This ritual is written to celebrate Imbolc, ancient festival of mid-winter and the first stirrings of spring. In some places, the Earth is still covered in snow, pantries are getting thin as foodstuffs cannot be supplemented by garden or wildcrafting. Where I live in Coastal Texas, we often see the mightiest of our winter storms and coldest weather from January through February; we see, too, the first stirrings of a life that never truly sleeps in the fecundity of the South. The trees begin to bud, the first flowers to push through the soil, and we ready our gardens for planting- both those around us and those within us. In this ritual, we celebrate this stirring and we make preparation for the work to come. Brighid, bright lady of healing, inspiration, and shaping, walks the Earth, wakening the land with Her steps and stirring our hearts and hands to growth as well. Thus, at this time we come as our ancestors did to honor Her, and the Kindreds, and renew ourselves for the work of the year ahead. May we pray with a good fire!
Some Notes on the Ritual Structure:
As a Druid who is naturally influenced by my time with ADF, my ritual may look a bit different from what you are used to. I invite you to feel comfortable exploring how you use this script and adjusting it to fit with your own personal practices. You may decide to take the main workings of this ritual and embed them in your own usual way of moving into sacred space and time; that is exactly the kind of creativity that makes for beautiful and personally meaningful rituals. The ritual was written primarily with solitary celebrants in mind. However, it can easily be used by a group with no editing, simply assign parts as you deem appropriate. If conducting it as a group, it may be helpful to allow each person present to make their own offering to Brighid, and to have each bring their own item to be blessed.
As a quick note on pronunciation: I first learned to pronounce Her name as Breej, and the rhythm of the working is structured with this in mind. You can use whatever pronunciation you know Her by, keeping in mind that you might need to play with the rhythm of your speech as you conduct the main working.
Prepare yourself and your space in your usual way. For myself, I gather all of my supplies and set up my ritual space beforehand. If you have a Brideog or other representation of Brighid, it would be appropriate to give that pride of place in your shrine or altar space.
For this ritual, you will need to have:
-Your usual ritual setup for your altar. As a Druid I have a Tree, Fire, and Well. If you are using the full ritual here, you should also have a fire, well, and tree- this can be a candle, bowl of water, and a stick or statue or picture of a tree, for example. In the full rite you will also need a stick of incense and water to go in your well.
-Some kind of baked good and some kind of beverage to offer Brighid, and beverage or other items to offer the ancestors, nature spirits, and deities. For example, I usually bake oat bannocks and have blackberry brandy for Brighid. I often offer liquor to the ancestors, clean water or herbs to the nature spirits, and oil or liquor to the deities. Clean water is always an acceptable offering, as are poetry, art, crafted works, or music. Offer what is in your power to give; give what you can and do not fret if it is not expensive.
-A plate and cup to place offerings to Brighid and a separate bowl for your other offerings (if you have both liquid and dry offerings, I recommend two separate bowls or things can get messy on clean up!).
-Brighid’s cross or other icon of Brighid to place in your home for the year, a stone to set on your altar, or a small cake or roll that you can eat.
-Clean water to asperge and incense or other pungent smoke to suffumigate your space.
-A chime or bell, if you have one.
-A beverage for yourself to drink, I like to put it in a nice ritual cup
-A divination tool such as runes, ogham, I-Ching, or tarot- and it is fine if this is an app on your phone or something you make yourself. You can even draw the runes on equal sized squares of paper and put them in a hat. Really, you can.
Please find the ritual as a full script as a downloadable document at the link below. It is also produced in full here.
“We come here to honor the gods and spirits, and to celebrate the beginning of Spring and Brighid, Triple Blessed Lady of Forge and Well. (Chime a bell or rap on your altar top three times.) This ritual is begun.”
[If your tradition requires you to cast a circle or otherwise create sacred space in a specific way, do so now. This could include casting a circle and invoking the elements, or you may do the following, which includes warding the space and opening the Gates Between the Worlds:]
“Lugh of the Long Arm, Fierce striker,
cunning warrior and skilled master of the many arts,
You who put out the Baleful Eye
Wielder of the spear of Gorias, striking always true,
Lugh, we ask for you aid.
Ward us this day in our sacred space.
Turn away all energies and beings inimical to our working.
Lugh, beautiful Champion, we offer you sustenance you as you do this work for us. (Pour an offering of ale or other preferred offering in the offering bowl.)
Mighty Lugh, accept our offering!”
“Our space is protected; we now honor the Earth Mother Who upholds us always.”
