An Imbolc Ritual (for a Solitary Druid)

Imbolc is a festival to mark the ends of the harsh winter, marking the first glimpse of the warmth of the spring and all that it promises for our year to come with the turning of the wheel. I am trying to capture this in my brief video here of my fireplace; may its heat and warmth share that with anybody who reads this.

I recall visiting the UK near the time of Imbolc, and really started to understand what lambing season means. We don’t have many lambs (or even sheep) where I live, so it was a treat to see the hillsides populated with sheep and lambs. While associated with Brigid or Groundhog Day and even with the blessing of the throats on the Feast of St. Blaise or the time of Candlemas, I really like the notion that it shows the turn in the season, from the harshness and darkness of the winter to the health and hopes for spring.

With the energy that comes at this time, I am doing two things. The first is to share this video of my fireplace and the second is to share my personal , solitary ritual I am using today as I celebrate Imbolc. I found a space outside where the snow has finally melted and I can celebrate this. While the location is not one that will allow me to have open fire, I will use my little video above to stand in its place. As so much of my own life is booked solid with work and teaching and research consulting and such, I am focusing on a more meditative ritual with internal poetry more fitting for the energy of the season.

To live as a Druid in New York City!


An Imbolc Ritual (for a Solitary Druid)

Initiation / Opening

Voice intention of the ritual

This ritual is for the celebration of Imbolc.

Light candles and incense

We shall use the image of the fireplace above due to limitations of space for this ritual today.

Rite of Purpose

Invoke the Spirits of the Place (those ahead, above, and below)

Invoke the spirits of the Air (east), South (fire), West (water), and North (earth)

Breathe deeply

Voice the purpose for this ritual

The purpose of this ritual is to be inspired by the coming warmth of the spring and feel its energy, health, and hope.

Prayer and Centering <peacefully>

Become one with the purpose and place

This space is sacred. All space where good energy flows and where we engage in ritual is sacred space. It was sacred before we came and will remain that way once we leave. This is the belief of druids.

This may include walking the labyrinth

As I am not present to my labyrinth, and will be high in the air, I will look into the distance in the four directions for glimpses of spring and the energy that comes with it, knowing that with the snow predicted for tomorrow, this view will be one for today’s memory alone.


Consider what I offer <peacefully>

I will offer my druid studies to the shared network of those whose energy seeks to make our world a better place.

Offer it

I seek to give of myself to those who are in need, starting first with those in nature who struggle to live lives of peace and harmony.

Blessing and Sending of Awen

Send the energy of awen into the world <peacefully>

May awen strengthen and work through me. May it guide my intentions and directions. May its flow cleanse me and allow me to share its energy with others. May it continue to work through the naturally world that surrounds me.

Take some with me as I leave <peacefully>

So endeth the Ritual. Awen.


The Meaning of Awen (BMDO DP M1W1)

As I am starting to consider Awen while pursuing the Black Mountain Druid Order (BMDO) Dedicant Path (DP), I have been considering the Meaning of Awen here in my first week.

AwenAwen is a concept often represented as /|\ and loosely means divine inspiration or that which takes one’s breath away. I like to think about it as similar to The Force in Star Wars or Eywa in Avatar, something that is akin to inspiration or energy associated with an Aha! moment (cf. the resolution of a liminal period). Likewise, the life-force of awen can even be considered as a point of balance, something not always common in my life, or a sense of harmony in life and in the natural world.

Considering the questions to ponder for this first week:

1. What places in nature inspire you?
2. Do you have a favorite outdoor place? Why?
3. How does nature inspire you??

There are two places in nature that particularly inspire me. The first is a certain area of vines / trees that I regularly pass here in Manhattan that shelter a group of small birds. Walking by these early in the morning or just before sunset in the evening, the birds chatter away, coexisting with us humans while living their lives singing for joy. It always reminds me of the nature-oriented poetry of Walt Whitman, especially some of the lines in his Calamus poems where he vibrantly links humanity and nature into a seemless continuity. The other location that inspires me is a lines of giant pine trees in an upstate community I often visit, and this pine row offers a shelter along one side where the branches are high enough that one can walk 100 feet or so under them. This reminds me of a natural cloister walk, one that is living and breathing.

Hmm, come to think about it, both of these locations involve shelter or safety and trees. I never made that connection before . . . .

Nature inspires me with an energy; the birds that sing out and the trees that grow, all doing what they have always done with or without human meddling in nature (while we are still very part of nature itself, something to never forget). Nature always finds a way to continue, and I am inspired, as with awen, by the complexities of nature and how it is so very beyond me.

While seemingly beyond me, I am always linked with nature, never too far away . . . even when I am not paying attention to it.

The BMDO is an interesting new path for me to follow, and while I will not make any assumptions or projections for where it will lead, journeys begin with but a single step.