Yes, I know it’s late. Yes, I know Lammas is almost upon us. But I’m having a bit of an off day – old wounds from the past that ache every so often – and I thought that offering my ritual for my readers’ consumption would be a better post than lamenting over past hurts and neuroses. (At least until I can channel these negative feelings into constructive writing.)
The following is what I have verbatim from this past Midsummer’s ritual, done ADF style, along with a small reflection at the end which will go toward my completion of the Dedicant Path. Enjoy!
Midsummer 2012 Ritual Write-Up
6/26/2012 10:50 PM – 11:50 PM
Buena Vista, Virginia – my backyard
Hearth Culture: Gaelic (focus on both Irish and Scottish gods)
Earth Month: Danu (water)
Gatekeeper: Manannán mac Lir (incense)
Bardic Deities: Bride, Aengus Óg (song)
Peacekeeper: the Morrígan (hair)
Deity of the Occasion: Áine (apple)
Noble Ones: birdseed
Mighty Ones: milk
Shining Ones: olive oil
For all: white cooking wine
Omen Method: The Wildwood Tarot
- How were my offerings received?
- 9 of Vessels/Cups: Generosity
- “Nature’s open-hearted, spiritual cauldron has a welcome for those who approach the waters of knowledge with compassion. They are blessed by regeneration… by freely giving of your time, support, and energy, the blessing of the divine surrounds you.”
- This card is of a cyclical nature, referring to a recurring bounty that forms as the result of previous and future gifting. I feel that my offerings were graciously accepted and viewed as generous, “deeper” than perhaps were my offerings in the past. My gifts were seen as good, generous, appropriate, and perhaps worthy of return blessing in the future.
- 9 of Vessels/Cups: Generosity
- What blessings may I be given in return?
- 9 of Arrows/Swords, reversed: Jealousy
- “The most commonly associated emotional drive linked to jealousy is loss… the healing balm for envy is humility, acceptance, and forgiveness, even in the face of bitter rivalry and anger, just as the constant refocusing of your energy into a positive and creative momentum in your own life is the best healer for the effects of jealousy.”
- This was a strange card to interpret; I hope it means that I will be given the tools needed to counteract jealousy and its primary motive, loss. Gifts that will allow me to move past blocks, anger, pain, and loss so that positive creativity can flourish in my life.
- 9 of Arrows/Swords, reversed: Jealousy
- Praise for Áine, Midsummer Queen, and celebration of the turning of the seasons.
- Request for blessings and guidance for myself and my girlfriend as our relationship continues to strengthen and deepen.
- Outdoor rituals are the best! I decided on a spot in my backyard by a fence with small maple seedlings (one of these was my Tree), with the Big Dipper above me and the crescent/half waning moon to my left peeking through the maple tree. My only issue is that it hurts my back to sit on the ground, but sitting on a chair just seems to ruin the mood.
- I decided to focus on a “dual” Irish/Scottish hearth for several reasons. I’ve been trying to find more information about my father’s side of the family, which originally hails from the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, and learn more about Scottish myths and legends. From what I can see, “Gaelic” information is heavily skewed toward the Irish side of things, completely leaving out Manx and only paying slight homage to Scottish culture. The main Scottish deities I could find were Bride, Aenghus Óg, Manannán mac Lir, and the Cailleach. I felt comfortable also including the Irish deities Danu, Áine, and the Morrigan because the western/northern parts of Scotland, whence my family hails, was settled and heavily influenced by the Ulsters, who brought with them their myths.
- Danu for me continues to be “the force that turns the flowers toward the sun.” I see her as a dual Earth/Water Mother and connect to her through the symbolism of land and well.
- Manannán has acted as my Gatekeeper for over two years, whenever I worked with an Irish hearth. Last Fall Equinox I observed a ritualist for the Grove of the Seven Hills (Lynchburg, VA) invoke Manannán by using two lit incense sticks on either side of him to symbolize the opening of the gate; I replicated that procedure for this ritual. Manannán mac Lir is special to me because he was the first Celtic god to make himself known fully (that is, I had a name attached to a presence) and because his worship was known on the Isle of Lewis, ancient homeland of my family.
- I have known Bride for quite some time through her Irish name Brighid, and also through her role as Lady of the Stars. A short while before this Midsummer ritual, I kept flame for her for the first time in many, many months. She is a beautiful source of inspiration and light for me, and I was glad to work with her again in ritual. Aenghus Óg is a deity I’ve wanted to meet for some time, as my last name “MacInnis” is a variation of “MacAngus.” I have found one myth that refers to Aengus and Bride as lovers, but as I was not able to corroborate this myth with any other sources, I simply invoked them as two deities with similar purviews working together. Aengus, in my mind, appears as a red god – light red skin and dark red hair – with joy and energy.
