This year for Imbolc, we helped to organize a ritual at our local UU church. At home, our deities of the occasion are Cailleach and Brigid, and the group agreed to honor them for our ritual. We used a shortened version of the ADF creation of sacred space and ritual center, honoring of the Hallows (Fire, Well and Tree), the Kindreds (Shining Ones, Ancestors, and Nature Spirits), and a short meditation to help us connect to the space between the worlds.
Then we invoked the Cailleach and Brigid. Another participant read a prayer they’d found called “Prayer to Brigantia, Keeper of the Forge“, by Patti Wigington, substituting “Brigid” for “Brigantia”. I wrote a poem for Cailleach following the same pattern, and Scott read it during the ritual. I’ve reproduced both, below.
We also tied raffia to pussywillow branches for our hopes and intentions for the spring, similar to cloutie ties, and we sang Kelianna’s song Brighid’s Flame together.
It was a simple ritual, but poignant for many of the participants, and it’s proof that we can pull something together in less than a week. Still, I think we’re going to plan farther ahead for the Spring Equinox!
Imbolc Prayer for Cailleach, by Aleja Nic Bhé Chuille
Hail, Cailleach! Bringer of ice and snow,
She who blankets the world in white,
She who freezes the world so time seems to slow,
She who encourages us to rely on each other,
She who is called the Blue Crone,
And teaches us the true meaning of survival.
Hail, Cailleach! Queen of Winter,
She who frosts the ground with her staff,
She who dropped rocks and made mountains,
She who shaped valleys and hills,
She who flies over the land as a great winter storm.
Prayer for Brigantia, Keeper of the Forge, by Patti Wigington
Hail, Brigantia! Keeper of the forge,
She who shapes the world itself with fire,
She who ignites the spark of passion in the poets,
She who leads the clans with a warrior’s cry,
She who is the bride of the islands,
And who leads the fight of freedom.
Hail, Brigantia! Defender of kin and hearth,
She who inspires the bards to sing,
She who drives the smith to raise his hammer,
She who is a fire sweeping across the land.
[Feel free to use my prayer to Cailleach for your own rituals, with proper attribution!]