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Winter Solstice/Alban Arthuran
Old age and death, time of suns light is at its minimum, Newgrange, the conception of the sun by the earth

Berengaria Order of Druids ceremony – Winter Solstice
By Sarah Rooke, Archdruidess

On an altar let there be a phial of anointing oil, a chalice of water, a salver of salt, burning incense, three lighted candles, a rock or crystal, some flowers, a wand and or athame, a sword or bat’leth (if possible), bread and wine/fruit juice and a container of herbs. Druids in white or pastel, or Druidic/Celtic robes

Opening Ceremony

Celebrant: Before I begin, am I ready to start this ceremony?

Celebrant: I am

Celebrant: (Takes sword or wand in the air, going round in a circle) I conjure thee oh circle of power, that thou may be a meeting place of love, joy and truth, a shield against all wickedness and evil, a container and a condenser of all the power that we shall raise within thee. A rampart and a protection. Until the time when the sky falls above our heads, or the sea rises up and smothers us, or the earth opens her maw and swallows us, in the holy names of the gods and goddesses that we worship, I do consecrate and bless thee

Celebrant: The earth is blessed

Celebrant holding a container of salt water, walks round the circle, sprinkling on floor saying:

Earth and water were you cast, let no adverse purpose past. Be in complete accord with we, as is our will so mote it be

Celebrant holding burning incense, walks around circle, wafting the scent everywhere saying:

Air and fire harken now to our desire, awaken the sleeper deep within, let no evil enter in.  Be in complete accord with we, as is our will so mote it be

Celebrant (at East):  There is peace in the East

Celebrant (at South): There is peace in the South

Celebrant (at West): There is peace in the West

Celebrant (at North): There is peace in the North

Celebrant (standing in centre):  There is peace throughout the entire land

Celebrant: Holds athame/wand up and in a sweeping circle points it down saying:

The Earth our mother lies at our feet, the sky above protects us. This circle is now complete, and the ceremony may now commence

The main ceremony

Celebrant: I stand before the Sacred Grove of Minbar of the Berengaria Order of Druids and to the Guardians, Ancestors, and Spirits of this Place.  I declare my intent, I am grey, I stand between the candle and the star. We are grey, we stand between the darkness and the light

Celebrant: Alban Arthuran, the Light of Arthur, is the time of the Winter Solstice in the Druidic Wheel of the Year.  It is the time when the nights are long and the days are short. In ancient times, it was believed that the Sun was swallowed up by the Earth Mother and was then conceived and reborn on the same day, as the Mabon, or Golden Child. In modern times, this time of year is celebrated as Christmas to acknowledge the Birth of Christ. In Egyptian mythology, it is also the time that Osiris was said to be enclosed within the tamarisk tree.

Celebrant: In the legends, King Arthur was delivered on a boat upstream to the Isle of Avalon with the Three Queens in mourning. His sword Excalibur had already been thrown back to the Lady of the Lake for safe-keeping by Sir Bedivere. His death was at the hands of Mordred, son of Morgana le Fey, the Enchantress. But such as legends are, King Arthur is also said to sleep in a cave somewhere still with the Knights of the Round Table, which was designed by Merlin, the Magician. There they wait to be awoken at the time when the Land of Albion, or Britain, needs them most in defending this Emerald Isle set in Sapphire Sea. 

Celebrant: At this time of year, Queen Morgana le Fey claims back what is Hers unto herself and gives birth to a new child. For She is the Queen of Death and Rebirth. She is feared as the Dark Goddess, but Death and Rebirth are all natural processes. Life is a process, not a state. Nothing is static, but it only changes its form in the Cycle of the Universe. Thus She brings forth initiation to those who seek it to look beyond what is visible.

Celebrant: In the Minbari tradition, there is a ceremony for Rebirth and Initiation. There is also the Triluminary, a gift from Valen, which brings forth change and transformation by means of the chrysalis that cocoons us for a certain period of time, until the process is completed and we emerge again, reborn.

