June’s Full Moon & Your Full Moon Ceremony Invitation: Friday, 5 June 2020 At 8pm (UK Time)

MOON 2

Tomorrow (Friday) evening sees the June full moon in all its glory. Yes, it’s time to celebrate again. Below is an outline of the details of this moon – what sort of moon is it? A wolf moon? Wine moon? And you’ll find some astronomical data. But, you’ll also find your personal invitation to join in our second Full Moon Celebration online.

Full moon data &
Your personal Full Moon Celebration invitation. It’s live!
See below. Yes, you’re invited!

The next full moon is almost upon us. There is something mystical, ‘magical’ and calming about the full moon as it brightens and glides higher into the sky. No wonder the ancients paid particular attention to the Moon and each month it ushered in.

Full Moon Data
This full moon will be in its fullness on Friday, 5 June 2020,  just after 8pm (UK time) in the constellation of Scorpio. At that time it will be below the horizon (from a UK aspect) but IT will climb higher as the night goes on. It will be just above the horizon at 9.15pm and, in the southern sky in the northern hemisphere, it may be viewable to many nearer midnight or later.

Some will know this full moon as the Strawberry moon, to me and the ancient and latter-day Celts and Druids it is the Moon of Horses; to Wiccans many call is the Dyad Moon; and the Chinese people call it the Lotus Moon. In the southern hemisphere where the seasons are switched this full moon is known by some as the Oak Moon, the Cold Moon, or the Long Night’s Moon.

But, whatever name you call it, the full moon is a time for celebration: perhaps by walking in the light of the full moon (and have you ever seen your moon-shadow?) and pondering its awesomeness, raising a glass of wine to its glory, meditating on the Moon-Giver, or reciting liturgy or a poem in its honour and to honour the One Behind It All?

Ofcourse, all that can be done after our live celebration – after all, the moon won’t be visible until nearer midnight.

The ancients loved their stories (and perhaps we still do, but do so by+ going to the cinema, watching a movie on tv), and here’s a mythical and magical story from ancient times, though not notably Celtic or Druid in essence but still entertaining and through-provoking, about the moon.

There is a very interesting Chinese myth about this woman who was said to live on the moon. There are several variations of the myth but the essential story is that she and her husband were once immortal beings but were made mortal because of their extremely bad behaviour.

They attempted to regain immortality through the use of an immortality pill to raise them back to lofty heights, but Chang’e became greedy and took too much of  it, and ended up floating high into the sky and on onward  to the moon where she remained stuck forever. Perhaps, it is Chang’e’s face that looks down upon us?

She is the subject of much Chinese poetry and is one of the central reasons for celebration each Autumn during the Chinese Moon Festival. And, Chang’e was the name of the lunar probe sent to the far side of the moon by China about sixteen months ago.

Your personal Full Moon Celebration invitation. It’s live!
Yes, we’re about to hold out second, online, live, Full Moon Ceremony online, and you’re invited, and at home during lockdown you can participate and join in the liturgy, or just let it ‘sink’ deep, either ‘live’ or as a recording.

Live Full Moon Ceremony ‘Broadcast’ via FaceBook
Friday, 5 June 2020 at 8pm (UK Time)
Join us! 

So, first: To see  the broadcast and join in you need to be a FaceBook friend of mine. If you’ve been able to see my morning ‘Thought For The Day’ broadcasts via FaceBook then you’re good to go.

If you’re new, not a current FaceBook friend do check here. If don’t see previous videos there  or if you can’t gain full access to that webpage then you’ll need to become a  FaceBook friend: press the ‘friends’ link on my Facebook site, I’ll accept as soon as I can, and then do try the link above again to see if you can gain access, in readiness for the ‘broadcast’. If you still can’t get access, or if there’s any ‘challenges’, please email me, at: tadhgtemp@googlemail.com.

Second: You can watch the broadcast and take it ‘in’ as a form of meditation, and that would be good. But, to fully participate, why not go to last month’s article and download or print out the liturgy so you can follow, and recite parts in response, and fully participate. The Full Moon Ceremony liturgy can be found here.

So, I hope to ‘see’ you at our second Full Moon Ceremony. Come and participate! Some new material and music added!

Meanwhile, wishing you and yours the blessings of the Moon-Giver at the time, Tadhg

 

House Blessing Ritual: Lockdown ‘How To’ Special

HOUSE BLESSING LOCKDOWN

Is it really four years ago since Gruffyd and Megan moved into their first bought-together house.? It is. They wanted me to lead a house blessing ritual, and four years later, they are about to move again. No firm date has been fixed – and who knows what lockdown rules will be – but moving they are this autumn, and I’ll have the privilege of leading their new house blessing ritual.

What follows, then is a lockdown, outline on a house-blessing that you can also use to bless your home. All very spiritual, Celtic, Druidic etc. You’ll notice that they blessings are all very ‘down to earth’. Those who have gone before us, from ages past, blessed the grand and the minutiae of life, both the fountain and the faucet. So, enjoy.

Then, 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 can remember the occassion well.

I arrived at 10am that 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.

I led Gruffyd and Megan around their house, with me blessing each room and them responding liturgically. 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:

Blessed are you, Welcoming Source.
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 One,
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, Provider of Plenty, and 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, Fountain 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, Night-Singer, providing 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, 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.

You might like to adapt the abovementioned for your house-blessing, or by all mean contact me if you live within the UK.

 

Note: If you came upon this article via another FaceBook or website, do ‘sign up’ on this  TadhgTalks’ site by clicking the very blue ‘Follow Tadhg Talks button’ (or, the follow by email link, below that blue link button, by adding your email address), and that way you won’t miss a thing and will be informed immediately there’s a new article or upcoming online event.

Ascension Day Ceremony (Live Streaming) 21 May 2020: Your invitation

ASCENSION DAY 2020

Welcome. The following is an outline of a planned live streaming Ascension Day Ceremony online, and you’re invited. It’s inclusive! Yes, open to all.

It will take place this Thursday, 21 May 2020 at 8.15 (UK Time) on my FaceBook site.

You can printout the order of ceremony below and join in the liturgy during the Ceremony, or, as you watch the Ceremony, just let it be a form of meditation and let it ‘sink in’ deeply. The Ceremony will be recorded.

The live streaming Ceremony will appear on my FaceBook site [do click here].

Please check now if you’ve got full access to my Facebook site, and, if so, you’ll see some other, previous, videos recorded there. If you don’t see previous video or if you can’t gain full access then press the ‘friends’ link on my Facebook site, I’ll accept as soon as I can. Once I’ve responded do then try my FaceBook site again to see if you can gain access then, in readiness for the live streaming video. If you still can’t get access, or if there’s any ‘challenges’, please email me, at: tadhgtemp@googlemail.com.

