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Author Topic: Constructing a Ritual based on Two Paths  (Read 5042 times)
darashand
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« Topic Start: March 15, 2011, 03:38:22 pm »

Hi folks.

I'm hoping you can help me with something.  I'm putting together a ritual for Spring involving both Frigg and Brighid, plus I wanted to incorporate aspects of both Irish and Germanic style ritual.  I'm wondering if it is ok to honor both Goddesses within the same ritual and how should I do this?  I've been doing some research on both, but the ritual "poetry" and whatnot just leave me feeling "dry."  I want something that will be moving, rather than just reading from a script to the attendants (since this will be my very first ritual I have ever lead...in public with more than one person).  Also, I am curious about setting up a sacred space.  I could have SO do a hammer rite, but I have never really been a fan of it, plus I would like to set up a sacred nemeton in someway...something that would involved the Three Realms and set apart the sacred space.

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks!
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« Reply #1: March 15, 2011, 03:50:27 pm »

I'm hoping you can help me with something.  I'm putting together a ritual for Spring involving both Frigg and Brighid, plus I wanted to incorporate aspects of both Irish and Germanic style ritual.  I'm wondering if it is ok to honor both Goddesses within the same ritual and how should I do this? 

I'm interested in this as well -- I going to be doing more formal ritual in the future, and currently I keep the Celtic and Germanic separate. Thanks for asking about this.
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« Reply #2: March 15, 2011, 03:51:55 pm »

I'm interested in this as well -- I going to be doing more formal ritual in the future, and currently I keep the Celtic and Germanic separate. Thanks for asking about this.

Np.  I'm glad this thread can be useful for you as well. Smiley
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« Reply #3: March 16, 2011, 11:59:52 am »

Also, I am curious about setting up a sacred space.  I could have SO do a hammer rite, but I have never really been a fan of it, plus I would like to set up a sacred nemeton in someway...something that would involved the Three Realms and set apart the sacred space.

So here's the thing about sacred space.

Sacred space is mythologically charged space.  It's built according to some understanding of how the universe is put together.  This is why you see churches and temples and other holy buildings aligned to the course of the sun in many places - obviously the solar arc is part of the construction of the universe, right?

So if you're building a cross-cultural ritual, especially for cultures that are related in the way the northern European paganisms influenced each other, break it down to bedrock: what do they have in common?  How are their universes built?

In this case I would build the space sanctification around the Axis Mundi/World Tree/Yggdrasil.  Referencing the Tree gives you space to speak of the Three Realms, the Nine Worlds, and whatever else you fancy in the cosmology in order to frame your sacred space as being the appropriate microcosm of the universe.
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« Reply #4: March 16, 2011, 07:49:28 pm »

I've been doing some research on both, but the ritual "poetry" and whatnot just leave me feeling "dry."  I want something that will be moving, rather than just reading from a script to the attendants (since this will be my very first ritual I have ever lead...in public with more than one person). 

Ok, so, I'm no good when it comes to Brighid or Frigg, considering I'm a Hellenic Pagan/concerned with the Greek Gods primarily, HOWEVER, I've had similar problems in the past with the dullness of "ritual poetry" - sometimes the hymns/scriptures/etc. out there aren't always the most inspiring or easy-to-understand/easy-to-read...

One thing I found that helped, though, was looking up actual poetry...like, non-religious/non-historical poems, or passages from books, that relate to the subject(s) you're doing the ritual about. Sometimes this doesn't work, but for bigger, broader subjects, such as "Spring" I'm sure you could find some poetry or pretty quotes or passages that would work. I know e.e. Cummings has some great poetry/lines about nature and Spring ("i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth day of life and love and wings:and of the gay great happening illimitably earth"...He even has a poem called "Spring Omnipotent Goddess Thou," with lines like "Spring of the excellent jostle of thy hips" etc. ), that you could always change/use to fit your own purposes. Anyway, I guess my advice is, sometimes literature itself can be inspirational and lovely, if you're ever in need of alternate sources/things to say during rituals.

