The sky was too cloudy to see the Solar Eclipse, but as the day brightened up later it started to feel like Spring at last, as I celebrated the Equinox with a small Druid ritual. I had written a script for the rite, following the steps outlined in ADF’s Core order of ritual, and based on the rites suggested in Michael J. Dangler’s Crane Breviary and Guidebook.
My home shrine was decorated with daffodils and wildflowers from the garden, which brought nature indoors and gave it a real Spring feeling.
The rite was focused on Nemetona, the Celtic/Gaulish goddess of the Sacred Grove. Little is known of this goddess, who is thought to be the deity of the Nemetes tribe in what is now Germany. There is also evidence of her worship here in England at places such as Bath. Her name connects her to nemetons, sacred places, and she is often seen as a goddess of sanctuary. Dangler’s ritual honours Nemetona as she who “awakens the forest” at Spring as well as blessing any sacred place, including a small home-shrine.
As an agnostic and naturalist, I don’t believe in the literal existence of the Pagan deities, instead seeing them as mythic and archetypal representations of natural forces and aspects of human experience. So for me, Nemetona is the “essence” of any sacred place. In the rite, I offered grain to Nemetona, to represent the bounty of the land that feeds all creatures.
As well as this main offering, I offered oats to the Earth Mother and organic Golden Ale to the three Kindreds. The “working” section of the rite, as suggested by Dangler, was a blessing of tools. He writes that “in ancient days, the folk would bring their tools to the priests who would then charm them. This charming or blessing would keep those tools in working order throughout the year, and would thus sustain the lives of the folk through the always dangerous time from planting to harvest”.
For the omen, I drew three staves from my lovely new Ogham set (which I am using daily in my morning meditations, and which has been really helpful in giving me plenty to think about). I love the feeling of using these wooden staves, it just seems so much more tactile and “Druidic” than cards.
The symbols I drew were willow (liminality, intuition), reed (healing, cleansing tools), and hazel (wisdom). I’m far too sceptical to assign magical significance to divination, but the reading seemed very appropriate to a liminal, tool-blessing Equinox rite!