Strawberries and Roses – Waxing June Moon ritual

rose crescent moon tattoo
Found this beauty on Pinterest tagged as pretty neck tattoos for women. The artist is Zihwa Ink, and she’s super talented.

As we approach our last Tween and Teen ritual before summer break, I think about two things: how much I’ll miss the kids and parents, and how busy the next two months will be as I kick Lammas planning into high gear.

I wrote a Full Moon Strawberry and Rose ritual in 2017 for the Tween and Teen group. I remembered it fondly. And I’ve been playing with my food dehydrator drying strawberries for herbal tea blends for my tea and baking blog. I’ve been using the following ingredients to make an evening tea this week:

2 parts Chamomile, 1/2 part hibiscus,  1 part rose hips, 1/2 part hawthorn berries, 1/2 part rose petals, dried strawberries. {part = teaspoon or cup. it really depends on how much you want to blend at once. I have been keeping my dried strawberries in a separate glass jar because I’ve not yet achieved dried fruit skills that I’m confident of.}

The tea is a pink-red and tart, but with that honeyed flavour of chamomile. If I took my tea sweet, I’d add a spot of honey.

Being me, I can’t just open a script on my google drive and print it and go. Two years ago the ritual was written for the full moon.  In 2019 we are meeting two days before the first quarter moon. I framed the document with our usual circle casting and closing, pasted in parts of scripts from an old waxing moon rite and the strawberry/rose ritual and got to editing.

BTW – I’m going to post this. But no one should be surprised if in a few days as I’m reading over my printed copy before I run off copies for the group I go ahead and make further edits.

Waxing Strawberry and Rose Moon Rite:

HPS: On this night as we honour the waxing moon, as we approach the season of strawberries and roses, we should pause to think of what we are looking forward to. Summer is a time of growth and development before the harvest arrives.   What do you plan to manifest for yourself in the coming month?  Let us take a moment to reflect upon how we have grown this spring.

Reader: This is the time of beginning anew. Tonight we are touched by the Maiden. The seed-time of the lunar course, the awakening out of the dark. now the moon emerges, a silver crescent out of the blackness, swelling to maturity. The birth giver returns from death.

Reader: The tide turns. All is transformed. The Goddess changes everything she touches. And everything she touches changes. May she open us to change and growth. This is the celebration of the moon’s return, the waxing light, the time of renewal.

Reader: Feather-soft beams of moonlight in this joyful time of new beginnings, when the  moon stirs from her dark sleep and begins again to grow; the moon bursts forth heralding the maturation of flower to fruit.

Reader: It is she who caresses our nerves, smoothes them with her glowing, silky hand. She soothes us into serenity with her cool presence. The moon is mistress and mother of our watery bodies. We shall grow young again in our hearts beneath the light of her smile which floods the midnight sky with misty moon glow.

Reader: Shine out, oh horned moon, oh festal night’s befriender, shine through the night’s darkness with your silvery light. Oh pale, ethereal Goddess, gaze forth in all your splendor, with immortal eyes which look on love’s delight.  Your conscious heart we know is kind to us and tender. Oh crowned queen, set our hearts aflame tonight.

Reader: Welcome moon of renewal! Shine upon us. Let the fine mists of moonlight refresh us, and rinse us clean. Turn the night into patterns of dancing light, and let us shine. Let us shine as a symbol of growth, a reflection of this season of growing and fruition. As the moon waxes, let us grow in her love and light, and foster in the world around us the goodness we wish to see.

Reader: Maiden and Mistress of the months and stars, moving in the flowerless fields of heaven; grey-eyed huntress in whose hair the crescent moon lies; lady of green meadows and flowers that will turn to fruit, we honor you this night.

Reader: Our lady of the moon, enchantment’s queen, your mirror hangs in space. Oh Goddess from the darkest deep of time! Night-roaming Goddess of the moon, make us open to your divine presence.  Make us open to the wisdom and glory of your holy power so that you may be a living soul within us. implant within us the seeds of love and understanding.

Reader: Reflecting mystic light upon the earth, and every month your threefold image shines. Mistress of magic, ruler of the tides both seen and unseen. Spinner of the threads of birth and death and fate, oh, ancient one, nearest to us of heaven’s lights.

Reader: Oh Goddess of the silver light that shines in magic rays through deepest woodland glade, and over sacred and enchanted hills at still midnight, when your mystic children cast their spells, when strange things are abroad; by the cauldron of your inspiration, Goddess threefold, upon you we call.

HPS: The wheel turns. The days grow long and warm. The earth is lush and green, Gardens are bursting with the first peas, lettuce and herbs. The first sweet fruits of the season are quickening in the heat of day.

Reader: This month of June represents the culmination of spring, and the birth of summer. Roses are finally able to bloom to their full glory, spreading velvet perfumed petals. It is the month when the daisy-like blooms turn to white nubs, and swell into juicy red strawberries.

Reader: Ancient tribes of the Americas refer to the full moon of June as the Strawberry moon. We are in the days leading up to the full moon. We are waiting for the first red fruits to ripen. The ancients were only able to eat the ripe red fruit off the vine at this time of year.  Today we can get strawberries year round – tasteless berries shipped from across the country and the world. No berry is as divine as the fresh one we can pick with our own hands.

Reader: Strawberries that in gardens grow 

Are plump and juicy fine,

But sweeter far as wise men know

Spring from the woodland vine.

No need for bowl or silver spoon,

Sugar or spice or cream,

Has the wild berry plucked in June

Beside the trickling stream.

Reader: Each strawberry I eat, always has the perfect amount of joy. I bite into one and relish the amazing flavor. This one is sweet, better than any jam I have spread upon toast. This next one is sour and crisp, but better than any I have found in the store I eat it down to the white flesh where the leafy green top sits, And I wonder how a small white petaled blossom becomes this wonderful fruit. Then I toss the green top, and eat another.

HP: The strawberry is native to our country.  Our ancestors from Europe called the full moon of June the rose moon; for the warming June is the time when roses come to full bloom. We can see the buds beginning to colour and unfurl, ready to unfurl and show us their many petaled luxury, and fill the air with their perfume.

HPS: “Oh dear! Is summer over?” I heard  a rosebud moan

When first her eyes she opened, and found she was alone. 

“Oh why did summer leave me, little me, belated?

Where are the other roses?  I think they might have waited.” 

Soon the little rosebud saw to her surprise

other rosebuds opening, so she dried her eyes 

Then I heard her laughing gaily in the sun

“I thought summer was over: why, it’s only just begun!”

Reader: White roses first appeared during the birth of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love. As the sea foam washed her to shore, it turned to roses. She wears red roses upon her head and neck and feet in honor of her fallen love, Adonis. As she ran to rescue him from a hunting accident, she scratched herself on a rose thorn, splashing her blood upon the white petals, turning them red.

Reader: Roses are the flower of Isis; beauty and grace, pain and loss, rebirth and medicine. The ancients believed the bodies of the Gods exuded rose perfume, and that the scent of roses brought one in close connection to the Divine.

Reader: They are a symbol of balance. Roses express promise, new beginnings, and hope. The thorns represent defense, loss, and thoughtlessness. Roses are for love and death, for friendship and joy. Their scent is sacred around the world – it is the scent of the human soul, a reminder of spirituality and spiritual joy. It is a mystical fragrance that tells us when the Divine is near, or we have a message from a loved one who has passed on.

Reader: As the month warms and the moon waxes, the berries will ripen and the roses will open.  The promise of the Maiden becomes the fullness of the Mother.

HPS: Let us relish these warm summer nights. Let us dance and sing, let us whisper our joys and sorrows to the Goddess, under the full summer moons. So Mote It Be.

 

All: So Mote It Be.

