As a new component of my personal service to the community as a Druid, I thought I would share some rituals I have written and conducted. To start with, here is one celebrating the passage of a youth into adulthood.
As I was searching for some ideas when asked to hold such a rite of passage, I guess many are in the same boat and want to find some help with creating a meaningful ritual. Please feel free to use and share, as a whole or just some parts.
This rite was originally written for the general audience sections for a young woman’s rite of passage. There is a part that was done by the women (family and friends) only, and I do not know what they did. A good chance to get your creative juices going.
Also, if you were to perform a rite of passage for a young man, you could switch the roles of ceremonial leaders, e.g. have female guards of the Northwestern gate. The Knight of Honor could be of any gender, but would preferably be a loved family member and good friend of the youth (kind of like a Godfather/Godmother in Christianity).
The rite was held in the context of modern Druidry. I am, however, presenting it here with more flexibility, which, I may add, would require some creative input from you.
- Male Ceremonial Leader (Druid/High Priest etc.)
- Female Ceremonial Leader (Druidess/High Priestess etc.)
- Knight of Honor
- Parents and/or care givers (2)
- Guardians of the circle (2)
- Green Man or similar figure
- Lady of the Lake or similar figure
ACTING ONLY ROLES:
- Two males or females at the Northwestern gate.
YOU MAY NEED
- An altar with whatever decoration, but at least one central candle
- Bowl filled with water
- Some form of lighter
- A sword, axe, dagger or the like
- Cut flowers, preferably gathered by the celebrated youth, while contemplating his/her childhood
- Two of the youth’s toys
- A personal candle for the youth, with two wickers
- Two candles (long and thin) for the parents/care givers
- Twine or rope long enough to span the whole perimeter of the circle of attendees
R I T E O F P A S S A G E
All participants including the family with the youth enter the ceremonial space and form a circle. In the Northwest, there should be two persons next to each other, who will later step to the side to create a gate in the circle.
- Announcing the intent to conduct a ceremony
- Opening the gates to the four directions
- Blessing of the circle with the elements of your path
GUARDIAN 1: Leave the cares of the apparent world behind you and lay all disturbing thoughts aside. Pause for a moment and allow yourselves to breathe in the goodness of Mother Nature around you.
GUARDIAN 2: Accept these symbols of light and life. (Both Guardians hand out little trinkets to all).
HERALD: Let it be known to all present: We have come here from far and near, from where the Sun rises to where He sets allowing the moon to take His place in the firmament until it is Her time to relinquish the night into day. We have gathered here to celebrate the rite of passages from child to wo/manhood.
FEMALE CELEBRANT (facing East): We call upon you, Maiden, Mother, and Crone, and ask for your blessings and protection for this rite, for this young person passing through the third gate of life.
(Facing into the circle): We call upon you, Spirit of this land, and upon you, ancestors of all of us gathered, and ask for your guidance and inspiration in this ceremony.
MALE CELEBRANT (walks around the circle and, starting with the northern one of the two persons in the Northeast, unrolls a twine, which the participants take in both their hands as the Male Celebrant passes by them. The end of the twine is being cut after the eastern one of the Northeastern gate grabs it): Now that we have created this visible circle, may a kindly ask you, as you hold this twine, to load it with your thoughts of love and support for Name of the youth and infuse it with your blessings.
FEMALE CELEBRANT: I ask you all to now lay down the twine to your feet, thus forming a visible circle, with you creating a wall of protection around it.
MALE CELEBRANT: Let us now light the candle, ignite the fire that ignites life itself, the fire of creation that brings forth the Land, the Sea, and the Sky.
The Knight of Honor lights the main candle on the altar.
MALE CELEBRANT: Maiden/Lad, step forward. Are you ready to begin your journey into Adulthood?
YOUTH: I am
FEMALE CELEBRANT: Have you been told about the journey? Are you ready to make the sacrifices required?
YOUTH: I am.
Male Celebrant motions Parents/Caregivers and the Knight of Honor forward. Parents/Caregivers stand on either side of <Name of Youth>, the Knight of Honor behind her/him.
MALE CELEBRANT: <Name of Youth>, have you symbols of your youth to leave in the care of your parents?
YOUTH: I do. (Youth hands one item to her mother and one item to her father, toys s/he associates with her/his childhood.)
PARENT/CAREGIVER 1 (places their hand on Youth’s shoulder): Take a deep breath with me, dear folks present, and let the strength of the Land enter your bodies from beneath your feet. Let the solidity of the rock provide a foundation for my daughter’s/son’s future life. (They light a candle on the altar.)
PARENT/CAREGIVER 2: (places their hand on Youth’s other shoulder): Take a deep breath with me, dear folks present, and let the power of the Sea enter your bodies from around you. Let the fluidity of the water provide my daughter/son with flexibility, yet with the awesome force of the wave crashing against the rock, and with the subtle might of the steady drop that hollows stone. (They light a candle on the altar.)
