Lammas: Appeasing the Fire Gods

August 2017. Written by Melissa and ED. Presented for a group of 6 people. Using Silver Spiral standard ritual format 2.1

Email Introduction:

We will be working with the theme of sacrifice within the ritual context of Lammas. For the purpose of this ritual we are differentiating the difference between offerings and sacrifice:

– An offering is something freely given to the gods to represent our recognition of the gods in their many aspects.

– A sacrifice is something freely given that when given represents a measurable and potentially significant amount of resources (either money, time, energy, or other resources) by the giver as an attempt to appease the gods.

We ask that each participant in the ritual come prepared with a sacrifice. You will not need to disclose to the group what that sacrifice is but we do ask that you take this sacrifice seriously and give it due thought. Each participant will be asked to write down what it is that they are sacrificing to appease the fire gods, so we encourage your sacrifice to be something that benefits those who have had losses as a result of the BC wildfires: money or time being the big options. ED has compiled a list of resources to help you choose a sacrifice. Most organizations are asking for money, and many of them also need volunteers to help out on phone lines and sort resources, etc.

Another recommended sacrifice that is personal to the ritual writers is the giving of a blood donation. Recently ED received 7 units of blood to save her life and she would like to see those units returned to the system through encouraging new donations. Only 3 or 4 new people have made a donation since she has received her infusions. Please note that if you already regularly give blood, pledging this would not be a significant gift to the gods. For it to be considered a sacrifice for the purposes of this ritual, you must be a new donor (or a significant amount of time must have passed since you last donated and you pledge to donate more than once going forward). If you are eligible to give blood, please consider this option.

As a sacrifice must be freely given for it to have meaning, we will not dictate what it is that you must sacrifice and you are welcome to do what feels right for you. We would like to point out that a financial donation is the easiest route to take as it can be done in seconds at the computer, so we ask that if that is the route you choose to take that the value of that donation be significant in relation to your financial state for it to make some sort of impact. We leave it to you to decide what “significant impact” means to you.

Materials and Tools:

Slips of paper and pens, ritual broom, representations of the elements, a bell or singing bowl, two red candles (one lit and one unlit), drum, a mini cauldron for burning the offerings with a tealight, two goblets (one full of water and one empty), rainstick, bowl of cool water and cloths, gingersnaps on a plate or in a bowl, a bottle of Fireball cinnamon whiskey, an offering bowl or plate and an offering goblet, an athame, one shot glass per participant.

Preparation:

Before starting, have everyone write their sacrifice on a slip of paper and brings it with them into the ritual.

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.

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 ritual leader 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 the singing bowl.

The circle caster picks up the South quarter’s representation from the altar and carries it around the circle clockwise while saying:

We cast this circle in honour of Fire.

All repeat:

We cast this circle in honour of Fire to create and open scared space.

The space cleanser rings the bell.

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

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

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the south and the south quarter caller says:

To the South, I send this call: Fire, bless us with your gift of the warmth of the sun breaking through the clouds as we celebrate Lammas and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the west and the west quarter caller says:

To the West, I send this call: Water, bless us with your gift of a patch of grass in the shade as we celebrate Lammas and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the north and the north quarter caller says:

To the North, I send this call: Earth, bless us with your gift of a patch of grass in the shade as we celebrate Lammas and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the east and the east quarter caller says:

To the East, I send this call: Air, bless us with your gift of a soft breeze on a hot day as we celebrate Lammas and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the centre and the centre quarter caller says:

To the Centre, I send this call: Spirit, bless us with your gift of appreciation for what we have as we celebrate Lammas and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

Fire God Invocation:

One person invokes the God:

Lord of Fire, Gods of our tribes, we invite you to our rite. Blessed Be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

Fire Centre:

Start a very soft heartbeat rhythm on the drum, which will gradually grow in intensity until it leads and energizes the chanting.

Story:

Once upon a time, there was a king called William the Red. He was a corrupt, blasphemous, and immoral king. He was oppressing his people, spending their tax money to his own benefit, and making a wasteland of his kingdom.

On Lammas morning, a holy man wakes from a dream in which God promises to strike down the wicked king. The warning is sent to the king, but he only laughs.

William the Red and his men gather for their hunt. They ride into the New Forest, a sacred place where Pagans frequently gather. A short time later, the king is struck in the chest by an arrow and dies. It is unknown who fired the arrow, but it is said that William the Red was a Lammas sacrifice. Having made a wasteland of his kingdom, he was killed by the people or the gods as a sacrifice to bring new life to the land.

As of this morning, there were 28 “wildfires of note” burning in BC. These are fires which are highly visible or which pose a potential threat to public safety. There are an addition 105 active wildfires burning.

The Fire God is wild, relentless, merciless. He has been released by human action and inaction, through corruption and waste at the highest levels and carelessness and reckless indifference on the individual level.

Tonight we approach the Fire God with reverence. We offer sacrifices to appease Him; our humble human actions for the good to counter the wickedness of our fellows.

Preamble about the magic:

The power of magic comes from intent. Anyone can say the words and do the actions of a spell. It is not the making of the pledge that creates the magic. It is your intention to follow through and the follow through itself that creates the magic. Today we will raise energy with chant and release our intentions into the universe but the magic will not be complete until we have all followed through with our pledges.