(Kneel or point your hand downward as though to touch the Earth.) “Danu, Mother Goddess, from Whom arose all life and to Whom all life returns, you in Whom we rest, you in Whom we find nurturance, we honor You. Lady of the Waters, Your blood flows across this Earth, Your bones underlie our every step, we learn You through the ever changing face of this Earth. May we walk upon You with reverence. May we know to our own blood and bones Your grace and live our lives in Your ways. Danu, Mother, we invite You; hear our prayer! Join us at our good fire.
Danu, accept our offering! (Pour an offering of grain or other preferred offering in the offering bowl.)”
“Having honored Danu, Great Earth Mother, we recreate the cosmos in preparation for opening the Gates between the Worlds.”
(Lightly cense over the water in the Well.) “This Water is as the Waters welling from worlds below, this Well deepening that our voices may be heard in the deeps beyond.”
(Lightly cense around the Fire.) “This Fire is as the Fires at the center of all things, sacred creature rising, that our voices may be carried to the Heavens.”
(Sprinkle water on the Tree and cense it with the smoke from the incense.) “This Tree shall be as the World Tree, Whose roots and branches span the worlds, and that which is below and above shall be as one.”
“Here we have created the cosmos, and shall open the Gates between the Worlds.”
“Manannan mac Lir, son of the sea, We call You!
We hear the chiming of your silver apple branch
Ringing forth as Aonbarr rides, pulling Your chariot
The churning sea like a flowery plain beneath You
Hear us, Wise One, Warder of the Ways, our voices resounding beyond the ninth wave
To your dwelling place beyond
Ward us as the mists rise
Join your magic with ours as we open the gates between the Worlds. (Pour an offering of whiskey or other preferred offering in the offering bowl.)
Manannan mac Lir, accept our offering!
“We stand at the Center, the Cosmos re-created here. We stand at the Center, that our work be carried in the worlds as one. Let the fire open as a gate (feel the fire opening as a gate), let the well open as a gate (feel the well opening as a gate), let the tree hold fast the ways between (feel the tree growing, becoming mighty, the World Tree between the Heavens and Underworlds)! By the keeper of the gates, and by my will and word, (sweep your arms wide, feeling the gates opening) let the gates be opened!”*
“The gates are open here at the Center of All Things; we now invite the Kindreds to join our fire.”
“Ancestors, Mighty and Beloved Dead of blood, of heart, and of spirit, Allies and Ancient Ones, you who were first to step on any path, we invite you to join us this day. Be welcome at our fire. (Pour an offering of herbs, liquor, water, or other preferred offering.)”
“Nature Kin, Noble Ones with whom we walk in peace in this and other worlds, we invite you to join us this day. Be welcome at our fire. (Pour an offering of herbs, liquor, water, or other preferred offering.)”
“Shining Ones, First and Brightest Children of the Mother, You Who inspire, guide, and bless us, we invite you to join us this day. Be welcome at our fire. (Pour an offering of oil, clean water, or other preferred offering.)”
“Mighty Kindreds all, we welcome you! Mighty Kindreds, accept our offerings!”
“The Kindreds are with us; we now invite Brighid in to celebrate and honor Her.”
“Brighid, flame of the hearth at the center of our homes, flame of the forge which refines and shapes us, flame in the head and hands that inspires, bringing facility to tongue and fingers, bright lady of the golden tresses, welcome! Brighid, flowing waters of compassion, healing waters that wash us clean, life-giving waters of birth and death, gracious lady of keening and of song, welcome! Brighid of the Mantles, Brighid of the Auguries, Brighid, Exalted One, be welcome at our good fire! (Place offering of bannocks in front of Brighid representation and pour offering of blackberry wine in her bowl.)”
“Brighid, with sweet cakes and sweeter wine, we honor you. Brighid, accept this sacrifice!”
(Take a moment, as long as you like, to feel Her with you, to listen for anything She may have to say to you. You may consider singing something such as “We Sing a Song to Brighid” or “Song to Brigid” by Lisa Thiel. When you are ready, move on to the next step.)
“Having made offerings such as are within our means and power to the Mighty Kindred, and especially to our Bright Lady, Triple-Blessed Brighid of the Golden Tresses, we now make one final sacrifice to you all, Mighty Ones, Nobles Ones, Shining Ones, in honor and hospitality to You (Pour a final offering to all.)”
“Oh, Spirits great and small, You to Whom we have given, You Who give in return. Offerings have been made in celebration and honor. We seek to know what blessings are offered in return.”
“Ancestors, what gifts do You offer us this day? (Pull one rune, ogham, or card. These are blessings and as such are read in a positive light. This represents the gifts of the Ancestors; name it aloud.)
“Nature Kin, what gifts do You offer us this day? (Pull one rune, ogham, or card. These are blessings and as such are read in a positive light. This represents the gifts of the Nature Kin; name it aloud.)
