Spring Equinox Ritual 2002
...But in front of excellence the immortal Gods have put sweat,
and long and steep is the way to it, and rough at first. But when
you come to the top, then it is easy, even though it is hard.
Suns Day we held our Equinox Ritual at Portal of the Porcupine
in Piscataway, a ritual in honor of Manannan Mac Lir and his step-son
Pryderi including our annual Sacred Well blessing and a special
ceremony to ask Manannan to bestow His blessing of Excellence of Craft
on the tools of our work.
We had 24 people. Everybody seemed sluggish after all the cold and rain
of the last few days, but we really needed the rain.
Vonorn and Rich and Ariel drummed for us. Lauren chimed 3 times to start
us off, with a bit of help from Normas sickle. (We really need
to get a new chime!) Norma dropped we are here to honor the Gods...
into the well of silence and watched it ripple out. Sandrock invoked
the Earth Motherunder our feet, in our stomachs, in our bonesNorma
talked about the season and led us in a meditation simultaneously. She
asked where we were, and Slane OCyrus (aka Wandering Al, our world
traveller) described the horizontal directions, the frost giants and
frost misers and heat giants and heat misers, holding the body of the
Jen Martin, (aka Jenniforensic) who jumped into the ocean to help get
Manannans 9 waves water, invoked the Well, holding up the jar
of water and letting the sun sparkle through it. Jen picked up on Normas
and Als invocations and described the rivers of the world as veins,
and how we all have water in common.
Betty invoked the sacred Fireher first invocation with the grove.
She did a fine job, describing the work that fire does for us, and the
beauty of fire as Pat, our firetender, lit the fire. It went up with
a big whoosh! Pat tended the fire for the ritual, and rescued the occasional
ladybug from immolation. (What was that childrens rhyme?)
Brenda invoked the sacred Tree, ending with accept our hug
and hugging it.
Norma invoked Manannan Mac Lir as our trusty Gatekeeper, and with his
help we opened the gates slowly, but smoothly, in keeping with the sluggishness
of the day.
Nej took our offering to the Outsidersasking us who the Outsiders
really were, and taking our worries and tensions and other distractions
(like, wheres Justin?) outside the ritual space. She
scattered a cookie for them.
Sue invoked Brigid, our Muse, thanking Her for the creativity She gives
us, the songs and the words and the beauty She helps us create.
By now, birds were singing, moths were flitting from person to person,
ladybugs were crawling aroundOK! OK! Its Spring, already!
Sitting on the ground, we were close to the plants just popping through
the cold soil.
Wendy invoked the Ancestorssaid she was nervous, this was the
first time shed invoked the Ancestorsbut she was eloquent
and talked about the ancestors in our bones and blood, how genetically
we all go back to one ancestor.
Peg gave us the Nature Spirits and Jack Frost dancing with the Flower
Fairies, Lawn Gnomes and other signs of Spring.
We sang the Ancestors Song and Fur and Feather. Sue and Wendy
(and Jen Micale) have such beautiful voices, but we really do need a
Bard to keep track of the songs and organize them.
Dave invokedbriefly invokedthe Goddesses and Gods: every
God that ever existed who was ever worshiped by anyone. He mentioned
that none of them helped him when he was mugged in North Carolina last
week, and then, since he had the floor, he set his pants on fire. They
were not the pants he was wearing. Oddly, both people that Norma asked
to invoke the Goddesses and Gods were pissed off at them, for different
reasons. The pants went up really quickly, so much for fire-retardant
polyester. Norma asked us all to think of deities that would like
to see pants burning. There were quite a few, actually, that we thought
would, for various reasons.
We sang Hail All the Gods (Sacred Crows version). I invoked Manannan
Mac Lir, who made the Sidhe invisible and divided up the Sidhe mounds.
Hes the one who gets things done, on his horse Enbarr fast
as the cool keen wind of Spring (as they say in one or another
of the books, and it has been windy!)
We sang Walk with Us Manannan. Vonorn and Rich and Arial did a great
job drumming; it sounded beautiful. Norma invoked Pryderi and told how
Pryderi became Manannans foster son after Manannan married Rhiannon.
She talked about friendship and peace and leaving oneself open to both
sides of an argument. We put a lot of offerings into the fireeverything
from new flowers to hard anthracite coal to rope bracelets to hard-boiled
Wendy Sheridan of Music for the Goddess sang a Spring Song
(Buy their tremendous CD! Go to www.musicforthegoddess.com.
Do it now!), Sue sang Spring Strathspey and entranced us all,
Norma cut the main sacrifice, and we were ready to put our waters into
the well. Nearly everyone had water from their favorite places: towns
and lakes and rivers and wells....
We charged the well. The well was charged. Norma felt strongly inspired
to do the tool blessing, the traditional blessing of the plough,
before the omen reading. This was OK by us.
She began the story of Pryderi and Manannan from the Mabinogi, talking
briefly about their friendshipthe four of them: Rhiannon and Pryderis
wife Kigva and Manannan and Pryderihow they lost their cattle
and servants and then how Pryderi and Manannan went to England to earn
a livingfirst as saddlemakers, then as shield makers, then as
shoemakers. She pointed out the lessons we could learn from them each
time, lessons about excellence.
She dipped a shell in well water and, with a feather, blessed each of
the tools people had brought with them: Chriss anvil, Laurens
panpipes and flute, Richs drum, my editing pencil, Maggies
tarot cards, Nejs book of shadows, Jens forensic dissection
tools, Peggys bellydancing jewelry... Wendy had photos of her
sewing machine and computer, Jack his art supplies, Christina her sketchbook.
Norma spoke to each one, gave advice to some (do you really want the
work involved in this?) and worked her way around the circle. Later,
she said, Its amazing how much Manannan gets in my head!
Doing the blessing before the omen was pretty ballsy, but our omens
To start off: Peg drew the 10 of coins from the Herbal Tarot (good stuff
coming). Maggie drew the Chariot (things moving), the Hanged Man (but
not without effort), and the King of Wands (a lot of force focused on
effort of work) from the Halloween Tarot. Christina drew the Devil (dont
get bound to your work!), the Emperor and the Empress (She fell out
of the deck with himbalance of serious thinking and feeling) from
the Sacred Rose tarot. Wendy drew The Merciful One from Nybors
Tarot (youre lucky I think youre cute: a pardon or an indulgence)
We consecrated the waters, drank. Things wound down and we thanked everyone,
closed the gates, and roasted sacred marshmallow easter chicks in the
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