Full Text of my Late-Evening Observance

I have decided to give the full texts of the daily observances I used previously, before I joined the Order of the Sacred Nemeton (OSN). These Observances are clearly not the only way to do these kinds of daily prayers. I give them just as an example of how I began my own monastic work, and so that they may provide some helpful ideas for others beginning along the same path.

Late-Evening Observance

‘Wise Crone of the Winter Mound’ by Jill Smith (Original was in black and white only)

(On lighting the shrine candle)
‘Bright flame, fragment of the eternal and ever-lasting fire, symbol of the Divine,
I welcome you.’

(Facing North-West)
‘May there be Peace throughout the whole world.’

Druid Prayer
‘Grant, O Great Divine, thy Protection.
And in Protection, Strength.
And in Strength, Humility.
And in Humility, Understanding.
And in Understanding, Knowledge.
And in Knowledge, the Knowledge of Right Action.
And in the Knowledge of Right Action, the Love of it.
And in the Love of it, the Love of all existences.
And in the Love of all existences, the Love of the Gods and of all Goodness.’

Greeting to the Dark Moon (on the day of the Dark Moon)
‘At this time of your Darkness I greet you, O Moon.
You are that soundless, boundless bitter sea.
All tides are thine and answer unto thee.
Tides of the air, tides of the inner earth,
The secret, silent tides of death and birth.
The tides of souls and dreams and destiny,
All these are Thine and answer unto Thee.’

Correspondences
‘North-West
Samhuinn
The Ancestors
Old Age to Death
A time of ‘No-time’
A thinning of the veil between the worlds
The Dark Moon
The Brow Chakra
Earth
Past inheritance’

Spoken Prayer – For All those approaching and crossing the threshold from one life to the next
‘O Great Divine, I give you great thanks for the rich blessings of death and of the Ancestors, and I ask for your protection and guardianship on all those who are approaching and crossing the threshold from one life to the next.
Please lessen their fears and guide their steps so that they may arrive safely at their next destination.
I pray too that you will extend comfort and understanding to those they leave, and yet don’t leave.’

‘To the Ancestors, I wish you peace and may there be peace between us.’

Thanksgiving
‘O Great Divine, I give you great thanks for today.
I give you great thanks for my food and for my home,
And for the wonder of my being,
And for the wonder of all beings.
I give you great thanks for …….. ‘ (I would then go through the things I was thankful for from that day)

Intercession
‘I pray, O Great Divine, that you will bless and protect all those in the mineral kingdom.
And I pray that you will bless and protect all those in the plant kingdom.
And I pray that you will bless and protect all those in the animal kingdom.
And I pray that you will bless and protect all those in the human kingdom.
And I pray that you will bless and protect all those in the Otherworld/s.
And I pray that you will bless and protect me too.’

Prayer of Peace
‘Deep within the still centre of my being may I find Peace.
Silently within the quiet of the Grove may I share Peace.
Gently within the greater circle of all beings may I radiate Peace.’

Prayer Before Contemplation
‘Lift up my mind, O Great Divine, to the pure, bright, serene atmosphere of your presence,
There to be at rest from myself and from all things that weary me,
And from thence may I return, arrayed in thy Peace.’

(I then had a short period of silent contemplation.)

After this I closed the Observance by extinguishing the candle and saying;
‘As this light is extinguished may it be re-lit within all hearts’

I then said;
‘May the world be filled with Peace, and Love, and Light.’ (x3)
as the wisps of candle-smoke dispersed.

A lot of the ideas from this Observance are still retained in my present Late-Evening Office, although some of them have been moved to other Daily Offices.
There are the usual wording changes; mainly ‘O Great Divine’ to ‘O Great Shining Ones’. Again, the list of Correspondences has been worked into a spoken paragraph. The ‘Greeting to the Dark Moon’ is adapted from a piece by Dion Fortune. The ‘Prayer for all those approaching and crossing the threshold from one life to the next’ has been retained. The wishing of Peace to the Ancestors is also retained, as is the Thanksgiving. The Intercession section I no longer use in the above form. I now have the intercessions for the various realms of Creation after the prayers for the various realms of Creation in the other Offices, e.g. the intercessions for the Animal realm come after the ‘Prayer for the Animal realm’ in the Midday Office. At the Late-Evening Office I have intercessions for those in the Otherworld/s, after the wishing of Peace to the Ancestors.
Intercessions have at times become a bit of a concern as there are so many to mention. This can get a bit out of hand and start to lengthen the Observances/Offices a bit too much. I have tried various ways of approaching intercessions over the years, sometimes having lists, sometimes simply mentioning what or who comes to my mind at the time. I still do use the latter at times, and generally now use a format of mentioning those closest to me and then gradually working outwards to include all beings in that particular kingdom of Creation. E.g. with the Plant kingdom at the Dusk Office I begin mentioning those plants who live with me indoors in the flat and out on the ledges, then mention all the plants living on the estate, then all those in the local area, then all those in London, and so on out to all the plants in existence.
I still use the ‘Prayer of Peace’ and the ‘Prayer before Contemplation’, although this latter is now one of my ‘Closing Prayers’ before going to bed at the end of the Office and the ‘contemplation’ is really the period of sleep before getting up for the Midnight Office and beginning the Daily Round again. All these elements of my old Observance are fitted into suitable places in the existing OSN Night Office.

