IMBOLC RITUAL AND CHILD BLESSING
Performed at the Unitarian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
February 2, 2003
Created and Directed by Eustacia Blackstar
Eustacia

Attendees may place seed packets in a basket provided. This will
be placed on the altar to absorb the energy of the ritual. These
packets may be retrieved after the ritual.

Celtic music is heard as attendees gather.

If there are DRUMMERS present, they may drum shortly preceding
the ritual and at various places throughout as indicated.

The altar is prepared with a white and green cloth, red candles
and incense. Bridgid's Cross is displayed on the altar. A
restraining cord keeps the attendees from immediately entering
the ritual area. The ritual Circle is designated by a multitude
of burning candles. The SQUIRE and an assistant light these
candles during the drumming portion and go out.

THE RITUAL BEGINS

BARD and SQUIRE enter. SQUIRE lights the altar candles and the
incense. He remains standing by the altar with the BARD. (Bard
may be seated during the Seasonal Enactment)

HP (From the back of the sanctuary raises athame) Be it known,
the Circle is about to be cast. Let none be here but of their own
free will. Those who desire attendance, follow behind! (HP leads
attendees single file into ritual Circle)

CELTIC DANCERS perform in Circle.

HP (Raise athame) I call forth the representatives of the mighty
Quarters! Come forth! Assist us that we might seek protection and
guidance from the four Directions.

DRUMMING as Quarters enter.

QUARTERS process in Circle, S E N W and take their places. (They
are still elaborately adorned in the vestments of Yule. SQ
carries in a cauldron of holly and presents it to HP.)

HP I see you bring with you the last vestiges of Winter that we
might properly dispose of them. But, it is the Eve of Imbolc. Why
are you still clothed in the garments of Yule?

EAST QUARTER How cold this night!

SOUTH QUARTER How dark the earth remains!

WEST QUARTER The trees are still without life!

NORTH QUARTER When will the leaves appear as promised at Yule?

HPS (She is heard from outside the Circle.) You must trust me my
children. Spring will come..as soon as Winter is over.

BARD SINGS as HPS enters. " Bridgid's Song" (Tune is El Shaddai
by Amy Grant, lyrics adapted by Eustacia)

Holy Water, sacred flame, Bridgid we invoke your name.
Bless our minds and bless our hearts, source of healing, song and
arts.
On this sabbat we draw near, your eternal words to hear.
Lady Bridgid, may we ever seek your ways. (Sing 3x as necessary
for entrance of HPS)

HPS (She enters wearing the blue mantle of Bridgid and a candle
wreath. The wreath is removed and placed on the altar. She places
a white wreath on her head. She casts the Circle with the besom.)
I cast this Circle round and round. By its protection we are
bound. As I will it, so mote it be!

HP Hail to thee, my Lady! May the blessings of Imbolc be with
you. But did you not promise to bring a sign that Spring
approaches?

HP Yes, my Lord, I will get it now.

DRUMS until she returns

(HPS exits Circle and returns with the "sign" which is then
carried around the Circle for all to touch and receive the
blessing.) The promise of Spring that is Imbolc! Bight Blessings
be with you on this Imbolc night! (She hands "sign" to the
Dancers who exit the Circle)

CHANT led by QUARTERS. All participate.

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

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 (repeat Chant 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 (repeat Chant as above)

HPS
So as the Seeds of Life prepare,
New hope begins tonight.
Since ancient times we celebrate
This Festival of Light.

Let us now call the QUARTERS! (All raise athames)

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.

HP/HPS So Mote It Be!

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

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

(HP lights the cauldron.) You may all be seated.

SEASONAL ENACTMENT "Walking With Mother Earth" (See the
end of the ritual)

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

HP 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. We gather on this
blessed eve to celebrate this season of Imbolc, Bridgid 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.

HPS In this moment between time, we come to greet the 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 feel ourselves a part of the relentlessly
turning Wheel.

HP Yule is past, 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. I now command the mighty Powers to search out the Maiden
Goddess that she might encourage the sun of Spring to warm us
once again.

(The QUARTERS leave the Circle to retrieve the Maiden, a young
girl dressed in white wearing a candle wreath on her head and
carrying the "Bride's Bed." The QUARTERS change their garb to
white before returning)

SPELL TO PREPARE FOR THE COMING OF SPRING

HP (Takes up the Cauldron of holly) 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.
The holly represents the last vestige of winter. It has been
placed in the Cauldron of Transformation and will now be disposed
of. This is a symbol that Spring, new life and new hope are on
the way. (The SQUIRE ceremoniously takes the Cauldron out of the
Circle.

CHANT
Think for a moment about the life changes you are hoping for in
the new season. Keep these in your mind as you chant: "As
Winter's holly returns to earth, our hopes for Spring are given
birth." (3 times) As we will it, so mote it be!

MORE DRUMMING

SQUIRE returns to Circle with an empty cauldron which he gives
back to HP.

