The winter solstice marks the rebirth of the God, as well as the longest night of the year. It is also the final appearance of the Goddess in the cycle of the year, since she will spend the winter months recovering from her labors this night. All the earth will sleep with her; our bodies, and the trees and seeds of the earth await her return in the spring. It is a night of celebration, because we know that the light of the God has again returned.
Covener: Guardians of the East, keepers of the fires of our minds, keep us strong and sure; help us to remember that there is order, even in the smallest things, and that even in death, new life and growth will come again. (light candle, if using them to mark the quarters)
Covener: Guardians of the South, keepers of the flame of intuition, keep our eyes open, and our hearts aware; help us to remember that there is a reality we cannot see, and knowledge that we have never learned. (light candle)
Covener: Guardians of the West, keepers of the water of healing, keep us true in our love for one another; help us to grow in our relationship to the earth, and to celebrate our unity with all that lives. (light candle)
Covener: Guardians of the North, keepers of our oldest memory, keep us grounded in the wisdom of those who have been our teachers; help us to feel the earth we walk on, and to celebrate the turning of the year. (light candle)
Covener: As we gather here, drawing strength and life from all that surrounds us, let us remember that we are not alone. Even as we find warmth and safety within our own small band, we worship, too, in the spirit of all who have gone before us.
Goddess of the winter moon, we thank you for the mystery of rebirth, and bid you farewell as at last you take your rest. On this longest of nights, we celebrate you as well, as you prepare for your greatest labor, and your greatest joy. As you sleep now, under a blanket of your own making, be with us in all that we know, and all that we remember, as we wait for the return of light and life to the land. Blessed be (light Goddess candle).
Covener: We stand between worlds, where Earth and Sky, Night and Day, Life and Death are one. The circle is cast, the ritual begun.
All: Blessed be!
At this point one member should be selected to represent the Goddess and one to represent the God. The blanket or sheet should be placed over the God, seated on the ground or floor. If you're lucky enough to be outside, the comfort associated with a blanket at this time of year provides a handy analogy to the Womb of Rebirth. Speaking parts for this section should be assigned based on who is chosen to represent the deities. These two will not speak.
Covener: (Addressing the covered form of the God)
God of sacrifice
God of rebirth
With the last harvest you, too, are cut down
This night you are born again of the Goddess
Whose womb is the source of all life
Be strong, and grow in light and love
Comfort the green things, and the beasts of the Earth
Fill us with passion, and the energy of new beginnings
Be welcome, and bless us
As we celebrate your return
Lord of death, reborn this night,
Recreate us in your light
A member of the group should now light the God candle from the Goddess candle, leaving both burning on the altar. The blanket should be removed from the God. Each covener in turn should embrace the God figure, feeling the strength and love that pass between them, either silently, or using whatever words of welcome seem appropriate. The God may then become a member of the circle again.
Covener (Addressing the Goddess figure):
Goddess of creation
Keeper of the mystery of life
Without you we could not be;
We celebrate you as Woman and Mother,
And join you in blessing the life you bring forth
Rest now from your labor,
Be with us in our thoughts and dreams
Protect the visions that lie beneath the surface of our hearts
Accept our thanks for the wonder of the infant God
And know that we too are reborn
Spirits of the forest deep
Protect our Mother as she sleeps
All in turn should embrace the Goddess figure, again being aware of all that passes between them. The Goddess then takes up the blanket as a cloak, and takes her place, seated, in the circle. The Goddess candle, very gently, is extinguished. The following should begin with the Goddess, and can then be passed around, so that adjacent members are in turn the "soloists."
The wheel of the year again has turned
The seasons' course again is run
What was offered up is now reborn
We feel the light of the infant Sun
May this be real in each of us
The night has ended, the dawn begun
Guardians of the East (South, etc...)
We thank you for your presence here
And ask for your blessing as you depart
May there be peace between us
Now and forever
The circle is open, but yet unbroken
May the love of the Goddess be ever in your heart
Merry meet, and merry part
And merry meet again.
|home // rites // poetry // information // opinions // links|