This is the last of this particular series of posts as following the Late-Evening Observance I begin again at the Midnight Observance. So it continues. Every day we begin again.

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Full Text of My Dusk or Evening Observance

I have decided to give the full texts of the daily observances I used previously, before I joined the Order of the Sacred Nemeton (OSN). These Observances are clearly not the only way to do these kinds of daily prayers. I give them just as an example of how I began my own monastic work, and so that they may provide some helpful ideas for others beginning along the same path.

Dusk or Evening Observance

Sunset (Picture already in my computer when I bought it)

(On lighting the shrine candle)
‘Bright flame, fragment of the eternal and ever-lasting fire, symbol of the Divine,
I welcome you.’

(Facing West)
‘Facing the place of the setting Sun, of Dusk, of Alban Elued, of Autumn, I greet the Spirits of the West and of the Element Water. Dear Spirits, I send you my love and greetings, and ask that my heart might be filled with Love and Peace and Wisdom.’
(Pause and feel the Element of Water. Imagine the Sun setting over the sea ahead of you. Feel calm and at peace, and your heart overflowing with love.)

Peace to the Quarters
(Facing North) ‘May there be Peace in the North.’
(Facing South) ‘May there be Peace in the South.’
(Facing West) ‘May there be Peace in the West.’
(Facing East) ‘May there be Peace in the East.’
(Facing West again) ‘May there be Peace throughout the whole world.’

Druid Prayer
‘Grant, O Great Divine, thy Protection.
And in Protection, Strength.
And in Strength, Humility.
And in Humility, Understanding.
And in Understanding, Knowledge.
And in Knowledge, the Knowledge of Right Action.
And in the Knowledge of Right Action, the Love of it.
And in the Love of it, the Love of all existences.
And in the Love of all existences, the Love of the Gods and of all Goodness.’

Correspondences
‘West
Alban Elued
Maturity – 50’s to 70’s
‘Light of the Water’
The end of harvest time
Giving thanks for the fruits of the Earth
‘Water’ – feminine, subconscious, emotions
The Plant Kingdom
The Throat chakra’

Spoken Prayer – For the Plant Kingdom
‘O Great Divine, I give you great thanks for the rich beauty and variety of the Plants upon this planet, and I ask for your protection and guardianship on the Plant kingdom.
Please bring awakening, I pray you, to the minds of humankind so that we might come to see and appreciate the true worth and value of this precious kingdom, and to stop exploiting and destroying it, and instead work to preserve and protect it.
Please help us to use wisely the gifts the Plants can bring.’

Then I had a period of silent meditation; usually about fifteen to twenty minutes until the clock sounded the half-hour.

Following this I did some reading or study for about half an hour until the clock sounded the hour.

After this I closed the Observance by extinguishing the candle and saying;
‘As this light is extinguished may it be re-lit within all hearts’

I then said;
‘May the world be filled with Peace, and Love, and Light.’ (x3)
as the wisps of candle-smoke dispersed.

Again, I still use most of this in my present Dusk/Evening Office. There are the usual wording changes, plus ‘Alban Elued’ is changed to ‘Alban Elfed’, as at some point OBOD changed the spellings of the names of the Quarter festivals, and the list of Correspondences has been worked into a spoken paragraph. The prayer for the Plant kingdom fits into one of the places for prayers in the OSN Evening Office, which is one of the longer of our Daily Offices.

Full Text of my Afternoon Observance

I have decided to give the full texts of the daily observances I used previously, before I joined the Order of the Sacred Nemeton (OSN). These Observances are clearly not the only way to do these kinds of daily prayers. I give them just as an example of how I began my own monastic work, and so that they may provide some helpful ideas for others beginning along the same path.

Afternoon Observance

(This follows my Midday or Noon Observance)

‘Ker, Mother of the Grain’ by Foosiya Miller (Original in black and white only)

(On lighting the shrine candle)
‘Bright flame, fragment of the eternal and ever-lasting fire, symbol of the Divine,
I welcome you.’

(Facing South-West)
‘May there be Peace throughout the whole world.’

Druid Prayer
‘Grant, O Great Divine, thy Protection.
And in Protection, Strength.
And in Strength, Humility.
And in Humility, Understanding.
And in Understanding, Knowledge.
And in Knowledge, the Knowledge of Right Action.
And in the Knowledge of Right Action, the Love of it.
And in the Love of it, the Love of all existences.
And in the Love of all existences, the Love of the Gods and of all Goodness.’

