Crafting a Rite: The Union of Red and Green

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.[5]

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.[5]
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.[5]

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!

Chris

Brighid Has Come, Brighid is Welcome!

Rise to your feet and open your eyes and let the white Brighit come in!
Rise to your feet and open your eyes and let the red Brighit come in!
Rise to your feet and open your eyes and let the black Brighit come in
Welcome! Welcome! A thousand times welcome!
Vegetarian Irish Stew
Ingredients

Serves 4 to 6

3 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled

2 medium onions, (about 1 pound), halved lengthwise and cut into thin half-moons

2 1/2 pounds vegetarian sausage, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

Freshly ground pepper

2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme

3 cups homemade stock

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh curly- or flat-leaf parsley

Directions

1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 1 pound of the potatoes into 1/4-inch-thick rounds; spread them out in a large (5- to 6-quart) heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven. Layer half the onions on top of the potatoes.

2.Place sausage cubes on top of onions. Sprinkle with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; season with pepper. Add the thyme. Place remaining onions on top of sausage. Add the stock and 1 cup water.

3.Place whole potatoes on top of onions. Sprinkle with remaining teaspoon salt; season with pepper. Cover with a tight-fitting lid; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Transfer to oven; cook, without stirring, 2 hours. Sprinkle with parsley.

 

 

Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients

Serves 4 to 6

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1 cup whole-wheat graham flour

2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 2/3 cups buttermilk

Directions

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Whisk together the flours, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl. With a pastry blender or your fingertips, blend in butter until it resembles small peas. Add buttermilk all at once; stir with a fork until mixture holds together.

2.In the bowl, pat the dough into a domeshaped loaf about 7 inches in diameter. Lift out dough; transfer to lined sheet.

3.Lightly dust top of loaf with flour. Cut a 3/4-inch-deep cross in top, reaching almost all the way to edges. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until deep golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Esbat and Tool Consecration

-4 quarters candles and altar candles are lit, incense is smoking.

-the coven stands around the altar.

-HPS puts a bowl of water on the pentacle and puts the athame in the water.

-HPS: “I exorcise thee, O creature of water, that thou cast out from thee all the impurities and uncleanliness of the spirits of the world of phantasm, in the names of Cernunnos and Aradia.”

-HPS lifts water.

-HP puts bowl of salt on pentacle, puts tip of athame in salt.

-HP: “Blessings be upon this creature of salt; let all malignity and hindrance be cast forth hencefrom, and let all good enter herein, wherefore mayest aid ye, in the names of Cernunnos and Aradia.”

-HP pours salt into water, and puts both on the altar.

-HPS (with sword) “I conjure thee, O circle of power, that thou beest a meeting place of love and joy and truth; a shield against all wickedness and evil; a boundary between the world of men and the realms of the Mighty Ones; a rampart and protection that shall preserve and contain the power that we shall raise within thee. Wherefore do I bless thee and consecrate thee, in the names of Cernunnos and Aradia.”

-3 coveners circle; 1 with salted water, 1 with incense, 1 with altar candle.

-All coveners face east; 1 covener draws pentagram with athame, and says,

“Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the East, Ye Lords of Air; I do summon, stir, and call you up, to witness our rites and to guard the circle.”

-covener kisses blade, lays blade on heart.

-All coveners face south; 1 covener draws pentagram with athame, and says,

“Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the South, Ye Lords of Fire; I do summon, stir, and call you up, to witness our rites and to guard the circle.”

-covener kisses blade, lays blade on heart.

-All coveners face west; 1 covener draws pentagram with athame, and says,

“Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the West, Ye Lords of Water; Ye Lords of Death and Initiation, I do summon, stir, and call you up, to witness our rites and to guard the circle.”

-covener kisses blade, lays blade on heart.

-All coveners face north; 1 covener draws pentagram with athame, and says,

“Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the North, Ye Lords of Earth; Boreas, through Guardian of the Northern Portals; thou powerful God, thou gentle Goddess, we do summon, stir, and call you up, to witness our rites and to guard the circle.”

-covener kisses blade, lays blade on heart.

