I realized today that I have not offered here any actual ritual for Imbolc, or indeed for flame-keeping, and that doing so might be of help to some readers. After poking around in my computer I further realized that it has been so long since I have felt the need to write out my rituals ahead of time (I've found over time I'm happier keeping it direct and simple), I don't have any to hand.
So I went noodling around on the internet and found this. It has many interesting ideas and although I would make changes if I were using it (such as not using the word invoke, as I don't feel I have the power or the cheek to summon a deity--invite, maybe), I think it is a great jumping off place. Kudoes to Rob and Kami for their work here.
written March 31st, 1999
Adapted from the Shining Lakes Grove 1999 Imbolc Rite, written by the SLG Liturgists
with sections shamelessly stolen from the StoneCreed Grove Solitary Liturgy
- a separate bowl of water and a candle (to receive the blessings of Brigit)
- offerings for Brigit (see below for suggestions)
- offerings for the Outsiders (food or drink)
- For purifications: mud or red ochre; salt water; incense or smudge stick
- a straw "dolly" or rowan stick to represent Brigit, and a straw bed for her (optional)
- For the return blessing: red, white, and black ribbons attached to the frame of a doorway (optional)
Biodh sé [bee sheh] -- let it be so!
Failte romhat [failcheh rowat] -- be very welcome
Go raibh ma agat [GO ruh ma A-gat] -- thank you (singular)
Go raibh ma agibh [GO ruh ma A-giv] -- thank you (plural)
Slán agat [slan A-gat] -- go well (singular)
Slán agibh [slan A-giv)] -- go well (plural)
--a is pronounced [ah] for the most part.]
Consecrating the Shrine
By the Gods of Waters
By the Powers Under the Earth
I give thanks for the Waters of the Well.
Let this vessel be as the Triple Well of Blessing in this Sacred Grove of Druidry."
To be a Flame of Magic
To be a Flame of Claiming
To be a Flame of Inspiration
To welcome the Gods and Spirits to this Sacred Grove of Druidry."
"Earth Mother, Mother of Peoples, Source of Waters. Your child thanks you for bringing the life to the land, for giving me a place and a foundation upon which to place my hearth, and I honor you."
Take an offering of food or drink and set it outside the ritual space, saying:
"Outsiders, forces of chaos, you who choose not to be part of our workings, you dwell beyond our firelight and our gates, in the dark places between, you who are primal and unbounded, raw and untamed. I make you this offering, and ask that you not disturb us during this rite."
(by Ian Corrigan)
Begin, O seeker of wisdom, with your breath... breathe deeply, from your belly... in... and out... make your body comfortable... stretch if you need to, settle in place... and focus on your breath... observe your breath as it flows in and out of your body... and with each breath, allow your body to relax... let your breath carry away tension from your flesh.. relaxing your feet and legs... letting your belly soften and relax... breathing away tension from your shoulders and arms... from your neck... relaxing your face and mouth, your eyes... with each breath your body becoming warmer, comfortable and relaxed... your mind alert and prepared for magic...Now, with your body still and calm, imagine that from your feet, or the base of your spine, roots begin to grow downward... roots reaching and growing into the earth, down through soil and stone... deepening and spreading... reaching to touch the waters under the Earth... the Earth current... the dark, cool, magnetic power that nourishes and sustains life... as your roots touch this current it is drawn in and up toward your body... your breath draws the Earth power upward... into your body... the invisible, magnetic power fills your legs, energizing and strengthening... waters rise from the earth, into your legs... rising... into your loins... and pooling in your loins, a cauldron of Earth power... You breathe the power upward... rising from the earth, through your loins, rising up your spine... into your heart... pooling and filling a cauldron in your heart with healing, restoring energy... power rising from the deep, through your loins, through your heart... rising up your spine and into your head... filling a cauldron of wisdom and vision behind your eyes... and rising still, filling all your body and flowing out again through the crown of your head... through your hands... flowing out around your body and back into the earth... the power under the Earth flows in you... grounding you in the source of life...Now imagine the sky overhead... The sun and moon and, far beyond them, the stars... imagine a single star at the center of the sky, shining directly over your head... the center of your inner sky, your own pole-star...see a flash of light shining down from that star... streaming down between moon and sun... gold, silver and blue-white light... the bright, warm, electric power of the sky... the light touches your head, filling and illuminating the cauldron like sun on still water... shining from above... filling your head with warm, awakening power... flowing down into your heart... warming the cauldron... shining down through head and heart, illumining the waters... downward to reach your loins... The cauldron shines with sky power in your loins... Tingling, electrical light in head, heart and loins... the light flows downward into Earth, and you are shining and flowing with the mingled powers of Earth and sky... the raw material of magic... the chaos of potential and the world order...These powers are balanced in you... yours to shape and use... always with you in some degree...But for now, allow the powers to recede... waters to the Earth, light to the sky... knowing that each time you attune to them you become more attuned, more at one with the powers... breath deep... and allow your awareness to return to your common senses... as you open your eyes...