This ritual is composed of : Circle opening and closing taken from the Society of Elder Faiths Liturgy. The Charge of the God written by Daniel Webster Christensen, The Charge of the Goddess written by Doreen Valiente. Rite of the Waxing Moon, Adapted by Morwynna for Grove of the Mists from: Rite of the Waxing Moon, Adapted for Amaltheia Coven use by Briannan from Ganymede’s Waxing Moon Ritual and Rite of the Moon.  Gaia Invocation adapted from a poem by Claudia L’Amoreaux Fox. Compiled November 2013 by Kara Renee for use in the Society of Elder Faith’s Tween and Teen Group.  Edits 2019 KRN

Wild Strawberries by Robert Graves

http://mooncircles.com/full-strawberry-moon/

http://www.theoi.com/Nymphe/NympheKhloris.html

http://www.charentonmacerations.com/2014/10/29/mythological-rose/

 

The First Rose of Summer by Oliver Herford
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Rite of Isis – adapted from Dion Fortune 2019

The image above is my interpretation of the vision of Isis at the end of The Golden Ass a must read!  

Other books I love are Moon Magic, Sea Priestess, and Gareth Knight’s book excellent book.

Every time I open this script I edit it a little bit more. This year I removed the seekest but left the thees and thous.  Not just pre-teens and teens, but many adults trip over the reading of fancy language.

When I was reviewing the script I realized I did not have meditations for the grounding or the creation of the temple. I referred to guided meditations I’ve been a part of in the past (covens, Isis centered retreats) to write up the two I added this year.

My 10 year old HPS in training volunteered to be HPS for this ritual. And she volunteered to read the meditations. I always give the young people the choice to read or ask someone else to read the grounding and centering at the start of ritual. This time she boldly chose to read them both. Both of her parents were in circle. I could feel them swell with pride while we were all standing there with our eyes closed, listening to her lead her first guided meditations.

The meditation I wrote for the creation of the temple made me realize there isn’t art that fits the images in my head.  I’m plotting new paintings. While we can find many paintings and drawings and statues of Isis and Aphrodite, so many of Persephone do not depict her as I see her.

Before the ritual, I’ve listed props as well as words we review prior to ritual.

Props: singing bowl

Cloths for Isis (north) – black and silver

Cloths for Persephone (west) – black, purple, blue, silver

Cloths for Aphrodite (east) – green and gold

New Words and Concepts and Pronunciations:

Rhea -Greek earth goddess, daughter of Gaia and Uranus, mother of the Olympians

Binah – female manifestation of God meaning “knowledge”

Ge – Gaia

Supernal-relating to the sky or heavens

Primordial -existing since the beginning of time

Latent -hidden, concealed

Receptive – ready to receive

Glyph – an elemental symbol within an agreed set of symbols, intended to represent a readable

character for the purposes of writing.

Levanah -Hebrew moon goddess

Fecund – fertile

Amenti – Egyptian realm of the dead

The circle is not yet cast. The HPS leads a grounding and centering. Signals end of grounding with 3 bells

HPS:    Close your eyes.  Soften your knees. Relax your shoulders. Breathe normally.

We are going to take a journey.  We are in Egypt beside the Nile. The moon above is full. There is a cool mist rising from the river.

We approach a dock where a long narrow boat is moored.  We are helped aboard by servants of the temple. We seat ourselves, and the servants push the boat from the dock. We begin our journey to the temple of Isis.

The moon shines down upon the water, and on the banks of the Nile we can see the blue shadows of palm trees and reeds.  We can hear the quiet drone of life of the river: insects, the snort of a hippo, the soft splash of a crocodile. All of nature around us is vibrantly alive.

The boat pulls up to a dock on the opposite side of the river. As we step out onto the dock. We notice the cool river mist is behind us, and the light of the moon seems brighter above us. The moon lights our way up a paved road. The servants bow to us. And we process up the road together.

The road is lined with cypress tree and ram-headed sphinxes. The tightly clustered branches of the evergreens shiver in the warm night breeze. The moonlight gives the impression of life to the stone guardians of the path – we can feel them watching us with steady, unblinking eyes. They watch us and protect us on our way.

We pass the last sphinxes, and two by two we walk up the stairs through the door of the temple. We pass beneath the shadow of the entrance, and emerge in a moon-lit court. In the center is a lotus pool.  Tiled in brilliant colours, where blue and pink lotus flowers float sleeping. Beneath them are the shadows of fish that dart in and out of the moonlight and lotus roots. The sound of chanting and the scent of incense float on the warm air to us across the courtyard.

We enter the inner temple through a double bronze door. It is held open for us by servants of the temple. When we are all inside, they close the doors behind us. In the candle lit room, we see the walls draped in black and silver curtains. Incense smoke is heavy here. It dances before our eyes, making us believe we see movement beyond the curtains. Behind these dark drapes are images of the Holy of Holies – the faces of the Great Goddess.

The Priestesses and Priests of the temple enter. We open our eyes. We bow to one another and the ritual begins.

High Priest: These rites are designed to restore to the soul of humanity that which was lost since the childhood of the race.  By means of the joy of beauty are the ancient forces awakened, and the soul of humanity is made whole that before was partial and imperfect.  Here we shall erect the Temple of Isis: the temple of the life and death, the earth and moon, creation and love.

Reader 1: Under the name of Isis we personify a mode of the manifestation of power – the feminine, latent and receptive mode.  This we see as a trinity in unity: Binah, Persephone, and Aphrodite, three aspects of the feminine polarity.

Reader 2: As Binah, the Supernal Mother, she is primordial space, the source of all being; as Persephone, the Compassionate Mother, she is Queen of those that sleep; these two are  negative and latent; but as Aphrodite, obedient to the laws of alternating polarity, she is positive and dynamic, a giver of life.

Under the form of the Three-fold Isis we represent the feminine Glyph of Life.  All women are Isis, and Isis is all women.  In her glyph are deep truths to be meditated upon.

Reader 3: All who participate in the rite as worshipers must play their part, each after their kind.  All women should hear the voice of the priestess speaking for them; and all men should hear in the voice of the priest their own souls speaking.  Likewise they should help with the inner eye the building of the Temple as the reading describes it.  

Bell is struck 3 times

THE FORMULATION OF THE TEMPLE {Colours: Black and Silver}

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Altar of Isis in black and silver, photos are of ram headed sphinxes from Karnak (day and night shots), the temple of Isis, the boat of million years, and in the upper corner a lotus and a lotus pool. 

HPS: Learn now the secret of the web that is woven between the light and the darkness. Whose warp is life evolving in time and space, and whose weft is spun of the lives of men.  Behold we arise with the dawn of time from the grey and misty sea, and with the dusk we sink in the Western ocean; and the lives of a man are strung like pearls on the thread of his spirit.  And never in all his journey goes he alone, for that which is solitary is barren.

HP: Be far from us O ye profane. Brethren of the Mysteries, we are about to invoke the descent of the power of Isis.  To this end, let the Temple be sealed.

The Officers stand in their directions.  Officers draw the appropriate invoking pentagrams, beginning the figure with the All part.

North: In the Name of Isis, I open the North 

Guardians of the North, Powers of Earth:

Bearers of Grounding and Stability:

From mountaintops and valleys deep we call You!

All: We invoke Your Presence into our Circle

To ask Your blessing upon our rite. So Mote It Be!

East:   In the Name of Isis, I open the East

Guardians of the East, Powers of Air:

Transmitters of clarity, discernment and focus,

From the whispering winds and fierce gale we call you!

All: We invoke Your Presence into our Circle

To ask Your blessing upon our rite. So Mote It Be!

South: In the Name of Isis, I open the South

Guardians of the South, Powers of Fire:

Bringers of passion, inspiration and will,

From animal heat and the molten core we call You!

All: We invoke Your Presence into our Circle

To ask Your blessing upon our rite. So Mote It Be!

West: In the Name of Isis, I open the West.

Guardians of the West, Powers of Water:

Maintainers of wisdom, intuition and compassion,

From the placid pool & the raging deeps we call You

All: We invoke Your Presence into our Circle

To ask Your blessing upon our rite. So Mote It Be!

HPS: Let the power of the Goddess extend through the Temple

Reader 4: The Temples of Isis are in sheltered places where the earth is fertile and the waters are pure. Isis is the Mother of all living; she is the mate of the male; enter her Temple with clean hands and a pure heart lest ye defile the source of Life. Be far from us O ye profane.