CAKES AND ALE (Ginger Ale and Cookies are passed by three or four
of the attendees chosen by the HP)

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 all that we have, we
share with those who have nothing. So mote it be! (Chalices are
raised.)

CELTIC DANCERS dance.

CHILD BLESSING (One of our community has requested a special
blessing for her daughter who has experienced a very difficult
year. We are please to include her here.)


MOM (stands from the Circle) My Lord, My Lady, I am a mother with
a special request, if you would be so kind.

HP Tell us mother, what is your request?

MOM My daughter has had a particularly difficult year. (Or MOM
can add her own words here.) I ask tonight that she might receive
a special blessing.

HP The Lord and Lady grant all worthy, heartfelt requests. What
is the name of your daughter?

Mom Her magickal name is Bridgid. (Mom sits again)

DRUMMING is heard

(The QUARTERS return to the Circle followed by the MAIDEN GODDESS
BRIDGID)

EQ My Lord, we bring news that the season is changing!

SQ We have seen the beginnings of new life.

WQ The Lady's promise is fulfilled.

NQ The MAIDEN GODDESS BRIDGID is here!

HP All hail the MAIDEN GODDESS BRIDGID! (She enters Circle with
the Bride's Bed and presents it to HP)

HPS Behold the light! The God has returned for his bride!

HP The Wheel of the Year turns on!

HPS Blessed Be!

ALL SING 3x "We all come from the Goddess and to her we shall
return. Like a drop of rain, flowing to the ocean."

HP Maiden Goddess, we ask that you favor us with some words of
wisdom on this sacred night.

MGB (She turns outward in goddess position with legs apart, arms
open, thumb and first finger together)
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.

HPS Thou art Goddess, Bridgid and tonight you are our Child of
Light.

HP Will you all join us in blessing this child. Hold out your
arms and silently project your energy toward her. (Place hands on
the child's shoulders)

HPS (The Caim of Bride / Bridgid)

Be the compassing of Bride around you,
Keeping you from hurt and harm,
Keeping you from wound and woe,
Shielding you from all despair.
May the fiery sword of valiant Bride
Defend you from all black swarms.
May the shield of blessed Bride
Guard you from all sharp edges.
May the cloak of gentle Bride
Encircle and protect you.
This day and every day,
This night and every night,
Be the compassing of Bride about you.

So mote it be!

HP (Presents Maiden with a sage plant and some pumpkin seeds)
We present you with a seedling of sage, so that you will grow in
wisdom. As the youngest in our midst tonight, you are charged
with the duty of nurturing the new life that is just beginning.
We all look to you to grow and prosper as our symbolic
representative.

HPS
You represent the Circle of Life. We have all been where you are
now. Take with you this night our fondest hopes and brightest
blessings. So mote it be!

HP Oh MAIDEN GODDESS BRIDGID, all honor to thee. We thank you for
joining our Circle. Until we meet again, hail and farewell! (She
leaves)

All rise!

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.

EQ
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.

SQ
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.

WQ
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.

NQ
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.

HPS
Mother Earth, Lord of Death and Rebirth, Lady Bridgid, we thank
you for joining our Circle this Imbolc Eve. We thank you for the
young life of Bridgid, who you have blessed this night.

HP
As you bring renewal to all life forms, we ask that you bring
renewal to our lives as well. Give us hope. Give us strength.
Give us guidance. And in these days of turmoil, Lord and Lady,
above all, give us peace. (Extinguish cauldron)

BARD sings "Bridgid's Song" (HP and HPS leave the Circle)

Bridgid, you have shown your light, like a candle in the night.
Deep within each one has heard the power of your word.
Now that Spring is on Her way, we have hope again and pray:
Lady Bridgid, keep us ever in your care. (Sing 3x or until HP and
HPS exit)

ME and LOD leave together

SQUIRE and BARD leave together

DANCERS leave

QUARTERS leave starting with the South

HPS (from the back of the sanctuary)
We have come together in love and peace, let us depart the same
way. Love is the Law and Love is the Bond. The Circle is open but
unbroken. Merry Meet. Merry Part and Merry Meet Again! Blessed
Be!

FEAST (all attendees are kindly requested to bring something to
eat or drink)









Written by Deirdre Pulgram Arthen
Adapted for ritual by Eustacia Blackstar
BARD
Many, many years ago, when the world was still young, Mother
Earth walked freely among her children every day. The rivers and
streams led her through forests and fields where she visited and
nurtured her beloved ones.

(MOTHER EARTH slowly walks from the back of the sanctuary to the
edge of the circle)

The flowers and ferns loved and revered the gentle woman who with
her wisdom and her experience guided their growth. The tallest of
trees bowed their branches in respect and admiration as she
passed and spoke with each in turn.

(ME enters circle, makes one turn deosil ending in the South)

Never hurrying, never lingering she made her way over the land,
giving breath to the four winds, spark to the fires, moisture to
fill the streams and oceans, and life to the many forms her
children had taken.