Greeting to the Waning Moon (on the day of the Waning quarter)
‘At this time of your Waning I greet you, O Moon.
You are that soundless, boundless bitter sea.
All tides are thine and answer unto thee.
Tides of the air, tides of the inner earth,
The secret, silent tides of death and birth.
The tides of souls and dreams and destiny,
All these are Thine and answer unto Thee.’

Correspondences
‘South-West
Lughnasadh
Beginning of harvest
The flaming wheel rolling downhill
The descent of the year towards winter
Wo/manhood – 30’s to 50’s
Satisfaction in accomplishments/Potential for achievement
Baking of the first loaf
Marriage of ‘Light’ and ‘Earth’
Formation of seeds
In order to harvest we must sacrifice
Time of trial marriages
Time of marriage and divorce
The family
The Heart chakra
Water
The sacrificed God’

Spoken Prayer – For Harvest and for Family
‘O Great Divine, I give you great thanks for the rich blessings of Harvest and of family, and I ask for your protection and guardianship on all harvests and on all families.
I pray for your help in guiding all people to the achievement of right relations towards each other and all things, so that all may live and grow fully, freely and wholly.
We are all part of the great family of Creation and we all rely on harvest. Help us to remember this and never to forget it.’

(Then followed a study period for the rest of the hour.)

After this I closed the Observance by extinguishing the candle and saying;
‘As this light is extinguished may it be re-lit within all hearts’

I then said;
‘May the world be filled with Peace, and Love, and Light.’ (x3)
as the wisps of candle-smoke dispersed.

Most of this I still use for my present Afternoon Office. There are the usual wording changes, and the Correspondences list has been worked into a spoken paragraph. I still have a study period at this time.
The Greeting to the Waning Moon is, apart from the first line, taken from a text by Dion Fortune.

Full Text of my Late-Morning Observance

I have decided to give the full texts of the daily observances I used previously, before I joined the Order of the Sacred Nemeton (OSN). These Observances are clearly not the only way to do these kinds of daily prayers. I give them just as an example of how I began my own monastic work, and so that they may provide some helpful ideas for others beginning along the same path.

(I am sorry that this is out of sequence. I was getting ahead of myself and mistakenly posted the Midday Observance in the previous post! The Late-Morning Observance fits in between the Dawn Observance and the Midday Observance, usually at 9am (or 10am BST).

Late-Morning Observance

‘Rhiannon of the Birds, White Mare from the Sea’ by Foosiya Miller (Original was in black and white only)

(On lighting the shrine candle)
‘Bright flame, fragment of the eternal and ever-lasting fire, symbol of the Divine,
I welcome you.’

(Facing South-East)
‘May there be Peace throughout the whole world.’

Druid Prayer
‘Grant, O Great Divine, thy Protection.
And in Protection, Strength.
And in Strength, Humility.
And in Humility, Understanding.
And in Understanding, Knowledge.
And in Knowledge, the Knowledge of Right Action.
And in the Knowledge of Right Action, the Love of it.
And in the Love of it, the Love of all existences.
And in the Love of all existences, the Love of the Gods and of all Goodness.’

Greeting to the Full Moon (on the day of the Full Moon)
‘At this time of your Fullness I greet you, O Moon.
You are that soundless, boundless bitter sea.
All tides are thine and answer unto thee.
Tides of the air, tides of the inner earth,
The secret, silent tides of death and birth.
The tides of souls and dreams and destiny,
All these are Thine and answer unto Thee.’

Correspondences
‘South-East
Beltane
Burgeoning growth and greenery
The Green Man
The Lovers – Union of Polarities
Opening to sensuality
Vibrant green
Early Youth – 14-21 years
Sacral/Belly chakra
The Full Moon
Fire’

Spoken Prayer – For All Lovers
‘O Great Divine, I give you great thanks for the rich blessings of love and of union, and I ask for your protection and guardianship on all lovers, of all kinds and at all levels.
May they experience personal growth, and may their unions be fruitful and contribute towards the Universal Good.’

Then followed a study period until the end of the hour.

After this I closed the Observance by extinguishing the candle and saying;
‘As this light is extinguished may it be re-lit within all hearts’

I then said;
‘May the world be filled with Peace, and Love, and Light.’ (x3)
as the wisps of candle-smoke dispersed.

Most of this I still use for my Late-Morning Office. There are the usual wording changes, and the ‘Correspondences’ have been worked into a spoken paragraph. The ‘Greeting to the Full Moon’ is, apart from the first line, from a text by Dion Fortune.
I still have a study period at this time in the day.

Full Text of My Noon or Midday Observance

I have decided to give the full texts of the daily observances I used previously, before I joined the Order of the Sacred Nemeton (OSN). These Observances are clearly not the only way to do these kinds of daily prayers. I give them just as an example of how I began my own monastic work, and so that they may provide some helpful ideas for others beginning along the same path.

