Sunday, March 31, 2013

2013 Spring Equinox Ritual Attendance

Yesterday we celebrated the coming of spring.

I knew a few weeks in advance that we would be unable to attend the local Grove's spring ritual so I decided it was time to write my first full-length ritual following the Core Order laid out by ADF.

I chose to honor the Slavic pantheon as they are near and dear to me and my daughters.  I also decided that the purpose would be to formally ask winter (represented by the goddess Marzanna) to recede, and to request blessings upon our land from Piorun and Mokosh as we busy ourselves over the next few months planting our vegetable gardens, tending the berries and getting our first fruit trees established.  I carefully thought out which offerings would be most appropriate and did my best to craft language that was meaningful and sincere.  Since my daughters (ages 10 years and 12 years) would be participating, I purposefully kept the words fairly simple and the overall ritual brief.

The full text of the ritual can be found here.

We had absolutely gorgeous weather for the ritual.  Both girls did a wonderful job of following along and participating.  We each took turns pulling a card for the omens, using the Wildwood Tarot deck.

From the Ancestors:  Ten of Stones * Home
Excerpt of interpretation: "The inner and outer community that sustains and supports the individual, not necessarily blood family but the trusted friends, comrades and lovers who offer security and affections."

As far as we are aware our family has no direct blood ties to Slavic peoples, but I have been personally drawn to those cultures for the past 20 years, and at least one of my daughters also feels a strong connection with the Slavic pantheon.  I saw this omen as an affirmation of our connection with the Slavic ancestors even if the ties are not of blood but instead the heart.

From the Nature Spirits:  7 * The Archer
Excerpt of interpretation:  "The dawn of new adventure, folded in the web of universal potential, waits for you to string the bow of your imagination and loose the arrows of creativity."

We have many plans for our land; plans for fruit trees, honey bees, outside shrines, bat houses...the list goes on.  In this omen I hear an echo of support from the Spirits of the land.

From the Shining Ones:  Kings of Vessels * Heron
Excerpt of interpretation:  "A deep belief in fairness, honesty and honour colours everything you do...However, your admiration of self-control can sometimes make you appear to rigid."

I see this omen as an affirmation from the Gods and Goddess that our worship is acknowledged as sincere and right.  But I also see a message that supports less structured forms of worship besides the ADF core order.  This is very touching because in our busy household I often feel fortunate if I am able to get my quick morning devotional done before rushing off to work and/or other family obligations.  I think this message was also important for my girls to hear since it encourages and affirms the more spontaneous and brief prayers that they are apt to perform.

Slavic Spring Equinox Ritual

This ritual was written by myself and performed in March of 2013.

<3 chimes each for the Ancestors, the Spirits of the Land, and The Shining Ones>

Initiating the Rite:  We have come here to honor the Gods.  Be with us, oh Shining Ones, in our workings; forgive any errors and grant us, we pray, your blessings.

Purification: <use sage> By the might of the smoke of the fire, this gathering is made whole and holy.

Honoring the Earth MotherMatka Ziemia - we are your children.  We pray that you bless and uphold our rite today, as you uphold the whole world.  Matka Ziemia - accept our sacrifice!  (offer cornmeal, then all repeat:  Matka Ziemia, accept our sacrifice!)

Statement of Purpose:  We have come today to do as the ancients did - to make offerings to the powers and receive blessings upon our land as we begin the first plantings of the growing season.
Recreating the Cosmos:
Deep water of the well - your cool liquid saturates deep into the ground, nourishing tender roots and seeds even while they slumber. Without you our world would be barren. Please accept this gift of silver as receipt of our gratitude. (put ring in the well)

Fire burning brightly - you have the ability to transform our offerings into that which is acceptable.  We thank you for the transformation of our sacrifices and offer you this oil in gratitude. (pour oil into the fire)

Mighty tree - you which weaves all worlds together.  Your branches stretch and reach towards The Shining Gods and Goddess, your roots meander deep into the soft earth beckoning to the ancestors, and your trunk connects them all here, with us, in our world today among ourselves and the spirits of this land.  We offer you this incense in deep appreciation of your services both in the past and that which you will provide here today. (light incense and place in front of tree)

Opening the Gate: Veles - punisher of broken oaths, mighty god of liminality and master of the gates between life and death:  we ask that you tend this gate here today, so that the Kindreds may join us in this holy space while keeping the outdwellers distant.  Veles, accept this sacrifice! (pour whiskey on the ground, all repeat:  Veles, accept our sacrifice!)
Let the gates be open.  The water, the fire and the tree flow and flame and grow within us.