Each day she followed her path without rest, until one morning,
when she was atop a high mountain drawing down clouds to wet the
waiting leaves below, from a cavern, a figure appeared.

(Enter LORD OF DEATH)

He was tall and darkly clad, but pleasing to her eyes. He
approached and addressed her in a deep voice saying:

LOD
Hail Mother, bringer of life. I, Lord of Death, greet you with
love. I have watched you in your work. Come tell me of the
wonders sprung from your heart and your hands.

(ME lights South candle)

So Mother Earth tarried awhile and spoke with him of fire, the
way it creates and transforms life, the way it nurtures the
heart. But she would not stay long, and as the sun emerged, she
made her way down the mountain to see the streams born of her
clouds.

(ME moves to the West)

The Lord of Death found her sometime later along the shoreline of
the ocean, leading a sea turtle from the water to the shore to
lay her eggs. He called to her saying:

LOD
Come, and tell me of the wonders again. I come to you in love.

(ME lights the West candle)

So she spoke to him of water, the birthplace of all life. She
told him of the life that it sustains within itself, of the tides
and of the clouds. But when the turtle returned to the sea,
Mother Earth returned to her work.

(ME moves to the North)

The Lord of Death pursued her still and found her once more deep
in a forest, where the moss was thick and the smell of the soil
was warm and wet. He called to her again saying:

LOD
Come, and speak with me once more. I follow you for love and
would hear more of your wonders.

(ME lights the North candle)

Mother Earth smiled and showed him a spider weaving her lacy web.
She told him of the soil and the trees, of the deer and of the
lizards, of the grasses and the flowers, but again she left him
just as the spider had spun that last strand of her web.

(ME moves to the East)

The Lord of Death found her a fourth time in a field of clover,
calling in the bees to suck out the nectar from which their honey
would be made. He called out to her:

LOD
Come to me, my love, and tell me more of your wonders.

(ME lights the East candle)

As the bees supped, she spoke to him of the four winds that bring
water and warmth to the land, build waves in the sea, and spread
seeds from the trees and flowers that they might multiply. She
turned to leave as the bee began flying homeward but the Lord of
Death gently put his hands on her shoulders saying:

LOD
I have seen many wonders. You work long and hard, my love, toward
good ends, but it has worn on you. Come to my kingdom and let me
care for you. Let your travels cease. Come rest with me in quiet
and peace.

Mother Earth looked at him and knew that he was right. She was
tired and clearly needed a rest. But she looked about her and
sighed..

ME
What of my children if I go with you? They cannot survive without
my love and care. They will be destroyed.

LOD
They will not be destroyed. When you leave their spirits will go
deep within to rest as well. When you return, so too will they.
They will be refreshed with new life.

Mother Earth felt in her innermost heart that he was right, and
so she agreed to leave with him. He softly kissed her hand,
transporting them both to his kingdom below the ground.

(LOD and ME leave ritual circle)

Above, the winds ceased, and the land became cold without their
warmth. The animals burrowed under the ground to sleep. Fish dove
to the depths of still ponds. The waters froze, and as they did,
so too did the trees. The world was barren and cold and desolate.
All life was turned within, hidden and still. Mother Earth rested
and was content deep underground.

(Long pause)

And then one day, Mother Earth felt the urge to return. Something
was pulling her toward the surface and the light. The Lord of
Death loved her and tried to persuade her to stay, but she could
hear her children calling to her, and she could not resist.

Let's all call to her now: (All chant) We are one with the soul
of the earth, Mother Earth!

(ME returns and stands at the altar with the Cakes)

Ever since that time, we call to Mother Earth each Spring. We
send our voices with the songs of birds and the squirrels, the
whispers of the ferns and the flowers, the trickling of streams
and the humming of the bees. All of us together urge her to
return, to walk again among us, filled with renewed strength and
beauty, bringing to her children the gift of life.

(LOD returns with pitcher of Ale. Cakes and Ale are placed on a
separate table for later)

*************************************************************
RITUAL NOTES:


Altar: white cloth, green cloth, red candles and holders,
incense, candle snuffer, matches, seed basket, cauldron with
candle, Bridgid's Cross, BOS, white head wreath, sage plant and
pumpkin seeds, athame, besom is next to altar

Other props: Celtic music/tape player, Imbolc Greetings (an
explanation of the ritual with copies for everyone), cauldron of
winter greens, cord, secret "sign" of Spring, Bridal Bed, Quarter
candles

Cakes and Ale: tray, pitcher, cups, cookies, ginger ale

Appropriate ritual clothing please: The colors are white or
light blue if possible.

Quarters wear red and white tunics and headpieces that will be
supplied

LOD wears black.

ME wears green

Maiden wears white with a white candle wreath

2008 Eustacia Blackstar. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
Return to Ritual Page