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Imbolc: Being Welcome & Being Welcomed

Imbolc Altar

Imbolc 2014. Presented for a group of 8 people using standard ritual format draft 2.2 (second new circle cutting). Used research and ideas from this blog post on an old Pagan value: hospitality.

 

Materials and Tools:

 A couple of candles for lighting, a battery-operated candle for each participant for reading by, a ritual broom, representations of the elements, a singing bowl, a chair for each participant plus two extra chairs, a miniature fireplace or other hearth representation, two candles for the deities, two offering dishes (one on each of the two extra chairs), a pitcher of chlorophyll water, ritual food in a dish, an athame, one goblet per participant plus two extra goblets (one just in front of each of the two extra chairs).

 

Notes:

In Silver Spiral’s new standard ritual format, a few things are up to the ritual leader: The quarter to start both the circle casting and the quarter calls in, whether or not to include the fifth element of spirit, a few words in both the quarter calls and the invocations, and whether to devoke in the same order or reverse order. In this ritual, we will start the quarters in the east in honour of spring, we will include spirit, we will devoke in reverse order, and the ritual specific words are in italics within the standard calls and invocations.

 

Preparation:

While everyone else gathers off to the side, one person sweeps the space with the ritual broom while saying (repeatedly if necessarily):

With purpose and intent, I cleanse this space.

The person who cleansed the space welcomes each person into it one at a time with a hug and the greeting:

Welcome to our sacred space.

To which the person entering responds: Blessed be.

Everyone holds hands and closes their eyes while the priest/ess leads the breathing meditation:

Breathe… [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Breathe… [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Breathe… [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Feel the ground beneath you. [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Feel the air around you. [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Come home to your body. [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Prepare to enter sacred space. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

 

Building Sacred Space:

The space cleanser picks up the singing bowl.

The circle caster picks up the east element representation from the altar and carries it around the circle clockwise while saying:

We cast this circle in honour of air.

All repeat:

We cast this circle in honour of air to create and open scared space.

The space cleanser rings the singing bowl.

The circle caster repeats with each of the other elements in the following order: fire, water, earth, and spirit. After the last circuit, the circle caster says:

The space is set. The circle is cast. Blessed Be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the east and the east quarter caller says:

To the East, I send this call: Air, bless us with your gift of feeling winter’s last chilling winds as we celebrate Imbolc and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the south and the south quarter caller says:

To the South, I send this call: Fire, bless us with your gift of seeing the bright cold sun as we celebrate Imbolc and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the west and the west quarter caller says:

To the West, I send this call: Water, bless us with your gift of hearing the cleansing rain as we celebrate Imbolc and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the north and the north quarter caller says:

To the North, I send this call: Earth, bless us with your gift of smelling the still soil in waiting as we celebrate Imbolc and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the centre and the centre quarter caller says:

To the Centre, I send this call: Spirit, bless us with your gift of knowing the blessed journey as we celebrate Imbolc and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

 

Invocations:

One person invokes the Goddess: Light the candle in front of the hearth from one of the other candles:

Lady of the ocean, Mother Pacific, Goddesses of our tribes, we invite you to our rite. Blessed Be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

One person invokes the God: Light the candle in front of the hearth from one of the other candles:

Lord of the mountains, Father Lions, Gods of our tribes, we invite you to our rite. Blessed Be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

 

Introduction:

Priest/ess:

Though the days are getting longer and we’ve been blessed with sunshine, we’re still in our coldest and wettest part of the year. Imbolc is a time for gathering around a hearth fire and sharing hospitality with our loved ones and our Gods.

 

Part One: Giving thanks for hospitality received:

All take a seat.

Priest/ess:

We receive hospitality every moment of our lives. Our food, our homes, our very breath, all come from powers outside ourselves. We are guests in this place and time and the spirits welcome us. We strive to be good guests: to not impose upon the generosity of this land and to reciprocate for the blessings we’ve received.

Let us give thanks for this hospitality:

The person who invoked the Goddess:

Mother Pacific, Lady of this Ocean, we thank you for your life giving power and for your tempering of our climate. From you comes the gentleness of these winters and this long, lush growing season. We thank you for the beautiful trees, the rich soil, the food that surrounds us. We strive to be good guests, to take only what we need, and to help clean up after ourselves. Thank you for your generosity.

Pour a libation of chlorophyll water into the offering bowl for the Goddess.

