wheel of the year

Summer Solstice/Alban Hefin
The time of the longest day, light is at its maximum in strength, god and goddess in their prime, Stonehenge

Berengaria Order of Druids ceremony – Summer 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 Hefin or the Summer Solstice is probably the most sacred time of the Wheel of the Celtic Year, and the most well known of the Eight Festivals. It is linked to the Inca New Year in South America and traditionally, druids gather at Stonehenge to celebrate it. The time of the longest day, it is when the Oak battles with the Holly for supremacy over this half of the year. The Oak rules the Summer and the Holly rules the Winter, and both have to contest against each other to win the Goddess of the Land. As the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West, so dies the year wax and then wane. Everything flows, nothing is static. Life is a process, not a state. It is also the time of herb gathering and the gathering of the clans, to offer praise to the Earth Mother and the Life Giving Sun, without whom we would not be. Hail to thee, oh Sun, without whom we would not be (Celebrant offers incense).

Celebrant: In ancient Celtic times, the King or Chieftain of the Tribe, representing the Sun, would annually and ritually wed himself to the Land, which was represented as a mare, in honour of Epona, the horse Goddess. The Celts were a matriarchal people and were greatly in touch with the land, observing the changing of the seasons, as the Wheel of the Year turned around and around with the light of the Sun: ‘Oh Sun, put flight to the powers of darkness and bring fertility to the Land. The King of the Land is married to the Land, for the King and the Land, as God and Goddess, are One’. Remember that the Land and the People are One, without the Land we would also not be. We are the Guardians of the Earth, what happens to Her, happens to us. So mark and serve the Land well.

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

Celebrant: (visualises the Oak King, Holly King and Earth Goddess). I see before me the Oak King with a crown of oak leaves, the Holly King with a crown of Holly leaves and the Earth Goddess with a circlet of flowers before me. The Oak King must do battle with the Holly King in order to win the Goddess of the Land (celebrant visualises ‘battle’ taking place between the oak and holly kings). The Oak King falls and the Holly King wins. I see the Holly king placing one foot on the stomach of the Oak King in triumph, and then he takes the hand of the Earth Goddess. 

Celebrant: Behold, the Oak is slain and Holly reigns! The Sun God called Lugh, Llew, Arthur, Horus or Apollo, continues on his ancient journey as we turn to the coming darkness. We give thanks to the fallen oak of the waxing year and to the holly of the waning year. As the holly king now takes the Earth Goddess, called Dana, Rhiannon, Guinevere, Isis, or Demeter by the hand, so do we visualise them jumping over the besom for the coming year.

Celebrant (visualises holly king and earth goddess jumping over a besom): So now we turn to the spirit of the fallen oak, consigned to the Court of Caer Arianrhod, until the turning of the year, when he will rise again anew in another time and place, as spring begins afresh. 

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: Lance to Graal, Athame to Chalice, Man to Woman, Sun to Earth. Behold, this bread and wine are the body and blood of the Gods. It sustains and nourishes us. By consuming the Gods, we become One with them. For we and the Gods are One. 

Celebrant: The Summer Solstice can be likened to the Battle of Light and Darkness. This battle of light against darkness can be found in many cultures and legends. It is the Eternal Battle of Duality and has many names, whether they are Vorlons and Shadows, Horus and Set, Arthur and Mordred, Zeus and Hades, Starfleet and the Dominion. These battles may be won, but there are always new battles to be fought. Only the names change. It is important to transcend duality and realise that we are all part of the One, as in the Microcosm and Macrocosm. As Above, So Below. What is true in Heaven is true on Earth. 

Celebrant: (Holding up crystal on altar, so that the suns rays catch it): On this the longest and brightest day, may the light of the Sun descend into the Earth through this crystal to bestow blessings on the planet, people, plants and animals, just like as in the days of old in Ancient Atlantis and in the rites of the ‘Hymn to the Sun’.

Celebrant may wish to attune with sacred sites or link into ceremonies taking place, such as at Stonehenge or Avebury, Tara or Newgrange.

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: 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 Summer 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

wheel of the year