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                           CANDLEMAS (IMBOLC) RITUAL: 2 February 
                                     -by the White Bard

          Materials:  a candle for each covener present.
                      a MAIDEN, dressed in white.
                      a Crown of Light, made from three, six, or nine
                          candles.
                      a BARD/GREEN MAN.
                      a DARK LORD, dressed in dark clothing, and holding a
                        dark cloak.

          %  The place of ritual should be set up, away from the
             gathered participants.
          %  It is more than a good idea to manage bathrooms and such like
          %  before the circle is closed. This Mystery is not something any
          %  of the participants should miss out on!
          The BARD should stand to the WEST, unless otherwise specified in the
          ritual.
            ---------------------------------------------------------------

          HPS: Go we now to the sacred place
               And stand within the sacred space
               Turn your minds to sacred things
               And dance with me unto the ring!

          %  HP and HPS lead the coven to the place of ritual by a
          %  spiral dance, ending in a circle around the altar. The
          %  cauldron should be at the south. The Bard/Green Man
          %  dances at the end of the line. A good song to sing here
          %  is "Lord Of The Dance."

          HPS: Come we forth, with the Spiral Dance
               Within the Lady's radiance
               To celebrate the Sun's rebirth
               To renew life, to warm the Earth

               Earth and Water, Fire and Air
               I invoke the Goddess there!
               This night we are Between the Worlds
               To celebrate the year unfurled!

          HP: Earth and Water, Fire and Sky
              I invoke the God on high
              This night we are Between the Worlds
              To celebrate the year unfurled!

          %   The corners shall be called thusly, that all may hear, but
          %   shall not be called until the HPS reaches that corner on her
          %   circumnabulation.

          EAST:   O Guardians of the Eastern Tower,
                  Airy ones of healing power
                  I do summon, stir and call you
                  See these rites and guard this circle!

                  Come to us and heed our call!
                  By the Power that made us all;
                  By the Power that blesses Thee:
                  Come to us; and Blessed Be!


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          SOUTH:  Oh fiery ones of Southern Power
                  Thus I invite you to this tower
                  I do summon, stir and call you
                  See these rites and guard this circle!

                  Come to us and heed our call!
                  By the Power that made us all;
                  By the Power that blesses Thee:
                  Come to us; and Blessed Be!

          WEST:   Western ones of water's flow
                  Help to guard us here below
                  I do summon, stir and call you
                  See these rites and guard this circle!

                  Come to us and heed our call!
                  By the Power that made us all;
                  By the Power that blesses Thee:
                  Come to us; and Blessed Be!

          NORTH:  Earthen ones of Northern fame
                  Bless and guard our Power's fane
                  I do summon, stir and call you
                  See these rites and guard this circle!

                  Come to us and heed our call!
                  By the Power that made us all;
                  By the Power that blesses Thee:
                  Come to us; and Blessed Be!

          %  The HPS shall move to each corner, and say, following each
          %  corner's crying as she moves to the next:

          HPS: So I cast and consecrate
               This Circle of the small and great:
               By Fin and Feather, Leaf and Tree,
               By Rock and Earth, by Land and Sea,
               By Fire and Water, Earth and Air,
               By the Lord, and Lady Fair!
               By Love and Joy and Work and Play,
               All things harmful cast away!
               By lightening's flash, and rain's soft fall,
               By the Power that made us all;
               By the Power that blesses Thee:
               (Cast the Circle: Blessed be!)

          %  On her return to the first corner she shall change the last
          %  line above, and say:

               The Circle's cast; and Blessed Be!

          %  The callers of the corners shall return their tools to the
             altar, and then shall join the circle at their corners.


                                                                            1153

                  --------------------------------------------------
          %   Here begins the Candlemas (Imbolc) Mystery:
          %   The Maiden shall step forth, and say:

          MAIDEN: This is the time of Brigid, the Patron of Poets and Fire,
                  and of Healing.

          HPS: This is the time of new beginnings, when the Mother has become
               Maiden.

          HP:  The days  have  turned, and  grow longer,  and  the Sun-child  is
          growing
              to His strength.

          BARD/GREEN MAN: I have been a wave upon the sea,
                          And a spark in the firelight.

                          I have been a fish in the ocean.
                          I have been a Thought within a Word,
                          And a Word within a Deed.
                          I was cast away, and found again.

                          I have been made of flowers
                          And of cold steel and brass.
                          Fire and ice are alike unto me.

                          I have been the narrow blade of a sword
                          That kills without cutting.
                          And the Void is my homeland.

                          I have been in Caer Sidi
                          In the Spiral Castle of Glass.
                          And the letters on the Standing Stones
                          Are no secret from me.

                          I have been in Annwyn
                          And Tir na n'Og,
                          I have danced the Spiral Dance,
                          And drunk from the Hierlas at daybreak.

                          I have ridden beneath two ravens
                          And served in the kitchen,
                          And all places are alike unto me.

                          I have been a child
                          And now I come into my strength!

                          I invoke the Land, the dear Land,
                          the Earth our Mother!


                                                                            1154

          MAIDEN: The cycles of the Moon have taken their course, and I am
                  in my Maidenhood. The stars are kindled, and I dance in
                  their light.

          DARK LORD: Thy home is with me thru the long months of Winter, and the
                     Earth shall lie fallow and bare.

          %   The HPS shall then light the candles of the Crown of Light,
          %   and shall  approach the Maiden, who  is now standing in the  East,
          and
          %   place it upon her head.
          %   She shall now, in company with the  Bard/Green Man, circumnabulate
          the
          %   circle, and the coveners shall light their candles from her crown.
          %    The  Bard/Green Man shall  return to his  normal place within the
          circle
          %   and the Maiden shall place the Crown of Light on the altar.
          %    The Maiden shall  then approach the  Dark Lord, and  kneel before
          him,
          %   and he shall say:

          DARK LORD: As it always  is, always was, and always shall  be. Come to
          my
                     Kingdom.

          %    Here he  shall place  the dark cloak  around her, and  they shall
          retire
          %   to the West.
          %   Here ends the Candlemas Mystery.

            --------------------------------------------------------------------

          %   A normal cone-of-power may be raised, for growth and healing:

          HPS: In a ring we all shall stand
               Pass the Power, hand to hand.

          HP: As the Sun is given birth
              Build the Power; root to Earth

          HPS: Pass the Power, hand to hand
               Bless the Lady, bless the Land

          HP: Bless the Lord, and bless the Skies
              Bless the Power that never dies!

          %   The above four verses should be repeated three times, (or
          %   as many times as needed) and then the HPS should say:

          HPS: By Fin and Feather, Leaf and Tree:
               Let the Power flow out and free!

          %   All should release, at this point.


                                                                            1155

                  ------------------------------------------------------


          %   Such coven business as must be transacted may be done here.
          %    This is a  good time to bless  candles for use  during the coming
          year.
          %   This is also a good time for initiations.
                  ------------------------------------------------------
          %   The Circle is opened.

          HPS: Thus I release the East and West
               Thanks to them from Host to Guest
               Thus I release the South and North
               With "Blessed Be' I send them forth!
               The Circle's open, dance we so
               Out and homeward we shall go.
               Earth and Water, Air and Fire
               Celebrated our desire.
               The Sun's returned to banish dark
               The Earth awakes to sunlight's spark.
               By Fin and Feather, Leaf and Tree,
               Our circle's done; and Blessed Be!

          COVEN: Blessed Be!

          %   All spiral dance out from the Circle.

            -------------------------end----------------------------------


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