Environment and Ritual Setting for The Dumb Supper Observance at Samhain

The Dumb Supper can be an important aspect of the Samhain observance. It can focus your attention on the fact that the time when the veil between the worlds is thinnest has come again.

Keeping in contact with those who have gone before, no matter how long ago or how tenuous that connection may be, is invaluable in one’s daily life in terms of having some wisdom in one’s decision-making and sense of personal responsibility.

Arranging the supper table with an extra place setting and then asking the ancestors to attend the supper is a mark of respect to them. When you can sense they are present, make a point some time during the Dumb Supper to request a sign from them regarding some aspect of your life and how you might approach the concern you have in order to resolve that situation. Often, they will touch your life in your dreams, and they will take you up on your invitation, at this time, to do so. Keep a pen and pad of paper close by your bed for several weeks so that you can write down what you learned, as it will probably be lost quickly when you wake up.

The use of some calming music during the Dumb Supper lends itself, along with silence for all those attending, to maintain a state of meditation, respect and openness to communication with the world beyond. There is no need to hurry the meal as it is also a time of reflection. Just let it take its normal course. At the end of the meal, take a moment to thank the ancestors for attending and then bid them farewell. This is the end of the observance, and your normal routine can return.

Bright Blessings!

Ron Ivins

Questions on Yule–from the Deepest Well

This post is in response to questions posed by Aine over on The Deepest Well blog.

The questions pertain to Yule and doing a ritual.  The Yule rituals I have been in have all be done with my coven, the Coven of the Rising Phoenix.

Do you perform ritual at this time of year?

Yes.  Funny thing is that I have always done a ritual at this time of year.  Now the ritual may not have been of the Yule variety but what my family and I did every year since I can remember can be considered a “ritual”.  Every year we would all load up in a car and travel to the Grandparents houses to celebrate Christmas, eat to capacity and open gifts.  It was quite ritualistic. 

I still adhere to the family gatherings as work allows but I now have one more ritual to perform; the ritual to celebrate the returning of the sun, the Yule ritual.

Do I use someone else’s script, my own, or do I combine them?

I choose to combine them.  I find that combining a ritual that was written by someone else with piece of my own design it makes the ritual richer.  I might add a line to the calling of the quarters, or I might completely redo them but keep the rest.  For this year’s ritual I found a great ritual online that expressed exactly what I was looking for in some respects but not in others.  So I took what I needed, augmented where I needed and added what I needed and BAM!…Yule Ritual. 

Well maybe not so much BAM.  As I began to create the ritual, placing the parts and assigning parts to people I found myself with another’s mind.  Having never experienced divine intervention I was quite taken aback.  A part of the ritual, the working, was going to be making a Yule potpourri whilst chanting and charging the herbs.  I was “told” that is not what should be happening and I was given a “nudge” toward what should be done for the working.  I will admit that what I did write out and that we did do was quite magickal if I do say so myself.

Do I perform the same ritual every year or change it up?

The Yule rituals have been different each year with this year’s being the first one I have created for the coven as well as the first one my partner and I have hosted in our home.

What associations do you associate with Yule?

For me personally I will always associate this time of year with gathering with family and friends, whether it be for Christmas or Yule.  I will always remember waking up on Christmas day, getting all dressed up and going to church services with the family and then heading over to one of the grandparents house for dinner and gifts.  The smell of my grandmother’s cooking, my grandfather sitting in his chair in the kitchen, listening to the radio, usually a ball game.  He never did watch them on TV.  The sight of my other grandparent’s huge tree, decorated and stuffed at the base with wrapped gifts.  The anticipation of what was wrapped in the brightly colored and shiny paper under the trees and the joy of ripping said paper apart to get at what was hidden.  The screams of delight at toys and the silence toward clothes.  The warm and loving smiles from my parents and grandparents no matter how we reacted.  Even the hard times, for with out them we are less then we are now.  The shyness felt when confronted with relatives that I hadn’t seen since the last time.   Sitting in front of the TV, watching Rudolf, Frosty, and Charlie Brown all on the same night.  Eating too much candy and still wanting more. 

As my grandparents pass beyond the veil traditions are lost and associations change.  New traditions emerge and families that were at one time split return together to celebrate as one again.  Change in beliefs opens up new associations and new traditions.  Celebrating the returning Sun and the promise that in a few months warmth will again venture across the land if only for a time.  Gathering with new people whom I now consider another family as I celebrate with them.  Turning the Wheel.

