This morning I had the great privilege of leading a house-blessing for a newly-wed couple, Gruffyd and Megan, who live local to me in the rugged wilds of north Wales.
Gruffyd and Megan recently moved into this, their first bought-together house. Having rebuilt part of their cottage and redecorated, having put the furniture in place, they now wanted to have the house blessed to make it a home; and had asked me, an Anamcara (gaelic/celtic for ‘soul friend’) specialising in liminality (part of which includes leading ceremonies), to lead this house-blessing. Oh, I’m always pleased, nay, overjoyed at doing such blessings.
They wanted a quiet ceremony, a private one, and one that was short, and semi-formal. Having already worked with them prior to this, to explain how we could bless each room in turn etc, and whether they wanted to recite some of the prayers and responses, I arrived at 10am this morning. As agreed, I wore my white alb and black scapular, and had with me three dorchau pen (Welsh for ‘head wreaths’, of the green fern and other green-leaf sort), one for each of us. It’s what Gruffyd and Megan wanted, and I do so love ritual and liturgy when done in a deep, reverential manner, focussed on the One.
What follows, then, is part of a semi-formal ceremony, well, some of the ‘locational’ prayers used, really. In this case, the happy couple and I would be moving around the house, blessing each room. In each place water was sprinkled as a symbol of blessing after each prayer, and sometimes (as is tradition in these parts) salt. You might like to use (and adapt, as necessary) some of the prayers used. Some like to ‘re-bless’ their house annually as a way of re-dedicating the space, and so invite me to do that, but you could do this, too, in your home, if you wanted, now and annually.
And, so at Gruffyd and Megan’s home, with a clear blue sky and with the brilliant sun shining down, a slight and refreshing breeze coming off the southerly mountains and warming the rugged landscape, and with Welsh bird-song filling the air, we all stood at the open door:
I spoke a blessing at the front door and hall blessing:
Blessed are you, Welcoming God.
At this front door and hall, may those who come and go from this door,
know you as the constant Companion on the way.
Coming and going may
they may be sustained by your presence.
Bring to this door both friend and stranger,
those who come in peace,
and guard this place from any who come with hostility in their heart.
May every grudge or malice be left on the doormat,
and may those who brought them leave them there,
and, when leaving, may they forget to collect them. Amen
We then moved into the living room/dining room, and I prayed:
Blessed are you, Inclusive God,
for you have established this room
for the purpose of relaxation and the enjoyment of company.
May your blessing fall gently upon all who share this room.
May all who gather here
be knit together in kinship on earth,
and find, as a foretaste, a glimpse,
of the communion of your saints in heaven. Amen
Then we moved into the kitchen. I prayed:
Blessed are you, God of Plenty, God of Grace.
You supply our every need
from the store-house of your great riches.
May this kitchen always be filled
with food in abundance.
And may the preparations here
be filled with joy and love.
Bless the hands that work in this place,
and bless those who eat what is prepared here. Amen
And, then in the bathroom, I prayed:
Blessed are you, God of pure water.
You made us as whole persons
— bodies, minds and spirit —
and you called us good.
May this place be a place to
keep our bodies clean and healthy,
a place to feel refreshed, and wash
away all that clings to us, unnecessarily. Amen
And, then on into the two bedrooms. In each, I prayed:
Blessed are you, God of shelter and protection,
for you are the true rest of all people.
May you cover each person
with your gentle hands, and
may an angel reside here with protective wings outstretched.
Bless those who sleep here
with hours of rest and refreshment,
that in sleeping they might rest in peace,
and upon waking they may rise to serve you and others
in their daily life. Amen
And, finally we moved into the garden, where I said:
Blessed are you, God of Nature, who is the Verdant Greening of All Creativity.
We gather together to ask your blessing on this garden,
what is grown here and the way it provides enjoyment, relaxation and beauty. Amen
We moved back into the house, where as arranged Gruffyd and Megan read a blessing from the Carmina Gadelica:
God bless the house,
From site to stay,
From beam to wall,
From end to end,
From ridge to basement,
From balk to roof-tree,
From found to summit,
Found and summit. Amen.
There followed a great lunch, great fellowship, and lots of photographs – family and friends can see these on Gruffyd and Megan’s FaceBook site.