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Litha: Peace in the Whirlwind

Litha altar

Litha 2015. Presented for a group of 8 people on June 26th using Silver Spiral standard ritual format draft 2.2.

Materials and Tools:

Chairs for all participants, ritual broom, representations of the elements, a bell or singing bowl, cue cards, a cord with 32 knots in it (two of which are larger and are separated by two regular knots, ritual food (seasonal fruit) on a plate or in a bowl, a pitcher of beverage (traditional barley water), an offering bowl or plate and an offering goblet, an athame, one goblet per participant.

Set Up:

The participants’ chairs are in a big circle around a small altar. The roles are determined by which chair each person takes (the priestess’ will have to be marked) as the cue cards for their roles will be taped to the chair’s head rests and the matching cards for the meditation will be underneath.

Roles:

South chair: Fire
South-West chair: Priestess / space cleansing
West chair: Water
North-West chair: Goddess / Food
North chair: North
North-East chair: God / Drink
East chair: Air
South-East chair: Circle casting

The knotted cord will be laid in a circle inside the chairs, tucked up against the legs so it won’t be tripped on. The larger knots need to be at the Priestess’ chair.

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 Priestess 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 bell or singing bowl.

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

We cast this circle in honour of Fire.

All repeat:

We cast this circle in honour of Fire to create and open sacred space.

The space cleanser rings the bell.

The circle caster repeats with each of the other elements in clockwise order (Water, Earth, and Air). 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 direction and the direction quarter callers say:

To the South, I send this call: Fire, bless us with your gift of the heats as we celebrate the summer in this place and at this time and every day. Blessed be.

To the West, I send this call: Water, bless us with your gift of the waters as we celebrate the summer in this place and at this time and every day. Blessed be.

To the North, I send this call: Earth, bless us with your gift of the dirts as we celebrate the summer in this place and at this time and every day. Blessed be.

To the East, I send this call: Air, bless us with your gift of the winds as we celebrate the summer in this place and at this time and every day. Blessed be.

After each, all repeat: Blessed be.

Invocations:

Someone invokes the Goddess:

Lady of the summer’s sunshine, Goddesses of our tribes, we invite you to our rite. Blessed Be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

Someone else invokes the God:

Lord of the tree’s shade, Gods of our tribes, we invite you to our rite. Blessed Be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

Centre:

Everyone takes their seats and get comfortable.

Priestess:

Summer is upon us, and abundance is all around us. We are surrounded by amble growth, plentiful food, and bountiful sunshine. There are nearly endless options for outdoor activities, parties, and outings every day and night. The heat and long bright days raise our energies and call us to action…

But we can still need quiet and restful contemplation. Sometimes the summer sunshine can feel more like a burden than a blessing; it’s the tyranny of the beautiful day.

Let us join together in trance to honour both the energy of the summer and our need to find quiet in it. Place the cord in your lap and take up the cue cards from under your chair. Read the next line every time your turn comes. Read with intent to entrance; listen with intent to be entranced.

After, we will move move directly into our chanting; one repetition per knot. When you reach one of the large knots, you will be silent for four repetitions, until the next large knot has passed through your hands.

The cue cards; each line read by the next person, going clockwise around the circle:

To the fire, we offer these prayers.

Heat of the south, the bright of noon, we know your blessings.

To the fire, we offer these prayers.

Heat of the west, the blazing endings, we know your blessings.

To the fire, we offer these prayers.

Heat of the north, the lingering in dark, we know your blessings.

To the fire, we offer these prayers.

Heat of the east, the glow of beginnings, we know your blessings.

To the water, we offer these prayers.

Waters of the south, rains carried on warm wind, we know your blessings.

To the water, we offer these prayers.

Waters of the west, mighty ocean tiding, we know your blessings.

To the water, we offer these prayers.

Waters of the north, melting and flowing, we know your blessings.

To the water, we offer these prayers.

Waters of the east, journeying from source to ocean, we know your blessings.

To the earth, we offer these prayers.

Dirt of the south, bringer of vegetables and roots, we know your blessings.

To the earth, we offer these prayers.

Dirt of the west, holder of life’s mineral, we know your blessings.

To the earth, we offer these prayers.

Dirt of the north, mountain guardian, we know your blessings.

To the earth, we offer these prayers.

Dirt of the east, creator of fruit and grain, we know your blessings.

To the air, we offer these prayers.

Winds of the south, bringer of storms, we know your blessings.

To the air, we offer these prayers.

Winds of the west, ocean’s breath, we know your blessings.

To the air, we offer these prayers.

Winds of the north, crisp and cold one, we know your blessings.

To the air, we offer these prayers.

Winds of the east, breath of the morning, we know your blessings.

Everyone puts down their cue cards and take up the cord and chant:

Take the flame inside you
Burn and burn below
Fire seed and fire feed
And make the magic grow.*

When the silent section has gone all the way around, the chanting is brought to an end.

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 person who blessed the food puts a portion of the food in the offering plate or bowl and says:

To the gods and goddesses of our tribes.

The food is passed clockwise with each saying to the next: Blessed be.

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.

The person holding the pitcher pours a portion into the offer goblet and says:

To the gods and goddesses of our tribes.

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.

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

Devocations:

The same person who invoked the God thanks Him:

Lord of the tree’s shade, 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 summer’s sunshine, 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 direction and the direction quarter callers say:

To the East: Air, thank you for your gifts. Go in peace. Blessed be.

To the North: Earth, thank you for your gifts. Go in peace. Blessed be.

To the West: Water, thank you for your gifts. Go in peace. Blessed be.

To the South: Fire, thank you for your gifts. Go in peace. Blessed be.

After each, all repeat: Blessed be.

The space cleanser picks up the bell again.

The circle caster walks the circle counter-clockwise to take down the circle. When they step back into the circle of people, the bell 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 is an adaptation of Paul Giovanni’s “Fire Leap” from the original “Wicker Man” movie.

 

Creative Commons Licence
Litha: Peace in the Whirlwind is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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