-HP kneels before HPS and says,

“Hail Aradia! From the Almalthean Horn pour forth thy store of love, I lowly bend before thee, I adore thee to the end, with loving sacrifice thy shrine I adorn. Thy foot is to my lip (kisses right foot) my prayer upborne upon the rising incense smoke; then spend thine ancient love, o Mighty One, descend to aid me, who without thee am forlorn.”

-HP stands and steps back.

– HPS draws the Pentagram in the air:

HPS: “Of the Mother darksome and divine, mine the scourge and mine the kiss; the five point star of love and bless – Here I charge you, in this sign.”

HP: “Listen to the words of the Great Mother, She who of old was also called among men Artemis, Astarte, Athene, Dione, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Dana, Arianrhod, Isis, Bride, and by many other names.”

HPS: “Whenever ye have need of any thing, once in the month, and better it be when the moon is full, then shall ye assemble in some secret place and adore the spirit of me, who am Queen of all witches. There shall ye assemble, ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet have not won its deepest secrets; to these will I teach things that are yet unknown. And ye shall be free from slavery; and as a sign that ye be really free, ye shall be naked in your rites; and ye shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love all in my praise. For mine is the ecstacy of the spirit, and mine also is joy on earth; for my law is love unto all beings. Keep pure your highest ideal; strive ever towards it; let naught stop you or turn you aside. For mine is the secret door which opens upon the Land of Youth, and mine is the cup of the wine of life, and the Cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Grail of immortality. I am the gracious Goddess, who gives the gift of joy unto the heart of man. Upon earth, I give the knowledge of the spirit eternal; and beyond death, I give peace, and freedom, and reunion with those who have gone before. Nor do I demand sacrifice; for behold, I am the Mother of all living, and my love is poured out upon the earth.”

HP: “Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess; she in the dust of whose feet are the hosts of heaven, and whose body encircles the universe.”

HPS: “I who am the beauty of the green earth, and the white Moon among the stars, and the mystery of the waters, and the desire of the heart of man, call unto thy soul. Arise, and come unto me, For I am the soul of nature, who gives life to the universe. From me all things proceed, and unto me all things must return; and before my face, beloved of Gods and of men, let thine innermost divine self be enfolded in the rapture of the infinite. Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth; for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you. And thou who thinkest to seek for me, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail thee not unless thou knowest the mystery; that if that which thou seekest thou findest not within thee, thou wilt never find it without thee. For behold, I have been with thee from the beginning; and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.”

-HP and HPS face altar, giving the Horned God salute.

HP: “Great God Cernunnos, return to Earth again! Come to my call and show thyself to men. Shepherd of Goats, upon the wild hills way, lead thy lost flock from darkness into day. Forgotten are the ways of sleep and night , men seek for them, whose eyes have lost the light. Open the door, the door that hath no key, the door of dreams, whereby men come to thee. Shepherd of Goats, O answer unto me!”

Each person steps forward in turn with their tool.

-Lay the athame over the pentacle, touching another already charged athame.

-sprinkle the athame with salt water.

-pass the athame through the incense smoke and replace on pentacle, leaving your hand on the hilt.

Say: “I conjure thee, O athame of steel (wand of wood, etc.) by the Great Gods and Gentle Goddesses, by the virtue of the heavens, of the stars and of the spirits who preside over them, that thou mayest receive such virture that I may obtain the end that I desire in all things wherein I shall use thee, by the power of Aradia and Cernunnos.”

-press the tool to your heart.

-HPS holds up a challice of wine, HP holds his athame point down and lowers it unto the wine.

-HPS draws invoking pentagram in air above cakes, saying,

“O Queen most secret, bless the food and wine into our bodies, bestowing health, wealth, strength, joy and peace, and that fulfillment of love which is perfect happiness.”

– HP gives wine and cakes to HPS; she sips, then HP stands and drinks. Wine and cakes are passed around. One cake and remainder of wine are left for the fairies.

-East: “Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the East, ye Lords of Air, we do thank you for attending our rites; and ere ye depart to your pleasant and lovely realms, we bid you hail and farewell.”

-blow out east candle.

