IMBOLC RITUAL and SAINING
(WICCANING OR CHILD BLESSING as it is variously called)

Performed at the Unitarian Universalist Church
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
February 5, 2000
Created by Eustacia Blackstar, Circle of the Sun Coven
(email Eustacia)

Two altar candles have been lighted.  All participants gather
outside Circle that is designated by a multitude of burning
candles.  (Squire passes out song sheet and Imbolc Greetings.)
(HP designates Quarter callers.)

HP:  (Raise athame) Be it known, the Circle is about to be cast. 
Let those who desire attendance follow behind.  Let none be here 
but of their own free will.  (HP leads participants to ritual
area.)

(Music:  "Turning Wheel")

Covener  (enters wearing black veil. She is wailing and carrying 
an unlit candle holder which is placed on the altar.)  How cold
this night.  How dark the world remains.  The trees are still
without life.  When will the leaves appear as promised at Yule. 
We wait for Spring.  We wait for Spring. We wait for Spring.

HP:  Behold the Lady approaches!  Hail to thee, my Lady!

HPS:  (carrying dogwood and basket of dried holly.)  My Lord, I
bring a sign that Spring is not far behind.  Behold, the last
vestiges of Winter that we might properly dispose of them in this
rite.

BLESSING  (HP and HPS bless each other with the crystal, then
approach participants)  

Bright Blessings be with you on this Imbolc night.

(HP starts left, HPS starts right to bless Circle.)

PRELUDE (refer to chant on song sheet)

All:
Higher as the fire climbs
other places, other times,
as we celebrate tonight
will be remembered in this rite.  (refrain)

HPS:
Imbolc, Bridgid, Candlemas,
the Wheel must turn anew.
We come together on this night
to keep that promise true.
As Mother Earth begins to stir
we'll burn our candles long.
We know this magick that we do
will help the Sun grow strong. 

All (refrain as above)

HP:
Upon her head, a candle wreath
the Lady wears tonight.
To all of us this signifies
the Sun will soon burn bright.
The Maiden Goddess now awaits
upon her bridal bed.
Her Lord, the Sun, will soon return
just when all hope was dead.

All  (refrain as above)

HPS:
So as the Seeds of Life prepare, new hopes begin tonight.
Since ancient times we celebrate this Festival of Light.

Let those four lighting the Quarter candles come forward.

LIGHTING OF ALTAR CANDLES (four participants)

East:  Here do I invoke light and air, to illuminate our circle
and bring it the breath of life.

South:  Here do I invoke light and fire, to illuminate our circle
and bring it warmth.

West:  Here do I invoke light and water, to illuminate our circle
and wash it clean.

North:  Here do I invoke light and earth, to illuminate our
circle and build it in strength.

HPS: You may return to the Circle

GREETING

HP:  We bid you welcome.  May you all be here in peace and love,

HPS:  We bid the Lord and Lady welcome and invite them to join
with us in these rites that we hold in their honor.

(HP lights cauldron.)

HP:  You may be seated.

SEASONAL ENACTMENT:   "Walking With Mother Earth"  

(see attachment containing chant: 

We are one, with the Soul,
of the Earth, Mother Earth  )

HPS:  This is the end of our story, but there is no end to the
Circle of Life.

Sean:  Tonight is the night when heat overcomes cold, when the
Earth begins to stir and new life quickens.  The Wheel of the
Year turns on and on, bringing us to and from each season.  All
time is here and now inside this sacred space.  We gather on this
blessed eve to celebrate this season of Imbolc, Brigid, or
Candlemas as it has been variously called.  Tonight we dispose of
the trappings of the old season.  We sweep away those habits and 
beliefs that no longer serve us.

Mikal:  In this moment between time, we come to greet the young
Maiden Goddess as she awaits her child lover who was and will be 
the father of our harvest bounty.  As it was and ever shall be,
we wish to give thanks, and to feel ourselves a part of the
relentlessly turning Wheel.

Karen:  Yule is past, and the young God, like his symbol, the
sun, is returning to his Lady, the Earth.  As she turns the Great
Wheel, she brings him nearer, and soon she will offer herself as
his bride.

HP: (Turning to HPS)  My Lady, I beseech you, be gone!  Search
out the Maiden Goddess that she might encourage the sun of Spring
to warm us once again.  All rise!

HPS:  As you command, my Lord. ( They salute.  HPS cuts a doorway
and leaves the Circle to get the Maiden, a young girl dressed in 
white wearing a candle wreath. She has been waiting unseen.)


