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Shining Lakes Grove, ADF

Shining Lakes Grove Yule Ritual, 1993

SETUP

Decorations: This ritual was performed in our living room. In the center of the ritual space, to act as our bilé, is a decorated Yule tree. The large sun symbol is at the summit of the tree. The shrines are decorated with items pertaining to their function and the candles are all set up but not lit. A large brazier with a piece of firelog in set on the floor near the Yule tree.

A fresh cake of bannock bread and a glass of apple cider are placed on the altar table.

Each participant has spent some time in meditation upon their personal needs. Each has prepared two small slips of paper, one with an item of knowledge that they have gained that was especially valuable to them (gem of knowledge), and one with an example of an effort of will that they have performed in the time since the last ritual.

As a way to allow the participants in the ritual to get to know one another some time was spent before the ritual making tree ornaments. A number of natural materials were provided so that each person could make an ornament that they can offer to the gods during the ritual. The ornaments will be placed in the Nemeton at a later date when the Yule tree is taken down.

Candle Colors

PRELIMINARY

BRIEFING

Review the ritual just before beginning the individual meditations. Rehearse the songs.

INDIVIDUAL MEDITATION

Everyone is given some time just prior to the ritual to slow down and think about their personal needs between now and Brigid's Day. During this time they will prepare the two slips of paper mentioned previously.

PROCESSIONAL

All: "We've come to the sacred grove,
with hearts and minds and flesh and bone,
Join us now in ways of old we have come home"

LIGHTING THE SACRED FIRE

Light in firelog in the brazier while everyone sings:
"Spirit of fire come to us, we will kindle a fire,
spirit of fire come to us, we will kindle a fire,
we will kindle a fire, fan the flames inside our hearts,
we will kindle a fire, we will kindle a fire."

POURING THE SACRED WATERS

Pour some of the Glastonbury well water into a bowl with blessing, mentioning that it is the blood of the earth and the bringer of life.

CONSECRATION OF THE ALTAR & TOOLS

Pass the sickle near the fire and anoint with water.

CONSECRATION OF THE BILÉ

Sprinkle with water and walk the brazier around it.

FORMING GROUP MIND

MUSICAL SIGNAL

Ring the bell.

OPENING PRAYER

"We open our hearts to the worlds on this Winter solstice.
may these words stir ancient memories in our souls,
may these offerings lend strength to our gods,
may these deeds bring honor to our ancestors,
may this love heal and protect our mother, the earth."

(To participants)
We have gathered here to celebrate the rebirth of the sun, that brings to us the promise of rescue from winter's cold grasp and a return of summer's bounty. We have prepared this space, so now let us prepare ourselves.

PURIFICATION OF PARTICIPANTS

One purification for each of the three worlds, smudge for sky, anoint with water for sea, and anoint with ocher for land.

HONORING EARTH MOTHER

"We will now honor the source of our lives, the earth"

Ladle water over the earth stone.

"O Mother Earth, we praise thee,
for blackened crags of misty mountains
thrust from watery depths
scoured by rain and cracked by ice
life sustaining minerals flow in our veins
precious jewels from living stone

we praise thee

for swirling skies of cool clean air
we suckle at your unseen breast
you give us voice and carry sweet scents
and feed our inner fires

we praise thee

for cooling rain and salty sea
the womb of creation, great caldron of plenty,
rivulets of blood, we carry within us,
and float each generation in your gentle pool,

we praise thee

for all of these blessings in perfect balance,
and pledge to heal our great benefactor
who gives so freely, that we might live

SEASONAL MEDITATION

Settle yourself. Close your eyes. Feel your body relax. Feel as the tensions drain from your face, your neck, your shoulders, your arms, your torso, your legs. Sense the whole of your body, calm, heavy in its relaxation. Center yourself. Feel for that calm, comfortable center, in which you are whole. Ground yourself. Extend yourself into the earth, your mother. Feel as your roots grow into the ground, as you find your connectedness with her again.

