IMBOLC RITUAL
Performed at the Unitarian Universalist Church
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
January 26, 1997
Written and/or adapted by
Eustacia Blackstar, Circle of the Sun Coven
(email Eustacia1)

Pagan music is playing on tape.  Fire has been lighted.   Incense is
lit.  All participants gather.  Introductory  words delivered by  HP.

PRELUDE:

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

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

HP    Refrain as above

HPS   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.

HP    Refrain as above

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

HP and HPS together approach participants as they prepare to enter the
circle area.  (Participants should be asked if they might have an
allergic reaction to the oil being used.)

HPS   Bright Blessings and New Beginnings on this Imbolc night.

HP    So mote it be!  (Trace a pentagram on each forehead using any of
the following oils:                                                      
                 
      sandalwood, vanilla, balm or jasmine.)
 
HP    (Raise Athame)  Be it known, the Temple is about to be erected;    
      the Circle is about to be cast.  Let those who desire attendance,  
      follow behind.  Let none be here but of their own free will.
 
All enter circle area behind HP and HPS.
                                                                         

ERECTING THE TEMPLE:

(Four white altar candles will be lit during the following:)

HPS       Here do I invoke light and air, to illuminate our temple and   
          bring it the breath of life.

HP        Here do I invoke light and fire, to illuminate our temple and  
          bring it warmth.

HPS       Here do I invoke light and water, to illuminate our temple and 
          wash it clean.

HP        Here do I invoke light and earth, to illuminate our temple and 
          to build it in strength.

(HPS castes the Circle with her athame.   HP leads a chant: )

HP        We caste this Circle round and round.  
          By its protection, we are bound.

              As I will it, so mote it be!

(HP places point of athame in the salt.)

HP        As Salt is Life, let it purify us in all ways we may use it.   
          Let it cleanse our bodies and spirits as    
          we dedicate ourselves to New Beginnings.

(HPS uses athame to place three portions of salt in the water.)


HPS       Let the Sacred Salt drive out any impurities in this Water,    
          that we may use it to wash away all that prevents us from      
          achieving our highest good.
      

(HPS moves  around Circle with salted water.  HP follows behind with the
incense.)

(Back at the Altar, HP and HPS drink a toast (with chalices) and salute
each other, then they salute participants.)

HP       We bid you welcome.  May you all be here in peace and love.     
         Let now the Quarters be saluted 
         and the Gods invited.
                                                                         
(HP moves around the Circle lighting the torches.)

HPS   (while drawing an invoking pentagram and kissing blade of athame)
      
         All hail the element of Air; Watchtower of the East.  May it    
         stand in strength, ever guarding our Circle.

         All hail the element of Fire, Watchtower of the South.  May it  
         stand in strength, ever guarding our Circle.

         All hail the element of Fire, Watchtower of the West.  May it   
         stand in strength, ever guarding our Circle.
      
         All hail the element of Earth, Watchtower of the North.  May it 
         stand in strength, ever guarding our Circle.

HP       All hail the four Quarters and all hail the Gods!  We bid the   
         Lord and Lady welcome and invite them to join with us,          
         witnessing these rites we hold in their honor.  (Raise athame)  
         All hail!

(The Charge of the God and Goddess can now be read by the HP and HPS.)

HPS      Now are we all here and is the Temple erected.  Let none leave  
         but with good reason, until the 
         Temple is cleared.  So mote it be.

( All are invited to sit.)

                                                                         
SEASONAL ENACTMENT:

HP    Tonight is the night when heat overcomes cold, when the Earth      
      begins to stir and new life   quickens.  The Wheel of 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 Imboc, Bridgit 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 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.  

HP    Yule is past, and the young God, like his symbol the sun, is       
      returning to his Lady Earth.  As she turns the great Wheel, she    
      brings him nearer, and soon she will offer herself as his bride.. 
      (turn to HPS)  My lady, I beseech you, be gone!  Search out the    
      Maiden Goddess that she might bring the sun of  Spring to warm us  
      once again.

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, who has been waiting unseen.)      
        

Version #1.  HP plays music, especially "Jeannette Isabella."            
             Participants can sing along.

Version #2.  Guest musicians may be employed.

Version #3.  HP performs "Sweeping Out Ritual"  i.e.-( HP passes among    
             the participants with a basket of dried holly.  Each takes  
             a piece.  HP takes up the ritual broom.)

HP    With Imbolc we sweep away the last vestiges of winter as we        
      prepare ourselves for Spring.

      We rid ourselves of those habits and attitudes that no longer      
      serve us.  As you take the broom, if you care to, mention          
      briefly that which you wish to banish for the New Year.

(HP begins, then passes the broom around the Circle.  When this is       
complete, participants are invited, one by one, to throw  the holly into
the fire.)   
      
(HP leads chant)  On Imbolc Eve I will be free.  As I will it, so mote
it be!


HPS   (returning to Circle in front of Maiden)  My Lord, your bidding is
done.  The Maiden approaches.  All rise and hail the Maiden!

HP    (salutes the Maiden)  All hail the Maiden!

(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.  She then picks up a basket of white candles and hands one to
each participant..  She then stands at the altar holding an altar
candle.)   

HP    Come forward and light your candle.  The Maiden Goddess requests   
      your assistance, to bring back the light.  (Participants come one  
      by one lighting their candles from the Maiden's.  Candles are then 
      placed in the cauldron filled with sand.)

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

(The youngest participant (prearranged) is asked to come forward.  The
Maiden presents him/her with a seedling:)

HPS   As the youngest in our midst, you are charged with the duty of     
      nurturing the new life that is beginning.   We all look to you to  
      grow and prosper.  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.

HP/HPS So mote it be!

(participants may be seated again)

CAKES AND ALE

HP    Now is the time to give thanks for 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.  So mote it be!

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

( White wine and cookies are passed)

(Optional)  Participants are asked to share their thoughts.  They may
wish to send energy to those who are ill etc.  Pass broom.

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


CLEARING THE TEMPLE

HP    And now as Spring  draws near, we have kept the faith, and it is   
      time to Clear The Temple.

      We begin by Dismissing the Quarters:

HPS   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.

HP    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.

HPS   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.

HP    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   Lord of the Forest, we thank you for joining our Circle this night 
      of Imbolc. 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 you.  We thank you for joining our 
      Circle.  Gracious Goddess,    
      we beseech thee, speak to us before you part.


Maiden   Bide the Wiccan Rede ye must    (standing in Goddess position
with arms raised)
      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    All rise! Hail and Farewell!

HPS   The Temple is now cleared.

HP    The Circle is open, but unbroken.  So Mote It Be!     

(kiss athame blades, greet participants.)

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

Altar setup:  white cloth, four white altar candles, salt, water,
athames, incense burner, incense, God and Goddess figures, matches,
lights for reading, cauldron with sand, seasonal decorations, seedling
in pot, chalices.

Have ready:  blessing oil, broom, bride's bed, holly in basket, white
candles for all in basket, white cookies in basket, white wine, cups,
chair for Maiden, four torches with white ribbons, oil, music, BOS.

Ritual attire:  all wear white, or black and white.  The Maiden wears a
candle wreath on head.

2008 Eustacia Blackstar. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.
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