Beltane Planting Ritual for Solitaries

This ritual is designed for the solitary practitioner, but it can easily be adapted for a small group to perform together. It’s a simple rite that celebrates the fertility of the planting season, and so it’s one that should be performed outside. If you don’t have a yard of your own, you can use pots of soil in place of a garden plot. Don’t worry if the weather is a bit inclement – rain shouldn’t be a deterrent to gardening. Just be sure you’re past the safe planting date for your region.

You’ll need:

  • Packets of seeds, or seedlings if you have them started already
  • Water
  • Pots of dirt, if you don’t have a garden
  • Gardening tools, such as a shovel

There is no need to cast a circle to perform this ritual, although if you prefer to do so, you certainly can. Plan on taking some time with this rite, though, and not rushing through it.

To begin, you’ll prepare the soil for planting. If you’ve already gotten your garden tilled or mulched, great – you’ll have a bit less work. If not, now’s the time to do so. Use your shovel or tiller to loosen the soil as much as possible. As you’re turning the earth over, and mixing it all up, take time to connect with the elements. Feel the earth, soft and moist beneath your feet. Take in the breeze, exhaling and inhaling calmly as you work. Feel the warmth of the sun on your face, and listen to the birds chattering in the trees above you. Connect with nature, and with the planet itself

If your tradition includes a deity of agriculture or land, now is a good time to call upon them. For instance, if your tradition honors Cernunnos*, a fertility god, you might choose to use the following:

Hail, Cernunnos! God of the forest, master of fertility!
Today, we honor you by planting the seeds of life,
Deep within the womb of earth.
Hail, Cernunnos! We ask you to bless this garden,
Watch over it, and grant it abundance,
We ask that these plants grow strong and fertile
Under your watchful eye.
Hail, Cernunnos! God of the greenwood!

When you have finished turning the soil and preparing it, it is time to plant the seeds (or seedlings, if youstarted them earlier in the spring). While you can do this easily with a shovel, sometimes it is better to get down on your hands and knees and really connect with the soil. If you’re not limited by mobility issues, get as close to the ground as you can, and use your hands to part the soil as you put the seeds in place. Yes, you’ll get dirty, but that’s what gardening is about. As you place each seed into the ground, offer a simple blessing, such as:

May the soil be blessed as the womb of the land
Becomes full and fruitful to bring forth the garden anew.
Cernunnos*, bless this seed.

 

After you’ve gotten the seeds in the ground, cover them all up with the loose dirt. Remember, this could take a while if you’ve got a large garden, so it’s okay if you want to do this ritual over the course of a few days.

 

As you’re performing all the different actions of gardening – touching the earth, feeling the plants – remember to focus on the energy and power of the elements. Get dirt under your fingernails, squash it between your toes if you don’t mind being barefoot outside. Say hello to that worm you just dug up by accident, and place him back in the ground. Do you compost? If so, be sure to add the compost to your plantings.

Finally, you’ll water your freshly planted seeds. You can either use a garden hose for this, or you can water by hand with a can. If you have a rain barrel, use the water from the barrel to start your garden.

As you’re watering your seeds or seedlings, call upon the deities of your tradition one last time.

Hail, Cernunnos*! God of fertility!
We honor you by planting these seeds.
We ask your blessing upon our fertile soil.
We will tend this garden, and keep it healthy,
Watching over it in your name.
We honor you by planting, and pay you tribute with this garden.
Hail, Cernunnos, master of the land!

You may also wish to include a general Garden Blessing.

 

Once you have completed watering, take a look through your freshly planted garden one last time. Did you miss any spots? Are there any weeds you forgot to pull? Tidy up any loose ends, and then take a moment to savor the knowledge that you have planted something new and wonderful. Feel the sunlight, the breeze, the soil beneath your feet, and know you have connected once more to the Divine.

*Cernunnos is used as an example in this rite. Use the name of the appropriate deity for your tradition.

