It was my intention to keep this page to a brief outline. I have failed. Regardless of the length of this topic, it is just the proverbial "tip of the iceberg". This does, however, cover the most basic and important aspects. The ingredients missing in these pages is your integrity, discipline, intention, and responsibility. Please don't forget to bring them to your circle.
If you are already familiar with doing your own ceremony, please feel free to move on to another subject. This page is suggested as a guideline for those who have not done a ceremony on their own, or wish to follow a more Druid ritual.
Doing this ceremony does not make you a druid. It supports the practice and beliefs of a respectful and willing human being, following some of the basic covenants by which I have been taught.
The full moon is a time of true balance. The sun's light (masculine energy) is reflected off the moon (feminine energy) so that we are gifted with the sunlight during the night, with the aid of the moon. This is a time in which things come to fruition, materialize. It is a time of rejoicing and gratitude. It is a time of coming together and sharing. For women, this is the most natural and harmonic time to be in your monthly cycle of fertility.
The new moon represents total feminine energy...total absence of masculine energy. The feminine is receptor of the seed and womb of the new born. It is a time to plant a seed (proverbial, spiritual, physical ... whatever you want). For women, this is the most natural and harmonic time to be in your monthly cycle of flow and release. The cycle of life is impregnation - gestation - birth - life - death. A place must be made empty and ready for the seed to be planted. Let go of those things that no longer serve you.
Nature abhors a vacuum. Whatever space you make empty will be filled. This is the natural law of the universe, a.k.a.: physics. Before a farmer plants a seed, the ground must be prepared. Before a request is made, a space must be made available.
In all things that I do, I strive to achieve a balance. This balance is to be found first within myself, second within the circle in which I celebrate and finally with the spiritual world to which I am connected. This third balance can only be achieved if I take care to balance the first two. I look to myself and my own energy before I begin. Let go of the day, week, month, life and live only in this present moment. Do so with integrity, discipline, intention, and responsibility. These are essential. This is much easier said than done and will require some practice. Do not be discouraged. It is more important to try than to succeed, for without effort there can be no success. As I said, this will require patience.
Only fast if you are able. If you have any condition that requires you to eat in order to maintain a physical balance, it is imperative you listen to and respect your own body. Balance is the objective.
The best way to leave the physical world is to refrain from grounding yourself with food. Eat fruits, nuts, grains (whole foods) after the ceremony is ended to ground yourself. Also drink plenty of water.
I generally eat a reasonable breakfast and a light lunch. I refrain from all foods for at least 12 hours before I begin. For certain ceremony I will fast for four days before beginning.
Alcohol and drugs are strictly prohibited for 86 hours (four days) prior to any ceremony ... by all participants. This is not shamanism.
Select a quiet and private area. If at all possible, choose an area where airplane traffic will not be a disturbance. If this is not possible, simply wait while the airplane passes you. This is part of our world and appropriate to show respect to those passing over our circle as much as to those who have been invited into it consciously.
Traditionally, the circle is 13' in diameter. The easiest way to measure the circle is to insert a small stick in the ground marking true center. Tie a string measuring 6' 6" to this stick. Holding the string at it's far end and using a compass, mark the east, south, west and north points of the outer circle with a small rock or stone at each compass point. Like the solar alignments, these compass points mark the midpoint between the true power spots or gateways of the circle. (See the figure below.) The compass points are the straight lines in the outer (3rd) circle. The elements are noted at the gateway. The ground cloth I use for casting runes is the same as the circle prepared for ceremony.
The diagram below is only two dimensional. The circles cast are three dimensional. They travel into the earth and into the heavens in equal distance to the circle itself.
the smallest piece, usually one inch, to hold the unknown. The center is the divine void.
13' in diameter. This is where the people and tools congregate. If a large group is involved and two or three circles of people are to be in attendance, then expand this circle in 13' sections. (i.e., 13', 26', 39', 52').
Make a genuine effort not to use more than four circles of people. Only the first circle is limited to 13. Traditionally, the same number of people are allowed into the section of circle as it's distance from the center. (i.e., section 1 = 13 people, section 2 = 26 people, section 3 = 39 people, section 4 = 52 people.) If you actually have more than 133 people you may add however many necessary to the fourth section. If you regularly have more than 133 people, consider breaking into two groups.
Regardless of the number of sections used to accommodate the attendees, this is considered one circle. As humans, we enter, to the best of our ability, as balanced, similar humans...one heart, one purpose ... one entity.
Note: if you've read my pages on the runes, you may now better understand the significance of 33 RUNES. It is the full circle.
This is the boundary line between heaven and earth. It is neither and it is both. Although the elements are physically marked in specific locations, they travel freely around the circle. All four elements are present entirely around their circle. Unlike the physical circle, this is actually four circles, each one beginning and ending at the elemental demarcation.
The elements are unique entities in an of themselves. No matter how many bowls of water may be present, the element of water is singularly present. No matter how many candles may be lighted, the element of fire is singularly present. No matter how many people are present, the human element is singularly present.
