A celebration of Charming of the Plough/Imbolc

My fiance and I performed our rite yesterday for Charming of the Plough (for more info on this, see this post).  I guess you could say I led the ritual since I spoke the most, but my fiance had important parts, such as blessing the Fire and calling the Ancestors.

To begin, I smudged the room with lavender.  I live in a household that doesn’t like the smell of burning herbs because it resembles pot.  Burning lavender, however, smells remotely unlike pot.

We stood as I said the opening words.  We then spoke purificatory prayers as we were smudged by the other with lavender.

We sat down so we could touch the floor as I honored the Earth Mother, Who is the personification of the Earth as a whole.  I asked her to bless the rite.  We sat for the rest of the ritual.

Next, I stated the purpose of the ritual, which was to celebrate Charming of the Plough.  I also said a few words to honor the local land in its current state with these words:

In this time of radical temperature changes, we honor the land of Indiana we call home (at least for now).  May the budding trees flourish in the spring instead of dying as a result of freezing temperatures.  May sheltering animals stay safe until the weather has warmed sufficiently.  May the Hoosier countryside retain its beauty.

I also mentioned the Goddesses we were going to honor in the ritual, Frigga, Goddess of hearths, and Gerd, Goddess of the soil.

We alternated speaking the lines of the next prayer, which aimed to reaffirm our connection to both Earth and Sky.  I personally didn’t feel much of anything here.  I think I prefer my usual method of doing this, which is just feeling the energy and letting it flow into me.

My fiance began the important step of Recreating the Cosmos, which transforms our ordinary space into a magical one nearer to the Otherworld.  We do this by taking three items–in our case, a small cactus from Arizona given to me by my dad some years ago, a small cauldron filled with water, and a larger cauldron containing three candles arranged around a lit charcoal disc–and transforming them into the Tree, Well, and Fire, respectively.  We bless each of these items to sanctify them.  This Sacred Center of Fire, Well, and Tree is a cornerstone of ADF Druidry.  My fiance blessed the Fire, and I blessed the Well and Tree.

I then called upon Heimdall, our Gatekeeper, to help us open the Gates, and made an offering to Him.  “Opening the Gates” is a liturgical step in which an energetic/spiritual gate is opened between this world and the Otherwold so that our praise and return blessings might flow more easily.  Heimdall lent us His energy to open the Gates, keep them open for the duration of the ritual, and close them at the end.  My fiance was the one who specifically opened the Gates.

Next, we made offerings to each of the Three Kindreds–Shining Ones (Deities), Nature Spirits, and Ancestors.  I offered to both the Shining Ones and the Nature Spirits, while my fiance offered to the Ancestors.  (In case you’re curious, our offerings were:  Shining Ones–a special loose incense blend, Nature Spirits–bread, Ancestors–coffee.)

After these general offerings, we offered to the Deities of the Occasion, Frigga and Gerd.  My fiance read a prayer I had written for Frigga (which I will post soon) and offered Her milk.  I read a prayer I had found in the Pagan Book of Hours for Gerd and offered Her flour.

Next is the time for Praise Offerings, that is, personal offerings of praise to any Being one wishes.  Since I am a daughter of Freya, I read a short prayer of praise I had written for Her (I will also post this soon).  I had no physical offering prepared, so I took a small handful of flour unused for Gerd’s offering and offered that.  I apologized for not having a proper offering prepared.

We then made one final offering of milk to all the Beings collectively.

Next came the Omens.  The questions and their rune answers follow.

Ancestors, what blessings do you have for us?

Nauthiz–absolute poverty, work without reward, loss of the sole bread-winner of the family, oppressive outside forces we can do nothing about, opportunity for lessons to be learned from the situation but they must be learned early  (May have been referring to ice on roadways later that night.  We couldn’t have done anything about that!)

Nature Spirits, what blessings do you have for us?

Kenaz–in most circumstances:  death of children, sore that eats away at your insides, battle that goes poorly.  In other circumstances, is torch of fellowship, gives hope, offers warmth (My fiance did have to spend the night at our house.  His family cannot afford to heat their home, so he was able to stay toasty for a night.)

Shining Ones, what blessings do you have for us?

Eihwaz–rune of battle, rune of Ancestors, seek ancient lore, both helping and hurting, go back to our roots to find answers (Honestly, I’m not sure what this rune would mean in this context.)

We then asked the Kindreds for blessings to enter our cups.  My cup was filled with white wine; my fiance opted for water.  We drank the beverages to literally incorporate the blessings into our bodies.

We affirmed the purpose of the rite and that we had offered worship and praise.  Next, we thanked the Beings we had called in reverse order of their calling.

I thanked Heimdall and closed the Gates, and then I thanked the Earth Mother .

Finally, I said a closing prayer, ending with the words, “It is done.”

I noticed at random points throughout the rite I wanted to cry spontaneously from all the emotion I was feeling.  I think the rite was successful in connecting us with the Cosmos, other Druids, and the Kindreds themselves.  My fiance also enjoyed it.


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