In a little over two weeks we will observe the High Day of the February Cross Quarter. To prepare for your personal observance, you might consider buying or borrowing the following books. They contain a wealth of information and ritual language that will help you to customize your solitary observance of this day.
There are portions of every SDF liturgy that call for a “Praise Offering.” Some take this opportunity to give thanks in the form of a song or a self-authored poem. For others, it is useful to have pre-written prayers.
This book by Ceisiwr Serith, ADF member and Senior Druid of the Nemos Ognios Grove, contains nearly four pages of prayers of Thanksgiving, along with dozens of other prayers appropriate for ritual. There is a concordance of offerings one might make to the Kindred, as well as an appendix of deities. This is a useful tool for the solitary Druid.
One may even choose to use prayers from this book in conjunction with the SDF devotionals:
“Rise up, rise up, Sun in the east,
while the world turns toward you.
It has turned toward you since its very beginning,
in infinite longing, in infinite love.
And I, a child of Earth, take her as my exemplar,
and hold my heart out to you in the dawn.” (123)
This followup book is equally valuable, and a great companion to A Book of Pagan Prayer.
In addition to a wealth of prayers for ordinary time, there is a portion of the book devoted to prayers for use in High Day ritual. For the participants in the SDF shared practice it can be useful to have additional language to substitute for the different portions of the liturgy, and this book is a tremendous resource in that regard.
In preparation for the February Cross Quarter, which many in our midst will celebrate as Imbolc, Serith offers these valuable words; he brings our attention not only to the tradition of old, but of the need to make relevant what is happening in the world around us:
“In Ireland, lambs are being born.
But what is happening in the world outside here?
Telling the old stories is good, but we need to remember that if we are to honor this season, we need to know what it really is.
Goddess of the inside, but also of the tame outside, we ask you to remind us of both.
If we then turn away again, back to your sacred flames, it will be knowing what’s going on beyond them.” (160)
Our Own Druidry: An Introduction to Ár nDraíocht Féin
This book is provided for free to each new member of ADF, and is perhaps the most useful book for a solitary interested in understanding more about the foundations of the Solitary Druid Fellowship’s liturgical practice. This 160 page book can be thought of as an “ADF 101,” and it provides a number of valuable resources to those new to the Druid path.
Contained in the book are:
- Explanations of ADF’s cosmology and model of sacrifice
- Lessons and suggestions on how to do effective ritual, how to train the mind, and how to attune to nature and the Kindred
- A whole host of resources for deepening your religious work and personalizing your Paganism
Below is a list of explanations taken directly from the Our Own Druidry book, showing the different hearth culture expressions of the February Cross Quarter. This type of information, as well a great deal more, is provided in this handy workbook to every new ADF member.
February Cross Quarter Observances
Imbolc (In the Belly): The Feast of the Hearth. The feast of Brigid, who is Hearth Mother and Triple Power of Inspiration. Milk returns to the ewes, bringing fresh food after winter. The Brigid Dolly and Girdle bring Her blessings.
Calan Gwanwyn (First day of Spring): The tale of Branwen from the Mabinogion is recalled. Like Brigid, she can also be seen as a hearth Goddess, since much of her story, like this holiday, is connected with fire. Also, the tale of the Cauldron of Rebirth fits the beginning of spring.
Usmolgos, aslo known as Ambivolcos: A feast celebrating Briganti’s rekindling of the world’s hearth-fire, the promise of spring, the return of the light and the purification of the home. An appropriate time to do some spring cleaning!
The Anthesteria: Feast of Dionysos, Ariadne, and Cthonic Hermes. New jars of wine are opened, the young are initiated into the community in a rite of silent drinking, Dionysos and Ariadne celebrate a sacred marriage, and the ancestors receive a pottage of honeyed grains.
Charming of the Plough: A time of preparing for Spring and the planting season. Blessing the tools of the planting and honoring the fields. The lore of Frey and Gerd is often retold. Loaves, cakes, or even a leek are often placed in the ground as offerings to Nerthus, or sometimes Thor.
The Freeing of the Sun: The demon Svarbhanu is said to have stolen the sun and replaced it with darkness. Indra fights the demon, and Atri replaces the sun in the heavens.
Planting: At the time appropriate for the area. Dedicated to Perkwünos “Striker” or “Oak God,” who brings the rains and fertilizes the earth.
Roman neopagans have made many choices about reconciling theirs with the traditional eight-fold holiday calendar. Rather than present an artificial construct, ADF presents a summary of the Roman holy days of February.
February’s name indicates its relation to death and purification. It is the last month of the year and marks the official beginning of Spring (Feb. 5). Major events include: Juno Sospita, Queen Mother (1); Concordia (5); Faunus (13); Fornicalia (13-17); Parentalia (13-21 or 24); Lupercalia (15); Quirinalia (17); Feralia (21) Caristia (22) Terminalia (23); Regifugium (24).
(Our Own Druidry, 60-72)