Celtic Polytheism, Event, Holiday Celebration, Paganism, Prayer, Ritual

Imbolc!

 

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!]

 

Kemetic

Kemetic Holiday: She Is Led Back

Due to illness and sudden out of town guests, my celebration of the return of the Eyes of Ra was a bit more subdued than I had planned. Here’s a picture of the altar following their unveiling, however, with an offering of chocolate, and clear water. I also gave them a plate of the dinner we made that night, but it didn’t fit neatly in the picture, as it encroached into the space allocated for Athena Columbia. (I expect that a larger shrine, and perhaps even one that closes, is the next thing on their wishlist for Wep Ronpet.)

Next year, I think I’m going to try and write a specific prayer or song for the second half of this holiday, and offer that and some food each night as they come back, as a sort of extended feast.

Next Bright Moon is on January 21st!

Event, Holiday Celebration

Our Beltaine

WOW this month has been busy so far!  And our Beltaine celebration started that off, pretty much.

We were hoping to have a Beltaine-eve bonfire with local pagan friends but the host unfortunately got sick, so we had another small hearth celebration, like we did for the Spring Equinox.  The deity of the occasion for us this time is Áine, the Fairy Queen, and we also celebrate the fae (particularly the Seelie and nature-aligned ones) for this holiday.

Our meal consisted of a spring green salad with berries and goat cheese and honey with a berry vinaigrette dressing (YUM!), and gluten free angel food cake with home made strawberry topping for dessert.  We also picked up a package of violet flavored chocolate covered marshmallows on a whim at the grocery store, so that’s the other thing on the plate!  And we finally got Áine her own candle for the shrine shelf.

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I used the prayer from the Spring Equionx again, altering it for the new holiday, and though I didn’t write it down at the time, I’ve recreated it as closely as possible below:

Beltaine has arrived, and the days are growing longer than the nights,

Plants are unfurling their leaves, and some have begun to bloom!

Spring has now reached its height, and the season is turning again

We stand at the balance: Spring becomes Summer

And on this day, we honor Áine

Queen of the Fae, Lady of Golden Light

Come to us now, and join in our celebration!

We offer you food, and drink, and merriment!

We ask in return for your blessings.

Help us to continue to grow and to bloom in this season.

Áine, Hail and Welcome!

A couple of days later, we took part in a ritual planned by a local pagan friend of ours that focused on the Green Man as a metaphor for the growth of the coming season.  My role was that of a quarter call, in which I invoked local waterways, tying us back to the local environment.  (The details for that are probably best left for a post on local cultus.)  Here’s an image of the altar at the end of the rite (unfortunately by that time, the Green Man face we had constructed together was beginning to lose leaves!)

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I hope you all had an amazing Beltaine!

Event, Holiday Celebration

Our Spring Equinox Celebration!

Here at the Blue House*, the Spring Equinox is an occasion to honor Arianhrod, and in keeping with my desire to come up with hearth traditions, we made a meal for the occasion, with a Welsh dish called Anglesey Eggs as the centerpiece.

I started the day before, with homemade slow-cooker mashed potatoes using Yukon Golds and lots of Irish butter and garlic salt.  Yum!  I also boiled a half dozen eggs, and dyed them in blueberry juice.  They turned out quite lovely, though I forgot to crackle them ahead of time so the colors would seep through! Oops.

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The day of our celebration, I sautéed some leeks in more of that lovely Irish butter with some more garlic… and then realized that it was going to be impossible to mix them into the cold mashed potatoes without heating it all the way up first… oops again.  So instead, I just put them on top of the mash, and put the sliced boiled eggs on top of those.

I’d had grand plans for roasted lamb or a lamb meatloaf, but couldn’t find what I wanted in a price range that would fit our tight budget, so instead I browned about a pound of ground lamb in a skillet with some herbs (mint, rosemary, savory, and thyme) and then sprinkled that around the eggs before I added the cheese sauce and bread crumb topping.  It was DELICIOUS.

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Arianrhod’s plate and glass

I am definitely doing this again next year, though hopefully with lamb meatloaf!  I had also planned on making welsh cakes with currants but I ran out of time and energy, alas.  Next year, for sure!

Once the casserole was hot through and all the cheese was melted, we brought it to the table and served each of us a plate, with one on the side for Arianrhod, as our esteemed guest for the occasion.  We also opened a bottle of bubbly and poured everyone (except the baby) a glass!  When the food was served, I read aloud a prayer I had written for the occasion:

 

The Spring Equinox has arrived,

And the days are now as long as the nights.

The Plants are awakening from their slumber,

And green things are growing again!

No more is Spring only a promise of things to come,

But not yet is the world awash in flowers.

