Summer Solstice Ritual
Raven's Cry Grove, ADF

June 18, 2005


Officiants:
Presiding Druid (PD)
Sacrificer (SAC)
Bard (BARD)
Other Druids (D1, D2, etc.)
Other Bards
Firetender and two other Torchbearers


Hallows of the Nemeton
Cauldron filled with water (some from the members homes)
Fire altar, to be lit from a candle consecrated by flame from Bríde’s flame in Cill Dara.
Bile (sacred tree)


Preparing the Nemeton

As the participants wait outside the Nemeton, PD charges the Well with water collected from the Druids’ homes and lights the Hearth candle on the altar that will serve as the source fire for the rite.


Call to the Rite

Thrice-three chimes announce the rite.


Protecting the Hallows

(Eric) A Druid (D1) stands in the North and speaks:

D1: "Mighty Lugh, protector of the Tuatha De Dananna.

We call on you to hold at bay those that would do us ill will,

And disturb our rite.”


A Druid (D1) lights a flame in the South and speaks:


D1: "Ancient and Dark Ones of the deep and the wild,
You who held this place of old and would hold it once again,
I light this flame against your return,
But invite you to take of it what warmth you will."


An offering of grain (or other food) is made to the South of the Hallows.


D1: "Accept this offering and trouble not our rite,
Nor hinder the forces of prosperity in this time.
Bíodh sé amhlaidh."

All: "Bíodh sé amhlaidh."


(Nicole) PD: "Go raibh maith agaibh; thank you. Brothers and Sisters, you may enter the Nemeton."


Druids cense and asperse the participants as the Call for Peace is made:


PD moves to address the East:
(Nicole) PD: "May there be peace in the East, ancient Leinster, source of Prosperity."

To the South:
(Nicole) PD: "May there be peace in the South, ancient Munster, source of Harmony."

To the West:
(Nicole) PD: "May there be peace in the West, ancient Connacht, source of Wisdom."

To the North:
(Nicole) PD: "May there be peace in the North, ancient Ulster, source of Strength."

Returns to the Tree in the center:
(Nicole) PD: "Here in the Center, let peace rule over this rite."

PD offers grain to the Earth:
(Nicole) PD: "May we be united with you, Lady of the Land,
Sovereign of the Realm under Sídhe,
Grant us the abundant blessings of the Land,
Lady Áine, Áine of the Torches, as our ways find favor in your eyes.
Bíodh sé amhlaidh."

All: "Bíodh sé amhlaidh."


When participants are settled and the altar fire is lit, PD speaks:


"May we pray with a good fire. As our Ancestors did in times before and our children may do in times to come,
Let us honor the Gods in the Old Ways. This is the time of the Solstice, when the Sun is at its height and the Land graces us with abundance. But this also marks a turning of the year, a turning toward the dark half of the year. This is a time to honor prosperity and fertility, but it is also a time to remember that all gifts have a cost. It is our custom--as with so many others at this time--to honor the dying God. In our Grove, we honor Miach, the Irish god of healing, who, in dying, brought healing herbs to the Land. In the Celtic Lands, Midsummer is the time to gather these herbs. We shall hear the tale of Miach and his sister, Airmid, shortly."


Invocation of the Awen


(Eva) BARD offers a song of praise as invocation to Bríd.


Consecration of the Hallows


(Nicole) PD: "Let us begin by sanctifying the Hallows by which we make offering."


(Willow) The Well:

D1: "Sacred Source, Cauldron of making and unmaking,
Fathomless Sea, bountiful Spring,
Mother of the Rivers, you who were known of old as Danu.
We honor you here with this offering.
May we be nourished in body and mind by you."


An offering of silver is made to the Well.


"Uiscí naomh, sruthaigh ionainn.
Sacred Waters, flow within us."


(Eric) The Fire:
D2: "Sacred Fire, sacrificed and sacrificer,
You who rise to meet the Shining Ones, your kin.
Holy flame of hearth and altar, known of old as Belenos.
We honor you here with this offering.
May we be strengthened in spirit and honor by you."


An offering of oil is made to the Fire.


"Tine naomh, loisc ionainn.
Sacred Fire, burn within us."


The Bile (Sacred Tree):
D3: "Sacred Tree, rooted deep and crowned high,
Center of the Earth and axis of the Worlds,
Most honorable of the Kindred of this place.
May your roots drink deep of the Waters below."


Water from the Well is poured at the base of the Tree.


"May you draw life from the Fire of the Heavens."


The Tree is censed with incense lit from the Fire.


"You hold the very mystery of Life,
Piercing the Sky, yielding to the Waters,
We honor you here with this offering.
May we grow in love and courage
Each time we gather around you."


The Tree is annointed with fragrant oil.


"Crann naomh, fas ionainn.
Sacred Tree, grow within us."

All: "Sacred Tree, grow within us."


Opening the Gates to the Otherworlds

(Modig) PD: "We now call on Manannán Mac Lír,
Our Lord of the Gates to the Otherworlds,
To make open the portals for our worship."


