Alban Eiler (Spring Equinox) 2021 : Words And Events

It’s coming closer. The season changes, nature times, and earth’s majesty reminds us.

Spring Equinox, also called as Alban Eiler, as it’s known in Wales as ‘the light of the earth’, takes place on Saturday, 20 March, 2021, Saturday or Sunday? Are here are ways that you might to plan ahead for yourself eg liturgy, poems, and flaneur (and other events)..

Spring Equinox is one of the eight of the wheels for the Druids and others (such as many ancient and medieval Churches etc), and so Spring Equinox is one of the four astronomical times of the year, that so is one of the four sun events – the other being four lunar events.

Now, some will use the Sunday as a time for various liturgy or special events to celebrate Easter. And, some others might use events on the Saturday evening – as ancient tribes (even still) use the evening of Saturday as the sun goes down and the new day enters. Perhaps you might prefer a Saturday liturgy just after twilight (maybe, about from 8pm), and then use Sunday for a special event.

So, firstly, here is a liturgy that you might use or adapt for your Spring Equinox or Alban Eiler. 

And secondly, here (after the liturgy) there is a few ideas of how you might have a special event that late Saturday and/or Sunday. 

LITURGY

You might suggest one or more of the following:

  • to use a candle (but do be careful about children, pets, furniture etc)
  • put a vase to use a few daffodils
  • put appropriate a book of spring poems, or use some of the poems/quotes/ecology-prayers used in this liturgy
  • you might like to use a few  minutes of a poem or two here, and/or used a time of quiet meditation, used at the beginning and end of the liturgy
  • you might use a prayer at the liturgy of point three to: give our own thankfulness to the spring season and wildlife, and to give needlessness of ecology etc.

Start

Beginning Spring poem/quote: William Wordsworth (and/or quiet meditation)

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed, but gazed but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

One: The Earth Blessing Of The Four Quarters

(Facing east)
Blessed be the One who crosses boundaries,
who is evident in the lengthening day,
in the turning of the Great Circle, and
who is felt in the soft, refreshing Spring wind.

(Facing south)
Blessed be the One who is evident in the colour green,
Viriditas,
who makes plants grow and flower,
and the trees to prepare for blossom, and
who warms the earth as the sun rises higher in the sky.

(facing west)
Blessed by the One who causes nature to stir from her sleep,
who waters the earth, and calls to the deep,
and the deep joyfully replies and springs to life, and
who changes the slow, icy brooks into life-laden babbling streams.

(facing north)
Blessed be the One who speaks to the earth,
and from decay new life immediately appears,
who showers the earth with rain from your storehouse of abundance, and
who blesses the earth, which, in turn, blesses us.

(facing centre, suggested)
Lord of the elements, ‘Three-Personned’ God, we praise you.

Two: For Personnel Renewal

Lord of Springtime, Lord of All,
refresh us and awaken our senses.
Cleanse us inwardly,
and dispel the dust of resistance and old habits,
and fill us with your love and grace,
that the blessings you give us, we can give back to you
in eternal praise.

Three: Creation: End Of Day/New Day Liturgy 

Praise to you, Mother-Labourer of All,
who has birthed all creation and who re-creates.
I/We rest now with you,
Maker and loving Sustainer of all your children, and
I/We ask you to enfold me/us,
and all those on my/our heart/s.
Amen.

End Spring poem/quote: Katherine Mansfield (and/or quiet meditation)

The fields are snowbound no longer;
There are little blue lakes and flags of tenderest green.
The snow has been caught up into the sky–
So many white clouds–and the blue of the sky is cold.
Now the sun walks in the forest,
He touches the bows and stems with his golden fingers;
They shiver, and wake from slumber.
Over the barren branches he shakes his yellow curls.
Yet is the forest full of the sound of tears….
A wind dances over the fields.
Shrill and clear the sound of her waking laughter,
Yet the little blue lakes tremble
And the flags of tenderest green bend and quiver.

Fourth: The Earth Blessing Of The Four Quarters (Repeat)

(Facing east)
Blessed be the One who crosses boundaries,
who is evident in the lengthening day,
in the turning of the Great Circle, and
who is felt in the soft, refreshing Spring wind.

(Facing south)
Blessed be the One who is evident in the colour green,
Viriditas,
who makes plants grow and flower,
and the trees to prepare for blossom, and
who warms the earth as the sun rises higher in the sky.

(facing west)
Blessed by the One who causes nature to stir from her sleep,
who waters the earth, and calls to the deep,
and the deep joyfully replies and springs to life, and
who changes the slow, icy brooks into life-laden babbling streams.

(facing north)
Blessed be the One who speaks to the earth,
and from decay new life immediately appears,
who showers the earth with rain from your storehouse of abundance, and
who blesses the earth, which, in turn, blesses us.

(facing centre, suggested)
Lord of the elements, ‘Three-Personned’ God, we praise you.

[Don’t forget any unlit candle]


EVENTS

Here are suggestions that you might consider, if covid-rules allow in your area: 

  • spend some time walking part of a forest or part of your city park, and/or watch a bench, and/or to have a quiet time, 
  • have a different organic breakfast for yourself or others (and make it a slow and special breakfast), but, if you are not allow to share with others at home, then how about using similar food to be given to someone on a shop’s food bank,
  • use a few spring flowers eg daffodils in a vase or use pictures from iPhone and iPad on your table,
  • plant a bulb or seed a few in your garden, or send a £1 (or more) to a charity that will promote bees, birds, trees or allow ecology in general etc,
  • use flowers locally you see, weed or insects you see using your photos of your iPhone or iPad, and later on use google to spend say a few minutes to find some a few facts that you find them interesting,
  • you might like to spend an hour, say, and saunter (see flaneur), and aimlessly and wonderfully check your forest or city, and see it see differently, so long as you’re safe, and here’s an idea: https://tadhgtalks.me/2016/06/15/world-sauntering-day/
  • make a journal from onwards to spring, and record each day (perhaps, note the type of weather, or astronomical and moon, or what wildlife might be known, and use a weather or astronomical or wildlife etc  data book’s/almanac for 2021, or  star-gazers book for the year  
  • make some food for wildlife, in the forest, or park but ensure it is lawful to do it, and all animals are able to digest properly.


