Raven’s Cry Grove

Beltaine Ritual

Written by Jackie Bushong

Sources: Various ADF Grove rituals from Liturgists Yearbooks

          Ian Corrigan’s Beltaine rite

Raven’s Cry Grove ritual archives

For Ritual May 3, 2014

 

Parts:

Warrior                           Ken
Earth Mother                   Lisa

Brighid for Inspiration     Ariel

Gates                                       Mike
Ancestors                        Russell
Nature Spirits                  Sarah
Shining Ones                  Tess

May Queen                               Tess
Omen                             Russell

 

 

INITIATING THE RITE

The folk assemble outside the nemeton to observe the preparations

 

Guardian

Mike: Druids! Welcome to the Beltaine ritual of Raven’s Cry Grove, ADF! We stand here at the threshold. Warrior, call a guardian for our rite.

 

Ken: [standing in the North]

Lugh of the White Horse
Lugh of the Brilliant Blade
Lugh, child of Light and Shadow
We would call on you to watch over us in the rite,
and to keep vigil over the ones who would seek to disrupt us.
Shining One, we would offer ale to you so you may not thirst, and bread so may you may not hunger.

Offering of Ale and Bread

Bíodh sé Amhlaidh! (BEE-uh SHAY OW-lee)

 

Mike: Here we create our threshold. We open the roadway to the sacred center. Warrior, mark this space that the outdwellers shall not enter.

 

Warrior draws a line at the entrance.

 

Ken: Lugh - we ask you to watch this threshold.

 


 

Outdwellers

 

Mike:

Druids, as we prepare to make offering to the Outdwellers, please avert your eyes so as not to form a relationship with them, and also look to the Outdwellers in your own hearts. This is a celebration of love. All that we carry into the nemeton today will flower. Take only that which you wish to root, grow, and flourish.

Warrior! Make offering and appease the Outdwellers who do not support our ways.

 

Ken:

Mighty spirits of chaos,
dwellers of the outer dark,
who have stood against the gods.
You who care not for our ways,
known and unknown to us as Other.
Ancient dark ones,
take this offering in honor and respect
and trouble not our working here this day.
Warrior makes an offering of whisky to the Outdwellers, pouring on the ground

Bíodh sé Amhlaidh!

 

Procession and Purification

 

Jackie: Druids release the cares of your mundane life. Take a deep breath in and allow your mind to be still. Thoughts outside of this time are released. You are here spiraling ever forward in the present.

 

Mike: Feel the pull of our sacred space, calling you, whispering on the wind. In this space we create our sacred realities. We can become all the Kindreds believe us to be. Purification allows us to transform into our sacred selves. Please come forward, be purified, and attune yourself to mythic time. Let go and cross the divide.

 

Form the procession with flowers in hand.

 

Procession Song: We Approach the Sacred Grove (By Sean Miller)

We approach the sacred grove,
With hearts and minds and flesh and bone,
Join us now in ways of old,
We have come home.
Folk take their place in the circle after placing flowers on the altar.

 

When all folk are in place,

 

Jackie: By the light of the fire and the might of the water, make this Grove be whole and holy.

 

Druids cense and asperse around the circle.

 

Purification Chant
Fire in the Heart, fire of the mind
Fire on the wind, fire out of time
Fire of the night, fire of the soul
Fire pure and bright, fire make us whole.
(Repeats until finished)

Welcome

Mike: ring chime 3x3 times saying:

Ancestors! (chime 3x)
Nature Spirits! (chime 3x)
Shining Ones! (chime 3x)

We have crossed the threshold into sacred space. Please reconnect with the sacred cosmos as we prepare to open the gates to the otherworlds, the place where the kindreds will reveal themselves once more.

 

HONORING THE EARTH MOTHER

Lisa:  O Earth Mother, our lives are nursed from your bounty.
You are the food that nourishes us, the wealth that enriches us, even the very ground we walk on.
O great mother, all joy and prosperity comes from you, and it is you who sustains us.
Earth Mother, we honor you now to thank you for the bounty you bestow upon us.
 

The people kneel and all chant.
Earth Mother Chant
Earth Mother, we sing to your body,
Earth Mother, we sing to your bones,
Earth Mother, we honor your spirit,
Earth Mother, we honor your stones.

offer corn meal in the offering bowl and say:

Earth Mother, accept our offering.