 

Remember your past.  Keep hold of the traditions that you have whether they be relevant to your spiritual path or not.  They are a part of you, they make you, without them you are diminished.  Create new traditions and keep them as well.  Celebrate and Honor as you choose to do but remember your families, friends and the Divine in all that is.

 

Blessed Be!

Imbolc Ritual

I mentioned in my last post that I had an Imbolc ritual that I would share with you.  I have done this ritual with a friend of mine.  It is perfect for a solitary witch and I am sure it can be adjusted for a coven.
I took inspiration from a ritual I found in a book that I have (unfortunately I can’t remember which one) so some part might seem familiar.  Feel free to use any parts of the ritual you would like, after all without allowing the sharing of knowledge we might not have rituals we have today.
This is a simple ritual to be done on the evening of Imbolc.  There is no meditation in this ritual but one can be added and I will note where I believe one would fit best.

Items needed for this ritual (if you follow all examples):

One white Goddess candle
One yellow God candle
One red candle for Brigid
Charcoal block (if not using stick or cone incense)
Incense for the Sabbat or your favorite one
Four quarter candles
Seeds

Imbolc Ritual

Setup your altar as you wish. Setup area where you will be having the ritual as you wish. Perform whichever ritual cleansing you prefer. Light charcoal block if you are using one for the incense.


Cast your circle as you normally would. When you sealed the circle say:

I cast this circle of light this Sabbat. I cast this circle to protect me in my magicks. May this circle be strong and full until it is no longer needed. This circle is cast to hold me between worlds as magick flows freely. As Above, So Below. SO MOTE IT BE!

Calling of the Quarters

I call upon the guardian of the east, powers of air, and the mighty Griffin.  Bring with you the first breaths of spring.  I ask that you attend my rite and offer your aid and protection. (light east candle)

I call upon the guardian of the south, powers of fire, and the majestic Phoenix.  Bring with you the warmth of the sun.  I ask that you attend my rite and offer your aid and protection. (light south candle)

I call upon the guardian of the west, powers of water, and the great Dragon.  Bring with you the new passions of spring.  I ask that you attend my rite and offer your aid and protection. (light west candle)

I call upon the guardian of the north, powers of earth, and the mighty Bear.  Bring with you the strength of the warming land.  I ask that you attend my rite and offer your aid and protection. (light north candle)

Invocation of the Goddess and the God.

Goddess of rebirth,
you again bring forth the God and the promise of spring.
Be with me during my rite as we celebrate the young God and the growing light. (light the Goddess candle if you have one.)

God of Love and Protection.
You again lead the ever-changing dance of life.
Be with me during my rite as we celebrate the rising of the Mother and the fertility of the Earth. (light the God candle if you have one.)

At this time I included a short bit about Imbolc and the lighting of the candle for Brigid.

Imbolc is the time with the Goddess is turning the wheel of the year back toward spring.  The sun grows warmer, as the days grow longer and the nights shorter.  Signs of spring begin to appear as the tiny shoots of the first flowers begin to emerge from the winter harden soil.  Trees begin to awaken with new branches and full buds waiting to open.
This day is also the day to honor the Goddess Brigid, who with the fires bring inspiration, healing, and a desire to create.  We light this candle in honor of Lady Brigid and ask that she be with us this evening and bless this rite. (light the red candle which symbolizes the Goddess Brigid.)

Imbolc is also a time of purification, a time for cleansing hearth and home from all the past energies and making way for new possibilities and happiness.  The besom cleans the mire from the floors of our houses so may our daily activities clean the mire from our lives.

*when I did this ritual I also had seeds set out that I was planning on planting for my garden.  Here is what I said.

Goddess Brigid.  I also ask your blessing be upon these seeds that they may grow in to strong plants and yield a wonderful bounty. (place the seeds at the base of the red candle for the remainder of the ritual)

Now would be a good time for a meditation if you desire.

Night gives way before the growing God.
We feel the power alive in the world.
The Goddess walks the Earth again,
And sings us awake with wind and rain.
The promise of life is newly made,
Our winter’s debt to darkness paid.
Blessed Be!

