Okay, having perused the TV guide and found (as usual) nothing but drek, I have decided to take it upon myself to set out a useful (I hope) description of this ritual upcoming for all attending. This is an effort to do something useful, without doing any of the more onerous useful things which I should no doubt be cheerfully hurling myself into at this very moment (washing dishes, cleaning cat boxes, removing the dead rat from the attic - perhaps you may comprehend my choice this morning (drat it is actually almost 1:00, and I only just got up, woe what a lazy wretch am I, and la-di-dah la-di-dah la-di-dah). So, in other words out of boredom and procrastination I am stealing one of Deborah's tasks, since I think I can do a better job of it anyway. It is witchy no doubt, but it is writing first and foremost. And besides, as I have been known to remark on occasion, I know far too much about witchcraft, music, gaming and computers (in this case the witchcraft part is the only relevant part of the remark, but I wouldn't want to be accused of taking undue editorial license). So since this is a quasi-witchy activity (para-wiccan?), I feel more than qualified to undertake it. 'Nuff said.

I most humbly apologize for that interruption (which I feel instinctively that you must be aware of), but the no doubt helpful software had   to importune me to save these bon mots in a more permanent fashion. And woe betide those who fail to follow the dictates of the all-seeing all-knowing autosave reminder. And while we are on the topic, do you know that the title of the little region of magnetic splutch on which these words are so tenuously engraved is "Imbolc 01 Rit explain". Please do not blame me for such a utilitarian and heartless mode of titling. I would have called it something more evocative, like "Lizzie's Entertaining Elucidation of the Year 2001's Imbolc Ritual", but as I am already sticking my nose far outside my accepted sphere, I am somewhat loathe to impose upon the established scheme, however pedestrian it may be.

Well, by now you may be wondering what on earth I have to say about the ritual, since that is what I am supposed to be explaining. Therefore without (too much) further ado (and I reserve the right to liberally (oh, the autosave reminder strikes again, drat its evil hide), I say to liberally fecundate this narrative with said "ado" once it has fairly begun. In fact I venture to say it shall quite effervesce with sparkles of sprinkled ado. Ahem)...

And now...

Lizzie's Entertaining Elucidation of the Year 2001's Imbolc Ritual

The ritual shall commence at 7:30, barring any alteration requested by yourselves to accommodate your eminently hectic schedules (see I have done it already, tee hee). As of this date, the expected attendees number at most seven. Given that figure and the nature of the ritual, it is requested that if anyone is so moved as to bring potables or victuals to the event, that they be small in scope. Miss Hanna will of course be providing nominal (in volume only, no one could call the quality of her culinary creations by such a drab name as "nominal") fare. If anyone particularly fancies choosing a wine for the "cakes and wine" part (see, I do know this stuff, so there), then by all means do so. Be advised, however, that Miss Deborah, your hostess priestess catess with the mostess, is rather selective about it, and that box-o-wine will hardly suffice! That takes care of the so-called feast.

Dress is easily dispensed with (which is not to say that this ritual is to be conducted skyclad (that is pagan-ese for butt-nekid, in case anyone knows less than your ever so humble narrator), but rather that I am able to expend few words (ha ha irony here, don't miss it!) to explain it. And here they are - Deborah shall wear her white robe (a Hannabear creation TM), and the rest of you may wear whatever you please. Oh just think of the mischief that I could have instigated in this part of my explanation. It pains me.

And now we come to the content of the ritual. As it is Imbolc, the renewal of life, the lengthening of days, the beginning of new enterprise are all comprehended in the ritual (do I know this stuff or what?). This year, these general themes are to be focused more specifically on the matter of graduation and the beginning of careers. And since Brighid (the goddess celebrated on this sabbat) is a goddess of healing (among other attributes), the careers you are all undertaking blend quite delectably with the whole essence of the thang.  The text is a blend of Deborah's original ritual and new material which is being devised even now (well not exactly   now, since I'm in the body she obviously can't be writing it this very moment, I speak of a broader, more poetic now), by the inestimable Cindy, who is unknown to you but perhaps hereafter may become as dear as any (I hope I do not presume too much when I include myself among those whom Cindy may aspire to in your affections (whew, I wasn't sure I would pull that one out)).

Now I skillfully narrow to specifics, and describe how the general themes and concepts laid out on the previous paragraph shall manifest in actual ritual detail and action. Oh! such a talent.
There shall be three basic magickal (notice the "k", it proves that I know what I am talking about, in case any of my readers still (obstinately) refuse to credit it) activities, organized around the object of creating a charm for making this important life transition (ooh I could be a shrink as well as I could be a witch (which I am not, lest you begin to be deceived by the comprehensive and expert understanding displayed herein)) go well, and for attracting success in the upcoming careers you are undertaking. I will describe the activities and the charm in detail, so that you may ponder in advance your magickal intent (a.k.a. wishes) and prepare any materials you need.