Celebrant: With Order plunging into Chaos and Chaos plunging into Order, we don’t know what is what anymore! We have entered the Abyss, as war and technology, corruption and pollution is rife, as we start the Dawn of the Third Age of Mankind and the Age of Aquarius.  We wonder who can help us in our darkest hour of need.

Celebrant: However, let it be known that Father Time grows old and weak at Alban Arthuran, the Winter Solstice. He is consumed by the Mother at places like Stonehenge and in Newgrange, and is Reborn on the same day as Her Newly Born Son. Thus we have comfort and assurance that today the nights start to get short and the days longer again. The Golden Child is with us once again

Celebrant takes time to meditate and reflect on this mystery, reflecting in ones own life and at this special time of the year. 

Celebrant (offering incense): We look at Queen Morgana le Fey and see that the Dark Goddess, the Enchantress, is no more! She has become instead her sister, the Lady of the Lake! Her dress shimmers of the purest white with the iridescence of gold and silver. She is now the Goddess of Light, returned and brought back to us at this time of year (Celebrant visualises the Dark Queen Morgana le Fey throwing off her dark robes to reveal the shining dress underneath as Lady of the Lake)

Celebrant: Now I see! King Arthur stands besides Her full of Youth and vitality! He has returned from the Isle of Avalon reborn, ready to defend the protect those in need of his help in the Land of Albion. The Goddess’s son is with us again, brought forth as the Golden One! The Light of Arthur is Here with us Now, forever!

Celebrant: May the Goddesses and Gods bestow their gifts of joy and love to all in peace and harmony.

 A path working or meditation in the celebrants chosen path may follow. Celebrant may seek to commune with the Gods and Goddesses of their tradition.

Celebrant: I give thanks to the Guardians, Ancestors and Spirits of the Place for the Inspiration, Originality, and Imagination that has been bestowed on me today.

Celebrant holds out platter of bread, with wand/athame makes pentagram to bless it

I hereby bless this in the name of the Gods and Goddesses

Celebrant holds out chalice of wine, with wand/athame makes pentagram to bless it

I hereby bless this in the name of the Gods and Goddesses.

After partaking of bread and wine, celebrant intones druidic chant of Awen three times: 

Awen, Awen, Awen

Celebrant: I shall now recite the Druids Prayer, Grant oh God/Goddess, thy protection, and in protection, strength. And in strength, understanding, and in understanding, knowledge. And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice, and in the knowledge of justice, the love of it. And in the love of it, the love of all existences. And in the love of all existences, the love of god and goddess and all goodness

Celebrant: I shall now say the Druids Oath, We swear, by peace and love to stand, heart to heart and hand in hand, mark oh spirit and hear us now, confirming this our sacred vow.

Celebrant may like to offer their own poems, dancing or songs here, and also any special prayers or thoughts at this time as they feel appropriate

Closing Ceremony

Celebrant: As is tradition, I raise my hands in the air, sending out thoughts of peace and harmony to all things and beings, and any projects I have in mind

Celebrant:  My ceremony completed, I close this circle so I may return to everyday life. But first i thank the Guardians, Ancestors and Spirits of the Place.

Turns to East: There is peace in the East

Turns to South: There is peace in the South

Turns to West: There is peace in the West

Turns to North: There is peace in the North

Standing in centre: There is peace throughout the entire land

Celebrant: In the Name of the Gods and Goddesses that I worship, I send blessings out to the cosmos and the soma of our Universe, and all lifeforms, things and beings, remembering that the truth is out there! We also give thanks to the Gods and Goddesses for the love, beauty and truth that surrounds us now and forever. May we go forth with the Divine Blessing. Live Long and Prosper. May the Force Be With Us! Happy Winter Solstice!

Celebrant: Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again

 Note: This a solo use ceremony that can be performed alone by oneself or with others

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