Reader 5: Those who adore the Isis of Nature adore her as Hathor with the horns upon her brow; but those who adore the celestial Isis know her as Levanah of the Moon.  She is also the Great Deep whence Life arose.  She is all ancient and forgotten things wherein our roots are cast.  Upon Earth she is ever-fecund; in heaven she is ever virgin.  She is the  Mistress of the Tides that ebb and flow and never cease. In these things are the keys of her Mystery known to her initiated.

Reader 6: Isis is Our Lady of the Heavens and our Mother the Earth.  She is all Goddesses people’s hearts have worshipped. For these are not many things, but one thing under many forms.  All the Gods are One God, and all the Goddesses are one Goddess. 

The Temples of Isis are built of black marble and hung with silver, and she herself is seated veiled in the Innermost.  Her symbol is the cup of pure water in whose depth is the moon reflected.  Let us meditate on the Inner Temple.

[Temple Building meditation:  Bell is struck when finished]

HPS:    The priests pull back the black and silver curtains of the inner sanctum. We move forward, through a dark passage, to the most sacred center of the temple.

At the end of the passage are torches.  In this light we see the temple of Isis is cut out of black rock. The ceiling is too far and too dark for us to see.

A torch blazes to life to our right. It illuminates an image of a woman. She is ancient and timeless. She is young and old. Her brown skin looks warm and alive. Her ebony hair reflects the torch light. Her garments are carved so delicately, we can see her bare form beneath. The jewels laid upon her by the priests are precious and rare. Upon her shoulder is a hawk. In her left hand she holds an ankh of gold. Her right hand is stretched out towards you, as if to beckon you to take it and follow her.

The torch goes out. We are plunged in darkness for a moment. A torch now appears to our left. It shows another image of a woman. A queen, full of youth and strength. Her face is carved of white marble, looking both alive and dead. She has been draped in royal purple cloth by the priests. She wears no jewels but a crown of pomegranate red garnets upon her head. At her feet is an offering of wheat and pale flowers of asphodel. In her left hand is a torch carved of cypress wood, the wood of the dead, its flames painted in yellow and red ochre. In her right hand is a silver chalice of water from the well of memory, extended to you as if offering you a drink.

The second torch goes out, again keeping us in a darkness so complete we cannot see our hands before our eyes. A third torch blazes to life behind us. We turn to see another image of the goddess.  She is bold and naked, carved of some pink marble that gives her a glow of life, as if blood pulsed just beneath her veined skin. She holds her long blonde hair off her neck, running her fingers through it. She looks down the length of her body,  her carved eyes gazing upon her own curves and folds and naked beauty. At her feet are roses of pink and red and yellow.

In a brilliant flash of fire, the inner sanctum is lit with dozens of torches. And the priest speaks.

HP: The Temple being duly built, let us give praise to Isis.  

[All priests stand in the south, all priestesses stand in the north before the altar of Isis]

O thou most holy and adorable Isis, who in the heavens art the Supernal Mother, and upon Earth our Lady of Nature, and in the astral kingdoms between heaven and earth the ever-changing moon.  Thee, Thee, we adore in the symbol of the moon in her splendour ever-changing. And in the symbol of the deep sea that reflects her. And in the symbol of the opening of the gates of life. We see thee crowned in silver in the heavens; and veiled in green upon the Earth; and in thy robe of many colours at the Gates.  O heavenly Silver that answers to the celestial Gold. O Green that rises from the Grey! O Rainbow Glory of Living!

HPS: O Glorious Isis, Moon and Earth and Water, and all things negative and mutable, show forth thy form.  O thou that sleeps in matter and awakens in the ether, we offer unto thee that pythoness dedication.  Speak with our lips; hear with our ears; touch with our hands; ray forth from us the subtle and  mysterious life that was in the beginning.  

Priest 1: O though that was before the earth was formed, Rhea, Binah, Ge .O tideless soundless, boundless, bitter sea. I am the invoking priest, come to me.

Priest 2: O arching sky above and earth beneath, Giver of life and bringer-in of death, Persephone, Astarte, Ashtoreth, I am the invoking priest, come unto me.

Priest 3: O golden Aphrodite, answer me; Flower of the foam, rise from the wine-dark sea. The hour of the high full  moon draws near, Hear the invoking words, hear and appear – Almighty living creature of the gods, the procreative strength as Rhea, Binah, Ge.

HP: O Isis veiled and Rhea, Binah, Ge.

HPS: I come unto the priest that calleth me.

Priest 2: The hour of the full moon tide draws near

Priestess 1 : I hear the invoking words, hear and appear.

Priest 3: Almighty living creature of the gods, the procreative strength as Rhea, Binah, Ge.

HPS: I come unto the priest that calls me.

Priestess 1: I am she who ere the earth was formed Was Rhea, Binah, Ge. I am the soundless, boundless, bitter sea. Out of whose depths life wells eternally – Astarte, Aphrodite, Ashtoreth, Giver of Life, bringer-in of Death; Hera in heaven, on earth Persephone; Levannah of the Tides, and Hecate; All these am I, and they are seen in me. The hour of the high full moon draws near.

HPS: I hear the invoking words, hear and appear – Isis Unveiled, and Rhea, Binah, Ge, I come unto the priest that calls me.

Bell is struck three times.  Everyone processes deosil – priestesses from north (to east, south) then stop in the west; priests from south (to west, north) then stop in the east

PERSEPHONE  [Colours: Blue, Silver, Black and Purple]

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Blue sparkly over purple cloth, with our standard candles. I could not find art work that went with the image I put in the meditation. 

HP: Be far from us, O ye profane, for the unveiling of the Goddess is at hand.  Look not upon her with impure eyes, lest ye see your own damnation. The unrepentant and untaught man gazes upon the face of Nature, and he sees only darkness of darkness. But the initiated and illuminated man gazes thereon and sees therein reflected the Luminous Image of the Creator. Be far from us O ye profane, while we adore God made manifest in Nature.

Priestess 2: I am the veiled Isis of the shadows of the Sanctuary. I am she that moves as a shadow behind the tides of Death and Birth. I am she that comes forth by night and no man sees my face. I am older than time and forgotten of the gods. No man may look upon my face and live, For in the hour he parts my veil, he dies.

HP: There is one man that looks upon thy face. Behold, I am the sacrifice. I part thy veil and die to the birth.

Priest 4: The daughter of the Great Mother is Persephone- Queen of Hades, Ruler of the Kingdom of Sleep.  At death men go to her across the Dark River, and she is the keeper of their souls until the Dawn.  But there is also a death in life and this likewise leads on to re-birth, for there is a turning within of the soul whereby men come to Persephone.

She is also the Great Sea whence Life arose, to which all shall return at the end of an aeon.  Herein do we bathe in sleep, sinking back into the primordial deep, returning to things forgotten before Time was; and the soul is renewed, touching the Great Mother.  Whosoever cannot return to the Primordial have no roots in Life.  They are the living dead that are orphaned of the Great Mother.

Priest 5: There are two deaths by which men die, the greater and the lesser.  The death of the body and the death of Initiation. And of these two, the death of the body is the lesser.   The man who looks upon the face of Isis dies, for the goddess takes him.

He that would die to the birth, let him look upon the face of the goddess in this mystery.   Be far from us, O ye profane, for one goes by the Path that leads to the Well-head beside the White Cypress.

Priest 6: Isis veiled, and Rhea, Binah, Ge. Lead me to the well of memory – The well-head where the pale white cypress grows – By secret twilight paths that no man knows; The shadowy path that dividing into three. Diana of the Ways and Hecate; Selene of the Moon, Persephone. I see it now, the shadowy path appears Wrapped in the gloom of immemorial years Veiled in the mists and shadows of all Time, Soft, still and calm in solitude sublime.

Priest 7: And now appears the Well and Sacred Tree Whereto come all who long for memory. Thronged all about with shades of the dim past Of pain and sorrow changed to joy at last. The mists disperse, the shadows grow more bright And through the glimmer falls thy pale soft light. This way is not for one who goes alone’, Not to the loveless is the Well-head shown. To search unscathed within its deepest deep Both priest and priestess must the vigil keep. Strength joined to Love makes the path On which the soul can mount to Heaven.