From: http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/beltaneritesandrituals/a/Beltane-Planting-Ritual-For-Solitaries.htm

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Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft – B.3. The Scourge and the Kiss. (1953)

Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft – B.3. The Scourge and the Kiss. (1953)

B.3. The Scourge and the Kiss. (1953)
[1] Invocation
(Feet, knees, and wrists should be tightly bound to retard blood.) Scourge 40 or more, to make skin tingle, then say, invoking Goddess,
Hail, Aradia, from the Amalthean horn
Pour forth thy store of Love.  I lowly bend
Before Thee!  I invoke thee at the end
When other Gods are fallen and put to scorn.
Thy foot is to my lips!  My sighs inborn
Rise, touch, curl about thy heart.  Then spend,
Pitiful Love, loveliest Pity, descend
And bring me luck who am lonely and forlorn.

Ask the Goddess to help you to obtain your desires, then Scourge again to bind the spell. This be powerful in ill luck and for sickness.  It must be said in a Circle, and you must be properly prepared and well purified, both before and after saying, to bind the spell.
Before starting you must make a very clear picture in your mind of what you wish.  Make yourself see the wish obtained.  Be sure in your own mind exactly what it is and how it is to be fulfilled.
This spell is the one that was taught to me long ago and I have found it works, but I don’t think there is any special virtue in these words.  Any others can be substituted provided they ask the goddess’s (or gods’) help, and say clearly what you wish and you form the clear mental image; and if it doesn’t work at first, keep on trying till it works.  Your helper, who wields the scourge, must know what you wish, and also form the mental image.  And at first at any rate, it will be better for you to work the spell, then for the girl to take your place and work it also; you scourge her.  Don’t try anything difficult at first, and do it at least once a week till it works.  You have to get into sympathy with each other, before anything happens, and regular working helps this.
Of spells, the exact words matter little if the intent be clear and you raise the true power, and sufficient thereof.  Always in rhyme they are. There is something queer about rhyme.  I have tried, and the same seem to lose their power if you miss the rhyme.  Also in rhyme, the words seem to say themselves.  You do not have to pause and think: “What comes next?”  Doing this takes away much of your intent.
[2] Order and discipline must be kept.  A High Priest or Priestess may and should punish all faults to this end, and all of the Cult must accept such corrections willingly.  All are brothers and sisters, for this reason: that even the High Priestess must submit to the scourge.  Each fault should be corrected separately.  The Priest or Priestess must be properly prepared and call the culprit to trial.  They must be prepared as for initiation and kneel, be told their fault and sentence pronounced.  Punishment should be the scourge, followed by a forfeit such as several fivefold kisses or something of this nature.  The culprit must acknowledge the justice of the punishment by kissing hands and scourge on receiving sentence and again when thanking for punishment received.*
[3] The scourgings are 3, 7, 9 (thrice three), and 21 (thrice seven) 40 in all.  It is not meet to make offerings [scourgings] of less than two score to the Goddess, for here be a mystery.  The fortunate numbers be: 3 and 5.  For three added to two (the Perfect Couple) be five.  And three and five be eight; eight and five be thirteen; thirteen and eight be twenty-one.
The Fivefold Kiss is called 5, but there are 8 kisses, for there be 2 feet and 2 knees and genitals and 2 breasts and the lips. And 5 times 8 be two score.  Also, fortunate numbers be 3, 7, 8, and 21, which total 40, or two score.  For each man and woman hath ten fingers and ten toes, so each totals a score.  And a perfect couple be two score.
So a lesser number would not be perfect prayer. If more are required make it a perfect number, as four score or six score.
Also there be Eight Elemental Weapons.
[4] To make the anointing ointment, take some glazed pans filled half full with grease or olive oil.  Put in one sweet mint, marjoram in another, ground thyme in a 3rd, and it you may have it, patchouli, dried leaves pounded.  Place pans in hot water bath.  Stir and cook for several hours, then pout into linen bags, and squeeze grease through into pans again, and fill up with fresh leaves.  After doing this several times, the grease will be highly perfumed.  Then mix all together and store in a well-corked jar.
Anoint behind ears, throat, armpits, breasts, and womb.  Also, for all ceremonies where the feet are kissed, they should also be anointed.

