Gentlidecht: A Sharing of “Aisling, Ársaíocht, agus Agallamh” in response to the Lore vs UPG debate.

So, John Becket wrote an article called “The Lore vs. UPG – A False Dichotomy” filled with an opinion that makes it clear he is talking to the wrong (and at this time, minority) crowd.   It is a re-hash of a stereotype that has been diminishing over the past 10 years to the point of being an annoyance to many of us who have used to the term “Celtic Reconstructionist” at some point in our careers.  In working on my response I realized that arguing his points is not worth the energy spent and it would be better to provide a positive resource on the same topic.

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Ritual – Lá Fhéile Bhríd

As the title says, this is our ritual for Lá Fhéile Bhríd.  Using the lunar reckoning this would have been January 21st, we held our ritual and feast on January 25th.  We also made butter and Brigit’s Crosses this year.  The butter will be used in our rituals for the coming year.

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Gentlidecht – Finding The Dates of the Holy Days

Happy Solar New Year!

First post of the year 2015 on the Gregorian Calendar and I thought it should be about the calendar used in Gentlidecht na gCuanaigh.  In the article “Telling Time Through Worship” I talk a bit about what the Gentlidecht calendar should look like so in this article I am going to apply that information using the Notional Celtic Calendar. This is a lunar calendar so it is not as easy as just looking up the first of the month for November, February. May or August.  We have to look at when the moon phases fall and as this year will have 13 months instead of 12 (there is one interracial month this year) we will have to make an adjustment to our usual calculations of having a festival every third month (1st of the 1st month, 1st of the 4th month, 1st of the 7th month, 1st of the 10th month and three months later the 1st of the 1st month in the new year).

So let’s start with some terms.  Quarter Day and Cross Quarter Day, or as we call them Fíor Ráithí and Cam Ráithí, we follow the pre-Christian Irish usage of these terms so the quarter days are the main festivals commonly placed at February 1, May 1, August 1, and November 1.  The Cross Quarter Day (crooked if you translated our Irish) would be the equinoxes and solstices and crooked as is better term in this instance as you will notice these dates will not fall at exactly between the quarter days.  I want to point out this is the opposite usage of the same terms by other Neopagan religions (and most English based calendars), which is why it is better to use the Irish as not to confuse folks.

As the Cam Ráithí are solar events they are easily identified on any calendar, so we don’t need to go into detailed explanation on how to find the dates.  To figure out the Fíor Ráithí using the Notional Celtic Calendar you have to go back to October 2014, as that is when the this year began, on 1 Samhain or October 24, 2014.  This is the point we start going forward to identify Lá Fhéile Bhríd.

What we are looking for are the New Moons as it is the day after each New Moon that the new month begins.  Knowing that the commonly accepted Neopagan date is February 1 and that the solar date would be the exact (English) cross quarter date, we jump ahead to February 2015.   We find the New Moon in February to be the 18th and the Winter Cross Quarter Day to be on the 4th, further we see that the 5th month of the lunar year begins on the 19th.  Which date is it?  Well, none of them.  What we want is the first day of the 4th month of the year.  Even though there is going to be 13 months this year, we want to stick as close to the usual 12 month cycle as possible, so we go back to January and find the New Moon to be on the 20th, making the 21st the first day of the 4th month and our date for Lá Fhéile Bhríd as it is not too far off from the expected solar date. 

Now we will do the same thing for Lá Bealtaine, and jump to May 2015.  We find the Spring Cross Quarter day on the 5th and the New Moon on the 18th.  Note that the 19th starts the eighth month, what we are looking for is the start of the seventh month so we jump back to April and find the start of the seventh month to be April 19th.  So this is the date of our lunar based Lá Bealtaine.

For Lá Lúnasa we again jump to the expected date in August and find the Summer Cross Quarter day to be the 7th and the new Moon to be the 14th.  With the start of the 11th month on the 15th we have to go back to July and locate the start of the 10th month which is July 17th.

Finally, we identify the start of the following year and Samhain.  Jumping to November this date is easily identified as November 12th.  Which seems odd as every other date occurred prior to the expected date and this one occurs after.  What occurred is what is called an intercalary month, or a leap month.  An entire month added in to keep the lunar calendar in sync with the common solar calendar.  As this month is added at the end of the year it created a larger space between festivals that what would usually occur.  We could have chosen to skip a month at any point to stay as close to the expected dates but as I started earlier, the idea was to keep as close to the every three lunar month cycle as possible.

Using the same method with different assumptions you may place your festivals at other dates.  This is perfectly acceptable as it is important for groups to establish their own methods of identifying their holy periods and ritual year.  What is important is consistency in method of identifying the dates.

Here is the resulting calendar with the lunar Fíor Ráithí and solar Cam Ráithí for 2015.

Lá Fhéile Bhríd – January 21st
Spring Equinox – March 20th
Lá Bealtaine – April 19th
Summer Solstice – June 21st
Lá Lúnasa – July 17th
Fall Equinox – September 23rd
Féile na Shamhna – November 12th
Winter Solstice – December 21st

Notes:

Gentlidecht na gCuanaigh – As there are variations on Gentlidecht throughout the world this is the specific form of Gentlidecht as it is done by the Genti of Five Rivers Protogrove and myself.

New Moon – The creator of this calendar uses the term to give the date of the Dark Moon, the night the moon is totally dark. 

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Ritual – Féile na Shamhna

This years ritual will be held in a park and is open to the public.  As with all ritual drafts it may change by the date of the ritual but I wanted folks to see it prior to the event.  The lunar date for the start of the month Samhain is October 24th, we will be holding our Feast of Samhain (November) on October 26th.

 

Féile na Shamhna
(Ayla na  Hownuh)
Preparation
Collect the items from the items list (end of the document.)  Outdoor rituals shall be organized based on availability of fire with the fire alter being at the center and everything else in relation to its location.  For indoor rituals the main alter should be a table on which symbols of the gods and ungods, the Apple Branch, the representations of the Hearth Fire, Well of Wisdom and Bile, the seers bowl, saining smudge, and the apples are places.  For both indoor and outdoor rituals a smaller table should be placed in a convenient location, on which the offerings shall be placed in order of need to facilitate a smooth ritual. 

