In a previous blog post I mentioned  that I hold the role of ‘Ritualist’ for the Circle of Pagans moot.

This is a longstanding moot which serves Liverpool  and the surrounding area as well as any one else who might be passing through.

Part of my role is to create simple rituals for each of the eight spokes of the Neo-pagan wheel of the year. These are simple rituals that anyone can follow, regardless of how new they are to their pagan path or their ritual experience.

The rituals are based on Wiccan, Druid and Traditional Witchcraft ceremonies;  like most followed by Neopagans today.

They are rituals that can be used by sole practitioners or adapted to group use easily; feel free to tweak them until they suit you and yours.

Circle of Pagans aims to share knowledge and reach out to the wider community. Which is why I thought I’d post the rituals on my blog for others to see, adapt and use.

So here we go……..

————————————————————————-

Lammas / Lughnasadh / first harvest solo ritual

Thoughts:

– Although most of us have no involvement  in  the  harvest or even in growing crops today, it’s a time to think back to the days of the past. A past before mechanised harvesting.

– Before the  age of machines crops were much taller, meaning that their  removal would have made a huge visual impact to the landscape. They’ve  since been bred to be shorter so that they can be mechanically  harvested.

– Lammas  was a time when the first harvest needed to be gathered  in; grain crops such as wheat and barley, plums and crops  such as drying marrow fat peas.

–   Over the  course of  the spring  and early summer fresh crops such as carrots and cabbage would have  been  picked when ready to eat. Yet,  a good crop of staple foods, like peas and grain, would mean the difference  between  starving over the winter or living comfortably.

– Lughnasadh was a time when thanks were given for the strength  of  one’s hands and back which would have been worked to exhaustion and a time to be thankful  for the  food that  would sustain  you over the harsher months.

– The exact timing of  the  harvest would  vary across the  country depending  upon the weather  and the variety  of  crops grown. Yet it would have been a time where the community came together to ensure the crops were gathered in while  the  sun shone.

– The grain would  have been cut, stacked to dry, lifted on to a cart, moved to  a barn for storage before being threshed (beaten) to remove the grain from the ears and then winnowed to make it available  to make bread later on.

– Hay would also be cut and turned and baled or stored in hay lofts for animal fodder over winter. While, straw would be being used to fill mattresses anew; hard work and a comfortable  fresh bed!

– After the harvest was over there would have been  the impression of a lot spare time. Games and competitions have been held in agricultural lands at this time for centuries and heroic titles are earned. Handfastings (marriages) were performed  amidst the rich harvests and the splendour  of  the golden crops being brought in.

– The landscape  around us today  still matures in to darker greens and golden brown as flowering plants start to produce  seeds and Lammas arrives.

– Oak trees produce Lammas shoots; a second  flush of growth that makes the most of  the  summer sun.

What to do?

Here are a few ideas for activities that you could do to recognise the time of Lughnasadh/Lammas and the first harvest:

– Look up the staple foods that your ancestors  would have relied upon and try making  some of the traditional  feast  foods  from these ingredients. Perhaps host a feast within  your community or share food with a neighbour  in need.

– Consider  going on  a shamanic  journey to  visit  the  spirit of John Barleycorn  or of the crops that make up your staple foods; see if they have any wisdom for you and thank  them for their part in your life.

– Set up a circle or working site and try to divine what the coming year brings using thrown knotted straws instead of Runes. Trust your intuition  and see if you got it right over the next twelve months.

– Or simply go for a walk in to the woods, or meadows or park and see what changes the season has brought to the land near you.

– Learn  how to make a corn dolly and ask it to absorb  any bad luck that comes over the next 12 months. If you have one already from last year now is the time to give it a drink of whiskey or brandy in thanks  before  burning it ritually to get rid of the bad luck that it has gained. Hold the new one in the smoke of the old one to let it absorb the best of the essence  of  it’s  predecessor.

A brief solo ritual for you to practice.

