Well, how exciting… our fledgling local Druid grove got together and we did our first ritual!
I wrote most of the liturgy and invited those interested to take parts, which I think worked out very well.
It took place on August 1st. The day started off with a good omen; a fantastic summer storm in the morning with torrential rains, after an exceptionally dry July. By the time of the ritual however it was blistering hot under a blazing sun, although that didn’t deter us.
There were a lucky 13 of us altogether, which was a better turnout than I expected. We started out a short ways away from the ritual space with a brief meditation, and then had a procession to the nemeton where we were each purified via asperging with ‘the cleansing rains of Lugh’.
We then had our prayer to the Earth Mother:
“But first, although we shall honour Lugh this day,
we should reflect that every part of this first harvest,
from the first berry to the last grain,
is a sacred gift to us from our Mother the Earth.
Let us pause a moment and give her thanks.
O Great Mother, source of all life
we your children honour you and thank you for your bounty
this day and every day.
Great Mother, accept our offerings and bless this rite.”
We then created the cosmos, called Manannan MacLir to open the gates, then invited the Kindred. The invitations went very well as we had a well experienced Druid call the Ancestors and the Gods, and for the Spirits of the Land had a well experienced Celtic Traditionalist who knew the land on which we were working.
After this, I made three offerings to Lugh, of blueberries, bread, and mead, with the words:
“Lugh the Great Craftsman, master of all arts and skills,
May your sure hand ever teach your children.
Accept this offering and be welcome, Clever One.
Lugh the bringer of the summer storms,
May your light and your rains ever bless our crops.
Accept this offering and be welcome, Shining One.
Lugh the Victorious, we make our Grove under your shield,
May your spear ever protect your children,
Accept this offering and be welcome, champion and king.”
After the offerings, our Celtic Traditionalist read the story of the Second Battle of Moytura, after which our volunteer Ovate took the omen, drawing the cards the Wheel, the Dagda, and the Triskele. These were deemed to be a good thing, so we partook of the waters of the life.
We then performed a group affirmation working to celebrate our first ritual together. Here things fell apart a little bit as I messed up the chant and then completely skipped a planned invocation to the gods on behalf of the group. However, we all made a personal offering and then we thanked the beings and closed the ritual. A potluck meal followed.
All in all I think it went very well for our first ritual. In terms of what went right, the best part was getting involvement from other people so that they could bring their own unique energies to the ritual, as well as ensuring that one person doesn’t have to carry the entire liturgy.
I certainly learned a great deal, and not just to not screw up the chant (which is a lot easier to do than one might think). But little things can make a difference; letting people know how to make personal offerings, for instance. It never occurred to me to tell people that they should either use the offering bowl or the fire. The result was a whole lot of uncertainty, draining away the energy.
So I have a lot to learn about running public rituals, but I look forward to the journey.