The ritual leaders should be selected for the follow roles:  Guide, Druid (1,2,3, etc.), and Seer.  Roles will overlap and others created as needed. Prior to the ritual the Druids should light the flame, fill the well with fresh water, and place whatever tools are needed on the altar.  
Gathering
A bell is tolled three times calling the folk to the nemeton.
GO/SD/GPThe tribe is called together for {EVENT NAME}.  Let us gather at the center.
Statement of Purpose
Druid 1: I have news for you; the stag bells, winter snows, summer has gone.  Wind high and cold, the sun low, short its course, the sea running high.  Deep red the bracken, its shape is lost; the wild goose has raised its accustomed cry.  Cold has seized the birds’ wings; season of ice, this is my news.
Winter has come and it is the end of the annual cycle of the seasons and start of the new.   The veil is thin and the ancestors call to us for recognition.  Today we honor the ancestors of our blood, the loved ones we have lost and look forward to the coming year.
Opening Prayer

All: 

By the land beneath us
By the sea surrounding us
By the sky above us
We come unto the gods and ungods.
May they light our way and
Bless our days,
Centering Meditation
A guide is selected to lead this guided meditation.  Going through it with a calm voice and steady voice.
Guide: Close your eyes clear your mind and focus on your breathing. Breathe in and out slowly visualizing the spiral of the cosmos around you.
Guide: We are at the center of An Thríbhís Mhór.                 ah-heeveesh-vohr
Guide: Inhale and as you exhale visualize your feet firmly planted on the earth.
Guide: We stand firmly upon the Sacred Land.
Guide: Inhale again and as you exhale imagine you are surrounded by the great calm ocean.
Guide: The Eternal Sea always surrounds us.
Guide: Inhale and exhale seeing the great blue expanse above you.
Guide: The Endless Sky spreads itself above us.
Guide: Inhale while visualizing the great spiral around you, with you at its center.
Guide: We are at the center of An Thríbhís Mhór. 
Guide: And breath, open your eyes when ready.
Honoring the Local Land Goddesses
Druid 2: We honor the Five Rivers, the goddesses of the land; Potomac, Patapsco, Susquehanna, Gunpowder, and Patuxent.  Givers of life that flow from the mountains and form estuaries of the Chesapeake.  
We honor you and make this offering to you in gratitude for your waters that nourish this land.    
   
Druid 2: makes an offering and says: Mighty goddesses of the land accept this offering.
All: Mighty goddesses of the land accept this offering.
Establishing the Sacred Grove
Sacred Hearth Fire
Druid 1:
I make sacred the fire,
The first fire born of lightning
from which all fires are lit.
The hearth fire which warms our homes
and binds our people.
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,

All:
Let the flame be the hearth fire,
Let the water be the Well of Knowledge                   
Let the tree be the bile,                           
(bill-uh)
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,

Druid 1 : puts butter on the fire, then says:
I light the sacred fire of inspiration.  Sacred fire, burn within us.
All: Sacred fire, burn within us.
Well of Segais
Druid 1 says:
I make sacred the well,
From which the five rivers flow,
Salmon swimming, hazels hanging high.
Bubbling brightly Segais, source of wisdom,                   

I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
All:
Let the flame be the hearth fire,
Let the water be the Well of Knowledge                   
Let the tree be the bile,                           
(bill-uh)
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
Druid 1: dips the apple branch into the well then says:
In the depths flow the waters of wisdom. Sacred waters, flow within us.
All: Sacred waters, flow within us.
World Tree
Druid 1 says:
I make sacred the branch/tree,
Towering high, hanging heavy with hazel,
Spanning and connecting the Three Realms,
The mighty bile of the grove,
                       
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
All:
Let the flame be the hearth fire,
Let the water be the Well of Knowledge                   
Let the tree be the bile,                           
(bill-uh)
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
Druid 1 : dresses (takes water from well and pours it or rubs it on the tree) the bile, then says:
From the depths to the heights spans the world tree. Sacred tree, grow within us.
All: Sacred tree, grow within us.
Druid 1: raises arms
Druid 1: With the Flame of the Hearth, the Well of Knowledge, and the Sacred Bile the grove is erected and hallowed.
Parting the Mists
Druid 1: prepares an offering for the gatekeeper and says:
Druid 1: says: We honor Oirbsen (orib-sheen), Manannan, Patron of our tribe, Lord of the Mist, Ruler of Tir na mBan (teer na man), Guardian of the gate of the Otherworld.  Oh Lord of the Otherworld, bearer of the silvered apple branch, hear us this day and aid in the passage of the ancestors through the misty veil.
Druid 1: makes an offering and says: Manannan mac Lir, accept our offerings and gratitude as you part the mists. (mah-nuh-nahn’ mak leer)
Druid 1: Let the mists be parted!!
All: Let the mists be parted.
Inviting the Gods and Ungods
An Sinsear  (en shen-shoor)
Druid 2: Mighty dead, you who have come before,
Ancestors of our blood,  Heros of our people
We offer you this gift with love and loyalty and invite you to witness this rite.
Druid 2: makes an offering and says: Ancestors, accept this offering.
All: Ancestors, accept this offering.
Aos Sí  (ees-shee)
Druid 1: Great nature spirits, you who frolic in the wild world,
Spirits of this place,
We offer you this gift in friendship and invite you to witness this rite.
Spirits of family and the people that came to this land from faraway lands.
We offer you this gift in friendship and invite you to witness this rite.
Druid 1: makes an offering and says: Aos Sí , accept this offering.
All: Aos Sí , accept this offering.
Gods of the Tribe
Druid 3: Great gods, you who are mightiest in all things,
Deities of our faith,
We offer you this gift with reverence and honor and invite you to witness this rite.
Druid 3: makes an offering and says: Gods and goddesses accept this offering.
All: Gods and goddesses accept this offering.
Key Offering
Druid 1:  Mighty ancestors today we honor you and the deeds you have done.
Ancestors of our blood, we honor you for you are the foundation of our family trees, our personal trees of life.

Ancestors of our nation, we thank you for the sacrifices you made and risks you took to bring about this nation in which we are grateful to reside.  
Ancestors of these lands, we are grateful that you are also of my blood and will work to honor you in our treatment of the land.
Said Amergin to Athairne when he attempted to end his visit at the start of winter: “In the black season of deep winter as storm of waves is roused along the expanse of the world.  Sad are the birds of every meadow plain, except the ravens that feed on crimson blood, at the clamour of harsh winter; rough black, dark, smokey. Dogs are vicious in cracking bones; the iron pot is put on the fire after the dark black day.”
In honor of you mighty ancestors, we contemplate the meaning of the season, the end of the Summer and the coming of the coldest months. A time when the earth sleeps and appears to die, remembering to consider the impact this season had on you, ancestors, a time to store away the harvests, bring in the animals, slaughtering those that are old for the winter meat and preserving more food for the breeding stock. A time of cold and darkness and isolation. We are to be thankful for time in which we live, the time of heaters, packaged foods and electricity.
Druid 1: makes holds up the offering and says:  Ancestors!! Accept this offering with love and respect.  
All: Ancestors!! Accept this offering with love and respect.  
The Augury
Seer: Ritually washes their hands then forms the left hand into a tube, blows through the tube then says:
I am going within
To the doorstep of the sí
in the name of Finn
Stronger in sight then all.
The augury made by Finn to his men,
That Bride blew her palm,
Message of truth without a message of falsehood
That I myself shall see
The semblance, joyous and mild
Of all that is hidden to me
Good spirits and gods of my people,
Give me the sight to see all I need,
With vision that shall never fail, before me,
That shall never quench nor dim.
Tell me what I need.
Seer: then takes the omen, interprets it, and records it.
Receiving the blessings of the Gods and Ungods
Druid 1: raises the blessing plate/cup high and says:
Tuatha de Danaan (tooah-de-danyan), Aos Sí , (ees she) and An Sinsear  (en shen-shoor), we have praised you and made offerings and now a gift calls for a gift. We pray to you and ask that you give us your blessings.  Make sacred these apples and infuse them with your vitality, strength and inspiration.
Lo, the blessings of the Gods and Ungods are upon us.
All: Lo, the blessings of the Gods and Ungods are upon us.
Druid 1: Slices and eats the blessed apple and passes it around.
Thanking the Gods and Ungods and Closing the Mists
Druid 1: We have given gifts to the gods and ungods and received gifts in return.  Take these blessings into the world and use these them to live fruitfully and with honor.   At this time we have come to the closing of this ritual and will give thanks to those who have come to aid us.
Druid 2: {PROPER – Thanks to the beings of the occasion}
Druid 3: Tuatha de Danaan, gods of our tribe, we thank you for your presence and blessings.  
Druid 1: Aos Sí, these are your lands and here you shall remain.  We thank you for attending and accepting our offerings of peace and respect.                     
Druid 2: Mighty Dead, thank you for attending and accepting our gifts.  Pass back through the mists and return to the Otherworld.  .
Druid 1: Manannan, we thank you for your attendance and parting the mists.  We ask that you allow the mists to fall as our ancestors pass back into your realm.    
Druid 1: Let the mists return and the veil be whole.
Druid 2: Mighty Rivers, these are your lands and here you shall remain.  We thank you for attending and accepting my offerings of peace and respect.
Taking down the Sacred Grove
Druid 1: And now the Sacred Grove must be taken down. We honor the Hearth Fire and restore it to flame.  We honor the Well of Segais and restore it to water. We honor the bile and restore it to branch.  All is as it was and the Sacred Grove is dismantled. The ritual is ended.
May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