Ritual are always better with meaning and purpose  that is more than just a recognition and a tugging of one’s  forelock to a deity or time of year.

These words are my own, but not necessarily the ones I frequently use. If you  would like to,  please feel free to ad lib  or replace with your own words.

Edit if you will, but please cite me as the author if you are sharing (Mark Buxton or this blog).

The circle cast used here is one aimed at connection rather than separation or safety, feel free to use a different one if you feel in need of a more secure space.

This circle is in a similar vein to the majority of Neopagan style circles and is losely based on both a Wiccan and Druid ceremony format.

The purpose of this circle is connection,  this allows for some vulnerability, but  please don’t use this if you are in a place  that creeps you out or feels ‘wrong’;  wait and work elsewhere.

Preparation 

Find your working space. An area with a 9 foot (3 metre) diameter of open ground will be more than sufficient. You will  need a lighter or matches. Please make yourself aware of fire safety.

Mark out the North with a stone and an  unlit candle. Mark out the East with a  feather (or  jos stick) and an unlit  candle.  Mark out the South with an unlit candle and something golden in colour. Mark  out the West with a small bowl of water and an unlit candle.

Place a candle, a bowl of water and a bowl of flour as well  as a small vessel of salt in the centre of  the circle. A jar of honey,  a spoon and some dried fruit should be placed  there too.

Circle cast

Begin by standing in the centre of what will be your circle.

Take three deep breaths, feeling your lungs fill completely. Feel yourself centred, calm and ready to begin. Face the East.

Extending your finger (or wand, athame, staff or whatever you choose) hold it against your heart. Move your finger to point outwards and be aware of power moving with it.

Feel the energy flowing out of your finger and move your hand slowly to face the East. See that the energy flows out and pools in the air just beyond the Eastern candle, creating a wall that extends both upwards to a point directly above your head and down wards to a point directly below your feet.

Move clockwise, feeling the energy drawing a spherical curtain around you. As you move say the words below. Keep moving in a clockwise direction (deosil) until you reach East again.

A circle of Joy I wind around me like a cloak,

A sphere of presence and of love,

These walls borne of my own spirit, 

weaving a circle of connection,

A circle of power, joy and strength

Shared with the world around me.

Once you have reached the East pull your hand back in towards your chest and  allow yourself to feel the presence of the sphere of your own energy around you.

Walk to the East and say:

Hail to the East, place of dawn and the Spirits of Air! 

Spirits of the Mighty Winds and Living Breath!

I ask that you join me and watch over me in my rites.

Light the Eastern Candle

Move to the South and say:

Hail to the South, place of the midday sun and the Spirits of Fire! 

Spirits of the flickering flame and the body’s chemical fires!

I ask that you join me and watch over me in my rites.

Light the Southern Candle

Walk to the West and say:

Hail to the West, place of dusk and the Spirits of Water! 

Spirits of the Falling Rain and the water in  my flesh!

I ask that you join me and watch over me in my rites.

Light the Western Candle

Walk to the North and say:

Hail to the North, place of Midnight and the Spirits of Earth! 

Spirits of the fertile soils, stones and bones!

I ask that you join me and watch over me in my rites.

Light the Northern Candle

Walk back to the centre of you circle.  Bend and touch the Earth beneath you, then stand and reach up to the heavens.  Lowering your hand and tuning the full  circle where you are say:

Ancestors of my blood, Ancestors of this land and Ancestors of my Tradition
I call to you!

Spirits of this Place and of this Time, Those seen and unseen,

 Walk with me and guide me in my ways. 

I ask that you join me and watch over my  rites

Sit in the centre of the circle and meditate or dwell on what the first harvest has brought you and what you will need to work on before the last harvest in October.

Consider  what has been a good harvest and what harvests have not been as good. These harvests can be anything that you have worked towards or tried to make  a  success of. They can be harvests inherited from  others and the expectations of  others.

