Saturday, April 7, 2012

Fresh Milk: Imbolc Celebration Looks To Spring Wit...

Fresh Milk: Imbolc Celebration Looks To Spring With Bated Anticipation

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Imbolc (Imbolg) means 'in the belly' implying the stirrings of spring in the womb of the Earth. It is sometimes known as 'Oimelc' or 'ewes milk' aptly named due to the birth of the first lambs of the year and the return of fresh milk in its many manifestations including that of man. This is the time where the first signs of Spring are noted even as winter's bitter cold and snow remain present in the Northern Hemisphere. It is one of the four fire festivals of the Celtic year.

Half way between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox some celebrants time their Imbolc observations with the nearest full moon to this mid-point as the tradition revolves around both the solar and the lunar cycles. Sometimes it is timed to when the first Spring flowers, such as Crocus and Snowdrops (or Dandelions which are associated because of the milky substance they exude) pop up through the snow or when the Sun is aligned with the passage tombs among the megaliths. It is a time of fires and the lighting of candles hence the Christian name 'Candlemas' this represents the return of warmth and the increasing power of the Sun over the coming months and winter - the bringing of light into the home and community. Groundhog Day is connected here for associated reasons as well.

This festival is largely dedicated to the Gaelic Goddess Brigid and it's God aspect is typically represented by the legendary love-God, Aenghus Mac Og. She represents poetry, healing, holy wells and smithcraft as well as fertility. He represents virility, potency and the promise of love. Imbolc recognizes the relationship of the Goddess and the young God.

Most of the elements of the traditional celebration can be seen, as referring to sexual intercourse and fertility from the men, having the charge of making the "Brid doll" often from the phallic dasher of a churn and the women preparing its "bed". The Brid dolls or "Brideog" are made from wheat straw and dressed in clothing. The dolls are typically placed in a basket known as "Brid's Bed" by the front door or hearth. On the eve of Imbolc, in some traditions and locations, young people of the village gather in a household and stay up all night while waiting for the young (virile) men of the town to come and visit. The men then must ask permission to enter the house and must treat all there and the Brigid doll with chivalrous respect.

And there are other traditions associated with this beloved celebration which have fertility/virility overtones from the churning of butter, the emphasis on birth and milking and the use of straw, which was the traditional material of the birthing bed for human and beast alike, etc.

In the modern world, Imbolc is the good time for cleansing the mind, soul and body. It can mark commitment to clearing out all unwanted clutter on physical, mental and emotional levels allowing us to make new plans to express desire, self-awarness and re-dedicate our sexuality to that which is fresh and progressive.

We feel the presence of the Goddess and God in our bodies, as we begin to open up to the light and stir from our own hibernation. It is a good time to be reminded that we all have a share in the sexo-spiritual Divine. Goddess and God move within us, as surely as they begin to transform the world outside.

This rite can be for St. Brighid’s Eve, 31st January, 1st February or as in our Circle 2nd February.

*Máistir Imbolg (MI) (Imbolc Leader)
*Four Ceannaire (C) (Coveners or Leaders) designated as: 

Fire/East (Goddess orientation), 
Water/West (Goddess orientation)
*Younger male elected to play Aenghus Mac Og (AOM) (Young God representation)

Prior to the Ceremony the Máistir Imbolg of the Circle of men in your grove should with the help of others (as possible) create the Brideog or Brid's Doll and Bridgit's Crosses for each man who will participate in the Celebration. Long pieces of straw or rushes should be gathered and fashioned into the shape of a doll (some call it a Corn Dolly). The image should be dressed in white linen cloth in the manner of a dress. The image may be decorated with bits of greenery, early flowers, shells and pretty stones. An especially pretty shell/stone should be placed over the heart. For the greatest magical effect, the doll can be built around the handle of an old butter churn dasher. The resulting effigy is called a Brideog (BREE-JOG), or "little Brid" and is an important component of the traditional Imbolc celebration.