SPELL TO PREPARE FOR SPRING

(HP and Squire move to center of Circle)

HP: (Squire hands the ritual besom to HP) At Imbolc, we sweep
away the trappings of winter as we prepare ourselves for Spring. 
We rid ourselves of those habits and attitudes that no longer
serve us.  As you take up the besom, mention briefly that which
you wish to banish for the new season.  Say, I wish to banish.. 

(Go widdershins with this.)

HP: (squire passes among participants with basket of dried holly) 
The holly represents the last vestige of winter. It no longer
serves us.  Dispose of it in the Cauldron of transformation. 
Know that Spring, new life and new hope are on the way.  

(after all have put the holly in the cauldron)  Chant: "As
winter's holly returns to the earth, our hopes for Spring are
given birth.  As we will it, so mote it be!"

HPS: (returning to Circle in front of Maiden)  My Lord your
bidding is done.  The Maiden approaches.

HP:  All hail the Maiden!!!

(Music: "Winter Vision")
(The Maiden enters the Circle carrying the "Bride's Bed" which
she displays to all.  She then hands it to the HP who places it
on the altar. 

(Music:  "Queen of Spring"  Maiden dances. She then picks up a
basket of white candles and hands one to each participant.) 

(Music: "Celtic Melody"  Maiden stands, holding a candle.)

HP:  The Maiden Goddess requests your assistance, to bring back
the light. Light your candle from hers.

(Maiden moves around the circle.)

HP/HPS:  Behold the light!  The God has returned for his bride! 
The Wheel of the Year turns on! Blessed Be!

HP:  This would be the time to send energy to those who may be
ill, or undergoing transition, or for any other purpose.  Please 
share with us where the energy is to be sent and for what
purpose.

Chant:  "Tonight we send our energy. 
         Tonight we send our energy.
         Tonight we send our energy.  
         As we will it, so mote it be"

HP:  Now, extinguish your candle, but carry its light in your
heart. Relight your candle at home. Burn it to the end.
(Participants may be seated)

CAKES AND ALE  (ginger ale and cookies are passed) 

HP:  Now is the time to give thanks for the Circle of Life, New
Beginnings, and all that sustains us.

HPS:  May we ever be aware of all that we owe and be grateful.

HP:  Eat and drink.  Be happy.  Share and give thanks.

HPS:  And as we share, let us remember that aught that we have,
we share with those who have nothing.  So mote it be!  (chalices
are raised)


BLESSING OF NEW LIFE  (Wiccaning/Saining)

HP:  And now we have another very important task.  We have been
asked to perform the blessed Rite of Wiccaning or Saining as it
may be called.  It is indeed, our honor to do so in the names of 
the Lord and the Lady.

The purpose of this Rite is to welcome a newborn, and to ask that
the blessings of the Lord and the Lady be bestowed on the child. 
We will thank the Powers, and introduce the child to the
elementals for their blessing and protection.

Traditionally the child's magickal name is spoken for the first
time You, as members of the child's community will have the
opportunity to offer blessings or best wishes for the child's
health, happiness and prosperity.

The child does not become a member of our congregation at this
time.  She is allowed to make her own choice in these matters,
when sufficient age and understanding is attained.  Let us begin.

HPS:  There is new addition to our number.  Let us give her due
welcome.  (Mother and child/family enter circle.)

Who presents this child to the Powers for blessing?

Mother responds.  (I am ---------, her mother.)

What is the magical name of this child by which she shall be
known in these Circles, until she chooses a name for herself?

Mother responds. (I present my daughter------------)

Merry Meet, ------------- and much love to you.

(HPS places blessed water on the head of the child .)

HP:  (laying hands on the child)  May the Blessings of the wise
Father God, far-seeing and far-knowing be upon thee, now and
forever.

HPS:  (laying hands on the child)  May the blessings of the
Triple Goddess, of Maiden, Mother and Crone and all their
guidance and protection be upon thee, now and forever.


HP MEDITATION:  (Read slowly and with pauses)

Everyone, close your eyes and breathe deeply.  From overhead, see
the bright light of the Spirit pouring into this place and into
your heart.  Allow this to warm you and fill you to overflowing. 
When you sense the energy reaching a pinnacle within, direct it
outward.  Visualize this energy forming a pink sphere of love and
joy around this sacred space. Think of the child here with us,
and your wishes for her.  Give all your love and support to that 
sphere so that she is surrounded by the blessing of perfect love. 
So mote it be.  You may open your eyes.

