Ritual to Honour the Culmination of the Pleiades
  I am continuing to work on constructing a viable holy day cycle centered on the Pleiades. It is, not surprisingly, a slow process and part of that process involves actually experiencing the different events as they come through the year. The first one I'll be intentionally celebrating is the culmination of the Pleiades which occurs at midnight on 21 November. 

My own approach to ritual tends to be a bit more casual than some other people's so what follows shouldn't be viewed as rigidly structured but as flexible and adaptable to your own personal style. The only things that are absolutely required (besides good manners) are extending the invitation to the Other, making an appropriate offering, and celebrating Their presence. 

The offering that I will be referring to and making in this ritual is one that I use when I am home and able to cook. It is a recipe that came to me in a dream once and which I have written about before, for small honey cakes that I call Cáca Síofra.  

The Celestial Fairy Rade
  We are in the season when the gates to Fairy are open wide and stories abound of encounters between unwitting mortals and processions - or rades* - of the Good People as well as more dangerous encounters with the Wild Hunt. From the end of September until roughly the end of January, or put another way from the fall equinox until the old end of Yule**, the Fair Folk were known to be more active and potentially more dangerous. More active is of course a matter of degrees and perspective. The month of November is sometimes known as the month of the Pleiades because it is during this month that the constellation is visible during the entire night and on 21 November the Pleiades culminate, appearing at the middle of the sky at exactly midnight. This occurs in the middle of this heightened Otherworldly activity.
 I have come to believe that this culmination is a very important time for the Otherworld and that those of us who feel very in tune with the Other can choose to celebrate this time as well. These holy days are celebrations of the Otherworld's connection to ours rather than the common holiday focus in paganism on agricultural or seasonal events. 

Find a good space open beneath the sky where you can see the stars above you. If this is not possible due to weather concerns try to set up an altar near a window or perhaps arrange some appropriate artwork near your ritual space. If necessary this entire thing can be done as a visualization exercise. My own outdoor altar for ritual work usually contains space for offerings, water in an appropriate container, candles, and a token representing the Fairy Queen I honour.
Create sacred space as you see fit if you wish to. I usually do this now by moving counterclockwise around my space sprinkling water and chanting to open the way between worlds.
Invite in any Powers you wish to. This is not a ritual for named Gods unless they are explicitly associated with the Good People of one culture or another. This is a time to invite any goodly inclined spirits, allies, Fairy Queens or Kings, or Liminial Gods in. We invite, we don't invoke, evoke, or compel. They either come as we call or they don't.
I might say something like:
"I call to all goodly inclined spirits,
spirits of the land, spirits of the air,
Fair Folk who would be my friends,
Friendly ones who aid my liminal path,
Liminal gods, Fairy Queens and Kings,
My wonderous Lady ---,
Queen of stone and well,
I invite you all to join me here
As I honour the journey
Of the celestial Fairy Rade"
After this is done wait a moment and observe. Use all your sense to note if there is any obvious response to your call. This may be obvious, such as the wind picking up or the temperature changing, or it may be a more subtle feeling of presence.  don't rush but wait until things feel settled.
"Tonight the Seven Queens are at their height
standing in the center of the sky
in the middle point of night
Their fair blue light burns brightly
A beacon in the darkness
The Fairy Rade rides
Forth between worlds
The gates are open, may
They be opened wider
The Queens look upon the land
May they bless what they see"
Put out the offerings you have brought and pour out a bit of water.
"I offer sweet honey cakes [or whatever you are offering]
And pure clean water
To the queens
To the liminal gods
To those beings that
would aid me
to the spirits of air
and of earth"
At this point if there is anything else you would like to do in your ritual - sing, dance, chant, divination, meditate, journey - do it. When you feel ready to say goodbye, say:
"The Queens light up the sky
The Fairy Rades ride across the land
Our worlds are intertwined
As they have been and will be
Praise to the Queens,
May they bless us
A good word to the Fairy Rade
May they cause us no harm"
Pour out the water that is left. Say
"May my words honour the Queens
May may actions honour the liminal Gods
May my allies stand with me
May there be peace between me
And the spirits of the air and earth
May there be friendship between me
And all goodly inclined spirits."
Take down your compass/circle or sacred space however you normally would. In my case here I'd walk it clockwise sprinkling a bit of earth or leaves and asking that the space be returned to its former state. Take down your altar.

Ritual Feast
Part of my own celebration will include a feast or ritual meal the following day. This is inline with some older practices that would see the night before as the beginning of the ritual date and the following day as its continuation and would incorporate ritual feasting into the process. My plan is to do the ritual itself at midnight but treat the following day as a holiday, with small gifts for my family and a big meal the next evening. A portion of that meal will be set aside and then left out as an additional offering. I will also look at taking omens the next morning.  

*rade is a Scots word that means ride but is associated with ceremonial processions
** based on the dates before the calendar changes which would place the end of the yule season about 11 days later than it is now, if we are timing it by calendar dates

Become a patron to

Unlock 261 exclusive posts
Listen anywhere
Connect via private message