- The Outdwellers always provide a source of consternation when I plan rituals. I’m not comfortable invoking any powers like that, even if it’s just to give them a peace offering to leave me alone, and sometimes I’m unclear whether a deity/spirit is or is not an Outdweller. For example, Scottish myth places a huge emphasis on the winter/summer duality of the Cailleach and Bride, and the Cailleach may be understood to be an “evil” deity who brings ice and darkness to the land while keeping the spring/summer maiden under her control. But many place names in Scotland refer to the Cailleach and in many cases her personality is far more nuanced than the “evil” counterpart to Bride. Furthermore, while I know of the Formori and the Fir Bolg as those who strove against the Tuatha Dé Danaan, I didn’t know them all that well, and invoking Outdwellers I knew little about seemed to make as much sense as invoking gods for ritual I had never formally met. After searching on ADF for a bit, I came across a Norse ritualist who invoked deities to keep away the Outdwellers rather than the Outdwellers themselves. In this case I decided my “Peacekeeper” role would fall best to the Morrígan, a deity I have interacted with in the past. My first impulse was to give her blood, but I decided to offer her a snipped off portion of my hair instead. It’s interesting to note that while I was a bit spooked preparing for the ritual (to be done outside in the dark), calling on tM soothed my nerves and kept me feeling safe.
- Áine was such a joy to learn about, though she’s more difficult to study than more “popular” gods like Brighid or tM. Her energy reminded me of Persephone’s, come to think of it, and her colors were soft golds, pinks, oranges.
- This was the first time I’d used any divination in a long, long time. I shuffled the best I could outside and picked two cards. It wasn’t until later (7/1/2012) I sat down and read through what they meant. I tried to use open-ended questions.
- All gods I suppose may be linked back to love, but I tried to invoke each god/dess in particular based on their myths and history when I spoke of my girlfriend’s relationship with me. (Except for Manannán – I forgot about him and called him last!) Aenghus and tM in particular seemed “best suited” for my request. (I dislike talking about the gods like they’re spices I’m pairing with my meal, but it’s the best I can do in short summary.) Aenghus because he’s the god of love and youth and just seems like a likable, helpful guy; I might be projecting, but I get the sense that nothing makes him happier than being able to help love to flourish. tM because, well… BDSM just really seems like her forte. Also because she’s about sovereignty, power, and consent wrapped up in raw sexuality. If there’s anyone who can understand what my girlfriend and I have been experiencing together, I feel like tM would be that anyone.
- I’ve begun recognizing the symptoms for slipping into an alternate state of consciousness. It feels like the mental equivalent of flaring my nostrils to catch a scent; nothing too mind-blowing or expansive, just enough to be different. Physically I get shivers down my spine and tingling especially in my arms and thighs. My mind seems more “awake,” though I’m not necessarily “feeling” anything extra. My state of mind before going into this alternate state determines whether I have a good or bad trip. Because I had invoked deities I was familiar with and called on tM to be my Peacekeeper, I was able to keep the spooked feelings at bay. But in other situations when this altered state pops up out of nowhere, it often leads me to feeling extremely insecure and afraid. A darkened room becomes sinister instead of peaceful. I don’t think I’m really sensing different entities or energies, but I’m certainly shifting away from everyday awareness into something else.
Midsummer 2012 Essay
This was my first ritual in quite some time, and so I delayed far too long in trying to get it “just right.” I finally threw out my initial script and, feeling comfortable in the COoR, did it all from my heart. I worked from a Gaelic hearth, honoring both Irish and Scottish (and, in Manannán’s case, Manx) deities. I also experimented with a “Peacekeeper” deity to whom I prayed for protection against the Outdwellers. I didn’t feel comfortable invoking any Outdwellers, even if it was to simply give a peace offering so they would leave me be, but I did feel very safe and protected after asked for the Morrígan’s assistance.
I enjoy outdoor rituals, but sitting on the ground hurts my back; I’ll have to look into getting a special cushion, because sitting on a chair just ruins the mood for me! I’m also getting better at telling when I’m shifting to a ritual mindset (shivers, a certain mental alertness). I used The Wildwood Tarot for taking the Omen and asked opened-ended questions. For “How were my offerings received?” I pulled 9 of Vessels/Cups, or “Generosity.” Though I thought my offerings were meager, they were accepted as the start of a round of gifting and blessing between myself and the Kindreds, the (re)start of a good relationship. For “What blessings may I be given in return?” I pulled 3 of Bows/Swords, reversed, or “Jealousy.” This was more difficult to interpret, but I believe it means that a host of negative emotions which have interfered with my spiritual life – jealousy, envy, depression, loss – will either be taken from me, or I’ll be given the tools to properly combat them.