Calendar of the Moon for December 18th

Calendar of the Moon

Elder Tree Month

Color: Russet
Element: Air
Altar: Upon a russet cloth set three black candles, a cauldron filled with water, a vase filled with elder branches, a cup of dried elderberries, and a knife.
Offerings: Give aid to the elders in the House, and outside.
Daily Meal: Soups and stews, and soft foods.

Ruis Invocation

Call: Hail the month of passing.
Response: For all things pass away.
Call: Hail the month of waning.
Response: For all things must fade and die.
Call: Hail the month of creaking wood.
Response: Hail the month of creaking bones.
Call: Hail the month of the dwindling Sun.
Response: Hail the time of all endings.
Call: For even as we began the year in silence,
Response: So we shall end the year in silence.
Call: For even as we began the year with chill winds of newness,
Response: So we shall end the year with chill winds of darkness.
Call: May the raven croak his warning from the bare branches.
Response: May the deer leave her footprints in the wake of the first snows.
Call: We will surrender ourselves to the darkness.
Response: Yet even with that surrender, we shall not pass away.
Call: For the seed that was grown in the spring still lives.
Response: Its life force is given back to the Earth.
Call: Its life force is given back to the Maker of new life.
Response: And new life shall spring forth in time.
Call: This is the moment of waiting for the end.
Response: This is the moment of bowed heads.
Call: Elder Goddess, teach us to praise loss, death, and the passing of all things.
Response: For from this flux we know your blessings flow.

Chant: In the eye of the Moon
We walk willingly
Into the darkness.

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for December 18th

Calendar of the Sun

18 Yulmonath

Saturnalia Day 2: Saturn’s Release

Colors: Black and Gold
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of black place eight gold candles, each surrounded by gold coins, a bottle of good wine and many cups, and the figure of a seated man, wrapped in a chain.
Offerings: Throw over routines and take joy.
Daily Meal: Anything that the folk of the House want, correct or otherwise.

Invocation of Saturn’s Release

Hail to the Lord of Discipline,
Saturn bound in chains.
Hail to the Old Man of Time
With your fearsome sickle,
Lord of the Hourglass, the Sundial,
All that places restrictions on the bright,
The beautiful, the free and easy.
You live an existence bound in chains,
But at this time of the year, dark and cold,
We release you from your bonds!
We acknowledge that order cannot be held
Without respecting that which is chaos,
And so we pay for the blessed order of our lives,
The gift of Saturn, and Eunomia, and many others,
By these days of release from that Order.
We release you, O Lord of Limitations,
And pray that you, and we, shall be glad
Once more to place these chains about you
And about ourselves. Hail Saturn!

(All cry out “Hail Saturn!” The chain is unwound from about the seated statue of Saturn, and the wine is poured. All toast to the Gods and to many other things, and go off to do what they will. From this point until Arktos of the night of Yule, rules are loosened if not entirely done away with. There is no work today during Akte and Elete, and folk may do what they will until Hesperis. All work done, and all hours attended to, will be by choosing and not by rule. Waking and sleeping will come as they will. For many folks, this will be a time to leave the House and visit family.)

Song: Any that the House chooses.

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Moon for December 27th

Calendar of the Moon

Elder Tree Month

Color: Russet
Element: Air
Altar: Upon a russet cloth set three black candles, a cauldron filled with water, a vase filled with elder branches, a cup of dried elderberries, and a knife.
Offerings: Give aid to the elders in the House, and outside.
Daily Meal: Soups and stews, and soft foods.