CONCLUSION

Spring equinox, Alban Eiler, is a great day. The liturgy is a special time, and don’t forget events on the day will be useful on other days and weeks ahead. If you have other liturgy or events, please do email me, too. Meanwhile, happy Alban Eiler for you on 20 March, Tadhg.

(Oops apologies for mention the Spring solstice. LOL)

Ephemera: The Full Moon (And Others), And Events You Might Enjoy

The next full moon starts on 27 February 2021 in the constellation of Leo the Lion in the south-east northern hemisphere. Here are a few ideas to make the full moon to make your different and enjoyable. Such as:

  • Sister Moon, Adapted Part of the Canticle: Liturgy
  • Moon Months Names (Liturgy or Poem)
  • Moon Bathing (Walking, Meditation, Saining etc)
  • Writing A Letter And Letting It Go

SISTER MOON: RITUAL: PART OF THE CANTICLE OF THE SUN BY FRANCIS (ADAPTED)
This liturgy/poem may be used in its entirety, though some of it more slightly covers the full moon.

Oh Most High, All-Source, and Goodly-One, Great are your praises, your glories, and your blessings.
All: Hail and welcome you.

As Brother Sun you give us the day, the light, and beautiful radiance.
All: Hail and welcome you.

As Sister Moon you give us the Moon’s face who is gleaming, beloved and peaceful. In the firmament, as the full moon ‘rides’ the celestial circle, you bedazzle a myriad of luminaries – comets, planets, stars and galaxies, all beyond number.
All: Hail and welcome you.

As Brother Wind you give us moderation of temperature and wind, and calmness and the moodiness of the currents ways.
All: Hail and welcome you.

As Sister Water you give us moisture that is purposeful, that you bedew us, and fill us with sprinkling that is pure.
All: Hail and welcome you.

Oh, Sister, Mother Earth, you supply the world and our nourishment anew, and with a magnificent panoply of flora and fauna.
All: Hail and welcome you.

MOON MONTH NAME/S: POEM/RITUAL
Here’s a poem/liturgy for the full moon for each month of the year. You can use the particular month’s moon that refers to the actual one month that refers to it, or you might like to say all twelve month’s verse and slowly use the appropriate month.

JANUARY
The night air is still, Quiet Moon,
and frost on the ground is strewn.
Sounds are muted and all is at rest,
Warmed we are, and so truly blessed.
We remember you in our praise tonight,
this betwixt, magical time of twilight.

FEBRUARY
Moon of Ice, we greet you well,
your smile charms us like a subtle spell.
And, as upward we crane our necks to look,
you write love-letters on our heart’s invisible book.
As you look down upon us and see
in us a reflection of the Immutable Three.

MARCH
Open our hearts, our intellect and mind,
and search our ways, so that in you we find,
the reason for the smile on your face.
It is the ‘Moon of Winds’ Creator’s grace.
And, in gratitude and awe,
we cry out, insatiably, for more.

APRIL
We welcome you Growing Moon,
whose face is carved like a sublime, ancient rune,
to remind us to look above and beyond,
to revere your light in that ancient pond,
to honour with all, and with our soul,
honour you, the One Behind It All.

MAY
The Bright Moon is May’s delight,
look kindly on Earth’s children tonight.
May we be blessed forever to be,
One with you, Eternal Three.
That divisions here on Earth, may cease,
as we celebrate this night as your timely feast.

JUNE
We honour you, Moon of Mead,
and lift up our heads, lift up our need,
that in you, you will supply,
our humble requests, hear our plaintive cry.
That we might be blessed in your light,
and revel in oneness this summer’s night.

JULY
We celebrate midsummer, Oh Moon of Corn,
that from darkness, you are now full-born.
Around us mirth and joy is heard,
You light the world by the Creator’s word.
Teach us to listen and observe
to nature’s wisdom, to love all, and all to serve.

AUGUST
Welcome Barley Moon, a beaming light
o’er the golden grain at night.
Reflecting sun, giving food for our table,
you hang there in a sky, in a sea the colour of sable.
Your light now full, this month in size you grew.
Dear bright moon, we welcome you.

SEPTEMBER
Welcome Singing Moon, of mirth and merriment,
of lovers’ poems, and words of lament.
At the close of day, upward many look and think,
and celebrate your beauty in song and drink.
And then in silence and awe,
we contemplate your beneficial, wholesome, tidal law.

OCTOBER
Welcome Harvest Moon, new light reborn,
keeping watch over the cultivated corn.
As the temperatures fall and air begins to chill,
as owl noises can be heard from dale and hill,
so may we, in wonderment, pause and be still.

NOVEMBER
Ah, Moon of Snow, we welcome you,
yellow light in a sea of blue.
Created by the One Behind It All,
Arianrhod, by your name we call,
you, once again, to be,
and seek you, from incumbrance us free.

DECEMBER
Cold Moon hanging in the darkened sky,
your love, your power, your face forever shy.
In awe we gaze upward, and and question, ‘why?’
Why should the Moon-Maker gift us,
with your smile so beauteous?
Cold Moon hanging in the darkened sky.

MOON BATHING (FULL MOON): 
WALKING, MEDITATION, SAINING, KATAPHATIC AND APOPHATIC SPIRITUALITY Moon bathing means basking yourself under the full moon – so that you can see the full moon, other  you can’t see it, or that it is full somewhere close.

It fills you with positive energy, can boost you, rejuvenates you and creates you with new life changes. It can be used with meditation or with liminal ‘dream-like’ encounters.

So, the ‘direct’ method means immersing yourself into nice, warm water. The ‘indirect’ method means you can spend some time out of the house at the time of the full night and walk under it, or bask it in your house under a rug.

