preceding the ritual and at various places throughout as indicated. The altar is prepared with a white and green cloth, red candles and incense. Bridgid's Cross is displayed on the altar. A restraining cord keeps the attendees from immediately entering the ritual area. The ritual Circle is designated by a multitude of burning candles. The SQUIRE and an assistant light these candles during the drumming portion and go out. THE RITUAL BEGINS BARD and SQUIRE enter. SQUIRE lights the altar candles and the incense. He remains standing by the altar with the BARD. (Bard may be seated during the Seasonal Enactment) HP (From the back of the sanctuary raises athame) Be it known, the Circle is about to be cast. Let none be here but of their own free will. Those who desire attendance, follow behind! (HP leads attendees single file into ritual Circle) CELTIC DANCERS perform in Circle. HP (Raise athame) I call forth the representatives of the mighty Quarters! Come forth! Assist us that we might seek protection and guidance from the four Directions. DRUMMING as Quarters enter. QUARTERS process in Circle, S E N W and take their places. (They are still elaborately adorned in the vestments of Yule. SQ carries in a cauldron of holly and presents it to HP.) HP I see you bring with you the last vestiges of Winter that we might properly dispose of them. But, it is the Eve of Imbolc. Why are you still clothed in the garments of Yule? EAST QUARTER How cold this night! SOUTH QUARTER How dark the earth remains! WEST QUARTER The trees are still without life! NORTH QUARTER When will the leaves appear as promised at Yule? HPS (She is heard from outside the Circle.) You must trust me my children. Spring will come..as soon as Winter is over. BARD SINGS as HPS enters. " Bridgid's Song" (Tune is El Shaddai by Amy Grant, lyrics adapted by Eustacia) Holy Water, sacred flame, Bridgid we invoke your name. Bless our minds and bless our hearts, source of healing, song and arts. On this sabbat we draw near, your eternal words to hear. Lady Bridgid, may we ever seek your ways. (Sing 3x as necessary for entrance of HPS) HPS (She enters wearing the blue mantle of Bridgid and a candle wreath. The wreath is removed and placed on the altar. She places a white wreath on her head. She casts the Circle with the besom.) I cast this Circle round and round. By its protection we are bound. As I will it, so mote it be! HP Hail to thee, my Lady! May the blessings of Imbolc be with you. But did you not promise to bring a sign that Spring approaches? HP Yes, my Lord, I will get it now. DRUMS until she returns (HPS exits Circle and returns with the "sign" which is then carried around the Circle for all to touch and receive the blessing.) The promise of Spring that is Imbolc! Bight Blessings be with you on this Imbolc night! (She hands "sign" to the Dancers who exit the Circle) CHANT led by QUARTERS. All participate. Higher as the fire climbs Other places, other time, As we celebrate tonight Will be remembered in this rite. HPS Imbolc, Bridgid, Candlemas, The Wheel must turn anew. We come together on this night To keep that promise true. As Mother Earth begins to stir We'll burn our candles long. We know this magick that we do Will help the Sun grow strong. All (repeat Chant as above) HP Upon her head, a candle wreath The Lady wears tonight. To all of us this signifies The Sun will soon burn bright. The Maiden Goddess now awaits Upon her bridal bed. Her Lord, the Sun, will soon return Just when all hope was dead. All (repeat Chant as above) HPS So as the Seeds of Life prepare, New hope begins tonight. Since ancient times we celebrate This Festival of Light. Let us now call the QUARTERS! (All raise athames) EAST Here do I invoke light and air, to illuminate our Circle and bring it the breath of life. SOUTH Here do I invoke light and fire, to illuminate our Circle and bring it warmth. WEST Here do I invoke light and water, to illuminate our Circle and wash it clean. NORTH Here do I invoke light and earth, to illuminate our Circle and build it in strength. HP/HPS So Mote It Be! HP We bid you welcome. May you all be here in peace and love. HPS We bid the Lord and Lady welcome. We invite them to join with us in these rites that we hold in their honor. (HP lights the cauldron.) You may all be seated. SEASONAL ENACTMENT "Walking With Mother Earth" (See the end of the ritual) HPS This is the end of our story, but there is no end to the Circle of Life. HP Tonight is the night when heat overcomes cold, when