A new weekly ritual will be posted here each week, which we will use in our Sunday meetings. For more information on these meetings, see the Get Involved page.

It is recommended that you have two bowls: one with pure water, another empty. You will also need a glass with your offering to the Gods. Typical offerings are wine, milk, or water, but the offering can be specific to the deity you are addressing. It is also appropriate to have a candle and incense.

Wash your hands in the bowl of water to purify yourself before the gods.

A bell is rung to initiate the meeting. This is followed by music and the reading of the Hávamál.

A torch is lit by another
and burns till it’s burned out;
a fire is kindled by another fire.
A man becomes wise
by speaking with other men,
but foolish by keeping to himself.

Hávamál 57

First, we worship our Gods,
pay reverence to the noble Heroes,
we greet the spirits of the Dead,
and honor our meeting’s Patron.
So let us offer this libation,
for the honor of their power
and communion with their souls.

Today’s libation is to the Heracles, Homeric Hymn 15 (Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White).

I will sing of Heracles, the son of Zeus and much the mightiest of men on earth. Alcmena bare him in Thebes, the city of lovely dances, when the dark-clouded Son of Cronos had lain with her. Once he used to wander over unmeasured tracts of land and sea at the bidding of King Eurystheus, and himself did many deeds of violence and endured many; but now he lives happily in the glorious home of snowy Olympus, and has neat-ankled Hebe for his wife.
Hail, lord, son of Zeus. Give me success and prosperity.

As you give to us, so we give back to you!

Pour some of your offering into the empty bowl.

Neither earth nor heaven were,
when chaos ruled the empty space.
But from the two that shape and form –
from light and darkness, sky and soil –
the world was forged and ordered.
So shall we be brought to order,
As we partake of this drink.

The remainder of the drink is consumed.


A bell is rung to initiate the reading.

Today’s reading text is the Sons of Tuirenni from the book Celtic Myths and Legends by Peter Berresford Ellis. [Peter Berresford Ellis (born 10 March 1943) is a British historian, literary biographer, and novelist who has published over 98 books to date either under his own name or his pseudonyms Peter Tremayne and Peter MacAlan.]

Cian smiled triumphantly at him. “You may kill me now but remember this, sons of Tuirenn; had you killed me as a pig, your punishment would have only been the eric fine paid on the unlawful slaughter of a pig. Since you now kill me as a man, then you will have to pay the eric fine of a man. Moreover, as I am Cian the enduring, the son of Cainte, and the father of Lugh of the Long Hand, the punishment that shall be exacted will be great. Even the weapons with which you kill me shall cry out in horror at this deed.”

Brían thought for a while, for it was true that Cian was one of the Children of Danu. Then he smiled sneeringly at Cian. “Then it shall not be with weapons you will be killed, but with stones of the earth.”

So saying, he threw aside his weapons and picked up some stones and hurled them in hate at Cian. He was joined by his brothers and stone after stone flew until Cian was a disfigured and unrecognisable mess of a man. Then the brothers dug a grave and buried the battered body. But six times the earth refused to cover the corpse before, at the seventh time of burying, the earth accepted the body.

Yet as Brían and his brothers rode away, they heard a voice calling from beneath the earth: “The blood is on your hands, sons of Tuirenn, and there it will remain until we meet again.”

The sons of Tuirenn distinguished themselves in the great Battle of the Plain of Towers, in which Bres and the Fomorii were defeated. But everyone remarked that Cian was absent from the battle, which was strange, as it was Cian’s own son who had taken over the leadership of the Children of Danu when Nuada had been killed by the Fomorii, Balor of the Evil Eye. So, after a fruitless search, Lugh Lámhfada finally came to the Plain of Muirthemne and, as he was travelling across it, the stones of the earth started to speak.

“Here lies the body of your father Cian! Killed by the sons of Tuirenn. Blood on their hands, until they meet with Cian again!”

Lugh had his father’s body disinterred and he called his companions together, that they might see how the deed was done. And Lugh swore vengeance. Lugh sang a lament over the body:

Cian’s death, death of a great champion,
Has left me as a walking corpse
Without a soul,
Without strength, without power,
Without a feeling for life.
The Sons of Tuirenn have killed him
Now my hatred will come against them
And follow them to the ends of the world.

And Lugh buried his father’s body with all pomp and ceremony and went back to the great hall of Tara, where he summoned all the people. Even the sons of Tuirenn were among them but Lugh kept his counsel. Instead, he asked those among the gods what they would do to take vengeance on those who had, with malice, slaughtered their fathers.

Each of the gods suggested ways, increasingly more horrible and more bloody, as a means of punishment. And when the last of them had spoken, the assembly roared its approval. Lugh saw that the sons of Tuirenn, not wishing to be conspicuous in the throng, were also applauding.

Then Lugh, with a scowl on his usually sunny countenance, spoke up. “The murderers of Cian have condemned themselves, for they have joined in the agreement of you all as to their punishment. But I am merciful. I will not spill blood in Tara. I claim the right to put an eric fine on the murderers. If they refuse to accept it, then they must meet me, one after the other, in bloody single combat at the door of Tara’s Hall.”

All the while he spoke he was looking at the sons of Tuirenn.

Then Brían moved forward. “It is known there was enmity between us and your father and his brothers Cú and Céthen. Your words seem addressed to us, but Cian was not killed by any weapons of the sons of Tuirenn. Nevertheless, to show that we are honourable, each one of us will accept your eric fine.”


This completes our reading. We will pause a moment for silent contemplation.

If desired, comments about the reading can be made here by the program leader.


As we conclude our meeting –
in honor of our Gods,
of our Ancestors, and the World,
which is an image of the Gods –
let us remember how to live
with justice, wisdom, temperance,
with holy thoughts and valiant deeds.

A bell is rung to signal the end of the meeting.

The offering can be left in the bowl for some time. Later, it can be poured outside into the earth.

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