About Autumn Rose

Autumn Rose has been a member of the Henge since 2002. She is a Ring of the Birch solitary practitioner and a Correspondence Course mentor. She hosted the 2009 Gathering of the Tribe and is a frequent contributor to Henge Happenings. Her special interests are theology, ritual, writing and language. In her non-Henge life she publishes a monthly letter for senior citizens. She was elected to the Board of Trustees in 2011.


by Autumn Rose

Autumn Rose

Autumn Rose

A complete seasonal ritual includes a Seasonal Activity, also known as Grove's Choice when the ritual is performed by a group.  Below is a suggested Imbolc activity for a solitary practitioner, with a proposed variation for a Grove.

Fill a fondue dish with ice cubes.  Place the dish, along with its base, an unlit red votive candle, and matches or a lighter, at the front of the altar.

Elevate the dish of ice cubes.

Say: This is the frigid Land, stark and barren as the Cailleach holds it yet in her icy grip.  Set the dish down.

Light the candle and elevate it.
Say: This is the fire of Brigid, which warms the frozen Land that it may once again become fertile. 

Place the candle in the base and the dish on top of it.
Say: The struggle between Brigid and the Cailleach is an ancient one.  The Crone will not easily surrender her dominion over the Land.  But the fire of Brigid burns eternally, and only for a while can it be damped.  Now, as it does every year at this time, the struggle begins.  May the fire of Brigid burn bright and hot.  May the Cailleach be driven back to her lair.  I add my warm breath to the warmth of Brigid, to aid in her vital work.

Blow on the ice cubes.

Variation for a Grove:

At the beginning of the seasonal rite the Grove Tender distributes ice cubes to the participants, who then file past the altar and place their cubes in the fondue dish.  At the end of it  the participants again file past the altar, each one blowing on the ice cubes to assist Brigid in her task of warming.

(When the ice cubes are melted, you may wish to save the meltwater in a consecrated vessel to use in a cleansing ritual of your choosing, at Spring Equinox or some other time.)


Review: Garbology – Our Dirty Love Affair With Trash


By Edward Humes

Reviewed by Autumn Rose

Autumn Rose

Autumn Rose

And now for something completely different.

This may seem an odd choice of book to review in a publication about Druidry, but there's a rationale for the choice. As pagans, we are by definition committed to tending and healing the earth. Some of us have been doing this for so long that we do it more out of habit than out of the passion that motivated us in the beginning. This book provides new fuel for that passion. Call it a booster shot.

The art and science of waste management is as old as humanity itself. Needless to say, it has undergone many permutations, from the simple middens of cave dwellers and nomads to the towering garbage mountains and waste-to-energy plants of the present day. Humes's book deals with the present day and the United States in particular. Its major thesis is that waste management in the 21' Century is - to understate the case — problematic. Much of the book is devoted to describing the problems, of which two stand out: first, that we generate far too much trash; and second, that discarded plastics are unmanageable and everywhere. Hume presents absolutely mind-boggling facts about the situation, a few of which are listed here.

Garbology Book Cover

  • The amount of space needed to accommodate one American's lifetime output of trash is equivalent to the space occupied by 1100 graves.
  • While many people know about the collections of trash that have accumulated in the world's several oceanic gyres, many more are not aware that the top few feet of the seas everywhere are filled with plastic confetti.
  • At least 25% of the American food supply is thrown away — by some estimates, as much as 40%.
  • Every year we throw out enough aluminum to replace the entire commercial air fleet four times over, and enough steel to duplicate Manhattan. Repeat, every year.

Having presented an updated picture of the problem, Hume next turns to possible solutions. The first, and sadly the most difficult, is to change our attitude towards trash. He makes the rather startling observation that the "hoarders" currently starring in several TV reality shows have only reacted in a pathological way to what used to be a nearly universal human impulse: an aversion to waste. Hume suggests that we need to cultivate this aversion anew while applying it with more forethought and practicality than hoarders are able to manage. He quotes a statement by the Berkeley Ecology Center: "If it can't be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production." That's advice for legislators, designers and manufacturers, but it can be adapted for indivduals and households by replacing the words after "then" with 'don't buy it."

Hume tells the story of one family who were able to collect an entire year's accumulation of non-recyclable waste in a quart Mason jar. (To learn how they did it, read the book.) The planning and discipline required by their program would be too onerous for most of us, but there is no question that we could all reduce the amount of trash we produce with a bit of thought and care.

The author also reviews waste management efforts by various levels of government, with special attention to ease or difficulty of execution, and to what has worked and what hasn't. Readers can mine these chapters for ideas as to what trash regulations and disposal methods they would like to promote to their representatives.

Read the book. It will benefit you at both ends, opening your eyes and delivering a kick in the pants.

Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair With TrashGarbology Book Cover
Paperback: 336 pages
Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
Publisher: Avery Trade; Reprint edition (March 5, 2013)
ISBN-13: 978-1583335239

[This reveiw was originally printed in Henge Happenings #100 - Samhain 2013 - ed]

 [amazon_enhanced asin="1583335234" /][amazon_enhanced asin="B00E295ZTG" /][amazon_enhanced asin="B00CAYJRLW" /]

A Feast of Age for Solitaires

The Druid's Path

Photo of a Keltrian Druid AltarFor a Grove or study group, the Feast of Age may be a day-long event, with a whole pig slowly roasting and lots of time given to socializing. For Keltrian solitaires something briefer may be preferred. The following Feast of Age was composed especially for solitaires. Note: the sacred fire in this rite also serves as a cooking fire. The rite as written calls for the altar to be set up in a kitchen and a stove burner used as the fire. If setting up in your kitchen is impractical or not to your liking, consider using a fondue or chafing dish on your altar in its usual location. As presented here, the ritual uses several slices of bacon to symbolize swine; vegetarians may wish to substitute a quick-cooking vegetable and utensils other than those named. You will also need a cloak to represent Manannan's cloak of invisibility; and since this rite centers around a feast, you should provide food for a meal. For the “four truths," tell any four brief (two or three paragraphs when written) true stories from your own life or other sources of your choice. The ritual begins and ends in the standard way, and you will need your regular altar appointments in addition to those peculiar to this rite.


Standard Ritual Opening.

Explanation of Rite.

I come to the Grove today to observe the traditions ordained long ago by the Lord of the Blessed Isles, Manannan Mac Lir: to speak four truths over the cooking of the pig that is eaten and afterward is alive again; to join in the Feast of Goibniu and drink the ale that confers immortality; and to don the cloak of Manannan, which gives the power of invisibility.

Light the Sacred Fire

Turn on one stove burner to medium heat. Take the Goddess candle in right hand and hold over Sky cauldron. Goddesses of the Tuatha De Dannan, I call you forth from this vessel and ask that you join your spirits to this flame, that your faces may shine upon me during this rite. So be it.

Take God candle in left hand and hold over Sky cauldron. Gods of the Tuatha De Dannan, I call you forth from this vessel and ask that you join your spirits to this flame, that your faces may shine upon me during this rite. So be it.

Gods and Goddesses of the Tuatha De Dannan, with the flames of your spirits I light this sacred fire. Dip both candles over already lighted burner. So be it. Return

Rite of Four Truths

The swine of Manannan could not be fully cooked unless four truths were spoken over it. I honor this tradition now by speaking four truths over this pork as I cook it.
Place bacon in skillet on lit burner.

Tell the first true story.
Turn the bacon.
Tell the second true story.
Turn the bacon.
Tell the third true story.
Turn the bacon.
Tell the fourth true story.

Remove skillet from burner, drain and pat bacon dry, arrange on serving plate. (Leave burner lighted. Remember, this is your sacred fire).

The Feast of Goibniu

Blessing the Feast

Place chalices, plate of bacon and other foods at front of altar. Tuatha De Dannan, Gods and Goddesses of my tribe, you who partake of Goibniu's ale are blessed with immortality. I ask you now to bless me, too, with many years. May these cups be filled with strength and long life. Consecrate chalices with branch and sickle. So be it.

The swine of Manannan, however often it was cooked and eaten, was always afterward alive again, so that there was never lack of meat in Manannan's house. Gods and Goddesses of my tribe, I ask you to bless this pork with renewal, that there may never be lack of meat in my house. May all these foods be blessed with life and health. Consecrate bacon and other foods with branch and sickle. So be it.

The Libation

Elevate the chalices. These are the waters of strength and long life. From each cup I share a portion with the Tuatha De Dannan, who are my guests at this feast. Libate. Replace chalices at front of altar.

Elevate the plate of bacon. This is the swine of Mannanan, over which four truths were spoken. I share a portion of this, too, with my guests, the Tuatha De Dannan. Libate the bacon and each of the other dishes included in the meal.

The Feast

Eat and drink. Afterward, remove food dishes from the front of the altar and return chalices to their usual places.

The Rite of Feth Fiadha

Take up the cloak. This is the cloak that Manannan of the Mists wore when he wished to pass unnoticed. I don it now to take unto myself that same power of invisibility. From this day until the day when I don the cloak again at the next Feast of Age, whenever I wish to pass unnoticed among my fellows, I shall imagine myself wearing this cloak, and it will be as if I am not there. Put the cloak on and visualize yourself blending and disappearing into the background. When you feel ready, lay the cloak aside.

Closing Announcement

Thus have I observed the traditions ordained by Manannan Mac Lir. Now the time has come to end this rite; but first, it is fitting that I should thank those whom I called to share in it.

Returning the Deities

Hold the two candles over the Sky cauldron. Gods and Goddesses of my people, I bid you now return to the cauldron of the Sky. Return candles to their holders.

Standard Ritual Closing