The Earth Mother Prayer as Student Prank

I’ve been doing a cycle of ritual that aims to teach the folk about the various elements of the liturgy in a hopefully engaging and entertaining manner.  At Imbolc we took on the Earth Mother Prayer aspect.  Here is the ritual script for that part of it, in the hopes that it may be useful for interesting for someone.

Statement of Purpose

The Druid provides the statement of purpose:

“Let us pray with a good fire.

As our Ancestors did in times before and our children may do in times to come, our tribe has gathered once more.

We come together to walk the elder ways, to mark the changing of the seasons, and to honour our Gods.”

Honoring the Earth Mother

The Druid says:

“But first, as is our custom, let us give thanks to Our Mother the Earth.

The Druid begins to kneel but is interrupted by the Bard, who says:

“Uh, hang on one second if you please.


“Yes, what is it Chief Bard?”


“Well, we are Druids right?”


“Not hard.  Yes.  Yes, we are Druids.  Now, as is our custom, let us give thanks to Our Mother the Earth.”


“Now bear with me here…. as Druids we honour the Celtic Gods and Goddesses do we not?”


“That is easy to say.  Yes, we honour the Celtic Gods and Goddesses. And if you don’t mind, we are about to honour the Celtic Earth Mother…”


“Forgive me, but I’m confused now.  Fact is there is no evidence that the Celts honoured some sort of “Earth Mother” is there?”  


“Well… no.  Not as such, I suppose.  Now, if you have no more questions, let us give thanks to our Mother the Earth….”


“ I mean, Danu for instance was probably a river goddess, not some sort of Gaia figure.  So if the Celts did not have an Earth Mother Goddess, why do we honour Her?”


“Not hard.  If you must know, it all started as a student protest.

You see, the year was 1963.  “Blue Velvet” by Bobbie Vinton was the number one song on the radio.  The flower children were just beginning to hatch.  And, foreseeing the coming counter culture revolution, a small college in America’s Mid-west decided it would be a good idea inoculate their students from it by requiring that they attend weekly religious services.  

However some of students decided that they should make up their own religion… with mead! and robes!

And so the Reformed Druids of North America were born.

Of course, they had no idea what the real Druids did, but they figured that they were really into nature.  As a result, most of their rituals were focused on the ‘Earth Mother’.

The protest worked, and the very next year the college rescinded its mandatory religious service requirement.  However quite a few of the students had decided by then that they really liked this new form of Druidism, and it actually spread to many other colleges.  Thus it was that Isaac Bonewits joined the fold.  He eventually decided that the Reformed Druids were neither Pagan-y nor scholarly enough for him and went off and formed Ár nDraíocht Féin.  ADF has since defined a new ritual format, but it has kept a few elements that were invented by the Reformed Druids and one such element has been honouring the Earth Mother.”


“So…. when we perform the Earth Mother prayer, we are protesting a college in Minnesota?”


“Well… errr…. the fact is that the Earth Mother is a concept that resonates with Neo-Pagans, and regardless of how this aspect of ritual came into being, it is a means of connecting us to Her.  All life comes from Her, and all life returns to Her, and so it is fitting that we spend a moment at each ritual reminding ourselves of that, and thanking Her.”


“Ah, okay then.  Well, as is our custom, let us give thanks to our Mother the Earth!”

Druid gives the Earth Mother prayer:

“Danu, Earth Mother, your children sing to your body
Danu, Earth Mother, your children sing to your bones
Danu, Earth Mother, your children honour your spirit
Danu, Earth Mother, your children honour your stones

Earth Mother, accept our sacrifice!” (repeat by all)

Druid scatters the Earth Mother offering on the ground.

2 thoughts on “The Earth Mother Prayer as Student Prank

  1. I like it!

    And it’s good to know the Earth Mother concept doesn’t necessarily fit well into other cultures, either. When I started in ADF, I worshiped in a Greek context and that was one of the few parts of ADF liturgy that wasn’t a problem for me. Then I gradually switched to Norse and I’ve never been able to find a good fit for her. These days I tend to honor a generic Earth Mother without assigning a Norse goddess the role.

    • Thanks! And yes, it’s good to kind of acknowledge that I-E peoples really didn’t have an “earth mother” — the Greek version was either an import or an adoption from a substrate culture — and to admit that it’s really a a concession to a sort of Gimbutas-fuelled revisionism. I don’t necessarily think that is a bad thing, but it’s one of the lingering issues that I have with ADF; that they can heap scorn on the Iolo fabrications upon which the Masonic Druid paths are built, but somehow hold as sacred some of the RDNA fabrications.

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