Ruis Invocation

Call: Hail the month of passing.
Response: For all things pass away.
Call: Hail the month of waning.
Response: For all things must fade and die.
Call: Hail the month of creaking wood.
Response: Hail the month of creaking bones.
Call: Hail the month of the dwindling Sun.
Response: Hail the time of all endings.
Call: For even as we began the year in silence,
Response: So we shall end the year in silence.
Call: For even as we began the year with chill winds of newness,
Response: So we shall end the year with chill winds of darkness.
Call: May the raven croak his warning from the bare branches.
Response: May the deer leave her footprints in the wake of the first snows.
Call: We will surrender ourselves to the darkness.
Response: Yet even with that surrender, we shall not pass away.
Call: For the seed that was grown in the spring still lives.
Response: Its life force is given back to the Earth.
Call: Its life force is given back to the Maker of new life.
Response: And new life shall spring forth in time.
Call: This is the moment of waiting for the end.
Response: This is the moment of bowed heads.
Call: Elder Goddess, teach us to praise loss, death, and the passing of all things.
Response: For from this flux we know your blessings flow.

Chant: In the eye of the Moon
We walk willingly
Into the darkness.

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Moon for December 16th

Calendar of the Moon

Elder Tree Month

Color: Russet
Element: Air
Altar: Upon a russet cloth set three black candles, a cauldron filled with water, a vase filled with elder branches, a cup of dried elderberries, and a knife.
Offerings: Give aid to the elders in the House, and outside.
Daily Meal: Soups and stews, and soft foods.

Ruis Invocation

Call: Hail the month of passing.
Response: For all things pass away.
Call: Hail the month of waning.
Response: For all things must fade and die.
Call: Hail the month of creaking wood.
Response: Hail the month of creaking bones.
Call: Hail the month of the dwindling Sun.
Response: Hail the time of all endings.
Call: For even as we began the year in silence,
Response: So we shall end the year in silence.
Call: For even as we began the year with chill winds of newness,
Response: So we shall end the year with chill winds of darkness.
Call: May the raven croak his warning from the bare branches.
Response: May the deer leave her footprints in the wake of the first snows.
Call: We will surrender ourselves to the darkness.
Response: Yet even with that surrender, we shall not pass away.
Call: For the seed that was grown in the spring still lives.
Response: Its life force is given back to the Earth.
Call: Its life force is given back to the Maker of new life.
Response: And new life shall spring forth in time.
Call: This is the moment of waiting for the end.
Response: This is the moment of bowed heads.
Call: Elder Goddess, teach us to praise loss, death, and the passing of all things.
Response: For from this flux we know your blessings flow.

Chant: In the eye of the Moon
We walk willingly
Into the darkness.

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Moon for December 4th

Calendar of the Moon

Elder Tree Month

Color: Russet
Element: Air
Altar: Upon a russet cloth set three black candles, a cauldron filled with water, a vase filled with elder branches, a cup of dried elderberries, and a knife.
Offerings: Give aid to the elders in the House, and outside.
Daily Meal: Soups and stews, and soft foods.

Ruis Invocation

Call: Hail the month of passing.
Response: For all things pass away.
Call: Hail the month of waning.
Response: For all things must fade and die.
Call: Hail the month of creaking wood.
Response: Hail the month of creaking bones.
Call: Hail the month of the dwindling Sun.
Response: Hail the time of all endings.
Call: For even as we began the year in silence,
Response: So we shall end the year in silence.
Call: For even as we began the year with chill winds of newness,
Response: So we shall end the year with chill winds of darkness.
Call: May the raven croak his warning from the bare branches.
Response: May the deer leave her footprints in the wake of the first snows.
Call: We will surrender ourselves to the darkness.
Response: Yet even with that surrender, we shall not pass away.
Call: For the seed that was grown in the spring still lives.
Response: Its life force is given back to the Earth.
Call: Its life force is given back to the Maker of new life.
Response: And new life shall spring forth in time.
Call: This is the moment of waiting for the end.
Response: This is the moment of bowed heads.
Call: Elder Goddess, teach us to praise loss, death, and the passing of all things.
Response: For from this flux we know your blessings flow.

Chant: In the eye of the Moon
We walk willingly
Into the darkness.