 

All: Earth Mother, accept our offering!

 

Statement Of Purpose

 

Jackie: Slainte agus failte! Welcome to the offering rite of Bealtainne, the Hinge of Summer, the Day of Blessings. Now the earth grows green again in fact, warmed by the power of the Sun and the Waters' cool strength. Shoot has become bud and bud is flowering as all life burns with the kindling of love's fire. Now we rejoice in the heat of May, and look forward to the greater heat of summer.

 

In elder days the feast of Bealtainne was a day of power and duty, when every fire was extinguished and every clan held fast to its luck for the coming season. The folk left their work and went into the fields and the greenwood. They roved among the blossoms and made love to one another to celebrate the Power of Life. They went into the Groves and made their worship of the God/desses that sustained them.

 

As the ancients did before us, so we do now, and so our descendants may do in the future. We are come into the Grove to worship as they did, to offer to the Ancestors; to offer to the King and Queen of the Sidhe clans and all the Nature Spirits; and to offer to the beloved Shining Ones. Today we honor Aine, the Queen under the Mound, the erotic power of renewal. Today we honor the Mac Oc as Aengus the Harper, the enchanting life of the Earth. Today we kindle new flame in ourselves as we dance among the Bealtainne fires. And tonight, may we practice the Rites of Love in whatever way our spirit may guide us, to sustain the Power of Life. Ta go maith!

 

Inspiration

Rhythmic drumming to accompany the inspiration invocation

 

Jackie: Brighid! Great goddess. We ask you for inspiration for our rite!

 

Ariel:

Bright Brighid, Daughter of the Daghdha, Flame of Inspiration,
Maker of metal, Maker of good health, Maker of song,
With you as our mother we need fear no sickness,
With you as our mother we need fear no dull swords,
With you as our mother we need fear no empty words.
Our tribe is triple-blessed, O shining light of the hearth,
and we your children ask you to alight in our hearts,
Alight in our heads, and alight in our voices,
That we may give praise to the gods with good skill.
Offer oil to the anvil placed on a rock (which has three spirals painted on it) near the fire and then hit 3x.

Brighid, Accept our offering.

 

All: Brighid, accept our offering.

Bíodh sé amhlaidh!

 

Establish the Group Mind

Jackie: [Two powers meditation]

 

Recreate the Cosmos

Mike: Druids, let us now re-establish the Sacred Center of the Worlds.

 

The Three Realms

The waters support and surround us.
The land extends about us.
The sky stretches above us.
And the center burns a living flame.
Let us pray with a good fire.
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.
 


 

Well, Fire, and Tree

 

Russell:

Cauldron of the Underworld and Chthonic Ones, Portal to the Ancestors, Dark churning waters of mystery, chaos, and wisdom, we sanctify you here with reverence.
(Remain standing at well)   

Tess:

Fire of the Heavens and Shining Ones, Portal to the Gods, Bright tongue of inspiration, order, and will, we sanctify you here with reverence.
(Remain standing at fire) 

 

Sarah:

Ancient World Tree, Portal to all the worlds, Sturdy keeper of the Land, of history and time, we sanctify you here with reverence.
(Remain standing at tree) 

 

Russell: (Still standing at hallow)  Sacred Well, flow deep within us!      

All: (Repeat).

 

Tess: (Still standing at hallow)  Sacred Fire, burn bright within us!   

All: (Repeat).

 

Sarah: (Still standing at hallow)  Sacred Tree, grow strong within us! 

All: (Repeat).

 

Jackie: The fire, the well, the sacred tree,
Flame and flow and grow in me!
In land, sea and sky,
Below and on high!
Thus is the sacred grove claimed and hallowed.

 

All: Bíodh sé amhlaidh!

 


 

OPEN THE GATES

 

Mike:

Shapeshifter, Mist Lord, Sidhe King!
A Manannan Mac Lir!
We have come to meet you at the crossroads,
To walk the Sacred Way.
We ask that you share Your mysteries with us,
And ward our steps in safety, Lord of the Gates.
 
offering of oil at each of the hallows as each are addressed

Now, O Manannan, Ferryman of the Shrouded Path,
join your magic with ours.
Let the fire be opened now, as a gate to the Shining Ones.
Let the well be opened now, as a gate to the Otherworld,
Let the tree stand as an connector of the ways,
to serve as a path to all the Worlds.
Open as a road to our voices so that they may be heard by the kindreds.
A Manannain Mhic Lir, Osclaitear na Geatai anois!
Let the Gates be Open!
 

