Samhain Ritual 2010

As I usually do every year I went to the desert to be sort of alone to do my ritual and meditate (I say sort of because no one should go to the desert alone, I had my boyfriend with me but he was in a different tent during the whole time and basically kept to himself).  I was there before the sun set and watched it do so and after that I set up my alters and got everything ready at a spot near a shrub that always seem to vibrate with energy.

The Ritual:

What is needed: four candles (three for representing the gods, ancestors, and spirits, and one to represent the central or ‘hearth’ fire), offerings (bread, raw meat, and apples) a drinking vessel, a vessel to hold offerings (apple juice). Purifying water (I use rain water or spring water).

Purifying My Self Before Ritual:

I dip my hand into water, touch my forehead and say:

“May I be pure that I might cross through the sacred.”

I dip my hand again, touch my lips and say:

“May I cross through the sacred that I may attain the holy.”

I dip my hand again, touch my heart and say:

“May I attain the holy that I might be blessed in all things.”

Main Part of the Ritual:

Opening Prayer:

The fertile land below,
the blue sea about,
the vast sky above,
their blessings here tonight.

Kindling the Fire:

Lighting the candle.

I light the hearth candle,

May it grow strong,

May it grow bright,

May it carry my prayers to the gods.

Prayers to the Hosts:

Light a candle

A fire for the gods is here,
Excellent Hosts,
proficient in wisdom and skill,
splendid and hardy troupe,
generous patrons,

Morrígan, great warrior goddess, prophetess, and sorceress, I raise my voice in praise of you with wonder and awe.  I sit in your presence, oh great source of terror and comfort.

Lugh Lamhfhada, great warrior and god of many arts, I praise you.  Bright and shining god and flaming spear out of the chaos I honor you.

Fáilte!

Give offering

Light a candle

A fire for the ancestors is here,
for those whose graves we rest on
and whose fame we seek to follow.
A lamp to guide your way
through the mists
from Tech Duinn.

Fáilte!

Give offering

Light a candle

A fire for the Fair-Folk and land spirits is here,
auspicious and kindly denizens,
hosts of the abundant land,
gentry of the hills and mounds,

Spirits and guardians of the desert,
People of Peace,

Fáilte!

Give offering

Hail and Greetings to
The Three that are here,
Excellent Gods,
Beloved Ancestors,
and Kindly Spirits;
the three eternal fires
that illuminate the world.

Purpose of the ritual:

This ritual is to celebrate Samhain.

Main Offering/Sacrifice

To the Ever-Living Three
I give this raw meat and bread
in honor and in gratitude and in love,
honoring the ancient and ancestral
contract that binds us.

Give offering

Peace to sky,
sky to earth,
earth beside sea,
strength in each.

Hail to the gods,
love to the dead,
peace to the Good-Folk,
noble is each.

Personal Prayers:

As this year draws to its end,

I give thanks for the gifts it brought.

I give thanks for all I’ve learned.

I give thanks for all I’ve loved and lost,

and for all the friends I’ve gained.

Ending the Ritual:

Drinking cup filled with apple juice

I thank the gods of my ancestors for joining me in my ritual, I thank my ancestors for guiding me, and I thank the land spirits for aiding me.  I thank you all for being a witness to my endeavor.

Libate and Sip

After the ritual I like to sit and meditate on the passed year.  I also take out my last year’s resolutions see what I accomplished from that list asses what I didn’t and why; and write out the new year’s resolutions. For a look at what the result of my meditation and my resolutions please see: Samhain 2010 journal

Gaol Naofa Gealach Úr Rite

Being part of a tribe is a wonderful thing, even if it is an online tribe (or in the case of Gaol Naofa, an organization).  Being a member of a tribe of course comes with its obligations and one of mine to my tribe is the New Moon Rite that I perform every month.

It is a wonderful habit that keeps me close to my tribe and the Gods of the tribe. From the Gaol Naofa (GN) site: “On the new moon of each month, members of Gaol Naofa join together in spirit to honor the gods and spirits, and to celebrate our ancestral heritage thereby fostering solidarity and the blessings of the dé ocus andé.”  I thought I would share with you this month’s rite.  The ritual itself comes from GN and is written by GN Founder, Tomás Flannabhra.  The rite also has some tweeks from me to make it my own.

