Last Saturday I attended a belated Imbolc ritual. One could still feel that it was in the middle of Imbolc. Indeed, I still feel this now! It was a lovely ritual. I got to sit down and chat for a while with some pagans that I haven’t seen in a while and I also got to introduce a friend of mine to some witchcraft. The ritual in question was a bit ceremonial for my taste, but at the same time it was nice to have some ritualized structure. The most frightening part was meeting the Guardian of the Circle. Since I am not part of a formal coven, I have never experienced this before. A Guardian of the Circle is usually a masked or hooded initiate that holds a dagger to those entering into the ritual space and asks them how they enter. I was about fourth in line to get in (lawls, sounds like a ride! but seriously) and I saw the Guardian pointing at the throats of those entering. I did not see that he had a hidden dagger until it was at my throat. It was rather intense and frightening and challenging at the same time. After we had all been allowed into the circle we began.
We started with a banishing ritual that was related to Lesser Banishing Ritual with some eclectic witchcrafty elements. I also got to use the “Eko Eko Azarach” power words in ritual! I have never used them before because I never really knew where such things would be used (I read them first in Master Witchcraft). I was surprised about the power that these words ushered in. It nearly knocked me off my feet, to be honest! Seriously, I got really dizzy when I was intoning them. It was intense.
We then proceeded into the Meridian Dance. We first danced in a clockwise circle and were creating a vortex in the center by moving our hands in and out of the central circle. It reminded me of the term treading the mill used in some traditional witchcraft circles. In treading the mill one is “kicking” up energy from the ground and stirring the energy with the feet. Eventually one will have enough energy to work into a spell or into a ritual or to trance out. During this particular dance we switched directions, but before doing so we would stop and send the energy up the spine and then down and then up into our hearts. It created an interesting shape around the body. We would then send loving energy back into the Land and then dance in the opposite direction.
When we were finished the quarters were called in ceremonial fashion and then the circle was cast. And then we sat down to listen to a guided meditation. The meditation was very powerful and I made my own connections with ancestral stars and living within the Land to be birthed again. It was very relaxing and the speaker had the perfect voice for it. It was very refreshing.
To finish we sat around for cakes and a very delicious wine! It was not mead, but it was about as sweet as mead. It was very good. I set a bit aside for the spirits and we proceeded to share our experiences and talk about upcoming things. I do not normally do this within a circle, but in some traditions the circle is meant to be a temple. In some Gardnerian covens the circle is only to be used for ritual and speaking of Craft related topics. I was sort of reminded of this when we started swapping news and stories to “wind-down” as it were. Eventually we closed the ritual and went upstairs to eat something to further ground ourselves.
The stars never looked so beautiful that night.