HP: O, Overlord of all the gods above Greatest Eldest Brother, first-left, last-found Love. In all our ways we claim Thy potent aid. Who seek the Truth and seek it unafraid. The high full moon in the mid-heaven shines clear, O hear the invoking words, hear and appear – Almighty living creature of the gods, the procreative strength as Rhea, Binah, Ge.

Priestess 3: I am that soundless, boundless, bitter sea; All things in the end shall come to me. Mine is the kingdom of Persephone, The Inner Earth where lead the Pathways Three. Who drinks the waters of that hidden Well Shall see the things whereof he dare not tell; Shall tread the shadowy paths that leads to me – Diana of the Ways, and Hecate; Selene of the Moon, Persephone.

Priestess 4: I am the secret Queen Persephone; All the tides are mine and answer unto me. Tides of the Airs, Tides of the Inner Earth; The secret silent Tides of Death and Birth; Tides of men’s souls, and dreams of destiny- Isis unveiled and Rhea, Binah, Ge.

HPS: Sink down, sink down, sink deeper and sink deep Into eternal and primordial sleep. Sink down, sink down, be still and draw apart Into the Earth’s most secret heart. Drink of the waters of Persephone, The secret well beside the sacred Tree. Waters of strength and life and inner Light Primordial joy drawn from the deeps of night. Then rise, made strong, with life and hope renewed, Reborn from darkness and from solitude. Blessed with the blessings of Persephone, And secret strength from Rhea, Binah, Ge.

Bell is struck three times.  All process deosil. Priestess move from west (to north) and stand before the eastern altar; priests move from east (to south) and stand before the western altar.

APHRODITE [Colours: Green and Gold]

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Classical images of Aphrodite and a polymer clay rose decorated image I created for our June full rose and strawberry moon ritual.

HP: Learn now the mystery of the ebbing and flowing tides.  That which is dynamic in the Outer is latent in the inner, for that which is above is as that which is below.  Isis of Nature awaits the coming of her Lord, the Sun.  She calls him: she draws him from the place of the Dead, the kingdom of Amenti where all things are forgotten. And he comes to her in his boat called Millions of Years, and the Earth grows green with the springing grain.  For the desire of Osiris answers to the call of Isis. And so it will ever be in the hearts of humans, for thus the gods have formed them. Whomever denies this is abhorred of the gods. But in the heavens our Lady Isis is the Moon, and the Moon powers are hers. She is also the Priestess of the Silver Star that rises from the twilight sea.

Hers are the magnetic moon-tides ruling the hearts of men. In the Inner, she is all-potent. She is the Queen of the Kingdoms of Sleep. All the invisible workings are hers, and she rules all things before they come to birth. Even as through Osiris her mate the Earth grows green with springing grain, so the mind of humans conceive through her power. This secret concerns the inner nature of the goddess, which is dynamic. Let us show forth in a rite the dynamic nature of the goddess that the minds of us all may be as fertile as the fields.

Priest 8: O Isis veiled on earth but shining clear In the mid-heaven now the full moon draws near; Hear the invoking words, hear and appear. O evening star, rise from the twilight sea. Answer the Inner Earth, Persephone. Giver of life and bringer-in of death, Astarte, Aphrodite, Ashtoreth, Flower of the bitter foam, come unto me, Isis unveiled, and Rhea, Binah, Ge.

Priest 9: O Isis veiled on earth, but shining clear In the mid-heaven now the full moon is near; O hear the invoking words, hear and appear. The lonely earth is hungering after thee. Come in the night, give light that we may see, O Isis of men’s hearts, come unto me.

Priestess 5: I am the star that rises from the sea, the twilight sea. I bring men dreams that rule their destiny. I bring the moon times to the souls of humans; The tides that flow and ebb and flow again; These are my secret, these belong to me. Hera in heaven, on earth Persephone. Levannah of the Tides and Hecate. Veiled Isis, Aphrodite from the sea, All these am I, and they are seen in me.

Priestess 6: I am the Eternal Woman, I am She. The tides of all human souls belong to me; The tides that flow and ebb and flow again, The silent inward tides that govern humans; These are my secret, these belong to me. Out of my hands people take their destiny; Touch of my hands confers serenity; These are the Moon-tides, these belong to me, Isis unveiled and Rhea, Binah, Ge.

Priest 10: O Thou whose power drew forth the Prime Mover from the ancient stillness. O Thou from whose body first Being began. O Thou whose beauty moved Ptah on his throne to desire. By thy beauty and body we adore and invoke.

The desire of thy body put chains on his neck, In pursuit of thy beauty did he make himself manifest. O Thou whose desire is in all things that be – By the power of thy beauty we adore and invoke.

Priest 11: By the power of the Old Night, whence all sprang, we invoke Thee. By the first mystic swirl in the stillness that told of Thy power, we invoke Thee. By the net which Thou wove to draw Ptah from his heaven, we invoke Thee. By the kisses that smote him with death that the world might be born, we invoke Thee. By thy merciful veil, by thy scourgings and pangs, By thy sweet secret places, by midnight and moon, By earth and by water – Isis, Light of the Heavens And Desire of the World – I invoke, I invoke, I invoke!

Bell is struck three times. Everyone stays in their places.

Reader: Persephone, O Queen of my desire! Thy radiant Light fills me with soft moon-fire Persephone, Persephone, Queen of the Night, we call for Thee

Reader: In outer space the springs of being rise; With tidal sweep life streams across the skies, And in our hearts awake the slumbering fires. Thou are the Queen of Dreams and of Desires. Persephone, Persephone, Queen of the Night, we long for Thee.

Reader: O star-crowned Queen of Outer Space Who holds vast worlds in they embrace. All who are loved and all who love Bring down thy radiance from above, Persephone, Persephone, Whosoever loves is one with Thee.

Reader: O Goddess Queen, draw gently near, Thou whom all see, Appear!  Appear! To lonely folk on lonely ways Come down in dreams of silver haze. Persephone, Persephone, All in the end shall come to Thee.

Bell is struck three times. All bow to one another

HP: Is is finished. Those who have received the Touch of Isis have received the opening of the gates of the Inner Life. For them the tides of the Moon shall flow and ebb and flow in their cosmic rhythm. To them that adore Isis, she brings tranquility, and to the favoured few she comes as in a dream.

All participants form a circle, only the HP and HPS stand before the main (northern) altar

Cakes and Wine

The HPS (standing in northwest) holds the chalice while the HP (standing in the northeast) holds the athame above the chalice.  At the last line, HP places blade in the chalice to bless it.

Blessing over Wine:

All: As the Athame is to the Fires of Heaven…

So the Cup is to the Depths of the Sea…

And conjoined, they are One in Truth!

HPS sips from chalice, passes it to HP to have a sip.  He then hands the chalice to the person next to him, who holds it until after the cakes are blessed.

HP holds the plate while the HPS holds her hands over the plate for the blessing

Blessing over Cakes:

All: Lady and Lord bless this food,

Symbolic of Your Bounty,

That in sharing it we affirm our Common Bond!

HPS takes cake, then the HP.  The person holding the chalice takes a sip and passes it along the circle with a “Blessed Be” and optional kiss. The HP then hands the cakes to the person next to him and the cakes are passed the same way as the chalice.

Opening the Circle

Dismiss the Elements in each direction as below. Elemental Officers stand in their quarters. Each officer should direct the participants to face the appropriate direction.

North Officer: Guardians of the North

We thank you for your presence and blessing,

And as you return to your holy realm

We say “Hail and Farewell!”

All: Hail and Farewell!

 

East Officer: Guardians of the East

We thank you for your presence and blessing,

And as you return to your holy realm

We say “Hail and Farewell!”

All: Hail and Farewell!

 

South Officer: Guardians of the South

We thank you for your presence and blessing,

And as you return to your holy realm

We say “Hail and Farewell!”

All: Hail and Farewell!

 

West Officer: Guardians of the West

We thank you for your presence and blessing,

And as you return to your holy realm

We say “Hail and Farewell!”

 

All: Hail and Farewell!