If walking under the night’s full moon it would be good to just gaze at it, or think or gaze deeply. Moonbeams are powerful. If done by your garden, you might have a nice wine or a nice cup of herbal tea – maybe echinacea, or nettle, or lavender, or camomile etc.

If walking in a bath or without using water but laying on a rug, you could mediate – if you are using a kind of liminal ‘dream-like’, Kataphatic encounter, then you might like to use a liminal adventure in a forest or beach at which the moon is present, and use its energies permeate yourself directly.

You might use a rose petals for the bath. Oh, our for laying  under the rug you would might think of saining , or using one of those fragrance diffusers (with appropriate ‘oil’ diffusers such as with frankincense or myrrh).

Whatever you do, do be safe – if using water don’t use too much and not too hot, if you use a candle etc then be careful with yourself, with children or animals, and ensure fabrics.

If using a bath or if laying under a rug you might like to try a liminal ‘dreamless’ encounter. It’s  best, then,  to have a clock to encourage you to  stop at ten or twenty minutes, and during that time you ask, think or look at ‘nothing’. This is called apophatic meditation or spirituality, and purposely seems of ‘nothing’ as the Source of All, as the Source of All is incomprehensible.

WRITING A LETTER AND LETTING IT GO
At the time of the full moon is the best time to release to write. You could write a letter to yourself about the things you are worried about, or you might want to rid yourself of a habits, or add something about doing something positive. Or you might write a letter about someone who needs positive energy or similar, but the letter is never sent to them. I would suggest you write the letter on use water-solvable paper so it can be dissolved and not seen by anyone at the end of the event. Even a paper-shredder is usable. However, for safety-sake I wouldn’t encourage you burning the letter.

CONCLUSION
I hope the few ideas mentioned here are useful to you, and I’d be pleased to see any ideas that you have used times at after times, showing me to then, please. In all cases intentionality is important. Do have a wonderful event this full moon event.

Blessings from Tadhg.


[The moon header photograph is copyrighted: All rights reserved, 2020, Pennie Ley (see here). Used  with permission. Many thanks Pennie.]

Ephemera: The Ice Moon: 27 February 2021

This month’s February full moon is close. Don’t forget that many ancient civilisations had, and still have, the moon as a guide to their days and the change of seasons. And, the full month this month takes place on 27 February 2021 in the constellation of Leo the Lion in the south-east northern hemisphere.

I am going to notice the lights of the earth, the sun and the moon and the stars, the lights of our candles as we march, the lights with which spring teases us, the light that is already present.” Anne Lamott 

Moon names: The February’s moon is called by Celts and Druids as the Ice moon or the Snow moon.

Now, to the next (Full) moon to the Chinese people it may be the Budding moon; to the people of the Inuit peoples  it is said to be the  Seal Pup moon; the Storm moon as Wiccan; and the Horning moon of those who are Nordic.

Some call this moon (or full moon) as the Ash Moon or Ash Ogham Moon (as the Ogham Tree Ash covers 17 February to 18 March). But, not all of them.

Some might not use Ogham tree months as historically correct – but I often think it is still nice having Ogham ‘romantic’ months/trees/moons and having months allied to ecological trees. Others/most use January to December months, instead, and yet which includes a few despot Roman emperors. And Ogham/ecological trees are better… I think. What do you think?

It did occur to me, if there was any correlation between the Ash the month and to of recent day of Ash Wednesday on 17 February. Odd? I wonder?

For the February moon for those in the Southern Hemisphere the different names might be called: Grain Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Red Moon, Corn Moon, Dog Moon, Barley Moon. You might already have a Southern Hemisphere name already, but if you haven’t, then you might like to call one.

“With freedom, books, flowers, and the Moon, who could not be happy.” Oscar Wilde

(Scientific) Lunation: This moon is Lunation 1214. 

Lunation 1, for those interested (for astronomers, astrologers, natural historians, myth etc) started at the first new moon in 17 January, 1923 by Ernest William Brown as a way of ‘figuring’ out the moon’s almanac to all. The next Lunation 1215 starts at the next new moon in March.  So, the current moon, and the next full moon is now Lunation 1214.

“The moon looks upon many night flowers; the night flowers see but one moon.” Jean Ingelow

Myth: In Greek mythology, Leo is the lion near Nemea, part of Peloponnese, in Greece, that would terrorise the populace. Killing the lion was one of the Hercules twelve labourers. The lion’s death is placed in the constellation. 

Stay wild, moon child.” Riitta Klint 

And more: The next may article cover ideas of what you might like to do as the next full moon eg liturgy or a few events.

Ah, The Kindly Face: The Poem Or Liturgy Of The Moon’s Face.

I love the changing moon.

You might, like me, have a liturgy you use each month – perhaps as a new moon, or like me you might like the monthly full moon. Here are words that can form as part of a liturgy or as a poem for the face’s moon. These words were used a year by me ago or so, and I like them to show the moon’s travail by us (as a full moon is due soon), but which can also be used for new moon words/liturgy soon after this liturgy/poem.

Not only do I like the moon because I am a Druidic-Christian (or as a Christo-Druid), and it fascinates me above the night’s sky, and as a poet it to meld words, but also as I am an amateur astronomer.

I hope this following liturgy/poem is useful to you.


Ah , The Kindly Face (Poem/Liturgy)

Ah, The kindly face.

The blessed Earth-maker moved and the Earth was split, rent asunder,
and its twin was created, yes, the the Moon was formed.
Blessed be the Moon-maker, who made this wonder,
and who created its face to look down upon us.

Ah, the kindly face.

The crown of the moon is Oceanus Frigoris, a place ancient and old.
A reminder that it is, indeed, the Sea of Cold,
and, best seen in winter.

One eye is Oceanus Tranquillitatis, the Sea of Tranquility, or peace,
where in July  nineteen sixty-nine humankind first set foot on the moon in Apollo eleven.
A fact to remember, in awe, as we gaze, upward, into the heaven[s].

The other eye is Mare Imbrium, the Sea of Rain.
It is the larger of the two, so no need for eye-strain.
But, on the day when it pours, and you choose to stay indoors,
it may be the Moon to whom you should complain.

