A UU Beltane

I was asked to host a Beltane ritual at the Unitarian Universalist church I attend shortly after the normal service this past Sunday.  Leading up to the ritual, I was so thrilled simply to have the opportunity to provide ritual to the congregation in a very public setting.  Mostly I was excited to share my faith with others and to show them what Paganism is about.

This ritual was very similar to the one performed on Sunday that I wrote about here, with some small tweaks.  I added a final offering after the participant offerings to provide a climax to the ritual.  We also had everyone kneel down and touch the Earth Mother as we called Her to ritual.  We also asked the children attending to wave their faery wands they had made earlier to help us call them.

In my opinion, the ritual went very well–much better than the one on Friday.  The larger number of participants (about 7) probably helped things.  I also feel that the final offering provided a much needed “high point” to the ritual.  Almost everyone after the ritual said they enjoyed it and thanked me for it.

The picture of the Omen won’t post correctly, so I will simply write about it here.

The first rune I drew was Kenaz, torch.  I see this rune as a rune of transformation and purification.  The second rune I drew was Berkano, birch.  Berkano is symbolic of the Earth Mother and new beginnings.  The last rune drawn was Sowilo, sun and strength.  All in all, this is a very positive Omen that points to the warmth of the Sun, reverence of the Earth Mother, and a new beginning due to some transformation.

I am so glad I was able to give my church family a glimpse of my world.  I hope I have blessed them as much as I feel they have blessed me.

Blessings, Rosemary


Snow still covers the front yard, though some of it is melting in the back. I have most of the devotional prayer memorized.  I only had to glance at my Kindle a few times to remember the words. Nothing remarkable about the Two Powers today.  I could feel the Powers up and down my body, […]

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.

Hail Freya!

I was writing in my DP journal about “personal religion.”  The WOTY book was asking me questions about hearth cultures and Patrons.  It suddenly hit me that I was responding to each question with how Freya influenced my search for a hearth culture.  I realized that the idea of Freya as my Patron had been stuck in my head for a long time.

I decided to do a bit of searching (yay Google!) to find more information about Freya.  I found a website that described her as a Goddess of love and beauty, but also sex, pain, war, and death.  This is actually very fitting for me, in ways that I’d rather not describe here.  She also rides in a chariot driven by two cats.  I got my own cat a few years ago named Frieda, though I grew up with a dog.  Frieda was probably named by the shelter where I got her.  I couldn’t think of any good cat names, so I kept it.  Every day I am reminded of the Goddess Freya thanks to my calico cat.

I decided I would begin to honor Her as my Patron, though I wasn’t quite sure what kinds of offerings She would like.  I sent out an email to the Norse mailing list in ADF asking about possible offerings and went to bed.

When I got up this morning, I performed my morning devotional ritual and took an omen.  Instead of asking my usual question, “Kindreds, what blessings do you have for me today?” I asked “Should I honor Freya as my Patron?”  I drew three runes in response.  These runes were Jera, Kenaz, and Ansuz.

Jera is a rune of the harvest.  Since Freya has fertility associations, she is a Goddess of the harvest.  Jera also refers to the year ahead, so I took this to mean that perhaps Freya will be my Patron for the next year, but I’m not entirely sure about this interpretation.

Kenaz is a rune of either cheer or pain and death.  Since we are dealing with Freya, though, I believe Kenaz was both cheer and death.  Kenaz is just a reflection of Freya, like Jera.

Finally, we have Ansuz.  Ansuz can indicate a new beginning.  Having a personal Patron is certainly a new beginning for me!  It also refers to communication and wisdom from the Shining Ones.

Combining all of these interpretations, the answer to my question was yes.  I read in my email that Freya likes coffee, so I made some and offered Her the first “sip” of the cup outside with a few words acknowledging Her presence in my life.

Later in the day, I was not feeling well.  I climbed into bed and took a nap.  As I was starting to wake up, I closed my eyes again to fight the urge to get up.  When my eyes were closed, I saw a figure of a woman with a feathery-looking cloak flying upwards to the Sky.  I knew that was Freya.

I am thrilled to have found a Patron, at least for now.  I know Freya will bless my life.

May you find your Patrons also,

The Two Powers exercise went well.  I allowed energy to spread through my body, so I spent longer period of time with this exercise.  I watched the sun rise as I felt the energy.  When I was done, took hands off the mug and out of the bowl and shook them to cut off flow […]