The Circle will have elected a younger member to represent Aenghus Mac Og within the ceremony. This is an honorary designation and should go to someone deserving who seems best to exemplify the principles of Imbolg and objectives of the Circle.

Items Needed:
*Candles for the quarters, Goddess (white) and God (red).
*Tapers, one each for all attending, any color associated with the God, but preferably all the same.
*Altar table
*Small separate table with leather covering
*Hearth fire (or sturdy cauldron on fire resistant slab)
*White altar cloth
*The Brideog (Brid's Doll)
*Long Oval Basket lined in white linen to serve as Brid's Bed - "leaba Brid" (LAWA BREE)
*White wand (birch, willow), traditional Druid’s wand (Oak) or Priapic wand (pinecone)
*Basin of pure water large enough to contain 19 small floating white candles
*19 small floating white candles for the blessings of Brid
*Large white candle (preferably with 3 wicks)
*Pitcher of Irish Cream Liquer (as we use in our Circle)
*Chalice for Semen
*Cakes/Cookies/Crackers made of grains (Bannocks, Oatcakes)
*Platter for Cakes
*Incense, white flowers, fertility symbols, other decorations or charged items may be included to create a festive atmosphere and the proper mindset.
The ceremony begins by casting the Circle as the Ceannaire call the quarters so:

1) Ceannaire of the North:

Guardians of the North
Wind of enlightenment, and inspiration
Lend your powers to our circle this night,
That our minds may open to new ideas

2) Ceannaire of the East:
Guardians of the Fire
Fire of passion and transformation
Lend your powers to our circle this night
That our love may sustain the land

3) Ceannaire of the South:
Guardians of the South
Earth from the beginning of time
Lend your powers to our circle this night
That we may take our place in the endless chain of life

4) Ceannaire of the West:
Guardians of the West
Water of life and purification
Lend your powers to our circle this night
That our hearts may be strong and whole

The Máistir Imbolg (MI) calls forth the God and Goddess/Brid and Aenghus saying:

Goddess of rebirth and fertility
You again bring forth the God
and the promise of spring and fertility
Be with us this night
As we celebrate the young God
and the growing light

God of lust and love
You again enliven the Goddess
And give us new strength and seed
Be with us this night
As we celebrate the risin Goddess
And the Earth's fertility

The man chosen to represent Aenghus Mac Og (AMO) then says:

We stand between worlds
Where Earth and Sky
Night and Day
Life and Death are one
The circle is cast and
The ritual begun...

The MI will say:

The Goddess and God stand together once more
May we feel their presence in our hearts, minds and bodies
As easily as we see their presence in the World outside

The MI lights the taper from the God candle on the altar and proceeds around the circle deosil, lighting each member's candle and directing the following blessing to each in turn saying:

You are Goddess
You are God
You are the blanket of winter
and the first breath of spring
In you lies the seed of life
Be with us, within our bodies
Bless and be blessed
When finished, the MI returns to his place in the circle which is now a circle of light and says:

The light begins to grow strong once more in the land
Under the snow, the pulse of the life flow quickens
We feel the Earth beneath us
The heartbeat of the waking Mother
In our loins, the pulse of the life blood quickens
May we share in the great cycle of renewal
And blossom with new life, creativity and virility

All will say:

So mote it be!
Here each brother turns to his neighbor and hugs and kisses him. Then working deosil, each man, who is skyclad, comes forth embraces and kisses Aenghus Mac Og (on each cheek) and proclaims to the Circle his desires for the spring - personal, romantic, sexual/erotic, spiritual or emotional. This exercise will give the ritual a timely and personal quality. The idea is that new life rises within each man and so shall his expression inspire new life to the brethren of the Circle.

The Brother hands his candle to the MI who returns it to the Altar then kneels and kisses the AMO's penis. Upon rising the AMO touches the Brother's head, heart (chest) and penis with the Wand and kisses him in blessing as the next Brother comes forth.