What is needed: four candles (three for representing the gods, ancestors, and spirits, and one to represent the central or ‘hearth’ fire), offerings, a drinking vessel, a vessel to hold offerings.

Opening Prayer

The fertile land below,
the blue sea about,
the vast sky above,
their blessings here tonight.

“Hymn to the New Moon” (Carmina Gadelica 303)

Hail to thee, thou new moon,
beauteous guidant of the sky;
hail to thee, thou new moon,
beauteous fair one of grace.

Hail to thee, thou new moon,
beauteous guidant of the star;
hail to thee, thou new moon,
beauteous loved one of my heart.

Hail to thee, thou new moon,
beauteous guidant of the clouds;
hail to thee, thou new moon,
beauteous dear one of the heavens!

Kindling the Fire

(light a candle)

I shall kindle this fire this evening
in the presence of radiant Bríd,
golden-flame of our hearth and home.
May she bless and preserve it,
this fire of warming,
fire of wisdom,
fire of hospitality
that is here;
She, the branch with blossoms,
red-cheeked Bríd.

Hail to the Hosts

(light a candle)

A fire for the gods is here,
Excellent Hosts,
proficient in wisdom and skill,
splendid and hardy troupe,
generous patrons,

Morrígan, great warrior goddess, prophetess, and sorceress, I raise my voice in praise of you with wonder and awe.  I sit in your presence, oh great source of terror and comfort.

Lugh Lamhfhada, great warrior and god of many arts, I praise you.  Bright and shining god and flaming spear out of the chaos I honor you.

Fáilte!

(give offering)

(light a candle)

A fire for the ancestors is here,
for those whose graves we rest on
and whose fame we seek to follow.
A lamp to guide your way
through the mists
from Tech Duinn.
Fáilte!

(give offering)

(light a candle)

A fire for the Fair-Folk and land spirits is here,
auspicious and kindly denizens,
hosts of the abundant land,
gentry of the hills and mounds,

Spirits and guardians of the desert,
People of Peace,
Fáilte!

(give offering)

Hail and Greetings to
The Three that are here,
Excellent Gods,
Beloved Ancestors,
and Kindly Spirits;
the three eternal fires
that illuminate the world.

Main Offering/Sacrifice

To the Ever-Living Three
I give this raw meat and bread
in honor and in gratitude and in love,
honoring the ancient and ancestral
contract that binds us.

(give offering)

Peace to sky,
sky to earth,
earth beside sea,
strength in each.

Hail to the gods,
love to the dead,
peace to the Good-Folk,
noble is each.

Personal Prayers

I pray for the strength and courage  to fight my daily battles, to live my life to the fullest, and to seek knowledge and wisdom.

Prayer for Gaol Naofa

Ancient and noble Three of the Gael, of kin and contract, illustrious Patrons, Hosts, and Progenitors! Guide, preserve and inspire our tribe, uphold us into the world as we rekindle the blazing ancestral fires that shall illuminate the way to the future. In health, in honor, in courage, in wisdom, in justice, in truth, in generosity, we go forth into the light of day and onto the roads with your blessings upon us and with victory to be ours.

Toast

(take a cup, quaich, bowl, horn, or other drinking vessel and fill it with a beverage of your choice (perhaps mead, ale, milk, juice, water…) Raise the vessel before the shrine:)

To the Beloved Dead!

(libate and sip)

To the Excellent Gods!

(libate and sip)

To the Fair-Folk and land spirits!

(libate and sip)

To my kindred!

(libate and sip)

To Gaol Naofa!

(libate and sip)

To health, wisdom, and prosperity!

(libate and sip)

From my journal:

This was the first month in which I did the New Moon rite after the formal contract with my household deities.  It was very different then before.  I felt a very powerful current go through me through out the rite.  I usually feel it but this time it was very pronounced and very strong that there is no way I can say to myself that I had imagined it.  I’m very pleased with how things have been moving along lately.

