Week 10: Winter Solstice Recap

This was the first ADF-inspired ritual I have done on my own for several years. I say “inspired” because while the Core Order of Ritual was my inspiration, I went in without a script and did what I remembered from the COoR without stressing over the details. As such I don’t have a script to present to anyone, which I kind of like; it’s ephemeral, person, and forever caught in a moment. I’m a romantic like that.

The Patron of this rite was Brighid in all Her guides, especially calling on Sulis Minerva. As a solar goddess, honoring Brighid on the solstices and equinoxes makes sense to me. As my patron (and only) deity for several years, focusing on Her also makes sense, at least in these beginning stages.

My altar setup was simple with a Christmas cactus, a handmade ceramic chalice from my MIL, and a beautiful stained class candle holder representing my Tree, Well, and Fire, respectively. The Well was at the center and a commissioned painting of Brighid as Starsmith rested against it. There was an offering bowl for the Ancestors and Nature Spirits, as well as an oil burner for the Shining Ones.

My solstice altar featuring: a small potted Christmas cactus, an image of Brighid the Starsmith propped up on a ceramic chalice, a stained glass candle holder, a bowl holding tea leaves, a bowl holding a cookie, and an oil burner.

My solstice altar!

As someone who is disabled and not always able to stand for any period of time without pain, I was honestly worried about getting back into the swing of ritual. But then I realized there’s no written rule anywhere that says I can’t plop a chair in front of my altar and do the rite sitting down, so that’s exactly what I did. This also put me closer to eye level with my altar, which is aesthetically more pleasing to me than looking down from my vantage point of 5’10. 🙂

I gave the Nature Spirits a tablespoon of honeybush hazelnut, one of my favorite teas that I later brewed to enjoy in the company of the Wild Ones and Hearth Protectors. The Ancestors got a peanut butter cookie lovingly baked by my spouse as a symbol of the love between families. The Shining Ones received several drops of a special oil blend I made to combat anxiety and depression: sacred to me and beneficial to Them, if They also get SAD!

To Brighid I offered a song (“Lady of the Star Fire”, which I really need to record at some point) and my entire self. It’s an ongoing gift, and Her blessings an ongoing gift of return as well. She is my patron and I am Her devotee.

The Omen I drew was collectively from “Everyone” and, rather than phrasing it as a return gift (because I’m still trying to sort out reciprocity and gifts in ritual) I asked what I could expect from the Kindreds from now until the next High Day. I drew the King of Wands, which strikes me as a very auspicious card, whose meaning I will meditate on for some time. It is a card of inspiration, authority, and desire, being able to illuminate the path ahead and make your Will manifest in the world.

Finally a note about the Gatekeeper: I hadn’t set out for this to be a specific cultural rite (because I’m not that interested in many other Celtic gods besides the constellation of Brig goddesses and heroines), but I did call out to Manannan mac Lir, Who I’ve had dealings with in previous Druid rites. I very much missed Him and am looking forward to rebuilding that connection.

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