Opening the Portals
"Here I declare sacred center, where all times and places meet. Let it be as the world tree, the central axis of the world, so that all spirits and beings of good will may be welcome here to share in this rite!"
"World Tree, sacred center of the universe. Your roots delve deep into the earth, your branches reach the heights of the sky, and your mighty trunk connects them. May you be the strong center around which this rite revolves."
Visualize the roots of the tree growing deep into the earth, and the branches reaching up to the heavens.
"Sacred well, whose waters flow and swirl beneath us. May your depths connect my spirit to the great underground sea and the ageless powers below."
Visualize the bottom of the well connecting to an ocean in the depths of the earth.
"Sacred fire, carry all offerings to the gods and the beloved dead. May you warm all my spirit and my life."
Visualize the smoke and flame connecting to shadowy, stylized places where graceful and dimly seen beings receive the smoke as if it were solid.
"Mannanan mac Lir, Grey Walker, Keeper of the Gates. You guided the Ancestors to the Isle of Avalon. Open now the way and convey my welcome to the Queenly mother, hearth goddess, and to all those others I would welcome at this hearth, that we may share in this celebration together.
Invoking the Kindreds
"At this altar, with this candle, in this sacred place, I call to you o ancestors.
We welcome you to join me here, and to welcome as of old, Brigit, the hearth mother, who taught you - as you teach me - the ancient arts of brewing and baking and many great gifts. Ancestors, be welcome!"
"Spirits of Nature, you who dwell within the land, gently waken to the steps of Bright Brigit.
Among all that I welcome here today. Nature Spirits, Failte romhat!"
"High and Shining Ones, gods who are dear to me, be welcome here this day, be honored and join in welcoming Brigit, honored among you as warrior-smith, poet-teacher, weaver and healer and giver of plenty- gifts that each of you may share: Oh divine ones, share in the feast of Brigit."
Deity of the Occasion
(We use a much longer invocation for Brigit - it is her day, after all!)
In the high places and the low,
Beside the hearth fire and at the sacred well.
The gentle queen I call to her hall,
The place where the bed is prepared.
Grace of eye and grace of hand,
Grace of word and grace of will,
Grace of caring, grace of birthing, grace in mourning,
Grace of carriage, grace of courage,
Comforter and mother,
Brigit of the Blessings I name the one
Who blesses us this day!
Come weaver and poet,
Come brewer and baker,
Come mother and healer,
Come blacksmith and wordsmith,
Beekeeper and hearth-keeper.
Omen of Return
"I ask the blessings of the triple Brigit.
Blessings of inspiration - silver on the tongue;
Blessings of hearth and healing - golden riches of honey;
Blessings of courage, wisdom and strength.
And the light of her flame to guide me this day, as I go forward to rebirth."
"Bríd have I welcomed this day, to my hearth, to my home, to my life. May she go from here refreshed and made more joyous, as her blessing has renewed and uplifted me! Slán agat, a Bhrid!"
"You shining ones, nature spirits and ancestors, I thank you for your presence in this rite and in my life! As I return to ordinary time and the daily world, your blessings travel with me. So to, let my blessings and love go with you. Slán agibh!"
"Outsiders, you whose ways are not ours, I thank you for your forbearance. Without you there would be no change, yet in this moment, your absence was as welcome as once your presence was needed! Go raibh ma agibh!"
"Earth mother, I do not leave you, nor do you go from here, but as this rite comes to a close, once again I thank you for giving firm foundation to this hearth, for providing sustenance and life, that your child can give you love and honor. Earth mother, Go raibh ma agat!"
"Here have we met, gods and spirits, ancestors and I. But now the sacred well becomes once again a simple bowl of water, the ancient bonfire once again a candle, and this tree may no longer touch the very arch of the heavens nor its roots be those which hold the worlds in their embrace. Biodh sé!"
"By Land, Sea and Sky, By Fire, Well and Tree
I end this rite.
I go forth with blessing, to bless the world in turn.