Jackie: Druids, we are now at the center of the cosmos. We are woven into the sacred fabric of the universe. Here, the Kindreds can hear our thoughts and know our hearts. Let there only be truth here.

 

INVITING THE THREE KINDREDS

 

Mike: Druids! Make our offerings to the Kindreds, the Ancient Ones, the Noble Ones, and the Shining Ones.

 

Ancestors

Now, we will make our offering to the Ancestors.

 

Russell:

Ancestors, A shinseara (uh HEEN-sher-un)
You who lie deep within this land, you whose memories hold it, and whose hearts are tied to its very essence; tribes of old, we offer you welcome!
Grandmothers and grandfathers, our beloved dead, kin of blood and heart, ancient tribes whose legacy is in our veins, we offer you welcome!
Elders and wise ones, you who guide the people, wise men and women of ancient days, we offer you welcome!
Mighty Ancestors, A shinseara we would give you honour and praise, and we would ask that you join us here today!
offering of Whisky
Ancestors, accept our sacrifice!

All: Ancestors, accept our sacrifice!

Bíodh sé amhlaidh!

 

Mike: Druids, close your eyes, take a moment, and feel the Ancestors as they join us here.

Allow a few moments

 

Nature Spirits

 

Mike: Now, we will make our offering to the Nature Spirits.

 

Sarah:

Nature Spirits, A sprideanna na talaimh (uh SPREE-jun-na na TALL-eev)
Spirits of the land, hear your friends and companions!
Our kindred of stone and stream, rock and fertile soil, kins of the earth, we offer you welcome!
Our kindred of green, herb and flower, the smallest shrubs and the mightiest trees, roots and stems and fruits; Green kin, we offer you welcome!
Our kindred of fur and feather and fin, our kindred who walk or fly or swim or crawl, A sprideanna na talaimh we offer you welcome!

offering of flowers

Nature Spirits, accept our sacrifice!

All: Nature Spirits, accept our sacrifice!

Bíodh sé amhlaidh!

 

Mike: Druids, close your eyes, take a moment, and feel the Nature Spirits as they join us here.

Allow a few moments

 

Shining Ones

 

Mike: Now, we will make our offering to the Shining Ones.

 

Tess:

A Dheithe (uh YAY-huh), Shining ones, your children call out to you, hear us eldest and brightest!
The first children of the mother, our wisest and mightiest, loving and comforting, gods and goddesses, we offer you welcome!
Gods and goddesses of this place, ancient and powerful, known or unknown to us, gods of this place, we offer you welcome!
All of the deities of those here gathered, with whom we worship, you who bless our lives, our patrons and matrons, we offer you welcome!
A Dheithe , we would give you honour and praise, and ask that you would join us here this day.
offering of oil
Gods and Goddesses, accept our sacrifice!

All: Gods and Goddesses, accept our sacrifice!
Bíodh sé amhlaidh!

 

Mike: Druids, close your eyes, take a moment, and feel the Gods and Goddesses as they join us here.

Allow a few moments

 

 

Praise Offerings

Jackie: Druids, as the spirit moves you, come forward and make praise offerings to the Kindreds or your Patrons. You may offer at the well, fire, or tree, sing songs, recite poetry, dance, would bring pleasure to the Kindreds.

Folk make offerings as they will

 

KEY OFFERINGS

 

Honoring the Patron Powers

 

A cloaked woman emerges, stands to the north of the Hallows with head bowed and cloak closed.

 

Jackie:

In elder days, Erin the goddess was the mother of clans, called Aine, queen of the noble ones. Aine the mighty mated with mighty men and from them she bore many peoples. As each of them grew old she would renew her youth and love again.

So for us is the living earth goddess, who grows old with the winter and renews her youth in this merry, magical time. With each of her renewings she brings the flowing of new life, the erotic blossoming of every kindred, not just for the continuing of clans, but for the delight and regeneration of all beings.

 

Aine the ancient
Calleach the mighty
Bones of the Earth
Answer your children

Mother to maiden
Winter to summer
Root into blossom
Answer us, changer

Flow now the waters
All hearts rejoicing
Laughter and loving
Bounty and blessing

Now in the hinge-time
Wise ones are calling
Show us your wonder
O maiden of May!

all: Aine, accept our sacrifice!