Cakes and Ale

Farewell to the deities and the elements.

Goddess of the brightening day.
I thank you for your presence at our rite, and ask you to be near me while we are apart; let your warmth revive me, your love support me, and your passion inspire me.

God of the growing and wild things.
I thank you for your presence at our rite, and ask you to be near me while we are apart; let your warmth revive me, your strength support me, and your passion inspire me.

Guardian of the north, powers of earth, and the mighty Bear, I thank you for your presence and protection during my rite.

Guardian of the west, powers of water, and the great Dragon, I thank you for your presence and protection during my rite.

Guardian of the south, powers of fire, and the majestic Phoenix, I thank you for your presence and protection during my rite.

Guardian of the east, powers of air, and the mighty Griffin, I thank you for your presence and protection during my rite.

Release the circle.

The circle is open but yet unbroken.
Merry Meet, merry part and merry meet again.

I hope that you find this ritual as wonderful as I did when I did it.

Many items for rituals can be found in our store at Grove of the Ancients Pagan Marketplace.
Stop by and check it out.

Brightest Blessings.

Rituals and Ceremonies — Cleansing a space.

In most Pagan traditions it is very important to purify or cleanse a space prior to beginning any sort of ritual. Although there are a different ways of doing this, how you do it will depend on the tradition you follow as well as what you feel comfortable with.

Usually, when ritually purifying an area, most do it deosil and spiraling inwards to the center. There are times when moving in a widdershins direction is appropriate, most notably for Banishing Ritual.

These methods are some examples of common ways to cleanse a space for ritual.

Smudging

Smudging uses smoke, which will carry negative energy away from the area. Traditionally White Sage is used, however, other dried herbs can be added, such as Cilantro, Cedar, Lavender and Mugwort. The herbs are bound with string into a bundle, which is commonly referred to as a “stick”.

When lighting the bundle, try to make it flame for a moment if possible, then blow the flame out. This will leave you with a smoldering, smoking herb bundle. Once you have achieved the smoldering bundle stage it is time to smudge the house.

Now you don’t take the bundle and rub it on the walls and other things in the room, which would make a mess and probably ruin a few things and maybe even start a nice fire. What you do is this. Hold the smoldering bundle in one hand or in a heatproof object, like a shell. With either a fan or your free hand you waft the smoke to the edges of the room, making sure to get it into the corners.

When you have finished smudging you can either snuff out the smoldering end of the bundle by setting it into some sand or by crushing the end. An alternative method is to douse it under a bit of water, making sure to let it dry completely before attempting to use it again.

Sweeping
By long tradition, the broom is associated with cleaning and purification. The broom can be either a special one used solely for ritual cleansing or even your household broom. Use a broom or besom going around the edges of the space, with your intent being to sweep negativity away as you go. Here’s a good idea. Start and finish near a door–that way, negative energy is swept outside, rather quite literally.

Asperging
Asperging is the sprinkling with a liquid in order to effect spiritual and magical cleansing. Most people will associate Asperging with the Catholic Church, however the practice is also widely used by pagans for cleansing prior to rituals.

It can be accomplished in many ways. The simplest of these is to have a premixed liquid of your choice and bundle of fresh herbs that you can dip into the water. Then you take the herbs, dip them in the liquid and with a quick flick you throw the liquid off the herb and into area or onto the object to be cleansed. You don’t want or need to have a lot of liquid being thrown though. Just small droplets are perfect. Herbs that are prefect to use are Sage, Lavender, Vervain, Hyssop, Pine, Rue and Rosemary.

Another option that can be used quite effectively to cleanse a space is the use of incense. This can be either in cone form, stick, or powder and charcoal. The incense should be for working with cleaning, purification and even protection if you want to add that bit into the cleansing.

During your cleansing and purification of your space you can also include a little chant to augment the process. There are many to be found on the Internet as well as in books. You might even have one in mind already, in that case write it down so you will remember it for the next time you want to cleanse a room.

In addition to the above, I also ensure that the space is physically cleaned as well. I try to use a non-toxic homemade cleanser to do this. How you physically clean is of course up to you.

I would be remiss if I didn’t do a shameless plug for our online store where we carry many items that are perfect for what I have just talked about. Stop by http://www.groveoftheancientspaganstore.com today and order cleansing supplies.

Blessed Be!