Ostara Ritual 2014

In some ways Ostara is one of the easiest sabbats to write. It contains several tropes that are easy to build a ritual around, and I’ve used them all on a number of occasions. Planting seeds is an easy one (either outside or in a small pot), and there are all kinds of things to do with eggs. We used to die Ostara Eggs before beginning our Equinox rituals and then fill them with negativity and bury them into the Earth. This year my wife requested that I skip the usual and attempt to come up with something more unique. Challenge accepted!

Like most of my rituals the opening and closing bits are the same ones I use for all the sabbats. Yule, Beltane, Samhain . . . . . I guess in fairness the Beltane ritual on here is completely unique, but I generally stick to the same script at the beginning. I actually like experimental ritual quite a bit (as can be seen with my 1899 and Hellenic Rituals) but when I’m celebrating the sabbats I tend to stick with what I know works. There’s also something about repeating the same steps time after time, it creates a ritual awareness that helps me to step into that “place that is not a place” with greater ease.

I used to write new “seasonally reflective quarter calls” at every stop along the Wheel of the Year and I’ve included an Ostara version of those at the end of this ritual. So if you find yourself not in the mood for excessively Witchy Episco-Pagan quarter calls, well now there’s an alternative. There’s also a ritual melting of snow down there, I thought my friends in the Northeast and Midwest would appreciate it. (Here in Northern California it’s currently 72 degrees Fahrenheit and absolutely perfect-other than the draught.)

Statement of Intent:

“Winter now stands behind us and before us the lies promise of Spring. The Maiden walks the land once more, awakening all that is in her path. The Horned One lurks in the forest, running with the beasts upon the growing/thawing earth*. The world around us is reborn . . . . fresh blossoms, new green grasses , the scent of spring flowers on the wind. Tonight let us look at the Earth as the Maiden with fresh and young eyes! Spring is dawning, let us greet it!”

Purification
Ready the ritual area by sweeping with a broom, using incense and salted water, etc.

Casting the Circle

“I conjure thee oh circle of power, that thou may be a meeting place of love and joy and truth and as a shield against all wickedness and evil. Thou art a boundary between the world of mortals and the realms of the mighty ones; and an entry way to the realm of spirit. Wherefore do I bless thee and consecrate thee in the names of the Lord and the Lady. The circle is cast, so mote it be!”

Calling the Watchtowers

East: “Ye Guardians of the Watchtowers of the East, ye Powers of Air; Spirits of Clear Will and Knowledge, I do summon, stir, and call you up, to witness our rites and to guard our Circle.

(invoking pentagram is drawn)

Hail and welcome.”
(Coveners repeat “Hail and welcome.”)

South: “Ye Guardians of the Watchtowers of the South, ye Powers of Fire; Spirits of Illumination and Desire, I do summon, stir, and call you up, to witness our rites and to guard our Circle.

(invoking pentagram is drawn)

Hail and welcome.”
(Coveners repeat “Hail and welcome.”)

West: “Ye Guardians of the Watchtowers of the West, ye Powers of Water; Spirits of Death and Initiation, I do summon, stir, and call you up to witness our rites and to guard our Circle.

(invoking pentagram is drawn)

Hail and welcome.”
(Coveners repeat “Hail and welcome.”)

North: “Ye Guardians of the Watchtower of the North, ye Powers of Earth, Spirits of Mountain and Plains, I do summon, stir, and call you up to witness our rites and to guard our Circle.

(invoking pentagram is drawn)

Hail and welcome.”
(Coveners repeat “Hail and welcome.”)

Call to the God
High Priest: “Tonight we call upon the young Horned God. We ask Him to grace us with us with his sense of wonder and delight. May we see the world as he does, as new and beautiful and full of magick and wonderment. His power grows in the sky, and his presence stirs the trees, the green of Earth and our hearts. Great God be with us tonight. Hail and welcome!

Call to the Goddess
High Priestess: “Tonight we call upon the Maiden, the goddess of the dawn and new beginnings. As the Earth grows around us let us bring change and growth into our own lives. Let us manifest your many blessings. You are the jeweled moon in the sky, the breeze that awakens all around us brings forth new life. Great Goddess smile down upon us and be a part of our circle this night! Hail and welcome!

Charge of the God
(Not surprisingly I like to use my version of this Charge. Random piece of trivia, Doreen Valiente and I share a birthday.)

Drawing Down the Moon
High Priest: “As Ostara is the dawn of Spring, we shall now call upon She who is the dawn of all things.”

(The Fivefold kiss is performed, with the Priest kissing each body part after blessing them.)

“Blessed be thy feet, that have brought thee in these ways.”

“Blessed be thy knees, that shall kneel at the sacred altar.”

“Blessed be thy womb, without which we would not be.”

