The Goddess’ Wheel of the Year
A seasonal ritual drama
Tired of the emphasis on the heterosexual relationship between The Goddess and the Gods in most ritual drama cycles which celebrate the seasonal Wheel of the Year, we have created a mythic cycle which focuses exclusively on different faces of the Goddess and, sometimes, the interplay between Her different aspects.
Over the course of one year we discussed which Goddeses and their myths we associate with each festival. From these we selected stories which lent themselves to ritual drama and created a “script” for that festival’s ritual, with one or more women being honoured to carry (literally, to be possessed by) the Goddess. We are also inspired by the wealth of ancient sites in West Cornwall in which to enact our sacred dramas.
Here we publish our IMBOLC ritual, dedicated to Brigid. This is the second in our eight-part series. We offer these scripts as our contribution to the myriad creative ways to celebrate the Goddess at the seasonal festivals.
We set up the room, with unlit white candles, L’s white clothes and hair-plaiting equipment ready. We did a four-fold purification and blessing with the four elements, then drove to Porthcurno beach in silent ritual space. We chose a magical place on the shel tered west side of the beach (actually it was a magically still, misty night, despite the forecast gales), which was semi- enclosed by a huge rock, with a narrow arch facing towards the sea.
In preparation we lit Brigid’s candle lantern and concealed it in black cloth further down the beach, near where she would come out of the sea. We then cast the circle, and ritually put into our black stones what we wanted to get rid of and not take forward into the spring. L took off all her (black) clothes and put on the Goddess’ black hooded cloak. B invoked the Dark Goddess into her. The Dark Goddess felt very old, tired and slow, and not inclined to do anything dramatic. B bade her farewell (the end of winter). “Have you anything for me?” the Dark Goddess asked, holding out her hand to receive the black stones. She then slowly danced through the narrow arch and down to the sea, carrying the stones. She felt like a compost Goddess, taking away the old unwanted energy for cleansing and recycling: a benevolent feeling of offering a service, her part in the cycle of death and life.
At the sea’s edge she removed the dark cloak, then danced naked into the sea, not releasing the stones until she flung herself forward in total immersion and transformation. B meanwhile had removed all her clothes and followed the Dark Goddess down the beach, carrying her beautiful flimsy flowing white dress. She was waiting at the water’s edge when the Dark Goddess emerged from the sea and passed aspect to her by pressing hand to hand, then placing her cold hand on B’s warm breast and again pressing into it.
At this point L returned to being human L, and dashed back to the sea as herself, where she dived, rolled and splashed in an ecstasy of cleansing and renewal. After helping Brigid to put on her white dress, L dashed naked back up the beach, pulled on some clothes, picked up a tambourine and began to sing and call and chant to Brigid to return.
After a little while, Brigid could be seen, a long way away and appearing quite small, only partially lit by the candle lantern she was carrying, the white dress floating and swirling as she danced and turned in and out of view across the rocky archway.
Slowly she came closer, appear ing to get bigger, until she finally came through the narrow arch, huge, radiant, exquisitely beautiful and looking twenty years younger! L’s ecstasy and adoration were loud and intense.
Brigid poured a seashell-full of shockingly cold water over L, then showered blessings of light, renewal and healing over her. L had never ever experienced such an abundant sense of the Goddess just pouring blessings and love over her. Truly the Aquarian water pitcher (Imbolc falls in the sign of Aquar ius) was pouring out its life-giving bounty. L sang “We will never lose our way to the well” to Brigid.
We then put the ritual drama on pause; L gathered up her own and B’s belongings, and followed Brigid up the beach. Brigid was still in aspect, wearing nothing but the white dress and carrying the candle lantern, looking absolutely magical.
L drove home (she’s never had the Goddess in her car before!); on arrival, L went through the house to the kitchen, where the candle crown was ready. Starting with the same chant we’d ended with on the beach, she called to Brigid to come into the house. Again, slowly, Brigid came into view, dancing around the garden and then into the house. What an incredibly special moment, to welcome her into our home!
With the light of her candle lantern, Brigid lit the candles in the candle crown, which L then put on her head. Brigid proceeded through the house wearing the lit candle crown, bringing blessings of light and healing to each room. She finished in the living room, where she lit the hearth fire and all the white candles around the room in a festival of white light. Again she poured blessings of light over L.
Brigid removed the candle crown, placing it on a metal tray covered with white muslin in the centre of the floor. She then helped L to change into her white clothes and plaited her hair. Brigid then finished putting down aspect and returned to being human B.
We raised power (for new life and emergence from darkness, illness and depression) around the candle crown and then shared a stunning feast of white food, including sheep’s milk, potatoes in a white creamy sauce, white salad, cornmeal cake, pavlova, coconut icecream, and organic white chocolate!