For, the moon controls the tides, and does impact upon our weather
and part of the mouth on that face, Oceanus Procellarum, is the Sea of storms.
And, as you and I look upward, together
we now know.

But, there’s more, and no reason to quibble,
for that mouth
seems to dribble
into Mare Humorum, the Sea of Moisture,
to the south.

The blessed Earth-maker moved and the earth was split, rent asunder,
and the the Moon was formed.
Blessed be the Moon-maker, who made this wonder,
and who created its face to look down upon us.

Ah, the kindly face.

And, as we look up, and wisdom seek,
May we be a star in the (soon) waning Moon
May we be a staff to the weak.1

Ah, the kindly face.

The Curious Incident Of Brigid And The Bath Water (Reviewed). Imbolc 2021

The circle continues to turn. Imbolc, St Brigid’s Day, or Candlemas, as some call it, comes ever closer. Spring is in the air.

And with 2 February in mind, our thoughts turn to Brigid of Kildare. Brigid is viewed in differing ways, by different people. To some Brigid is an ancient Celtic goddess. The goddess of fire. Indeed, a sacred fire burned in Kildare in ancient time, as was kept burning by priestesses. In this way it was thought herds would be protected and harvests would be plentiful. To others, Brigid is a saint, and at the time of Candlemass, candles are blessed (and lit by some), and Brigid is remembered as one who symbolises motherhood, new birth, the springing forth of seeds and, in the recent past, some would bless (even) agricultural tools on that day. It’s spring (or nearly, so), after all.

Brigid was known for her hospitality. For the weary traveller no expense was spared by her.

Yes, you know I like stories, and here’s another about Brigid that I saw a few years ago.

On one occasion, going about her day, she came across some very tired, hungry and thirsty lepers. The plight of those dear people had already touched Brigid’s heart, and she made them as comfortable as she could. She ensured that they had had some food, but were thirsty.

One of those near to Brigid came to her and broke the bad news news: there was no beer for those thirsty lepers.

Brigid was deeply concerned, and it is said, immediately sprung into action. At the back of some nearby buildings she found an old bath, full of dirty bath water. She put her hand into the bathwater and blessed it. As the attendant drew off pints from that bath they found that it had changed! No longer dirty bath water, but the finest, freshest and coolest beer you could ever imagine, which was served to all.

The lepers and others were delighted, and had more than enough to drink, and there was plenty of beer left over.

You will have to forgive me – flippant only for a moment or two – but isn’t Brigid the kind of person you would like at all your parties?

I know sceptics may ridicule the bathwater-into-beer story, but there are some deep and profound truths ‘buried’ in it, if we take time to discover them. The need to be hospitable, and the joy in being so. The fact that we live in a world of abundance. The ‘power’ that one person has. That we use in a world of surprises; the Universe (God, the Elements, The Source of All) is friendly. The power in a blessing etc. All wonderful truths that are ‘unpacked’ in this unusual and delightful story about dear Brigid.

‘Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems’. Rainer Maria Rilke

Spring is close. However, you view Brigid, it may be good to give thanks for her example, for this season of rest, to look forward to the coming season of spring and the springing forth of plants etc, for growth, and perhaps to light a candle. Fire, however, you view dear Brigid, is a worthy symbol of her, and the lighting of a candle on her day a notable action to do.

Bless you, from Tadhg

Honouring Brigid’s Day. Ephemera: Imbolc 2021 (Reviewed)

Yes, it’s that time again. The circle, the wheel of the Earth continues to turn, and nature’s cycle ushers us, once again, into spring. It’s time to celebrate. Here’s some ideas of how to celebrate the event with a meal, ritual and words (liturgy). Really celebrate! A few years ago, this is what I wrote.

Event: Imbolc (favoured pronunciation ‘ih-mulk’), Brigid’s Day, Candlemas
Date: 1 or 2 February
Thought: ‘It’s the start of spring. Let’s celebrate’
Incense: Rosemary, Frankincense, Myrrh, Cinnamon
Decorations: Corn Dolly, Spring Flowers, St Brigid’s Cross, Candles
Colours: White, Orange, Red

Imbolc was traditionally a time of weather divination, and the old tradition of watching to see if serpents or badgers came out from their winter dens may, it is said by some.

For others, this time of the year is known, to me, as Brigid’s Day (who is known as a healer, a saint or goddess by some, whose example to us today is one of unbridled hospitality and more), or Candlemas, a time of rededication and purity, and the lighting of candles. Nevertheless, however you regard it, it is the first day of spring, and time to celebrate.

Meal
And because it’s a celebration, what follows are a few ideas of things you can incorporate into you main meal of the day (or other meals, as you feel appropriate).

You might like to do the whole meal as an Imbolc or Spring celebration, or just one part of it. I’d suggest the latter, especially if this is the first time you specifically celebrate the event, and in any case, it’s usually the small things that are most significant. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate, expensive spread, after all it’s intentionality that is important.

pixabay imbolc bread 232

On a number of occasions I’ve had a normal meal, and ‘focused’ on part of the meal to celebrate the event, and bought a special bread for after the meal. A remembrance of bread being a staple food, the Bread of life.

So, try something different, experiment by adding something to your main meal, say, that you may not usually buy.

Meal Preparation
Whether it’s a meal for yourself or a few others, too, preparation can be fun, meaningful and easy to accomplish. If you’re not usually into formality or table lay-out I’d suggest having just one or two additional elements.

Candles! I love candles, and I’d suggest the simpler the candle setting, the better. One candle, lit, on a table looks great. Go for ‘minimalist’ approach if you wish – it can, in many circumstances, make it even more meaningful.

pixabay candle eree

Because the sun would still be low in the sky and light in the evening would be dim, and because early Romans believed candlelight would scare away evil, and because Jesus is the light of the world, candles were specifically used (for all or some of those reasons) at this time – hence in many churches they celebrate this time as Candlemas.