 

An offering of scented oil is made to the Fire. The woman removes her cloak to reveal a young maiden, erotically dressed.

 

All cry: Hail the queen of the May!

 

Tess:

Let the goddess of Earth hear our call as I hear it! Blessings upon all who do honor to the shining ones. In this season of renewal we do honor to the goddess of the wells, for the sacred well is the eye of the earth, the giver and receiver, the gate of the Sidhe!

Maiden holds large bundle of cut flowers, says:

Now let the well be dressed, honoring our simple symbol of all the worlds' sacred wells.

RCG men come forward in turn to dress the Well, surrounding it with flowers. When all are finished the Druid speaks:

 

 

 

Surely it is true that when the maid of May appears in any place or any heart the delight of love cannot be far behind. In Erin the power of love's joy was worshipped in Aengus Og, the son of Dagda and Baonn. He is the golden harper, whose music wakens longing and fulfillment in mortal hearts. He is the silver voice, calling all to come away from earthly care and join in the joy of May. Now let us welcome the young lord.

 

The young son Maponos
Aengus the harper
Son of the Dagda
Whose staff is the strongest

Born of enchantment
The son of the Mother
Sing, O enticer
Delighter of maidens

Sap in the branches
All making merry
Bee to the blossom
Hie to the Maying

Raise now the May-rod
Aengus we name you
Wonder child rising
Come to our calling

all: Aengus Og, accept our sacrifice!

An offering of scented oil is made to the Fire.

 

Offering to the Sidhe

 

The Maypole and dance will be the offering to the Sidhe.


 

Jackie:

In the elder days Aine the goddess was a queen of the Sidhe-folk, ruling form her mound in the south of Erin. Likewise Aengus was a king of the gentle people, making the faery music beneath the Brug Na Boyne. Now we call to them to open the way to the people of peace.

On the feast of Bealtainne the veils between the worlds are thin. Now we honor the nobel clans of the otherworld, the spirits of Earth to join our dance and receive due offering.

Come to the gates, gentle and lovely ones. Hear our call, we the children of Earth, who remember you. We offer you our worship, our reverence and our blessing.

You who rule in the wildwood, who give luck or bane, you who teach us the hidden ways and aid the wise, receive now these offerings made in your honor:

The druid will recite the various Powers of the Sidhe. This can go on for ?9, ?27 things, such as:

 

To the queens under the hill -- Oonagh the Lovely, Cailleach the Ancient, Medb the Mighty and all...

To the kings under the hill -- Finvarra the Handsom, Bodb the Red, Eochaid the Stallion and all...

To all the Sidhe-folk of poetry and wisdom -- Inspirers and singers, you who grant sight and hearing...

To all the Sidhe-folk who are warriors, wardens and keepers, champions and hunters, wrathful protectors...

To all the Sidhe-folk of the makers, iron Sidhe and gold Sidhe, wood Sidhe and clay Sidhe and the folk in the loom...

To all the Sidhe-folk of the soil, tillers and reapers, cattle Sidhe and arbor Sidhe and folk of the hearth...

To all the Sidhe-folk of the Earth, stone and soil, stream and pool, bird and beast...

To all the Sidhe-folk of the sea, merrow and selkie, of sunlit shallows and the deeps...

To all the Sidhe-folk of the air, trooping sidhe and the voices on the wind...

 

To all of you we give this gift of our dance offering, asking you to bless us in the joy of the living...

 

 

When dance is finished

Noble Sidhe, accept our sacrifice!

 

all: Noble Sidhe, accept our sacrifice!

 

 

PRAYER OF SACRIFICE

 

Mike:

O Noble, Ancient and Shining Ones!
Incense have we offered to Your shrines!
Offerings have we made through the Well, Fire and Tree!
Kindreds! All this we give to You in the name of Hospitality.
May our Piety increase Your magic!
May our Courage increase Your Power!
And may our Fertile Spirits show the world Your abundance!
Mighty Kindreds, accept our sacrifices!
 

 

PIACULAR OFFERING

 

Jackie:

If out of ignorance or faulty memory,
If we for any reason have offended You,
O Kindreds of our People, hear us now.
Accept this offering as recompense,
And know our hearts and our intent are pure.

 

OMEN

 

Mike: Seer, what blessings and wisdom do the Kindreds offer us in return?