Drawing down the elemental energy to the circle, must be done with equal and clear energy. The strongest and purest energy a human can evoke is emotional. Do not just say the words. Shout them. Sing them. Make a command from your entire being. To lack emotion is to lack energy. To lack energy is death.
This is the largest and most complex of the circles. I will briefly describe what is contained within, but ascribe most of it's contents to the will of the Divine Ones. In every circle I have ever drawn, this fourth circle has been somewhat different from the last ... and the next. I know, to a certain extent, what will be there. I trust absolutely to what will come without my request.
If you have spirit guides or a strong belief in Christian saints ... whatever, whoever you believe in as a higher and good spiritual guidance in your life, call them into the circle. If you have no name for what you wish, use the element which is closest to that energy. Do not fear what will come.
This circle is comprised of seven sections. The first section holds any and all spirit guides that you may specifically call into the circle. The second area will contain the polar opposite to the first section. The third area holds any other spirits, guides, or energies that are brought to this circle by guides who have been called. The fourth area will contain the polar opposite to the second section.
Sections five through seven remain open to what I refer to as Divine Will. I do not pretend to know and understand everything. I make every attempt to include that which I do not know and/or understand. The last three sections of the fourth circle are not an effort to include that which we do not know. They are very real and beyond knowing.
In totality, whether used or seen, there are 13 separate and distinct sections within this sacred circle. This is done by defining a center and casting a single circle of 13'. I do not do everything, because I am not everything. I am just a piece of the greater whole. Knowing these parts are present and acknowledging them with word and action during the ceremony are all that is required.
For those of you who have any Wiccan or other Celtic background, what follows flies in the face of everything I have read in regard to the elements. I do not argue their statements or use of these things. On the contrary, I honor and respect their beliefs. Herein, I simply repeat how I have been taught and it is different.
As you see on the diagrams for the ceremony circle and the ground cloth, the elements are placed in opposition to each other. The correct positioning of equally strong and opposing forces creates balance. There is no good vs. bad, or right vs. wrong. There is balance or imbalance. Evil, as I understand it, exists only in the heart and mind of humans.
Air is the first of the elements. It is both feminine (breath in) and masculine (breath out). All things must contain air to contain life. Air contains nothing of the other elements. Air is invisible. You cannot hold it. You cannot give it to another or form it in your hands. You cannot live without it. Until this moment, you most probably have not thought about a single breath you've taken today. Yet everything you've done is dependent upon your every breath ... upon air. It is the life force of all existence. It is the invisible, almost but not-quite-spiritual, element. It reminds, those of us who wish to be reminded, to acknowledge that which we cannot see, touch, smell, or hear in every breath we take. Air is life.
The second of the elements is Fire. It is masculine. The sun is fire. Fire exists, universally and absolutely, at all times. It need not be in our presence, for us to know it exists. When lighting a candle or a pyre, we join with fire -- we don't start the fire. Fire, uncontrolled or held too close, can be destructive. This is not it's design or intent, rather the result of mis-use. Fire is unable to burn without Air. With Air, fire is transformation of matter from one form to another. When a "fire burns within", we are passionate and alive. When a fire is lighted on a winter's night it is life-saving. Fire is the use of Air. Fire is raw energy.
The third element is Earth. It is feminine. It is all things physical. It is a constant state of change. It is a stage in life, always moving. Earth is one small piece of our solar system. We are one small piece of Earth. Earth generates a fire from within, as well as receiving the fire of the sun. Geysers, hot springs and volcanoes are examples of the fire within the belly of Earth. Plants send their roots down into the earth for their nourishment. Creatures who walk upon or fly above the Earth, in turn, eat those plants. Earth is nurturing, life giving and sustaining. Earth is bounty and beauty. Earth is the physical container for Air and Fire. Earth is the vessel of life.
The fourth element is the child of the first three. Water is both feminine and masculine. It cools the heat of fire and quenches the thirst of earth. It is solid and fluid. It is strong and gentle. It can give life and take it. It runs in oceans and streams across the earth and from beneath it. It falls from the sky. It provides us with food (fish, kelp, etc.). We cannot live in the element of water, just like we cannot live in the element of fire. These elements live within us, as well as in our physical surroundings. Water is purification. Water is flow or direction of energy through a vessel toward a specific event or outcome. Water is the result.
Cauldron (earthen bowl)
a simple robe (shift/dress)
At long last, we arrive at the object of this discourse! If you've actually read the above, blessings!
Carry all of the necessary tools, food and water to the chosen location. It is my preference to arrive before sunset, both to ease my journey and to arrive before the others so that I may properly prepare the area. Put them down outside of the 13' circle area.
Sweep the area to be used. Even if you use the same area for years, a ceremonial sweeping is appropriate. Always begin in a clean and uncluttered space. Remove weeds and debris. Whenever possible, find a way to use what is removed. The earth does not make garbage ... that's a human trait. (my besom is made up of all the weeds I have pulled from the earth in the area I've chosen for my circle.) You may set it aside for the use of animals, start a compost pile away from your circle, or bring it home.