Why A Formal Contract With The Deities

So I’ve had people ask me WHY would I want a formal contract with the deities?  Haven’t I been making offerings to them already?  Weren’t they already my household deities?  The answer to the second and third questions is yes.  The answer to the first one is not so easy.

The idea for a formal contract just came out of a few things that I read in a couple of books.  The one book that is a representation of all I had read was The Horse, The Wheel and Language by David W. Anthony in it he says that an Indo-European speaking patron could accept outsiders as clients without shaming them or assigning them permanently submissive roles, as long as they preformed the sacrifices properly.  Praise poetry at public feasts encouraged the patrons to be generous and validated the language of the songs as the vehicle for communicating with the gods who regulated everything and therefore spreading the language. (p.343) He also said that The Proto-Indo-Europeans sacrificed sheep, cattle, and horses to a troublesome array of sky gods, and fully expected the gods to reciprocate the favor. (p.98) Putting the two pieces of information together gave me the idea of the formal contract.  The fact that the Celts had household gods that they worshipped other than the ones that the tribe prayed too also helped me make this decision.

I am not saying here that this is attested too in any literature, but it does make some sense to me at least.  So this is my UPG on this instance.  Here is my ritual:

Purifying Self:

Dip your hand into water, touch your forehead and say: “May I be pure that I might cross through the sacred.”

Dip your hand again, touch your lips: “May I cross through the sacred that I may attain the holy.”

Dip your hand again, touch your heart and say: “May I attain the holy that I might be blessed in all things.”

Petition Ritual:

Sit or stand in front of the deity Altar/Shrine and say a blessing for the three realms:

The Waters support and surround me.

The Land extends about me.

The Sky reaches out above me.

At the center burns a living flame.

Light the candle or flame at the center of the Altar/Shrine.  Say:

I light this fire to carry my prayers to the Gods of my ancestors.

Now you ask the gods, nature spirits and ancestors to join you.

I ask the gods of my ancestors to join me in my ritual, I ask my ancestors to guide me, and I ask the land spirits to aid me.  I ask all to be a witness to my endeavor.

Now insert a prayer for the gods you want to petition.

Morrígan, great warrior goddess, prophetess, and sorceress, I raise my voice in praise of you with wonder and awe.  I sit in your presence, oh great source of terror and comfort.

Lugh Lamhfhada, great warrior and god of many arts, I praise you.  Bright and shining god and flaming spear out of the chaos I honor you.

Next state the purpose of the ritual:

I would like to formally ask you to accept me as a client. I will make offerings to you daily and dedicate all my rituals to you and in exchange I ask for your guidance, blessings, fighting strength and prosperity in my life.

Now it is time to make the offerings:

Pick up the offering for An Morrigan and raise it above your head and say:

To the Morrigan, I honor you.  My Queen, I offer you my hospitality and give thanks for your blessings and protection!

Now place the offering in the place designated for the Morrigan.  Pick up the offering to Lugh and raise it above your head then say:

To Lugh Lamfhada, I honor youSamildananch, I offer you my hospitality! The Voice of Thunder, I give thanks for your blessings and protection!

Now place the offering for the place designated for Lugh.

Now thanks the gods, nature spirits and the gods for listening to you.

I thank the gods of my ancestors for joining me in my ritual, I thank my ancestors for guiding me, and I thank the land spirits for aiding me.  I thank you all for being a witness to my endeavor.

Listen carefully to your dreams or divination to see how the ritual went.

From my journal:

I woke up today to a feeling of peace and when I performed my daily offerings for the first time I not only felt peace but also I felt power, as if I was infused with it.  I’m guessing that my contract was accepted.  Another thing that made me feel that were my dreams from yesterday.  I dreamt of ravens and crows giving me bread.  They would also land on my outstretched hands to take food from me without scratching me or harming me in any way.

Bibliography:

Anthony, David W.  The Horse, The Wheel and Language.  Princeton University Press, New Jersey. 2007 p. 98, p. 343

Serith, Ceisiwr. A Book of Pagan Prayer. Weiser Books, San Francisco. 2002. p. 36