Thanks, Mr. Sun: Druid Spring Equinox Ritual

It’s been a month since the Spring Equinox, and now at last in Massachusetts we’re getting some truly springlike weather — yesterday was the first day we could go outside without coats or sweaters. I spent the day with my hands in the earth, digging and weeding out a garden plot behind our apartment that lay fallow all last year, while the kids rode their bicycles and tricycles and asked to see more worms and pleaded for a chance to use my spade.

tolkientarotiiiThe fact that I haven’t written about our equinox ritual before now gives you some indication of how busy we’ve been this spring. I think for many of us, it has been a difficult time — many of my friends have been ill, overwhelmed with work or too many responsibilities, or stricken with tragedy of one kind or another. Still, a few days ago my cousin and his wife were blessed with twins, and the sun continues to rise earlier and earlier each morning on schedule… So not all is lost.

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A Druid Imbolc Celebration

Imbolc is traditionally the time when the lambs are born, and the sheep begin to give milk. (The etymology of “Imbolc” is uncertain, but is probably derived from Old Irish i mbolg, “in the belly”, referring to the pregnancy of the ewes, or to the nascent springtime.) In the British Isles, the daffodils are blooming, and spring is making its presence felt. Here in Massachusetts, we finally got our first real snowfall, and any lambs born right now would be nursed on ice cream. Maybe we should consider pushing back the celebration next year… In any case, our family and our Grove celebrated this weekend, and we all had a great time.

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Samhain 2006

Samhain, the old Celtic pagan holiday underlying Halloween, has recently passed. It’s the old New Year, and it’s a time of endings and beginnings. It’s also a time when the residents of the other world — gods, sidhe, and the dead — are more able to reach out of their realm into ours. For most modern pagans, Samhain is a time to honor ancestors and teachers who have passed away.

We took our children to Celebrate Samhain, a gathering hosted by the Spiral Scouts in Peterborough, New Hampshire. The price of admission: nonperishable food items or winter clothing in good condition. (The Spiral Scouts, which you can learn more about here, is an organization analogous to the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts, but you don’t have to be monotheistic to join.)

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Alban Elued: Gaudeamus Hodie

This past Monday we finally managed to get the family out in to the woods to celebrate the autumnal equinox — Alban Elued in the Druid Revival tradition. Two weeks previous, at the actual equinox, my wife was quite sick with a cold. One week ago it was raining cats and dogs. This weekend was perfect.

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Alban Elued Revival Druid Ritual

For some notes on the origin and meaning of Alban Elued, see this previous post.

onthanksgivingOur family’s Alban Elued ritual is drawn directly from the pages of John Michael Greer’s Druidry Handbook. It is in no way supposed to be a reconstructed ritual, a reenactment of what ancient Druids performed 2000 years ago. Almost nothing is known about their rituals or holidays. Instead, this is a ritual of the Druid Revival tradition, which mixes elements of known Celtic mythology with Arthurian romances and 19th-century mysticism. The overall effect is eclectic and hermetic, infused throughout with nature symbolism.

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