Kneel or stand in front of the items in the centre of the circle now.

Taking the bowl of flour, place three pinches on the palm of your hand and strongly  blow it towards the North while remembering the poor harvests that have come your way. Say:

This flour is stale and dulled with life’s  poverty. I send it to the North, let it be gone now to the place of Earth. 

Let the soil  of the grave take it’s influence  away  from me.

Let it return to my life as fertile soil for the  coming year.

Return your gaze to the bowl of flour. Say:

The flour that remains is fresh and born of joyous times. 

The water here is pure and nourishing.

(Touch the water with your finger and add a little to the flour)

Say:

The honey bears the sweetness of  memories  and the promise of  joy to come.

(Dip a finger in the honey and taste it. Savour the taste. Add a spoonful  to the flour and water)

Say:

The salt keeps pure the harvests yet to come.

(Touch the salt with a finger. Add a little to the flour bowl)

Say:

Life has been fruitful. Let it’s  bounty be a continuing  presence in my life.

(Touch the dried fruit. Add some to the flour mixture).

Light the candle in the centre. As you do so say:

I light this candle to call forth those who witness my rite. I ask for your blessings  and guidance. Aid me as I honour the  harvest so far and grant me the harvest of a blessed future.

Mix the flour mixture in to a thick sweet paste and using your fingers divide it in to six portions.

Stand and place a portion in each of the quarters (East, South,  West  and North) as thanks for their influence this past year and as a bribe for the coming year.

Place a portion  in the centre to honour the Gods and Ancestors for the same reason.

Eat the final peice yourself. Noting all the aspects  of  it’s  flavour.

Once finished say:

The harvest nourishes my flesh

Let the divine nourish my being.

Let the salt’s purity of purpose strengthen  me.

Let the sustenance  of flour bless me with resilience.

Let the fruit of the Earth bless me with fertility of mind and body.

Let the sweetness  of  honey become my character and charm  my words  towards peace and joy.


(If you have something specific that you want to work on as a harvest or be thankful  for  – an achievement, a goal, a surprise  life change etc take the time here and now to ask for guidance on it or to express thanks for if it’s already come to pass).

When you are ready, extinguish  the central candle.

Closing

Facing the North say the following

Spirits of the North and Earth 

I thank you for watching over my rite, 

I offer blessings and farewell.

Facing the West say the following

Spirits of the West and Water. 

I thank you for watching over my rite, 

I offer blessings and farewell.

Facing the South say the following

Spirits of the South and Fire 

I thank you for watching over my rite, 

I offer blessings and farewell.

Facing the East say the following

Spirits of the East and Air. 

I thank you for watching over my rite, 

I offer blessings and farewell.

Standing in the centre of the circle and turning round say:

Spirits of this Time and Place, This Land and of All my Ancestors 

I thank you for watching over my rite, 

I offer blessings and farewell, 

Walk with me as you will.

Stand in the centre and face East

Reach out with your finger (wand etc)  and see the energy of the circle, now  enriched by the sun  begin to flow back  in to our body as you turn anticlockwise winding all your energy back in.

Once done say:

This rite is now complete and done, I return  to the apparent World.

Put out the quarter candles.

Ideally now eat and drink something,  leaving a little as an offering to the life  in the place who’s space you shared if  you wish.

The peices of honeyed paste can be left where they are or can be moved to the shelter  of a nearby tree and left for the  elements  and wildlife.

The central  candle  can be burned for an hour a day until it’s consumed. This  will keep your goals and gratitude  clear in your mind and encourage  you  to  work  toward a great second  harvest.
Listen to  the  ritual via my podcast  here:

Try:

Or: 

http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/4548676

Or:

http://inspirallingleafsgrove.libsyn.com/lammas-lughnasadh-first-harvest-solo-ritual-for-circle-of-pagans-moot 

Or via ITunes at:  

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/in-spirallingleafs-groves/id1085068982

Advertisements