Lughnasadh Ritual

Raven’s Cry Grove, ADF

July 30, 2005

 

Written by: ZL Bennett

(Adapted from various ADF Rituals & original work

Invocation and Main Offering – from I. Corrigan

Following Standard ADF Liturgy)

Liturgy written for 2 Presiding Druids (PD) – preferably one male and one female

 

Purification of Game Site done prior to ritual.

 

Call to the Rite:

Musical signal (chimes 3x3) as procession to the game site commences.

 

Procession: Chant –

        A Banner of the sun and/or garland leads followed by a woman (PAM) who represents the Great Queen of the Land, all process to the game site.

 

Introduction:

 

PD1:  The Children of the Earth are gathered in this Sacred Grove to keep the rites of Lughnassadh, the First Harvest,   The Victory of Growth, the Gathering of the Folk in Peace.

 

     Now is the beginning Time of Ripening, when the labor of the people brings the Land to bear, when the Power of the Sun gives itself to the Power of the Earth.  We now gather in a moment of rest and pleasure, before the labor of the harvest.

 

     It is a time to remember the Shining young hero, Lugh, champion of Erin, his foster mother Tailtiu who gives her life to feed her people, and it is also the time to remember, as in days of old, the feast of the divine wedding of the new King to the Land. 

 

     Traditionally, Lughnassadh was a day in which many tribes met in peace to celebrate the Great Wedding, honor the Shining Ones, especially Talantiu, and to partake of the first fruits of the season.  In that spirit of peace, camaraderie, and rememberance, we gather here today.  Let there be peace in all the land and peace in our personal and collective growth.

 

 

Honoring the Sovereign Lady and the Land for the Games:

 

4 Druids take the directions (E,S, W, N,) and PD stands center holding a bowl of grain, the Queen also is in the center with PD1 who is holding a sword or spear.  PD scatters grain in circle clockwise as offering to the earth as the honoring of the land takes place.

 

(GEORGE)

East Druid: (facing East)  May there be peace in the East, ancient hearth of dignity, integrity, and wonder, from Leinster, Source of  Fertility and Prosperity.

 

(WILLOW)

South Druid: (facing  South) May there be peace in the South, ancient primeval womb of  the  Great Matrons, the arts, and fruition, from Munster, Source of  Magic and Beauty.

 

(MIKE)

West Druid: (facing West)  May there be peace in the West, ancient cornerstone of  counsel,  learning, and discernment, from Connacht, Source of  Eloquence and Wisdom.

 

(STEVEN)

North Druid: (facing North)  May there be peace in the North, ancient anvil of challenge,  steel-strife, and the lion’s heart, from Ulster, Source of  Courage and Strength.

 

PD1: (standing center)  May there be peace in the Center, the axis of all worlds, all kindred, all hopes, Source that encompasses Sovereignty and the All,  let peace rule over this rite.

(PD directs to the Lady at the center and the Lady without)

 

PD1:   May we honor and be united with you Talantiu, Great One of the Earth –

         Sacred Sovereign of the Land, Daughter of the Sidhe, known also as

         Aine, Eire, Brigantia, The Morrigan, Earth Woman, Great Mother, who

         Through pain, labor, and care, grants us her fruits in many guises, so that we may live and grow.

 

         Great Lady we ask your blessing.  Grant us a true champion this day, worthy of your boons.

         Great Queen, Goddess of the Land, let our rite find favor in your heart. Biodh se amhlaidh!

 

All: Biodh se amlaidh!

 

(Lady in center of the circle takes the sword/spear point and puts it into the earth proclaiming: Let the games begin! Then, she is seated in the center of the audience watching the games.)

 

-Games commence.

 

-Champion is chosen and Lady escorts him to ritual site as the others process behind.

 

-Chant to site: or drumming

 

-All wait outside the Nemeton for its Purification

 

 

Thrice Three Chimes begin the Rite

 

 

Protecting the Hallows/Site Purification:

 

-Invoking the Protector: a Druid standing North speaks:

 

D1 (FAOLAN):     Mighty Lugh of the Long Arm,, protector of the Tuatha De Danann, we call on you to hold at bay

those that would do us ill will and disturb our rite.  Keep at bay, too the Outdwellers in our hearts that we may all enter the circle in complete peace and leave behind all else. 

 

-Treating of the Outdwellers: a Druid standing South lights a flame and speaks:

 

 D1: (STEVEN)   Ancient and Dark Ones of the deep unknown and daunting wild,

     You who have lived as the other, in the outer realms of the obscure mist,

     You who have stood against the Powers and the Goddens,

     We acknowledge your strength.  If it be your will to enhance our work,

     We ask you send that goodwill to us.