“Blessed be thy breasts, formed in beauty.”

“Blessed be thy lips, that shall utter the Sacred Names.”

“Sacred Goddess, Mother Earth,
Thou from whose immortal bosom
Gods, and men, and beasts have birth,
Leaf and blade, and bud and blossom,
Breathe thine influence most divine
On thine children me and thine.”

“Hail The Lady! From the Amalthean Horn
Pour forth thy store of love;
I lowly bend before thee,
I adore thee to the end,
With loving sacrifice thy shrine adore.
Thy foot is to my lip (he kisses her right foot)
My prayer up borne upon the rising incense smoke;
Then spend thine ancient love,
O Mighty One, descend
To aid me, for without thee I am forlorn.”

The Charge of the Goddess/The Great Lady
(After the drawing down it’s possible that the ritual might change a little bit. If the Lady has indeed been invoked she tends to take over the ritual and we follow Her lead. If our High Priestess doesn’t feel the presence of the Goddess she picks up The Charge of the Goddess and reads that instead. We almost always use Doreen Valiente’s version of The Charge, with a few minor tweaks here and there.)

Blessings of Eos (Dawn)
High Priestess: “Ostara is the dawn of Spring, the entry way to Summer. At the Spring Equinox the Earth stands fresh and renewed. Let us all be like the Earth, let us cast away the darkness of Winter and embrace the wonder of green growing things. May we find delight in that which blooms around us and let us never forget our responsibility to this place we call home. This world is magickal place, may the power of our Lady and the beauty of Nature remind us of that everyday we draw breath.”

“Now come forward and receive my blessings. May my touch stir your heart and remind you of the magick and wonder inside us all. These blossoms represent the renewal of the Spring, and the renewal we feel within our Spirit every Spring. Put away your cynicism and doubt and embrace I who am the Mother of Us All. Wear this token as a reminder to rejoice in the small blessings we receive everyday we walk this Earth.”

(All participants come forward and receive a gift from the goddess, we are using leis/garlands of flowers. After all have stepped forward the ritual proceeds.)

Bubbles!
High Priest: “Every morning the sun rises over the horizon, it’s slowly growing light like the top half of a giant bubble expanding ever forward. Inside of that bubble is the promise of another new day. Sometimes in the mundania of our lives it’s easy to forget that every day is magickal and an opportunity for something new. Each sunrise that bubble holds the possibility of a new friend, a great meal, renewal of Spirit, a shared kiss, a kind word, a song that touches the heart, knowledge, laughter, and all the things that make this life worth living.”

“As the sun rises ever higher in the sky that bubble bursts, spreading out all of those possibilities upon the Earth. The energies of the Lord and Lady touch the waking world blessing every rock, plant, fish, fowl, and beast. With Spring now ahead of us the time is ripe to give energy to our hopes and dreams, tonight we will do that by creating, and blowing, our own bubbles.”

(Bubble solution is passed out to everyone in the circle.)

“I want you to picture in your head all of the great and wondrous things that are dawning in your life. Picture summer vacations, projects that you are passionate about that never seem to get done, a world of love surrounded by thriving and growing things. Now as you see all of those things, feel them go from your head and heart into your breath. Breathe deeply and make your own bubbles, putting all of that energy and all of those intentions out there. When your bubble pops it represents the energy you put into them going out into the universe to make that which you wish for manifest. Join me in hailing the Spring and creating our dreams with life’s breath.”

(Bubbles are blown, laughter and joy are manifest, and if a bubble hits someone in the circle and explodes on them it’s simply love and life being shared amongst friends. Ostara is a chance to get in touch with our “younger self” and to see the world through the eyes of the young once more. For me blowing bubbles is a memory of my childhood, and a happy one. My original plan for this ritual was to blow bubbles and lead everyone in the circle on a march around the house while singing “Happy Witches dancing round dancing round. Happy Witches dancing round our fair Lady” all to the tune of London Bridges, a childhood classic, but my wife said it was too silly.)

Raising Energy
High Priest: “A circle is kind of like our bubbles, it’s a sphere that contains energy, and it will only release energy when we let it ‘pop.’ The Spring sings its promises to us offering us new opportunities for growth and change. Today we take all of that energy bubbling up inside of us, place it on our circle bubble and then send it out into the universe.”

High Priestess: “Tonight we shall chant and welcome in the Spring and celebrate our love of the Earth. Our chant tonight is simple: ‘Spring is here, Love draws near.’ As we recite these words our chant shall grow ever louder culminating in a crescendo of energy.”

(All chant, and this is a great time for movement if you have enough room. Eventually the High Priestess raises one finger in the air signifying the end of the chanting. When the chant ends the energy is released.)