All: Biodh Se!    (bee-shay)

Items List:
Bell or gong for calling the folk to the temple space.
Juniper bundle for saining the attendees. 
Representations of the Hearth Fire, Well of Wisdom and Bile.
Bowl with fresh water and ogham staves for the seer.
 Butter for the consecration of the fire
Apple Branch for consecration of the well
Cup for water from the Well of Wisdom to consecrate the tree.
Offerings to the gods and ungods
Apples for the blessings on the folk.
Basket or bowl to collect offerings during indoor rituals.
Local River Goddesses
Corn meal
Manannan Mac Lir
Alcohol, water grasses, yellow flower
Mighty Dead
Food/bread
Spirits of Place
honey/sage smoke
Tuatha de Danaan
Alcohol
Ancestors
A meal
The folk
Apples

Lá Fhéile Aibhneacha – Festival of the Rivers 2014

Lá Fhéile Aibhneacha
(Law
Ayluh Ow-wen-uch-ah)

Preparation
Collect the items from the items
list (end of the document.)  Outdoor rituals shall be
organized based on availability of fire with the fire alter being at the center
and everything else in relation to its location.  For indoor rituals the main alter should be a
table on which symbols of the gods and ungods, the Apple Branch, the representations of the Hearth Fire, Well of
Wisdom and Bile, the seers bowl, saining smudge, and the apples are
places.  For both indoor and outdoor
rituals a smaller table should be placed in a convenient location, on
which the offerings shall be placed in order of need to facilitate a smooth
ritual. 

The
ritual leaders should be selected for the follow roles:  Guide, Druid (1,2,3, etc.), and Seer.  Roles will overlap and others created as
needed. Prior to the ritual the Druids should light the flame, fill the well
with fresh water, and place whatever tools are needed on the altar.  
Gathering
A bell
is tolled three times calling the folk to the nemeton.
Statement
of Purpose
D1:

At Lúnasa
we gave thanks to Lugh and told the story of how he made Bres teach man the way
of agriculture.  Now we are mid-harvest
and at this time it is only proper to give thanks to the goddesses of the lands
from which our harvest comes.   The rivers of Maryland are the lifeblood of our
agriculture, industry and family lives.  They have provided water, food, and means of
transportation for thousands of years and yet we forget their importance. Let
this ritual and festival serve as a reminder of their importance and that a
spirit inhabits these lands and deserves our thanks.
So
today we have come together to pay tribute and honor the life giving waters of
our rivers.  Whether it is to irrigate
the fields, turn the turbines of a power plant, provide running water to our
communities; the rivers are the sources of life in any community.  Today we honor the goddesses of the lands on
which we live and rely upon for our survival; Potomac, Patapsco, Susquehanna,
Gunpowder, Patuxent and all of their tributaries and runs.
Opening
Prayer

All: 

By
the land beneath us
By
the sea surrounding us
By
the sky above us
We
come unto the gods and ungods.
May
they light our way and
Bless
our days,
Centering
Meditation
A guide
is selected to lead this guided meditation. 
Going through it with a calm voice and steady voice.
Guide: Close your eyes clear your
mind and focus on your breathing. Breathe in and out slowly visualizing the
spiral of the cosmos around you.
Guide: We are at the center of An
Thríbhís Mhór.            
   
ah-heeveesh-vohr
Guide: Inhale and as you exhale visualize your feet firmly planted on the
earth.
Guide: We stand firmly upon the
Sacred Land.
Guide: Inhale again and as you exhale imagine you are surrounded by the great
calm ocean.
Guide: The Eternal Sea always
surrounds us.
Guide: Inhale and exhale seeing the great blue expanse above you.
Guide: The Endless Sky spreads
itself above us.
Guide: Inhale while visualizing the great spiral around you, with you at its
center.
Guide: We are at the center of An
Thríbhís Mhór. 
Guide: And breath, open your eyes when ready.
Honoring
the Local Land Goddesses
D2: We honor the Five Rivers, the
goddesses of the land; Potomac, Patapsco, Susquehanna, Gunpowder, and Patuxent.
 Givers of life that flow from the mountains and form estuaries of the
Chesapeake.  
We
honor you and make this offering to you in gratitude for your waters that
nourish this land.
    
   
D2: makes an offering and says: Mighty
goddesses of the land accept this offering.
Establishing
the Sacred Grove
Sacred
Hearth Fire
Druid
1:
I make
sacred the fire,
The first fire born of lightning
from which all fires are lit.
The hearth fire which warms our homes
and binds our people.
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,

All:
Let the flame be the hearth fire,
Lets the water be the Well of Knowledge       
           
Let the tree be the bile,       
               
   
(bill-uh)
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,

D1: puts butter on the fire, then
says:
I light
the sacred fire of inspiration.  Sacred fire, burn within us.
Well of
Segais
Druid 2
says:
I make
sacred the well,
From which the five rivers flow,
Salmon swimming, hazels hanging high.
Bubbling brightly Segais, source of wisdom,   
               

I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
All:
Let the flame be the hearth fire,
Lets the water be the Well of Knowledge       
           
Let the tree be the bile,       
               
   
(bill-uh)
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
D2: dips the apple branch into the
well then says:
In the
depths flow the waters of wisdom. Sacred waters, flow within us.
World
Tree
Druid 3 says:
I make
sacred the branch/tree,
Towering high, hanging heavy with hazel,
Spanning and connecting the Three Realms,
The mighty bile of the grove,
       
               
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
All:
Let the flame be the hearth fire,
Lets the water be the Well of Knowledge       
           
Let the tree be the bile,       
               
   
(bill-uh)
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
D3: dresses (takes water from well
and pours it or rubs it on the tree) the bile, then says:
From
the depths to the heights spans the world tree. Sacred tree, grow within us.
D1: raises arms
D1: With the Flame of the Hearth,
the Well of Knowledge, and the Sacred Bile the grove is erected and hallowed.
Parting
the Mists
D1: prepares an offering for the
gatekeeper and says:
D1: says: We honor Oirbsen
(orib-sheen), Manannan, Patron of our tribe, Lord of the Mist, Ruler of
Tir na mBan (
teer na man), Guardian of the gate of the Otherworld.
 Oh Lord of the Otherworld, bearer of the silvered apple branch, hear us
this day and aid in the passage of the ancestors through the misty veil.
D1: makes an offering and says: Manannan
mac Lir, accept our offerings and gratitude as you part the mists.