I haven’t found a way to put a docx link here to simplify things so you can print out only the Order of the Ceremony – but I’m still working on it. Meanwhile, it maybe best to just print out the following so you can participate, but erase this paragraph and the five above this, before doing so.

 

ASCENSION DAY CEREMONY: ORDER OF CEREMONY

Thursday, 21 May 2020, at 8.15pm (UK time)
Via Facebook video

GRACE GROVE, LONDON

 

For this ceremony you may need:
• A candle
• Safety matches

ASCENSION DAY CEREMONY
Dunstan Rite

 

Intention And Preface

Our intention, at this time, is to come close, and together, to explore and celebrate the Mystery of the Ascension. The Book tells us that the Christ lead his closest believers to the Mount of Olives, gave them instructions, blessed them and departed.

And so, as we light this candle our inclusive Ceremony begins.

 

Light the Ascension Day candle. Music may be played.

 

Reading

The Ascension of Jesus
When he [the Christ] had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. (Luke 24:50-54, The Book)

 

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 Ancestors Present

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance… and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us… (Hebrews 12:1 pt, The Book)

 

A Poem. One Person’s View: In A Cloud

In a cloud.
A cloud?
A bit dramatic wasn’t it, Jesus? A bit over the top!
Hands raised.
Floating heavenwards ……
And I’ll lay odds that
future artists
will dress you in shining white,
and paint the sky deep blue –
to ‘match’ your eyes.
OK – so there were some precedents:
Elijah and his chariots
and that fiery cloudy pillar thing that moved around the wilderness; but those were the old ways –
you aren’t like that.
Is this really what you want us to remember about you, Jesus? That you disappeared in a cloud
and that you now live somewhere above the skies,
way beyond our reach?
What about your stories, your friendship; your tears, your pain, your laughter?
What about the way you believed in us, trusted us,
sent us out to teach and heal?
I’m not sure that you being alive somewhere where we cannot see you, talk with you, laugh and cry with you,
is going to be much help to us, Jesus.
Please, can’t you find a way of living with us,
close enough somehow for us to know that you’re near?
You said something once about a Spirit,
a holy Spirit from God,
who would come to us.
Does that mean you’re coming back to us?

And if you are –
no dramatics this time, please Jesus. Just come back to us quietly …
No more clouds!

© Ruth Burgess from Fire and Bread, published by Wild Goose Publications. Used with permission.

 

Poem/Prayer: In Others

Help us to see.
‘Why do you stand looking up towards heaven?’ (Acts 1:10–11a)
We look for you,
straining our eyes
into the far country,
but our vision is disrupted by the least, the lost,
the littlest, the last among us.
We race after you, trying to catch up, and turning the corner find only
a homeless family
in our path.
We wander the streets, yearning to find you, calling your name,
but it is only
a single mother who turns and wearily smiles,
a street person
who whispers ‘hello’,
a little girl who pirouettes and takes our hand.
Gone …
But you are still here, Lord. Help us to see.

© Tomas M Shuman from Fire and Bread, published by Wild Goose Publications. Used with permission.

 

The Ascension Explained

The Source of All, full of wisdom and grace, in the Christ at the time of the His Ascension also raised up humanity, and this is what some know as the hypostatic union. The most basic explanation for the hypostatic union is that the Christ is both God and man. He is both perfectly and fully divine, and perfectly and fully human.

C S Lewis wrote: ‘God did not dress up in a human body and then discard this at death, returning to some preferable spiritual state. God’s hypostatic union to creation is permanent. Christ retains his full, created, creaturely humanity in the resurrection. [In the Ascension]. Including his body.

The Ascension proclaims and celebrates [the fact that the] Christ takes this creation [up] into the full presence of God.

The metaphorical language of “up” must never allow for an escapist spirituality. If we do not find God in our everyday life of work, sport, friends, food, music, nature, bodies,… we do not find God at all.’

 

Additional words of explanation may be used here

 

Ancient Reflection On The Ascension

The following is an ancient poem written by Cynewulf, an Anglo-Saxon who lived during the eighth century. His name means ‘kin of the wolf’, and it is thought he may be Cynewulf of Lindisfarne (who died around AD780). And so from more then 1200 years ago we read his poem, his message to us:

Music may be played

Then suddenly was a loud voice heard
upon the breeze. A throng of heavenly angels,
a shining squadron, heralds of glory flocked
crowding down. Our King departed
through the temple roof where they looked,
those who still remained in the trace of their beloved
in that place of assembly, his chosen thanes. (491-97)

They saw their Lord mount up to the heights,
the God-Child from the ground. Their minds were sad,
hot about the heart, thoughts mourning
for they would never again be allowed
to see their loved lord any longer under the skies.
The heralds hove up a song, of the kindred above,
praising that noble one, celebrating
the Origin of Life, rejoicing in the light
which illuminated the head of the Savior. (498-505)

They saw two all-bright angels beautifully
agleam with adornments about that First-Child,
the Glory of Kings. They called down from the heights
with wrought words across the multitude of men
with a bright voice: “What are you waiting for,
people of Galilee in a circle? You may clearly
see the True Lord travelling into the skies—
the Owner of Victories will ascend upwards from here
to his new home, the Start of Nobility,
with his company of angels, the Origin
of Humanity, to the homeland of his Father.” (506-16)

The Ascension (Christ II)
Christ II (aka The Ascension) by Cynewulf

 

Prayer For Those In Need

Great Comforter of All, we pray for all people who are in trouble and fear today:

For those who are sad because someone they have loved has died

For those who are anxious because they are unwell, stressed or in pain

For those who are lonely because someone they love is not there for them.

For those for whom work is exhausting or emotionally draining.

For those who are struggling with finances or are facing the prospect of unemployment

Surround those in need with your wisdom, your spirit, your healing and your life-giving peace.

 

Prayer For Ourselves

Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through our soul.

As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May our gravity be lightened by grace.

Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May our thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may we be about who to become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what’s said,
May our sense of irony bring perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May our mind stay clear of all it names.

And, may our prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of God.

(John O’Donohue, adapted)

 

Prayer For Creation

God of creation, who loves all that is made and all that has evolved,
open our eyes,
that your love might be reflected in our care for the planet.
Through the One who walked this earth and calls us by name.

 

The Ascension: Significance

The Ascension, then, is the moment in history where the Christ in all his physical, bodily humanity, returns to the presence of God. It is the beginning of the reversal of any separation, real or perceived, as our representative of humankind is bodily dwelling again with God. The Christ and His glorious return to heaven paves the way for a reborn humanity, of which we are members, and this is only the beginning. That is why Ascension Day is significant, and more so that it is a ‘gift’ that is beyond the keeping of any one tribe or people, beyond the bounds of any one religion. It is, in every age, for all. It makes earth a truly Eucharistic planet.