 

After all dismissals are finished all present join hands, and led by the HPS all say:

HPS: Let those who have seen the high rite of the great goddess keep her in their hearts.

The Temple of Isis is now closed. The circle is open, but yet unbroken.

 

All: Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again!  So mote it be!

 

This ritual is composed of : Circle opening and closing taken from the Society of Elder Faiths Liturgy. Original ritual written by Dion Fortune, compiled and published by Gareth Knight as Dion Fortune’s Rites of Isis and Rites of Pan 2013.  Adapted by Kara  for use with the Society of Elder Faiths Tween and Teen Esbat Group 2016. Further edits to original text 2019 KRN

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Waxing Strawberry Rose Moon – the Main altar

We did our ritual this evening. Eight kids ages 10 to 16, and 8 parents. In addition to our usual glittery sari fabrics on our altars, I pulled out rose and floral fabric from my “I need to use these as quilt squares”‘bins.

Two years ago I sculpted a rose covered Aphrodite for this rite. I packed her and my smallest Isis statue. I bought red and orange roses, and cut some white ones from my garden.

I used the tea for “wine” that I mentioned in my previous post. And for cakes I had pink strawberry shortbread, and rose petal shortbread.

I love our northern altar, so I’m sharing the photos.

The northern altar is on a mantle. Here we have Gaia, Aphrodite and Isis flanked by miniature roses.

in front of the fireplace I put a chair and a bin. I chose a black and white rose fabric.

Our Celtic Year 2019- A ritual for Arianrhod

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Working on Arianrhod, drinking from my Freya rune mug, while Sappho looks on. Cos why not.

In March I introduced the teens and adults to Arianrhod.  Some had heard her name. But it did not seem that anyone in the room knew about her.  When I retold her myths, and those of her son, there were so many questions.  Lots of “that prick” and “jerk” muttered under teen girls’ breaths every time I said Gwydion’s name. There was a “is Math’s magic staff code for his penis?” which I thought was a great question. But pointed out that would mean that the woman Math was testing wouldn’t be a virgin if she um… fell upon his ‘magic staff’.

We had a room of 20 people – about a dozen 10 to 18 year olds and their parents.  Most of the parents chose to sit out of ritual, but stayed in the room.  Not a single one is allowed to berate their kids for being on their phones.  Their games and social media on their phones kept the southern quarter lit that night.

Two of the moms joined us in circle.  As I retold Arianrhod’s story, I acknowledged to my friends that it seems a bit odd talking about a goddess I see as the happily childless aunt in a room full of parents – people who chose parenthood. Most of us had miscarriages or struggled with fertility.  Every one of us chose to be a parent.  But our children haven’t made that choice yet. And it was to them I spoke.

Some of these teens are pondering (not questioning – these kids are thoughtful) their sexual orientation. As they are growing and figuring themselves out, I want to make sure they have positive examples of people and gods who they can look up to.

Last weekend when I taught the ritual writing class, two of the attendees were intentionally childless.  I got the impression they appreciated the words I chose below. I did not just write “woman”. I intentionally wrote “person”.

The words are mostly my very own. Sources are cited at the end.

Reader: Along the northern coast of Wales, off the rocky shore where the waves crash wildly, and merpeople lounge at low tide,  is an ancient castle. Caer Sidi was built upon stone out at sea. This is the earthly home of Arianrhod. It stands like a sentinel, watching the wide ocean to the west, the land to the east, and the wide sky above.

Reader: In the night sky, high above the castle, is a cluster of stars that form a crown. Corona Borealis, also known as Caer Arianrhod. This is the celestial home of Arianrhod. Silver, twinkling stars upon the blue-black night. This is our soul’s home among the stars.

Reader: The goddess Arianrhod is here – upon the ocean and in the stars. She is a celestial goddess. She is a goddess of the sea. She plays in the liminal space where the night sky and dark waters meet, where the moon and stars seem to rise and fall, reflected into salty, inky depths. She rules the tides of time, personifying the Wheel of the Year, the cycle of the moon.

Reader: Arianrhod governs time. Tides rise and fall twice a day. The moon waxes and wanes every twenty-eight days. The Wheel of the Year turns, and every six weeks we mark the Sabbats. The constellations change in the sky as the earth rotates. The earth moves around the sun marking a year.

Reader: Arianrhod’s name means Silver Wheel. She is the moon, the changing seasons. She is the spinning wheel, twisting the fibers of fate. She is the weaver of cosmic time.

Reader: When we look into the night sky filled with millions of stars, we are humbled at the vastness of the universe. We are connected to it all, we are all from the  same cosmic dust. Arianrhod rules the stars and the firmament. We are connected to her  and to one another through all of time and space.

Reader: We have stood upon this planet observing the phases of the moon, the passage of time. This is how Arianrhod gives us our sense of eternity and mortality. She is with us on our journey of living, dying and being reborn. Our souls are eternal, forever learning and growing through each incarnation.

Reader: Arianrhod can seem so far away. She is as distant as the moon and the stars. She can seem unavailable. She is as unattainable as the time we want back, the time we want to set aside, the time we want to make. But she is here as we grow and change.

Reader: But who is she? She is powerful. She is able to work unbreakable curses. 

She is beautiful. She has a splendid appearance.

Is she self-centered? She chose her work and her autonomy over service to men, and over motherhood.

Reader: She lives as she wants. No father or husband tells her what to do. On the shores of her ocean castle she takes lovers from among the mermen. In the halls of her starry fortress she and her nine female attendants decide the fate of the dead. And around all she shields it with rainbow for protection.

Reader: She shows us how to stand up for ourselves.  She shows us our sense of well being should not be defined by others. No one can have power over us as long as we know who we are. No one can control us if we know what we need to do for ourselves. We are not possessions.  No one can own us.

Reader: Her brothers were jealous of her autonomy, and tried to bind her in service to their uncle. But she rejected their attempts at control. She gave birth to two sons that she did not want. She rejected motherhood, leaving her twins to be raised by others.

Reader: She seems a harsh mother – rejecting her children. For women who do not want to be mothers, she is an inspiration. For women who give birth but do not feel they are able to raise the children with the love and care they need, she is a beacon of strength. Not every woman is destined to be a mother.

Reader: No woman should be condemned for not desiring motherhood. No person should be ridiculed for not wanting to be a parent. No woman should be made to feel shame for her choices. No person should be bound by the societal and familial expectations of others.

Reader: When people make these choices for themselves, they are not being self-centered. They are not being selfish. They are living their lives as they see fit. They are living in accordance with their heart, their mind, and their fate.

Reader: Arianrhod shows us we can be powerful, beautiful and independent. She teaches us that we are not valued solely by our reproductive ability. She shows us we can  be in positions of power without being subservient to men. Arianrhod is an ancient goddess seen in our modern world.

Reader: Arianrhod of the Silver Wheel

By all the names men give thee –

We, thy hidden children, humbly kneel

Thy truth to hear, thy countenance to see.

Here in the circle cast upon the Earth

Yet open to the stars – unseen, yet real –

Within our hearts give understanding birth,

Our wounds of loss and loneliness to heal.

Goddess of stars and time, thou art;

The Earth below our feet, the Moon on high.

In thee these two shall never be apart –

The magick of the Earth and Sky.*

 

Arianrhod ritual, an original work by Kara Renee  2019

http://www.orderwhitemoon.org/goddess/arianrhod/Arianrhod.html

https://feminismandreligion.com/2013/02/23/arianrhod-celtic-star-goddess-2/

Goddess Afoot! And Goddess Aloud! by Michelle Skye

Magic of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses by Carl McColman and Kathryn Hinds

* Hymn to Arianrhod from the Witches’ Goddess 1987 Janet and Stewart Farrar, edited by KRN 2019

Our Celtic Year 2019 – Discovering Arianrhod

Every year I revisit the myths, history, art, and archaeology of the pantheon I teach to the children. I get a new book (or two, or four). I re-read books I’ve had for years. Old friends with dog-eared pages, highlighted text, post it notes still marking the pages I wanted to focus on the last time I read them.  This doesn’t mean I stop reading about my passions (Egyptian history, archaeology, religion; Greek history and religion; Star Wars novels and comics; fanfiction). But I do try to focus on books and blogs that are related to what I’m trying to absorb so I can share it with the kids and teens and parents.  I always read more than I write about and teach. To me, it’s important to feel immersed in the stories as much as possible.