(mah-nuh-nahn’ mak leer)
D1: Let the mists be parted!!
All: Let the mists be parted.
Inviting
the Gods and Ungods
An
Sinsear  
(en
shen-shoor)
D2: Mighty dead, you who have come
before,
Ancestors of our blood,  Heros of our people
We offer you this gift with love and loyalty and invite you to witness this
rite.
D2: makes an offering and says: Ancestors,
accept this offering.
Aos Sí
 
(ees-shee)
D1: Great nature spirits, you who
frolic in the wild world,
Spirits of this place,
We offer you this gift in friendship and invite you to witness this rite.
Spirits
of family and the people that came to this land from faraway lands.
We offer you this gift in friendship and invite you to witness this rite.
D1: makes an offering and says: Aos
Sí , accept this offering.
Gods of
the Tribe
D3: Great gods, you who are
mightiest in all things,
Deities of our faith,
We offer you this gift with reverence and honor and invite you to witness this
rite.
D3: makes an offering and says: Gods
and goddesses accept this offering.
Key
Offering
D1:  Potomac, Patapsco, Susquehanna, Gunpowder, and
Patuxent born of the mountains you flow to the Chesapeake bringing with you – life.  Because of you we can irrigate our fields,
power our homes, and provide fresh water to our people.  For these things we give you thanks and
praise.
With
gratitude we make this offering of the fruits of our harvests. 
D1: makes holds up the offering
and says:  Blessed goddess of the
land, accept our gift.
The
Fríth
Seer: Ritually washes their hands
then forms the left hand into a tube, blows through the tube then says:
I am
going within
To the doorstep of the sí
in the name of Finn
Stronger in sight then all.
The
augury made by Finn to his men,
That Bride blew her palm,
Message of truth without a message of falsehood
That I myself shall see
The semblance, joyous and mild
Of all that is hidden to me
Good
spirits and gods of my people,
Give me the sight to see all I need,
With vision that shall never fail, before me,
That shall never quench nor dim.
Tell me
what I need.
Seer: then takes the omen,
interprets it, and records it.
Receiving
the blessings of the Gods and Ungods
D1: raises the blessing plate/cup
high and says:
Tuatha
de Danaan
(tooah-de-danyan),
Aos Sí , (ees she) and An Sinsear  (en shen-shoor), we have praised you
and made offerings and now a gift calls for a gift. We pray to you and ask that
you give us your blessings.  Make sacred these apples and infuse them with
your vitality, strength and inspiration.
Lo, the
blessings of the Gods and Ungods are upon us.
D1: Slices and eats the blessed
apple and passes it around.
Thanking
the Gods and Ungods and Closing the Mists
D1: We have given gifts to the gods and ungods
and received gifts in return.  Take these
blessings into the world and use these them to live fruitfully and with
honor.   At this time we have come to the
closing of this ritual and will give thanks to those who have come to aid us.
D3: Tuatha de Danaan, gods of our
tribe, we thank you for your presence and blessings.  
D1: Aos Sí, these are your lands
and here you shall remain.  We thank you for attending and accepting our
offerings of peace and respect.         
           
D2: Mighty Dead, thank you for
attending and accepting our gifts.  Pass back through the mists and return
to the Otherworld.  .
D1: Manannan, we thank you for your
attendance and parting the mists.  We ask that you allow the mists to fall
as our ancestors pass back into your realm.    
D1: Let the mists return and the
veil be whole.
D2: Mighty Rivers, these are your
lands and here you shall remain.  We thank you for attending and accepting
my offerings of peace and respect.
Taking
down the Sacred Grove
D1: And now the Sacred Grove
must be taken down. We honor the Hearth Fire and restore it to flame.  We
honor the Well of Segais and restore it to water. We honor the bile and restore
it to branch.  All is as it was and the Sacred Grove is dismantled. The
ritual is ended.
May
love and laughter light your days,
and
warm your heart and home.
May
good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever
you may roam.
May
peace and plenty bless your world
with
joy that long endures.
May all
life’s passing seasons
bring
the best to you and yours!

All: Biodh Se!    (bee-shay)

Items List:
Bell or gong for calling the folk to the temple
space.
Juniper bundle for saining the attendees. 
Representations of the Hearth Fire, Well of Wisdom
and Bile.
Bowl with fresh water and ogham staves for the seer.
 Butter for
the consecration of the fire
Apple Branch for consecration of the well
Cup for water from the Well of Wisdom to consecrate
the tree.
Offerings to the gods and ungods
Apples for the blessings on the folk.
Basket or bowl to collect offerings during indoor
rituals.
Local
River Goddesses
Corn
meal
Manannan
Mac Lir
Alcohol,
water grasses, yellow flower
Mighty
Dead
Food/bread
Spirits
of Place
honey/sage
smoke
Tuatha
de Danaan
Alcohol
Land
Goddesses
Harvest
Items
The
folk
Apples

Gentlidecht: Outsiders/Outdwellers

In Part 1 of the Outlaw/Outsiders series, I talk about the mythological Fianna protecting Ireland from outsiders, this includes foreigners from other lands and Otherworldly beings bent on harming the people of Ireland.  In the stories these beings are not given a special name and by there nature, Otherworldly beings are ‘outsiders’ to our world so for purposes of this article and discussion the term ‘outsiders’ will only represent those beings that are hostile and/or disruptive to us.  In most ADF groves they include a section of the ritual where they make offerings to the outsiders as an offering to appease or make peace with them so they do not interfere with the ritual.  Others portray the outsiders as negative emotional baggage carried by the ritual attendees which is cleansed by the appeasement of the outsiders.  In the version of Gentlidecht
I practice we view the outsiders as beings not emotions, and we do not make offerings to them during the normal course of our rituals.

Among the various Irish Polytheist folk, treating with the outsiders is something that varies from group to group and the reasons for and against are also varied. My group of genti have chosen to not include offerings to the outsiders for a few of reasons.  Reason number one is that we have no evidence that I am aware, of the pre-Christian Irish doing such things.

Of course absence of proof is not proof of absence so that leads into the fact that in the legends such beings were dealt with by other outsiders, in Ireland’s case the Fianna lead by Fionn mac Cumhaill, not the members of society.  Trained specialists who could travel between the worlds to deal with the hostile forces in an effective, and deadly manner.  They did not bribe them, they defeated them. So reason number two is, it is not the place of the community to keep the hostile outsiders at bay, but the responsibility of the ‘friendly’ outsiders.