-South: “Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the South, ye Lords of Fire, we do thank you for attending our rites; and ere ye depart to your pleasant and lovely realms, we bid you hail and farewell.”

-blow out south candle.

-West: “Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the West, ye Lords of Water, Ye Lords of Death and Initiation, we do thank you for attending our rites; and ere ye depart to your pleasant and lovely realms, we bid you hail and farewell.”

-blow out west candle.

-North: “Ye Lords of the Watchtowers of the North, ye Lords of Earth, Boreas, thou Guardian of the Northern Portals; thou powerful God, thou gentle Goddess, we do thank you for attending our rites; and ere ye depart to your pleasant and lovely realms, we bid you hail and farewell.”

-blow out north candle.

All: “The circle is open and yet unbroken. Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again. Blessed be!”

-blow out altar candles.

Everyone knows it’s Berchta

Everyone knows it’s Berchta
(sung to the “Slinky” jingle)
Who beats down your door,
and spits on your floor,
and makes a cackling sound,
A hag! A hag! She carries a bag!
Everyone knows it’s Berchta.
It’s Berchta, it’s Berchta,
sometimes she’ll give you a toy,
It’s Berchta, it’s Berchta,
She gobbles up girls and boys.
Everyone knows it’s Berchta,
you’d better watch out for Berchta.
So when it is Yule,
and there’s goat in your gruel,
be sure you don’t break any bones!
Not even a crack, or it’s YOU in the sack,
dinner for Mother Berchta!
It’s Berchta, it’s Berchta,
sometimes she’ll give you a toy,
It’s Berchta, it’s Berchta,
She gobbles up girls and boys.
Everyone knows it’s Berchta,
you’d better watch out for Berchta.
    Be gentle with us, O Witch Winter!!  You can almost hear the cackling, can’t you?
(Listen to Steven Posch’s Radio Paganistan for more lore on the Hag of Hags and Crone of Crones.)

Oak Moon

  We gathered early Wednesday for full moon festivities.  First we had homeschool Waldorf craft day. Felting balls with the children was delightful. The house got steamy from all the boiling water and the children got clean.

  Juniper helped the children make nature offerings to use during the ritual. She spoke of how even the smallest of gifts can be meaningful. She had us bring to mind hardships that had occurred during the year and think about ways they made us stronger.

  For the evening ritual, the children called the Quarters and lit candles. Because it is the Oak Moon, we processed to our little pin oak tree and hung our offerings upon it. On this dark December night, the moon is visible the longest time of the year. Simple words were spoken:

 “Lady of the Night, be our guide;
Lady of the Moon, stand by our side.”
Blessed Be!

Dodecahedron Paper Lantern Instructions

After scouring the internet to find instructions for making these, and finding very little, I thought I would write my own. Here goes:

Materials:

  3 watercolor paintings done in “wet on wet” fashion
  pencil
  ruler
  compass
  protractor
  scissors
  school glue

1. Make a pentagram pattern out of cardboard. It must be a perfect pentagram. This was probably the most difficult part of the process!

We found this link helpful and fun!
If you have a printer,  this link will do the trick.

2.  Trace 11 pentagons onto your paintings and cut them out.

3. Inside of your pentagons, draw another angled pentagon, with its points in the exact middle of the larger shapes straight sides, so that you can fold the points down.

4. Fold all the points over.

5. Glue the shapes to each other, starting from the base. We used school glue applied with a paintbrush.
When you get to the top opening, make sure and glue those points down too to make the star affect when lit.

I found these links helpful as well:

And apparently, the complete instructions can be found in this book.
Put a votive candle inside your lanterns to see the stars!

Guy Fawkes

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli’ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s providence he was catch’d (or by God’s mercy*)
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring. (Holla*)
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
And what should we do with him? Burn him!        

      
     

Parkin Cake         

1 cup butter
1 and 1/3 cup molasses
1 and 1/3 cup rolled oats
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. lemon rind
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients by sifting together. Melt the butter and gradually mix in the molasses. Adding the butter mixture, alternately with the milk, to the dry ingredients, combining everything until just moist. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan and bake for 30 – 35 minutes.    

  -adapted from WiccaCraft for Families by Margie McAthur  

 
-by Melanie