D1: "A Mhanannain Mac Lír, Gatekeeper, Sídhe King,
Shrouded in mist or met at the crossroads,
Let our words sound in the depths of the Well."


Oil is poured on the waters of the Well.


D1: "Let our words rise on the Fire to the Shining Ones."


Oil is poured on the Fire.


D1: "Let the Sacred Tree carry our words to all the Worlds."


Oil is annointed on the Tree.


"A Mhanannain Mhic Lír, Osclaítear na Geataí anois.
Let the Gates be open!"


The Three Kindreds

(Nicole) PD: "Let us now give honor to the Three Kindreds,
That they may honor us in return."


Inviting the Spirits of the Land

(Eva) D2: "A Sprideanna na talaimh! Spirits of the Land! Kindreds of fur, fin, and feather,
Of bark, leaf and blossom, of rock, soil, or crystal.
Fair folk, green kin, and totem beasts!
We honor you here."


Flowers or fruit or the like is placed amongst the Hallows.


D2: "We thank you for sharing this place with us and offer these gifts in return.
Earth Spirits, come to our hearthside and join us in our rite.
Bíodh sé amhlaidh."

All: " Bíodh sé amhlaidh."


Honoring the Ancestors

(Willow) D1: "A Shinseara! Ancestors! You who guide our steps,
You who carry the honor of the People to the Otherworlds,
We honor you here."


Ale is poured in the Well and the remainder set in a cup on the altar.


D1: "We honor you with the first portion and offer this cup for your taking.
Ancestors, come to our hearthside and guide us in our rite.
Bíodh sé amhlaidh."

All: " Bíodh sé amhlaidh."


Offering to the Deities

D3: "A Dhéithe! Shining Ones! Highest and mightiest,
First among the Kindreds, worthiest of honor,
Ancient of the Tuatha De Danann, we would offer to you in this place.
Deities of this place, known to us or unknown,
Gods and Goddesses of all those here, Patrons and Matrons,
We would offer you like honor.
Join us at our fire, o Shining Ones.
A Dhéithe, glacigí ár n-iobairt seo!
Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice!"

All: "Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice!"

Oil is poured on the Fire


(Nicole) Story of Miach, Airmid and Diancecht

PD: "Attend now the tale of Miach, ancient bringer of healing, of his sister, Airmid, and of his sacrifice at the hands of his father, Diancecht."


One of the Druids recounts the tale (to be provided in advance, of course).


PD: "As Miach, in dying, brought forth healing herbs, let us now ourselves make offering of this effigy and see what it will offer to the Land and the People."


PD: "As Diancecht slew his son by cleaving his head in twain providing a harvest of healing herbs, let us likewise deal with this effigy and see what it may offer to the Land and the People"


The Druid slashes open the mask with the sword.


PD: "Tear apart the man of straw[...]...will he live again?"


The Druid then tears the straw of the great mask apart[...]. An effigy clad made of herbs on a mantle is revealed when this action is complete.


PD: "And here we see the healing herbs, cultivated at this season for centuries."


THERE WILL BE CARDS AVAILABLE [FOR THE PARTICIPANTS TO READ EACH OF [THESE] PARAGRAPHS FROM – SO THAT LATECOMERS WILL BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE [...]: Offers an explanation of the various herbs and their properties:


"These are some of the herbs, and their uses, which sprang from the body of Miach, only to be scattered across the world by Diancecht, and the places in which our people have found them."


(Eva) "In the Green Isle of Erin: Clover for coughs, Hazel for divination and the soothing of sore throats, Holly to wash the eyes, Juniper to aid the kidneys, Mistletoe for killing tumors, Oak to cleanse the blood, and Yew to ease the afflictions of gout and cancer."


"From the Island of Britain: Apple to strengthen the hair, skin, and liver, Chickweed for eczema, Hawthorn to strengthen the heart, Heather and Hops for insomnia, and to deepen the sleep, Nightshade as a salve for bruises, Rowan for fevers, St John’s Wort to lesson inflammations and anger, Teasel for the removal of warts, Valerian to calm the nerves, and Vervain for cleansing and purification."


(Modig) "From the land of Fire and Ice, of Troll and Viking, Iceland, Moss for the calming of bronchial complaints, Lingon to prevent scurvy, Angelica to aid in perspiration during fevers, and Amber to enhance the power of magic."


"From Gaul across the sea: Dandelion to cleanse bladder and kidneys, Lavender for migraines, and Rose for internal cleansing and strengthening the bonds of love."


(Eric) "From the Iberian Plateau, ancient home of the Milesians: Rosemary to purify the liver."


(Nicole) "From the Italian Peninsula: Fennel, to sweeten the breath, Mint to ease an upset stomach, Rue for the colic, and Sage to relieve night sweats."


(Willow) "From the rocky shores and islands of the Hellenes: Bay to relieve sprains and itches, and induce prophetic trance, Violet for cleansing and purging, and Willow to relieve arthritis."


(Eva) From the Steppes of our Scythian cousins: Mugwort to calm epilepsy and bring prophetic dreams, Poppy to induce sleep and ease pain, and Wormwood to cleanse the liver and summon the dead."


