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Ostara: Fear into Action

March 2015. Presented for a group of 9 people, using standard ritual format draft 2.2. Complementary ritual to Mabon: Between (2012). The Goddess/God simultaneous speech was inspired by the trance technique “Trance Hammer” by Shauna Aura Knight.

Egg shakers on labyrinth altar clothMaterials and Tools:

Set to the side: Ritual broom near doorways.

Altar in the centre of the space: Representations of the elements, a singing bowl, cucumber slices on a plate or in a bowl, a pitcher of chlorophyll water, an offering bowl and an offering goblet, an athame, one goblet per participant.

Small altar in hallway: Mandrake ointment, dish of oil, basket of egg shakers.

Preparation:

While everyone else gathers in the hall outside, one person sweeps the space with the ritual broom while saying (repeatedly if necessarily):

With purpose and intent, I cleanse this space.

The person who cleansed the space welcomes each person into it one at a time with a hug and the greeting:

Welcome to our sacred space.

To which the person entering responds: Blessed be.

Everyone holds hands and closes their eyes while the ritual leader leads the breathing meditation:

Breathe… [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Breathe… [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Breathe… [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Feel the ground beneath you. [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Feel the air around you. [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Come home to your body. [Pause for full breath in and full breath out.] Prepare to enter sacred space. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

Building Sacred Space:

Starting with East/Air for both the circle casting and the quarter calls.

The space cleanser picks up the singing bowl.

The circle caster picks up the element’s representation from the altar and carries it around the circle clockwise while saying:

We cast this circle in honour of Air.

All repeat:

We cast this circle in honour of Air to create and open sacred space.

The space cleanser rings the bell.

The circle caster repeats with each of the other elements in clockwise order (Fire, Water, Earth, Spirit). After the last circuit, the circle caster says:

The space is set. The circle is cast. Blessed Be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the East and the direction quarter caller says:

To the East, I send this call: Air, bless us with your gift of the sweet cycle of the breath of life – oxygen in; carbon dioxide out – as we celebrate the Spring Equinox and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the South and the direction quarter caller says:

To the South, I send this call: Fire, bless us with your gift of the bright burn of living activity – matter consumed; energy released – as we celebrate the Spring Equinox and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the West and the direction quarter caller says:

To the West, I send this call: Water, bless us with your gift of the precious cycle of flowing life – falling rain absorbed; flowing water evaporated – as we celebrate the Spring Equinox and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the North and the direction quarter caller says:

To the North, I send this call: Earth, bless us with your gift of the wealth of living soil – nutrients waiting; life growing – as we celebrate the Spring Equinox and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

All turn to face the Centre and the direction quarter caller says:

To the Centre, I send this call: Spirit, bless us with your gift of knowing life’s cycles as we celebrate the Spring Equinox and every day. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

Invocations:

One person invokes the Goddess:

Lady of the Golden Grain – beautiful one of the nourishing farms and orchards and graceful one of the safe hearth – Goddesses of our tribes, we invite you to our rite. Blessed Be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

Another person invokes the God:

Lord of the Wild Mushrooms – wild one of the untamed shores and forests and mad one of the dark places – Gods of our tribes, we invite you to our rite. Blessed Be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

Centre:

The person who invoked the Goddess and the person who invoked the God and the ritual leader (with the singing bowl) step into the centre and each face outward in a different direction. The ritual leader starts a quiet toning with both voice and singing bowl. The person speaking for the Goddess and the person speaking for the God alternate lines while reading the following:

Goddess:

I am the Lady of the warm hearth.
I am Goddess of the orchard;
My gifts are the sweet domesticated fruits, planted and nurtured.
I offer the grains of the plowed field, milled and baked.
I am the comfort of home;
I am the sweetness of honey on bread;
I am civilized and domesticated;
I am hope and light and tender green shoots reaching for the sun.
This is my time of planting.

God:

I am the Lord of the deep forest.
I am God of the sunny meadow;
My gifts are the small and sour wild fruits, foraged and gathered.
I offer the meat of the free game, killed and dressed.
I am the thrill of the hunt;
I am the pungent smell of fungi;
I am feral and ferocious;
I am fear and dark and decomposing organics creating new soil.
This is my time of harvesting.

After the first round, they read the pieces through two or three more times simultaneously.

When the ritual leader feels that the energy is flowing, they will chime the singing bowl three times to bring everyone’s speaking and toning to a close.

Into the silence, the ritual leader says:

This is a season in between.
We are between winter and summer.
As nature harvests, we plant.

This is a place in between.
We are between the worlds of the divine and the mundane.
As the gods talk, we hear.

We are beings in between.
We are wild and we are civilized.
We are bodies and we are minds.

This is a time in between.
We stand in equal light and dark.
As we shift toward hope, we bring with us fear.

Close your eyes and think about a project you are bringing into this season of light. Now think about a fear you have around that project. How can you use that fear to energizing and empower your project?

I invite you to step through a doorway – another place of in between – and re-enter this space with the intention of engaging in trance and using this time and place in between to use our fears to empower us in the time of hope and growth. Between the doorways, there is a small altar. Please take a moment at the altar to set your intention and to anoint the inside of your wrists with either the mandrake ointment or the blessed oil. Take a shaker if you want.

One by one, participants leave by the south door, stop at the altar in the hallway, then re-enter by the north door and reform a circle.

The group chants for as long as possible, allowing the energy to ebb and flow while they enter a trance state:

Hoof and horn
Hoof and horn
All that dies shall be reborn

Corn and grain
Corn and grain
All that falls shall rise again

[Music and lyrics by Ian Corrigan.]

The trance leader will ring the singing bowl three times to signal the end of the chanting.

Food and Drink:

One person holds the plate of food while another blesses it:

By the Divine, this offering is blessed, and we share this food in the spirit of community. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

The person who blessed the food puts a portion of the food in the offering plate or bowl and says:

To the gods and goddesses of our tribes.

The food is passed clockwise with each saying to the next: Blessed be.

When the food has been returned to the altar, one person holds the pitcher while the other lowers the athame into it and says:

As the athame is to the lover, so the chalice is to the loved, and joined they are one in truth.

The person holding the pitcher pours a portion into the offering goblet and says:

To the gods and goddesses of our tribes.

As the pitcher is passed clockwise, each fills their neighbour’s goblet while saying Thou art God or Thou art Goddess. The recipient responds: Blessed be.

Once all the goblets have been filled and the pitcher is returned to the altar, the leader toasts:

May you never thirst.

All respond with “Blessed be” and drink.

Devocations:

We will devoke in reverse order.

The same person who invoked the God thanks Him:

Lord of the Wild Mushrooms, Gods of our tribes, thank you for your blessings. Go in peace. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

The person who invoked the Goddess thanks Her:

Lady of the Golden Grain, Goddesses of our tribes, thank you for your blessings. Go in peace. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

Closing Sacred Space:

We will close in reverse order, starting with Spirit.

All turn to face the Centre and the direction quarter caller says:

To the Centre: Spirit, thank you for your gifts. Go in peace. Blessed be.

All repeat: Blessed be.

Repeat with quarters in reverse order: North, West, South, and East.

The space cleanser picks up the bell again.

The circle caster walks the circle counter-clockwise to take down the circle. At each quarter point, they pause and the bell is rung. When they step back into the circle of people, the bell is rung one more time and then the circle caster says:

The circle is open, but never broken. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again!

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