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Spring Equinox 2004 Liturgy

0: The Sacred Grove is arranged as described. The celebrants hallow the Grove; the Fire is lit, the Well is filled, the Tree is blessed.

Purpose

This is a time of boundaries, a time of reclaiming the world from those spirits who inhabit the darker corners. We ask that they begone, and we welcome in the lighter half of the year, as this equinox marks the light half of the year.

Procession

With singing ("We Approach the Sacred Grove"), arrive and circle the hallows deosil. The Druids complete the sigil, then give the opening prayers.

Fire and Water: Seer draws water from the Well and Bard lights a censer from the Fire. They quickly cense and asperse the company as they enter.

Opening Prayers

A: Universal Spirit: Senior Druid speaks:

You who are without name
You who are without gender
You who are without form
Spirits which exist in all Creation

We, the Children of the Earth
Call out to you
And ask that you bless this work and our lives.
So be it.


All: So be it!

B: Earth Mother: All kneel and touch or kiss the earth. The Seer speaks:

Feel her touch in the wind;
Taste her nectar in the air;
See her breath in the rippling water;
Smell her perfume in the trees and soil;
Hear her voice in the stones.

The Earth is her soul,
And Life is her prayer.
She is all there is,
And all there is is part of her.

Blessings to the All-Mother.


All: So be it!

C: Awen: The Bard invokes, saying:

Power of inspiration that attends us
Voice of the Fire of Wisdom,
Voice of the Well of Inspiration

I call on you to place the clear heart in us
Come into our hearts' shrine
Guide our rite in the way of Truth

O power of inspiration in this holy place
O power of inspiration at this holy time
So be it!


All: So be it!

Purpose And Precedent

As our ancestors once did, so we do today, and so our children will do in the future. We are here to pay homage to Sūlis, the lady who is the sun. Her light sustains us, Her light empowers us, and Her light protects us from all who cannot stand her face. This is a time of meeting obstacles and overcoming them. It is a time to leave the old behind and carry forward with a new self, tempered by the fires of the Gods.

Purification 

Outdwellers: An offering is made to the south of the Grove, saying:

Those whose purpose is cross with ours,
You whose harmony does not match our voices,
Be you God, Goddess, Spirit, or Giant,
We ask that you accept this gift
And trouble not our working.

Likewise we acknowledge within ourselves
All those things that would cause disunity

We contemplate these ills and enemies
And for this sacred time
We set them aside!



Grove Attunment

Take a moment to find the center of your mind, body and soul.

Breathe deeply from your belly the air in this sacred grove, charged with anticipation and potential. Exhale fully through your mouth; then, through your nose, fill your lungs with the clean, cool aroma of this moment. Allow that sacred air to circulate and surge throughout your body.

Now continuing to breathe from your belly, stand firm and feel the Earth's pulse through the soles of your feet. Curl your toes into the ground, rooting yourself into the bosom of the warm, nurturing Earth. Draw another deep breath while imagining tendrils of roots and vines connecting your self with the soil beneath you.

Now stretch forth your hands to those closest to you, and grasp hands or simply touch them, if you can. At one with the cosmos and at one as a grove - we are, as a community, greater than the sum of our parts. We stand as a grove in a forest of trees, one folk.

The waters support and surround us
The land extends about us
The sky stretches out above us.
At our center burns a living flame.
May all the Kindred bless us.
May our worship be true.
May our actions be just.
May our love be pure.
Blessings, and honor, and worship to the Holy Ones.



Fire, Well And Tree

Offerings to the Sacred Center. The seer positions herself at the well, the bard at the fire, and the Senior Druid at the tree. Offerings are placed given when the song states:

Chant: Portal Song

CHORUS
By Fire and by Water, between the Earth and Sky
We stand like the World-Tree rooted deep, crowned high.

Come we now to the Well, the eye and the mouth of Earth,
Come we now to the Well, and silver we bring,
Come we now to the Well, the waters of rebirth,
Come we now to the Well, together we sing:

CHORUS

We will kindle a Fire, Bless all, and with harm to none,
We will kindle a Fire, and offering pour,
We will kindle a Fire, A light 'neath the Moon & Sun,
We will kindle a fire, our spirits will soar.

CHORUS

Gather we at the Tree, the root & the crown of all,
Gather we at the Tree, Below & Above,
Gather we at the Tree, Together we make our call,
Gather we at the Tree, In wisdom & love.

CHORUS (with gusto)

Opening The Gates

The Senior Druid makes an offering to the Garanus, the Crane, saying:

Garanus,
You who stand between the realms,
Open the ways for us.
Guide us as we walk in your holy ways,
Guide us as we walk the Sacred Road.
Share your magic with us,
Ward us as we travel to meet the Kindred.
Garanus, accept our sacrifice!


All: Garanus, accept our sacrifice!

An offering of oil is given to the Fire. The Senior Druid then conjures the Gates, making an opening triskel on the Fire and Well, saying:

Now, Garanus
Join your magic with mine

And let the fire open as a gate,
Let the well open as a gate,
Let the tree be the crossroads of all Worlds.

Open as a road to our voices and to the Spirits.
Let the gates be open!


All: Let the gates be open!

Kindred Offerings

The druids make proper offerings to each of the Kindred, standing at the fire.

Ancestors
(Seer)


The Children of the Earth call out to the Mighty Dead.
Hear us, our Ancestors, our Kindred.

[You who were here before],
We offer you welcome.

[Ancestors of those present],
We offer you welcome.

[You who guide us],
We offer you welcome.

Come to our fire, Spirits
Meet us at the boundary
Guide us and ward us as we walk the elder ways.

Ancestors, accept our sacrifice!


(an offering of food and/or drink is made onto the ground or into a shaft)

All: Ancestors, Accept our sacrifice!

