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Imbolc Celebration
Imbolc Celebration
Complete Service

The Celebration begins with making “Brigid Butter,” which will be used on the bread that will be offered during Cakes and Ale.

Ritual: Making "Brigid Butter"

materials:
Small, clean baby food jars
Heavy whipping cream
Cheesecloth
Salt (various flavors)
Small knives

• Fill jars with heavy cream or whipping cream, about ½ way or ¾ of the way to the top
• Secure lids firmly
• Shake jars vigorously, checking progress occasionally (cream will first turn into semi-solid before turning into a lump of butter)
• Remove butter from jars; place onto cheesecloth and dip into water to remove whey
• Return butter to jars

Calling the Quarters/Cardinal Directions

Sample Quarter Calls:
Guardians of the East, we call upon you to watch over our rites. Powers of knowledge and wisdom, guided by Air, we ask that you keep watch over us tonight within this circle. Let all who enter this circle under your guidance do so in perfect love and perfect trust.

Guardians of the South, we call upon you to watch over our rites. Powers of energy and will, guided by Fire, we ask that you keep watch over us tonight within this circle. Let all who enter this circle under your guidance do so in perfect love and perfect trust.

Guardians of the West, we call upon you to watch over our rites. Powers of passions and emotions, guided by Water, we ask that you keep watch over us tonight within this circle. Let all who enter this circle under your guidance do so in perfect love and perfect trust.

Guardians of the North, we call upon you to watch over our rites. Powers of endurance and strength, we ask that you keep watch over us tonight within this circle. Let all who enter this circle under your guidance do so in perfect love and perfect trust.

INVITE ATTENDEES TO INVOKE THE GODDESSES/GODS OF THEIR TRADITIONS

IMBOLC READING OF CHOICE

CHANT OF CHOICE OR DRUMMING

Imbolc Reading

Alexander Carmichael, born in 1832 on the Isle of Lismore, was a collector of Scottish folklore and the traditions of small villages. His book, the Carmina Gadelica, includes prayers, charms, and blessings that he gleaned from the country folk he encountered during his travels across Scotland, and offers a glimpse of a pre-Christian Celtic spirituality that was handed down the oral history of generations. Brigid’s aspect as a Protectress is invoked in this chant found in Carmichael’s collection:

Thou Brigid of the kine
Thou Brigid of the mantles
Shield me from the ban(e)
Of the faeries of the knolls
The faeries of the knolls.

DRUMMING OR CHANT OF CHOICE

Guided Meditation

Take a moment now to center yourself. Close your eyes and let your body relax. Breathe deeply, and ground your energy down into your chair and through the floor, down further still through the empty space under you, down, down, down into the deepness of the earth still and slumbering beneath you. (SHORT SILENCE)

The Wheel of the Earth has turned, as ever it has and as ever it shall turn. Visualize yourself traveling along a path of hard-packed snow on a windless, wintry night. You are moving through a forest frosted with snow and icicles, blanketed in darkness and darker shadows beneath the trees, but above you there is a full moon lighting your way. A snowflake falls in front of you, drifting down ever so slowly. Soon another drifts down, and another. As you continue onward, the snow begins to fall heavily.

A blanket of pure white snow covers the forest floor, and everything is quiet, and still. There is a sense of magic in the air -- a feeling of being in some other, special place. The real world has vanished with the sun, and all that remains now is you, and the darkness of winter. The snow glistens in the moonlight, and the night is cold. You can see your breath before you in the moonlit air. (SHORT SILENCE)

As you continue through the forest, you begin to see a faint glimmer of light ahead. Unlike the silvery chilled light of the moon, the glow is red and bright. There is something special about this flickering, far-off light, something that hints of relief and change and warmth.

You keep ploughing through the snow; the path quickly steepens into a hill, and the snow is now quite deep. It is becoming more difficult to travel, and you're so cold. All you want, more than anything, is a warm fire, and some hot food, and the companionship of your loved ones. But it seems that there is nothing but you and the snow and the night. It seems as though that fascinating, promising bright red light has grown closer, and yet is still so far away. Eventually, you give up there's no reaching it, and you just keep moving through the snow.