Finally we do not wish to call to them or attract them with goodies and create a situation of ‘blackmail’ in which we have to constantly provide for them.   This situation is not obvious to most but for those groups that have regularly made such offerings in the same space for a period of time, the area used begins to develop a ‘darkness’ about it that doesn’t go away without some serious work.

There is a way for those who wish to include some sort of acknowledgement of the outsiders to do so without creating a ‘hostile’ zone.  I have already pointed out that in legends there are beings whose job it is to defend against outsiders.  If you wish to include an outsider section in your rituals my suggestion is to make the offerings to a defender being and not the ‘hostile’ forces.  Two such beings would be Fionn mac Cumhaill and Angus mac Og who both have qualities of being an outsider or defender from outsider forces.  This way you are asking for the being to protect you from those things that are not friendly to what you are trying to accomplish.

During the development of Gentlidecht na gCuain we have chosen to not include a section for the ‘outdwellers/outsiders’ in our rituals for three clear reasons.  One is that we have no evidence that it was part of ancient Irish Pagan rituals, the legends show that it was other outsider beings dealt with outsiders rather than anyone within the community, and because anecdotal evidence shows that having a regular place where offerings are made to hostile outsiders develops a relationship of blackmail, bribery and an unfriendly space near the ritual.

 

On the Modern Druid

Anytime one speaks of Irish religion it is expected that the druids would be discussed . Historically the
Druids were part of the social strata that would fall into the sacral function
of the trifunctional hypothesis . They were highly educated in mathematics, astronomy,
astrology, liturgy, poetry, law and many other areas that the common man, and
many nobles were ignorant of. They spent many years of their life learning what
they needed to know to be a druid. In today’s world anyone with a college
education has spent twenty years in school; does this make them a druid? Maybe
in a classical sense they would be, it’s up for debate, but for purposes of
being a druid in Gentlidecht, no.
I have waffled on this topic over the years.  Druids of antiquity are very much rooted in ancient Irish culture and were replaced by the educated sacral class of Christianity, the monks and priests.  The Druids had special schools they attended, held special status in the communities, and based on classical writers were very influential in inter-tribal politics.  To be honest we either have to reconstruct the social structures of the ancient world, or we have to adapt and modernize the function of the druid class.  These days I am very much a proponent of reconstruction of the religion and the religious structures in a modern context, so let’s look at how druids may look in 21st century western culture.
The modernization of the druids actually began with the incoming Christians.  While the monks and priests took over some of the functions, they allowed others to continue under other names.  The fili, the sacred poet is one such example of a druid under a different title.  This craft would have been taught in  rural oral tradition schools, known as hedge schools.  Hedge schools of various types survived unto the 19th century, including some for the purpose of teaching Irish bardic tradition or filidecht.  Today there are those who are practicing a reconstructed version of filidecht which is defined by Erynn Laurie as “the practice of sacred, ritual poetcraft in
early Irish and Scottish tradition.”  These folks could have a claim to the title of druid, but interestingly the individuals that I know do not do so.
Most of the other functions of the druids in ancient society are not considered sacral today.  Lawyers, judges, astronomers, teachers, or philosophers are all secular in nature.  Setting those aside as being ‘not druids’ in the modern context we are left with just a few functions for those who may have a claim to being druid, those who perform duties recognized as religious in nature; the priests.  For a moment we have to consider what this means in both a modern and historical context.  Priests of antiquity were not the pastoral counselors of today but strictly the servants of the gods. They fulfilled the roles of  performing all of the functions needed during religious rituals (ritual technicians) , they maintained the religious sites, and they may have advised kings and chieftains on matters pertaining to the gods.  Today most clergy are expected to perform the roles of the ancient priests but also act as advisers, counselors and therapists to those who come to them.  
Ancient priests required a specialized training for their jobs and we should expect our druids to have  specialized training for the religious functions they will fulfill.  For some functions this training will come through the organization or group to which they belong, such as the role of being a ritual technician and leading the religious services where rituals are to be done in a particular fashion.  For pastoral leaders they will have to attend specialized training courses and may even require a license from the government under whose jurisdiction they fall.  No role of a druid can be performed without some sort of education.  
None of this makes clear how one becomes a druid.  One can become a modern priest of some sort and, if their community accepts the term, call themselves a druid.  One can join any number of organizations that use the term druid for it’s membership.  One can be honored with the title of  druid by a community for services of a sacred nature to that community.  The fact of the matter no one can become a druid as the term is used in the Irish lore. 
In the tradition of Irish heathen practice I call Gentlidecht, a druid is simply one of the people who leads the rituals.  A temporary title for the purpose of performing a religious function for the group.  I expect and hope this will change one day when we have temples again and possibly full-time clergy but in the mean time this works well.

Lá Lúnasa Ritual

Wanted to get this out BEFORE the festival date this time. 

CLICK!

Lá Lúnasa
Preparation
The
participants gather the following offerings 
Local
River Goddesses
Corn
meal
Manannan
Mac Lir
Alcohol
Mighty
Dead
Food/bread
Spirits
of Place
honey/sage
smoke
Tuatha
de Danaan
Alcohol
Lugh
Harvest
Foods
The
folk
Apples

Prior
to the ritual the participants should light the flame, fill the well with fresh
water, and place whatever tools are needed on the altar.  
Gathering
A bell
is tolled three times calling the folk to the nemed.
Opening
Prayer
May the rains sweep gentle across the fields,
May the sun warm the land,
May every good seed planted bear fruit,
And late summer find us among fields of plenty.
Centering
Meditation

D1: Close your eyes clear your
mind and focus on your breathing. Breathe in and out slowly visualizing the
spiral of the cosmos around you.
D1: We are at the center of An
Thríbhís Mhór.            
   
ah-heeveesh-vohr
D1: Inhale and
as you exhale visualize your feet firmly planted on the earth.
D1: We stand firmly upon the
Sacred Land.
D1: Inhale
again and as you exhale imagine you are surrounded by the great calm ocean.
D1: The Eternal Sea always
surrounds us.
D1: Inhale and
exhale seeing the great blue expanse above you.
D1: The Endless Sky spreads
itself above us.
D1: Inhale
while visualizing the great spiral around you, with you at its center.
D1: We are at the center of An
Thríbhís Mhór. 
D1: And
breath, open your eyes when ready.

Honoring
the Local Land Goddesses
D2: We honor the Five Rivers, the goddesses of the land;
Potomac, Patapsco, Susquehanna, Gunpowder, and Patuxent.  Givers of life
that flow from the mountains and form estuaries of the Chesapeake
 
We
honor you and make this offering to you in gratitude for your waters that
nourish this land.
    