When all Brothers have come forth and the blessing of the AMO is complete the MI comes to the AMO with the chalice and cakes in hand placing them on the small, leather clothed table set within the circle. He kisses the AMO then kneels and kisses his penis. He then takes the penis into his mouth and proceeds to ceremoniously fellate the AMO with the intention of urging him to complete and copious holy orgasm.

During this time the men of the Circle will masturbate timing themselves with each other and the progress of the act of devotion occuring between the MI and AOM. The MI continues onward bringing the AMO to orgasm then collecting his issue in the Chalice. The AMO dips the tip of the Wand into his semen and hands it to the IL who rises and returns the Chalice to the Altar.

The MI then takes the consecrated Wand to the Brideog, annointing the doll with the AMO's semen saying:

"O Brid - Hail to Thee
Joined with Aenghus to set us free,
He gives freely his seed of Man.
That ye may make anew the land
Fill us with his eternal seed
Hail Brid - Blessed Be!"...

The MI then lays the Wand next to the Brideog in the Brid's bed as per tradition for the Circle to see the symbolic joining of the God with the Goddess.

As each of the men reach orgasm they come forward to the small table and ejaculate onto the oatcakes. When all men have consecrated the cakes the MI returns them (on Platter) to the Altar.

The MI then leads this call and response saying:

Night has seen the growth of the GodAll:
We have felt the power alive in the worldMI:
The Goddess walks the Earth againAll:
And sings us awake with love, wind, lust & rainMI:
The promise of life is newly madeAll:
Our winter's debt to darkness paid
Blessed be!
The Circle then partakes of the Feast.

The MI takes the pitcher of Irish Cream and pours it into the Chalice which holds the AMO's semen mixing it as such. The cakes are glazed with life giving semen. The food and drink are raised in turn, then blessed using the following and passed around the circle deosil, beginning with the AMO and ending with the MI saying:

Goddess of the fertile abundance
Bless these gifts of nourishment
and celebration you share with us
as you bless us all
Help us to see desire and divinity in all we share

God of the virile seed
Bless your gifts of nourishment
and celebration you share with us
as you bless us all
Help us to see desire and divinity in all we share

The MI closes the ceremony by opening the Circle saying:

Goddess of the brightening day
We thank you for your presence in our circle,
And ask you to be near us,
While we are apart;
Let your warmth revive us
Your love support us
And your passion inspire us all

God of all growing and lusty things
We thank you for your presence in our circle,
And ask you to be near us,
While we are apart;
Let your warmth revive us
Your love support us
And your passion inspire us all
The Ceannaire resume quarter positions and direction is then passed reverse of the casting - West, South, East, North respectively saying:

Guardians of the (Direction)
Thank you for your presence and strength
Both here, tonight, and in our daily lives
May we live in peace, with you and each other, always
All will say:

Blessed be!
The circle is open,
but yet unbroken
May the union of the God & Goddess
be ever in our hearts
Merry meet, and merry part
and merry meet again.
Blessed be!
Each Brother of the Circle will then be be presented with a Brigit's cross for protection and blessings through the year and thus ends the celebration!...

Additional/Optional Activity (as desired)
The Men may then participate in a celebratory act which is a modified version of a special type of procession which is traditional to Imbolg but done with the Brethren and while remaining naked. The men will be called "Biddy's" and will go about the space singing and dancing with each other. If available, The Biddy's may dress partially in contradictory or unusual pieces of clothing and wear whimsical hats - adding to the fun of the event - but should for the most part remain nude. The young member who has served as Aenghus Mac Og carries the Brigit doll and leads the activities. Further beverages and refreshments (semen-charged or not) may be served.

Submitted by: Eógan Óengusa

DISCLAIMER: It is known that the internalization/ingestion of semen can result in the transmission of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), including HIV. As with all rituals posted here, individual considerations are to be employed and alterations to protocols may be necessary.

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