Obviously, if you want to do something that's more specific to the Goddesses you are honoring (which is probably what you were asking about to begin with ^_^;;), this might not be too helpful...but hey, if all else fails, They might enjoy it anyway :) Even one or two lines of poetry added onto some more specific stuff might help make things less "dry." Maybe even write some stuff yourself, if you have an ear for that kind of thing.

Good luck!

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« Reply #5: April 26, 2011, 06:46:33 am »

Hi folks.

I'm hoping you can help me with something.  I'm putting together a ritual for Spring involving both Frigg and Brighid, plus I wanted to incorporate aspects of both Irish and Germanic style ritual.  I'm wondering if it is ok to honor both Goddesses within the same ritual and how should I do this?  I've been doing some research on both, but the ritual "poetry" and whatnot just leave me feeling "dry."  I want something that will be moving, rather than just reading from a script to the attendants (since this will be my very first ritual I have ever lead...in public with more than one person).  Also, I am curious about setting up a sacred space.  I could have SO do a hammer rite, but I have never really been a fan of it, plus I would like to set up a sacred nemeton in someway...something that would involved the Three Realms and set apart the sacred space.

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks!

For all I know you've already had your ritual by now - but if not, well, here's my two cents. Smiley

Personally, I would ask the goddesses if it was all right with them - and Brigid first. This is just an assumption on my part, but I would be asking myself whether an Irish deity might still regard the Norse as an invading culture. That may not be the case at all, but I like to be sure about things like that, because I'm a worry wart.

For the ritual itself, I would likely incorporate a blot/sumble. The Irish loved a horn of mead as much as the Nords, and everyone in the ritual would be involved in the sharing of the cup and the making of toasts (and boasts!)

As for sacred space, personally I don't think that non-magical rituals necessarily need any special words or pronouncements of sacred space. Unless it's a place that you're going to be using consistently - then I would consider consecrating it to whatever powers necessary. But for the most part, for a religious ritual, you just set up the site where you're going to do it, and do it.

When it comes to choosing that site, what Darkhawk was suggesting about a tree/axis mundi is very good, and relevant to both cultures. In a Celtic context, hilltops and wells accompanied by a tree or trees were sacred sites. It's also been argued that the central pole of a house was regarded as an axis mundi - that seems like a good gamble to me. I might simply decorate a pole, use it to hitch a tent, and declare that sacred space. If you wanted a way to signal the start of things, in several Irish legends, a king or druid would signal the beginning of a special event by shaking a rod with bells. It helps to signal for silence, and I imagine it would have a very nice atmospheric effect. It would be all, "Oooh, we're in a special tent, and oooh, listen to that ringing, it must mean something." I think people would just know intuitively that they were in a ritual "space."

Just some suggestions! I think about this stuff a lot because I wish I could do rituals like this. Oh, fantasies.
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« Reply #6: April 26, 2011, 01:54:26 pm »

Personally, I would ask the goddesses if it was all right with them - and Brigid first. This is just an assumption on my part, but I would be asking myself whether an Irish deity might still regard the Norse as an invading culture. That may not be the case at all, but I like to be sure about things like that, because I'm a worry wart.

For the ritual itself, I would likely incorporate a blot/sumble. The Irish loved a horn of mead as much as the Nords, and everyone in the ritual would be involved in the sharing of the cup and the making of toasts (and boasts!)


I honestly didn't think to ask first...a major "duh" on my part, but the ritual itself went fine, and seemed to "take root" with people.  We really didn't "invoke" the Goddesses (Brighid and Freyja) rather they were mentioned and given offerings of thanks. I think it was ok; the sky didn't fall down, etc.  I'll need to do that in the future if we plan to invite other Deities into the sacred space.  A side note: although these Goddesses are different beings, I believe they are very similar and would get along just fine.  Anyone with evidence to the contrary?