The charm shall be a (very) small pouch, in which will be placed materials bearing upon the spell being worked, and which will then be charged with your collective will and power (ooh, doesn't it just send a delicious tingle down your spine? I just asked because you are all into this sort of thing. It doesn't send anything down my back except a nice satisfaction with the way I wrote it). Misses Deborah and Hanna shall provide pouches for this purpose, however if you have one of your own which you feel is especially suitable, you may certainly bring it. Into the pouch will go a number of "byproducts" of the ritual activities, such as ashes, wax, smoke. You may wish to bring small tokens to represent your wishes. Be apprised however, that to properly follow the sort of magic (I have had enough of that pompous "k", it served its purpose, so I will dispense with it henceforth) Deborah proposes, these tokens are surrendered to Brighid and the Fae when your charm is created. In other words, you won't likely be taking them back out of the pouch again, and may even bury the whole thing after a while.

The first of the three activities is the expressing and defining of the scope of the spell. This will be the traditional "seeya" and "hi" (Hanna's terminology) word burnings. You will need to have written on one sheet of paper those things which you wish to release from your life (this is the woo-woo way of saying "the crap that you want to get rid of"), and anything you see as obstacles (especially those which are self-imposed) to your future success. This could be prepared with much anxious self-examination and dithering beforehand, or dashed off just before the ritual on a sticky note. Either way it will be ritually  burned  (which as you are aware, is much more special than any-old-burned). You will also need another sheet of paper on which you have expressed all that you wish for in the coming year (well, maybe not the lottery win and the surprise trip to Fiji, but if you would rather focus on that than your upcoming massage career then, well, ungawa!). This will also be burned, with precious and magically charged ashes going into your pouch.

My god this is getting long. I hope you appreciate it (you'd better). I perhaps had better adjust the mixture, the critical ado/content ratio, don'cha know.

Imbolc, a fire ritual in pagan Celtic realms, became a Catholic holy day (like so many others, those thieving weasels - see I can even articulate proper righteous witch indignation for the co-option (and need I add perversion) of pagan festivals by the Borg of Christianity). The day as the Catholics celebrate it is Candlemass. Some witches use that name for the day. At any rate, in keeping with this, the second activity is the lighting of candles, each expressing a wish for the coming year. The traditional number is three, but if you vary this I doubt the priestess will think anything of it. The idea here is that the wishes expressed are more focused (if necessary) than the intentions burned on the "hi" paper. These should be the essence of your spell. If you are so inclined, these could even be cast in the form of the dreaded (dare I say it) Affirmations.

It is also traditional to make some wishes for others, rather than directing all of them to personal benefit. Deborah feels that the healing nature of the approaching career amply encompasses altruism and the good of others, so she is not going to worry about that tradition. You may wish for a well dressed plumber who charges half price for excellent work every second Tuesday, if you like. The candles will be provided, the wishes you need to bring yourselves. Although I suppose if it was a popular request, then previously devised wishes (ooh another chance of wicked mischief - just imagine yours truly as the devisor!) could be provided randomly at the door, like raffle tickets at a dance.

Wax from the candles shall also become part of your charm (the one being constructed, not your inherent personal variety, I am sure wax is completely superfluous to the extensive charms of our wondrous friends). One final note - the usual advice applies to all wishes, affirmations, magickal intents, etc. Express them in a positive mode, don't use a lot of "nots" and "won'ts" linked with qualities or entities you don't want. Express them as occurring now, rather than in the future, since the future is forever the future to Younger Self (a.k.a. your unconscious). And if you really want to wicca it up, be sure to qualify everything liberally with clauses like "for the greatest and highest good of all" (please forgive me that little gagging episode, it must have been a bit of cat fur floating by).

The final activity requires no prior preparation or materials on your part, it is simply the charging of the charms, with the use of the now famous "Brighid's holy hula-hoop of healing", which performed so admirably on such short notice at the last Sabbat celebrated here. Be forewarned, Imbolc has in the past been known to feature the traditional  use of this item (and here I speak of the exoteric 1960's tradition connected with the hoop, rather than the now esoteric ancient Irish traditions connected with Brighid and loops of straw. i.e. actual hula-hooping).

Well, this being so long, and my writing so excellently diverting, I fear that the material points made herein may be lost. So I will enumerate them here at the close for easy reference:

And I almost forgot to mention, it is also traditional to bring representations of current or future creative projects (Brighid is a Goddess of arts and craft and poetry as well), to place on the altar during the ritual. No obligation.

Yours truly,