Noon or Midday Observance

(Photograph of the Midday Sun above the trees of a local park)

(On lighting the shrine candle)
‘Bright flame, fragment of the eternal and ever-lasting fire, symbol of the Divine,
I welcome you.’

(Facing South)
‘Facing the place of the midday sun, of Noon, of Alban Heruin, of Summer, I greet the Spirits of the South and of the Element Fire. Dear Spirits, I send you my love and greetings, and ask that my body might be filled with energy and enthusiasm.’
(Pause and feel the Element of Fire. Imagine the sun high above you. Feel vitality and energy flowing into you.)

Peace to the Quarters
(Facing North) ‘May there be Peace in the North.’
(Facing South) ‘May there be Peace in the South.’
(Facing West) ‘May there be Peace in the West.’
(Facing East) ‘May there be Peace in the East.’
(Facing North again) ‘May there be Peace throughout the whole world.’

Druid Prayer
‘Grant, O Great Divine, thy Protection.
And in Protection, Strength.
And in Strength, Humility.
And in Humility, Understanding.
And in Understanding, Knowledge.
And in Knowledge, the Knowledge of Right Action.
And in the Knowledge of Right Action, the Love of it.
And in the Love of it, the Love of all existences.
And in the Love of all existences, the Love of the Gods and of all Goodness.’

Correspondences
‘South
Alban Heruin
Expression – working in the arena of the outer world
Early wo/manhood – 20’s to 30’s
‘Light of the Shore’
Light at its maximum – Sun’s strongest day
Flowers
The peak, centre of the year
A time of balance
‘Fire’ – masculine
The Animal Kingdom
Solar Plexus chakra
The peak, centre of the day
Present capacities
The Present
Lime blossom’s sweet scent’

Spoken Prayer – For the Animal Kingdom
‘O Great Divine, I give you great thanks for the rich beauty and variety of the animals upon this planet, and I ask for your protection and guardianship on the Animal kingdom.
Please bring awakening, I pray you, to the minds of humankind so that we might come to see and appreciate the true worth and value of this precious kingdom, and to stop exploiting and destroying it, and instead work to preserve and protect it.
Please help us to use wisely the gifts the Animals can bring.’

Then I had a period of silent meditation; usually about fifteen to twenty minutes until the clock sounded the half-hour.

After this I closed the Observance by extinguishing the candle and saying;
‘As this light is extinguished may it be re-lit within all hearts’

I then said;
‘May the world be filled with Peace, and Love, and Light.’ (x3)
as the wisps of candle-smoke dispersed.

I still use a lot of this in the present Midday Office. There are the usual wording changes, and the Correspondences have been made into a spoken paragraph. The ‘Lime blossoms sweet scent’ may seem an unusual inclusion and is a purely personal one. There is a line of Lime (Linden) trees in front of the building where I live and I can see about four of them from the windows of my flat. I have noticed over the years that their flowers are out and producing a lovely scent around about the Summer Solstice, so I’ve connected them with the Midday Observance; the middle of the day/the middle of the year.
The prayer for the Animal kingdom fits into a place for personal prayers in the OSN Midday Office.

Full Text of my Dawn or Morning Observance

I have decided to give the full texts of the daily observances I used previously, before I joined the Order of the Sacred Nemeton (OSN). These Observances are clearly not the only way to do these kinds of daily prayers. I give them just as an example of how I began my own monastic work, and so that they may provide some helpful ideas for others beginning along the same path.

Dawn or Morning Observance

(Picture already in my computer when I bought it)

(On lighting the shrine candle)
‘Bright flame, fragment of the eternal and ever-lasting fire, symbol of the Divine,
I welcome you.’

(Facing East)
‘Facing the place of the rising sun, of Dawn, of Alban Eiler, of Spring, I greet the Spirits of the East and of the Element Air. Dear Spirits, I send you my love and greetings, and ask that my mind might be filled with clarity and insight.’
(Pause and feel the Element of Air. Imagine the Sun rising on the horizon ahead of you. Feel your mind crystal clear.)

Peace to the Quarters
(Facing North) ‘May there be Peace in the North.’
(Facing South) ‘May there be Peace in the South.’
(Facing West) ‘May there be Peace in the West.’
(Facing East) ‘May there be Peace in the East.’
(Facing North again) ‘May there be Peace throughout the whole world.’

Druid Prayer
‘Grant, O Great Divine, thy Protection.
And in Protection, Strength.
And in Strength, Humility.
And in Humility, Understanding.
And in Understanding, Knowledge.
And in Knowledge, the Knowledge of Right Action.
And in the Knowledge of Right Action, the Love of it.
And in the Love of it, the Love of all existences.
And in the Love of all existences, the Love of the Gods and of all Goodness.’