the earth begins to stir and new life quickens. The Wheel of the Year turns on and on, bringing us to and from each season. We gather on this blessed eve to celebrate this season of Imbolc, Bridgid or Candlemas as it has been variously called. Tonight we dispose of the trappings of the old season. We sweep away those habits and beliefs that no longer serve us. HPS In this moment between time, we come to greet the Maiden Goddess as she awaits her child lover who was and will be the father of our harvest bounty. As it was and ever shall be, we wish to give thanks and feel ourselves a part of the relentlessly turning Wheel. HP Yule is past, the young God, like his symbol, the Sun is returning to his Lady, the Earth. As She turns the Great Wheel, she brings him nearer, and soon she will offer herself as his bride. I now command the mighty Powers to search out the Maiden Goddess that she might encourage the sun of Spring to warm us once again. (The QUARTERS leave the Circle to retrieve the Maiden, a young girl dressed in white wearing a candle wreath on her head and carrying the "Bride's Bed." The QUARTERS change their garb to white before returning) SPELL TO PREPARE FOR THE COMING OF SPRING HP (Takes up the Cauldron of holly) At Imbolc, we sweep away the trappings of Winter as we prepare ourselves for Spring. We rid ourselves of those habits and attitudes that no longer serve us. The holly represents the last vestige of winter. It has been placed in the Cauldron of Transformation and will now be disposed of. This is a symbol that Spring, new life and new hope are on the way. (The SQUIRE ceremoniously takes the Cauldron out of the Circle. CHANT Think for a moment about the life changes you are hoping for in the new season. Keep these in your mind as you chant: "As Winter's holly returns to earth, our hopes for Spring are given birth." (3 times) As we will it, so mote it be! MORE DRUMMING SQUIRE returns to Circle with an empty cauldron which he gives back to HP. CAKES AND ALE (Ginger Ale and Cookies are passed by three or four of the attendees chosen by the HP) HP Now is the time to give thanks for the Circle of Life, New Beginnings and all that sustains us. HPS May we ever be aware of all that we owe and be grateful. HP Eat and drink. Be happy. Share and give thanks. HPS And as we share let us remember that all that we have, we share with those who have nothing. So mote it be! (Chalices are raised.) CELTIC DANCERS dance. CHILD BLESSING (One of our community has requested a special blessing for her daughter who has experienced a very difficult year. We are please to include her here.) MOM (stands from the Circle) My Lord, My Lady, I am a mother with a special request, if you would be so kind. HP Tell us mother, what is your request? MOM My daughter has had a particularly difficult year. (Or MOM can add her own words here.) I ask tonight that she might receive a special blessing. HP The Lord and Lady grant all worthy, heartfelt requests. What is the name of your daughter? Mom Her magickal name is Bridgid. (Mom sits again) DRUMMING is heard (The QUARTERS return to the Circle followed by the MAIDEN GODDESS BRIDGID) EQ My Lord, we bring news that the season is changing! SQ We have seen the beginnings of new life. WQ The Lady's promise is fulfilled. NQ The MAIDEN GODDESS BRIDGID is here! HP All hail the MAIDEN GODDESS BRIDGID! (She enters Circle with the Bride's Bed and presents it to HP) HPS Behold the light! The God has returned for his bride! HP The Wheel of the Year turns on! HPS Blessed Be! ALL SING 3x "We all come from the Goddess and to her we shall return. Like a drop of rain, flowing to the ocean." HP Maiden Goddess, we ask that you favor us with some words of wisdom on this sacred night. MGB (She turns outward in goddess position with legs apart, arms open, thumb and first finger together) Bide the Wiccan Rede ye must in perfect love and perfect trust. Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, and ye harm none..do what ye will. Lest in thy self- defense it be, ever mind the Rule of Three. Follow this with mind and heart. Merry Meet and Merry Part. HPS Thou art Goddess, Bridgid and tonight you are our Child of Light. HP Will you all join us in blessing this child. Hold out your arms and silently project your energy toward her. (Place hands on the child's shoulders) HPS (The Caim of Bride / Bridgid) Be the compassing of Bride around you, Keeping you from hurt and harm, Keeping you from wound and woe, Shielding you from all despair. May the fiery sword of valiant Bride Defend you from all black swarms. May the shield of blessed Bride Guard you from all sharp edges. May the cloak of gentle Bride Encircle and protect you. This day and every day, This night and every night, Be the compassing of Bride about you. So mote it be! HP (Presents Maiden with a sage plant and some pumpkin seeds) We present you with a seedling of sage, so that you will grow in wisdom. As the youngest in our midst tonight, you are charged with the duty of nurturing the new life that is just beginning. We all look to you to grow and prosper as our symbolic representative. HPS You represent the Circle of Life. We have all been where you are now. Take with you this night our fondest hopes and brightest blessings. So mote it be! HP Oh MAIDEN GODDESS BRIDGID, all honor to thee. We thank you for joining our Circle. Until we meet again, hail and farewell! (She leaves) All rise! OPEN CIRCLE HP And now as Spring draws near, we have kept the faith, and it is time to open the Circle. Let us dismiss the Quarters. EQ Powers of the East and Air, we thank you for joining our Circle. We ask your blessing as you part. May there be peace between us, now and forever. SQ Powers of the South and Fire, we thank you for joining our Circle. We ask your blessing as you part. May there be peace between us, now and forever. WQ Powers of the West and Water, we thank you for joining our Circle. We ask your blessing as you part. May there be peace between us, now and forever. NQ Powers of the North and Earth, we thank you for joining our Circle. We ask your blessing as you part. May there be peace between us, now and forever. HPS Mother Earth, Lord of Death and Rebirth, Lady Bridgid, we thank you for joining our Circle this Imbolc Eve. We thank you for the young life of Bridgid, who you have blessed this night. HP As you bring renewal to all life forms, we ask that you bring renewal to our lives as well. Give us hope. Give us strength. Give us guidance. And in these days of turmoil, Lord and Lady, above all, give us peace. (Extinguish cauldron) BARD sings "Bridgid's Song" (HP and HPS leave the Circle) Bridgid, you have shown your light, like a candle in the night. Deep within each one has heard the power of your word. Now that Spring is on Her way, we have hope again and pray: Lady Bridgid, keep us ever in your care. (Sing 3x or until HP and HPS exit) ME and LOD leave together SQUIRE and BARD leave together DANCERS leave QUARTERS leave starting with the South HPS (from the back of the sanctuary) We have come together in love and peace, let us depart the same way. Love is the Law and Love is the Bond. The Circle is open but unbroken. Merry Meet. Merry Part and Merry Meet Again! Blessed Be! FEAST (all attendees are kindly requested to bring something to eat or drink)
BARD Many, many years ago, when the world was still young, Mother Earth walked freely among her children every day. The rivers and streams led her through forests and fields where she visited and nurtured her beloved ones. (MOTHER EARTH slowly walks from the back of the sanctuary to the edge of the circle) The flowers and ferns loved and revered the gentle woman who with her wisdom and her experience guided their growth. The tallest of trees bowed their branches in respect and admiration as she passed and spoke with each in turn. (ME enters circle, makes one turn deosil ending in the South) Never hurrying, never lingering she made her way over the land, giving breath to the four winds, spark to the fires, moisture to fill the streams and oceans, and life to the many forms her children had taken. Each day she followed her path without rest, until one morning, when she was atop a high mountain drawing down clouds to wet the waiting leaves below, from a cavern, a figure appeared. (Enter LORD OF DEATH) He was tall and darkly clad, but pleasing to her eyes. He approached and addressed her in a deep voice saying: LOD Hail Mother, bringer of life. I, Lord of Death, greet you with love. I have watched you in your work. Come tell me of the wonders sprung from your heart and your hands. (ME lights South candle) So Mother Earth tarried awhile and spoke with him of fire, the way it creates and transforms life, the way it nurtures the heart. But she would not stay long, and as the sun emerged, she made her way down the mountain to see the streams born of her clouds. (ME moves to the West) The Lord of Death found her sometime later along the shoreline of the