HPS:  A family does not stand here alone in this Rite.  Without
the presence and support of a caring community, they can not give
their daughter all that she needs to grow strong and balanced. 
Will you all here present accept the task of providing a
supportive community to this family.

All:  We will.


EXHORTATIONS

HPS:  --------------, Your child has received the blessings of
the Lord and Lady and those here gathered.  The bringing of new
life into the world and the linking of one so young to the most
Ancient Ways is a very serious matter. Thus, you must pay close
attention to these exhortations:

You must give your child the finest and deepest training, yet
make not her life one of tedious labor.  One so young must live
well the joys of life.

HP:  You must give your child a home of warmth and gentleness. 
Moderate any conflict so that her world knows no disruption.

HPS:  Respect your child as an individual for she is unique. 
Remember that a small frame and a child's ways often cover a fine
mind that in later years many shall honor.

HP:  Give always fair hearing to your child.  Have patience as
she learns and asks, and remember that you, yourself, once walked
on the same path.

HPS:  Give ever new horizons, new challenges, new worlds so that
your child may go so far as her mind and spirit shall lead. Will 
you abide by these duties to the best of your ability?

Mother:  I will.
 
HPS:  Then, let us now set the child on the path that she may one
day choose to follow.  

(HP leads the family to each Quarter)

(HPS says the following from the altar)

East:      Oh Air and inspiration, the morning winds, gentle
Powers of the East.  Bless and protect this child. So mote it be.
(Child is given a feather.)

South:    Oh Fire and energy, the noon sun, passionate Powers of 
the South.  Bless and protect this child. So mote it be. ( Child 
is given some chili peppers.)

West:     Oh Water and insight, the evening tides, cleansing
Powers of the West.  Bless and protect this child.  So mote it
be. (Child is given a shell)

North:    Oh Mother Earth and growth, the midnight loam,
steadfast Powers of the North.  Bless and protect this child.  So
mote it be. (Child is given a scrolled copy of the exhortations
by Mother Earth)

HPS: (Taking the child and holds her up)  Behold ______________,
the Sun and the Moon.  Only these are greater than you. 

( Maiden gives parents small burning candle in a holder, which
has been present on the alter during the rite.)

HP:  This tiny flame that we give into your keeping, represents
the new life that is beginning.  As parents, you are charged with
the duty of nurturing this new life. Your child represents the
beginning of the Circle of Life.  Take with you this night our
fondest hopes and brightest blessings.

HPS' POEM
I present you now with an original poem to commemorate this
occasion.  (see attachment)

All sing "Circle of the Sun"  (see attachment)


OPEN CIRCLE

HP:  And now as Spring draws near, we have kept the faith, and it
is time to open the Circle.
Let us dismiss the Quarters, starting with the East.
(four participants)
Powers of the East and Air, we thank you for joining our Circle. 
We ask your blessing as you part.
May there be peace between us now and forever. So mote it be!

Powers of the South and Fire, we thank you for joining our
Circle.  We ask your blessing as you part.
May there be peace between us, now and forever. So mote it be!

Powers of the West and Water, we thank you for joining our
Circle. We ask your blessing as you part.
May there be peace between us, now and forever. So mote it be!

Powers of the North and Earth, we thank you for joining our
Circle.  We ask your blessing as you part.
May there be peace between us, now and forever. So mote it be!


HPS:  Mother Earth, Lord of Death and rebirth, thank you for
joining our Circle this eve of Imbolc.  We thank you for the
blessing of the new life that is in our midst this night. As you 
bring renewal to the plants and animals, we ask that you bring
renewal to our lives as well.  We have come together in love and 
peace, let us depart the same way.  Love is the Law and Love is
the Bond.

HP:  Oh Maiden Goddess, all honor to thee.  We thank you for
joining our Circle.  Gracious Goddess, we beseech thee, speak to 
us before you part.

MAIDEN: (standing in Goddess position with arms raised)

Bide the Wiccan Rede ye must
In Perfect Love and Perfect Trust.

Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill
And ye harm none, do what ye will!

Lest in thy self-defense it be,
Ever mind the Rule of Three.

Follow this with mind and heart
Merry Meet and Merry Part.

Bright Blessings Be With You!  

( The Maiden leaves)  

HP:  Hail and Farewell!