KNIGHT OF HONOR: (places their hand on both of Youth’s shoulders from behind, on top of her parents’/care givers’ hands): Take a deep breath with me, beloved family, and dear folks present, and let the vastness of the Sky enter your bodies from above. Let the swiftness of air fulfill <Name of Youth> with the lightness of a breeze and with the power of a storm.
The Parents/Caregivers and the Knight of Honor take their hands off Youth’s shoulder, and each walk three steps back, to give her/him room.
The Knight of Honor hands the Male Celebrant his sword. The Male Celebrant then walks around Youth and plunges the sword into the ground before her/him.
MALE CELEBRANT: Pull this blade out of the soil like young Arthur pulled Excalibur from the rock and cut your ties to your childhood.
Youth pulls the sword, gently turns around and cuts her “ties” with a few graceful motions. The Knight of Honor throws a loose bunch of flowers in the air behind the Youth, through which s/he cuts as well. Youth hands the sword back to the Knight of Honor.
FEMALE CELEBRANT: <Name of Youth>, you have now cut the ties to a previous part of your life. As a child, you flowered and blossomed, lived with little care and responsibilities. But while this has now passed, it shall not be forgotten. Nor will the ties to your family. As a token of remembrance, pick up a flower of your choice, and make it a keep-sake for the times you want to dwell in the memories of your childhood and to always remember your blessings.
(After Youth picks a flower, the Female Celebrant hands her a 2 wicked candle and says.)
FEMALE CELEBRANT: <Name of Youth>, this candle represents the light of youth and the continuing flame it brings to adulthood. Now let <Name of parents/care givers> light the candle so you may always find your way home.
(Parent/Caregiver 1 takes their candle and lights one wicker of the Youth’s candle and Parent/Caregiver 2 takes theirs and lights the other.)
The Knight of Honor takes the sword and steps to the Northeast of the circle. The two Gate Keepers step aside to create a gate.
MALE CELEBRANT: Knight of Honor, may I kindly ask you to cut a temporary opening in the circle, to let through the procession of wo/men.
The two Gate Keepers hold the two ends of the twine next to each other, and the Knight of Honor cuts through them. Meanwhile, all wo/men step into the circle.
MALE CELEBRANT: The time has come now, <Name of Youth>, that you leave this circle for a short time. Take the fire of creation with you, as the wo/men of the circle take you to the secret and sacred rite of initiation into wo/manhood.
Beginning with the Fe/Male Celebrant, followed by the Youth carrying the light and the Parent/Caregiver(s) of the same gender, all wo/men exit the circle clockwise in a procession through the gate.
HERALD: Behold, all present, the wo/men proceeding through the Northeastern gate for their most secret ancient rites of passage.
Secret wo/men’s Rite. Refreshments for the participants staying back.
One of the wo/men signals the end of the rite and the Green Man/Lady of the Lake (the respective other gender of the youth) leads them back.
The wo/men proceed back through the gate into the circle and take their places as they walk the circle sunwise, while the Youth and the Green Man/Lady of the Lake
MALE CELEBRANT: Hail and welcome, wo/men of the tribe. But I see there I one other waiting outside the circle. I bid them enter and be welcome.
The Green Man/Lady of the Lake enters followed by the Youth and by the Lady of the Lake
GREEN MAN: I am he who protects youth and the growing. You see in me the representation of life and light, sustenance and growth.
LADY OF THE LAKE: I am she who protects the years of adulthood. You see in me the representation of maturity and of parenthood.
GREEN MAN: Hail to all. I introduce to you <Name of Youth>.
MALE CELEBRANT: First may want to share some personal words. <Name of Youth>, please give all who remained here a chance to welcome you personally, before you choose your new place in the circle of this community. (Youth walks around sunwise and greets folks who stayed back.) May the Gods and Goddesses, Spirits and Ancestors give you the strength and wisdom to choose your rightful new place in all your circles and communities.
FEMALE CELEBRANT: First may want to share some personal words. Is there anyone present who wants to share a brief thought for these women’s life journeys?
People with thoughts come forward. When it appears that all who wish have spoken, The Green Man Steps forward:
GREEN MAN: Hail to the Children of Life. Hail to the Maidens and Braves.
LADY OF THE LAKE: Hail to the Mothers and Fathers. Hail to the Crones and Sages.
BOTH: May Peace and Harmony bless all of our lives.
Youth steps into the center of the circle, facing the Celebrants. Female Celebrant and Male Celebrant take incense and a bowl of water, walk around the Youth, waving the incense and sprinkling them with water.
A blessing to the childhood past
A blessing to the passage into wo/manhood
A blessing to the future wo/man
A blessing to a plentiful harvest
A blessing to a loving partner
A blessing to a safe life
A blessing to the family
A blessing to the circle
A blessing to the community
HERALD: It is the hour of recall. Let us <announce the next step of the typical ending of rites in your path>
- Closing the gates into the four directions
- Thanking Gods, Goddesses, Spirits, and Ancestors for their blessings, guidance, and inspiration
Christian Brunner is the author of the book “Mountain Magic”, available at lulu.com (preferred) and distributers such as amazon.com