 

Closing Words

What do you mean by saying,
“He ascended to heaven”?

That Christ,
while his disciples watched,
was lifted up from the earth to heaven
and will be there for our good
until he comes again
to judge the living and the dead.
But isn’t Christ with us
until the end of the world
as he promised us?

Christ is truly human and truly God.
In his human nature Christ is not now on earth;
but in his divinity, majesty grace, and Spirit
he is not absent from us for a moment.

 

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 Blessing

Music may be played.

May you who believe in the Ascended One, also in heart and mind there ascend, and with the Christ continually dwell

And the grace of the Triune God, be upon you and remain forever with you and those whom you love. Amen.

 

The Ascension Day candle is extinguished.

 

Beltane 2020: Your Online Invitation & Order Of Ceremony. Sunday, 3 May

beltane 2020

Welcome.

The following is an outline of this Sunday’s online, video of the Beltane ceremony. And, you’re invited; and at home during lockdown you can participate and join in the liturgy as it happens, or just let in ‘sink’ deep, from your own home, either ‘live’ or as a recording. If you belong to a grove and would normally celebrate this time with them, please (if there is a ‘clash’ of times) give them priority so that everything is done with respect.

The video broadcast will appear on my Facebook site (see here). Please check that now if you’re in doubt about connecting later. If it doesn’t work, if you can’t gain access to my general Facebook site please subscribe/follow, and then try the link again to see if you can gain access then, in readiness for Sunday. [Note: if you can’t gain  full access ie you can’t see previous videos Gf any kind on my facebook site then press the friendship link on my Facebook site, and I’ll accept as soon as I can] then If you still can’t get access to my Facebook page(s), or if there’s any ‘challenges’, please email me, at: tadhgtemp@googlemail.com.

I haven’t found a way to put a docx link here to simplify things so please feel free to print out  the Order of the Ceremony for your own use. Meanwhile, it maybe best to just print out the following liturgy so you can participate, but erase this paragraph and the three above this, before doing so.

BELTANE 2020
Order Of Ceremony

Sunday, 3 May 2020, at 7.30pm (UK time)
Via Facebook video

GRACE GROVE, LONDON

For this ceremony you may need:

• A candle
• Safety matches
• Writing paper (if solo, at home)
• Pen or pencil (if solo, at home)

A CEREMONY FOR BELTANE
Kebius Rite

Intention And Preface
Today our intention is to celebrate the cross quarter day of Beltane – a Gaelic word meaning ‘bright fire’. Beltane is half way between the past spring equinox and the upcoming summer solstice. It is a ‘fire festival; the beginning of summer.

Some may have memories of dancing around the maypole; of seeing someone dressed as the May Queen and even as Lord of the May; of bringing wild flowers into the home; or of making daisy chains; or of lighting a bonfire. Some, may have memories of seeing someone dressed as Jack In The Green, a man covered in a wicker frame and foliage and who represented nature and The Green Man.

So, let our ceremony of the celebration of Beltane, the ‘bright fire’, begin.

Light the Beltane candle

On Rising

Blessed are you Source of All.
In your verdant welcome you spring from the earth,
and your loveliness heartens us and renews us.

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, as community.

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, our community, 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 Ancestors Are Present With Us
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance… and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us… (Hebrews 12:1 pt, The Book)

Praise And Gratitude
Some of the following praises may be used:

Praise to you Gentle Breeze of the Spirit,
for you blow where you will.
I hear the sound of you but
know not where you come from
or where you go.
Let us be aware of your presence
as you breathe across our lives this day
though we can never grasp you.(Tess Ward)

Praise to you, Oh Supplier of air.
The wind rises as a mighty tempest and powers weather systems
and, yet as a gentle breeze, it moves leaves along the path.
Ebb and flow.

Praise to you, Oh Provider of fire.
The fire scorches the earth, from which new life emerges
and, yet as small and humble flame it gives heat and light to all.
Ebb and flow.

Praise to you, Oh Bringer of water.
The great seas maintain the planet’s life-equilibrium
and, yet in our homes it provides our daily, individual and essential needs.
Ebb and flow.

Praise to you, Oh Giver of earth.
The earth provides vast fields for the seed, from which nourishment grows,
and, yet it is a reminder of the great circle of life, and death, and new life.
Ebb and flow.
(Tadhg Jonathan)

O most noble greenness, rooted in the sun,
shining forth in streaming splendour upon the wheel of the 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 of Bingen, English version by Jerry Dybdal and Matthew Fox)

Most High, all powerful, Source of All,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honour, and all blessing.
Praised be you, though all your creatures,
through Brother Sun,
through Sister Moon and the stars,
through Brother Wind,
through Sister Water
through Brother Fire,
through Sister Mother Earth.
(Francis of Assisi, Canticle of the Sun, except/adapted)

Praise to you Maker of the Summerland,
who sends the sunshine, bringing ease and light.
Praise for the outside days with doors and windows open,
neighbours’ music, children playing…
when the birds sing out the pleasure of ordinary all through the day.
For loving all under the sun, praise to you.
(Tess Ward, except)

The Work: Beltane (adapted for home/distant participation)
The Great Circle moves on, and as the Earth turns around the Sun so we celebrate Beltane. It is a day when farm animals would have been be released into the fields, and was the time associated with the fecundity of nature, of fertility, growth and maturity, and Of new ideas.

Do take a few minutes to think deeply, silently of all that we have to be thankful for at this time of Beltane, and for all that we wish to bring to fruition – these can be our wishes and dreams, our goals or projects, or a prayer for ourselves and others, for nature etc. If at home, solo, you might like to write your thoughts on paper. Music can be played here for two to three minutes.


Various Prayers of Request

Some of the following prayers may be used:

Life-force of God, you make the sap to rise,
the swelling of bud to burst the sheath.
May we let the fruits of your Spirit grow in us this day.
Spirit of love abide in our ears as we listen to stories different to our own.
Spirit of joy beam in our eyes as we meet the gaze of another.
Spirit of peace breathe through our attitude.
Spirit of kindness blow through the words we speak.
Spirit of patience breeze across our frustration before we say or act.
Spirit of faithfulness guard us when we’re tempted to stray.
Spirit of generosity spill over in all we think or do or say.
Spirit of gentleness be fragrant in all our dealings with the world.
Spirit of self-control do no limit, but channel the abundance of your fruits
as we partake in your transforming ways blowing through this day/time.
(Tess Ward, adapted)

Creator God, forgive our moments of ingratitude,
the spiritual blindness that prevents us
from appreciating the wonder that is this world
the endless cycle of nature,
of life and death and rebirth.
Forgive us for taking without giving,
reaping without sowing.
Open our eyes to see,
our lips to praise,
and our hands to share.
May our feet tread lightly on the path we tread
and our footsteps be worthy of following
for they lead to You.
(Unknown)

Earth teach us freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach us regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach us to forget ourselves
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach us to remember kindness
as dry fields weep with rain.
(Ute prayer, adapted)

In our waking, be blessing us,
in our journeying, be keeping us,
in our working, be helping us,
in our sleeping, be watching us,
in our living, be guiding us,
in our dying, be receiving us.
(Unknown)

Creator of All, grant us the wisdom to care for the earth and till it.
Help us to act now for the good of future generations and all your creatures.
Help us to become instruments of a new creation,
Founded on the covenant of your love.
(The Cry of the Earth, adapted).