   
D2: makes an offering and says: Mighty
goddesses of the land accept this offering.
Statement
of Purpose
Imagine if you will it is The
Second Battle of Moytura, Lugh has slain his grandfather Balor of the Baleful
Eye and now he and his men have found the vile King Bres who wished to
negotiate being spared.
Bres said: ‘It is better to give
me quarter than to slay me’.
‘What then will follow from
that?’ says Lugh.
‘If I am spared the cattle of
Erin will always be in milk’.
‘I will ask our wise men of this”
, says Lugh.
Hence Lugh went to the brehon,
and said to him: ‘Shall Bres have quarter for giving constant milk to the cattle
of Erin?’
‘He shall not have quarter’,
saith Maeltne; ‘he has no power over their age or their (offspring) though he
can milk them so long as they are alive’.
Lugh returns to Bres saying:
‘That does not save you, for you have no power over their age and their
(offspring) though you can milk them’.
‘Is there aught else that will
save you Bres?’ asked Lugh.
 ‘There is in truth. Tell your brehon that for
sparing me the men of Ireland shall reap a harvest in every quarter of the
year’.
Said Lugh to the brehon: ‘Shall
Bres be spared for giving the men of Ireland a harvest of corn every quarter?’
‘No, this will suit us, the
spring for ploughing and sowing, the beginning of summer for the strengthening of
corn, and the beginning of autumn for reaping of it. Winter for consuming it.’
Returning to Bres, Lugh says: ‘That
offer does not rescue you, but less than that may,
 ‘What?’ says Bres.
‘How shall the men of Ireland
plough? How shall they sow? How shall they reap? After making known these three
things thou wilt be spared’.
‘Tell them’ says Bres ‘that their
ploughing be on a Tuesday, their casting seed into the field be on a Tuesday,
their reaping on a Tuesday.’
With that, the men of Erin learned
agriculture. 
So now comes the harvest and we
tell this story as a reminder of the magic that is the cultivation of food and
how man had to learn to harness the power of the land and the sun.  We give thanks to the gods for the guidance
in making the harvests possible.
Establishing
the Sacred Grove
Sacred
Hearth Fire
Druid
1:
I make
sacred the fire,
The first fire born of lightning
from which all fires are lit.
The hearth fire which warms our homes
and binds our people.
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,

All:
Let the flame be the hearth fire,
Lets the water be the Well of Knowledge       
           
Let the tree be the bile,       
               
   
(bill-uh)
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,

D1: puts oil on the fire, then
says:
I light
the sacred fire of inspiration.  Sacred fire, burn within me.
Well of
Segais
Druid 2
says:
I make
sacred the well,
From which the five rivers flow,
Salmon swimming, hazels hanging high.
Bubbling brightly Segais, source of wisdom,   
               

I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
All:
Let the flame be the hearth fire,
Lets the water be the Well of Knowledge       
           
Let the tree be the bile,       
               
   
(bill-uh)
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
D2: taps the well then says:
In the
depths flow the waters of wisdom. Sacred waters, flow within me.
World
Tree
Druid 3 says:
I make
sacred the branch/tree,
Towering high, hanging heavy with hazel,
Spanning and connecting the Three Realms,
The mighty bile of the grove,
       
               
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
All:
Let the flame be the hearth fire,
Lets the water be the Well of Knowledge       
           
Let the tree be the bile,       
               
   
(bill-uh)
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
D3: dresses the bile, then says:
From
the depths to the heights spans the world tree. Sacred tree, grow within me.
D1: raises arms
D1: With the Flame of the Hearth,
the Well of Knowledge, and the Sacred Bile the grove is erected and hallowed.
Parting
the Mists
D1: prepares an offering for the
gatekeeper and says:
D1: says: We honor Oirbsen
(orib-sheen), Manannan, Patron of our tribe, Lord of the Mist, Ruler of
Tir na mBan (
teer na man), Guardian of the gate of the Otherworld.
 Oh Lord of the Otherworld, bearer of the silvered apple branch, hear us
this day and aid in the passage of the ancestors through the misty veil.
D1: makes an offering and says: Manannan
mac Lir, accept our offerings and gratitude as you part the mists.

(mah-nuh-nahn’ mak leer)
D1: Let the mists be parted!!
All: Let the mists be parted.
Inviting
the Gods and Ungods
An
Sinsear  
(en
shen-shoor)
D2: Mighty dead, you who have come
before,
Ancestors of our blood,  Heros of our people
We offer you this gift with love and loyalty and invite you to witness this
rite.
D2: makes an offering and says: Ancestors,
accept this offering.
Aos Sí
 
(ees-shee)
D1: Great nature spirits, you who
frolic in the wild world,
Spirits of this place,
We offer you this gift in friendship and invite you to witness this rite.
Spirits
of family and the people that came to this land from faraway lands.
We offer you this gift in friendship and invite you to witness this rite.
D1: makes an offerings and says: Aos
Sí , accept this offering.
Gods of
the Tribe
D3: Great gods, you who are
mightiest in all things,
Deities of my faith,
We offer you this gift with reverence and honor and invite you to witness this
rite.
D3: makes an offering and says: Gods
and goddesses accept this offering.
Key
Offering
D1: Lugh,
Master of all trades, King of the gods
You who slew Balor and defeated Bres.
You who through victory brought us ploughing, sowing and reaping.
Hear us.
Mighty Lugh we give thanks for the gifts you have given mankind
and come with an offering of the fruits of our work.  We bring you this harvest, from our own
fields and the fields of our community.

D1: makes an offering and says: Lugh
accept this offering.
The
Omen 
Seer: Ritually washes their hands
then forms the left hand into a tube and blows through the tube then says:
Gods
over me, gods under me,
Gods before me, gods behind me,
I am on your path oh gods.
    You, my gods, are in my steps.
I am
going within
To the doorstep of the sí
in the name of Finn
Stronger in sight then all.
The
augury made by Finn to his men,
That Bride blew her palm,
Did you see the augury gods of art?–
    Said the gods of art,  they saw.
Message
of truth without a message of falsehood
That I myself shall see
The semblance, joyous and mild
Of all that is hidden to me
Good
spirits and gods of my people,
Give me the sight to see all I need,
With vision that shall never fail, before me,
    That shall never quench nor dim.
Seer: then takes the omen,
interprets it, and records it.
Receiving
the blessings of the Gods and Ungods
D1: raises the blessing plate/cup
high and says:
Tuatha
de Danaan
(tooah-de-danyan),
Aos Sí , (ees she) and An Sinsear  (en shen-shoor), we have praised you
and made a sacrifice. A gift calls for a gift, and we pray to you and ask that
you give us your blessings.  Make sacred these apples and infuse them with
your vitality, strength and inspiration.
Lo, the
blessings of the Gods and Ungods are upon us.
D1: Slices and eats the blessed
apple and passes it around.
Thanking
the Gods and Ungods and Closing the Mists
D1: We have called upon the Gods
and Ungods and they have answered.  With love and loyalty we carry the
blessings into our daily lives.  As we prepare to depart let us give
thanks to those who have aided us.

D1: {more praise for Lugh}
D3: Tuatha de Danaan, gods of our
tribe, we thank you for your presence and blessings.  
D1: Aos Sí, these are your lands
and here you shall remain.  We thank you for attending and accepting our
offerings of peace and respect.         
           
