THE GODDESS’ WHEEL OF THE YEAR
A seasonal ritual drama
Tired of the emphasis on the heterosexual relationship between The Goddess and the Gods in most ritual drama cycles which celebrate the seasonal Wheel of the Year, we have created a mythic cycle which focusses exclusively on different faces of the Goddess and, sometimes, the interplay between Her different aspects.
Over a year we discussed which Goddesses and their myths we associate with each festival. From these we selected stories which lent themselves to ritual drama and created a “script” for that festival’s ritual, with one or more women being honoured to carry (literally, to be possessed by) the Goddess. We are also inspired by the wealth of ancient sites in West Cornwall in which to enact our sacred dramas.
Here in the third of our eight-part series we publish our SPRING EQUINOX ritual, dedicated to Persephone, Brigid and Eostre. We offer these scripts as our contribution to the myriad creative ways to celebrate the Goddess at the seasonal festivals.
We started the ritual before sunrise, so as to go from dark to light, as in the turning from the dark to the light half of the year. The altar was set with a red cloth, a red egg, red flowers, daffodils, and a hare figurine. We then marked out a seven-turn Cretan labyrinth on the ground with white flour.
We purified and blessed each other, then called the quarters and cast the circle. We invoked the Goddess first into the woman carrying Persephone, who was dressed in dark red and wore dark lipstick, a labrys necklace and a crimson cowl, all symbolizing the passion, power and fertility aspects of the Dark Queen of the Dead. Persephone walked off and disappeared down the path. The remaining women then invoked the Maiden Goddess into Brigid, who was dressed all in white.
Brigid and the women called Persephone up from the underworld, using drums and percussion to build energy, and chanting “Persephone, Return to the earth, Return, return”. Persephone came up from the underworld, carrying a bowl of menstrual blood, red flowers and red candles. She motioned to the young virgin Brigid and to the women to sit.
Persephone proceeded to initiate Brigid into womanhood. She showed Brigid the menstrual mystery with a white flower which she dipped into the bowl of menstrual blood. Then, taking the bowl, she marked Brigid’s forehead with blood. She gave Brigid an extended version of the five-fold kiss, awakening her sexuality and her power by kissing her lips/shoulders/biceps/heart/ breasts/hands/womb/cunt/ knees/feet, saying a blessing on each.
Persephone sang “The Barge of Heaven” (A Reclaiming chant, based on Inanna’s hymn of praise to her own vulva from the Enuma Enlil tablets of ancient Sumer) all the way through once. Then she taught it to Brigid line by line in a call-and-response style. She painted Brigid’s little fingernails scarlet, put her own labrys around Brigid’s neck, and led her to the entrance of the labyrinth. There Persephone unplaited Brigid’s hair, gave her a red flower, and passed aspect by kissing her passionately on the mouth. Persephone then left Brigid the bowl of menstrual blood to meditate upon, and briefly initiated the women, by giving them each a sexual kiss and a red flower. Persephone then departed and put down aspect, to return to be another of the women.
When she felt ready, Brigid walked the labyrinth. At the centre she transformed into the Springtime Goddess Eostre, removing her white clothes, stroking, exploring and celebrating her newly-aroused body. She then put on beautiful red clothes and the daffodil and carnation crown which she found in the centre of the labyrinth.
Eostre danced out of the labyrinth and blessed the women with springtime life-lust. One by one, they then walked the labyrinth, putting on red clothes and flower crowns at the centre. Each emerged to dancing, drums, rattles and general celebration, and Eostre blessed each one, cutting off any red cords worn for protection through the winter.
Power was raised by chanting: “She changes everything she touches/ And everything she touches changes” (by Starhawk with Lauren Liebling), and: “We are the power in everyone/ We are the dance of the Moon and Sun/ We are the hope that never hides/We are the turning of the tide.”
Eostre then presided over a feast of red fizzy wine, red grape juice and red food, such as carrot and beetroot salad, velvety red beetroot soup and strawberries.