Healing is often talked about in Pagan or New Age communities but often any purposeful action behind the words is missing. Sometimes, we all need a little extra help in becoming healthy – whether it’s physical, mental, or spiritual health in need. This ritual is an excellent tool to give the participants some extra healing energy while also helping to refocus their minds on what they need to heal.
I’ve recently mentioned the Irish goddess of herbalism, Airmid. The idea is to invoke the spirits of Airmid and her brother Miach to help send healing energies to ritual participants. I considered writing a short post just about Airmid for anyone unfamiliar with the goddess/faery healer, but I decided that it would be difficult to beat the classic essay by Erynn Rowan Laurie from Issue 25 of Sagewoman. Click here to read it.
An herbal healer as shown in the Druid Plant Oracle deck. Image copyright – Will Worthington.
Attendees bring a sprig of fresh herb or small sachet of dried herb, taking turns explaining what the herb’s use is spiritually and physically, and then sews it onto the cloak that is on the center table. When the herbs have been sewn on and the cloak blessed, the cloak is used to direct healing energies to the participants.
After this, you can add a seasonal celebration before the cakes and ale if doing this at a sabbat. I often do this at Midsummer and honor the Sun with a game of roll-the-hoop or something similar within the ritual circle.
A Note About Scripted Rituals
I’m not fond of scripted rituals. I prefer that participants know the outline and concepts behind the ritual and simply deliver the words that feel right at the moment. The following ritual does provide wording for different things, but feel free to just read it, learn the gist of it, and present it in a way you enjoy and makes you comfortable.
Set up a ritual table in the center of the circle that is clear of all objects except a needle, thread, and snips or small scissors. You can place the cloak on the ground and sew the herbs on that way, but a table makes it easier, especially if your knees aren’t what they used to be. Another table should be set up on the edge of the circle for a chalice or small cauldron with whatever you use as holy water, smudge, god & goddess or elemental items/offering plate, and cakes and ale.
Cleanse the space with your preferred method. I typically sain the area by sprinkling what I consider holy water: moon-charged water with 9 drops of Chalice Well water added in.
The ritual leader can conduct the entire ritual by his or herself, or split into two parts for a high priest and priestess. You can assign parts to others as desired, particularly the quarter calls. If you have a great storyteller in your group, you may assign them the task of learning and telling the story. Another possibility for a group with at least four people comfortable with acting out sacred drama is to act out the story of the physicians, with roles for Airmid, Miach, Dian Cecht, and Nuada. As I’ve discussed before, sacred drama can make a ritual amazing.
Smudge participants and enter into the circle as normal. Use these simple quarter calls or whatever ones you prefer – depending on who is in the ritual, I will sometimes substitute quarter calls with honoring the Realms of Land, Sea, and Sky from the Celtic cosmology.
Air (east): I call to the spirit of Air, breath from the east.
Fire (south): I call to the spirit of Fire, energy from the south.
Water (west): I call to the spirit of Water, blood from the west.
Earth (north): I call to the spirit of Earth, flesh from the north.
If you wish, you can add the common chant, “Earth my body,” at this time, doing it multiple times to build the energy.
Now, tell the story of the Physicians of the Tuatha de Danann:
The Physicians’ Story
Here the facilitator summarizes the story of the physicians as desired. See the last blog post to learn the story.
After the story is finished, call Miach and Airmid:
Ritual Facilitator: I ask that the spirit of Miach join us in our circle. May his selflessness and desire to heal and be healed be reflected those here today. May his wisdom and skill be infused into this world for the healing of all. So mote it be.
Ritual Facilitator: I ask that the spirit of Airmid join us in our circle. May her desire to harvest and to sow healing wisdom be shared among those here today. May we continue to learn her healing secrets so her tears are not wasted. So mote it be.
Ritual Facilitator: Now, we will take turns stepping forward to share our own herbal knowledge and to imbue this cloak with healing power.
Participants take turns stepping forward, explaining their herb’s powers, and sewing it on. It is a good idea for one of the ritual organizers to start this off to help others be more comfortable in knowing what to do. An example is,“I bring plantain, a wild-growing herb good for healing the skin and small wounds.” After all the herbs are sewn onto the cloak, dedicate the cloak.
Ritual Facilitator: Now that we have brought forward all the healing herbs available to us, we will now dedicate this cloak to healing. Though we do not have their healing well, we will sprinkle holy waters from this sacred chalice onto the cloak.
Facilitator takes the chalice and sprinkles water from it onto the cloak.
Ritual Facilitator: We will now use the healing charm of the physicians of the Tuatha de Danann:
Bone to bone
Vein to vein
Balm to Balm
Sap to Sap
Skin to skin
Tissue to tissue
Blood to blood
Flesh to flesh
Sinew to sinew
Marrow to marrow
Pith to pith
Fat to fat
Membrane to membrane
Fibre to fibre
Moisture to moisture
Ritual Facilitator: May this simple cloak be imbued with the healing power of Airmid and Miach so that it may facilitate healing for us all. Now, I will bring the cloak to each of you and place it around your shoulders. When you are done receiving the energies, remove the cloak and return it to me.
Go around the circle and put cloak on attendees one at a time, keeping your focus on the healing for each individual. Sometimes it will be physical healing they desire, but other times a spiritual or mental healing – try to be grounded and supportive in your energies as you take the cloak around the circle.
After you’ve gone all around the circle, you can add a chant or toning that you feel focuses on healing – or use sound vibrations like that from singing bowls or gongs, which are becoming better known for healing work. I was trained to use a toning that goes: E-A, E-A, E-O. Each vowel is toned individually and held for a long as possible. You can use anything you wish.
At this time if you want to do a seasonal observance, do so.
To help reground the circle, distribute the cakes and ale with the traditional blessings of “May you never hunger” and “May you never thirst.” Start to close the circle by thanking Miach and Airmed:
Ritual Facilitator: We thank the spirit of Miach for joining us. May his story continue to inspire us on our healing journey. Blessed be!
Ritual Facilitator: We thank the spirit of Airmid for joining us. May her wisdom and dedication to healing continue in us. Blessed be!
Air (east): We thank the spirit of Air, for breathing new life into us. Blessed be!
Fire (south): We thank the spirit of Fire, for re-energizing us. Blessed be!
Water (west): We thank the spirit of Water, for cleansing us. Blessed be!
Earth (north): We thank the spirit of Earth, for regrounding us. Blessed be!
“May the Circle be Open” chant to close
Well, that’s it. If I’ve left out anything or if you have questions, feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll answer a soon as possible. As we are between the Vernal Equinox and Beltaine, we are heading into prime time for this ritual, though it could easily be done through early fall in most regions.
Until next time, blessings!