Coming up with what to do for a ritual is always an adventure. Sometimes it’s easy: a particular deity says “I want you to do this.” And so we do this, whatever this is. Other times we struggle to come up with something that’s appropriate and relevant and not a repeat of what we did last year.
Occasionally, though, it’s just obvious. Such is the case for our 2021 Imbolc ritual coming up this Saturday.
In mid-November, before I started working on the Winter Solstice ritual, it hit me. Imbolc is a time for cleansing. We need to get banish the leftover bits of 2020 and give ourselves a clean start for 2021. Imbolc is a month into the new year, but we still have eleven months ahead of us. And it’s right after the U.S. Presidential inauguration. This will not be an explicitly political ritual, but I need to banish the previous occupant of the White House from my head. I don’t think I’m unique in that regard.
As with last year’s Lughnasadh, Imbolc 2021 will be a Denton CUUPS ritual. I wrote the ritual in cooperation with CUUPS Coordinating Officer Cynthia Talbot, and the members who’ve been “podding” together are presenting it… along with some remote help from others.
This will be our most ambitious ritual yet, from a liturgical perspective and from a presentation perspective. Expect some things you haven’t seen before in any of our online rituals.
Denton CUUPS Online Imbolc Ritual
Saturday, January 30
8:00 PM CDT
This ritual will roughly follow our usual liturgy: invocations and offerings, the main working, receiving blessings (the simple feast), devocations and giving thanks. The main working has three parts: banishing, cleansing, and blessing.
We will place our injuries, our losses, and our sorrows from last year into an object and then send it away. We will sweep our world clean. And we will bless our world and our lives for a better year in 2021.
The Deity of the Occasion is Brighid, because Imbolc is Her day. We will invite Her to join our ritual and ask Her to bless our working.
What you need to participate where you are
If you’d like to participate where you are, you’ll need something for offerings and something to pour them into. We’re offering whiskey – you offer what seems right to you. There have been times when all I had was clean water – it was always accepted. While different deities prefer different offerings, They mostly understand availability… and that some people can’t be around alcohol. Just don’t try to offer the cheap stuff and keep the good stuff for yourself.
There is no call to light a common candle in this ritual, but lighting one before we begin – or as we make offerings to the central fire – would be very appropriate.
In preparation for the main working, think about the things from last year that you would be rid of, especially those things that are personal to you: your injuries, your losses, and your sorrows. Do not dwell on them, but know what they are so that when the time comes, you can actively send them away.
When we’re done with the main working, we’ll share a drink among ourselves. We’ll be sharing mead – again, you drink what seems right to you. After the ritual, be sure to dispose of your offerings in a respectful manner.
The ritual runs a little over 20 minutes.
Online rituals will continue for now
I’ve committed to doing online rituals until we can hold public in-person rituals again, and while I’m hopeful we can do that later this year, I’m pretty sure it won’t be any time soon. So there will be an Under the Ancient Oaks Online Spring Equinox Ritual. I know what the theme is going to be, but I don’t have any of the details worked out yet.
For now let’s enjoy Imbolc and give ourselves a clean start to 2021.
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