Correspondences
‘East
Alban Eiler
Reception of Wisdom
Late childhood – 7-14 years
Air – Masculine, the intellect
The Human kingdom
Root chakra
Daffodils – heralds of Spring and Summer
The Rising Powers of Light’

Spoken Prayer – For the Human Kingdom
‘O Great Divine, I give you great thanks for the rich beauty and variety of Humankind upon this planet, and I ask for your protection and guardianship on the Human kingdom.
Please bring awakening, I pray you, to the minds of humankind so that we might come to see and appreciate the true worth and value of all kingdoms of Creation, and to stop exploiting and destroying them, and instead work to preserve and protect them.
Please help us to use wisely the gifts Humankind can bring.’

Then I had a period of silent meditation; usually about fifteen to twenty minutes until the clock sounded the half-hour.

To finish the Morning Observance I read the ‘Desiderata’; the text which begins ‘Go placidly amid the noise and haste ……..’ as I felt this struck a good note to begin the day, with all the possible interactions there may be with others.

After this I closed the Observance by extinguishing the candle and saying;
‘As this light is extinguished may it be re-lit within all hearts’

I then said;
‘May the world be filled with Peace, and Love, and Light.’ (x3)
as the wisps of candle-smoke dispersed.

Reading through this I have kept much of it.  There are the usual wording changes from 'Great Divine' to 'Great Shining Ones', and I have worked the correspondences into a spoken paragraph.  The spoken prayer fits well into one of the places for prayer in the OSN Morning Office.  I don't read the 'Desiderata' mainly because the OSN Morning Office is the longest of our Daily Offices.

Full Text of My Early-Morning Observance

I have decided to give the full texts of the daily observances I used previously, before I joined the Order of the Sacred Nemeton (OSN). These Observances are clearly not the only way to do these kinds of daily prayers. I give them just as an example of how I began my own monastic work, and so that they may provide some helpful ideas for others beginning along the same path.

Early-Morning Observance

‘Goddess Brigit’ by Foosiya Miller
(Original was in black and white only)

(On lighting the shrine candle)
‘Bright flame, fragment of the eternal and ever-lasting fire, symbol of the Divine,
I welcome you.’

(Facing North-East)
‘May there be Peace throughout the whole world.’

Druid Prayer
‘Grant, O Great Divine, thy Protection.
And in Protection, Strength.
And in Strength, Humility.
And in Humility, Understanding.
And in Understanding, Knowledge.
And in Knowledge, the Knowledge of Right Action.
And in the Knowledge of Right Action, the Love of it.
And in the Love of it, the Love of all existences.
And in the Love of all existences, the Love of the Gods and of all Goodness.’

(Or the ‘Illumination of Lights’ prayer could be used instead of the Druid Prayer)
‘The illumination of lights,’
The illumination of seasons,
The illumination of days and of nights.
May light be kindled in the hearts of all.
May my light be lifted to the Greater Light.’

Greeting to the Waxing Moon (on the day of the Waxing quarter)
‘At this time of your Waxing I greet you, O Moon.
You are that soundless, boundless bitter sea.
All tides are thine and answer unto thee.
Tides of the air, tides of the inner earth,
The secret, silent tides of death and birth.
The tides of souls and dreams and destiny,
All these are Thine and answer unto Thee.’

Correspondences
North-East
Imbolc
Earliest of the Spring celebrations
Washing the face of the Earth
The snowdrop
The clearing of the debris of Winter
First glimmer of Spring
Brighid – goddess of poets, healers and midwives
The purity and mothering we need in our first years
Opening to the young child within
Infancy – early childhood, up to seven years
A time of natural beginnings
Light and water
Primal woman as Earth
The children
8 candles rising out of the water
Soles of the feet
Air
Future potential

Spoken Prayer – For All Young Creatures
‘O Great Divine, I give you great thanks for the rich blessings of birth and of youth, and I ask for your protection and guardianship on all young creatures.
May they live and grow without fear, or pain, or anguish, if it be Thy will.
Please keep them always in your care.’

Blessing of Beginnings
‘Deep Peace, pure white of the Moon to you.
Deep Peace, pure brown of the Earth to you.
Deep Peace, pure blue of the Sky to you.
Deep Peace, pure clear of the rain to you.
Deep Peace of the running wave to you.
Deep Peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep Peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep Peace of the quiet Earth to you.’

(I then prayed a round of my Druid Prayer-beads.)

After this I closed the Observance by extinguishing the candle and saying;
‘As this light is extinguished may it be re-lit within all hearts’

I then said;
‘May the world be filled with Peace, and Love, and Light.’ (x3)
as the wisps of candle-smoke dispersed.