D2: Mighty Dead, thank you for
attending and accepting our gifts.  Pass back through the mists and return
to the Otherworld.  .
D1: Manannan, today we celebrated
you and gave you praise and offerings.  We thank you for your attendance
and parting the mists.  We ask that you allow the mists to fall as our
ancestors pass back into your realm.    
D1: Let the mists return and the
veil be whole.
D1: Mighty Rivers, these are your
lands and here you shall remain.  We thank you for attending and accepting
my offerings of peace and respect.
Taking
down the Sacred Grove
D1: We came and honored the
Gods, the Spirits and the Ancestors and now the Sacred Grove must be taken
down. We honor the Hearth Fire and restore it to flame.  We honor the Well
of Segais and restore it to water. We honor the bile and restore it to branch.
 All is as it was and the Sacred Grove is dismantled. The ritual is ended.

All: Biodh Se!    (bee-shay)

Opening the Gates / Parting the Mists

Just a quick something to start off the month…

_______________________________________________________

In ADF rituals there is a section in which a gatekeeper is called to open the gates between the worlds.  In the version of Gentlidecht I practice we do the same, asking Manannan to ‘part the mists’ between our world and the Otherworld.  Despite the similar practice the reasoning and even the mental visuals of the practice are very different.

The most common understanding of the ADF practice appears to be that they are opening triple gates between the worlds via the hallows which is most commonly a tree, well and the required fire.  The opening of the gates allows the various beings to move freely and the free flow of energy.  I have seen some state that the opening the gates is what makes the ritual sacred by opening the space to the realms of the gods, spirits and ancestors. This is not how we Genti understand things nor is it what we believe.

In Gentlidecht the Otherworld is something that exists along side ours.  Access to it can be via the sea, though doors in mounds, by entering caves, or even by passing through a magical mist.  In the legends it is where the gods and spirits live, and the dead go after physical death and that it has more than 70 names.  The legends also tell us that the gods and spirits can come and go as they please without any need for a guide or for someone to open the door for them.  There is not much said on the subject of the dead, except that at Beltaine and Samhain the veil between our world and the land in which the dead reside is the thinnest and that the dead can walk freely among the living during these periods implying that they can’t open the ways between the worlds on their own. As if the legends alone are not enough, experiences have taught many that the gods are imminent and that the spirits of nature are always around us.  So inviting them to witness and accept our worship would not require any gates to be opened at all, except for the ancestors.

Leading us to the reason why in Gentlidecht we ask Manannan to part the misty veil.  He is aiding in making it possible for the ancestors to come into our world.  Visually you can imagine a thick mist that stands between the Otherworld and ours, what I call the Cloak of Manannan, being blown by wind and thinned making it possible to see into and eventually cross through.  When the veil is thinned or parted the ancestors are able to move freely between the worlds.  Of course it is not necessary for Manannan to part the mists at Beltaine or Samhain since during those periods the veil is already so thin the ancestors can come through on their own.

What is interesting to note is that there is no Indo-European precedent for this practice or belief.  In fact there is a story in ADF that the reason they do it is because the organizations founder saw the gates being opened in an Afro-Caribbean ritual and thought it would be a good addition.  As a result there are Celtic Reconstructionists that do not include a section to ‘part the mists’.  Despite the lack of evidence within Indo-European rituals there is enough folklore in the Irish material hinting that the ancestors are unable to move freely between the worlds (except at Beltaine and Samhain) so we will continue to ask Manannan for his help with the ancestors.

If you have another perspective on the ‘gates’ in ritual please post it in the comments section of this blog.

_______________________________________________________

Note – For purposes of the blog I am clearly differentiating between ADF and Gentlidecht.  The reality is ADF Druidry is not a monolithic belief but each grove and individual within ADF can have very different beliefs and practices.  Five Rivers Protogrove, ADF is an ADF grove that practices Gentlidecht, meaning we use the ADF ritual structure but our understanding or reasons for doing certain parts of the ritual may vary from the more common understandings published on the ADF website.

Féile Manannán – Midsummer Ritual

 I put the following ritual together for my Protogrove to use as part of our Midsummer celebration for Manannan Mac Lir but due to vacation schedules performed it alone at the edge of the Chesapeake near my office.  Some parts of the ritual are taken from the “Paying Rent” ritual written by my friend Erynn Laurie.

Féile Manannán

Preparation
The participants gather the following offerings 
Local River Goddesses
Corn meal
Manannan Mac Lir
Alcohol
Mighty Dead
Food/bread
Spirits of Place
honey/sage smoke
Tuatha de Danaan
Alcohol
Manannan Mac Lir
Rushes, yellow flowers, meade or food.
The folk
Apples

Prior
to the ritual the participants should light the flame, fill the well with fresh
water, and place whatever tools are needed on the altar.  
Gathering

A bell is tolled three times calling the folk to the nemed.
Opening Prayer

In the honor of Manannan mac Lir, to the fruitfulness and profit
of our plantings and our work, in the name of the gods and ungods we offer
blessings to those gathered here.
Centering Meditation

D1: Clear your mind and focus on your
breathing. Breathe in and out slowly visualizing the spiral of the cosmos
around you.
All: We are at the center of An Thríbhís Mhór.    
           
ah-heeveesh-vohr
As you exhale lower yourself and place a palm of your hand on the
ground.
All: We stand firmly upon the Sacred Land.
As you inhale, rise to your feet, moving the hands behind at hip
height, palms up, cupping. Exhale and move the hands in an arc until they meet
in front.
All: The Eternal Sea always surrounds us.
As you inhale, move your hands to the sides, spread the fingers
wide, palms forward. Exhale and raise the arms, bringing the hands together
above the head, thumb & forefinger meeting to create a triangle.
All: The Endless Sky spreads itself above us.
Inhale; lower the hands to the heart again.
All: We are at the center of An Thríbhís Mhór. 
Exhale; lower the hands to the sides
Honoring the Local Land Goddesses
D2: We honor the Five Rivers, the goddesses of
the land; Potomac Patapsco, Susquehanna Gunpowder, and Patuxent.  Givers
of life that flow from the mountains and form estuaries of the Chesapeake.
 
We honor you and make this offering to you in gratitude for your
waters that nourish this land.
    
   
D2: makes an offering and says: Mighty
goddesses of the land accept this offering.
Statement of Purpose

D1:  At Saint John’s Eve, near Midsummer on
the Isle of Man, the people paid rent to Manannán mac Lir, the first king of
the island. The Manx Traditional Ballad says:
“If you would listen to my tale
And if you thought the narrative pleasant
As best I can with my mouth
I shall speak to you of the blessed Isle
Who was the first man who possessed it
And how came it to him
How Patrick sent the first Christian
And how it came to Stanley
Young Manannán, son of Lir
That was the first man who possessed it
As far as I can see
He was nothing but a heathen
Not with his sword did he defend it
Nor with his arrows nor his shield
But when he saw ships a-sailing
He would hide it round about with mist
Some would go, bearing their rushes
Up to the summit of the great mountain Barrule
Others used to leave their rushes below
With Manannán upon Keamool
Until Patrick came among them,
Who was a mighty man filled with magic art,
He drove Manannán into the sea
With his evil company, unjustly”
The ballad was written by Christians, yet Patrick is described as
driving out Manannán unjustly. To this day Manannán’s name is regarded with
reverence on the Isle. Rent for the Isle of Man was paid to him in rushes,
though the word may also translate as flags or wild irises. Some went to the
top of Barrule, Inis Man’s holy mountain. Others paid their rent at the
seashore.
Though we do not live on the Isle of Man, Manannán is for us the
keeper of the gates between the worlds, the lord of mists who allows us passage
in our journeys through the Otherworlds, and teacher and guide for our tribe.
And so it is at this time that we pay for our passage by giving honor and
offerings to Manannán mac Lir. We bring him food and drink, and we bring him
yellow flowers to symbolize gold and jewels for his pleasure.
Establishing the Sacred Grove