High Priest: Hail the Spring! Hail the gods! Hail our the Earth! Hail our fellowship tonight! So mote it be!

The Great Rite

High Priest: “Life is more than a gift, it is a promise. All that dies shall be reborn.”

High Priestess: “We now celebrate the most ancient of magicks, the magick of joining.”

High Priest: “The athame is to the Lord.”

High Priestess: “As the cup is the Lady.”

Both: “United in life and abundance. Blessed Be!”

(Athame is plunged into the chalice.)

Blessing the Cakes & Ale

High Priest: “In the names of the Lord and Lady we bless this bread.”

(Touches athame to either the bread or the plate it is being served upon.)

High Priestess: “In the names of the Lord and Lady we bless this drink.”

(Touches athame to the top of the cup. The drink is then passed around first with the bread following.)

Goodbyes to the Lord and Lady

High Priestess: “We thank the Great Lady, Goddess of the skies and seas for joining us tonight in our rites. Look over us as the light grows and change manifests its self in our lives. With love and devotion we walk this road with you. Blessed Be.”

High Priest: “We thank the Eternal Lord, God of the earth and the wild places, for joining us tonight in our rites. We will feel your touch with our every step upon your world. With love and devotion we walk this road with you. Blessed Be**.”

Dismissing the Watchtowers

North: “Ye Guardians of the Watchtowers of the North, ye Powers of Earth, Spirits of Mountain and Plains, you have joined us in our rites and have guarded our circle well. We thank you for joining us this blessed night.

(banishing pentagram is drawn)

Hail and farewell!”
(Coveners repeat “Hail and farewell.”)

West: “Ye Guardians of the Watchtowers of the West, ye Powers of Water; Spirits of Death and Initiation, you have joined us in our rites and have guarded our circle well. We thank you for joining us this blessed night.

(banishing pentagram is drawn)

Hail and farewell!”
(Coveners repeat “Hail and farewell.”)

South: “Ye Guardians of the Watchtowers of the South, ye Powers of Fire; Spirits of Illumination and Desire, you have joined us in our rites and have guarded our circle well. We thank you for joining us this blessed night.

(banishing pentagram is drawn)

Hail and farewell!”
(Coveners repeat “Hail and farewell.”)

East: Ye Guardians of the Watchtowers of the East, ye Powers of Air; Spirits of Clear Will and Knowledge, you have joined us in our rites and have guarded our circle well. We thank you for joining us this blessed night.

(banishing pentagram is drawn)

Hail and farewell!”
(Coveners repeat “Hail and farewell.”)

Closing Statement

“We have welcomed in the Spring and shared our energies with the universe. May we reap all that we have planted in the world tonight. And now we say Merry Meet, Merry Part, and Merry Meet Again and May the gods preserve the Craft!”

Alternate Quarter Calls and Circle Casting

East: “I call to the warm winds of the East. Blow away the cold winter and join us in our circle tonight! Blessed Be”

South: “I call to the bright sun of the South. Melt away the last snows of winter and join us in our circle tonight. Blessed Be

West: “I call to the rushing waters of the West. Take away the last of winters cold and join us in our circle tonight. Blessed Be.”

North: “I call to the green growing earth of the North. Free the ground from the icy cold and join us in our circle tonight. Blessed Be.”

Circle Casting: “We cast this circle round We make this space sacred We bless with touch, joy, and sound We cast out despair and hatred. The circle is cast. So mote it be!”

Melting of the Snow

“We place this bowl of snow above this candle. The light represents the Lord and Lady’s triumph over the darkness of winter. The snow symbolizes the fading presence of the dark half of the year. By the time our ritual is through, the snow shall all be gone, and as we look upon this space we will think of the warmth to come and the days that we shall share together. Blessed Be.”

*The earth never freezes where I live so it’s certainly not “thawing,” it could be different in your location though.

**We used to end our goodbyes with “Hail and Farewell” but as a friend pointed out to me, the gods don’t ever really leave us. As a result of that observation I now just use a generic “Blessed Be” when wishing them a fond farewell from the circle.

So many pictures!
1. Flowers in my front yard, just yesterday!
2. Casting the circle.
3. The Maiden
4. My wife calling down the Lady.
5. Bubbles!
6. Cakes and ale.
7. Passing around the wine.

About Jason Mankey

Jason Mankey has been involved with Paganism for the last twenty years, and has spent the last ten of those years as a speaker, writer, and High Priest. Jason can often be found lecturing on the Pagan Festival circuit, so you might just bump into him. When not reading and researching Pagan history he likes to crank up the Led Zeppelin, do rituals in honor of Jim Morrison (of The Doors), and sing numerous praises to Pan, Dionysus, and Aphrodite. He lives in Sunnyvale CA with his wife Ari and two hyper-kinetic cats.


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