Imbolc 2005. Presented by about 9 people for a semi-public ritual for about 50 people.
Tools and Materials:
A labyrinth (slightly modified to have a separate entrance and exit; see drawing at the end for more information) made of Christmas lights taped to the floor and a small altar in the centre, drums, a singing bowl or set of chimes, a pillar candle in a cauldron and a lighter, a basket of white candles with the bases wrapped in tinfoil, a potluck feast just outside of the ritual area.
Call to Ritual:
The participants are all gathered at one side of the room. All the lights, including the labyrinth are turned off, and the priest recites this T.S. Eliot poem:
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought for you are not ready for thought.
So the darkness shall be light, and the stillness the dancing.
The drum leader starts a single slow, steady drumbeat. Someone lights the labyrinth while someone else leads everyone to walk the labyrinth and form a circle around it.
Once silence falls and everyone is in the circle, the drummers pick up their drums. They step out of the circle of people and turn outwards, evenly spaced around the outside of the circle. The drum leader starts a beat. Once it is steady, the drummers walk clockwise, cleansing the space with sound. The drum leader gives a signal after a full round or two, and the drummers return to silence and step back into the circle.
The priestess steps out of the circle of people and walks to the centre of the labyrinth, carrying a singing bowl or some chimes: “This is sacred, blessed and protected space,” She rings the chimes, then she stays standing in the centre.
The following powers are called, each by a different person around the Circle, in the following order:
Protection: We ask for Protection from all ill will.
Healing: We call Healing to erase all that is not well.
Creativity: Creativity fill us and fill our world with beauty.
Passion: May Passion burn within us all.
Clarity: We ask for Clarity to lead us down our lives’ path.
Love: May Love fill this sacred space and all who stand within it.
Abundance: May we all have Abundance, for ourselves and to share with each other.
Wisdom: Wisdom, please guide us in our ways.
Priestess: I call to the Lord and the Lady, and ask that they join us here tonight. Please pour your love onto us so that we may be united in our worship. Guide us on our path and bless us with your presence. Blessed Be.
The priestess walks back to the edge of the circle. The drum leader starts the drumming and chanting two chants in rounds:
From the soul of the Earth.
Comes the beating of the drum. (3x)
From the soul of the Drum.
Comes the beating of my heart (3x)
The dew is on the grass
The spirit of the ancients
We are the children of the past
The one breath that creates us
is the one breath we all take.
Makes a rainbow round the world.
From the love that we all make.**
To signal the end, the priestess steps into the circle and walks towards the centre again, carrying an unlit pillar candle in a cauldron and a lighter.
The wheel is turning; Imbolc is here. And in this darkness, in this time of year, you can feel the energy waiting; waiting for the beginnings, waiting for the sun, waiting for life.
The darkness allows us to dream. It lets our imaginations soar. It lets us rest deep in the darkness of Her still waters. But, we are slowly waking up. We are rising up through the water to the surface to find the sun again. To dance, to be joyful, to be loud. Spring will come. We are just silently waiting below the surface, gliding and dreaming, wishing for the new season.
We wait. In this moment everything is clear. Living in this one moment we can look deep within and find the strength we need to carry on through the darkness. We struggle to wake up, but we know that Spring is coming. Its like a candle in the dark, we can see the light over there, and we are making our way towards it.
Its nearly time to live again. To breathe. To rejoice. To find what we need.
The priestess lights the candle and leaves it on the small altar in the centre of the labyrinth. She walks out and rejoins the circle of people.
We walk the labyrinth one step at a time, confident that we know the way. There’s one way in, one way out… no need to think ahead.
In the rush of daily life, sometimes we miss the moment we are in as we anticipate the next moment. We miss the beauty of this season as we anticipate the beauty of the next. We miss the perfection of now in knowing that something else is coming.
We invite you to meditate on where you lose the present. Light a fragile flame to remind you of how delicate and precious this moment is. Please, join us in our chanting, but we ask that you walk the labyrinth in silence, focusing only on the walk.
The drum leader starts the Beauty Way chant:
May I walk in the beauty way
Dance upon the sacred path
Always in step
With the rhythm of Mother Earth ***
Someone will stand by the entrance to the labyrinth to hand out candles with the bases wrapped in tin foil. Some people stay to drum and chant, while the priestess and others lead the group so that each person knows to take a candle, walk the labyrinth, lighting the candle while they are in the centre, then exit and recreate the circle of people around the outside of the labyrinth.
Once everyone is back in the circle, someone turns the labyrinth off, leaving a ring of lit candles held by the participants and the pillar candle in the centre.
Priest: On the count of three, make a wish…
All count to three and then blow out their candles.
The priestess walks back to the centre of the labyrinth with her singing bowl or chimes. She thanks the divine powers she invited:
I thank the Lord and the Lady for joining us here.
Thank you for blessing us with your guidance and most importantly with your love, for without these gifts we would be lost.
May you walk with us always.
Then the others powers called are thanked, in reverse order from their calling:
Wisdom: We thank Wisdom for guiding our steps.
Abundance: Thanks to Abundance for blessing us.
Love: Thank you, Love, for your gifts and your lessons.
Clarity: We thank Clarity for creating vision in our lives.
Passion: Thanks to Passion for making us feel alive.
Creativity: We thank Creativity for all our inspiration.
Healing: We thank Healing for protecting us in our lives.
Protection: Thank you, Protection, for shielding us from harm.
Priestess: May we each keep a bit of this sacred space in our hearts as we walk through the dark.
The priestess blows out the pillar candle, then rings the singing bowl or chimes three times and says:
May the blessings of the Old Ones go with us in our hearts. Merry meet, merry part and merry meet again!
When we are ready to bless the food, the priest says:
We bless this food in the names of the Old Ones. Through them we are given these gifts and are thankful. Blessed be.
* “Soul of the Drum”; author unknown
** “A-tesh-anna”; author unknown
*** “Beauty Way”; author unknown
Imbolc: This Moment by Melissa Hope is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.