Here we are at the balance– 

Mid-Spring, between Midwinter and Midsummer!

And on this day we honor Arianrhod,

Lady of the Silver Wheel, who dwells in Caer Sidi.

Come to us now, and join our celebration!

We offer you food, and drink, and merriment!

We ask in return for your blessings:

Help us to grow and to manifest the seeds we have planted.

ARIANRHOD, HAIL AND WELCOME!

And that was pretty much it!  Good food, good drink, the family together.  We shared the meal with our house spirits, we poured some drink for our other gods, and had ourselves a homey little celebration of the turning of the seasons.

How was yours?

 

 

 

*that’s what I’ve taken to calling our home, since both Scott and I have the color blue in common, spiritually.
Event, Holiday Celebration, Kemetic

Wep Ronpet: In Review

Well, it turned out that I mostly ended up doing a very short meditation on the deity in question on the day-of, after queuing most of the shrine images and the “about this deity” posts on my kemetic tumblr in advance.  Then I pulled a single card from my Lo Scarabeo Egyptian Tarot deck, as a message from the deity.  If you want to see those posts, check out this link.  The messages were overwhelmingly about hospitality and working together, so I think I’m going to be working a bit more with the Kemetic pantheon in the coming year.

I didn’t manage to see the star rise, unfortunately, because it was cloudy, but I was awake and I did my brief meditation at that time or a little after.  I did the execration on Wep Ronpet itself, because rain made our other plans for the afternoon and evening somewhat delayed, and by the time we had eaten and everyone had written on the pot, I was much too tired.  So the next morning I donned my whites (my casual whites – I decided a nice white tank top was a better idea for camping than my new white dress), took the pot, declared it to be isfet, and offered its destruction to Bast and Sekhmet, Eyes of Ra!  Then I handed it to a friend who has some serious things she needed gone, to smash because I was still not quite energized enough to really slam it.  But she slammed it.  Gods did she ever.  And then a bunch of us picked up the pieces and tossed them in the trash where it belongs.  Good fucking riddance, isfet.

Then Glasreo and I headed home from our lil druidy camping trip, and the next day I had a New Year’s bath in honor of Bast and Sekhmet.  I used a “yoga” Bath bomb from Lush – that’s in the posts from the link above, too.  I realized that my original oath of service to Bast has expired… I am due to re-oath myself, this time to both of them, and I did, briefly, but I need to write out a more formal contract sometime soon, to honor my role as an oracle-priestess-in-training.  And I may need to figure out an Egyptian phrase for that.

All in all, it was a very excellent first holiday, and you can expect more Kemetic holiday celebrations getting written up here in the future.

Event, Kemetic

Wep Ronpet – Kemetic New Year

I’m attempting a Kemetic New Year celebration for the first time this year!  I’ve been a devotee of Bast and Sekhmet for a while now, and I decided it’s finally time to really start doing holidays.  Previously I had not done much by way of Kemetic holiday celebrations in large part because the calendar is pretty complicated – the new year is calculated starting from the first day the star Sirius can be seen in the pre-dawn twilight, ahead of the sunrise.  That requires staring at a lot of star charts and comparing dates to find the first day… and then calculating how many days between Wep Ronpet and any given holiday in the calendar, and adding that many days to your calculated Wep Ronpet date… and honestly, it was bit overwhelming.  But this year, I bit the bullet, and I’m doing Wep Ronpet.  I’m using the date for DC even though I live a bit into Virginia – and that date is August 7th, at 5:42 am.  That means that the five Epagomenal Days start on August 2nd, with the Birthday of Wesir (Osiris), followed by Heru-Wer (Horus the Elder), Set, Aset (Isis), and Nebhet (Nepthys) being the final birthday on August 6th.  That evening I’m also planning on doing a red pot execration, similar to the one I described in a previous post.  With any luck I will also rise early enough to see the star herself rise, ushering in the new year.

Although I will be camping with druidy friends for Lughnasadh for most of that week, I am setting up a follow-along for the Epagomenal Days and Wep Ronpet on my Kemetic tumblog, so check that out if you’re interested.  I’ll also post a reflection once it’s all over.

I am very excited and I hope this will be the beginning of a year with many new holidays for me!  (Especially if the Egyptian Daybook is actually released soon.)  I have stuck a few into my calendar already: the Festival of Bast and Sekhmet (Nov 19), the Sailing of Bast, Sekhmet, and Anubis (Jan 3-5), and the Festival of Chewing Onions for Bast (Apr 16).  I don’t know what I’ll be doing for all of them, yet, but I think Bast and Sekhmet have big plans for me this coming year.