Fire Season Celebration

This ritual was written to celebrate the Fire Season in the Coast Range Mountains of California. It is performed on the day of the Autumnal Equinox (or thereabouts).

The basic structure of the ritual was inspired by the ritual forms typical of the Druid Revival, and in specific, those used within the Ancient Order of Druids in America, of which I am an active member. It (roughly) follows the AODA ritual form, but adapts AODA ritual components to more closely align with my family’s practice, which focuses less on magical/masonic/hermetic type ritual, and more on forging direct relationships with the Numenons of Nature (in the words of Aldo Leopold), and in expressing gratitude and reciprocity for extant blessings (as suggested in Braiding Sweetgrass), rather than summoning and banishing powers.

In addition, as a mother of a young child, it is important to me that all rituals I organize be family-friendly, and include meaningful roles for young children in attendance. As such, I wrote the role of “Herald” to be performed by my (currently) six-year-old son.

GROVE CELEBRATION for FIRE SEASON – SCRIPT
Arrange chairs in a circle.

GROVE DRUID
Please attend, as I am about to open a Grove of Druids in this place.

Participants stand in a circle.

GROVE DRUID
The first duty of Druids assembled in our sacred grove is to proclaim peace to the four quarters of the world, and to recognize and give thanks for the many blessings of divinity, which dwell within the heart of Nature.
(pause)
Herald, you may begin.

The Herald pours an offering of water just outside the Eastern side of the circle.

HERALD
Peace and greetings to the East!

GROVE DRUID
(saluting the East)
Birthplace of the rushing winds,
Where the golden eagle soars at dawn,
With gifts of insight and inspiration.

ALL
Thank you for the blessings of Air.

The Herald pours an offering of water just outside the Southern side of the circle.

HERALD
Peace and greetings to the South!

GROVE DRUID
(saluting the South)
Pathway of the brilliant flames,
Where soothing warmth from heaven’s hearth,
Encourages and lights the heart.

ALL
Thank you for the blessings of Fire.

The Herald pours an offering of water just outside the Western side of the circle.

HERALD
Peace and greetings to the West!

GROVE DRUID
(saluting the West)
Wellspring of the mighty sea,
Whose cascading mists, and currents, and tides
Inspire reflection and change in the wise.

ALL
Thank you for the blessings of Water.

The Herald pours an offering of water just outside the Northern side of the circle.

HERALD
Peace and greetings to the North!

GROVE DRUID
(saluting the North)
Homeland of the ancient trees,
Whose lives embody the ages of time,
Through quiet accretion of manifest glory.

ALL
Thank you for the blessings of Earth.

The Herald returns to the center of the circle. He tosses an offering of water into the air.

HERALD
Peace and greetings, Father Sky!

GROVE DRUID
(saluting Father Sky, above)
Source of Nature’s Law, and Light,
Lord of the distant, Celestial Sphere, and
Master of seasons and cycles, here.

ALL
Thank you for the blessings of Spirit Above.

The Herald pours an offering of water on the ground at the center of the circle.

HERALD
Peace and greetings, Mother Earth!

GROVE DRUID
(saluting Mother Earth, below)
Churning power of heat and rebirth,
Lifter of mountains, and mixer of seas,
Shaper of winds, and all life among these.

ALL
Thank you for the blessings of Spirit Below.

GROVE DRUID
By the power of decisive action,
And the wisdom of calm reflection,
With the help of all the powers of Nature,
May the power of Spirit Within us grow strong.
(pause)
May it bless and protect us,
this day and always!

ALL
(chanting)
Awen!

Herald sits.

GROVE DRUID
(tracing a Tribann in the sand)
From the rising sun, three rays of light;
From the living earth, three stones of witness;
From the eye and the mind and the hand of wisdom,
Three sacred trees of knowledge.
Holy Book of Nature, teach us;
Numenons of Nature, guide us,
While we kindle inner light.

ALL
(chanting)
Awen!

GROVE DRUID
Please be seated.

Participants sit.

GROVE DRUID
We are gathered here to celebrate the Autumn Equinox, a time of balance between darkness and light that is shared by all living beings on Earth. It is also a time of dramatic change in weather, all over the world. This shared experience, of perfect balance coupled with rapid change serves to unite all beings of planet Earth, despite our many differences. Our Grove Ovate has a short lesson for us on the powers influencing our local season.

Grove Ovate stands; Grove Druid sits.

GROVE OVATE
Here in the Coast Range mountains of Northern California, autumn is the Season of Fire.
(pause)
As the Sun continues his journey southward toward his winter home, the icy Pacific upwelling stops, and summer fogs disperse. Temperatures near the coast now soar, and tinder-dry brush and trees, stressed by the summer-long drought, catch light. Smoky wildfires ravage the land, killing flora and fauna, and destroying forests, fields, and homes.
(pause)
Though the obvious face of Fire Season is one of destruction, the Power of Fire is also a force of cleansing and renewal. Fire clears space for new growth. It enriches the soil with its ash. And it serves to remind us of our duties, as stewards of the land.
(pause)
In times of dearth, when Nature fails to provide for our immediate needs, it is the responsibility of wise stewards to provide a Plan B. It is up to us to be prepared, to keep stores of seed, and water, and food, so that we can provide for our beloved kin until the season of suffering ends. Until the arrival of the winter rains, we can help our kindred Beings of land by sharing a bit of our stored water and food, and offering up our heartfelt prayers.

Grove Ovate sits; Grove Bard stands.

GROVE BARD
We will now present the story, “Singing Down the Rain,” by Joy Cowley and Jan Spivey Gilchrist.

Grove Bard narrates the story, “Singing Down the Rain,” while selected participants act out the various roles. Everyone joins in the singing.

GROVE DRUID
Please stand, as I am about to close this Grove of Druids.

Participants stand in a circle.

GROVE DRUID
With reverence and gratitude, we take our leave.

HERALD
(saluting the East)
May peace preside in the East.
(saluting the South)
May peace preside in the South.
(saluting the West)
May peace preside in the West.
(saluting the North)
May peace preside in the North.

GROVE DRUID
We close this Grove by reciting the words that have long been a bond among druids. Please join hands.

Participants join hands.

ALL
Grant, O Holy Ones, thy protection;
and in protection, strength;
and in strength, understanding;
and in understanding, wisdom;
and in wisdom, justice;
and in justice, the love of it;
and in that love, the love of all existences;
and in the love of all existences,
the love of Earth our mother, and all goodness.

GROVE DRUID
Mother Earth, and Father Sky,
With reverence and gratitude for your gifts,
We offer our service and love, in return.
As we prepare to leave this place,
We shall properly dispose of all litter and debris,
So that all beings of land and sea and sky
may continue to enjoy this place, and thrive.

ALL
(chanting)
Awen!

GROVE DRUID
The Grove is closed. Please take trash bags, and let’s clean up this beach before we go. Thank you all for coming!