In Like a Lion: A March Ritual for Hreda

In Like a Lion: A March Ritual for Hreda March 18, 2019
Una and the Lion by Briton Riviére, public domain

Hreda is an Anglo-Saxon Goddess most remembered for being honored during the month of March. I’ve written about Her before, not that there’s much in the historical record to go off of. Warning; it’s all UPG from here on out! I feel She embodies the phrase that’s become so common: March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb.

That’s certainly been the case this year in Nebraska. A long winter full of snow persisted into the first week of March. Now that it’s warming up, the snow is melting and rain is still falling. Rivers are overflowing their banks, flooding the prairie and the towns built on it. I had originally planned to write a simple spring-time ritual, but this one has coalesced instead. It’s a propitiatory rite, acknowledging the destructive power of the March winds and weather, and pleading instead for the gentle warmth and sunshine.

American Robin by UserMDF, via creative commons license

Supplies

You’ll need an instrument, something that can be played harshly and gently. I recommend a shaker or a tambourine, something simple. You’ll also need offerings. I chose a flowery incense to call to mind the spring I hoped for, and to be easily taken by the wind. Anything spring-like or airborne will do; a scented candle, dried flower petals, etc.

Gather your things and head outside. If there’s inclement weather, that’s perfect for this ritual; though if you’re like me and can’t stand the cold, standing before a window will do the trick as well.

Nebraska City, photo by Kurt Manion, via creative commons license

The Rite

Cleanse your space using whatever method resonates with you. Two of my favorite methods are walking around the space with fire (a candle will do) or sprinkling the area with blessed water. Once it is cleansed, call out to Hreda:

Hreda, Goddess of the roaring wind,
glorious lion of the increasing light,
strength and victory over the long winter.
Hear me call to You.
The birds are singing, the trees budding,
Your time has come.

Light the incense or give your other offering, and say:

I gift this to You, a memory of spring,
that the wind may lift it and carry it to You.

Begin to shake or play your instrument harshly, saying:

The winds are rushing, roaring across the land.
The snow has fallen deep and long,
the clouds have covered the sun,
the winter has dragged on.
Now comes the rains,
now comes the storms,
the wind carries the harsh weather to us.

Now begin to slow and quiet your playing, gradually working towards a slow and gentle beat.

The time for winter is over.
The plants must grow,
the animals must birth
and raise their babes,
the sun must shine.

Hreda, let your blustering, blowing winds carry us blessings
of warmth, of light, of calm and gentle spring.
Let the storms pass,
let the light grow.
May your victorious winds turn to gentle breezes,
the lion to the lamb.
Thank you for your gifts.

Let the incense burn itself out or your other offerings blow away on the wind.


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