Define the center. Make a small hole. Insert the stick with string into this hole to measure the 13' circumference of the circle and mark the compass points. If more than 13 people are attending, mark the outermost point of your circle as well as the 13' circle.
Selecting four appropriate markers, measure the circle and mark the compass points by placing these markers. They should be small enough to be unobtrusive, yet large enough for you and others to identify them clearly as the boundary markers.
Remove the stick from the center hole. Place into the hole, in this order,
- a leaf, or the petal of a flower (a seed or nut may be used in the dark half of the year)
- 13 drops of water
- a pinch of salt
- a stone or amulet that has personal meaning to you. This item is to be used in no other way. If you choose not to continue with this type of ceremony circle, bury the item and do not retrieve it. Tell no one what it is or where it is.
(this space intentionally left blank) Yes ... leave room for Divine Will.
Place a smooth rock over the top of this hole. Everything that can be removed from this hole should be taken when the ceremony is completed. Do not wear or use the amulet or stone. Plant the seed. Bury everything else in another place, to be left undisturbed. the hold is uncovered and remains empty until the next circle is formed.
Spend a few moments bringing yourself into balance, within yourself and within this area.
Walk the entire area to see if there is anything out of balance. A sick plant that needs water, a birds nest that's lost an egg ... these are the obvious things. Also, there's an energy about a place that you can feel and sense. Bring the entire area into harmony by bringing yourself into harmony within that area. You may find this to be emotionally disturbing at times. Do not be frightened or alarmed by this phenomena. Emotions are a form of energy that we cannot express, we only feel. Move through the emotion(s) until you are balanced. Walk the area again until no shifts or variations in energy exist.
Now is the time to write down anything you want to state within the circle. Do not come too prepared. Be IN the energy of the circle before you try to direct it in any way. (This is the main reason I arrive before others.) A rhythm helps, but is not necessary. Ask for nothing and you will not be disappointed. The opening of a circle requires command and force. Do not request ... command presence. Beyond that, we ask for nothing. Rather, I clearly and emotionally state my gratitude and awe for that which I need or want. I state it into existence. Again, I make no request. I say thank you for that which I have not yet received. I ask nothing for myself, personally. All statements are on behalf of all people. Since I am one amongst many, I too will receive what is acknowledged. This is the best way of keeping ego out of a circle.
Keep it as simple and positive as you possibly can. Where five words can be replaced by one ...use only one word. The more you say, the more you limit the universe. Words have power. Choose them carefully.
When your text is written, read it aloud, several times if necessary, until you begin to really feel the emotions rather than the words. Don't follow it like a script. Most of the time I never look at it again. It is merely how I prepare. Be aware of each moment as it passes into your existance. Do not hold that moment whose life has been spent. Be present. If it is meant to be, you will state it. Trust yourself and the universe.
Place everything you need around the center. Take care that nothing actually touches the rock which covers the center hole.
Change into the clothes you will wear in the circle.
Be still and wait for others to arrive.
When everyone has arrived, review with them the request that they enter empty. This is not the place to bring problems, it is the place to find solutions. No one should enter the circle until everyone has arrived and is ready. Remove shoes, if practical and comfortable. Wear clean and simple clothes that you use only for ceremony ... or your best clothes. I do not allow people to wear their jeans and a t-shirt into a circle. If necessary, I supply them with a robe. If a robe is not available, I ask them to pick some flowers, to adorn themselves. Do not wear jewelry or perfumes. If you regularly wear a talisman (wedding ring) or other pieces of jewelry, wear them beneath your clothing. Only the wedding ring, or any other item of significant social and cultural status, may be worn in plain view. Significant social and cultural status can be determined by a simple measure, was it given to you in ceremony for a specific and significant reason? If yes, you may wear it openly. If not, then cover it or remove it.
Enter the circle in a clockwise direction form one of the four compass points, based on the cycle of the year.
Spring -- East
Summer -- South
Fall -- West
Winter -- North
Once everyone is in the circle, the facilitator (druid) will begin.
Holding the knife in your right hand, walk to the entrance. Walking clockwise (calling in) behind the attendees, draw a circle between your circle and the elemental circle. You need not place the knife in the ground, use it to point to the ground and channel energy from the earth, through your feet to your heart, from your heart to your right hand, through the knife (metal is earth forged with fire) and back to the ground.
A circle within a circle.
A life within a life.
A universe within a universe.
A moment is eternity.
Eternity is a moment.
I declare this circle to be mine!
Now call your spirit guides and state your intention for this ceremony.
The leader will indicate when others may speak. Go around the circle, giving each person an opportunity to declare themself.
Dismiss your spirit guides.
Walk counter-clockwise (release) and open the circle.
Adjourn. Attendees walk clockwise to the exit of the circle and then exit. Even though you've removed the boundary, it is considered very bad form to walk over this line. (If I entered through your front door, I would not climb out a window to leave).
Eat, Drink and Be Merry!
Carry what you've said in this circle in your heart and in your words every moment until you return to the circle.
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This page is a work in progress.
I appreciate your patience, interest & comments.
Updated: May 5, 2001
Created: May 11, 1998