This is the first of several entries that will show my thoughts processes for crafting a large ritual. This ritual will take place at Sacred Harvest Fest 2010 (with the continued approval of the ritual coordinator). Since there is virtually nothing written about the topic, I thought this might be a good place to share.
Every year, people gather under the beautiful oaks at Harmony Park to celebrate the harvest season. I thought it appropriate (and long overdue) to create a ritual that casts this event in a sacred light, so to speak. Because, for me, (thanks, Steven Posch) the Red = The Horned One = the symbol of all animal life on the planet; the blood-bearers. The Green = The Green God = the symbol of all plant life on the planet.
So, how do you use ritual craft to encourage the feeling amongst the participants that they are, in fact, a cell in the body of the Horned One? One idea I have is to process to the Twin Oaks in the form of the Ram-Horned Serpent:
The ram-horned serpent is a well-attested cult image of north-west Europe before and during the Roman period. It appears three times on the Gundestrup cauldron, and in Romano-Celtic Gaul was closely associated with the horned or antlered god Cernunnos, in whose company it is regularly depicted. This pairing is found as early as the fourth century BC in Northern Italy, where a huge antlered figure with torcs and a serpent was carved on the rocks in Val Camonica.
A bronze image at Étang-sur-Arroux and a stone sculpture at Sommerécourt depict Cernunnos’ body encircled by two horned snakes that feed from bowls of fruit and corn-mash in the god’s lap. Also at Sommerécourt is a sculpture of a goddess holding a cornucopia and a pomegranate, with a horned serpent eating from a bowl of food. At Yzeures-sur-Creuse a carved youth has a ram-horned snake twined around his legs, with its head at his stomach. At Cirencester, Gloucestershire, Cernunnos’ legs are two snakes which rear up on each side of his head and are eating fruit or corn. According to Miranda Green, the snakes reflect the peaceful nature of the god, associated with nature and fruitfulness, and perhaps accentuate his association with regeneration.
Other deities occasionally accompanied by ram-horned serpents include the Celtic Mars (who was a healer rather than a warrior god), the Celtic Mercury, and the Celtic sun-god, Lugh, with whom conventional snakes are also often associated.
Before the rite, the participants tie red strips of cloth to their bodies, smear on some red body paint, and process, arm in arm, arms on shoulders, hand-in-hand, etc. At the front a ram-horned stang is carried, and the Ram-Horned Serpent, He Himself, wends his way through the oaks to the ritual site.
More to come!! Post your comments!