At the Sign of the Black Cat
Alban Arthan (Yule) ritual

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This ritual focuses on the energy of the winter solstice.  It brings the blessing of the returning light to your home, and a spiritual focus to the formulation of resolutions for the new calendar year.

At the centre of your circle have a table with a circle of candles, plus one larger candle that you can carry safely around your home.

Call for peace

Move to face the north, and say, 'May there be peace in the north'.

Move to face the south, and say, 'May there be peace in the south'.

Move to face the west, and say, 'May there be peace in the west'.

Move to face the east, and say, 'May there be peace in the east'.Druidry Home

Turn to face the centre, and say, 'May there be peace throughout the whole world'.

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At the Sign of the Black Cat
   

Cast the circle

Turn back to the east, extend a hand or your wand, and walk around your working space to cast your circle, until you are back in the east again, and your circle is complete. 

You may also want to bless and consecrate the circle by carrying around incense and scattering water, while saying, 'I bless and consecrate this circle with water/fire'.

Greet and welcome the spirits and animal powers of the four quarters

Turn to the east and invoke it, saying these or words of your own:

Spirits of the East, spirits of air, of dawn, of spring, of new light, of new life.  O rising sun, O waxing moon, O kestrel dancing on the breeze of morning, bring your gifts of clear sight and focused intent to this circle.  Hail and welcome!

Move to the South and invoke it, saying these or words of your own:

Spirits of the South, spirits of fire, of noon, of summer, of greatest light and greatest vigour.  O sun at noonday and moon at the full, O lizard basking on the rock in the heat of the midday sun, bring your gifts of swift action and focused energy to this circle.  Hail and welcome!

Move to the West and invoke it, saying these or words of your own:

Spirits of the West, spirits of water, of evening, of autumn, of fading light and ebbing energies.  O setting sun, O waning moon, O salmon leaping above the waters of the well, bring your gifts of wisdom and understanding to this circle.  Hail and welcome!

Move to the North and invoke it, saying these or words of your own:

Spirits of the North, spirits of earth, of night, of winter, of darkness and of rest.  Here, where the sun shines not, here, when the moon is dark.  Great boar that walks the paths of the midnight forest, bring your gifts of earthy enjoyment and instinctive understanding to this circle.  Hail and welcome!

Greet and welcome ancestors and guardians

Move slowly sunwise around the circle, saying these or words of your own:

And welcome also to you, ancestors of place, you who have walked this bowl of earth before me; ancestors of blood, you of my line who came before me; ancestors of spirit, you who have walked this druid path before me.  And you, my guides and guardians, [name them and any other otherwordly beings you work with], hail and welcome!

The Druid Prayer

Grant, O spirits, your protection,
And in protection, strength;
And in strength, understanding;
And in understanding, knowledge;
And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice;
And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it;
And in the love of it, the love of all existences;
And in that love, the love of spirit and all creation.

Statement of intent

O spirits of this circle, O spirits of this place, I am come to celebrate this festival of Alban Arthan, of Yule, of the sun’s return in the depths of midwinter.

The return of the sun

For long weeks we have lived with the growing dark, for long weeks we have yearned for intensity of light.  We have endured endless rain, mists and gloom.  Now the ground is hard, rimed with frost.  Cobwebs glitter in the foggy air; birds huddle, fluffed up against the cold.  The land sleeps.

But now we stand at the turning point.  At this moment of greatest darkness the sun stands still in the sky, then turns and begins its long journey back to light and warmth.  Though we have more long weeks of darkness, still we know the light is growing, the year is turning.

Since Samhain, all creatures of earth, water and air, have been in darkness, seeking their way in visions and dreams.  Now awake, earth, sea and sky!  [Light circle of candles]  The brightness of the reborn sun calls out to the return of life, new growth, and a new year’s round. 

The blessing

Now I take the light in blessing to all corners of my home, to symbolise the return of the sun to my life.  May joy and blessing grow with the sun!

Take a candle to all rooms of the house, and switch on all lights as you go until the house is blazing with light – the promise of light to come.

Resolutions for the coming year

Now with the returning light we are empowered to take the visions and dreams of Samhain and bring them into the light of the sun, to take shape and grow as the light grows.

Here as the year turns to the light, I name my resolutions for the new year.  [Speak your undertakings for the year ahead]

The Festival opens

Now let the festival days begin – eat, drink, and celebrate the returning sun, with family and friends.  And remember that this midwinter festival is but one of the eight, an integral part of the whole, a point on the wheel of the year as it turns from dark to light and back again, in the ever-flowing spiral of existence.

Chant the Awen

If you wish, intone 'Aaaaaaa-oooooo-ennnnn' three or nine times.

Close the rite

Now move to the north, and say these or words of your own:

Spirits of the North, spirits of earth, I thank you for your presence here, for your gifts and guidance, and I bid you now, until the next time, hail and farewell!

Move to the West, and say these or words of your own:

Spirits of the West, spirits of water, I thank you for your presence here, for your gifts and guidance, and I bid you now, until the next time, hail and farewell.

Move to the South, and say these or words of your own:

Spirits of the South, spirits of fire, I thank you for your presence here, for your gifts and guidance, and I bid you now, until the next time, hail and farewell.

Move to the East, and say these or words of your own:

Spirits of the East, spirits of Air, I thank you for your presence here, for your gifts and guidance, and I bid you now, until the next time, hail and farewell.

Turn to the centre, and say these or words of your own:

And you, my ancestors, guides and guardians - I thank you for your presence here, for your care and guidance, and I bid you now, until the next time, hail and farewell.

Turn to the east, stretch out your hand or your wand, and moving against the sun, uncast your circle until you stand in the east again.  Then say these or words of your own to close the rite:

"This rite of Alban Arthan ends in peace, as in peace it began.  May its inspiration live on in my thoughts, my heart, my life."

 

   

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