Offerings to the Kindreds:
Ancestors, those who offered the first sacrifice and learned the proper ways to honor the Gods - you are welcome here at our fire!  We greet you with joyous hearts and kind words.  Join us here as we honor the Shining Ones in the ways you have taught us, and partake of this offering. Ancestors, accept our sacrifice! (offer mulberry wine, then all repeat:  Ancestors, accept our sacrifice!)

Spirits of this land, you who live among the trees, in the tall grasses and deep withing the native waters, you have a place here at our fire.  You who know the rhythms of Matka Ziemia, who see the rising and setting of the sun each day and whisper to the wild animals, you have a place here at our fire.  We give you honor and welcome you with this gift.  Nature Spirits, accept our sacrifice!  (offer salt, then all repeat:  Nature Spirits, accept our sacrifice!)

Shining Ones, Gods and Goddesses worthy of worship, you who make all things possible - join us here at this fire.  Your glory is brighter than all creation and inspires greatness in those who follow you - join us in this blessing of the land.  Accept this sacrifice and know that our hearts call for you. Shining Ones, accept our sacrifice! 
(pour mead, then all repeat:  Shining ones, accept our sacrifice!)
Dieties of the Rite:
Marzanna - goddess of winter and death, mistress of visions.  You have once again woven winter across this land and blanketed the fields in frost and slumber.  But now is your time to recede to the shadows as the Earth warms once more.  We offer you this gift of bread and salt, in appreciation for the essential winter season that you crafted so well.  Marzanna, accept our sacrifice (put bread/salt in the fire, then all repeat:  Marzanna, accept our sacrifice!)

Mighty Piorun - god of lightning, dispenser of justice. You who triumphs over chaos and brings order to this world. Come to our fire!  With your mighty powers you control the rains, and as such decide which lands will be blessed.  It is your shield that plows the fields and heralds the planting season.  We offer you this gift of mead and ask in return that you moderate the skies above these lands so that our crops may grow healthy and bountiful.  Piorun, accept our sacrifice!
(pour the mead into the fire, then all repeat:  Piorun, accept our sacrifice!)

Mokosz - goddess of grain, you who germinates and gestates the seeds, roots and shoots that brings life to our world.  Your gifts are abundant and provide nourishment and enjoyment both for our bodies and our souls.  We ask that you nurture the seeds and tender plants we place into the warming ground this growing season, and offer you this gift of vegetables in return.  Mokosz, accept our sacrifice! (place the vegetables in the fire, then all repeat:  Mokosz, accept our sacrifice!)
Personal Offerings
Omens:  We ask that the Kindreds speak to us, and offer us their teachings. <go through each kindred with the omens, then affirm the omens)> 

Hallowing of the Waters:  As children of the Earth we call for the blessings of the Kindreds.  We fill the bellies of our spirit with this drink - oh Holy Ones, give to us as we have given to you!  Let this vessel receive your blessings! (each person drinks from the cup)
Affirmation of the Blessings:  By this work we are blessed.  To all that have aided us here today, we give thanks. 

Thanking the Beings:
Mokosz - Beholder of creation - may we always be right in our worship of you and the recipient of your blessings.

Piorun - Mighty warrior!  We give our gratitude for your blessings here today.

Marzenna - Mistress of the dark nights, leave here today with our sincerest

Closing the Gates
Veles, we offer you thanks for minding the gates so that we could honor the Kindreds today in peace.

Thanking the Earth Mother: 
Matka Ziemia, thank you for upholding this rite and blessing us daily with your generous gifts.

Statement of Ending
May the tree be just a tree, the well just water, and the fire a simple fire.  Let us leave here today with blessings upon us and peace within us.