Here I am in 2019, re-reading Irish and Welsh myths. Staring at the pages of my copy of the Mabinogion and Celtic Mythology and wondering how the heck to pronounce names even after I’ve looked them up. Repeatedly. Until I can master the pronunciation of his name, I’ll not be using the stories of Cu-Cu-Kachoo in any ritual.

(Pause for laughs)

My Muse likes to jump on my brain. She likes to wake me in the middle of the night and whisper “write a ritual for X, and make art to go with it.” And just when I start to fall asleep again, my Muse wakes me with “And don’t forget props! And make it relevant to people. Hashtag metoo, hashtag timesup, hashtag feminism”.

We did the Rite of Brigid for Imbolc with both groups.  I wrote it for summer retreat, but it has become the traditional February ritual with the teen group, as well as the traditional Imbolc ritual for the PFC on Celtic years.  Logically, I can’t use this same ritual on summer retreat this year. I like to have a lunar goddess for the evening ritual on retreat. Into Celtic Mythology by Philip Freeman I go, where I latch on to the stories of Arianrhod. And I am totally confused.

I picked up Magic of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses and read her chapter several times. I went to two books written by a friend of mine for inspiration ( Goddess Afoot!  Goddess Aloud!) and devoured the chapters she wrote on Arianrhod. A blog I subscribe to here on WordPress even had a post about working with Arianrhod.  I read them all. I googled her. I wanted to know HOW modern Pagans took these stories and made the associations you can read about in books on modern Pagan and Wiccan practices.

My problem with how people describe this goddess is they keep referring to her as a Mother Goddess.  Celestial Mother. Sure, she gave birth to two sons. One turned into a seal and swam off to be with what we presume is his father’s people. His birth caused her a great deal of embarrassment, so she ran off, and as she did, gave birth to another son. And the other was a blob who became a baby in his uncle’s trunk, and his uncle raised him as his foster son in secret.

My mom can be tough, but this isn’t maternal behaviour. We know having a womb doesn’t make you a woman. Having periods doesn’t make you a woman. Being born with female genitals doesn’t make you a woman. And, here we have this ancient goddess pretty much telling us, giving birth doesn’t make you a mother.

Relationships with deities should be personal, as well as universal. I see Arianrhod as a powerful woman, a goddess who chose a path not dictated by her uncle or brothers. She chose lovers from among the mermen. She chose not to raise the sons she was likely not aware of being pregnant with. She chose not to be subservient to her uncle, King Math. She chose her calling of being a psychopomp and judge of the souls of the dead. She chose weaving fate, spinning time. {Somewhere in my mind Persephone, Hecate and the Fates are saying “Holla”.}

I was talking to my daughter about my struggle with Arianrhod.  It was during the course of this conversation that her comments about Arianrhod not being very maternal, and being very modern, struck me. Two words came to my mind: Childless Aunts.

If you ever think my blog posts are all over the place, please consider that this is an edited version of my internal monologue. It’s wild inside my head.

I have childless aunts.  The brilliant and famous “Egyptian Aunt Joan” as my friends know her didn’t have kids. Her husband had children from his first marriage. I believe they are all older than she is. There was a significant age gap between my aunt and uncle. I have a great-aunt who never married or had kids. She’s like 90 now. But she used to work for the government. She lived in Germany. I remember one summer she rode her bicycle from Washington DC to Massachusetts. These two women in my own family have led (and continue to lead) really full lives. They travel. They have friends. They spend time with family. They are (and were) career women.

In my Pagan community I know a lot of people who chose not to have kids. A coworker in her 60’s – who is a former coven sister of my own great-grandmother high priestess – never had kids. She doesn’t regret it.

Now, to me, Arianrhod is my childless aunt.

I took this revelation with me to my laptop. I sat with the notes I took, the books that have post it notes and book marks and notes in the margins. I wrote two rituals for Arianrhod. The first is for the children for the summer retreat. I kick it off with a Robert Louis Stevenson poem, changed some words, then kept writing poetry.  Gods bless rhyming dictionary web pages. I wrote about the stars and the moon. It isn’t complete. I’m looking for just the right song for the end.  Will “I See the Moon” or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” fit? Is there some Pagan chant I’m not yet aware of that will go just perfectly? I’m still searching.

I am pleased with what I wrote. I think the kids will like it. I think the parents will appreciate it. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER STUFF? Sure, Celestial Goddess and Wheel of the Year, the moon, are all really good things to write Pagan and Wiccan rituals about. BUT WHAT ABOUT ARIANRHOD’S CHOICES? WHAT IS SHE TEACHING US?

When I write rituals I retell stories in short paragraphs. I put words together into sentences that tell a story, but also teach a lesson. (I hope.) I started to write a not poetic ritual in my usual fashion. Where does she live? How are Caer Sidi and Caer Arianrhod connected to her? What is she the goddess of? What does she rule over? Why would ancient or modern people pray to her? What does her name mean? Which Silver Wheel are we talking about? What is she doing with these silver wheels? What can we learn from her? If we walk away from this ritual and choose to develop a personal relationship with her, what words have I, a mere mortal, committed to a google doc and paper that will spark your personal relationship with Arianrhod?

I will be posting both rituals in different blogs. 🙂

I’m teaching a ritual writing class at the local UU later this month. I’m going to use my research and both rituals as part of the class.  I was asked by friends to teach them how to write rituals. If other people show up, pray for them. My friends know I operate with about 400 browser tabs open in my head with a random Bollywood song playing loudly in the background. They are used to my wildly gesticulating hands and six degrees of separation in one run on sentence.

And, of course, I started a painting of Arianrhod, but it’s not done yet. She’s demanding patience and far more thought that my usual paintings require.

 

 

 

Our Celtic Year 2019- An Imbolc Conversation between father and daughter

Several years ago I was given an assignment to write conversations between deities for each Sabbat.  I had nearly forgotten about this until I was prepping for the two Bridgit rituals with the kids and teens.

When I presented it to my coven at the time, I read the part of Bride, and the man who became my partner read the Dagda.  (Note: same guy I painted the Morrigan for.) The other night before ritual two 15 year olds read the dialog. Gods bless my godson who read the Dagda.  I had described the Dagda as a cross between Jerry Garcia and Santa Claus, a jolly All-Father with strong appetites for food and sex. My boy totally went for the ho-ho Santa voice tinged with some wink-wink-nudge-nudge-knowwhatImean.

The conversation is meant to teach us about the aspects of the gods. It is meant for us to imagine what their lives would be like. How do they work together? What does a brief encounter between two gods sound like?

Dagda: Hello there, daughter!  Busy today?

Bride: Just tending the fire, father.

Dagda: You know, it’s halfway between the Solstice and the Equinox.  The farmers are thinking about what to plant and when to prepare the soil.  But the tools of last autumn’s harvest are dull and rusty and broken.

Bride: I’ve already fired up the forge.  The hoes and shovels have been mended.  The horses have been made new shoes. The plows are fixed and ready to turn the fields.  

Dagda: Excellent!  I worry about the people.  Undry may be abundant, but it cannot feed all of Ireland.  No company goes unsatisfied after eating from my cauldron. But the people need to feed themselves.

Bride: The ewes are ready for milking.  When you leave, could you take these pails to the dairy maids?  I made them to hold the extra milk the ewes will produce this year.

Dagda: Ah!  Following in your good dad’s footsteps, blessing the people with abundance.  Are you causing the milk to multiply again? I look forward to the butter and cheeses.  

Bride: That reminds me… here is a tea with rosehips and violet leaf.

Dagda: What’s that for?

Bride: You’ll need a laxative after all the cheese you’re planning on eating.  

Dagda: HA-ha!  Always looking after me, as if I wasn’t the Lord of Great Knowledge.  Erm… would you happen to have a salve? I got another splinter from my club.  

