Imbolc: Mindful Liminality

Imbolc 2018, using Silver Spiral’s standard ritual format 2.3. Performed on February 18th, 2018, for a group of 6 people.

Due to various mobility issues, this ritual was done entirely seated once the space cleansing was done and everyone was welcomed. We sat across from the direction we were invoking, so that, for example, the North person sat in the South and was therefore facing North.

 

Four singing bowls with sticks on a cream cloth.

Advance Information for Participants:

Liminality: The Threshold Betwixt and Between

Liminality in Paganism

Distress Tolerance and Radical Acceptance

I suggest at least skimming the three articles prior to doing the ritual, as the ritual will not include detailed explanations of the main concepts.

To get the most out of the ritual, I recommend doing the solitary ritual below at least a few times. I also suggest that you think about situations in your life right now when you are faced with liminality, or make notes of any particular issues that occur to you during your meditations.

Also, if you have a singing bowl, this might be a good excuse to perfect your technique.

Ritual roles were chosen in advance and everyone wrote their own cue cards.

 

Daily Solitary Ritual:

Sit somewhere comfortable. Set a timer for 5 minutes (consider gradually lengthening the time over the course of a couple of days). If you have a singing bowl, have it at hand, or use a singing bowl recording.

Inhale through your nose for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 2, and exhale through your mouth or nose for a count of 4.

Say: The liminal is part of life.

Inhale for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 2, and exhale for a count of 4.

Say: I accept the liminal as part of my life.

Inhale for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 2, and exhale for a count of 4.

Say: I sit in liminal space.

Start ringing the singing bowl or start the recording and continue to breath in 4-2-4 for the 5 minutes.

Say: So mote it be.

 

Materials and Tools:

Ritual broom, representations of the elements, one singing bowl per participant, comfortable places for participants to sit, ritual food on a plate or in a bowl, a pitcher of water, an offering bowl and an offering goblet, an athame, one goblet per participant.

 

Before Beginning:

Territory acknowledgement:

Before we get started, I would like for us to acknowledge that the ritual that we are about to participate in is taking place on unceded Musqueam territory. This is important to understand in that we aren’t acknowledging this out of guilt, but as a statement of fact. As we start our ritual, I would like us all to take a moment to reflect on this and to acknowledge that we bring our beliefs and spirits to this place in concert with those that were here before, not in conflict.

Consent acknowledgement:

We stand here as empowered and free individuals. We are each able to make our own choices about coming to this circle, about staying in this circle, and about how to participate in the ritual. You may leave at any time and for any reason, return whenever you want, and sit out any activity. We ask of each other only that we don’t interfere with the experience of other participants.

 

Preparation:

While everyone else gathers off to the side, one person sweeps the space with the ritual broom while saying (repeatedly if necessarily):

With purpose and intent, I cleanse this space.

The person who cleansed the space welcomes each person into it one at a time with a hug and the greeting:

Welcome to our sacred space.

To which the person entering responds: Blessed be.

Everyone holds hands and closes their eyes while the breathing meditation person leads the breathing meditation:

Breathe… [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Breathe… [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Breathe… [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Feel the ground beneath you. [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Feel the air around you. [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Come home to your body. [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Prepare to enter sacred space. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

 

Building Sacred Space:

The space cleanser picks up their singing bowl. The circle will be cast starting in the North/Earth and ending with Centre/Spirit.

The circle caster picks up the element’s representation from the altar and holds it aloft while saying:

We cast this circle in honour of [element].

All repeat:

We cast this circle in honour of [element] to create and open sacred space.

The space cleanser strikes their singing bowl.

The circle caster repeats with each of the other elements in clockwise order, ending with Spirit. After the last circuit, the circle caster says:

The space is set. The circle is cast. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

The North quarter caller says:

To the North, I send this call: Earth, bless us with your gift of being grounded in this moment as we celebrate Imbolc and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

The East quarter caller says:

To the East, I send this call: Air, bless us with your gift of breathing deep in this moment as we celebrate Imbolc and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

The South quarter caller says:

To the South, I send this call: Fire, bless us with your gift of raising energy in this moment as we celebrate Imbolc and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

The West quarter caller says:

To the West, I send this call: Water, bless us with your gift of going with the flow in this moment as we celebrate Imbolc and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

The Centre caller says:

To the Centre, I send this call: Spirit, bless us with your gift of mindful liminality as we celebrate Imbolc and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

 

Invocations:

One person invokes the Goddess:

Lady of this passing moment, this cold and wet winter, Goddesses of our tribes, we invite you to our rite. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

Another person invokes the God:

Lord of the coming moment, this promise of green and spring, Gods of our tribes, we invite you to our rite. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

 

Centre:

Meditation leader:

Stand, sit, or lie down in a way that feels comfortable for you right now.