 

     If that is not your will,  I light this flame and ask that you take what warmth of it you will.

     Accept this offering and trouble not our work at this time, in this space,

     Nor hinder the forces of prosperity around us.

 

PD1:  You may now enter the Nemeton.

 

Processional:  We approach the Sacred Grove

 

Purification of Participants –

(DOUG (cense) & GEORGE (asperse))

     Once all have processed in, censing and aspersing takes place in a clockwise direction as censer and asperser lead in the chant.  All say repeatedly until all is purified:

 

ALL:     By the Might of the Water, and the Light of the Fire,

This Grove is made whole and holy.

 

Censing and aspersing are also done within the complete working space and at the hallows, during the chant.

 

 

Grounding Meditation/Grove Attunement

 

PD2:  As we are here to celebrate the bounty of the Great Mother, let us take a moment to attune ourselves to Her.  Please kneel and touch the earth.  (Add pauses or elaboration as needed).  Close your eyes and place your palms firmly on the earth, feel her wisdom, her ancient knowing, her deep, fertile energy, and her labor of self-sacrifice.   Let Her dialogue and peace permeate your being.  -  Now send back to Her, your acknowledgement and love for all she has provided.  As you offer to Her through your hands,  so the Grove offers:

 

PD2: O Beloved Mother of All

The center of our sovereignty, our growth, our abundance,

From the womb of your ancient springs, life comes forth.

From your  verdant hair, the colours of the rainbow breathe among us.

From your granite bone, you impart, wonder, wisdom, and the Mysteries.

Great Lady, whose blood makes nations, and bears all life,

We pray you bless and uphold this rite.

Mother of All accept our offering. (PD pours water into the ground in the center of the hallows.)

 

All:  Mother of all accept our offering!  (Participants Stand.)

 

 

Invocation of the Awen:  Chant?  Or the following:

 

D1:  (WILLOW)  A Bhrid! Dear Lady,

     We call on you to guide this rite in the way of truth.

     Grant us wisdom, inspiration, and eloquence, 

     Let us hear your healing voice in the well of our hearts,

     Let us bring beauty forth from your pregnant fire,

     Let your anvil’s song, craft honor here among your people.

     Let it be so! – Biodh se amhlaidh!

 

     All:  Biodh se amhlaidh!   

 

 

Short Statement of Ritual Purpose

 

PD1: We come to the Sacred Grove to honor the Lady of Sovereignty, the Great Queen.  In this season she is the Earth Woman, the Red Goddess, the Flower Woman whose embrace binds, whose love is fate.  We honor especially Lugh, the shining young hero, all-skilled, Sacred King, and Holy Champion who turns aside drought and storm, protecting the earth.  On this day the Golden God is wed to the Blossom Goddess, that the earth may come to fruit. 

 

PD2:    As our forebears did, so we do now, and may our descendants do after us.  Now, let us keep the Old Ways by honoring the Powers and offering our work that we may gain bounty and wealth in this season, for the good of all.

 

Consecration of the Hallows

 

PD2:  Let us now sanctify the Hallows by which we make offering.

    

Use standard text (see former rituals on RCG site) or feel free to elaborate or rewrite as desired.

 

The Well:

 

D1:  (STEVEN) Sacred source, cauldron of making or unmaking…

 

An offering of silver is made to the well

Sacred Waters flow within us!

 

The Fire:

 

D1:  (DON) Sacred Fire, sacrificed and sacrificer…

 

An offering of oil is made to the Fire.

Sacred Fire, burn within us!

 

The Bile (Sacred Tree):

 

D1:  (PAM) Sacred Tree, boundary of all worlds…

 

Tree is censed and annointed with fragrant oil.

Sacred Tree, grow within us!

 

 

Opening the Gates to the Otherworld:

 

PD1:  We now call on our Gatekeeper, Manannan Mac Lir,

         Our Lord of the passage to the Otherworlds,

         To make open the portals here, for our rite.

 

D1: (NICOLE) 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, O Lord of the Gates.

 

Druid makes offering of oil at each of the hallows as each are addressed for opening.

 

     Now, O Manannan, Ferryman of the Shrouded Path, join your will with ours.

     Let the fire be opened now, as a gate to the Shining Ones. (oil is poured on fire)

     Let the well be opened now, as a gate to the Otherworld, (oil is poured in the well)

     Let the tree stand as an open conduit now, to serve as a line to all the Worlds. (tree annointed with oil)

     Open the road to our voices and the Noble Ones.