I appreciate all of your thoughts, especially since my next ritual is coming up soon. Smiley

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« Reply #7: April 26, 2011, 08:07:12 pm »

I honestly didn't think to ask first...a major "duh" on my part, but the ritual itself went fine, and seemed to "take root" with people.  We really didn't "invoke" the Goddesses (Brighid and Freyja) rather they were mentioned and given offerings of thanks. I think it was ok; the sky didn't fall down, etc.  I'll need to do that in the future if we plan to invite other Deities into the sacred space.  A side note: although these Goddesses are different beings, I believe they are very similar and would get along just fine. 

I'm glad to hear it went well! I think you're right about these particular goddesses, they do seem like they would get along. (I think the success of the ritual is proof of that, too.) Like I said, I'm just a worry wart. Wink Good luck on the next one!
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Thessaly: It's time to draw down the moon.
Foxglove: We did this. Or something like this. We had water and salt, not blood. We invoked the goddess in her aspect as the moon. We called down her power...
Thessaly: Did she answer you?
Foxglove: Well, it felt good at the time. Empowering.
Thessaly: Hmph.
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« Reply #8: April 26, 2011, 11:50:11 pm »

I'm glad to hear it went well! I think you're right about these particular goddesses, they do seem like they would get along. (I think the success of the ritual is proof of that, too.) Like I said, I'm just a worry wart. Wink Good luck on the next one!

It seems to me that Brighid could get along with nearly Anyone, but of course there always Exceptions.
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« Reply #9: April 27, 2011, 04:48:51 am »

It seems to me that Brighid could get along with nearly Anyone, but of course there always Exceptions.

From an historical perspective theres a good list of deities Brigid might not get on with. Through Cormac Mac Cuillean Brigid is referenced as the primary sovereignty Queen of the province of leinster and appeared in battles to help them. So you could expect Brigid not to get along with the other provincial sovereignty queens like Macha, Medbh, Mor Mumhan and possibly the tutelary goddesses of the dynastic families from the provinces like Aine, Aoibhel, Mugain... 4 of those might be alternate names for the Morrigan.

Then theres the male deities related to the provinces. Irrespective of the pantheonish scheme in the book of invasions and the second battle of moytura Id be wary of the Dagda because he through Daire is an otherworld ancestor for Ulster people and they are a major historical rival of the leinster people. If you need a mythological support for a rivalry Id look at the wooing of Etain. The rivalry between Elcmar (Nuadu) and the Dagda at a sacred site in Co Meath might be representative of an historical rivalry between well known ancestral figures of Ulster and Leinster and the O Neills who invaded Leinster. They took knowth beside Newgrange (elcmars home) and used it as the centre of their dynasty.

In general there may be a lot of deities in Ireland that might be considered rivals by Irish people. The Irish nation thing is an invention there are multiple native ethnicities and we are big on geography as a means of generating a sense of self on top of history both folk and scholarly. It wouldnt make sense for deities not to share rivalries common in our culture today that wouldve been more pronounced in a pagan ireland. At least it may not to Irish people.



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« Reply #10: April 27, 2011, 12:30:07 pm »

From an historical perspective theres a good list of deities Brigid might not get on with. Through Cormac Mac Cuillean Brigid is referenced as the primary sovereignty Queen of the province of leinster and appeared in battles to help them. So you could expect Brigid not to get along with the other provincial sovereignty queens like Macha, Medbh, Mor Mumhan and possibly the tutelary goddesses of the dynastic families from the provinces like Aine, Aoibhel, Mugain... 4 of those might be alternate names for the Morrigan.


That is a very interesting post.  Thanks for the info.  Do you have a recommendation on where I can read more about this?

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« Reply #11: April 28, 2011, 03:08:14 am »

Then theres the male deities related to the provinces. Irrespective of the pantheonish scheme in the book of invasions and the second battle of moytura Id be wary of the Dagda because he through Daire is an otherworld ancestor for Ulster people and they are a major historical rival of the leinster people. If you need a mythological support for a rivalry Id look at the wooing of Etain. The rivalry between Elcmar (Nuadu) and the Dagda at a sacred site in Co Meath might be representative of an historical rivalry between well known ancestral figures of Ulster and Leinster and the O Neills who invaded Leinster. They took knowth beside Newgrange (elcmars home) and used it as the centre of their dynasty.