Relevant Words
Some of the following sentences may be used here:

We too can begin a new life, one that brings satisfaction and enrichment, whether this is by singing, dancing, running through the waves, walking barefoot on the grass… Perhaps your dreams are greater than this, or perhaps more conservative, but whatever they are, Beltane is a wonderful time for expressing who you truly are. (Carole Carlton)

Ah! my heart is weary waiting, Waiting for the May: Waiting for the pleasant rambles, where the fragrant hawthorn brambles, with the woodbine alternating, scent the dewy way; Ah! my heart is weary waiting, waiting for the May. (Denise Florence McCarthy)

If it could only be like this always – always summer, always alone, the fruit always ripe… (Evelyn Waugh)

Smell the sea, and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly. (Van Morrison)

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. (John Steinbeck)

We are all part of the Earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the dew of the meadow, the body heat of the pony and humankind – all belong to the same family.
(Chief Seattle, 1786-1866, Attributed, adapted)


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 Blessing

As we close the ceremony the work here is finished, and yet it still goes on in our mind, body and spirit, as we revel in nature’s bounty and the One behind It All.

One of the final blessings may be used:

May the blessing of the red sun as it sinks below the horizon be yours.
May the blessing of orange, the colour of flame and hearth be yours.
May the blessing of the wild, green earth and all life be yours.
May the blessing of the blue sea and wind which calls forth waves upon it be yours.
May the blessing of indigo, the twilight colour of change and coolness be yours.
May the blessing of violet, the colour of majesty and might be yours.
And may all the colourful blessings of the God + Of The Rainbow be upon you and yours, now and always
(Tadhg Jonathan, The Rainbow Blessing)

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak to mind your life.
(John O’Donohue)

Deep peace of the running wave to you,
deep peace of the flowing air to you,
deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
deep peace of the shining stars to you,
deep peace of the Son of peace + to you (and yours), forever.
(Unknown. Early Scottish)

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
(Old Celtic Traveller’s blessing)

Extinguish the Beltane candle

Copyright © 2020 Tadhg Jonathan Gardner. All rights reserved. Email: tadhgtemp@googlemail.com

The White Stone Ritual: A Time Of Beginnings

20191229 WHITE STONE RITUAL

It’s coming up to the start of a new year, indeed, a new decade and the following White Stone Ritual may prove useful  to you (as an individual or group) in starting the new year.

Although the ritual can be used, say, within the first week of the new year or later, or at the start of a new project or on a feast day or event, as it can be adapted in many other ways to be used on many other occasions).

To recap, we recently looked at the Burning Bowl Ritual. That’s a form of ‘letting go’ ritual which can be performed in a group setting or by an individual. More can be gleaned by clicking here.

And, now having obtained some kind of ending, of closure, the next ritual is about moving forward, positively – it’s the White Stone ritual.

 ’When you become the image of your own imagination, it’s the most powerful thing you could ever do.’ RuPaul

Outline
For the White Stone Ritual you will need a white stone, but any palm-sized stone will do, and you can improvise with paper etc if no stone is to hand. Be inventive. It’s intentionality that is important, here. You will also need a pen, preferably a marker pen or pencil.

In this White Stone ritual we are doing two things.  We are meditating to glean what it is we need that is positive: a new name to denote a new start (and this could be a spiritual name to run alongside our given name),  or a word to focus upon for the coming year or so, and then, secondly, to take part in a simple but profound ritual of writing that onto the white stone (or improvised item).

White Stone: Significance
The symbolism attached to the white stone is ancient and profound. It is said that, in antiquity, when a prisoner was freed from prison he (or she) would be given a white stone. By this stone he/she could prove they had served their time, that something significant had happened (that is, that they were in prison, but are now free), and could look forward to the future with some positivity.

 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says…I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’ Revelation 2:17 (part), The Book

The White Stone Ritual, then, is about new beginnings, a new name or spiritual focus, positivity, moving forward, and about energy.

 The White Stone Ritual
You may want some sacred music playing in the background, and/or recite some relevant spiritual verses or a relevant poem (some of which are used throughout this article at various points, but if you use them you may need to ‘relocate’ the words/poems used in this article to different places within your ceremony for it to ‘flow’).

I have a feeling that my boat
has struck, down there in the depths,
against a great thing.

And nothing happens!
Nothing…Silence…Waves…

Nothing happens? Or has everything happened,
and are we standing now, quietly, in the new life?

Juan Ramón Jiménez

You might want to recite some words of liturgy. Be open, be adaptable, but don’t disqualify yourself or belittle the ritual in any way for any lack perceived, for at the end of the day a simple but (improvised) ritual can have a significant effect of positivity and power.

So:

  • Close your eyes, and hold the white stone, or other stone, or small piece of paper in the palm of your left hand and place your right hand over it. Take a slow, deep breath and exhale. Meditate. Remember, we might be asking for a spiritual name, but a name  can also mean the ‘nature of’ something, your spiritual identity or spiritual focus
  • Ask yourself quietly, ‘What is the main spiritual quality that is need to move forward ?”
  • Take a slow, deep breath again and exhale. Now, think of one or more words that describe your highest spiritual essence. Listen intently.

‘I have great respect for the past. If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going. I have respect for the past, but I’m a person of the moment. I’m here, and I do my best to be completely centred at the place I’m at, then I go forward to the next place.’ Maya Angelou

  • Just allow a few words to ‘bubble up’. There is no need to force the name or the words of your intended spiritual focus. Just allow it to surface from your depths. It can be words such as: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, forbearance, gentleness, faith, self-control, energy etc.

‘Words are containers for power, you choose what kind of power they carry.’ Joyce Meyer

  • You can select a word or two now (but, if circumstances dictate, then you may choose to change it later, so the name or word(s) that come to you today can be kept, or altered depending on the guidance you receive from the bay kohl, that still small voice.
  • When you’re ready, you may open your eyes.
  • Write your name or the words given to you in that time of meditation on the white stone with a marker or pencil (if the ink runs off, don’t worry. It may be aesthetically nice for the word(s) to remain on the stone (or paper etc) but it’s intentionality that counts. You wrote it once, the ink didn’t remain as a word or more, but you did it! And, that intentionality, not the inks permanence or impermanence that is important.