The person who invoked the God:

Father Lions, Lord of these Mountains, we thank you for your protection and for your life giving rains. From you comes the rains that enrich these soils, fill the rivers, and create power for our homes. We thank you for this rainforest and wonderous biodiversity. We strive to be good guests, to take only what we need, and to help clean up after ourselves. Thank you for your generosity.

Pour a libation of chlorophyll water into the offering bowl for the God.

 

Part Two: Offering the hospitality of our Circle:

Priest/ess:

We have been welcomed in this place, so we give thanks and we offer reciprocity. We created this Circle out of our energy as a spiritual and physical space for our souls and our bodies and we welcome divinity to it. We offer our hospitality to the Gods.

Air quarter caller: Stand with hands open and upwards in a gesture of welcoming:

We invite you, Mother Pacific and Father Lions, to share in our fellowship.

South quarter caller: Stand and hold hands towards the candle as though warming at a fire:

Please warm yourselves by our hearth.

Water quarter caller: Stand and hold the bowl of water up:

We invite you both to refresh yourselves of the dust of the road.

Earth quarter caller: Stand and gesture to the empty chairs:

Please be seated and be comfortable in our home.

Spirit quarter caller: Stand:

We thank you for blessing us with your presences and being our guests. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

 

Part Three: Offering to the guests:

Priest/ess:

We have been blessed by the presence of our divine guests. So far, we have done all the talking, which is hardly polite.

Lady of the Ocean and Lord of the Mountain and the divinity within every being in this Circle, we invite you to enter us, rise from within us, and be with us in this celebration. As part of the hospitality of our Circle, we offer our voices and we offer our attention.

Let us enter a state of trance together, giving space to the Gods to speak to us. They may speak in words, or in inspiration, or in feelings, so accept what comes as they move through you.

Chant: Air I am; Fire I am; Water, Earth and Spirit I am.*

Priest/ess will ring the singing bowl to bring the chanting to a close.

 

Food and Drink:

One person holds the plate of food while another blesses it:

By the Divine, this offering is blessed, and we share this food in the spirit of community. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

The food is passed clockwise with each saying to the next: May you never hunger. / Blessed be.

When the food reaches each of the deities’ chairs, the person to their right will pass twice: once to the God or Goddess, placing the food in the offering bowl, then to the person to the deity’s left.

When the food has been returned to the altar, one person holds the pitcher while the other lowers the athame into it and says:

As the athame is to the lover, so the chalice is to the loved, and joined they are one in truth.

As the pitcher is passed clockwise, each fills their neighbour’s goblet while saying Thou art God or Thou art Goddess. The recipient responds: Blessed be.

When the drink reaches each of the deities’ chairs, the person to their right will pass twice: once to the God or Goddess, pouring some of the beverage into their goblet, then to the person to the deity’s left.

Once all the goblets have been filled and the pitcher is returned to the altar, the leader toasts: May you never thirst. All respond with Blessed be and drink.

 

Grounding:

Should the food and drink feel insufficient to return everyone to a grounded state, the priest/ess will lead a short stretching and grounding exercise here.

 

Devocations:

The same person who invoked the God thanks Him:

Lord of the mountain, Father Lions, Gods of our tribes, thank you for your blessings. Go in peace. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

The person who invoked the Goddess thanks Her:

Lady of the ocean, Mother Pacific, Goddesses of our tribes, thank you for your blessings. Go in peace. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

 

Closing Sacred Space:

All turn to face the centre and the centre quarter caller says:

To the Centre: Spirit, thank you for your gifts. Go in peace. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

Repeat for all quarters in reverse order: North/Earth, West/Water, South/Fire, and East/Air.

The space cleanser picks up the singing bowl again.

The circle caster walks the circle counter-clockwise to take down the circle. At each quarter, they pause and the singing bowl is rung. When they step back into the circle of people, the bowl is rung one more time and then the circle caster says:

The circle is open, but never broken. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again!

 

* Chant by Andras Corban Arthen.

 

Creative Commons Licence
Imbolc: Being Welcomed & Welcoming In by Melissa Hope is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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3 Responses to Imbolc: Being Welcome & Being Welcomed

  1. Pingback:We're Made of Mud and Magic | Link roundup: hospitality
  2. Pingback:Link roundup: hospitality | BLACK MAGICK
  3. Pingback:Our big questions – part 3: ritual structure 2.0 | BLACK MAGICK

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