I wrote this tonight as well. An idea of a secular neopagan ritual form has been bouncing around in my skull for awhile. No idea what, if anything, I will do with it but after putting a couples of work into it I decided it would be a shame not to share. Neopagans who read this will find little surprising here but it is all original. I would expect this rite, with experienced ritualists and a small group, to take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
Prepare the ritual site by obtaining 3 candles colored white, yellow or gold, and black or brown (and matches or lighter and snuffer). Also needed; a charger or largish plate, a small bell, a knife or wand of some sort, cord, rope, or twine of some sort long enough to be knotted 9 times, a bowl filled with clean water (and towel for drying if needed), and a chalice (any pretty glass will do) with some liquid for drinking.
Place candles in one corner of altar, which should be centered within the ritual space, grouped together. The charger or plate in the center. The cord, knife, bell, bowl and chalice off to one side or another. Placement is not really important but the overall scene should be pleasing to the eye and look intentional not just a haphazard collection of “stuff” upon the altar.
Initiating the rite
Approach the altar and take a few breaths to clear the mind, ring the bell in three steady, paced tones.
Statement of purpose
A participant says:
We have come to do as was done before, since the most ancient of days. To approach the world in ritual and word. To assert my our right to create order in the face of chaos. To celebrate the height of summer, the longest day and acknowledge, even now, the turning towards the long dark. May we speak truth in this space, may we speak with power in this space, may we be blessed in this undertaking.
A participant leads the following meditation:
Stand (sit) calmly now, centered upon the earth, feet upon the ground beneath you. Picture in your minds eye roots growing from the soles of your feet. Roots burrowing deep into the Earth below you. Through the floor, extending deeper, through the dirt. Deeper now through the bedrock below. Deeper, deeper the grow. See in your minds eye a pool there below. Cool and still waters deep beneath the Earth. Feel the coolness of their touch and your roots touch the surface. See the ripples pass across the surface of the waters and feel the energy and power you have found. Breath deep …. and feel the waters rising up through your roots. Up, up past the bedrock, the dirt below you, through the floor. Feel the waters pouring into your feet, rising now into your calves, your thighs. Feel the waters filling you past your loins and belly. Filling you with their cool and steady power. Filling now your chest and shoulders, your arms, wrists, and hands. Filling your head until your whole body, all of you, if filled with the cool and steady waters of the Earth.
Picture now the sun above you. Today at it's height of power and light. See it shining upon the crown of your head. It's light fool of heat and strength. Feel it's light mingling with the waters that fill you. See the light pouring into your head and shoulders, down your arms and hands. See the light shining within your chest and down to your belly. Mingling always with the waters of the Earth. See the light shining in your loins and thighs, your calves and feet. See the light now filling you completely, just as the waters do. Every piece of you is filled with the heat and strength of the Earth. Every part of you is feeling with the calm and cool of the waters. Feel them mingle there, coalescing into a unified whole.
When you are ready, open your eyes. You … child of the Earth and Sun.
Creating Ritual Space
When ready, following the meditation, a participant approaches the altar prepared with a tool to light the candles. Starting first with the white candle the participant says:
I name this space in honor of all those who have come before. The wise ancients, our forebears and ancestors, and all of those whose dedication and drive enabled a new pagan path in these times. I name this space in honor of all those who have come before.
Next, lighting the yellow or gold candle the participant says:
I name this space in honor of this day. Midsummer, the longest day, when the growing green surrounds us and the light of summer and is at it's highest. Celebrate here in the summer fullness. I name this space in honor of this day.
Next, lighting the black or brown candle the participant says:
I name this space in honor of the turning of the year. Acknowledging that even now, even at the height of the power and joy of summer that we turn towards the long dark. From this day on the light diminishes. I name this space in honor of the turning of the year.
A participant takes up the knife or wand and facing away from the altar, with the tool aimed away as well. walks a slow circle, clock wise, around the altar. Picturing in their minds eye a circle be cast. When returning to the beginning point says:
The circle is cast. This space is now named and sealed. Let no one enter here except those by our call and welcome.
A participant says:
We celebrate now the height and power of summer. As has been done before, since the most ancient of days, We cast our voice into the world affirmed in our right to create order in a chaotic world. All of those within the sound of my voice, let the truth and power of this rite ring true to bring us blessing, fulfillment, and peace in all the days to come.
A participant says:
Now into silence we fall. Contemplating this day, and focusing always on the needs of our hearts
Now into silence we fall.
Now into silence ...
Silence should last a minimum of two minutes.
Seasonal/Event Specific Customs
A participant says:
We clean away all those things which hold us back. We clean away all those things which do not allow our own inner light to shine through. We clean away all those things we do not need. (Let all come forward)
Participants each come forward and wash hands in the bowl, focusing on cleaning away that which is not needed and holds them back and then dries hands with towel.
A participant says:
May our voices resound throughout. We have come in word in ritual. We have once more called to the world. We have once more asserted our right and intention. We have come in celebration and with the knowledge that we have power and place within time and within the world about us.
May my our voices resound throughout.
So Be It.
Taken and interpreted. The omen SHOULD NOT be on whether the ritual was successful or correct or if it is good or bad but on advice and ideas to focus on in the coming days.
A participant takes up the chalice and says:
We take now a blessing. A blessing we bestow upon ourselves. A blessing we bestow upon each other. A blessing affirmed by family and friends. A symbol of our own power and strength, just as the summers power and strength is at it's highest this day. A symbol which acknowledges also our brokenness and need, just as the year, this day, turns towards the long dark. We take now a blessing.
So Be It.
Invites all to partake.
A participant takes up the cord and, while tying each knot, says:
1st knot: We bind to us now the power and strength of this midsummer day
2nd knot: We bind to us now the knowledge that the wheel of the year is always turning
3rd knot: We bind to us now our right to face the world in ritual and word
4th knot: We bind to us now the knowledge of our own power and magic
5th knot: We bind to us now the rightness of our undertaking this day
6th knot: We bind to us now fullness and acceptance of our place within the world
7th knot: We bind to us now all of that lifts us up and gives us hope
8th knot: We bind to us now all that good and right within our lives
9th knot: We bind to us now love, peace, and justice everywhere and to all peoples
As we have tied these knots upon this cord so have we tied these ideas with our intention upon our very souls. May they never be undone.
Knotted cord should be placed upon the charger. Participants are invited to come forward and to touch the cord enduing both it and themselves with the intention of the working. The cord should never be untied.
After all who wish have come forward a participant says:
We have come in ritual and word
We have come in strength and power
We have come in truth and rightness
We have taken blessing and performed our work
Let us now, then, close this ritual
Opening Ritual Space
A participant takes up the knife or wand and faces away from the altar, with the tool aimed away as well, walking around the ritual space picture the releasing of the circle. At the completion of the circle says:
The circle is released, may all who entered here in peace leave in peace
A participant takes up the snuffer and extinguishes the candles after all three are out says:
All that was named in this space is now released but never forgotten.
A Participant says:
This rite is at an end
May the peace and blessing we have sought this day remain
This day and forever more.
So Be It and Blessed Be