Imbolc/Candlemas

St. Brigid's Day

First Hour:  Gathering/Preparation for Ritual

OPENING CIRCLE

One:    We form a circle and convene sacred space by joining hands with the left hand up to receive, and the right hand down to give – this allows the energy to flow easily from person to person among us and around the circle.  
[Introduce ourselves by name.]  
Take a deep breath together, you might want to close your eyes, and make this first connection as a group.
Take another deep breath together and expand our group mind out to include this house where we will be working this evening – so that we are surrounded by our intention to create a safe and sacred space around us.
And a third deep breath together, grounding ourselves and solidifying our connection to one another and opening ourselves to the energies that each one of us brings to the circle.

All:    We come from the East and the West, the North and the South, to celebrate the return of the Light and the Mystery of the Recognition of the Christ

INTRODUCTION TO IMBOLC/CANDLEMAS

[Colors:  Black, White, and Red; Themes: Wheel of the Year; Pilgrimage, Soul Friends, Thresholds; St. Brigid and the Triple Goddess:  Poetry, Smithcraft, Healing; Presentation of the Lord, purification of Mary 40 days after the birth]

[Make Individual Brigit’s Crosses out of dried grasses – see Kindling the Celtic Spirit, Mara Freeman, pp. 64-65]

Readings:     “St. Brigit of Kildare,” Wisdom of the Celtic Saints, p. 69, ff
        “The Return of Bride,” Rekindling the Celtic Spirit, p. 60

LIGHT THE SACRED FIRE
[hearth fire or red jar candle]

Chant: We will never lose our way to the well of her memory,
        And the fire of her living flame, it will rise, it will rise again

Ritual for Imbolc/Candlemas



INVOCATION

One:        As of old humans placed themselves in time and space, so we who are still earthbound seek to align ourselves – as above, so below, as without, so within.

Another:    Spirit residing in the East, Beings of Air and Light, galactic winds, stars’ timeless shimmer –

All:        Welcome ancient ones!

Another:    Spirit residing in the South, Beings of Fire, our own home Sun, supernovas that form new worlds –

All:        Welcome ancient ones!

Another:    Spirit residing in the West, Beings of Water, medium of Earth life, elements that flow, and shift shape to conform –

All:        Welcome ancient ones!

Another:    Spirit residing in the North, Beings of Earth and darkness, Creation’s mystery whose process we cannot fathom –

All:        Welcome ancient ones!

Chant:
        Gathered Here in the Mystery of this Hour
        Gathered here in one strong body,
        Gathered here in the struggle and the power,
        Spirit, draw near!

SCRIPTURES FOR THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD – MEDITATIVE READINGS

Malachi 3:1-4

See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple.  The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight – indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.  But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?

For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine the like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.  Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

“Sun” The Universe Story, Brian Swimme, Thomas Berry, pp. 63-64
Psalm 84
“The Cosmic Christ Needing to be Born” The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, Matthew  Fox, pp. 136-137
Luke 2: 22-40 (Simeon and Anna in the Temple)

CANDLEMAS RITUAL

One:    I am older than Brigit of the Mantle, I put songs and music on the wind before ever the bells of the chapels were run in the West or heard in the East. . . . And I have been a breath in your heart, and the day has its feet to it that will see me coming into the hearts of men and women like a flame upon dry grass, like a flame of wind in a great wood – Fiona MacLeod

[Each one lights a tea light from the white candle or hearth fire using a taper, and shares poetry, dreams, songs, thoughts/comments on the readings]

MILK & HONEY EUCHARIST

[Goat’s milk, honey, bread, wine, grape juice.]

One:    The Eucharist is about the universe loving us unconditionally still one more time and giving itself to us in the most intimate way (as food and drink).  Interconnectivity is the heart of the Eucharistic experience: God and humanity coming together, God and flesh, the flesh of wheat, wine, sunshine, soil, water, human ingenuity, stars, supernovas, galaxies, storms, fireballs -- every Eucharist has a 15-billion-year sacred story that renders it holy.

The gratitude from which the Eucharist derives its very name (eucharistein means “to give thanks” in Greek) is not just our gratitude toward the Source of all things; it is also the universe's gratitude for our presence and for our efforts at contributing, however imperfectly.

The Eucharist is heart food from the cosmos –  the “mystical body of Christ” and the Cosmic Christ or Buddha nature found in all beings in the universe – to us.  Christ is the light of the world, which we now know is made only of light.  Flesh is light and light is flesh.  We eat, drink, sleep, breathe, and love that light.  The Eucharist is also our hearts expanding and responding generously: “Yes, we will.”  We will carry on the heart-work called compassion, the work of the cosmos itself.  (Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh, p. 271)

Invitation

One:        Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and those who have no money, come, buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without price, for our God calls us away from oppression and greed to a realm of justice and love;  God calls us away from famine and poverty to an abundance of milk and honey.  
All:        We have ignored God’s Call and abandoned the Wisdom that Jesus taught us, but we remember when we share this Feast.

Consecration

One:  Wisdom orders all things well:  First the grain, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.  [Break the Bread]
All:    Blessed be Godde, Shekinah, Holy One, Sophia!
One:  To inherit Wisdom is as sweet as the honeycomb. [Hold up the Bowl of Honey]
All:    Blessed be Godde, Shekinah, Holy One, Sophia!
One:  In kinship with Wisdom there is immortality, and in friendship with her, pure delight.  [Pour the Milk]
All:    Blessed be Godde, Shekinah, Holy One, Sophia!

[Pass bread, then honey, milk, and  wine/juice.  Bread may be dipped in the honey; milk, wine, and juice sipped from the common cups]

Third Hour:  Feast and Open the Circle

Menu: Milk and late winter foods, e.g., spinach quiche, cheeses & crackers, salads; Brigid’s Bannock (oatmeal cake:  see Kindling the Celtic Spirit p. 64); oatmeal cookies, custards

SENDING:
 [Join hands as in the beginning]

One:    Grateful for the Elements that gave themselves to create Being: roses, giraffes, humans –
All:    We go forth from this place.
One:    Mindful of the Cosmic Christ Consciousness, born anew with each awakening –
All:    We go forth from this place.
One:    Our circle is open and unbroken.  Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again.
All:    Shalom!  Ho!  Blessed be!  Amen!