I love writing/ piecing together rituals. I have created rituals for Pagan groups than I’ve been involved in, as well as more family-oriented rites. But now and then, for one reason or another, I find myself in the position of doing seasonal rituals alone. Now, I’ve never been much for solitary ritual, so in the past if I wasn’t doing ritual with others for any given occasion, I would skip ritual altogether and do a brief prayer or meditation to mark the occasion. I’ve decided I want something more than this.
So I’ve pieced together what I call “little rituals”.
My aim was to write a ritual for each Pagan holiday that would be only a page long or less, getting to the point of each holiday so as to get the most meaning out of a short ritual. I wrote these rituals to suit my own style and beliefs, so your mileage may vary, as they say. I am mostly CR oriented, but as you can see from the rituals, I am still kind of Wiccan-influenced in some ways (for example, I have written 8 seasonal holidays, not just the Celtic 4).
I have borrowed heavily from Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF) rituals, and the language I often use is ADF in origin, for example; I often refer to the gods as the “Shining Ones”, and to the gods, nature spirits, and ancestors collectively as the “Three Kindred”. However, unlike ADF rituals, these rites are quite brief and have a simple symbolic act at the center, somewhat like a Wiccan rite might have.
These rituals, though written for a solitary person, can easily be adapted for use by a small group, simply by changing the pronouns and dividing up speaking parts (and some things could be spoken in unison, if that’s what seems suitable). Also, I have written these rituals in a mostly “Celtic Reconstructionist” style, yet I’ve adapted a lot of ADF liturgy to it. If you like these little rituals, but would like something that fits in more with ADF, then go to the ADF Core Order of Ritual and simply put in what I’ve left out, mainly; a Triple Center (Hallows), Gatekeeper invocation and opening (and farewell), and an Omen. Brief examples of these can be found in ADF’s “An Anywhere Devotional” and in other articles on the ADF website.
Lighting a flame and giving offering is a part of all these rituals. If indoors, the flame could be a candle or a wood fire in a fireplace, with the fireplace mantle as your altar. If outdoors, I recommend a small contained fire in a barbeque grill, portable metal firepit, metal container or cauldron. If you use a cauldron, you can use a special method that requires no wood, called a “cauldron fire”- using epsom salts and rubbing alcohol. You could even use a cauldron fire indoors, if kept small, but be careful!
You will also need offerings for all these rituals. Oats do quite nicely and burn easily- I would bring them in a drawstring pouch tied to my hip. Of course, if you are using a candle for your sacred flame, you won’t be burning the offerings, so in that case use an offering bowl. If you can find a wooden or ceramic serving dish with three compartments, this would work out great for offering to the Three Kindreds.
In four of these rituals (Samhain, Imbolc, Bealtaine, and Lughnasadh), I have included the “blessing cup”- this is based on the ADF “return blessing”. For these you’ll need something to drink, and a special container (chalice, goblet, what have you) to drink from.
Some of the rituals say to smudge/sain with juniper smoke. For some of the rituals you’ll need special foods or other props. It’s best to read through the ritual before you go to your designated site, to be sure you’re not forgetting anything.
*A few words of advice on outdoor rituals:
Don’t try to use candles outdoors- the wind will just keep blowing it out, plus it just looks silly to be lighting candles outside. Its not practical. Though a candle in a container with tall sides might work in a pinch. Also, it’s not practical to bring a bunch of bling outside for your ritual. You don’t need an altar cloth. You don’t need statuary or figurines. Long flowing robes will restrict your movement and could catch on fire. On that note, it’s a good idea to have water close by just in case- even if you don’t decide to dress like Gandalf.