ocean, leading a sea turtle from the water to the shore to lay her eggs. He called to her saying: LOD Come, and tell me of the wonders again. I come to you in love. (ME lights the West candle) So she spoke to him of water, the birthplace of all life. She told him of the life that it sustains within itself, of the tides and of the clouds. But when the turtle returned to the sea, Mother Earth returned to her work. (ME moves to the North) The Lord of Death pursued her still and found her once more deep in a forest, where the moss was thick and the smell of the soil was warm and wet. He called to her again saying: LOD Come, and speak with me once more. I follow you for love and would hear more of your wonders. (ME lights the North candle) Mother Earth smiled and showed him a spider weaving her lacy web. She told him of the soil and the trees, of the deer and of the lizards, of the grasses and the flowers, but again she left him just as the spider had spun that last strand of her web. (ME moves to the East) The Lord of Death found her a fourth time in a field of clover, calling in the bees to suck out the nectar from which their honey would be made. He called out to her: LOD Come to me, my love, and tell me more of your wonders. (ME lights the East candle) As the bees supped, she spoke to him of the four winds that bring water and warmth to the land, build waves in the sea, and spread seeds from the trees and flowers that they might multiply. She turned to leave as the bee began flying homeward but the Lord of Death gently put his hands on her shoulders saying: LOD I have seen many wonders. You work long and hard, my love, toward good ends, but it has worn on you. Come to my kingdom and let me care for you. Let your travels cease. Come rest with me in quiet and peace. Mother Earth looked at him and knew that he was right. She was tired and clearly needed a rest. But she looked about her and sighed.. ME What of my children if I go with you? They cannot survive without my love and care. They will be destroyed. LOD They will not be destroyed. When you leave their spirits will go deep within to rest as well. When you return, so too will they. They will be refreshed with new life. Mother Earth felt in her innermost heart that he was right, and so she agreed to leave with him. He softly kissed her hand, transporting them both to his kingdom below the ground. (LOD and ME leave ritual circle) Above, the winds ceased, and the land became cold without their warmth. The animals burrowed under the ground to sleep. Fish dove to the depths of still ponds. The waters froze, and as they did, so too did the trees. The world was barren and cold and desolate. All life was turned within, hidden and still. Mother Earth rested and was content deep underground. (Long pause) And then one day, Mother Earth felt the urge to return. Something was pulling her toward the surface and the light. The Lord of Death loved her and tried to persuade her to stay, but she could hear her children calling to her, and she could not resist. Let's all call to her now: (All chant) We are one with the soul of the earth, Mother Earth! (ME returns and stands at the altar with the Cakes) Ever since that time, we call to Mother Earth each Spring. We send our voices with the songs of birds and the squirrels, the whispers of the ferns and the flowers, the trickling of streams and the humming of the bees. All of us together urge her to return, to walk again among us, filled with renewed strength and beauty, bringing to her children the gift of life. (LOD returns with pitcher of Ale. Cakes and Ale are placed on a separate table for later) *************************************************************
RITUAL NOTES: Altar: white cloth, green cloth, red candles and holders, incense, candle snuffer, matches, seed basket, cauldron with candle, Bridgid's Cross, BOS, white head wreath, sage plant and pumpkin seeds, athame, besom is next to altar Other props: Celtic music/tape player, Imbolc Greetings (an explanation of the ritual with copies for everyone), cauldron of winter greens, cord, secret "sign" of Spring, Bridal Bed, Quarter candles Cakes and Ale: tray, pitcher, cups, cookies, ginger ale Appropriate ritual clothing please: The colors are white or light blue if possible. Quarters wear red and white tunics and headpieces that will be supplied LOD wears black. ME wears green Maiden wears white with a white candle wreath
© 2008 Eustacia Blackstar. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.