The purpose of this ceremony is to provide protection, healing, and blessing for the skies, helping to respond to the effects of extreme weather and an imbalance in air energies present. This ceremony uses a modified Sphere of Protection placed in an object representing air which is then offered to the air.
This is part of our four Order-Wide rituals for healing the earth. Please see this page for details about the ceremonies as a whole and how to participate.
As a community of druids, we recognize the ongoing human impacts globally, including the increasing severity of climate change and other human activities that release substances into the air. Much of the recent change in climate is driven by the burning and release of fossil fuels into our atmosphere, and thus, is inherently tied to the sky and the air. Industrial activities result in the emission of a wide range of other pollutants into the air, directly at the industrial facility through permitted releases and indirectly through leaking pipes and industrial and transportation accidents. These sky-based changes are creating more extreme weather events and imbalances in the air that cause adverse health effects for plants and animals, including humans. While these changes are bigger than any one of us, what we can do is acknowledge what is happening and work to offer collective ceremony for blessing, healing, and balance. These ritual actions are, of course, in addition to each AODA member committing to lifestyle changes to support, regenerate, and give back to the beautiful planet we live on.
Our Sky Blessing ceremony is structured in a similar fashion to our other three blessing ceremonies: we perform a modified version of the Sphere of Protection and then work to send the energy out into the world.
Preparation for the Ceremony
In preparing for the ceremony, you will need to do two things. First, you will need to identify an air object that can carry the energies for the ritual. Second, you will need to identify a place outdoors, where you are in open air, to offer the air object blessing.
Identifying or Creating Your Air Touchstone
For this ceremony, you will need to create or use something that can be directly placed, interacted with, released, or exposed to the air. This object is called the “air touchstone”. As different members are in different life circumstances, these options are fairly wide-ranging. Here are some options:
- Objects to release into the air: feathers, incense, bubbles, offering blend that can be released to the wind, seed pods from milkweed, etc. Make sure that whatever you are releasing does not cause any damage to the air or ecosystem.
- Permanent air-oriented objects to place: Wind Chimes, a handcrafted mobile (with feathers, sticks, shells, sea glass, etc), a birdfeeder that you will maintain, flags and banners
- Kites and other flying objects: A kite could also be used for this ritual–flying the kite up into the air to release the blessing.
- Music and sound: flute, sounding a bell or chime, singing or chanting, drumming, humming, a bullroarer or other noise-making object.
Finally, we ask that you not choose anything (like mylar balloons) that would harm the earth.
In this ritual, you are placing the energies of the elements (raised by the Sphere of Protection) into an object that then can be used to channel those energies into the world. You can use one of the above or combine multiple approaches (burning a smoke stick with drumming and chanting, for example). If you are making music, you would place the energies of the SOP into the instrument. You can also use singing, chanting, humming, or another body-based approach to supplement the ritual.
Above, you will see that some objects are more permanent in the world (wind chimes) while some are less (incense, music). The difference here is that an object that is left in the world can offer a small blessing for the cycle of the seasons and you could continue to place blessings upon it, while an object that would be offered to the wind (via smoke, scattering, etc) would go out into the broader world. Both have effects and would work for the purposes of this ritual.
Finally, you also have the option to craft an air object for this ritual (mobile, chimes, bullroarer, etc). If you select this option, we suggest opening up a sacred grove using AODA’s Solitary Grove ritual and making the object within a sacred grove if at all possible. You can also craft your item on a day of power (full or new moon or day of other astrological significance). You can continue to use this crafted air object in future years, or add a new one each year.
Choosing a space outdoors for the second part of the ceremony
In addition, you will need to choose a space to place/release your air object to the world. You can do your ritual in this space, or, depending on the circumstances and how public the space is, you can bring the object to the space (the same as the Telluric waterway blessing ceremony). Since the air is always flowing and air is all around us, any place that is open to the outdoors is fine (e.g. an apartment balcony, a backyard, a forest, the beach). If you are feeling particularly ambitious, you might try to get up higher into the air in some way (e.g. hike up to the top of a mountain).