 

Any energy raising here if desired. Closing with intensity…

 

A Mhanannain Mhic Lir, Osclaitear na Geatai anois.!

Let the Gates be Open!

 

ALL:  Let the Gates be open!

 

 

The Three Kindreds:

 

PD2:  Let us now give honor to the Three Kindreds that they may honor us in return.

 

Use standard text ( see former rituals on RCG site) or feel free to elaborate or rewrite as desired.

 

 Honoring the Ancestors:

 

D1:  (ERIK) A Shinseara! Ancestors…

 

Ale is poured in the well and the remainder is set back on the altar.

Biodh se amhlaidh.

 

Honoring the Spirits of the Land:

 

D1:  (MIKE) A Sprideanna na talaimh!  Spirits of the Land…

 

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

Biodh se amhlaidh.

 

Honoring the Shining Ones:

 

D1:  (STEVEN) A Dheithe!  Shining Ones!…

 

Oil is poured on the Fire.

Biodh se amhlaidh.

 

 

Patron Powers 

 

PD2:  Many welcomes, Triple Host of Spirits.  Join us now as we call to the Blossom Queen and the Sacred King.

 

-Invocation of Morrigan

 

 D1:  (PAM) Red Woman, Great Queen of the Earth, we, The Children of the Earth, offer you welcome.  We call to you in the ripening grain, the fruiting branch, the reddened spear.  We call you forth from the beauty of blossom and thorn.  We offer you clear water, gentle as rain. (water poured near bile).

 

     Holy One, Prophetess, Enticer, Joy and Bain of Heroes, Flower Bride, Lover, Devourer, Great Queen, we call to you.  In the season of ripening, you are the fruits and bounty of  the land, arrayed in the sun.  We deck you with flowers to welcome you here.  (Red flowers are placed around the Well).

 

     Descend in Beauty, arise in might, O throne of Sovereignty! You, whose hair is the grain, whose flesh is the firm soil we offer you honor here.  Bring to our Grove your Blessings of bounty and delight.  We pour red wine for you, who drinks up the love of the Sun. (Wine poured in or near fire.)

 

     Great Queen, come into the Grove of the Wedding.

 

A corn doll is brought out and carried once around the circle.  As the PD speaks, red flowers are used to decorate/twine in her by the invoking druid – full focus on intent.

 

PD2:    Lady, accept this gift of raiment for the Rite of Joining.  We robe you in garments of red, the hue of life’s blood, the warrior’s will, the rose of summer’s perfection.  We offer  you welcome, Mead’s Sweetness, O Morrigan, Mighty Queen.   Biodh se amhlaidh.

 

Invoking druid then places the doll either at the foot of the bile or seated on it if possible.

 

-Invocation of Lugh

 

D1:  (FAOLAN) Lugh the Victorious, we make our Grove under your protective shield.  O Lugh of the White Horse and the Brilliant Blades.  You, the perfect of form, child of Light and Shadow, Slayer of Balor, be in our midst and accept our welcome.  Accept this ale in welcome O Champion, O King. (ale poured in fire)

 

     We make our journey of the year in the joy of  Samildanach, The All-Skilled One, the Sure Hand, the Bard, and the Smith.  May we be at peace under the hand of the Chieftain of Danu, taking joy in the feast of the wedding day of Lugh.  We offer this bread, that the harvest may flourish by the hand of the ploughman. (small pieces of bread offered near bile)

 

     By the Sacred Three of Glory, hear now your people’s call.  By the sword and by the Raven come among your folk.  O Lugh the Victorious, the Light, the Protector, accept this offering of fruit and be present in your strength. (fruit offered in well)

 

     Light of the Sky, come into the Grove of the Wedding.

 

A sword or spear is brought into the grove decked with greenery and flowers.  It is carried once around the circle clockwise.  Then, it is held over the fire for a brief time, then rinsed 3x with water from the well by invoking druid full focus on intent – as PD says:

 

PD1:  May the strength of Lugh be over us, may His beauty delight us, may His talents be upon us.  Welcome Shining One!  Behold your bride and enjoy the earth. Drive away the hail from this grove, the community of your people, and from all who honor the earth.

 

PD1:  O Mighty Lugh in rememberence we have honored your foster mother this day by holding your festival of games, and have crowned a worthy champion.   Now, in your presence, let the champion step forth and be honored. 

 

PD2: (presents loaf of bread to champion).  We offer you the grains of the harvest, as we offer our devotion to the Great Shining One on this, His day.   May His Long Reaching Arm protect you always. Biodh se amhlaidh.