Later, as you gaze upon that lit candle, remember, the sun rising higher in the sky and Spring returning, new life, a ‘chasing away’ of the dark and light dawning, and ponder on growth, good things, and hope. Give thanks to the Source of All.

Nature on display! I really like those displays that contain berries and fir cones etc and they look great as a table display. Or, hwo about a small bunch of inexpensive spring flowers! Both can look great, and act as a great reminder of gratitude to the earth, to nature.

For this event, celebrate with foods that honour the earth, hearth and home, such as milk products vegetables, bread etc, and these are incorporated in the suggestions below.

pixabay man sun 4544

Breakfast: Imbolc is about milk – think of baby ewes being born and their mother’s milk flowing to nurture them. It’s a time of fertility, new life. So, why not try something different, milk-wise to pour over your breakfast cereal

Whether you eat this meal focussing on Imbolc, or Candlemas, or with Brigid in mind, whether you eat it by yourself or with others, it’s a great way of remembering the bounty of the earth, all those that have been involved in bringing it to your table, and ofcourse it’s a great time of expressing gratitude to the Giver of All. Take time to ponder.

Words & Ritual
Throughout the meal, maybe between courses, or at the beginning and at the end, it’s good to pause, to give thanks. As you light the candle or gaze upon the lit candle, some may like to recite a poem or prayer at certain times. Here’s some words that you might like to use or ponder upon:

O most noble Greenness, rooted in the sun,
shining forth in streaming splendour upon the wheel of Earth.
No earthly sense or being can comprehend you.
You are encircled by the very arms of Divine mysteries.
You are radiant like the red of dawn!
You glow like the incandescence of the sun!

Hildegard von Bingen
English version by Jerry Dybdal and Matthew Fox

Or,

For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

Song of Solomon 2:11-12 The Book

Or,

Praise to you, Oh Caring one,
nurturing, generous and milky kind,
yet defiant as the snowdrop in a cold climate,
feisty, pure and natural
with your white singular unbroken focus,
Maid-Mother to us all,
praise to you.

Tess Ward, The Celtic Wheel Of The Year

Finally
Do plan a great event, enjoy it, and take your time. We all rush around far too much, and here’s an opportunity to slow down and appreciate the simple, natural things in life as we yet again mark the season’s change, and give thanks.

Wishing you and blessing to you at this time of Imbolc, Spring, Brigid’s Day and Candlemas is yours.

Bless you, from Tadhg

20180127 TIME TO CELEBRATE SPRING IMBOLC BRIGIDS DAY CANDLEMAS

Full Moon: The Wolf Moon Or The Quiet Moon: 28 January 2021

Each one of us love the changing moon – some like the new moon which cannot be seen on the dark’s night sky (and then a small sliver, a small crescent can be seen just a night or two later). For some it could be the  first and last quarter, or the waxing or waning that changes with the moon, but for me, I love the full moon. 

The full moon, for me, shows its moon-shadow, or it’s smiling of the moon’s face, or it as a huge orb of white that can show us of its splendour, and also, then, it shows it as a time as a special ‘full’ event, and can be used in ritual or liturgy. I love it.

And, yes, the next full moon takes place on 28 January, on evening or night in the UK (or other a northern countries) in the constellation of Gemini, the twins! This time the moon appears below the star Pollux. And then Pollux is followed by Castor. The three follow are in a line, and each appears equidistant to each other, that day.

A wolf:

Day surprises me and night scares me 

haunts me and winter follows me 

An animal walking on the snow has placed 

Its paws in the sand or in the mud 

Its paws have traveled 

From further afar than my own steps…

(Paul Eluard)

This full moon is known in various times as: the Wolf moon (or sometimes as the snow wolf) for those of Medieval English times or some of those in the Northern America, today, after the howling of hungry wolves. But what ever you call it no one can but be of wonder of the packs of wolves who work through these lean and snowy times. Chinese people call this moon as the Holiday moon.

And some by the Celtic or Druid tribes call it the Quiet moon. Whatever you call it, do make it an important event for this full moon. For me, as a Druid-Christian (or Christic-Druid) I prefer it as the Quiet moon.

As a poem or as part of liturgy for the full moon, here is something that I penned a few years ago.

Arianrhod in all her splendour, moves by an invisible hand

and wanders companionless, like a silver wheel in the sky. She ascends.

This full moon’s lucid beam dominates the now darkened canopy, and

there, in her smiling face, we find sweet, unbridled understanding.

She befriends.

Her ‘lesser light’ moves across the sky above the city, grey.

Oh, robed in splendour, her surge of silver-light fills every window pane

and skips across rooftops, trees, streams, fairy fires, and silent railway,

and falls unbeknown on those who sleep now, and refreshment regain.

A blessing.

Arianrhod, spill your beauty on a thousand Earthly races,

on happy flowers that bloom in a myriad of hues,

on laughing, smiling, sad and all up-looked faces,

who, in wilding spaces, drink your wine of sweet, bless’d fallen dew.

A gracious infilling.

And paled now is her light,

as onward she moves lower in the sky. For the sun, opportune.

But, for now, dear Arianrhod reigns with love. She is mistress of the night.

A timely witness sent by the Truth who is beyond the Moon.

A glorious remembrance.

(Tadhg)

Whatever you call this full moon do something special that evening. You might want to use a poem or liturgy/ritual as you view the full moon, you might want a small glass of wine. You might use a candle to celebrate the evening. Whatever you do, do something simple to make make it a special evening.

[Apologies if some of my wording of this article is a bit erratic. My speech is getting better, but there is still some time needed.]

Samhain 2: The Ceremony Of The Night Of The Long Shadows

The Ceremony Of The Night Of The Long Shadows
To honour our ancestors at this time of Samhain

Friday, 30 October 2020 at 8pm (UK Time)
Online Live-streaming via Tadhg’s FaceBook

For this ceremony you may need:

  • Three candles (though one may suffice)
  • Safety matches
  • One or more photographs of loved ones who have passed-on
  • Bowl of water

You might wish to use several photographs of many loved ones, or one photograph of one or two family-members that have passed-on, as representatives of all your ancestors. If taking such photographs to a physical ceremony do ensure you take only copies of the photograph/s to the ceremony, and not the original photographs. If participating at the ceremony at home, so display any photographs, safely.