’I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it until it begins to shine.’ Emily Dickinson

  • Reflect on the name or words that came to you and on the significance of the whole white stone exercise. Place your stone  or paper in a prominent location now, and over the next few days and weeks, so you will be reminded of your new name, or new spiritual focus.
  • You might want to just sit/stand there for a few minutes. Something wonderful has occurred, whether you know it or not. A new beginning is underway. A new determination has been rooted in your psyche, and new energy is at your disposal, energy from the Source of All.

’Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.’ Abraham Lincoln

Earthing
This ritual, like any other ritual moves us from ‘mechanical time’ to the realm of sacred-time, sacred space. In ‘returning’ it is important to mark that returning occasion with a physical action. If outside, you might like to walk about a little. If indoors, then a small hand clap to mark your return is sufficient. Some small, token, physical action is important to end the ritual.

Blessings, Tadhg.

[To ensure you’re kept informed of other rituals and articles in the future, do ‘sign up’ on Tadhg’s  ‘TadhgTalks’ blog or his FaceBook site, or email him, or drop him a line to say ‘hi’.]

 

 

The Winter’s Light: Winter Solstice Approaches [Poem/Liturgy]

20191210 THE WINTERS LIGHT WINTER SOLSTICE APPROACHES REVISITED

The season of winter is upon us and almost half way through. And, Winter Solstice approaches. And, I love it. The cold, the dark, the freshness of it all, and hopefully, some snow. This time is a liminal time, a time of myth and ‘magic’, and so my encouragement is for you to pause, draw aside, use your imagination, and let those ancient whispers from yesteryear permeate your very being.

Poem and video follows.

As you contemplate the season, join a group or arrange something by yourself to celebrate the Winter Solstice (called Alban Arthan in Welsh, ‘the light of winter’) you might find the following poem – penned a few years ago by myself – an aid to your meditation, or you might use it as liturgy.

The poem is followed by a video link to Seattle Unity Church who used the poem last year, and so you can hear the poem read by Scott.

Winter solstice approaches.

The day is over, and night comes early.
Orion is higher in the sky now,
and imaginations are unshackled.
Above us the gods of yesteryear move across the heavens.

The trees are sleeping.
Deep roots are dreaming.

The silvery December moon rises
and the face that smiled upon the Birth,
of yesteryear, also smiles on us.
Above us Rhiannon advances.

The trees are sleeping.
Deep roots are dreaming.

Wise ones seek the Truth,
and beings of light, lit their Way.
Angels? Fae? The Watchers? Elementals, The Others?
And, about us unnamed, invisible Companions guide us still.

The trees are sleeping.
Deep roots are dreaming.

We dance together in the dark,
as the Circle turns, and yet
we dance joyfully and with purpose.
We celebrate the season, that is.
And, around us, in the darkness
we ‘see’ the Friend at work.

The trees are sleeping.
Deep roots are dreaming.

And yet in the darkness,
there shines a Light.
And, in remembrance, we light this festive candle
to the Sun of Righteousness.
And, we declare to all, near and far;
peace and hope, light and love
be to you and yours.
Now, and forever more.

The trees are sleeping.
Deep roots are dreaming.

Winter solstice approaches.

My friends at Seattle Unity Church read the poem as part of their Christmas celebration last year, and if you want to hear it read (extremely well by Scott, starting some forty seconds into the video link) – highly recommended – please click here.

The blessings of this awesome season be to you and yours, Tadhg.

 

20191210 THE WINTERS LIGHT WINTER SOLSTICE APPROACHES REVISITED

 

The Days Are Cold: A Winter’s Song/Poem

20191024 THE DAYS ARE COLD A WINTERS SONG POEM

The weather is changing. There’s a chill in the air. Even the rain, up to now intermittent, is different and lasted hours today instead of a small number of minutes, on and off. In the UK winter is almost here, and the Celtic Advent (16 November) approaches.

English skies, seemingly ever daubed with cloud, now change from white to a dark, brooding grey. It’s a time to reflect, and with that in mind, and in thinking of the approaching winter, I’ve penned some words that ‘fit’ to an old Scottish, traditional tune of yesteryear.

I like to sing, adapt words, use ancient tunes, and let my spirit dance to the Universe using words and tuneful sounds (or at least that’s the intention, but the Source of All accepts all that we have even if it’s not what some would call tuneful). I’d encourage you to do the same, that is sing with all that you have. Do feel free to use the song, below, in your group or individual times of ceremony as a song, or as a reflective (said) poem for the day.

The tune is  ‘The water is wide’ and an instrumental version to give you an idea of it, is here.  The ‘Water is wide’ is a A folk song of Scottish origin. The original lyrics and tune partly date to the 1600s and speak of an unhappy first marriage. I’ve changed the words to reflect the season of winter, but kept the tune which seems deeply reflective to suit the words of the newly-penned song and the season.

THE DAYS ARE COLD
A winter’s Hymn

The days are cold
And night comes soon.
The circle turns
As in days of old.
Nature does sleep
And the winds do howl
And my eyes do weep
Through the cold air now

The snow falls harsh
Upon the land
There is a light
Within and without
We raise our hands
To the source of all
And nature responds
with elementals call.

The days of change
Are here again
Our voices raise
To a loud refrain
We wish you peace
We wish you well.
All nature sings
Winter’s fare thee well.

In the link to the tune above, the tune starts at 10 seconds into the Youtube music and concludes at 51 seconds (and that tune is then used three times for the three verses above).

 

The Caim And ‘The Inner Accuser’

20190221 THE CAIM AND THE INNER ACCUSER

Here’s a story, a childhood memory of mine.There was a time when I was a wee lad that I would sit on my Dad’s stomach as he lay down, his knees bent forming the back rest of an imaginary car seat, and as he held my plastic toy steering wheel my imagination would run riot, and I would be ‘off’. Off where?

I can’t now remember, except years of watching my Dad move a gear-stick and turn the steering wheel in our car, as he drove us all about, gave me desire to do the same: move my hands, changing gear on the steering column and turning that pretend steering wheel. I loved it, and then, it seemed so real. I wanted to get the movements just right – it was important to my playing. Oh, very important to me! Ah, the power of a child’s imagination. Fun. No responsibility. I loved it.

‘Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere’. Albert Einstein

There was a time, many years later, when I was sitting in my Dad’s car, with him in the passenger seat beside me, and I was trying to get that, then, elusive ‘biting point’ on the car as I had my first driving lesson. Beads of sweat ran down my brow as I tried, and failed. And, once again, the car would ‘kangaroo’ forward, start-stop, start-stop.