 

 

Praise Offerings:

 

PD1:  Let any who would offer praise here do so.

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

 

 

Main Offering:

 

PD2:  Remembering days of old, we now recount the tale of Lugh and join the King to the Land.

 

The Tale and the Wedding

 

Druid as storyteller recounts story with background music

 

D1:  (DON) Hail the Sun of Summer – Golden One, Bright Balm, Warmth of the Green Earth.

Hail the Sun of Summer – Crown of Striving, Gem of the Heavens, First among Lights.

Hail the Sun of Summer – Father of Earth, Eye of Burning, Fire of Noontide.

 

Yet now is the Season of Darkening, the Time of Ripening, when the night and the moon call the earth to fruit.  It is the time of the tender goddess, the Maker of Heroes, the Old One’s Daughter.  Who can tell the fate of the earth?

 

If the Sun does not die for a time, the green earth turns to grey.

If the Sun does not die for a time, red burns to black.

If the Sun does not die for a time, the earth and all will be barren dry!

 

So the God’s man mated with a woman of the Giants, in magic and courage.  Their union brought forth the Child of Light and Shadow, Lugh, whose name means light.  Fostered in the Isle of Apples, he learned every skill and became Master of all Arts.

 

How like a spear is the ray of dawning!

How like the dawn is the rising light of victory!

How like victory is the joy of wisdom!

 

Just as Lugh struck down the Baleful Eye of Burning, when the Maiden of Bounty was imprisoned in the Tower of Day, it is Lugh of the Long Arm who strikes down the Eye of the Sun when it becomes poison to the earth.  He defends the sacred earth against blight and barreness.

 

(Drumming begins slow crescendo as rhythm rises building energy with the dance.)

 

ALL CHANT:  saying in beat with drumming

 

The Sun must die, so the earth may live.

The Dark time rises, so the earth may give.

Milk and honey, ale and corn.

Milk and honey, ale and corn.

 

 

Chant is done as the eye loaf (an uncut loaf of bread with a large eye drawn on it with cake icing or…) is brought out and sword/spear bearer dance a simple dance which then leads to the sword/spear point being driven into the eye loaf (PAM & FAOLAN).   Drumming stops with much huzzahing.  Then, the doll and sword/spear are brought to the center of the hallows and a garland or red ribbon is used to bind the doll to the spear/sword (PD1 & 2) .

 

PD1&2:  (elevating the bound doll and sword while saying the following:)

 

PD1: Thus, do we remember and join the Shining Ones’ Prince to the Lady of the Earth.  By this joining, may Lugh be the ward and guardian of the earth.  By this joining, may the Earth be the throne of joy and delight. 

 

PD2: May the grain and our lives grow green and golden.  May the rays of the sun protect us as Lugh’s spear.  Lugh and Morrigan, be present in these images.  Hear your children!  Biodh se amhlaidh!

 

ALL: Biodh se amhlaidh.

 

Final Sacrifice

 

PD2:  As a final sacrifice we ask our Champion of the people to come forward once again.  (champion steps forth, and bread of a golden color is given – corn bread? –preferably homemade )  We ask you dear Champion to offer up the first harvest’s golden grain to the Land itself, to the Shining Hero, Lugh, the Red Queen, The Morrigan, and to all we have called upon this day.  You may disperse it here, as you will.  If you have any blessing, praise offering, or request, for the Godden,, for your good, and the good of this grove, we welcome your so chosen words.  (Drums accompany final offering if warranted).

 

     To render our symbols of devotion ever timeless, we offer them to you dear Tailtiu, Ancient Goddess of the Earth.  May their Joining keep the Land and our Grove protected from the poison eye.  May we also continue your work and serve the Land through our love and commitment to safeguard it and all who inhabit it. (Corn doll and spear still bound together are then buried.)

  

PD1:  Our Dear Kindreds, we have given of our love, time, and resources.  Let our voices and hearts be heard through the rising flame, the depth of the well, and the axis of all worlds.  We give you our love, devotion, and respect, as we earnestly entreat You…   Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice!

 

ALL:  Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice!

 

Taking of the Omen:

 

PD2:  Having made offerings to the Godden, let us open to Them, asking Them what wisdom and blessings they offer us in return. (STEVEN TAKES OMEN)

 

The Blessings – Return Flow

 

D1:  (WILLOW) Ancient and mighty ones, we have honored you.  We pray you honor us in turn.  And as a gift calls for a gift, Hear your Children – Shining Ones, give us the waters!