The beginning/opening and closing/ending of this ceremony follows the usual style. The middle section is ‘the Work’, below, is especially about the honouring of ancestors, as it is Samhain.

This ceremony is will be broadcasted on Friday, 30 October 2020, at 8pm UK time, via livestream, Tadhg’s Facebook. Do check his facebook beforehand as it might be necessary for you to initiate a friends-link to view it, His link is at: https://www.facebook.com/tadhgjonathan.gardner

THE OPENING

The Purpose
Today we honour of ancestors at this time of Samhain. This is not to worship them, but to respect and honour them, and to remember them, too. 

You might have one or two people in mind, today, who have passed on, recent ancestors; or you might have have ancestors from far back that you want to honour them by name or in general;  in addition I would encourage you to also honour all ancestors of all times and space,  who are the family of humankind in that realm and who are connected to us, and vice versa. 

And so we will use this time to look back at that tree of life, to look at us, and to look ahead of those who are yet to come, who at one time, in the future, we also look back at us.

This ceremony may stir our emotions as we think of those whom we miss, but it is also about giving thanks for the life of our ancestors, those who are now in Bliss, and it is also about consoling each other and lifting each other up. Life continues in a different form.

 And, so let us honour of our ancestors.

On Rising
The Source of All is Spirit, and those who worship the Source of All must worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24, The Book, paraphrase)

Calling The Quarters
Calling the Quarters, as we turn in sequence to face the four cardinal compass points, helps us to become fully present so we can deeply connect to the world around us, and create safe and sacred space for us all.

Facing East
Guardian of the East, Oh Ancient One of the air,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the wind.
All: We welcome you.

Facing South
Guardian of the South, Oh Ancient One of the fire,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the flame
All: We welcome you.

Facing West
Guardian of the West, Oh Ancient One of the waters,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the tides.
All: We welcome you.

Facing North
Guardian of the North, Oh Ancient One of the earth,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with the power of the land.
All: We welcome you

From the centre, perhaps adopting the orans posture 
Guardian of all, Oh Ancient of Days,
we call upon the Spirit to be with us today.
Come charge this circle with your power.
All: We welcome you.

Call For Peace
The call for peace is an affirmation that there is peace amongst us, now; and that peace is offered to the world though not all embrace this, today, but one day will do so.

Is there peace in the East?
All: There is peace in the East.

Is there peace in the South?
All: There is peace in the South.

Is there peace in the West?
All: There is peace in the West.

Is there peace in the North?
All: There is peace in the North.

Throughout the entire land there is peace.

THE WORK: SPECIFCIALLY FOR SAMHAIN

It is said that if each generation is measured at about twenty-five years, and we have an idea in our mind of a five hundred span of time, then each of us has over two million ancestors. In thinking of our immediate ancestors or our family ancestors, do also think of the way that each one of us is connected to the global family of humankind. 

And, so…

The Three Form Honouring
We look back, and remember and honour those who have gone before us. That is, those of our generation or the previous generations. We look at the love and actions that many ancestors made to bring us to this time and maturity, and we are indebted to them.

For some we might remember good things and send love, and yet for some we might remember those who have passed on but who were unkindly to us and others. Let us be honest in remembering our ancestors in Bliss. 

And so, let us remember all our ancestors, too.

We remember and  honour them.
All: We remember and honour them.

[If you have one or more candles, do light one (or the only) candle here to remember and honour our ancestors. If you don’t have a candle, don’t worry, as I’ll light candle(s) vicariously, for you. We will also pause and meditation at this time.]

In the flow and ebb of life, we too stand in the tree of life. From our viewport we look back to those who have passed on. And, yet we look upward and ahead of those who are yet to come. Could it be that those future generations are looking back to us, and will, because of our love and action today, will honour you and I?

We remind and honour each other.
All: We remind and honour each other.

[If you have two or more candles, do light the second candle here to remind ourselves or honour each other. If you don’t have a candle, don’t worry, as I’ll light candle(s) vicariously, for you. We will also pause and meditation at this time.]

We have looked back in honouring our ancestors, reminded each other of our part in that tree of life, but also look ahead for future generations. With expectation and love we send well-wishes to those who are yet to be born, even as they may be looking back from their viewpoint. We send love and well-wishes to those yet to come.

We think ahead and send love to those yet to come.
All: We think ahead and send love to those yet to come.

[If you have a third candle, do light the third candle here to think ahead of those yet to come. If you don’t have a candle, don’t worry, as I’ll light candle(s) vicariously, for you. We will also pause and meditation at this time.]

“The sacrifice our ancestors gave yesterday
Gave us today and our tomorrow” 
(Stephen Robert Kuta)

“My ancestors offer me bliss, love, and light. I gratefully receive that which is for my highest good…” 
(Amy Leigh Mercree)

Remembering Our Ancestors In A Spiritual Exercise Of Writing
[If you have tissue paper and a pencil you might like to write a few happy memories to one or two ancestors on the tissue paper, or you might like to write a few lines as if writing a letter to some one or two that have passed on. 

Or, you might like to write names on the paper.

Once you have done that, then pause for a moment as you meditate, and then put the paper in the bowl of water to dissolve the paper.

If you don’t have paper or pencil, you can use this time to think, in your mind, what you would write on the paper, and imagine using that bowl of water to dissolve that paper.

Music will be played, now, for about two minutes or three minutes, as you do this.}

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders [us]…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1 part)

“You are the fairy tale told by your ancestors.” 
(Toba Beta)

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.”
(Khalil Gibran)

As we close, we remember that Samhain is a time of liminality, a place of a special threshold; it is a ‘thin place’, a sacred time where we draw near to our ancestors. And yet, they are never far from us, and they live, forever, in Bliss.