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Moon for December 2nd

Calendar of the Moon

Elder Tree Month

Color: Russet
Element: Air
Altar: Upon a russet cloth set three black candles, a cauldron filled with water, a vase filled with elder branches, a cup of dried elderberries, and a knife.
Offerings: Give aid to the elders in the House, and outside.
Daily Meal: Soups and stews, and soft foods.

Ruis Invocation

Call: Hail the month of passing.
Response: For all things pass away.
Call: Hail the month of waning.
Response: For all things must fade and die.
Call: Hail the month of creaking wood.
Response: Hail the month of creaking bones.
Call: Hail the month of the dwindling Sun.
Response: Hail the time of all endings.
Call: For even as we began the year in silence,
Response: So we shall end the year in silence.
Call: For even as we began the year with chill winds of newness,
Response: So we shall end the year with chill winds of darkness.
Call: May the raven croak his warning from the bare branches.
Response: May the deer leave her footprints in the wake of the first snows.
Call: We will surrender ourselves to the darkness.
Response: Yet even with that surrender, we shall not pass away.
Call: For the seed that was grown in the spring still lives.
Response: Its life force is given back to the Earth.
Call: Its life force is given back to the Maker of new life.
Response: And new life shall spring forth in time.
Call: This is the moment of waiting for the end.
Response: This is the moment of bowed heads.
Call: Elder Goddess, teach us to praise loss, death, and the passing of all things.
Response: For from this flux we know your blessings flow.

Chant: In the eye of the Moon
We walk willingly
Into the darkness.

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Sun for October 31st

Calendar of the Sun

31 Winterfyllith

SAMHAIN

Color: Black
Element: Air
Altar: The altar should be set as a table with a fine cloth and good dishes, and food for the Dead. Among the dishes places skulls, bones, a brazier, black candles, and pictures or items of the Dead.
Offerings: Give food to the Dead. Give divination to each other.
Daily Meal: Anything, so long as it is shared with the Dead.

Ritual Note: Like all the eight high holidays, this day should ideally be spent not enclosed and isolated, but in common with the larger pagan community. This can be done a number of ways, including spending the day elsewhere, at the Brigid’s Day ritual of another group or tradition, or by inviting in those pagans who would otherwise not be able to attend a ritual. Either way, the eight holidays should be a time of remembering the place of the house in the greater community. If the choice is made to go elsewhere, then no liturgy is needed for the day. If the choice is made to bring the greater community into the lesser one, the following ritual can be used.

This is the only rite on the solar calendar that is not celebrated at the hour of Sponde. Instead, Sponde is used for silent, solitary meditation. The Samhain rite is begun at Arktos, and all keep vigil overnight until Auge on the following day.

Samhain Ritual

(Four who have been chosen to do the work of the ritual come forward and cast the quarters.)

East Caller: Spirits of the East, powers of air
Winds that carry our ashes, winds that bear our cries,
Our howling on your black wings,
Today we speak for the beloved Dead,
We call to the Dead, and honor them with our voices!
Hear us!
South Caller: Spirits of the south, powers of fire
Flame of the altar and the cremation ground,
Stroke of scorched lightning,
We purify our lives as the funeral pyre,
We burn for the Dead, and honor them with our transformations!
Hear us!
West Caller: Spirits of the west, powers of water,
Still pools deep under the ground,
Drowning depths and freezing ice,
We give over our hearts to Necessity,
We drink with the Dead, and honor them with our surrender.
Hear us!
North Caller: Spirits of the north, powers of Earth,
Blackness that surrounds us, buries us,
Dust and the silence of waiting,
We see mortality etched onto our bodies,
We go into the Earth with the Dead, and honor them with our hands.
Hear us!

(One steps forward and holds high a cup of wine, saying:)

Drink, then, for the Dead!
Name them, those whom you have loved
Who have passed forth from this world
But are not forgotten.
Name them, those whom you never met
Save through words, or tales, yet still
Found a bond there to inspire,
To create courage, or brotherhood.
Name your ancestors of the blood,
Name your ancestors of the spirit.
Name your ancestors of the tribe.
Name your ancestors of the faith.
Call also to those for whom you have no names
But without whom you would not have been born.
Call to our Dead, as we do every year,
Remind them that they are not forgotten,
Remind them that they are still loved.