Sacred Hearth Fire
Druid 1:
I make sacred the fire,
The first fire born of lightning
from which all fires are lit.
The hearth fire which warms our homes
and binds our people.
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,

All:
Let the flame be the hearth fire,
Lets the water be the Well of Knowledge       
           
Let the tree be the bile,       
               
   
(bill-uh)
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,

D1: puts oil on the fire, then says:
I light the sacred fire of inspiration.  Sacred fire, burn
within me.
Well of Segais
Druid 2 says:
I make sacred the well,
From which the five rivers flow,
Salmon swimming, hazels hanging high.
Bubbling brightly Segais, source of wisdom,   
               

I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
All:
Let the flame be the hearth fire,
Lets the water be the Well of Knowledge       
           
Let the tree be the bile,       
               
   
(bill-uh)
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
D2: taps the well then says:
In the depths flow the waters of wisdom. Sacred waters, flow
within me.
World Tree
Druid 3 says:
I make sacred the branch/tree,
Towering high, hanging heavy with hazel,
Spanning and connecting the Three Realms,
The mighty bile of the grove,
       
               
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
All:
Let the flame be the hearth fire,
Lets the water be the Well of Knowledge       
           
Let the tree be the bile,       
               
   
(bill-uh)
I stand in the grove at the center of the realms,
D3: dresses the bile, then says:
From the depths to the heights spans the world tree. Sacred tree,
grow within me.
D1: raises arms
D1: With the Flame of the Hearth, the Well of
Knowledge, and the Sacred Bile the grove is erected and hallowed.
Parting the Mists

D1: prepares an offering for the gatekeeper and
says:
D1: says: We honor Oirbsen (orib-sheen),
Manannan, Patron of our tribe, Lord of the Mist, Ruler of Tir na mBan (
teer
na man), Guardian of the gate of the Otherworld.  Oh Lord of the
Otherworld, bearer of the silvered apple branch, hear us this day and aid in
the passage of the ancestors through the misty veil.
D1: makes an offering and says: Manannan mac
Lir, accept our offerings and gratitude as you part the mists.

(mah-nuh-nahn’ mak leer)
D1: Let the mists be parted!!
All: Let the mists be parted.
Inviting the Gods and Ungods

An Sinsear  (en shen-shoor)
D2: Mighty dead, you who have come before,
Ancestors of our blood,  Heros of our people
We offer you this gift with love and loyalty and invite you to witness this
rite.
D2: makes an offering and says: Ancestors,
accept this offering.
Aos Sí  (ees-shee)
D1: Great nature spirits, you who frolic in the
wild world,
Spirits of this place,
We offer you this gift in friendship and invite you to witness this rite.
Spirits of family and the people that came to this land from
faraway lands.
We offer you this gift in friendship and invite you to witness this rite.
D1: makes an offerings and says: Aos Sí ,
accept this offering.
Tuatha de Danaan (tooah-de-danyan)
D3: Great gods, you who are mightiest in all
things,
Deities of my faith,
We offer you this gift with reverence and honor and invite you to witness this
rite.
D3: makes an offering and says: Gods and
goddesses accept this offering.
Key Offering

D1: Manannán mac Lir, Lord of Mists, Lord of the Sea and of Change,
Rider of Aonbharr the Splendid-Maned, hear us.
Shapeshifter, holy trickster,
Keeper of the Gates between worlds, hear us.
Manannán mac Lir, Lord of Wisdom
Father of Mongán, armorer of Lugh,
Keeper of the Crane Bag of Wisdom and Secrets, hear us!
Patron of our grove, protector of our tribe.
Guardian of wisdom and knowledge, hear us.
Manannán mac Lir, King of the Land of Women.
Husband of Fand, lover of Aine,
Keeper of the Cloak of Mists that drowns all sorrow, hear us.
Husband, lover,
Guardian and beloved of women, hear us.
D1: makes an offerings and says: A Mhanannán,
accept our offerings! Hear our prayers and share in our joy and celebrations on
this night that is dedicated to you.
The Omen 
Seer: Ritually washes their hands then forms the
left hand into a tube and blows through the tube then says:
Gods over me, gods under me,
Gods before me, gods behind me,
I am on your path oh gods.
    You, my gods, are in my steps.
I am going within
To the doorstep of the sí
in the name of Finn
Stronger in sight then all.
The augury made by Finn to his men,
That Bride blew her palm,
Did you see the augury gods of art?–
    Said the gods of art,  they saw.
Message of truth without a message of falsehood
That I myself shall see
The semblance, joyous and mild
Of all that is hidden to me
Good spirits and gods of my people,
Give me the sight to see all I need,
With vision that shall never fail, before me,
    That shall never quench nor dim.
Seer: then takes the omen, interprets it, and
records it.
Receiving the blessings of the Gods and Ungods
D1: raises the blessing plate/cup high and says:
Tuatha de Danaan (tooah-de-danyan), Aos Sí , (ees
she) and An Sinsear  (en shen-shoor), we have praised you and made a
sacrifice. A gift calls for a gift, and we pray to you and ask that you give us
your blessings.  Make sacred these apples and infuse them with your
vitality, strength and inspiration.
Lo, the blessings of the Gods and Ungods are upon us.
D1: Slices and eats the blessed apple and passes
it around.
Thanking the Gods and Ungods and Closing the Mists
D1: We have called upon the Gods and Ungods and
they have answered.  With love and loyalty we carry the blessings into our
daily lives.  As we prepare to depart let me give thanks to those who have
aided us.
D3: Tuatha de Danaan, gods of our tribe, we thank
you for your presence and blessings.  
D1: Aos Sí, these are your lands and here you
shall remain.  We thank you for attending and accepting our offerings of
peace and respect.         
           
D2: Mighty Dead, thank you for attending and
accepting our gifts.  Pass back through the mists and return to the
Otherworld.  .
D1: Manannan, today we celebrated you and gave you
praise and offerings.  We thank you for your attendance and parting the
mists.  We ask that you allow the mists to fall as our ancestors pass back
into your realm.    
D1: Let the mists return and the veil be whole.
D1: Mighty Rivers, these are your lands and here
you shall remain.  We thank you for attending and accepting my offerings
of peace and respect.

Taking down the Sacred Grove
D1: We came and honored the Gods, the Spirits
and the Ancestors and now the Sacred Grove must be taken down. We honor the
Hearth Fire and restore it to flame.  We honor the Well of Segais and
restore it to water. We honor the bile and restore it to branch.  All is
as it was and the Sacred Grove is dismantled. The ritual is ended.

All: Biodh Se!    (bee-shay)