 

Russell: takes the flower omen

 

Mike:

Druids, all our offerings, all we have done so far in our rite, have led to this moment. This is magic time! We have made offerings to the Powers, and now we shall ask for their blessings in return. Visualize the blessings that each of you desire and need from the Kindreds. See it clearly in your mind’s eye. And when we ask for the Waters of Life, when we say, Give us the Waters of Life, see the blessing you desire descend into the upraised cup like a mist, filling the cup. And when we drink of the Waters, you will receive your blessing. So close your eyes and take a moment to visualize your needs, and the needs of our Grove, that we may all receive the blessings we desire.

 

Allow time for the people to meditate on needs and desires. Mike pours May Wine into the cup and holds it.

 

Jackie: O Ancient, Noble and Shining Ones! We have offered to you, so we ask for your gifts in return.

 

Mike elevates the Waters.

Hallow these waters! Bless our lives with Magic, Power and Abundance as we drink of your essence. Kindreds, we ask you, give us the waters of life!

 

All: Give us the waters of life!

A pause

 

Jackie: Behold the waters of life! Druids, drink of the waters of life!

 

Form a receiving line with Jackie, Mike, and Queen of May. The Queen holds the blessing cup. All form a line to greet the Queen, paying respect as ancient folk would have to royalty. The Queen hands the cup to each in turn to receive the blessings. The folk continue to dance around the tree and then to dance freely in celebration.

 

Song: Pour the Waters one time, then drumming and music etc.

 

AFFIRMATION OF THE BLESSING

 

Mike: We have drunk of the Waters of Life! The Powers have given us true and wondrous blessings. We affirm the gifts of our Kindreds and acknowledge their power in our lives.

Druids, do you accept the gifts of the Gods?

All:We do!

 

Bless, O great ones true and bountiful
Ourselves, our kind and our friends
Our work and our wealth.
May the Waters of Life sustain us
May the Fire of Passion enliven us
From day to day through every turning moon
From season to season
Through all the sacred year.
May the ancestors strengthen us
May the Sidhe-folk open our ways
May the goddesses and gods grant us wisdom.
Let the seeds of spring shoot and bud
And let our lives blossom with the May.
By our magic and by the blessings of the old ways
Let all our blossoms come to fruit!
Ta Go Maith!

 

 

THANKING AND CLOSING THE GATES

 

Mike: The Mighty Ones have blessed us! So as we prepare to depart, let us

give thanks to those who have aided us.

 

Jackie: O Bright Lady Brighid, protectress, healer, and inspiration.
Go raigh maith agat! (GUR uh MAH gut) We thank you!

 

All: We thank you!

 


 

Jackie: Gods and Goddesses of elder days; noble Spirits of the Land; mighty
Ancestors; our Kindreds, we say, Go raigh maith agaibh! (GUR uh MAH-gev) We
thank you!

All:We thank you!

 

Jackie: Mighty Lugh, Guardian of our Rite tonight, For your Watching and
Warding, Through magic and arms, we say,Go raigh maith agat! (GUR uh MAH gut)
We thank you!

All: We thank you!

 

Mike:

Mannan Mac Lir, Keeper of the Gates between, we say: Go raigh maith agat!  (GUR uh MAH gut) We thank you!
Once more we ask you to join your magic with ours and aid us as we close the gates.
Now let the fire be flame
Let the well be water;
And let the tree be but the very heart of us all that we carry forth from this place!
Let all be as it was before.
Let the Gates now be closed!
 

All: Let the Gates now be closed!

 

THANKING THE EARTH MOTHER

 

Lisa:

Earth Mother! We give you all remaining offerings, for what comes from the Earth may return to the Earth.

Pour remaining cup to the ground

For upholding the world and granting us Your blessings, we say:

Go raigh maith agat! (GUR uh MAH gut) We thank you!

 

All: We thank you!

 

CLOSING THE RITE

 

Jackie: Once again, we have continued in our traditions, honoring the Gods,

Ancestors and Nature Spirits, just as in times of old. We have made offerings to our Kindreds and received their blessings in return.

 

But great energy has been raised within us this day! Let us be grounded once more.

lead final grounding.

 

Mike: rings the chime 3x3

Walk with wisdom, Druids. This rite is ended!

Bíodh sé amhlaidh!

All: Bíodh sé amhlaidh!