At last you reach the crest of the hill, and stop. Something is different. The forest no longer surrounds you—in fact, you’ve reached the forest edge. Off in the distance, to the east, the sun is rising. You continue on the path, and the snow fades away. No longer are you traveling through great drifts—instead, you are on a muddy track, crossing an open field. In the meadow are tiny buds. Grass is peeking up from the dead, brown earth. Here and there, a cluster of bright flowers appears beside a stone, or beside the path. As you make your way forward, the sun rises higher and higher, bright and orange in its glory. Its liquid warmth embraces you. You find a comfortable place to linger, perhaps near a rocky outcropping, and open yourself to the life-giving heat of the sun. (SHORT SILENCE)

How we each long for transformation. Would that the process of transformation, of becoming, of evolving into our highest selves were as simple as flipping a switch, with no time or effort on our parts. But it’s not. Change is hard. It takes work and patience, and then more work and patience. And we are so easily distracted from the long, hard work of self-transformation. Those distractions—those “faeries of the knolls”—can pull us far from the Path we have decided to journey, be it a path toward self-improvement or a path leading us toward a new way of being in the world. Those faeries (negative habits, dead-end relationships, old fears) can be so beautiful, so alluring that we forget that more often than not they’re not very good for us. It’s for a good reason we’re warned to Beware the Faery Folk. (SHORT SILENCE)

Thou Brigid of the kine
Thou Brigid of the mantles
Shield me from the ban(e)
Of the faeries of the knolls
The faeries of the knolls.

Think of the transformation of the rich, heavy cream into butter during our Gathering earlier. It didn’t just change at the flip of a switch; there was work involved. Agitation. The cream was “all shook up” and kept getting all shook up; you had to commit to the process. Every once in a while you had to check and see how much progress you had made. You probably thought to yourself, “By the old Gods and the new! This stuff is never going to turn into butter!”

But it did. Eventually. With enough perseverance and attention, you turned cream into butter. You did that with your energy. And you will be able to create the same transformation for yourself. Eventually. With enough perseverance and attention. With your energy.

Even now, inside you, seeds of change are beginning to unfurl and push their way upward until you notice them, just as the seeds of early Spring flowers are beginning to push their shoots up through the resistance of the earth around them. And soon, sooner than seems possible now, soon you will be transformed. (SHORT SILENCE)

I invite you now to return from your journey, to draw up your energy from the deepness of the earth still and slumbering beneath you, up, up through the empty space under you, up through the floor and into your chair and back into your body. BREATHE IN. (PAUSE) BREATHE OUT. (PAUSE) Open your eyes and be here, now.

CAKES AND ALE*

And now, I offer you Cakes and Ale. You have traveled far through forest and field tonight. Take the sustenance you need now that you have returned from your journey.

From forest and stream; from mountain and field;
From fertile Earth's nourishing yield;
We now partake of the fruit and the grain
Merry Meet, Merry Part, Merry Meet again!

*The group will be able to use their “Brigid Butter” at this time. Consider using a round loaf of bread that each person can tear a piece from as your “cakes.”

RELEASE THE CIRCLE
Sample Quarter Releases:

Guardians of the North, Powers of endurance and strength, guided by Earth, we thank you for watching over our rites. May you be forever blessed.

Guardians of the West, Powers of passion and emotion, guided by Water, we thank you for watching over our rites. May you be forever blessed.

Guardians of the South, Powers of energy and will, guided by Fire, we thank you for watching over our rites. May you be forever blessed.

Guardians of the East, Powers of knowledge and wisdom, guided by Air, we thank you for watching over our rites. May you be forever blessed.

INVITE ATTENDEES TO RELEASE THE GODDESSES/GODS OF THEIR TRADITIONS

The Circle is open, but never broken. Merry Meet, and Merry Part, and Merry Meet again. Blessed Be.

End the evening with a social hour.

About the Author

  • Martha's writing is deeply informed by Henry David Thoreau and a reverence for the rhythms of nature. An award-winning poet and lyricist, her works have been used in UU churches worldwide. She enjoys working with individuals and groups who are looking for original works to be...

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