This time is the time of Yule, the Winter Solstice, when the sun clings most closely to the horizon. It is a time for rebirth. While many months of winter still await us, the days now begin to lengthen, holding behind the hoary frost the promise of the gentle breath of Spring.

Extend your senses beyond the walls, to the world outside. Smell in the crisp cold a hint of snows yet to come. See, in your mind's eye, the clear clean air. Old dry leaves, long fallen, rustle as they tumble around, caught finally in the tangled stems of dormant shrubs. Bark cracks in the hard frost, and breaks away, falling unnoticed to the earth. The last of the fall berries dance and sway in the wind, the wind that moans through black branches, crooked fingers that rip the bellies of low heavy clouds. Snow swirls silently into the frozen tracks of squirrels and foxes, rabbits and raccoons, revealing their secret paths. Jays call raucously, as sparrows fluff their breast feathers, puffing up and huddling close to conserve their meager heat.

The fields lie bare, the harvest of wheat, pumpkins and corn safe in the barns. The crows scavenge for stray grains which escaped the harvester's blade. The orchards are empty, their leaves tossed by the storms, their fruit deep in the cellars.

We - we are snug, cocooned in the warmth of our homes and the warmth of our kith and our kin. The winds will howl with the wolves as we remember the harvest just past, and we rest and regenerate as we look to the rebirth of life in the Spring. For now the sun is returned, beginning his slow journey, regaining his ascendancy, as the wheel turns again.

Now, rouse yourselves, and join together, and celebrate the birth of the sun!

UNITY CHANT

Together, chant: "We are one, we are one, we are one, . . ."
"In this task, we've begun, what we will, shall be done" ("We are one" chant by Ian Corrigan)

STATEMENT OF RITUAL PURPOSE

"We hold this rite as a celebration of the rebirth of the sun, and with it, the promise that the earth will be freed from it's frozen slumber."

PLANTING THE COSMIC TREE/HONORING THE SACRED BILÉ

Fox: "This pole represents the vertical axis of the multiverse, the cosmic tree of life.
It's roots burrow deep into the soil of the underworld,
it's mighty trunk has grown up,
piercing this plane of existence,
to spread it's branches across the upper realms.
The bilé is our connection to other worlds
and the center of our ritual universe,
constructed that we may come to understand the workings of the worlds."

EVOKING THE GATE KEEPER

Fox: Explain the gatekeeper and sing the invocation:
"The keeper of the ways between,
the worlds of Gods and mortal kin,
from common lands to other worlds
throw wide the gates for us again"

EVOKING THE FIRE, WATER, AIR, AND EARTH DEITIES

Light a candle for each (with the exception of fire). Invoke them to participate in the ritual.
Offer:

ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE OUTSIDERS

Kit: Light the others candle, saying:

"We acknowledge the presence of the chaotic entities, we give you a place in our ritual so that you will not disturb us in search of one."

INVOKING NATURE SPIRITS, ANCESTORS, AND DEITIES

Each person takes a moment, starting with the shrine of their choice, to commune with the spirits of that shrine. The first person will light the candle. Little bowls or cups containing material for offerings (below) will be placed at each shrine for the use of the participant.

Offerings:

INVOKING HELPFUL BEINGS BY PROVINCE/FUNCTION

Fox: Light the west candle.

Kit: "We honor the scholars in all realms. We make offerings by returning some of the best of what we have learned and ask that you guide us as we seek wisdom and truth."

Each person should burn the offering of paper with their gems of knowledge written on them.

Kit: Light the north candle.

Fox: "We honor the warriors in all realms. We make offerings of examples of our efforts of will. We ask that you grant us courage and strength as we travel upon our chosen paths."

Each person should burn the offering of paper with examples of trials or efforts that have required courage and force of will.

Fox: Light the east candle.

