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Posts Tagged ‘high day’

My Imbolc/Ewemeolc ritual was performed on Friday, February 1 at 5:00 pm, just after I’d gotten home from work. This was a solitary ADF style rite, following the full CoOR. Using the published ritual template found here, I honored Nerthus as the Earth Mother and Heimdall as the Gatekeeper, and Frigga was the primary patron of the rite, as Queen of the Hearth. I may not use this association in the future, but it’s the one that seemed to fit as I was writing the ritual. I brought the following offerings:

  • Cornmeal for the Earth Mother
  • Milk for the Outdwellers, poured out in the back yard
  • Whiskey for Saga and Heimdall
  • Incense and my silver ring for the Fire/Well/Tree
  • A brownie for the Ancestors
  • Oats for the Nature Spirits
  • Whiskey for the Gods and for Frigga, as well as water shared from the pitcher I used for the waters of life

I offered whiskey even though I can’t drink it myself. All the offerings seemed well received, especially the brownie. Apparently my sweet-tooth is hereditary.

This was the first time I’d tried to go directly from “work mode” into “ritual mode” and the transition could have gone more smoothly. I will give myself more time for meditation next time, as I never really settled into the ritual. Also, this particular ritual script, though I like it a lot, was difficult to say at first – lots of alliteration (which is why I like it) was a little tongue-twistery until I settled into the poetic pattern. I’ll definitely use the ritual outline again though, as I liked it a lot – especially the Norse flavor of the poetry.

I felt like opening the gates went particularly well, but I didn’t feel as well-connected to Frigga as I’d hoped in this particular rite. My ease with the CoOR was definitely more apparent though, as I moved through the various steps, easily anticipating what would come next.

One thing I did notice about this particular ritual template was that I spent a lot more time “setting up” than I did actually celebrating the particular reason for the High Day. In the future, I’ll put more into the “celebration” aspect, so that it will feel more balanced. I definitely feel less at home with the Norse celebrations, so I need to do more research into their associations with High Days (or just do standard Neo Pagan celebrations, which I’m much more comfortable with, and give them a Norse flavor).

All the offerings, once made into their various bowls, were spread in my gardens as part of the blessing of the coming spring. My lime tree is in full bloom, so hopefully we’ll have a bumper crop of limes this coming year.

I drew runes for the first time in a long time for this ritual, since I was honoring Frigga, and it seemed appropriate. I received the following when I asked for the blessing:

  • Uruz – Aurochs: strength, dross
  • Nauthiz – Need/Necessity: oppression, lessons learned
  • Inguz – Ing: fertility, ancestors

I’ll admit to being really unfamiliar with this particular divination tool, so the “textbook” keyword meanings don’t mean much yet. I’ve had to do some researching to find deeper meanings, both in the rune poems and in other sources. From the Anglo-Saxon rune poem, I found the following:

Ur
The aurochs is proud and has great horns;
it is a very savage beast and fights with its horns;
a great ranger of the moors, it is a creature of mettle.
Nyd
Trouble is oppressive to the heart;
yet often it proves a source of help and salvation
to the children of men, to everyone who heeds it betimes.
Ing
Ing was first seen by men among the East-Danes,
till, followed by his chariot,
he departed eastwards over the waves.
So the Heardingas named the hero.

I found that just going to the Rune Poems helped a lot with finding a bigger meaning. From this, I get the following impression of the omen.

You will be given strength as you need it to overcome the coming troubles and trials, but that trouble will lead you toward fertility and peace.

This is, honestly, pretty similar to other omens I’ve been drawing on this Dedicant Path – that things are going to be rough at first, but that I just need to stick with it, and I’ll be glad for having made it through. I’m taking the similar omen to mean I’m not done with the troublesome part yet, which seems about right, as I’m still feeling a lot like I’m in the “action” part of “belief follows action”. Still, I am further along than I was, and I know this will take time.

This message is applicable to my personal life right now as well, which I can’t really discuss here.

It’s also a little trite, to be honest. It’s one of those divination messages that could apply to anyone at any time, and maybe that’s because I asked a very generic “What blessings do you give in return” question. As a blessing, it’s somewhat of a positive one, or at least has a positive outcome.

Either that or I’m totally barking up the wrong tree – a possibility that I’m not leaving behind, as almost every divination I’ve done (or had done) regarding ADF has said something about being troublesome and difficult but with a good outcome. We’ll see how the rest of this year goes.

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Yule is the festival that occurs on the Winter Solstice – the longest night of the year. It is generally celebrated on December 21, though the actual Solstice may happen a day or two earlier or later, depending on how the calendar lines up with the astronomical phenomenon of the Solstice.

The primary Neopagan celebration at Yule is that of the rebirth of the Sun. The Goddess-cycle says that She has been pregnant since the Spring, and the God, her lover, was slain at the harvest, ushering in the darkest part of the year. Now He is reborn and the light returns to the world.  This is also seen as the time when the newly birthed Oak King defeats his twin and rival, the Holly King, to rule for the coming “light” half of the year (the two will switch roles at Midsummer).

Common celebrations include bonfires and all-night-vigils to welcome the sunrise after the longest night of the year. Also common is gift-giving, feasting, lighting lots of candles to celebrate the return of light, and decorations of evergreens, to show the promise of returning spring and green things. This is the turning point of the year from dark to light, and though the coldest days of winter are still ahead, the increasing sunlight is a sign that spring will come again.

There is not a particularly notable celebration in the Celtic hearth culture for the Winter Solstice, though the Ancestors would still have been important at this time of year. In the Gaulish hearth, the midwinter feast of Devoriuros was a celebration of plenty, as well as of the renewal promised by the returning light. The Coligny calendar clearly marks the winter solstice, so there would have been some notation that the longest night had passed. (Our Own Druidry, 62-64)

I celebrate many of the secular traditions in North America that go along with this holiday, many of which have ties to the Neopagan (and older) customs of this time of year. I particularly enjoy baking cookies, giving gifts, hanging evergreens, and lots of candle light to illuminate the darkness. I also celebrate this holiday (and it’s Christian equivalent) multiple times, since each part of my family will have its own gift-giving and celebratory gathering, with a big feast as well.

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