Bride: There is some on the shelf there.  You can get it while I tend the fire.

Dagda: What is this “infertility tea” I see here on the shelf?  Am I not a god of fertility as well as abundance? And aren’t you a goddess of fertility and birth?  

Bride: How do you think I help the women with their fertility?  I teach them herbal healing so they can pass on the knowledge to one another.  

There came to me assistance,
Danu fair and Brigit;
As Danu bore the Dagda,
As Dagda’s wife bore Brigit,
As Brigit bore Ruadan
Without flaw in him,
Aid thou me in mine unbearing,
Aid me, O Brigit!

Dagda: Pretty poetry, child.  I always like a bit of poetry when people ask me for help.  A little fire in the head is good for poems. A fire in the hearth is good for making healing teas and medicines.  And a fire in the forge is good for fixing the plows.

Bride: Indeed, father.  Now please take the new milk pails to the dairy maids.  I have to tend the fire.

Our Celtic Year 2019- Herbcraft – Dream Pillows and a Blessing for Sweet Dreams

 

Whenever I teach Celtic myths, I always do herbcrafting. There are many reasons for this.  But the main one is because I was in a Celtic coven with a master herbalist with the magical name of Airmid.

For Imbolc I wanted to use herbs in a magical way. Making small sachets/dream pillows was the idea I could not shake. Had to do it. Once the Muse bites me (I swear my muses don’t make sweet suggestions) I must try the idea, see how I can make it accessible for toddlers, teens and adults, and make it happen.

I ordered red organza bags from Oriental Trading here

Herbs were the easy part. I keep a collection of tea and herbs that I use and drink all the time. And my former coven sister, the master herbalist, was willing to donate some herbs I didn’t have in my personal stock. Choosing the herbs to use was pretty easy as well. Pinterest has tons of ideas. The ones I settled on were: chamomile, lavender, peppermint, lemon balm, rose petals and thyme.

I didn’t want the kids (and adults) to just smell these dried herbs.  I wanted them to taste them. Reinforcing the lesson with multiple senses is good.  For cakes and wine I made an iced chamomile peppermint tea. And during our lesson I had samples of rose, lavender and lemon balm for everyone to taste.

Imagine telling 19 kids and adults ages 5 to grandparent that you’d like them to drink a rose tea. I’m used to getting weird looks. I’m not bothered. Lavender was probably the weirdest because so many associate it with some baby shampoo, shower gel, soap or sachet in their sock drawer.

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Mixing herbs 

In order to personalize our dream sachets even more, I went through my collection of charms. And I got out a bunch of rose quartz chips that weren’t drilled well enough to string. I asked the kids what they knew about rose quartz. “It’s pink” was the overwhelming answer. Then there was the “because it’s for protection?” answer. I always tell people that all stones are for protection, but it’s the other properties of the stones we should look at.  For instance, rose quartz is for love. It attracts love, and I feel it promotes us to love when we wear it. Associated with the heart chakra, which is love of others and the world. By including it in our sachets, we were welcoming love into our dreams. (I have a six year old who slapped the floor when I said this like he was all on board and was going to fill his bag with stones.)

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A young person tying charms onto her bag with purple ribbon

 

Chamomile – herb of purification and protection, promotes deep sleep, love, healing, reduces stress.

Lavender – associated with love spells, brings calmness and peace, promotes sleep, relaxation.

Peppermint – increases vibrations, used in healing, purification, brings peaceful sleep and prophetic dreams. Boosts love and wishes of abundance.

Lemon balm – love, success, healing, spiritual development

Rose petals – love, close friendships, domestic peace and happiness, lasting relationships

Thyme – wards off nightmares, brings restful sleep, boosts courage.

As an adult who still has nightmares, as a parent whose child had night terrors for years, I’m very much about food, herbs, magic, crystals, prayers, spells, etc that will help keep nightmares away. Thyme was a last minute addition. But I am super glad I included it! When we reviewed each herb nearly every child, teen, and adult whispered “I’m using THAT.”  {Rosemary would also be a good choice. But Badia herbs has the huge jar of thyme at the market for a reasonable price. I’m all about practical and affordable witchcraft.}

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Badia makes shopping for herbs so easy

The morning of the ritual, I was AGAIN slapped upside the head by my Muse. I went to the Carmina Gadelica (a must have if you write rituals) and adapted a prayer for us to use.  At the end of our Bridgit ritual found here and before cakes and wine, we all said this prayer together as we held our dream sachets:

Blessing for Sweet Dreams

Bless our sleep, oh Bridget, surround us

Keeping us from hurt and harm

Keeping us from wound and woe.

Sturdy shield of Bridget protect our sleep from all dark thoughts

Fiery sword of valiant Bridget, Defend us from all nightmares.

Guard us as we dream, gentle cloak of Bridget.

Encircle and protect us

This day and every day

This night and every night.

Bless our dreams, oh Bridget, surround us.

I learned that if you want kids to get REALLY excited about a magical herb craft you should work to dispel nightmares and increase self love and sweet dreams.  These kids are facing so much with politics and media, bullying and crippling self doubt. Giving them a little something to make the nights a little better is the least I could do.

I keep my sachet at the head of my bed. I have rainbow moonstone and a pearl wrapped around it. I sniff it before I go to bed.  So far, my dreams haven’t been too insane, and my nightmares have been at bay. I still keep up with my rituals of having peanut butter before bed (helps to balance serotonin in the brain) and having a cup of chamomile, lavender and/or peppermint tea.

imbolc 2019 d
Loose herbs and brewed herbs for our lesson, my dream sachet, my book of rituals, notes and art for our Celtic year.  

Our Celtic Year 2019- Bridgit

Six years ago I wrote a ritual for the Irish Goddess Bridgit, based on a chapter in The Storyteller’s Goddess  I wrote it to be done outdoors, around a fire, by children and parents on a summer retreat weekend.  It has become the Imbolc ritual I do every year with the teens.  Because 2019 is our Celtic year, we did the ritual for both the Pagan Family Connection Imbolc, as well as the February Tween and Teen ritual.

When I was telling the children some of the stories of Bridgit, I showed them some images I found from around the web, as well as my own painting (above). I was giving a little background on her parents – The Morrigan and the Dagda.  I showed them the painting I had done for my partner back in 2011, before we started dating.  (You want to know if he’s the right guy for you? Paint him a goddess of death. May not work for everyone. I got lucky.)

Morrigan

Now, my kids are used to me using art and dolls when I’m telling them stories. So when I got to the part about Bridgit’s father, they called me out for not having a picture of him. Especially after I told them my favorite description of the Dagda is that he’s a cross between Santa Claus and Jerry Garcia (full description found in this book) I went into ritual with my teens fully prepared:

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The Dagda, in progress

When you hold a ritual in a large, open space with kids, you get a lot of echoing noises. Not all children can sit (or stand) still for very long.  Whispered comments between parents and kids are so much louder than you’d expect. Getting such a mixed group to focus on ritual action can be a challenge. When you’re in a smaller room, lit by candles, young people in charge, learning – and WANTING TO LEARN- the ritual play portion of the rite is dramatically different. The small children get distracted by the fact that one of my props is a house made of Legos. Older kids appreciate the visual.

Having this ritual as part of our regular Wheel of the Year with the teen group, gives me the chance to see how different mother/daughter pairs handle the roles of the Morrigan (Prop Mistress) and Brigit.  Every time I see it, I get goose bumps. Sunday afternoon with the children, we all cheered loudly for the birth of Brigit!  Saturday evening with the teens, everyone seated in a semi-circle facing the mother/daughter team, I felt we should have been humming softly. Like a chorus of fairy folk witnessing magic. Like the Tuatha De Danann rejoicing at the birth of their fire goddess.

I suggested last night that we all sit and watch the ritual drama unfold. One of my 13 year olds asked me it was okay to sit in ritual. Yes. First of all, if people have injuries or are old, they should always be made welcome to have a chair or a seat on the floor. And secondly, when you are witnessing a drama, when props and imagery are helping to convey the story and heighten the ritual experience, sitting is very appropriate.