(The cup is passed, and each speaks of their beloved Dead. As they finish and drink from the cup, all say, “And he (or she, or they) too has a place at this table.” One follows behind the cup with a bunch of dried roses, collected and dried throughout the year from any rituals that used them, and gives each one a rose. The remainder of the roses are placed on the table. Another steps forth and holds high a crystal ball, and speaks the following as a call and response with all:)

Hail the Veil Between The Worlds!
Hail the bones in the Earth,
Hail the ashes in the fire,
Hail the fishes’ meal in the ocean,
Hail the birds’ meal on the mountaintop!
Hail the Hounds of Hel who eat the corpse!
Hail the Raven and the Vulture!
Hail the path which someday we all shall walk,
But we shall not walk alone!
Hail to our ancestors, who open the way for us!
Hail to the cold white breath of the Moon!
Hail to the drying heat of the Sun!
Hail to the ever-turning wheel of the stars!
Hail to salt of Earth and salt of tears!
Hail to the rot which feeds all new growth!
Hail to the cycle, which spins eternally!
Hail to the Dark, which is the counterpart of Light,
Hail to that Dark from which all life springs!
Hail to those who passed the Veil and returned,
Hail to those folk that we once have been,
And hail to those we will be again!
Hail to the Dead!
Hail to the Dead!
Hail to the Dead!

Chant:
Door of the ages
Veil of the years
Door of the darkness
Veil of our tears
Winds of our sorrow
Lift us in flight
Winds of tomorrow
Lift up our sight
Stones of the graveyard
Path we walk on
Stones of the labyrinth
Path of the dawn

(Each goes forth and places their dried rose in the fire of the brazier. Then one steps forward and says:)

The year is turning, and we stand at the crossroads.
Remember as you keep your vigil tonight,
That Darkness yields always to Light,
As Light yields always to Darkness,
And so shall it be, always and forever,
And so mote it be.

(All repeat “So mote it be.” Then all leave the room chanting together, and go solitary into various places to keep their vigil. The altar room is left as a feast for the Dead.)

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Calendar of the Moon for October 28th

Calendar of the Moon

Ivy Month

Colors: Light blue and dark green
Element: Air
Altar: Upon cloth of dark green lay pots of ivy twined up around posts of gold with suns, three blue candles, a vine-painted chalice of water, and a feather fan.
Offerings: Pray for enlightenment, and to be lifted up.
Daily Meal: Sheep, goat, or vegetarian using the fruits of the local harvests.

Gort Invocation

Call: Hail the month of the Ivy!
Response: Hail the month of twining for the sky!
Call: Where the vine yielded forth the blood of the earth…
Response: The ivy yields up the winds of the sky!
Call: Where the vine dulls the mind with happiness…
Response: The ivy opens the mind with terror and light!
Call: Hail to the chains of the Maenads!
Response: Hail to Dionysos and his torrent of madness!
Call: Hail to the Lady that mates with the Oak!
Response: She has entwined him, she has wrapped her limbs about him!
Call: Even his great strength is not enough to stay her!
Response: She shows that not all strength is standing tall!
Call: Hail to she who is supported by others….
Response: Yet reaches as high as they themselves!
Call: Show us, sacred Ivy, what it is to rise with the aid of the strong.
Response: Show us what it is to be borne up by branches.
Call: Show us what it is to be borne up by hopes.
Response: Show us what it is to be borne up by the Gods.
Call: We cannot reach the sky without aid…
Response: So we entreat you, Ivy, beg for aid for our earthbound hands.
Call: Teach us that the sky can be gained not only by the straight path…
Response: But also by the path of the spiral!
Call: Dance that spiral for us, Ivy, and we shall follow you!
Response: We shall follow you toward the blessed realms of the Gods.

Chant:
Turn turn turn again
Turn wind turn leaf
Twine o’er the last sheaf
Turn turn turn again

[Pagan Book of Hours]