Sunday, January 31, 2010

Imbolc Open Circle

The night started with all of us who weren't active participants in the ritual (calling the quarters or being the maiden, mother, or crone) gathered in the fellowship hall of the UU building we were borrowing. Those who were familiar with the chants for the ritual taught them to the rest of us (simple, repetitive and beautiful). It really set a tone for the rest of the ritual.

When the time came for the ritual, we all formed a line and slowly processed into the main room of the UU building. The room was darkened except for the candlelight. The circle was marked by a large ring of battery operated tea lights (beautiful without the risk of fire in someone else's building). Each quarter had a small alter with several candles and the symbols of its element and there was a raised fire pit with a small fire in it as well. We followed the inner edge of the circle, chanting "The Wheel Turns" and after everyone walked the entire circle once we spread out evenly along the edge. With chants interspersed throughout - the circle was closed, the quarters were called, the Lady was invoked in her three-fold maiden/mother/crone form (poor Lord was ignored). We all (who wanted to) participated in a working involving holding a ring, setting a goal or intention into the ring, heating the ring in the flame, setting it on an anvil and striking it with the hammer and then quenching the ring in the water from the cauldron. Basically, it was an opportunity to ask the Lady's blessing on a goal for the year ahead and affirm it through action. Then we were led on a guided meditation (not my favorite. I prefer silent meditation) based on the Imbolc tradition. We shared milk and cookies (yummy). The quarters were thanked and released and the circle was opened.

Overall I really liked my first Open Ritual (normally my exposure to formalized rituals is participating with Honey in a Wiccan style ritual). It seemed a little one sided because while the Lady/Moon/Goddess was referenced several times the Lord/Sun/God was completely ignored (kinda sad since Sabbats are supposed to be Sun based holidays). But it was an opportunity to meet other local Pagans and see how they celebrate. The set up was really well done and they were able to invoke a very otherworldly and mystical feeling in a very regular space. Not to mention the great potluck afterwords. Everyone brought great food and a lot of the offerings were traditional Imbolc foods. I brought some of the Raspberry Chipolte Sauce I made last fall with cream cheese to pour it on and crackers to spread them on. I figured Imbolc is still the winter season of eating from the stores (preserved food), the time of calving (dairy), and spicy food for the growing sun (chipolte).

The chants at the Ritual were -

The Wheel Turns
Brid is Come
Tall Tree
Everything She Touches
Holy Well and Sacred Flame


  1. Sounds like a very powerful ritual for you. I often go to the public rituals held in our area, I find it interesting how much energy is raised by a larger group of people; the whole feel of a ritual changes within a group dynamic.

    Your Raspberry Chipolte sauce sounds very yummy too

  2. There was a lot of energy raised. The funny thing was that most of it was raised during the chanting practice before the ritual rather than the ritual itself.

    I'll find the Raspberry Chipolte recipe and post it sometime. If you live somewhere in the SW, you can usually find it sold with the BBQ sauces. I grew to love it so much when we were living in TX that when we moved back to AK I had to learn how to make it. It's also really good basted on chicken.