This time is a reminder for all of us, that the Friend, the Universe, God, is embracing all who have gone before us, who is embracing us today, and who will embrace all of those who have yet to come.

“I am as sure as I live that nothing is so near to me as God. God is nearer to me that I am to myself; my existence depends on the nearness and the presence of God.”
(Meister Eckhart)

CLOSING

Closing The Quarters
Facing East
Guardian of the East, Oh Ancient One of the air,
we thank you for your presence with us today.
All: We thank you.

Facing South
Guardian of the South, Oh Ancient One of the fire,
we thank you for your presence with us today.
All: We thank you.

Facing West
Guardian of the West, Oh Ancient One of the waters,
we thank you for your presence with us today.
All: We thank you.

Facing North
Guardian of the North, Oh Ancient One of the earth,
we thank you for your presence with us today..
All: We thank you.

From the centre, perhaps adopting the orans posture 
Guardian of all, Oh Ancient of Days,
we thank you for your presence with us today..
All: We thank you.

Final Blessings 
We bless our ancestors, in Bliss, embraced by the Friend.
We bless each other, our global family of humankind, secured by the Friend.
We bless those yet to come who are known only to the Friend.
And, We bless the Friend, the Universe, God who is always with us.
Bless you each.

Samhain 1: Introduction Of The Festival, The First Day Of Winter

Samhain (pronounced ‘so-uhn’) is  a wonderful festival ‘oozing’ with ancient Gaelic tradition and ‘magic’. Something you can participate in, wherever you are. It marks the end of the third harvest and the end of autumn, and it marks the advance of the season of winter. It is the start of the dark period, winter and the underworld, when our thoughts go to those whom we love who have passed-on.

‘Sometimes the veil between this life and the life beyond becomes very thin. Our loved ones who have passed on are not far from us.’ (Ezra Taft Benson)

It’s when, in rural communities, surplus cattle were culled, and their meat stored for the depths of winter.

It starts on the evening, at dusk, on Saturday, 31 October, but don’t forget that we’ll have a Facebook live-streaming event, a ceremony to celebrate the event, called Them Night Of Long Shadows, to honour the ancestors. More details about this will follow in a few days.

But, here’s some suggestions to whet your appetite, and to start thinking of Samhain. Samhain is a cross quarter day, indeed it’s the first of the year as it starts the Druid and ancient Celtic new year. It is a moon festival (as opposed to sun festivals, such as the solstices and equinoxes when time is measured by the sun’s elevation etc)

Winter advances: 
Since ancient times this time was seen as a feast of the dead, and the modern idea of Hallow’een ‘sits alongside’ it. Hallowe’en? The name comes from ‘all hallows eve’. When Christianity arrived in Celtic countries, and the church discouraged fortune-telling, and magic etc, a day of celebration of all the Saints of the Church was instituted on 1 November. 

The wind is full of a thousand voices
They pass by the bridge and me.’ (Loreena McKennitt, ‘All Souls Night’
)

Many of our hallowe’en traditions, such as bobbing for apples which were originally part of the foretelling of the future, and the baking cakes containing “lucky tokens” also originated at this time, and survive to this day. In addition, and an import from America, it is a time for children (or all ages) to visit door-to-door dressed as something with a ‘deathly’ theme to it, to ‘trick or treat’.

A time to take stock
Samhain, then, was a time when farmers would take stock of their animals – which would live, and which would be killed, and a time to finally gather in (any) residual harvest; a time when local and tradition rituals would be enacted eg bonfires, and embers of these would be taken home as a form of protection; young men would run around the villages boundary with torches, again, for the villagers’ protection, as that night, many believed that the veil between this world and the world of the dead was ‘thin’, and something might (or did) come through for a while. It’s a time for the imagination to run riot, and for stories to be told.

‘Somewhere in a hidden memory
Images float before my eyes’. (Loreena McKennitt, ‘All Souls Night’
)

Whether you believe this factually, ‘romantically’ or not at all, the stories of that night, retold around a bonfire, perhaps, intrigued men and women, and (no doubt) frightened (hopefully in a ‘nice’ sense) many a child. Even today, the tv ‘lights up’, innocently, with many horror movies at this time of year to keep adults ‘mesmerised’. It is a ‘thin place’, this time.

Taking stock? A ‘thinning’ of the veil between here and the other, ensures that this night, the evening of 31 October, is a feast, a celebration, a time of deep thought, a reflecting of the life of those that have gone before us.

Even in its simplest form – depending on your theology – it is a time to think about the ancestors, how they contributed to make us the person/people we are today, and to give thanks. A time to remember the ancestors in different, honouring ways. For me, reflection, thinking about the ancestors and the giving of gratitude to the Source of All predominates at this time.

Do something
Others will indulge in ritual, and though each may have a different way to acknowledge this feast, I enjoy the variety, enthusiasm and intentionality that my Christian, Celtic Christian, co-Druids, Wiccan and other friends put into this festival. I have my own way, my own ritual to mark this time, and it may be that you do, too.

My advice to you is: Do it! Be honest to yourself, be sincere and intentional, be joyful about it, but in some way (large of small, complicated or simple) observe the time, and make it something good, and wholesome, and memorable.

Enjoy the feast
A bonfire might be out of the question, but how about lighting a candle, at least for 10-20 minutes and thinking of your ancestors in a joyful and honouring way? They’re home. You might now be able to run around then edge of a village, but how about an evening walk, a silent walk of gratitude? Elementals? Here’s your opportunity to find our more about them – an evening when their activity is said to increase – and you can find a lot about them on the internet, but don’t make it only ‘book-learning’. Why not go for a county walk, or a walk in the park, or alongside a riverbank, and meditate in some way, to ‘day dream’ and reflect? And, then perhaps, later, treat yourself to a meal, a glass of wine, a warm coffee as you gaze at the cold night sky, and yes, even watch a good, scary movie?

Ofcourse, you might like a ritual of some sort or recite relevant poetry, or sing a song, and here’s a poem/song I penned some time ago. If you join the Facebook live-streaming event you might even hear me sing it.