Once, I had mastered it, ofcourse then I had to work out the gear stick, clutch, ‘gas’ pedal, steering wheel turning, indicators etc . It was extremely important to learning to control that car safely. Not really fun, and some responsibility, but I was determined.

‘To steer, you need both the hands. Try to change the appropriate gear and then ensure both of your hands are on the wheel before starting to turn the steering wheel.’ The UK Highway Code.

Shortly after that, I had it worked out, and then, and you’ll be pleased to know, now, years later, all of the abovementioned has become effortless, and second-nature. Working the gear and pedals, indicators and turning that steering wheel had become quite natural, and I am even able to do ‘clever’ things such as stepping down the gears, as I approach red traffic lights, to slow the car and save the break pads, before applying the brake gradually. Impressed? Now, it is quite fun driving, but still a responsibility to get it right.

Throughout the serious business of learning to drive a car, and in other areas of life I’ve found, and you may be the same, that the ‘inner accuser’ surfaces. You will recognise his or her voice when you’re doing something new or important and he or she says things like, ‘you’ll never master it, so why bother?’, or ‘you’re wasting your time’, or ‘whatever do you want to do that for, especially as you’ll look an idiot’, and so it goes on. Or, does that just happen to me?

Tonight, I sat in a darkened room, with just one solitary candle lit. I wanted to perform a caim ritual. The caim is a profound ‘circling’ prayer or ritual-liturgy that ‘taps’ into the power and energy of the Source of All. It was used by Celts of old, Druids and Pagan, early Christians and by others. It is still used in various forms by latter-day Celts, some Churches who value its benefits, and by some wiccans, pagans, light-workers, mystics and fellow-Druids friends known to me. Individuals as well as groups. Yes, it can be used by anyone who knows the value of prayer or ritual-liturgy.

Tonight, I sat in a darkened room, with just one solitary candle lit, about to perform the Caim and that ‘inner accuser’ spoke words of doubt. Normally I wouldn’t entertain such doubt – I can always address such issues after the ritual – but on this occasion it felt right to do so.

This Caim was, like others, opened by making a circle, turning clockwise. Sometimes I like to visualise that I’m in a wonderful forest and enter a clearing that is well-lit. A kataphatic approach.

That inner space that I entered is liminal space. For me, I call it the imaginal realm. Not to be confused with ‘mere imagination’ as some others call it, and then  immediately dismiss it as powerless.

The Caim is an intermediary space, the gap between the physical realm (which we can all relate to and understand – it is the place of the body) and the ouranic realm (the place of the Spirit, where all that is good and holy originates), and it is the place of power, potential and transformation.

With the UK on the verge of making a political and economic disaster on 29 March 2019 at 11pm, I wanted to enter that circle, with the intention of seeking to empower politicians to make the correct decisions over the next few weeks.

The ‘inner accuser’ came to life. ‘What difference do you think you can make? Do you have delusions of grandeur? Don’t you think that the Universe, the Source of All can do this without you? And, so it went on.

‘And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land…but I found none.’ Ezekiel 22:30, part, The Book

And, that’s where those early driving lessons came back to mind. I recognised that defeatist voice of old. Ah, there may be an element of truth in what it said, but not the total truth. Had the ‘inner accuser’ spoke all falsehoods then he or she could be easily dismissed. But, which was truth and which falsehood? Mixing the two makes what the ‘inner accuser’ says seemingly credible. But, only seemingly.

There was a time when I couldn’t drive a car. A time when I played at it. Then, a time when I went through the motions – moving this hand, moving that foot, checking them mirror, indicating, and then finding that now oh-so-easy ‘biting point’ to move the car.

This memory defeated the ‘inner accuser’ as I sat cross-legged in that Caim, that circle. I had accomplished something then, I can do it now. I might only make a small effect, but that, coupled with many more people doing similar, can have a big impact. And, yes the Universe might be able to do it without us, but it seems to me that the Source of All regards us as co-creators and desires our participation. Isn’t what the way the Universe has configured the universe?

Lucy has to enter the house and read a spell for making hidden things visible. She knows at once that she’s got it right, because colour and pictures start to appear on the pages of the magic book…and wonder of wonder, Aslan himself…is also made visible. ‘Aslan’, said Lucy, almost reproachfully. ‘Don’t make fun of me. As if anything (such as the spell she recited) would make you visible.’ ‘It did, said Aslan, ‘Do you think I wouldn’t obey my own rules?’. ‘The Chronicles Of Narnia’, C S Lewis

You and I can make a difference, and ritual and liturgy coupled with action in the physical world can reap great benefits. The Universe could do it without us but has chosen you and I to be involved. What a responsibility? What a privilege?. And so, what we say and do in ritual is important.

I had opened the Caim ritual as I had many times before. The ‘content’ and aim was different as I had never used the Caim before for Brexit. But, why not? I wouldn’t use it for my own political views – and that’s where responsibility comes in – but it is right, I believe, to intervene and seek, ‘imaginally’, for the right outcome to come about. Our responsibility.

Let your steps dance silently
To the rhythm of the Beloved’s Name.
My finger and my hands
Never move through empty space
For there are
Invisible golden lute strings all around,
Sending Resplendent Chords
Throughout the Universe.

Hafiz

In that Caim, that circle I imagined Parliament and its Members, I imagined ‘cornfields’ of pure power and love, scooped up the latter and ‘hurled’ it, ‘imaginally’ at the former. Later, I closed the Caim, closing that circle. Ofcourse, this is only the Caim in brief, but it was the doubt and overcoming that doubt that seemed to be the important topic, here, just this once

Moving our feet and hands in ritual does have an effect, just as moving our feet and hands propels a car along. Could the car analogy and ritual itself be ‘physical’ metaphors to describe and effect change in the Universe – physical actions leading to deeper, spiritual and invisible (or partially seen) actions? Hafiz suggests so. Hafez, I believe, suggests so. Ritual, moving our feet and hands, as well as uttering words, and intentionality can have an effect, even though the cynic might disagree. Never listen to the ‘inner accuser’ (who is clever enough to use other peoples ‘inner accuser’ against you, if you’re not listening to your own ‘inner accuser’).

Will this Caim I performed be effective? I can’t prove that it will be, but I would like to think that it, accompanied with action in the physical realm, ‘earthing’ action, and with others doing similar will be effective, and good will come out of it. Now, how that then works out  may be the work of the Universe, but we’ll see.