Looking at the text for this Observance, there is a lot that I still use. Some of the wordings are slightly different, such as ‘Great Divine’ changed to ‘Great Shining Ones’. The ‘Correspondences’ are in a spoken paragraph, and in the prayer ‘Blessing of Beginnings’ I have changed ‘pure clear of the rain’ to ‘crystal clear of the rain’.
The ‘Illumination of Lights’ comes from the OBOD work and has an alternative ending of ‘May my Light be made one with the Greater Light’ which I do use sometimes now but which I didn’t use at all during this early period of the development of my daily Observances.
Most of the ‘Greeting to the Waxing Moon’ comes from a text by Dion Fortune. I have just added the first line.
The prayer I call the ‘Blessing of Beginnings’ also comes from the OBOD work and I have since seen a few slightly different versions of it.
Details of my Druid Prayer-beads can be found in posts 11, 12 and 13.
An addition to this in my present Early-morning Office is a song to Brighid sung in Irish Gaelic; ‘Gabhaim Molta Brighde’.
The candle-lighting prayer was developed from an exercise in the OBOD course, and the prayers on extinguishing the candle come from the closings of OBOD ceremonies.

Full Text of my Midnight Observance

I have decided to give the full texts of the daily observances I used previously, before I joined the Order of the Sacred Nemeton (OSN). These Observances are clearly not the only way to do these kinds of daily prayers. I give them just as an example of how I began my own monastic work, and so that they may provide some helpful ideas for others beginning along the same path.

Midnight Observance

(Home-made representation of a starry night sky)

(On lighting the shrine candle)
‘Bright flame, fragment of the eternal and ever-lasting fire, symbol of the Divine,
I welcome you.’

(Turn to face North)
‘Facing the place of the starry night sky, of midnight, of Alban Arthuan, of winter, I greet the Spirits of the North and of the Element Earth. Dear Spirits, I send you my love and greetings, and ask that my intuition might shine within my Spirit.’
(Pause and feel the Element of Earth and stone. Imagine the Pole Star shining high above you in the night sky. Feel strongly connected to Spirit and your intuition.)

Peace to the Quarters
(Facing North) ‘May there be Peace in the North.’
(Facing South) ‘May there be Peace in the South.’
(Facing West) ‘May there be Peace in the West.’
(Facing East) ‘May there be Peace in the East.’
(Facing North again) ‘May there be Peace throughout the whole world.’

Druid Prayer
‘Grant, O Great Divine, thy Protection.
And in Protection, Strength.
And in Strength, Humility.
And in Humility, Understanding.
And in Understanding, Knowledge.
And in Knowledge, the Knowledge of Right Action.
And in the Knowledge of Right Action, the Love of it.
And in the Love of it, the Love of all existences.
And in the Love of all existences, the Love of the Gods and of all Goodness.’

Correspondences
‘North
Alban Arthuan
Death and Rebirth
Opening to the forces of Inspiration and Conception
The Mistletoe
Winter
Conception/Incarnation
The Light of Arthur
In the stillness of night is intuition born
Earth – feminine, receptive, groundedness, the physical body
the Mineral kingdom
the Crown chakra’

Spoken Prayer – For the Mineral Kingdom
‘O Great Divine, I give you great thanks for the rich beauty and variety of the Minerals upon this planet, and I ask for your protection and guardianship on the Mineral Kingdom.
Please bring awakening, I pray you, to the minds of humankind so that we might come to see and appreciate the true worth and value of this precious kingdom, and to stop exploiting and destroying it, and instead work to preserve and protect it.
Please help us to use wisely the gifts the Minerals can bring.’

(Then I had a period of silent meditation; usually about fifteen to twenty minutes until the clock sounded the half-hour.)

Daily Invocation
‘I thank you, O Great Spirit, for my life here on this earth and I ask for blessings on myself and my loved ones.
Fill me with holy power and bless me with wisdom, that I may use and direct the power always for good.
Illuminate me from within that I may radiate light upon the world around.
I ask this in the name of the Sky Father, the Earth Mother, the True Taker and the Great Giver, One Being of Light.
Awen’

Daily Dedication
‘O Great Spirit/Divine, may my every action today be performed in Your service.’

Prayer
(Looking upwards) ‘O my Father, the Sky, hear me and make me strong.’
(Looking downwards) ‘O my Mother, the Earth, hear me and give me support.’
(Facing East) ‘O Spirits of the East, send me your wisdom.’
(Facing South) ‘O Spirits of the South, may I tread your path of life.’
(Facing West) ‘O Spirits of the West, may I always be ready for the long journey.’
(Facing North) ‘O Spirits of the North, purify me with your cleansing winds.’

This was the end of the Midnight Observance and I began the Early-Morning Observance straight afterwards.