I never knew that about Newgrange; thanks a lot for sharing. But as for the Dagda, isn't he Brigid's father? Is there any example in the legends of their not getting along?
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Thessaly: It's time to draw down the moon.
Foxglove: We did this. Or something like this. We had water and salt, not blood. We invoked the goddess in her aspect as the moon. We called down her power...
Thessaly: Did she answer you?
Foxglove: Well, it felt good at the time. Empowering.
Thessaly: Hmph.
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« Reply #12: April 28, 2011, 04:10:00 am »

I never knew that about Newgrange; thanks a lot for sharing. But as for the Dagda, isn't he Brigid's father? Is there any example in the legends of their not getting along?

Id say the relationships given between deities in most cases is purely literary.
There are a few ways of looking at Irish mythology popular at the mo. Two of the most relevant might be that myths are survivals of pagan oral tradition or that myths are medieval Irish vernacular literature, fictional storylines like any pieces of literature but based on biblical, insular and international motifs familiar to the authors.

I go for the second view for the most part because some story's are too big for oral trad or a written ogham trad. It would be impossible for the Tain/cattle raid of cooley to be written in ogham because it would take forests full of staves and it couldnt be memorized in bulk because of its length. Some people argue that the toponyms in the Tain might mean it used a mnemonic map and different sections of the story were brought to mind when looking at the geography of a region but the book of invasions is as long as the Tain and it lacks that same emphasis on toponyms so it has to be literature. Its also full of themes from the Bible, it has an emphasis on medieval christian numerology and its narrative is constructed to fit the dogma/world chronicle of the medieval church. Each thing happening at a certain date, each king superceding king until the coming of the holy roman empire despite Ireland never having 1 ruler that would allow for that type of succession.

If the loss of that relationship between deities seems a bit harsh consider what the Dagda being the Brigs dad tells us about the deities... absolutely nothing imo. DianCecht has 2 children that are involved in medicine so theres a reason for them to be grouped together a relationship there might give us a clue to a deities function but the Brig has none of the Dagda's qualities.

The Dagda as opposed to Daire as opposed to Aed Ruad Rofessa etc... is purely an exaggerated image of masculine verility possibly illustrating the role that male energy might play in the seasons etc... in the world view of the people of the time. The Brig being female wouldnt share in his exact traits but she could have represented the feminine version... but again she doesnt.

The link to me seems to be purely for the sake of character development or something. Its not relevant as far as I can see.
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« Reply #13: April 28, 2011, 04:22:52 am »

That is a very interesting post.  Thanks for the info.  Do you have a recommendation on where I can read more about this?



Youre welcome Smiley Im glad I contribute something. What do you want to read more about?

The book that inspired me to learn more about the regional nature of medieval Ireland was a history book Irish Kings and High Kings by FJ Byrne. For referencing deities Id go for Daithi O hOgain's Encyclopedia of myth legend and romance... is that what youre after?
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« Reply #14: April 28, 2011, 05:38:28 am »

Id say the relationships given between deities in most cases is purely literary.

Interesting perspective. That certainly takes a bit of the pressure off when reading and interpreting these stories. Maybe I shouldn't be expecting Shakespearean family intrigue!

I might be tempted to argue that in Scottish lore, Bride's magic wand is reminiscent of the Dagda's magic staff. Although the latter is often referred to as a "club," I don't know of any instances in which he used it as a simple weapon for physically striking anyone. (I could be mistaken, so feel free to correct me.) The power of his wand to restore life has something of a parellel with Bride's wand, which she uses to bring back the spring vegetation. Admittedly, Dagda's staff can kill as well as revive people. But the Cailleach has her own wand that she uses to blast and wither the land, which presents another parallel if you take the view that Bride and the Cailleach are really two halves of the same coin. Just some thoughts that come to mind.
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Thessaly: It's time to draw down the moon.
Foxglove: We did this. Or something like this. We had water and salt, not blood. We invoked the goddess in her aspect as the moon. We called down her power...
Thessaly: Did she answer you?
Foxglove: Well, it felt good at the time. Empowering.
Thessaly: Hmph.

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