Nature Spirits
(Bard)


The Children of Earth call out to the Spirits of this Land.
Hear us, companions and teachers!

[Kindred of earth],
We offer you welcome

[Kindred of the growing green],
We offer you welcome.

[Kindred who fly or walk or swim or crawl],
We offer you welcome.

Come to our fire, Spirits;
Meet us at the boundary.
Guide and ward us as we walk the elder ways.
Nature Spirits, accept our sacrifice!


(an offering of herbs, flowers and/or trinkets is scattered around the nemeton's edge or hung on the tree)

All: Nature Spirits, Accept our sacrifice!

Deities
(Senior Druid)


The Children of Earth call out to the Shining Ones.
Hear us, eldest and brightest!

[To all Gods and Goddesses],
We offer you welcome.

[To all Gods of this place],
We offer you welcome.

[To all the deities of those here gathered],
We offer you welcome.

Come to our fire, Shining Ones;
Meet us at the boundary.
Guide and ward us as we walk the elder ways.
Deities, accept our sacrifice!


(an offering of scented oil is poured on the fire)

All: Shining Ones, Accept our sacrifice!

After all the offerings have been made, the druids recenter the company and lead an attunement to all the spirits that have been called, and a proper chant or hymn is sung to the three Kindred.

Key Offerings

Senior Druid speaks, saying:

Welcome to the Gods and Goddesses, the Mighty Dead and the Noble Sidhe! 

To all of you who have gathered at our fire, we pray you join us in worshipping the patron of this holy rite here in our sacred grove.


The druids now give the descriptive invocations of the patron powers of the rite.

Turning toward the fire:

Holy Sūlis, whose brilliance guides us by day,
You have grown strong!
On this day, you triumph over the darkness
As your light streams to all corners of the world!

The darkness of winter has bent us over,
And beaten us harshly.
A maiden of battle, you took up sword and shield
And vanquished our oppressor!

Likewise, we ask that you come to us,
That you banish those things that depress us,
That you help us to overcome the obstacles before us
That your light be radiant and fill us
With joy, love, and hope.

Sūlis, give us your light!


All: Sūlis, give us your light!

Praise Offerings:

Each person is invited to call deities or others (ancestors should not be called yet, though).


Final Sacrifice and Omen

The druids prepare the final offerings and say:

So we have given of our love and our wealth
To the Powers, that they may know our intentions.

Now let our voices arise on the Fire
Let our voices sound in the Well
Let our words pass the boundary to the Otherworld.

Sūlis,
We give you our love
Our respect, and our devotion
as we pray you...

Sūlis, accept our sacrifice!


All: Sūlis, accept our sacrifice!

All are led to send their energy through the gates to the powers, meditating on the deities and the nobles. Then Senior Druid speaks:

Having sacrificed to the Powers
Let us open to them
Asking what blessings they offer us in return
And the needs they have of us.


1. Have our sacrifices been accepted?
2. What do the Gods offer us in return?
3. What further needs to the Gods have of us?

Omen is taken as usual. The seer then interprets the omen, leading the company to contemplate the things they would ask of the powers, especially as suggested by the omen. Company re-centers in preparation for the blessing.

The Blessing

A: The litany of the waters:

The Senior Druid and four Grove members approach the center. The Senior Druid elevates the vessel with waters and begins the litany:

Senior Druid speaks:

Ancient and Mighty Ones we have honored you
We pray you honor us in turn
For a gift calls for a gift
Hear your children:
Shining Ones, give us the Waters!


All: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

B: Hallowing the waters:

Ale is poured into the horns and elevated as the Senior Druid speaks:

We draw blessing from the Cauldron of Blessing
We pour the Mead of Inspiration
Behold the holy Cup of Magic
The outpouring of Blessing from the Great Ones
When we share the draught of the Gods
We drink in wisdom, love and strength
To do as we will in the worlds
In service to the Shining Ones.

Hear us Sūlis:
Hallow these waters!

Behold the Waters of Life!


All: Behold the Waters of Life!

Each of the four Grove members takes their portion of the Waters to one of the four parts of the circle, and the horns are passed and all drink as a proper hymn ("Pour the Waters") is sung.

The circle is brought back together, and all are re-grounded and centered.

Closing

When all is done, the druids lead a resettling, then begin to close the grove, saying:

The Great Ones have blessed us
With joy in our hearts
Let us carry the magic from our sacred Grove
Into our lives and our work.

Each time we offer to the Powers
They become stronger
And more aware of our needs and our worship.

So now as we prepare to depart
Let us give thanks
To all those who have aided us.

O Sūlis, We thank you!


All: We thank you!

O Gods and Goddesses of elder days, We thank you!

All: We thank you!

O Spirits of this land, We thank you!

All: We thank you!

O Ancestors, our Kindred, We thank you!

All: We thank you!

To all those Powers that have aided us, we say again...

We thank you!


All: We thank you!

Druids renew the company's centering once more, signaling the return to common awareness and ease of access to the centered state. Then any unused offerings, return flow, incense, water etc. is given to the earth, saying:

Mother of all
To you we will return all we leave unused
Uphold us now in the world as you have in our rite.

We thank you!


All: We thank you!

The druids go to the center. They speak:

O Gatekeeper, warder of the ways
For your presence and power
Your guiding and guarding we say...

We thank you!


All: We thank you!

Druid makes the closing sign over the hallows with the wand, saying:

Now by the Keeper of Gates and by our magic
We end what we began.

Now let the Fire be flame
Let the Well be water
Let the Tree be only wood
Let all be as it was before
Let the Gates be closed!


All: Let the Gates be closed!

Go now, Children of the Earth
In peace and blessings
The rite is ended!


The bard leads a proper chant as the company processes out of the Grove ("Walk with Wisdom").

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