Looking at this full text of my old Midnight Observance, I realise that a lot of it has survived into my present practice. The Candle lighting prayer is the same. The opening paragraph is the same except for the change of ‘Alban Arthuan’ to ‘Alban Arthan’. ‘Peace to the Quarters’ is the same except for the addition of ‘Love’ and ‘Light’:
‘May there be Peace, and may there be Light, and may there be Love in the ……’
These I added as I worked through the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) grades, and I have kept using them.
The Druid Prayer is the same except for replacing ‘O Great Divine’ with ‘O Great Shining Ones’.
The ‘Correspondences’ have been worked into a spoken passage, and the ‘Prayer for the Mineral Kingdom’ is fitted into one of the places for prayers in my present OSN Office, and again, ‘O Great Divine’ is replaced with ‘O Great Shining Ones’.
The Daily Invocation is the same except for replacing ‘O Great Spirit’ with ‘O Great Shining Ones’. The Daily Dedication is the same, and to it is added a ‘Pentagram Blessing’:
‘I am Earth, I am Water, I am Air, I am Fire, I am Spirit’ (With movements to trace a pentagram and circle over body).
Also added is a Daily Affirmation:
‘My thoughts, my words, my feelings, my desires, I bring.’ (Again with movements touching the body and then touching the ground.)

The final prayer, adapted from a Sioux prayer, I still use.

The material for these earlier Observances came mostly from what I was learning in my OBOD training. Some of it sounds a bit dated now (I began putting these Observances together in 1996) and my ideas around Deity, Deities, and how to address he, she, it or them developed throughout this time. Much of this earlier work I have been able to retain and slot into suitable places in the OSN Daily Offices. There isn’t a Midnight Office in the OSN four-fold Daily Office but I have taken some material from the Night Office (done in the late evening before going to bed) and added it to what I was using previously.
The candle-lighting prayer and the Daily Dedication were developed in exercises in my OBOD work.
In many ways, the Midnight Observance/Office was, and remains, my favourite one of the Daily Round.

Samhuinn Prayer-Beads


Although in the OSN we don’t celebrate Samhuinn until the next dark moon (November 15th), I thought I would put this post up now as lots of people do celebrate Samhuinn on October 31st/November 1st.

I developed my Samhuinn prayer-beads after seeing the skull beads at a Rock and Gem Show some years ago.
Here is a photograph of them:

The skull beads are made from a mineral called Howlite which does naturally have thin, dark cracks through it which makes it look quite bone-like.
The black beads are made from black Obsidian which is used for scrying bowls and globes; scrying being a traditional practice at this time of the year.
The white donut is made from milky quartz.
The metal symbol I see as a symbol of the three worlds intertwined.

The Prayers
Starting with the white donut I pray the Druid Prayer:

‘Grant, if it be thy will, O Great Shining Ones, thy Protection;
And in Protection, Strength;
And in Strength, Humility;
And in Humility, Understanding;
And in Understanding, Knowledge;
And in Knowledge, the Knowledge of Right Action;
And in the Knowledge of Right Action, the Love of it;
And in the Love of it, the Love of All Existences;
And in the Love of All Existences, the Love of the Gods and of all Goodness.
So may it be.’

On the black beads I use the following prayer:

‘In the Three Worlds
We are all inter-linked.
All in the All.
All in the Now.’

(The first two lines could be slightly altered to;
‘In all the Worlds
We are inter-linked.’)
[I’m keeping an open mind about how many ‘worlds’ there may be!]

On the skull beads I use the following prayer:

‘Ancestors mine, ancestors all,
May Peace be with you,
May Blessings be with you.’

On the Triple knot I use the Druid Peace Prayer:

‘Deep within the still centre of my being may I find Peace.
Silently within the circle of the grove may I share Peace.
Powerfully within the greater circle of all beings may I radiate Peace.
So may it be.’

The structure of the Samhuinn prayer-beads is similar to other sets of Druid prayer-beads I have designed, drawing a lot on groupings of three beads and groupings of nine beads; three and nine being specially sacred numbers to ancient Celtic cultures. The pendant has a group of three skull beads; and the ring has three groupings of nine beads each.
I have found that the simple prayers can work well for meditative purposes.

I have had a long gap in posting here over the summer as I was out watering local street trees every day. We had a very dry summer and the young trees wouldn’t have survived without extra watering. I had nine young trees in my ’round’ by the end of the summer and, seeing as I was doing it all on foot, it was fairly exhausting but fitted well as my ‘monastic manual labour’. Because it was fairly time-consuming however, I didn’t have time for much else in the afternoons so slipped out of doing the regular blog posts. I’m hoping to resume posting although it may not be weekly as I’ve got lots of household tasks to catch up on.
The tree-watering is exhausting but I’m happy that all nine of the trees made it through the summer.

Beginnings and Endings

I have always felt that beginnings and endings are important, and this is no less so in monastic practice. There are many beginnings and endings to consider; of each Office; of seasonal ceremonies; of each day; of retreats/retreat days; of the liturgical year; of monastic work itself.

In this post I am going to look at all of these (except for the beginning and ending of a liturgical year) in the earlier part of my practice before I joined the Order of the Sacred Nemeton (OSN). Although I did have a notion of a liturgical year, for me it ended and began at the Winter Solstice and I didn’t do any extra marking of it except what was in my Winter Solstice Ceremony.

