For all those who struggle to assemble their own rites, I will attach mine for Meán Fómhair, the autumn equinox. I use a variety of sources to assemble my rites, from the chants I know (and some I occasionally write, although not in this one) to ancient lore and modern texts.
For this holiday, I will honor Eriu, Banba and Fotla, the Many-Named Land. Now, while I include the Song of Amergin, I must say that I view these three Goddesses as faces of the Earth Mother herself and not just of one particular island in the Atlantic. Personally, I consider this triplicate Earth Mother to be the same as the Matronae/Matres of Gaul and I have an altar image of the Matres that I use to honor Them. Often, however, I refer to the Earth Mother by what appears to be the most important name of the three: Eriu, which appears to come from a root meaning “fat” or “abundant,” if memory serves.
The sources I use for the ritual below come from Celtic rituals shared via ADF’s website (that’s where a lot of the Gaelic-style invocations come from, aside from the Amergin piece), Ceiswr Serith’s The Book of Pagan Prayer (a seriously good compendium of prayers for all occasions) and Erynn Rowan Laurie’s A Circle of Stones, which I use regularly as part of my daily morning rituals. The pronunciation comes by way of Caera, who recorded all of the Circle of Stones prayers; you can access them (and order her CD!) here.
My apologies for the crappy formatting. I just cut and pasted from Open Office.
So, if you’re looking for ideas for the equinox, please feel free to use and adapt!
Meán Fómhair 2017 – ADF format
Need: Bell, smudge, burner and incense, corn meal for offering, container for well, water for well and offering, oil for the offering, candle or bonfire, herb offering for nature spirits, mead, poetry and/or musical instruments, ritual drum, chalice, ogham, harvest offering, bread offering, materials to make the harvest queen, old harvest queens to offer to fire
Ring bell: Támuid anseo chun onóir a thabhairt do na déithe. We are here to honor the Gods.
Statement of purpose: I come here to celebrate Meán Fómhair, the second harvest, when the Earth Mother gives forth her final abundance in the cold North and the nights grow cool and dark. Today, I honor Eriu, Banba and Fotla, the three Mothers who are the land, prosperity and abundance.
Honoring the Earth Mother, Eriu. Chant and make offering of oats, corn meal or other grain. Earth Mother, accept my offering. Kiss the Earth.
Brighid invocation, offering as Muse
Two Powers meditation
Recreating the Cosmos:
Acknowledging and making offerings to the Well (pour water in the bowl). Invocation, then: Tobair naomh, ruith a steach mise! Sacred Well, flow within us.
The Fire: Light bonfire or candle. Invocation, then: Teinne naomh, is a steach mise! Sacred fire, burn within us.
The Tree: Cense and sprinkle with water. Invocation, then: Crann naomh, fas a steach mise! Sacred tree, grow within us.
Opening the Gates with Manannan. Make offering to Manannan. Let the gates be open.
Offering to the Outsiders to the south of ritual space
Ancestors invocation and offering
Nature Spirits and Spirits of Place invocation and offering
Gods and Goddesses invocation and offering
Invocation to the deities of the occasion, Eriu, Banba and Fotla:
Ailiu iath nErend ALL-yoo EE-ath NAYR-enth I invoke the land of Ireland,
Ermach muir mothuch AIR-mahkh mweer MOTH-ukh Much-coursed be the fertile sea,
Mothach sliagh sreathach MOTH-ukh SHLEE-ugh SHREH-thahkh Fertile be the fruit-strewn mountains,
Srethach coill ciothach SHREH-thahkh kill KEE-ah-thahkh Fruit-strewn be the showery wood,
Ciothach ab essach KEE-ah-thahkh ab ESS-ahkh Showery be the river of waterfalls,
Eassach loch lionmar ESS-ahkh lokh LEE-on-var Of waterfalls be the lake of the deep pools,
Liondmar tor tiopra LEE-on-var tor TEE-a-pra Deep-pooled be the hill-top well
Tiopra tuath aenaigh TEE-a-pra TOO-ath EH-nahkh A well of tribes be the assembly,
Aenach righ Temra EH-nahkh reegh TEV-ra An assembly of kings be Tara,
Teamair tor tuatha TEV-er tor TOO-a-tha Tara be a hill of the tribes
Tuatha mac Míled TOO-a-tha mac MEE-leth The tribes of the sons of Míl,
Míledh long, libern MEE-leth long, LIV-ern Of Míl of the ships, the barks,
Libern ard, Ere LIV-ern ard, AYR-a Let the lofty bark be Ireland,
Ere ard, diclass AYR-a ard, DI-glass Lofty Ireland, darkly sung,
Dichteal rogaeth DIKH-tal ro-GI’TH An incantation of great cunning,
Ro gaes ban Breisi ro gi’s, ban BRAY-shee The great cunning of the wives of Bres,
Breisi, ban Buaigni BRAY-shee, ban BOO-ugh-nyee The wives of Bres, of Buaigne;
Be abdal Ere bay AV-thal AYR-a The great lady Ireland,
Eremhon ortus AYR-e-von OR-tus Eremon hath conquered her,
Ír, Eber ailsius eer, EH-ver AHL-shiu Ír, Eber have invoked for her
Ailiu iath nErenn ALL-yoo EE-ath NAYR-en I invoke the land of Ireland.
Offerings and devotionals
Offering of old harvest idols to the fire, in thanks for harvest completed.
Making of the new harvest queen. The last sheaf of grain was formed into the image of the Land Goddess, the Harvest Queen. Let us know adorn the image of the Harvest Queen in thanks for this year’s bounty.
Sing to bless the Harvest Queen image (Chant by Lori Richards):
Celebrate her ripening spirit
Celebrate her blossoming truth
Celebrate the fruits of our labors
Mother Goddess, we celebrate you!
The bread offering and prayer of sacrifice. Prayer from Cei Serith’s The Pagan Book of Prayer:
The sacrificial fires of maple trees burn the summer offering,
The gray sky accepting the smoke offering it in honor.
We place this sacrifice before you, gods of the year.
May each death on the point of the cold’s sharp sword
Be considered an offering on the altar of Earth.
May each plant harvested be granted the status of sacrifice.
May each loss to the end of the year be an addition to your power,
A thread in the pattern woven by you in the secret places.
Calling for the Blessing/The Waters of Life: Kindred, I have given to you freely from my hands, my heart and my spirit. In return, I ask that you send forth your blessings into my cup that I may receive them. Eriu, Banba and Fotla, pour forth your blessings! Shining Ones, Nature Spirits, Ancestors, pour forth your blessings! Allow me to drink from the Cup of Inspiration, Kindred. Pour forth your blessings!
Slowly lift cup above you, feel energy fill it. Then say: This cup now holds the waters of life. I drink this in the names of Eriu, Banba and Fotla, and all the Kindred.
May these waters I have received flow through my body and my spirit, and may they pour out into the rest of my life.
Thank Eriu, Banba and Fotla, Gods and Goddess, Nature Spirits, Ancestors, Brighid
Closing the gates, thank Manannan
Thank the Earth Mother
Closing the rite: As those before me have done, I have honored the Gods. As I close this rite, I remind myself that the gods go with me in my heart that I may walk with wisdom, power, peace and inspiration. This rite is ended. So be it.