Children’s High Rite

by Member_7307 posted on July 17, 2021
Related: Liturgists Yearbook, Children and Family Practice

Submitted for the 2017 Liturgist Guild Yearbook. Written by Catherine Heath (Seo Helrune) and Converted from PDF by Willow Birch

Notes for Pre-ritual Briefing

Before the rite, get the children to practice signing ‘open-up’ and ‘close’. It’s probably best to introduce the parts that need to be practiced piecemeal throughout the course of the day as opposed to right before the rite in an organized pre-ritual briefing as you would with adults. A day-long process that mixes workshops with craft and play would be ideal. Try not to be too abstract with any explanations as children only really begin to develop the capability for abstract thought in adolescence. Until then, their understanding of the world is far more concrete and this should be kept in mind when giving any explanations. If you can, find ways to play with cosmology – for example, shaving foam can be used to reconstruct a grove with a sacred center surrounded by sea that the kid can then play with using figure toys.

The abbreviation ‘DOTO’ refers to ‘Deity Of The Occasion’.

The songs of this rite are based on well-known children’s songs so that any parent can do this rite with their children without having to learn any special tunes.

Other than that, for this ritual, you will need the following:

  • Tree representation
  • Bowl of water (preferably non-breakable)
  • A candle
  • Incense (for fire)
  • Water (for tree)
  • Silver coin (for well)
  • Grain (for the Earth Mother)
  • Milk or juice (for Inspiration)
  • Honey mixed with water (for Gatekeepers and Ancestors)
  • Milk (for the Noble Spirits)
  • Oil (for the Shining Ones)
  • DOTO (craft project done with child/children)
  • Any further praise offerings
  • Water or juice for waters of life

Earth Mother (Sung to ‘Frere Jacques’)

Give children some grain to offer before beginning. Get them to crouch and touch the ground with one hand and sprinkle the grain while singing the song.

Earth Mother, Earth Mother
We love you, we love you
Offerings of grain, offerings of grain
And we pray, bless this rite

Inspiration (sung to ‘London Bridge is Falling Down’)

Encourage the children to stand up tall with hands in the sky. Adult makes offering while children sing while reaching high.

To Inspiration now we pray
Now we pray
Now we pray

To Inspiration now we pray
Help us now

Recreating the Cosmos (sung to ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’)

Nominate three children before this to make each offering with help.

Water, water, we gift you
Now you are a holy well too
Reaching deep down below
To ancestors new and old

Water, water, we gift you
Now you are a holy well too
Fire, fire, we gift you
Now you are a sacred fire too

Taking prayers and offerings up
To Shining Ones up above
Fire, fire, we gift you
Now you are a sacred fire too

Tree pillar, tree pillar, we gift you
Now you are a world tree too
With deep deep roots
And branches so high

From the deep you reach the sky
Tree pillar, tree pillar, we gift you
Now you are a world tree too
Adult asperges the area.


Get the children to adopt an orans position and say together:

“Gatekeeper (Name), we give you this gift!”

Then gather the children around something that they can knock on (if there isn’t anything, drums, rattles, or bells would be excellent).

“Knock, knock! Knock, knock!” (allow this to build up and let them get excited before introducing this next part) “Knock, knock Gatekeepers! OPEN UP” (encourage all the children to sign ‘open up’ as you say it).

Meditation Game

This is an imagination game that asks the kids to imagine creatures from the three realms. Try to get them really focused on it. Begin with something like:

“Right, can you imagine what it’s like to be a tree? Who can be a tree? Look at me, I’m a tree now! And now I’m a worm, I wriggle down through the earth.” (Get on the ground and pretend to be a worm, get kids to copy) “Can you be worms? Let’s see you wiggle!” Then “Who can be a bird? Look at me, I’m a bird! Can you be a bird and fly through the sky?” (Pretend to be a bird and get the kids to copy. This will hopefully not only help them to think of the three realms in a focused way, but also provide a break for the kids to help them get some energy out so that the rite can commence.

Welcoming the Kindreds (to the sung to ‘The Wheels on the Bus’)

Nominate three kids to make each offering at the appropriate point in the song.

The ancestors they guard our lives, guard our lives, guard our lives
Ancestors who guard our lives, be here now.
The Noble Spirits who guide our way, guide our way, guide our way
Noble Spirits who guide our way, be with us now.
The Shining Ones they bless our lives, bless our lives, bless our lives
Shining Ones who bless our lives, be here now.

DOTO and Praise Offerings

Depends on the High Rite in question, but this can be tied in with a craft project that the children can work on and then offer in honor of the DOTO.

Prayer of Sacrifice

Everyone chants:

“From us, to the earth, to the gods
From the gods, to the earth, to us
A gift for a gift!”


Allow children to pick the runes or ogham. Adult reads.

Hallowing the Waters

Adult does, but try to include a call and response to help maintain child participation. For example:

Adult: “Ancestors!”

Response: “Give us the waters!”

Adult: “Noble Spirits!”

Response: “Give us the waters!”


Administer the waters of life.

Thanking the Kindreds

This is designed to go quickly so that short attention spans don’t wander too much. It takes the form of a sound off.

Adult: “DOTO!” Kids: “WE THANK YOU!”




Adult begins a new round of “Knock, knock” for the Gatekeepers. Allow the energy to build and then get the children to hold their hands in the ‘open up’ position before then saying “Gatekeeper, CLOSE (sign ‘close’ with hands) THE GATES!”

Adult then returns the cosmos with the following or similar:

“Let the world tree be but a tree, the sacred fire be but a fire, and the well be but water.” Get the children to reach up high for Inspiration.


Get the children to touch the earth for the Earth Mother.


Then everyone jumps up as high as they can and shouts “HOORAY!!!”

by Member_7307 posted on July 17, 2021 | Related: Liturgists Yearbook, Children and Family Practice
Citation: Member_7307, "Children’s High Rite", Ár nDraíocht Féin, July 17, 2021,