’For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…’ Proverbs 23.7b, The Book

Perhaps as children, with vivid imaginations there is awesome power at play, in play, but that as adults we grow up and lose that recognition and understanding. Certainly, as a wee lad sitting across my Dad’s stomach and driving that pretend car, it seemed real at the time. Maybe, as ‘children’ in the Universe it’s our work and delight to be imaginatively involved in co-creating. Not as children, childishly: but as adults using that powerful and child-like power and faith in ritual, as enabled and empowered by That Which Is Bigger Than Us.

Now, as regards the Caim, I am determined to take it further. Some have emailed me, many others have read and re-read articles about the Caim from yesteryear, and expressed an ongoing interest. And, it seems to me that that interest and the power, and benefit of the Caim is something that can be taken forward in workshops and in online videos.

Ofcourse, you guessed it. The ‘inner accuser’ just woke up. ‘No one will come, everyone is too busy’. ‘Who on earth will watch that kind of video’. ‘You’ll be better of taking it easy and putting your feet up, Tadhg’, the ‘inner accuser’ says. But, guess what? I’m not listening to him or her.

Do watch this space – and for information about the Caim and future events and articles do ‘sign up’ so that you’re notified when articles are published online and events diarised (if you haven’t already signed up to with my FaceBook site, or TadhgTalks (the worpdress blog), or contact me direct.

 

Tadhg, On The Road To The New Forest: Imbolc, Land-Healing & More (1)

20190201 TADHG ON THE ROAD TO THE NEW FOREST 1

Yes, I’m on the road again, as this time (on Saturday, 2 February) I’m heading to the New Forest, in England.

Odd that it should still be called The New Forest, as it has existed as woodland since the end of the last Ice Age, and its heaths were first cleared and cultivated  in small areas by  Bronze Age settlers . The area was formerly known as ‘Ytene’ the land of the Jutes (an Anglo-Saxon tribe). However, it was grouped together as a ‘new’ forest by William the Conqueror in AD1079, hence its name. The New Forest of AD1079. And, it’s a wonderfully rugged and wild area, the place where things can happen, and nature abounds.

And, that’s were I’m headed. The New Forest. Over the next few days I will meet friends and celebrate Imbolc, then the following day will lead a house blessing, and then bury a pebble and recite liturgy as part of my small endeavour to be involved, along with others, in healing the land.

But first Imbolc.

Yes, the circle continues to turn, the Earth continues on its (elliptical) orbit around the sun, and yet another wonder, major festival is almost upon us. It’s time to celebrate in large ways and small, in groups and by yourself. It’s intentionality that’s important, so I would encourage you to do something this Imbolc, and to enjoy it. It really is time to celebrate, to give thanks to That Which Is Bigger Than Ourselves, the Beloved.

Event: Imbolc (favoured pronunciation ‘ih-mulk’), Brigid’s Day, Candlemas
Date: 1 or 2 February (but many will celebrate it on Sunday, 3 February this year)
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, in the Celtic seasonal calendar marks the beginning of the lambing season and signals the beginning of Spring and the stirrings of new life. It is traditionally the great festival and honouring of Brigid (Brighid, Bride, Brigit). She is one of my favourites.

About Brigid

Brigid, so loved as a pagan Goddess that her worship was woven into the Christian church as St Bridget, and rightly remembered and revered. To some she is a Goddess of healing, poetry, of fire, of the Sun and of the Hearth. To others, a saint. What matters is that she is remembered.

Brigid is the keeper of a sacred springs and the wells, patroness of sweet water. Water the nourisher. Water, sustainer of life on earth. And water, together with fire, are the instruments of the forge. Brigid is the goddess of the forge and smith craft. Heat and fire tempered by water. Perfect balance.

She is also said bring fertility to the land and its people and is closely connected to midwives and new-born babies.

Symbols of Brigid

With the coming of spring, the following are some symbols that you might like to consider in some form of quiet time, some form of meditation on that day, but there are also some ideas listed below of things that you can do, things you might like to bring into the house and/or put on your home altar, such as:

Snowdrops. The first gift of Spring in the bleakness of Winter.

Candle(s). Imbolc is a Fire Festival and fire of all kinds is associated with Brigid – the fire of creativity, the protective hearth fire, and her fire wheel – the Brigid Cross, which heralds her, according to some, as a Sun Goddess. A lit candle as you have your meal or as you gaze or meditate upon it, is a wonderful way to celebrate her and the return of spring, to give thanks to the One Behind It  All, the Source of All.

Brigid’s Cross. This is a traditional fire wheel symbol – found at the hearths of homes throughout Ireland and beyond as a symbol of protection. A customer in the shop recounted finding a hearth in Ireland, in recent years, adorned with over 200 Brigid Crosses – 200 years in the life of a hearth and a family, overlit and protected by Brigid.
Brigid Doll. A very old tradition involved the making of a Brigid doll which can be included in ceremony and/or placed in ‘Bride’s Bed’ to bring fertility and good fortune to the home.

The Serpent. In Celtic mythology Brigid was associated with an awakening hibernating serpent which emerged from its lair at Imbolc. Traditionally serpents were associated with creativity and inspiration – the powerful Kundalini energy of the Eastern Mysteries. Paths of earth energy were called serpent paths and at Imbolc they are stirred from their slumber. And in the Hebrew Testament a bronze serpent is lifted up and all who gazed upon it were healed.

Sheep. Brigid’s festival is at the beginning of lambing – you might be fortunate to try eat ewe’s milk cheese!

The seed: From the seed new life sprouts. And you might like to consider planting a seed, or more. It need not be an expensive plant, but a packet of inexpensive seeds that you might like to grow on a piece of common ground, in your  your garden or in your window-box.

Blackberry: Sacred to Brigid, the leaves and berries are used to attract prosperity and healing.

Ginger: revitalises and stimulates the ‘fire within’

Prayer for Imbolc & Brigid – honouring Brigid and Mary

Praise to you O Caring one,
midwife of our newness and growth,
nurturing, generous and milky kind,
yet defiant as the snowdrop in a cold climate,
tend the fresh shoots of our emerging as we set foot this day.

(Tess Ward, Celtic Wheel of the Year 2007)

Stories about Brigid

Stories about Brigid abound, and in the past two have caught my attention. There is a story about Brigid and a miracle or magic regarding her cloak, but its a story of justice and plenty. Do read about it here

And there’s another story I like about Brigid. It’s a story about her concern and love for strangers and travellers, and the extraordinary lengths she went to, to meet their needs. It’s a story of generosity and a miracle or magic of plenty. Do read about it here.

Finally…

Imbolc and St Brigid’s feast day is a time of celebration, so be encouraged to spend some time outdoors in nature, and celebrating in some way indoors. Celebrate. Enjoy. Be intentional.