From the Burning Lands far to the South: Frankincense for Rheumatism and honoring the Gods, Jasmine to increase erotic feelings, and Myrrh for disinfecting and healing wounds."


"And from the Valley of the Indus and the Eastern Lands beyond: Basil for cramps and flu, Camphor to ease afflictions of the skin, Ginger to heat the body and settle the stomach, Hollyhock to soothe the throat, and Sandalwood for infections of the bladder, and to cool the blood."


(Nicole) PD: "But Diancecht, the master physician of the Tuatha De Danann, would not allow mankind the gift of perfect health and healing. And so these herbs, having been made known, were scattered. And so we shall, knowing that we can only reclaim them through patient nuture and cultivation, but trusting that the Land holds them in trust for us when we need them.. So let us each take a portion of this Green Man carry it forth from the Nemeton and scatter him on the Earth where we will as token of our trust in the Land to provide what we need."


The people go forth as they will— torchbearers lighting the way—each bearing herbs from the effigy to scatter upon the Land. A drumbeat calls them to return. When all have returned, the rite continues.


Praise Offerings

(Nicole) PD: "Let any who offer praise or sacrifice come forward to the altars."


Time is allowed for all who so wish to make praise offerings.


Main Offering

(Nicole) PD: "We will allow those who wish to make further offerings before we conclude the rite, but now, let us honor the deities of the occasion with one final offering as one folk."


The mantle on which the Green Man had lain is [buried in the earth].


(Nicole) PD: "Miach, Airmid, Diancecht, accept our sacrifice."


ALL: "Accept our sacrifice."


Taking of the Omen

(Eva) PD: "Having made offering to the Gods, let us see how our offering was received."


SAC consults ogham (or runes) and announces the results of the omen-taking. If the omen is inauspicious, further offerings may be made and a second omen taken. If the omen is again unfavorable, the rite should be ended, with due thanks made to the Kindreds. If the omen is auspicious, the people return to the Nemton and the rite proceeds.


Seeking the Blessings of the Deities

(Nicole) PD: "In our custom, a gift calls for a gift.
Having offered to the Shining Ones,
We seek their blessings in return."


PD pours ale (or the like) into a cup and holds it up. The following litany may be shared among three of the Druids.


PD: "Shining Ones, we seek the blessings of the three Cauldrons,
Of Wisdom, of Plenty, and of Rebirth.
We would share in your magic.
And so we say as one folk: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!"

All: "Shining Ones, give us the Waters!"


PD: "We would stand in fellowship with you
And feast at your side and proclaim ourselves your People.
And so we say again: Shining Ones, give us the Waters!"

All: "Shining Ones, give us the Waters!"


PD: We have offered of our love and our work to you;
We have shared our hearthside,
And, as a gift calls for a gift,
We say one last time: Shining Ones, give us the Waters of Life!"

All: "Shining Ones, give us the Waters of Life!


PD elevates the cup saying:
"Seo na h-Uiscí Beatha!
These are the Waters of Life!"


The cup is passed among the participants.


(Nicole) PD "As you share in the blessings of the Mighty Kindreds,
Do not hesitate to salute or otherwise honor them.
At this time, the Gates are still open and offerings may yet be made."


When all have had a chance to drink from the cup and make any offerings, the rite proceeds.


Thanking the Kindreds

(Nicole) PD: "Let us now give thanks to the Powers we have honored here."

(The same Druids who offered to invite each Kindred thank them here:)


(Nicole) PD: "Miach, Airmid and Diancecht, go raibh maith agaibh. We thank you."

All: "We thank you."


D: "A Dhéithe! Deities! Go raibh maith agaibh. We thank you."

All: "We thank you."


D: "A sprideanna na talaimh! Earth Spirits! Go raibh maith agaibh. We thank you."

All: "We thank you."


(Willow) D: "A Shinseara! Ancestors! Go raibh maith agaibh. We thank you."

All: "We thank you."


(Eva) BARD: "A Bhríd! Lady Brigit! Go raibh maith agat. We thank you."

All: "We thank you."


(Nicole) PD: "To all those Powers that have aided our rite,
We say once more: go raibh maith agaibh. We thank you."

All: "We thank you."


PD: "We return to the Earth those blessings we have left unused."


SAC makes libation from the blessing cup.


Closing the Gates

(Nicole) PD: "We call once more on Manannán Mac Lír to close the gates."


(Modig) D1: "A Mhanannain! Gatekeeper and Sidhe King!
We thank you for guiding our prayers to the Otherworlds.
We thank you for guiding and warding our steps in all the Worlds.
Let the Fire now be but flame.
Let the Well now be but water.
And let the Tree now be no more than the true heart we carry forth from this place.
A Mhanannain Mhic Lír, Dúntar na Geataí anois!
Let the Gates now be closed!"


(Nicole) PD: "As we started, so let us end."


Thrice-three chimes are sounded.


(Nicole) PD: "Brothers and sisters, go in peace and blessings.
The rite is ended."


The Participants may process forth from the Hallows as deemed appropriate and a chant sung.
Feasting ensues...