Kit: "We honor the producers in all realms. We make offerings of the products of our labors. We ask that you grant us the strength and skill to produce our sustenance."

DESCRIPTIVE INVOCATION OF THE DEITIES OF THE OCCASION

Kit: Cut an apple in half and offer it and some wine to the sun symbol.

Fox: "We honor the sun at the time of his rebirth,
harbinger of spring, provider of warmth,
The sacred wheel turning in the sky,
Bel the healer, Bel the brilliant,
Lord of fertility and plenty."

PRAISE OFFERINGS, OFFERINGS, LIBATIONS, ETC.

Offer tree ornaments.

Fox: Sing:

("Yule Song" by Ian Corrigan)

"When sighing winter falls upon the land,
and hail and ice are felt in field and hearth,
and men turn faces downward from the sky,
the unborn king is sleeping in the earth.
The wren sits on his frozen limb.
The lady watches over him.
She waits for winter's power to dim,
that she might give him birth.

In summer high the green man made his dance.
The arbor grew and he did press the wine.
He charmed the maiden with his lusty glance,
but he must be cut down right to the vine.
At summer's end the spear was made,
who's blow the king could not evade,
and stricken by that mighty blade,
in death did he recline.

Our lady went unto the lord of death,
and naked stood before his icy throne.
Says she, 'Why must all love feel your cold breath,
all youth and beauty stripped unto white bone'.
The king, he laughed and shook his horns,
'We only die to be reborn,
oh maiden fair, be not forlorn,
my love is yours alone'.

Some say our lady knelt beneath the scourge,
lest she must love the lord of winter's gloom.
I say she warmed his cold heart like a forge,
and loved him till life quickened in her womb.
In old man winter's deepest dark,
the loving struck that oldest spark,
and wise ones bid the feeble heart,
foretells the summer's bloom.

Now folks do meet upon that darkest night,
when King Sol's time is short in winter's sky.
They'll burn the belfires on the barrow's height,
and bid the spirits of long night to fly.
In holy circle do we meet,
at yuletide season days are fleet,
but 'tis the new sun that we greet,
who's birth is drawing nigh."

SEEKING THE OMEN OF RETURN

Fox: Cast the runes for an omen of the nature of the return and information about the future.

MEDITATION ON PERSONAL AND GROUP NEEDS

A silent meditation of personal and a brief discussion of family needs between now and the next high day.

CONSECRATION AGREEMENT

Fox: Lift the chalice of wine and the plate of bannock bread.

Kit: "May the spirits assembled bless this bread and wine,
the fruits of the harvest,
that it will provide strength and health,
to help us through the rest of the winter months."

CONSECRATION AND SHARING

Share the consecrated food.

THANKING THE ENTITIES INVITED, IN REVERSE ORDER

Off the cuff

THANKING THE GATEKEEPER AND CLOSING THE GATES

Off the cuff

AFFIRMATION OF PAST/FUTURE CONTINUITY AND SUCCESS

"Our celebration of Yule has been a success,
we have placed our footprints on the ancient path of our ancestors,
and brought honor to our heritage and our gods.
May the great wheel turn until we meet again on Brigid's Day."

UNMERGING, REGROUNDING & RECENTERING MEDITATION

The time has now come to complete the circle of our celebration. Close your eyes, and find once more your center. Ground yourself, and link with the Earth beneath you. Gather close any stray energy left from our celebration, and return it to the earth. Hold with you the sense of the season, the bare cold earth, the sleeping creatures, the empty fields and full barns, and in the barrenness, the knowledge that the wheel is turning and Spring too will come again.

RECESSIONAL

"Walk with wisdom, from this hallowed place.
Walk not in sorrow, our roots shall e'er embrace.
May truth be your brother, and honor be your friend,
and luck be your lover until we meet again."

ANNOUNCEMENT OF ENDING

Fox: "This concludes our Yule celebration."

MUSICAL SIGNAL

Ring the bell.