“Shining Ones, what gifts do You offer us this day? (Pull one rune, ogham, or card. These are blessings and as such are read in a positive light. This represents the gifts of the Deities; name it aloud.)
(Pick up the drink you will be drinking yourself.) “The Kindreds offer us these many blessings: the Mighty Ancestors, Blessed and Beloved, offer to us (name the blessing, using as many words as you need); the Noble Ones, with whom we walk the worlds’ ways, offer to us (name the blessing, using as many words as you need); and the Shining Ones, Bright and Beatific, offer to us (name the blessing, using as many words as you need). We accept these many blessings.”
(Hold your hand over the drink and feel the energy of these gifts flowing into the beverage, repeating three times with verve and power, or until you feel it is right.) “Gifts for giving, gifts receiving, we receive them, blessings flow. Gifts for giving, gifts receiving, we are gifted, gifts from all.” (Drink deeply of the blessings of the Kindreds, leaving some to use to bless your Brighid’s Cross.)
(Focus, touching the feeling of Her flames and water within; speak the working as you sprinkle the crosses with the Waters of Life, feeling them imbued with Her energy and with the blessings of the Kindreds.)
“Brighid, Bright Lady of the Fires, We feel You pass as You walk this night and blooms spring up in Your steps Inspiration burns in our heads and passion burns in our bellies Our hands are guided by the clear vision of Your light We shape ourselves anew this Spring Renewed and purified. Brighid of the restoring well, Your waters flow within Healed and Hale we venture forth into the world again Brighid, blessing bring us, Your crosses on the door Prosperity, protection, while harm shall come no more. Brighid behind, about us, Brighid, Your blessings bring, Flame and flow in us, and in the burgeoning of Spring.
(Feel and see the energy and blessing of Brighid and the Kindreds energizing the Brghid’s Cross.) So be it!”
“Offerings we have made and magic we have wrought in celebration of this blessed day and our Blessed Brighid; we give now our thanks to all Who have been with us.”
“Brighid, Bright Lady of the Fires in our Hearts, the Fires in our Heads, we honor You. Triple Blessed Bringer of Spring, Whose Waters flow within us, we honor You. For Your healing, for Your shaping, for Your blessing, Brighid, we thank You.”
“Shining Ones, First and Brightest, we thank you for joining us this day; may we continue to be guided and inspired by Your ways.”
“Nature Kin, Noble Ones, we thank you for joining us this day; may there be peace among us and may we walk lightly on these ways together.”
“Ancestors, Mighty and Beloved Dead, we thank you for joining us this day; may we continue to hear your guidance and share in your blessings.”
“Shining Ones, Noble Ones, Mighty Ones, Kindreds all, we thank you!”
[At this time, release your sacred space in the way most typical for your practice, whether that be by thanking and releasing the elements then releasing the circle, or by closing the gates between the worlds. If you are closing the gates you might do so using the following:]
“We end now what we have started. Manannan, mighty son of the sea, you have aided us in opening the gates that this may be all places, all times, below and above as One. We thank you for your presence and your aid. May there be peace and welcome between us always.”
“Manannan mac Lir, we thank you!”
“As out time together draws to a close, lend us again your strength, and as the mists dissipate, work with us to close the gates.
Let the fire be but flame. (Feel the fire again be flame.)
Let the well be but water. (Feel the well become again water.)
Let the tree be but a tree. (Feel the tree become again but a tree.)
Let all be as it was before, save for the magic we have made.
Let the gates be closed! (Sweep your arms together and Feel the gates close.)”*
“Danu, Lady of the Waters, You have upheld us in our rite. We feel You in our hearts, see You mirrored in the rhythms of this Earth. May we walk lightly on Your ways.”
“Earth Mother, we thank You!”
“Having celebrated the blessings of the season, and of Brighid, and of Those with Whom we share the worlds, we offer now this final gift in Thanks to Lugh, Long-Arm, Many Skilled One, for warding us in this right, and to all the powers Who joined us here. (Pour a final offering of whiskey or other preferred offering.) Gift for gift, gifting gives to all.”
“With a joyous heart we go forward from this place and carry the blessings and magic worked here with us into the Worlds. (Chime bell three times or rap three times on your altar.) This rite is ended.”
*These are written by Nine Waves Grove, ADF, and used with permission here.
A Final Note
I hope you have found this to be something you might use in your own practice, or an inspiration to your own workings. I appreciate your time, for sharing this is part of my work for Her. I pass that work to you, and may you be blessed, and hale, and whole in the burgeoning of Spring.
Note: if you choose to use any part of this ritual publicly or to share it with others, please do so with attribution to myself. Any sections I did not write myself are indicated by an asterisk, with attribution below.