[personal profile] asthefiretree
For Lunassagh, I had much less of a hand in planning the ritual than previous ones. Lughnassagh is the last high day for which I must account participation in my Dedicant’s program. The year’s gone by very quickly, much quicker than I expected.

Before the ritual, we held Warrior Games at Cedarlight Center, the winner won the right to have their name or a chosen symbol carved into a staff made for this event, and to carry it for the next year. Winners of individual events received badges. This was a new event for the Grove, and about 15 people competed. The games were organized and executed mostly by Jesse, with help from others.

Kat planned and led this ritual. She selected an Irish pantheon- Tailitue and Lugh, since it is the day to celebrate Lugh and his foster mother. As the earth mother, Danu and the gatekeeper, Airmid. A few weeks before the ritual when we decided who would do which part, I volunteered to call Airmid, which later I would question as I had never before heard of this goddess and am in general not familiar with the Irish deities. I was also going to honor the shining ones, though I wasn’t sure just how- that would be much easier though.

In the passing days leading up to the ritual, I tried several times to write an invocation to Airmid, but nothing seemed right. I tried doing some research but I kept getting distracted. Sometime around midnight on the night before the ritual, I was sitting in my house sewing a cloak. The sewing machine thread kept breaking, sewing by hand was entirely too inefficient so I gave up the project (I had hoped to have it finished for the next day) and went to my room. I was tired, but I also had to write. So I sat down in front of my altar and thought for a few minutes…before writing, I tried to think of a proper offering for the goddess that sorted the herbs that grew wild from the grave of Miach. Usually we offer some sort of alcoholic beverage during the invocation, but that didn’t feel right. Then I remembered a mint candle that I had somewhere in the room. I had been saving it for gods know what, I figured this was as good a time as ever to use it. But I needed a holder, so I ended up digging around in a closet to find a box of candle holders which I haven’t used in a couple of years. Thankfully I found what I was looking for quickly- a votive cup of crackled pale green glass. Perfect. I unwrapped the candle, placed it in the holder, lit it and sat it on my altar. I said a brief prayer of offering to Airmid and thought for a few minutes. Another ten minutes later and I was finished writing. I let the candle burn for a short time more and decided that I would light the candle during the praise offerings…and that it would be more appropriate to offer fresh herbs during the invocation.

The next day on the way to the Grove, I stopped at a grocery store and picked up a bundle of fresh rosemary. Later on, I tied the bundle up with some cornhusk and let Kat know what I was doing for an offering just in case she had brought specific offerings. But she hadn’t.

Early in the day and during the games it was rather hot, but clear. No sign of rain as there had been at Midsummer. The main problem was mosquitoes. By the time the ritual briefing rolled around, it had cooled off and the weather was perfect. Our purpose was to honor the sacrifices and the efforts that Grove members has put into doing things in the grove and the community over the last year to make things better, much as Tailitue sacrificed to clear land for her people to live peacefully. There was a huge pile of flowers brought in by a grove member for offerings, and before we started, I had grabbed a small bunch of flowers that I would use as an offering. I was going to do that off the cuff. Shortly before it was that time, I realized that there wear three stems to the bunch of flowers. I pulled off the plastic and the rubber band to separate them. I got up and said:

Shining ones, we honor you this evening
You are with us always
Some of you dwell in the underworld,
Some of you dwell on the earth,
Some of you dwell in the above world
A thousand names remembered and a thousand names forgotten,
Shining ones hail and welcome.

As I said this, I walked around the circle and placed a flower on the well, the fire and the tree when I mentioned the appropriate realm.

After that, I called to Airmid to open and guard the gates. I threw the rosemary bundle into the fire (which smelled wonderful as it burned). This is the invocation I wrote:

Airmid, sweet Goddess of green herbs
Lady of tireless patience and healing,
I call to you now to join us
And celebrate this festival.
Oh sister of Miach
The herbs have been counted
And they have been named
Come to our Grove this evening
We ask your presence to unlock
These gates between the worlds and watch them
And once more
We honor the ways of our following

During the praise offerings, I lit the candle and placed it under the tree. Soon after this, the sun set and the sanctuary was lit with candles. Caryn read the omen using her newly created cedar ogham and during the personal magic segment, we had baby blessings for the newborn son of one of our Grove members, and the goddaughter of another member. The ritual ended and we had revels, as always full of good food and the company of our Grovemates and guests.
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asthefiretree

March 2010

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