The Ceremony, Part I: Blessing the Air Object
For a full script of this ceremony (including grove opening, closing, and sphere of protection work, please see this link: Sky Ritual Script).
In preparation for the Air Ceremony, place the air object upon your altar and decorate your altar as you see fit. Have objects relating to the air adorning your altar: features, incense, bird-themed objects, clouds, music-themed objects, etc. To place the blessing in an object, have some tool that is air-oriented: an incense stick, smoke-clearing stick, knife, wand, or feather. You will use this tool to trace the symbols in front of the object during the Sphere of Protection.
Open up a Sacred Grove using AODA’s Solitary Grove Ritual.
Using the AODA’s Sphere of Protection ceremony, perform the Sphere of Protection with the air object at the center of your Sphere of Protection. For example, for the east, you would move to the eastern side of your altar, light the incense stick, and then draw the circle with a line going up using the incense stick in front of the object. Then you would then speak aloud and visualize the energy of the air coming into the object. Do this for each of the elements in the sphere of protection. At the Spring Equinox, the balance of telluric and solar energy is quite powerful, so take extra time in drawing all of the currents into the object. To complete the Sphere of Protection and spirit within, hold the object in your hands, and feel the energies of the sphere coalescing in the air object, contained there until you are ready to perform the second part of the ceremony. Because this is a blessing, we do not banish in this ritual.
Complete your ritual by saying, “May the skies of the earth be protected this day, and always, across the whole earth.” Focus on the energies present in the air touchstone and then chant, “Awen, Awen, Awen.” Envision the energies of the air touchstone melding to create a multilayered sphere. Say, “The energies of blessing, protection, and healing will be carried by this air touchstone to the skies and air flows throughout the earth, which will receive this blessing. skyritualscriptI thank the sky realms—the clouds that carry rain, the air that carries oxygen that we breathe, the trees that cycle the carbon dioxide, the jet stream, and all of the flows of air—for the gift of life. Blessings to the sky realms, this day and always.”
Sit in meditation for a time once you are finished seeing if any additional insights or messages from the living earth arise. You might use a divination system (ogham, tarot, etc) for additional insights. Perform any other work you choose to perform. Close the grove (if you opened it) and give thanks to the living earth.
The Ceremony, Part II: Outdoor Air Blessing
Take your air object to the place where you will be offering the air blessing. At this point, the nature of your object will determine your next course of action (playing music, burning the object to release the air to the sky, hanging a mobile, beating on a drum).
As you place the object or engage in the activity surrounding air, envision the elemental blessing you placed earlier within the object radiating outward, being taken up by air currents, and moving into the world. During or after, chant nine Awens (Ah-oh-en), varying the tone and quality of the awens as you see fit. You may also choose to do other intentional breathwork, singing, or chanting at this time to support the flow of air.
Conclude with a prayer:
Spirits of the air,
Invisible ocean of unified breath
Carrier of spirits on the back of golden eagles
Carrier of scents, sounds, and memories
Carrier of my breath to the four directions
May this season and these workings bring you healing
May the song of this my blessing be joined by the chorus of the birds in the sky,
May the spring breezes bring peace and balance
May the song of this my blessing be joined by the chorus of the birds of the sky,
Radiating in clear tones throughout all existences
Do any other work you are led to do. Meditate on the experience and thank the air for its ongoing gifts and blessings.
After the ceremony, we suggest that you also do something to support the air. This allows you to balance both physical and metaphysical work. This might be limiting your trips out using fossil fuels for a month, making a commitment to walking more places rather than driving, reducing the number of new goods that you buy and buying used goods, salvaging, or making your own goods from local materials whenever possible, planting trees or plants to help with carbon dioxide sequestration, working in your community to support clean air initiatives, or doing other activities that support the air.
Special thanks to Amy Michelle and Christina Dearman for contributing poetry. Special thanks also to all members of AODA who joined our Winter Solstice Water Blessing call in January 2022 and who helped develop the framework for this ritual. Special thanks to Christina Dearman, Amy Michelle, Nathan Stillings and Claire Schosser for their feedback