HPS:  The Circle is open, but unbroken

Merry Meet.  Merry Part.  Merry Meet Again!

********************************************************

Altar setup:  White cloth, two white altar candles, athames, God 
and Goddess, chalices, lighter, goddess candle holder for Maiden,
crystals, book stand

Have ready:  Besom, bride's bed, holly in basket, white candles
for all in basket, white cookies in basket, ginger ale, cups,
tray, chair for Maiden, sheet, table for cakes and ale, quarter
candles, music, tape player, BOS, story book, black veil, black
candle holder, cauldron, dogwood, song sheets, Imbolc Greetings, 
candle holder for child, feather, shell, scroll, peppers, poem
for child 

Ritual Attire:  All wear white.  Maiden wears candle wreath. 
Mother Earth wears green tunic and wooden wreath headpiece.  LOD 
wears black robe and black head wreath and carries scythe.
Sterno & Oil for cauldron,
White donut holes & ginger ale,
Copies of Imbolc Greetings and chant sheets
White candles with shields for all,
200 tea candles.

    IMBOLC GREETINGS

Imbolc, Bridgid, Candlemas,
the Wheel must turn anew.
We come together on this night 
to keep that promise true.
As Mother Earth begins to stir,
we'll burn our candles long.
We know this magick that we do
will help the Sun grow strong.

Upon her head, a candle wreath
the Lady wears tonight.
To all of us this signifies
the Sun will soon burn bright.
The Maiden Goddess now awaits
upon her bridal bed.
Her Lord, the Sun will soon return
just when all hope was dead.

So as the Seeds of Life prepare,
new hopes begin tonight.
Since ancient times we celebrate
this Festival of Light.

     February 2 was once known as Imbolc, Bridgid, Candlemas,
Oimelc and numerous other names.  Americans know it as Groundhog 
Day.  It was once the time to celebrate the growing daylight
after a long, harsh winter.  Candles and fire symbolized the
renewing power of the Sun's illumination in Nature and new
beginnings in the lives of the people. 

     On this night which the Romans dedicated to Venus and the
Celts to Bridgid, all the candles in the house were lit and
torches carried outside to welcome the return of the Sun.  In
northern countries, a candle wreath was worn on the head by a
young girl, to represent the Maiden Goddess and hopes for
fertility.

     This custom can be followed today by turning on all the
lights in the house or lighting a candle in each room. 
Thoughtful consideration can be given to eliminating habits and
attitudes that are detrimental, in preparation for the new
beginning that Spring offers. 

Bright Blessings and New Beginnings,

Eustacia Blackstar


CIRCLE OF THE SUN CHANT
                                                                  
Babies are born in the Circle of the Sun.
Circle of the Sun on a birthing day. (Repeat)

Clouds to the north. Clouds to the south.
Wind and rain to the east and west.
Babies are born in the Circle of the Sun.
Circle of the Sun on a birthing day.

Babies take their first step in the Circle of the Sun.
Circle of the Sun on a walking day. (Repeat)

Clouds to the north. Clouds to the south.
Wind and rain to the east and west.
Babies take their first step in the Circle of the Sun.
Circle of the Sun on a walking day.

Babies speak their first word in the Circle of the Sun.
Circle of the Sun on a talking day. (Repeat)

Clouds to the north. Clouds to the south.
Wind and rain to the east and west.
Babies speak their first word in the Circle of the Sun.
Circle of the Sun on a talking day.

I'm going to be married in the in the Circle of the Sun.
Circle of the Sun on a wedding day. (Repeat)

Clouds to the north. Clouds to the south.
Wind and rain to the east and west.
I'm going to be married in the in the Circle of the Sun.
Circle of the Sun on a wedding day.

Well, I hope to die in the Circle of the Sun.
Circle of the Sun on a dying day.
Scatter my ashes in the Circle of the Sun.
Circle of the Sun on a dying day.

Clouds to the north. Clouds to the south.
Wind and rain to the east and west.
Scatter my ashes in the Circle of the Sun.
Circle of the Sun on a dying day.

And, babies are born in the Circle of the Sun.
Circle of the Sun on a birthing day. (Repeat)

Clouds to the north. Clouds to the south.
Wind and rain to the east and west.
Babies are born in the Circle of the Sun.
Circle of the Sun on a birthing day.

CHANT

Higher as the fire climbs
other places, other times,
as we celebrate tonight
Will be remembered in this rite.

2008 Eustacia Blackstar. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
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