 

Ritual & Ceremony: Essentials: Attire

20190111 essentials rituals and ceremony attire

There was once a time when things were much simpler. To the Ancients, to Druids, Celts, Pagans, early Christians and those of other faiths life was, back then, much simpler. Oh, if you’re old enough, like me, to have seen those 1950s and early 1960s tv programs of Robin Hood you will know.

As a wee lad I used to love those programs and would sit on the sofa, sandwiched between my mum and dad, and eagerly gaze at our old black and white tv (405 lines, but that may not mean much to many people, today), and join in with the opening song: ‘Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen; Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men; Feared by the bad, loved by the good; Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood’.

And, if that wasn’t enough: In that tv program, each week Maid Marion would look lovely with her coiffured hair, Robin Hood and his merry men would be fit and well-fed, have great teeth and wonderfully ‘Brycreemed’ hair. Except, some years later, I was to discover it wasn’t quite like that. It couldn’t have been.  If Maid Marion and Robin Hood and his men had lived in the forest, times would have been tough, clothes wouldn’t have been very clean and pressed, and they may even have been missing a few teeth, even Maid Marion. Times were tough.

‘The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it,’ said Galadriel. From The Hobbit by J R R Tolkein

Nevertheless, there was once a time when things were much simpler. Tougher, yes; but simpler. This is not to disdain modern technology which if, it’s advantageous, we should embrace, but the world has changed and many have lost something in the process.

And so, in preparing for a rather formal baby-naming ceremony, which was to start in ten minutes, I put on the cassock – do you know how many tiny, fiddly, little buttons are on cassocks? It can be in the region of 33-39 buttons!

Having donned the black cassock, next came the white cotton surplice. They always remind me of the ‘cape’ they use in mens barbers, and, as always, care needs to be taken that it, the surplice that is, is put on straight. Not too much material at the back, not too much at the front, otherwise it would look… well, it would look odd. But, dressing up like this, does take its time.

‘Playing dress-up begins at age five and never truly ends.’ Kate Spade

Maybe there are some traditions that need changing?

And so, the last item to put on was the stole – they look rather like long scarfs that are worn similar to a Dr Who scarf – just draped around the back of the neck, hanging down the front. But, which one? Ah, the white one with butterflies and a rainbow on it. Yes, that would look good, do justice to the important occasion. And then, I suddenly realised I needed to visit the bathroom. Good manners forbids me to say anything here other than, the apparel just mentioned had to come off in reverse order, and then several minutes later was put back on in the appropriate ‘forward’  order. Why so many fiddly, little buttons on cassocks?

‘Fashion is very important. It is life-enhancing and, like everything that gives pleasure, it is worth doing well.’ Vivienne Westwood

Maybe there are some traditions that need changing?

The baby-naming ceremony went off very well. The baby’s mum and dad were very pleased, family and other guests were also pleased, and yes, on this occasion (and it doesn’t always happen) the baby, when in my arms for a few minutes, behaved himself impeccably. Obviously I have the ‘power’ (until next time).

And, several hours later, I reflected on the event.

There are traditions that shouldn’t change (if we can help it). That’s right: They shouldn’t change (after all).

In many cases we need traditions: we need ceremony and ritual to mark the times, denote special occasions and define rites of passage, to remind us that there is more. Without ritual we are prone to get stuck, and everything seems to stay the same. It is for that reason that I (also) mark time by new and full moons, enjoy the changing seasons, and love family rituals etc, as did/do the Ancients, Druids, Celts, Pagans, early Christians and those of other faiths.

Nowadays, with much of society having lost the wisdom of ceremony and ritual in daily life, we are urged to buy this or that and be better for it, to perform better, to ‘do’ the right thing, and are encouraged in a myriad ways to be (more) successful. Instead of liminal experiences, we have the liminoid.

I do believe there is an inner connection to the outward; there is an outer connection to the inner life. And so, the ‘being stuck’ outwardly, can affect us inwardly. That can result in powerlessness or the opposite and result in an abuse of power. Dualism can lead to imbalance.

The Ancients, to Druids, Celts, Pagans, early Christians and those of other faiths and beliefs, however, emphasized balance and harmony, and wholeness. Any religion that promotes mere moral requirements (don’t to that; do this etc) just leaves people see-sawing between the extremes of feeling very guilty or very smug. No, the Ancients etc, in their rituals and thinking, possessed a wisdom that led them to search for balance and harmony – darkness and light, winter and summer, angels and demons, death and new life etc. It is for that reason that, occasionally, I love to join others in forests (and in buildings, sometimes) to celebrate the seasons. Don’t forget Imbolc is coming up soon.

It takes a contemplative, non-dualistic mind to be content with the paradoxes and mystery and that can be tough at first, especially as our twenty-first century minds work in a binary fashion. But, ritual and ceremony based on the contemplative and mystical is uniting, it opens the way to ‘imbibe’ wisdom, to draw nearer to the Source of All. Try it.

‘It unveils the Great Spirit in all things, and in us, and then we are able to live with all the seeming contradictions in between, with no primal need to eliminate them until we learn what they have to teach us.’ Richard Rohr.

And so, having named the baby, others at the event, as we ate and drank coffee, tea (and some alcohol) talked about other rites to me: such as christening, baptism, handfasting, engagement, marriage, funerals etc. But, I also encouraged them to think on, and we talked about house blessing, maturation events, graduation thanksgiving ceremonies, marriage renewal, pet blessings etc; as well as marking the seasons and moon phases (perhaps one good example of the latter being Easter).

Ceremony and ritual are important, and I would encourage you to find any (reasonable) way to use ceremony and ritual for yourself and family. Not only does it bring people together, but it teaches us that both dark and light, joy and grief, life and death and new life, good and negativity are part of the journey that each of us are on. It can be great fun, too.

And, as I further reflected on the day and looked at the cassock, surplice and stole gently draped over an armchair it occurred to me that everyone dressed up for this baby-naming occasion, and so, why not me?

After all, firemen dress in protective uniforms, police dress in identifiable uniforms and those are two good reasons for those leading (and/or taking part in ceremonies and ritual) to ‘dress up’. But, why so many buttons on a cassock. Why not a zip! Why not Velcro?

And yet, I smile to myself. All the ‘dressy’ paraphernalia added to the specialness of the day and a element of seriousness or purpose, was well-liked by those that attended, it was fun, and I think it pointed all to the fact that we had ‘entered’ sacred space for a time, and it enhanced the ceremony.

I guess, there are traditions that shouldn’t change, but that we should revel in them and enjoy. So embrace your cassock, surplice, stole, cloak, cape, tabard, special shirt or top, kilt, dorchau pen (Welsh for ‘head wreaths’, and yes, I do wear them (appropriately) sometimes), or whatever you wear that is appropriate ritual wear. What we do does matter.

‘The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return.‘ Pilgrim At Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard