Lá Fhéile Bríde (Imbolg) Ritual
by Danielle Ní Dhighe
Cloths, ale, oats, bread, milk, a chalice or drinking horn, several bowls or cauldrons, three candles, salt water, and a cooking cauldron or stove.
Before the ritual, you might want to go outside and look about, calling those who would attend the ceremony with you in frith and heartfelt friendship with the Gods. Say:
"Come those who wish to come;
stay those who wish to stay;
and fare those who wish to fare."
Begin the ritual by invoking the Three Realms. Sprinkle salt water around the ritual area and ask that the Sea not burst its bounds. Turn to face the world and ask that the Land not open to swallow you. Light incense and ask that the Sky not fall upon you. Say:
"Now I’m lighting Sacred Fire"
and light three candles. Say:
"Land Spirits, draw close and hallow and hold this hall. What we have been given we have prepared and return to you. Accept our offerings this night."
Pour milk into a cauldron or bowl. Say:
"Ancestors, Fathers and Mothers of us all, draw close and hallow and hold this hall. What we have been given we have prepared and return to you. Accept our offerings this night."
Place the bread on the altar. Say:
"Tonight we prepare for the visitation of Bríde. She comes tonight to bring us tidings for the rest of this year. We are gathered here to honor the Goddess of Poetry, Healing, and Smithcraft. She is daughter of the Dagda, guardian of our hearth and home, an inspiration to poets and a healing Goddess who hangs Her cloak on the rays of the sun."
Start a flame beneath the cooking cauldron. If you’re cooking the oats on the stove, light a candle instead. Say:
"As I kindle the flame upon my hearth, I pray that the flame of Bríde may burn in my soul, and the souls of all I meet. I pray that no envy and malice, no hatred or fear, may smother the flame. I pray that indifference and apathy, contempt and pride, may not pour like cold water on the flame. Instead, may the spark of Bríde light the love in my soul, that it may burn brightly through the day. And may I warm those that are lonely, whose hearts are cold and lifeless, so that all may know the comfort of Bríde’s love."
Boil the oats in the cooking cauldron or on the stove. When finished, say:
"Bríde, come to visit us, to inspire us, to heal us, to prosper us, to bless us with good luck. We offer these humble oats to you."
Pour the oats into a bowl or cauldron. Pour the ale into a chalice or drinking horn. Say:
"May this ale be filled with the brightest blessings of Bríde."
Drink from the chalice. Pour the excess into a cauldron and lightly sprinkle it over everyone present with a branch. Place the bread, milk, oats, and leftover ale outdoors, somewhere appropriate for offerings. Tie the cloths from a pole or a tree overnight. In the morning, untie them and use them as you will, for they have been blessed by Bríde.
(Copyright © 1997 Danielle Ní Dhighe; All Rights Reserved; May be reposted as long as the above attribution and copyright notice are retained; Archived at The Shrine of the Forgotten Goddesses
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