I keep the props in a large shoe box so I never have to look last minute for them. These are specific, and I’d rather not have to recreate them every year.

  1. Fire Veil.  it’s semi-sheer black fabric with a red flame pattern. It’s actually one of my belly dance veils
  2. Flame Crown. A grape wreath with three basswood discs. Each disc has pink, yellow and red tissue paper flames glued to thin basswood strips. Behind these are rows of wood beads hot glued together.  We use battery tea lights in each of the discs.
  3. Mini hearth and house – made of Legos. The hearth is orange and brown bricks built like a fireplace and chimney. The house is just three sides on a flat green plate and no roof.  That way the young lady playing Bridgit can place the hearth and candle inside the house.
  4. Flaming heart necklace.  The first one I made is a heart cut out of cardboard, painted white, with sticks glued on, and painted flames. It is edged with red ribbon and worn on red ribbon.  A few years ago I made a second necklace based on tree of life pendants I had been making.  It has wood beads on the bottom, and red, orange and yellow chip beads representing flames rising out of the wood beads. This seems to be the preferred necklace now for this ritual. I always let the young lady choose.
  5. While I do keep two pens and a slip of paper in the box, I also have a wood plaque with the Futhark and English alphabets on it.  I like the visual impact of this better than paper.
  6. Wire. I have a bit of purple 18 gauge wire that the priestess of Brigit bends.

I’ve taken our standard circle casting out. It is posted in earlier blogs.

Set Up – Props, flame veil  Props – small folding table for altar, flame crown, battery tea light, mini hearth/fireplace, metal to bend, flaming heart necklace.  pencil, paper, small cauldron, mini house and fireplace built of lego. Veil for covering Brigit

Esbat roles – Brigit, Morrigan, 15 readers

Esbat

Pause while Morrigan and Brigit step aside to prepare. The props will be in the Northwest. Everyone stands in a circle. Morrigan lights tea lights for the crown and sets it aside. Bridgit is covered in a veil. When they are ready, they stand in front of the Northern altar.

Reader : In a time before now, the Morrigan was about to give birth. At the first crack of sunlight on a new morning, near the waters of a magic well, the goddess Bridget was born.  Her mother, The Morrigan, gave birth to her while nine sisters sat in a circle around her, waiting to welcome the new baby Goddess.

The Morrigan pulls the cloth off Brigit when she is born.

Reader : The nine sisters sang with joy and the water in the magic well gurgled and bubbled in celebration.  The Goddess Brigit stood in the early morning sunlight and she welcomed fire.

ALL CHANT: Holy Water/Sacred Flame

Brigit, we invoke your name.

Bless my hands, my head, my heart,

Source of healing, song, and art.

Reader : Up rose a column of fire out of the new goddess’s head that burned to the very sky. The fire of creativity and learning, writing, poetry and songs came out of this fire.  

Brigit: Now people can sing songs, write books, create art with words, and pass on knowledge from one generation to the next.

Morrigan hands Brigit a flaming heart necklace.  Brigit puts it on

Morrigan places flame crown upon Brigit’s head

Reader : Then from the fire of her head, Bridget used both hands to draw out a leaping tongue of heat, swallowed it, and felt the fire burn straight to her heart.  The flames of compassion and love blazed in her chest.

Brigit: Compassion and care should be used by everyone, towards every living thing.  People must care for their families, friends and strangers; for pets, livestock and wild animals; for gardens and trees and the wild places.

Morrigan hands Brigit a tea light.  Brigit places the candle on the table in front of her

Reader : Bridget reached up her two hands and broke away a bit of the flame from her crown of fire and dropped it on the ground before her. There it leapt and shone, making the hearth of the house of the goddess.  

Morrigan hands small house to Brigit.  Brigit places the house on the table.

Brigit: The hearth is the center of the home.  It is the kitchen. It is where food is cooked and healing tea is made.  It is where people gather to be warm and to read by the light.

Reader : Every time Brigit reached up to her crown to take a bit of flame, some of the fire stayed in her hands.  This was the fire that could bend iron into tools and craft gold, silver and bronze into jewelry.

Morrigan hands Brigit a bit of wire.  Brigit bends the wire and places it on the altar

Brigit: With the skill to heat and bend metals, we will now have shoes for horses, hammers and saws for building homes and boats. But we can also adorn ourselves with rings and necklaces, pendants and earrings.

Reader : There stood the goddess, fire crowning her head, licking up inside her heart, glowing and shooting from her hands, and dancing on the hearth before her.

Morrigan hands the fireplace to Brigit.  Brigit places the fireplace in the house, and the candle in the fireplace.

Reader: The nine sisters hummed and the waters of the magic well trembled as Bridget built a chimney of brick about her hearth. Then about the chimney, she built a roof of thatch and walls of stone. And so it was that by the waters of the magic well the goddess finished the house in which she keeps the four fires which have served her people forevermore.

Reader : Word of the gifts of Bridget’s fires traveled wide. People flocked to learn from Bridget the secret of using fire to soften iron and bend it to the shapes of their desires. The people called bending iron smithcraft, and they made wheels, pots, and tools that did not break.

Morrigan places the cauldron (or flame lamp) on the ground in front of Brigit.

Brigit: Wheels for carts and carriages are good for travel and moving heavy things. Sturdy cauldrons are good for cooking meals and brewing teas.  Strong hammers are good for building homes and bending iron into horseshoes.

Reader : All the medicine plants of the earth gathered in the house of the goddess. With their leaves, flowers, barks, and roots, and the waters of her magic well, Bridget made the healing teas.

Reader : With the fire of compassion blazing in her heart, the goddess prepared healing teas for the people

Reader : She gave a baby who was teething and crying the tea of chamomile. She gave a young woman who was sad lemon balm tea to lift her spirits, and she gave yarrow tea to a child who was sick with fever.  

Reader : Brigit made a soothing skin wash from raspberry leaf for children with sunburn.  And then made them cups of cool lavender tea to help them go to sleep. For a pregnant woman having morning sickness, she gave her peppermint tea to soothe her stomach.

Reader : The people wanted Bridget’s recipes. But they could not remember which plants for which healings, where to gather them or how long to steep them to make the healing teas. .

Morrigan hands Brigit a pencil and paper

Reader : The fire on Bridget’s head blazed bright. She took up a blackened stick and made marks with it on a flat piece of bark.

Brigit: These are the talking marks. They are the way to remember what you don’t want to forget.  Write down the herbs, write your songs and poems. Write down all of your learning, and all of my wisdom, so others can learn too.

All bow towards the priestess of Brigit.  

Reader: Brigit of the mantles,

Brigit of the peat-heap,

Brigit of the twining hair,

Brigit of the augury.

 

Reader: Brigit of the white feet,

Brigit of the calmness,

Brigit of the white palms,

Brigit of the kine.

Reader: Brigit, woman-comrade,

Brigit the healer,

Brigit, woman-helper,

Brigit, woman mild.

Reader: Each day and each night

I pray to Bridgit that

I shall not be slain,

I shall not be wounded

Reader: I shall not be put in cell,

I shall not be gashed,

I shall not be torn in sunder,

I shall not be despoiled

Reader: I shall not be down-trodden

I shall not be repressed

I shall not be made naked,

I shall not be torn apart

Reader: Nor will Bridgit leave me forgotten

Nor sun shall burn me,

Nor fire shall burn me,

Nor beam shall burn me,

Nor moon shall burn me.

Reader: Nor river shall drown me,

Nor brine shall drown me,

Nor flood shall drown me,

Nor water shall drown me.

Reader: Nightmare shall not lie on me,

Oppression shall not lie on me

Human rights shall not be taken from me,

I am under the keeping

Of the Goddess Bridgit,

 

All: So Mote It Be.

Compiled September 2014 and January 2015 by Kara Renee  for use in the Society of Elder Faith’s Tween and Teen Group.

http://www.druidry.org/library/gods-goddesses/brigit

Carmina Gadelica, Vol 3

Further edits Feb 2017 by Kara 

Ritual play written by Kara  2013 ; Adapted from The Storyteller’s Goddess; Chant provided by Michelle Skye from CircleRound (?)  edited Feb 2018

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