 

ALL: Shining ones, give us the waters!

 

D2: (WILLOW) We thirst for the waters of wisdom, bounty, and renewal.  From the spring of the well, from the bosom of the Earth Mother, Hear your Children – Shining Ones, give us the waters!

 

ALL: Shining Ones, give us the waters!

 

D3:  (WILLOW) We open our hearts to your blessings.  We happily proclaim ourselves your people, and would stand in friendship and honor with you.  Hear us and grant us your favor.  Shining Ones, give us the waters!

 

ALL:  Shining Ones, give us the waters!

 

-Hallowing the Waters and Grain

 

Druid speaks as libation is poured and elevated, along with small basket of bread.

 

D1:   (DOUG) We draw blessing from the ancient cauldron of boons and the grains of the harvest.  As we share in the outpouring of blessings from the mighty ones, we drink and eat in wisdom, love, and strength to do as we will, offering service to the Shining Ones.  We rejoice in your gifts.  Hear us Dear Ones; Hallow these waters, Hallow this grain!

 

Behold the Blessings of Life!

 

ALL: Behold the Blessings of Life!

 

     When all have had a chance to drink from the cup and eat a piece of the bread, and make any offering yet to be made, the rite proceeds.

 

 

Thanking the Kindred

 

PD1: As the mighty ones have blessed us, let us offer our thanks to the Powers we have honored here.

 

The same Druids who addressed each Kindred, thank them here.

 

D:  (FAOLAN) Lugh, Shining Hero, Protector, All-Skilled King, and Tailltiu, who reared him well.  Go raibh maith agaibh.  We thank you!

 

ALL: We thank you!

 

D:  (PAM) Morrigan, Earth Goddess, Red Queen, Giver of Sovereignty, and the Triple Host of Spirits who brought our Queen and King to us this day, go raibh maith agaibh.  We thank you!

 

ALL:  We thank you!

 

D:  (STEVEN) A Dheithe! Deities! Shining Ones!, filled with your blessings which we will carry into our lives and work, go raibh maith agaibh.  We thank you!

 

ALL:  We thank you!

 

D:  (MIKE) A sprideanna na talaimh!  Nature spirits!, filled with your strength and beauty, go raibh maith agaibh.  We thank you!

 

ALL:  We thank you!

 

D:  (ERIK H.) A Shinseara!  Ancestors!, filled with your honored presence and love, go raibh maith agaibh.  We thank you!

 

ALL:  We thank you!

 

D:  (WILLOW) A Bhrid! Lady Brigit!, filled with your song and inspiration, go raibh maith agat.  We thank you!

 

ALL:  We thank you!

 

PD2:  To the great Mother of All the Earth and all Powers that have aided our rite, filled with gratitude, we return to you all blessings we have left unused.  Uphold us now in the world as you have in our rite as we say once more, go raibh maith agaibh.  We thank you! (remaining libation is poured into the earth and bread pieces scattered.)

 

ALL:  We thank you!

 

 

Closing the Gates:

 

PD1:  We call on Manannan Mac Lir to close the gates.

 

D1:  (NICOLE) 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 Lir, Duntar na Geatai anois!

Let the Gates now be closed!

 

ALL:  Let the Gates now be closed!

 

PD2:  As we started, so let us end.

 

Thrice-three chimes are sounded.

 

PD1:  Brothers and sisters, let us go in peace and blessings.  The rite is ended.

 

Recessional and Revelry

 

   

 

 

Items needed for Rite:  (not including basic ritual items)

 

One Sword /Spear or rendition - DON

Garland and/or sun banner for games procession

Grain in bowl for Offering the Land – STEVEN

Crown for Champion and other princely habiliments if desired. - PAM

Corn dolly - LISA

Red ale - LISA

Red wine-LISA

Cherry Mead - DON

Fruit – few pieces in a basket or bowl - MIKE

Small basket of Red flowers - PAM

Bread –  1 loaf for Champion unsliced and wrapped for presentation - MIKE

              1 medium round loaf unsliced for the “eye” - WILLOW

              3 bread rolls or small loaf of  bread for offering to Lugh - FAOLAN

              Basket of pieces of bread, small muffins, cookies for libation and blessings for the people - LISA

              1 small golden loaf (cornbread?) for final sacrifice – of all, this should be homebaked - WILLOW

Small Red flowers/flower garland to adorn doll - (9) or multiples of 3 - PAM

Garland or red string, yarn, rope, to decorate sword and bind doll during the Great Joining – LISA

Drums – we need plenty for this ritual – all bring who have