Light the tealight in the cauldron to keep the fire source going.

The fire gods are showing their strength and challenging us to respond to their call. Will you answer to the call of the gods? Will you show them your strength? How will you appease the fire burning and show the gods that we are worthy of their gifts and that is it time for the fire gods to calm their destructive actions. Show the gods that you have witnessed their strength and have heard their message. What is your pledge to the fire gods? What will you sacrifice for them?

Do not take this pledge lightly as the gods do not. Take a moment to meditate on your pledge as we begin to chant and then one by one we will burn our pledges in sacrifice to the fire gods.

Start the chant:

We can rise with the fire of freedom,

Truth is the fire that burns our chains,

And we can stop the fire of destruction,

Healing is the fire running through our veins.

(“Rise With The Fire” by Reclaiming)

Once all of the pledges have been made, the chanting should be continued to a trance state if possible. The goal is to raise as much energy as possible and to put as much power behind our intentions as possible. The chant should be ended in a point of high energy and not let to peter out.

Do a grounding meditation if necessary before proceeding.

Water Goddess Invocation:

One person pours the water from the full goblet into the empty one and invokes the Goddess:

Lady of Water, Goddesses of our tribes, we invite you to our rite. Blessed Be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

Water Centre:

Start gently turning the rainstick and continue to do so until the story begins.

Introduction:

As dark balances light, so water balances fire. We honour the Goddess of Water and ask for Her assistance in saving our forests and homes, while respecting Her great power.

As we feel the heat of the summer sun, we see what happens when the elements are not in balance. Any element to the extreme is dangerous: forest fires, floods, earthquakes, and tornadoes are all the result of one element taking over. The fire gods have shown their strength and now we need the water goddesses to show their strength to bring some balance.

We call upon the healing and cleansing forces of water for all those present and for the areas in which the fire gods’ strength is causing destruction. May our ritual cleansing this evening encourage the water goddesses to appear and calm the fires of the gods.

Moving clockwise, each person in the circle will dip their cloth into the bowl of cool water on the altar and then wash the arms and hands of the person to their left in an act of ritual cleansing. The arms should be left damp to cool the person down as we continue to cleanse. Once the cleansing is complete, people can dry their arms if they wish. As the cleansing moves around the circle, read the following story:

An old man was walking along the road. The sun shone brightly on his bare skin tinting it a light pink that would redden as the day progressed. As he walked he could feel the heat of the sidewalk through his thin summer shoes. His skin was damp with sweat and his mouth dry with thirst. As he continued, his discomfort grew.

One of many walking the hot streets, he smiled for no one and continued on his journey alone.

Suddenly there was a light breeze and the sweat on his arms brought a much needed cooling of his skin–water making its presence known with the aid of air. The old man paused for a moment to enjoy the coolness and smiled slightly.

An old woman was walking in the hot sun on a busy city street. She had a small bottle of water with her that she occasionally took a drink from to keep the thirst at bay. As she walked she smiled to herself and hummed a happy tune–enjoying the journey with little care for the destination.

Suddenly a light breeze crossed her path and she stopped to enjoy the coolness that came with it. It was then that the old woman saw the old man enjoying the same breeze. They were long time friends and the love between them was strong.

The old woman approached the old man and offered him some water as she could see the pinkness of his skin and the flush in his cheeks.

“Please my friend, have some water to drink and quench your thirst.”

The old man drank the water and felt the refreshing wave wash through him.

“Thank you my friend.”

Then the old woman poured some water on a cloth from her pocket and wiped down his arms.

“Be cleansed my friend. The sun is hot and burning your skin and I can see that you are not happy. I hope this cool water refreshes you so that you may restart your journey with a smile upon your face.”

The old man did smile at his friend.

“Yes my friend, the cool water has refreshed me and your gift of kindness has inspired me to continue on my journey with a lighter heart.”

Both refreshed and free from thirst, the two friends embraced then continued on their separate journeys knowing that their paths would cross again.

Food and Drink:

One person holds the plate of gingersnaps 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 gingersnap 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 bottle of Fireball 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 offering goblet and says:

To the gods and goddesses of our tribes.

Then the mead is portioned out into the shot glasses and passed out to the participants while saying Thou art God or Thou art Goddess. The recipient responds: Blessed be.

Once all the shot glasses have been filled and the pitcher is returned to the altar, the ritual leader toasts:

May you never thirst.

All respond with Blessed be and drink.

Devocations:

The same person who invoked the Goddess thanks Her:

Lady of Water, Goddesses of our tribes, thank you for your blessings. Go in peace. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

The person who invoked the God thanks Him:

Lord of Fire, Gods of our tribes, thank you for your blessings. Go in peace. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

Closing Sacred Space:

All turn to face the centre and the centre quarter caller says:

To the Centre: Spirit, thank you for your gifts. Go in peace. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

Repeat at each quarter in reverse order: East/Air, North/Earth, West/Water, and South/Fire.

The space cleanser picks up the bell again.

The circle caster walks the circle counter-clockwise to take down the circle. At each quarter point, they pause and the bell is rung. When they step back into the circle of people, the bell 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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Lammas: Appeasing the Fire Gods by ED and Melissa Hope is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Lammas: Appeasing the Fire Gods was originally published on We're Made of Mud and Magic

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