Song/Poem

The Circle is turning,
autumn  becomes winter.

The Circle is turning,
autumn  becomes winter.

The Circle is turning,
autumn becomes winter.
And nature sleeps, as the darkness falls.

The trees, they slumber.
Deep roots are dreaming.

The trees, they slumber.
Deep roots are dreaming.

The trees, they slumber.
Deep roots are dreaming.
I’m listening to the winter’s sacred rest.

The snow is falling,
the earth is bless-éd.

The snow is falling,
the earth is bless-éd.

The snow is falling,
the earth is bless-éd.
The hope of spring, ye-et to come.

The Circle is turning,
(and) autumn becomes winter.

The Circle is turning,
(and) autumn becomes winter.

The Circle is turning,
(and) autumn becomes winter.
And nature sleeps, as the darkness falls.


If you’re ‘brave’ enough to sing it, there’s a delightful melody (the tune of Fear a Bhata (The Boatman), a traditional Gaelic piece of music to accompany you)), but if you want to hear me sing it, just join me for that Live-streaming Night of Long Shadows Ceremony – details soon.

Or, you might like to read (and recite) Rabbie Burns’ poem ‘Hallowe’en’, part of which is:

Upon that night, when fairies light
On Cassilis Downans dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the rout is ta’en,
Beneath the moon’s pale beams;
There, up the Cove, to stray an’ rove,
Amang the rocks and streams
To sport that night;

And, finally, you might like to recite the following traditional Scottish prayer:

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us


However you celebrate it, do make it something spectacular and memorable. More about Samhain will appear here, as we think about The Long Of Night Shadows event, denials how to view it, and to print out a liturgy if you wish to participate.

Ephemera: Harvest Moon: Facts & Myth (Lunation 1207)

EPHEMERA FULL MOON HARVEST MOON

The next full moon is almost upon us. And here is:

  • some facts about this full moon
  • a moon-related tale form ancient Wales

We know, scientifically, that without the moon, the Earth would be a very different place than it is today, and that it is unlikely that it would have been able to sustain life at all. Just a coincidence that we have a moon of such magnitude?

We know the Earth is is that ‘Goldilock’s Zone’, of just being the right distance from the Sun to harbour life. Too close and the surface of the Earth would ‘fry’, too far away and it would be too cold for life. Just a coincidence?

I cannot accept that it’s just a coincidence. The One Behind It All was, and still is at work, and so as you and I  see the next Full moon, let us gaze in awe and silence at the marvel, that is the Moon, and The One Behind It All, the Universe, The Source, Love, The Friend, or any other suitable Name we wish to utter.

Facts & Lunation

The next Full moon tomorrow, Monday, 3 August 2020 at 4.58pm (from a UK viewpoint for this article) in the constellation of Capricorn.

This Full moon marks the midway point of Lunation #1207. A lunation is the astronomers’ name for the lunar month (of approximately 29 1/2 days), and starts with each new moon. This system of moon counting was invented by Professor Ernest W Brown in 1933, and he started the count with lunation number 1 at the first new moon of 1923. And the count has progressed from there, so we are now at the midway point of lunation 1207. For the inquisitive amongst you that might be asking what about the counting of lunar months before 1923 from a later perspective? The answer is, astronomers give them a negative number working back from the last new moon of 1922 which would be lunation -1.

“Harvest moon: around the pond I wander and the night is gone.” Matsuo Basho (1644-1694, Japanese poet)

Infact, this Full moon may be disappointing low in the sky, and won’t drift above the horizon until about 9.15pm, reaching its highest point at around midnight. If it’s a clear night, do look to the right of the moon (and up a little) and you might be fortunate enough to see the planets Saturn and Jupiter nearby in the constellation of Sagittarius.

”But even when the moon looks like it’s waning…it’s actually never changing shape. Don’t ever forget that.”  Ai Yazawa

To some, this full moon is known as the sturgeon Moon, the Dog Days Moon, but I like to think of it as the Grain Moon or Corn, the Harvest Moon, that being so relevant to the Lughnasadh celebration yesterday or last Friday, the first harvest of the year.

Others might call it the Dispute Moon. The reason for it to be called the Dispute Moon is many and varied, and may simply be so because, as autumn and winter approaches, one’s survival centred on the good-will of others, and the upcoming months wasn’t a time when disputes should be started or continued.

There is an ancient Celtic story that Cerridwen, the Welsh muse or goddess of inspiration, mentioned in the Black Book of Carmarthen, is a personification of the Moon.

”She used to tell me that a full moon was when mysterious things happen and wishes come true.” Shannon A. Thompson

Moon Myth/Story

True, there are stories of Cerridwen in daily life, living near lake Bala (and having stayed at Bala I can highly recommend that area of Wales) and giving birth to a son and a daughter. Sadly, it is said that her son, Morfan (also called Afagddu) was ugly and so she compensated by making him wise by using magic. But, these things never run to plan.

There is also a view that, alternately, or perhaps as well as having an earthy life, Cerridwen was the Moon personified. Her name, from Welsh to English can be interpreted (depending on how you divide her name) as being ‘fair’ and ‘loved’, or ‘crooked white one’. The latter, I hold dear, as it does sum up the shape of the bright crescent moon hanging in the sky, appearing stooped or crooked. And, doesn’t the Moon inspire and invoke other-worldly wisdom? Dear Cerridwen. Dear Morfan.

Conclusion

So, if ever there was a time to celebrate, maybe with bread and something alcoholic, the full moon, in the wake of the first harvest of the year is such a time, as you gaze in awe up to out celestial companion. It’s a wonderful time to  say a word or a prayer, raise a toast or offer a libation to the One who inspires us all, or just look up in silence and ponder the Moon-maker, The One Behind It All, The inspirer.”

It is a beautiful and delightful sight to behold the body of the Moon.“ Galileo Galilei

May the blessing of the Moon-Maker shine on you and all whom you love, and make you holy. Blessings, Tadhg