Close your eyes.

Inhale slowly and feel yourself lengthen.

Exhale and feel your body soften and relax.

As you inhale, stretch out with any part of your body that you can.

As you exhale, relax that part and let it melt.

As you inhale, stretch again and let your energy stretch out from you too.

As you exhale, soften and relax body and energy.

When you are ready, open your eyes and get in a position of active attention.

Everyone gets comfortable with their singing bowl in hand.

North caller:

From the North comes the cold, still holding our lands in the grip of winter. Still…

East caller:

… from the East, sometimes there’s a glimpse of the winds of spring. There’s a promise there…

South caller:

… of heat from the South, of the green and growth to come. Though we are still waiting…

West caller:

… the rains from the West are already a bit less icy, and the days are already a bit longer. And so we gather…

Centre caller:

We gather in honour of Imbolc, a time between winter and spring. And so we gather…

North caller:

We gather in a space that is not a space. And so we gather…

East caller:

We gather in a time that is not a time. And so we gather…

South caller:

We gather in honour of uncertainty. And so we gather…

West caller:

We gather in honour of the time of waiting. And so we gather…

Centre caller:

We gather betwixt and between in honour of the liminal.

Meditation leader:

We all face some anxious, uncertain times. We may call those times limbo, and find the state of unknowing or transition to be harder than the times on either side. But we can also call those times liminal and sit with them in radical acceptance.

Inhale [count of 4]… Hold [count of 2]… Exhale [count of 4] [repeat 2 more times]

The liminal is part of our lives. It is the threshold of the home; it is the dusk and the dawn; it is the transition of the seasons; it is the rite of passage.

Inhale [count of 4]… Hold [strike the singing bowl]… Exhale [count of 4] [repeat 2 more times]

The liminal is the time between test and results; it is waiting for news; it is between jobs and between relationships; it is the ambiguous and unknown.

Inhale [count of 4]… Hold [start ringing the singing bowl]… Exhale [count of 4] [repeat 2 more times]

Everyone continues to circle their singing bowls until the meditation leader strikes theirs to indicate a stop.

Meditation leader:

Inhale [count of 4]… Hold [count of 2]… Exhale [count of 4] [repeat 2 more times]

So mote it be.

 

Food and Drink:

One person holds the plate of food while another blesses it:

By the Divine, this offering is blessed, and we share this food in the spirit of community. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

The person who blessed the food puts a portion of the food in the offering plate or bowl and says:

To the gods and goddesses of our tribes.

The food is passed clockwise with each saying to the next: Blessed be.

When the food has been returned to the altar, one person holds the pitcher while the other lowers the athame into it and says:

As the athame is to the lover, so the chalice is to the loved, and joined they are one in truth.

The person holding the pitcher pours a portion into the offer goblet and says:

To the gods and goddesses of our tribes.

As the pitcher is passed clockwise, each fills their neighbour’s goblet while saying Thou art God or Thou art Goddess. The recipient responds: Blessed be.

Once all the goblets have been filled and the pitcher is returned to the altar, the drink blessing person toasts: May you never thirst. All respond with Blessed be and drink.

 

Devocations:

The same person who invoked the God thanks Him:

Lord of the coming moment, this promise of green and spring, Gods of our tribes, thank you for your blessings. Go in peace. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

The person who invoked the Goddess thanks Her:

Lady of this passing moment, this cold and wet winter, Goddesses of our tribes, thank you for your blessings. Go in peace. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

 

Closing Sacred Space:

The quarters will be thanked in reverse order, starting in the Centre.

Each direction quarter caller says:

To the [direction]: [Element], thank you for your gifts. Go in peace. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

The space cleanser picks up their singing bowl again.

The circle caster holds each element representation aloft one at a time and the singing bowl is rung for each one. When the last one is put back on the altar, the singing bowl is rung one more time and then the circle caster says:

The circle is open, but never broken. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again!

 

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Imbolc: Mindful Liminality by Melissa Hope is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Imbolc: Mindful Liminality was originally published on We're Made of Mud and Magic

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