The beginning of each Office was, and still is, marked by standing before my main household shrine for a few seconds of recollection before lighting the candles. (I did have only one candle at the beginning but the shrine gradually became a three-level one to correspond to the ‘Land, Sea, Sky’ idea). Then I have a short ‘candle-lighting prayer’:

‘Bright Flames, fragments of the eternal and everlasting fire, symbols of the Divine, I welcome you.’

The idea of a candle-lighting prayer or invocation came from my OBOD studies at the time.

Then, following the candle-lighting prayer, I would take up my breviary and turn to face the relevant direction for that particular Office. A few moments to centre and ground would be next, then I take three breaths; ‘one with the Earth beneath me, one with the Sky above me and one with all the waters around these beautiful islands’ (I live in the British Isles). Then I go into the Office itself.

These preparations have evolved a bit further during my years with the OSN and I will look at that in a future post.

The endings of those early Offices or Observances were taken from the ritual format taught in the OBOD study course at the time. So before blowing out the candle/s I would say:
‘As this light is extinguished may it be re-lit within all hearts.’
Then the candle is extinguished and the Office is completed with;
‘May the world be filled with peace, and love, and light.’ (said three times).

This early format has been built upon a little as my practice has progressed but the above elements of it remain. This format was based on the OBOD ritual structure at the time (I did what is mostly referred to now as the ‘old’ course). This is also the case with my seasonal ceremonies which began with:

‘O Great Spirit, O Spirit of this circle, O Spirit of this place, I ask for your blessing, guidance, protection and inspiration on this my ceremony of ….’

Following this the candle would be lit, and the ceremony proceed.

The ending of the seasonal ceremonies used a development of the closing for the Offices:
‘As this light is extinguished, may it be re-lit within all hearts’.
The candle would then be extinguished and,
‘May the world be filled with peace and joy, purity and love, light and life.’ (said three times).

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I tend to see each day as beginning at the Midnight Office so that is where my ‘Daily Dedication’ is. This was another idea which came from my OBOD studies. I kept it very simple with;
‘O Great Spirit, may my every action today be performed in your service.’

I also added a prayer, which I call my ‘Daily Invocation’, to the Midnight Office:
‘I thank you, O Great Spirit, for my life here on this Earth, and I ask for blessings on myself and my loved ones.
Fill me with holy power and bless me with wisdom that I may use and direct the power only for good.
Illuminate me from within that I may radiate light upon the world around.
I ask this in the name of the Sky Father, the Earth Mother, the True Taker and the Great Giver, One being of light.’ (then chant ‘Awen’).
(A slightly different version of this prayer is in the ‘Alternative’ OBOD ceremonies for Beltane, Alban Eilir and Alban Elfed which were written in 1994, and an amended version of it is in the current OBOD Beltane ceremonies.)

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I certainly saw, and still see, the Midnight Office as the beginning of the daily round. The ending of the daily round is less clear in that the Late-Evening Office (just before going to bed) does feel like an ending of some significance. I do my ‘Thanksgiving’ and ‘Daily Review’ at the Late-Evening Office so that Office does feel like it brings the day to a close. In the yearly round the Late-Evening Office corresponds to Samhuinn which is often seen as an ending of the year. It doesn’t particularly feel like a beginning to me although it is often seen as the ‘Celtic New Year’. The period between Samhuinn and the Winter Solstice feels more like a ‘waiting’ time, or a time of rest before the new year begins, a kind of ‘time out of time’, a ‘between time’. It could then be understood as, ‘we rise in the darkness of the ‘between time’ to witness the birth of the new day/year.’

For the retreats and retreat days I began early on in my monastic practice I felt I needed a formal beginning and ending for these, although I called the beginning a ‘dedication’, and the ending a ‘closing’. Again, I kept these invocations simple:

Dedication:
‘I declare the opening of this retreat. I consecrate this retreat to the attainment of wisdom to be used for the good of all beings.’

Closing:
‘I give many thanks for this retreat and for all I have received. I declare the concluding of this retreat. May I retain the wisdom gained and use it for the good of all beings.’

I like the idea of a beginning and ending to retreat periods. Our retreat days (Days Out of Time) in the OSN have this written in to the special Offices for the Days Out of Time.

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For the idea of beginnings to one’s monastic work there are the monastic Vows. I may look at our OSN vows in a future post. At the beginning of my early monastic work I hadn’t thought about taking Vows. I did have a formal beginning of my monastic practice in May 1994, and I did renew my commitment to my Druid work each year on the anniversary of my entering the Bardic Grade in OBOD in February 1992.

Beginnings and endings feel as though they give some kind of definition and ‘shape’ to whatever it is they enclose. There is also a feeling of intent put forth with the beginnings, and of summing up and making sense of the event with the endings. I think it contributes to the idea of containment and of ‘order’ which is so important in monastic living.