An Oestara Ritual for Global Warming

 

Notes for Planning:

This ritual focuses on the forest and trees and their role in capturing carbon dioxide and creating oxygen.  It encourages participants to think of ways to work for the protection and health of the forests of the world, through the imagery of the Oak King.  In this time of planting seeds, we plant the seeds of action on behalf of forests.  

This ritual is designed to be a bit flexible.  It is written for 2 officiants, but can easily be led by different numbers of people.  This ritual is simple enough that one person could lead it alone.  Alternatively, four people can lead it together, each calling a direction and dividing up the other parts as desired.

If possible, plan to have acorns available for all participants. 

The form of this ritual is based on the work of the Temple of Witchcraft, but feel free to change the details to align with your own tradition, if you feel so moved.

You will notice that we are calling fire in the east and air in the south.  Many groups call air in the east and fire in the south.  The directions in this ritual are in the alchemical/underworld pattern, which places opposing elements opposite each other.  This arrangement makes for more confrontational, and therefore potentially more powerfully transformational energy.  Since this ritual is designed to confront a long history of imbalance and a huge threat to our environment, this energy seemed appropriate.  If you are using this ritual, I invite you to try this arrangement, even if it is not your usual practice.

Introductory Remarks

Officiant(s) give any directions they feel are necessary to help attendees participate fully in the ritual, and answer any questions. 

Entering a Meditative State

It is helpful for everyone in the room to enter a light trance together before the ritual begins.  There are lots of ways to do this.  Here is the version we use in the Temple of Witchcraft.

Officiant: Please rise as you are able.  Close your eyes.  Take a few deep breaths and relax your body.  Relax your head and neck, your shoulders and arms, your back, abdomen, legs and feet.

Take a deep breath and relax your mind.  Release all thoughts and worries from the day. 

Take a deep breath and relax your heart.  Feel the love of the Goddess and the God.  Feel perfect love and perfect trust.

Take a deep breath and relax into your soul.  Find your inner light, which you can follow for guidance and protection.

Now picture a giant screen before you, like a blackboard or movie screen.  This is the screen of your mind.  On this screen, visualize a series of numbers counting down from 12 to 1.  As you count down, you will enter a meditative state.

12.  See the number 12.  12.  11. See the number 11. 11.  10. See the number 10.  10.  9. See the number 9. 9.  8. See the number 8. 8.  7. See the number 7. 7.  6. See the number 6. 6.  5. See the number 5. 5.  4. See the number 4. 4.  3. See the number 3. 3.  2. See the number 2. 2.  1. See the number 1. 1.

Cast the circle

Officiant walks the circle clockwise three times, using the Wand to cast the circle with these words:

(First round) I cast the circle to protect us from all forces that would come to do us harm.

(Second round) I charge this circle to include the most perfect forces for this night's work, and to keep out all other forces.

(Third round) I charge and consecrate this circle to be a space out of space, a time out of time, a temple of perfect love and perfect trust, where the highest will is sovereign.

As I will it, so mote it be!

All: So mote it be!

Call the quarters

One officiant can do all the quarter calls, a pair can alternate, or four people can each call a quarter.  Substitute the spirits or deities you have a relationship with in each quarter, if you wish.

All turn to face North, raising non-dominant hands to draw in the energy of the quarter.

To the north, we call to the element of earth and to the Stag to guide and to guard this circle.  Please add your energy to this night's work.  Hail and welcome!

All: Hail and welcome!

All turn clockwise to face East, raising non-dominant hands to draw in the energy of the quarter.

To the east, we call to the element of fire and to the Horse to guide and to guard this circle.  Please add your energy to this night's work.  Hail and welcome!

All: Hail and welcome!

All turn clockwise to face South, raising non-dominant hands to draw in the energy of the quarter.

To the south, we call to the element of air and to the Crow to guide and to guard this circle.  Please add your energy to this night's work.  Hail and welcome!

All: Hail and welcome!

All turn clockwise to face West, raising non-dominant hands to draw in the energy of the quarter.

To the west, we call to the element of water and to the Snake to guide and to guard this circle.  Please add your energy to this night's work.  Hail and welcome!

All: Hail and welcome!

Evoke the Goddess and God

Officiant 1:  We call to the Goddess as Oestara, Goddess of the spring, of flowers and the planting of seeds.  At this moment of balance and the turning of the seasons, bless us with your presence and your love.  Hail and Welcome!

All: Hail and Welcome!

Officiant 2:  We call to the God as the Oak King, the lord of the forest in summer, of growth and vitality.  At this moment of balance as your power grows, bless us with your presence and your love.  Hail and Welcome!

All: Hail and Welcome!

Great Rite in Token

Rather than the blade, this version of the Great Rite uses the wand.  Ideally for this ritual, it should be a wand made of oak. Officiant 1 holds the chalice.  Officiant 2 plunges the wand into the chalice while Officiant 1 says these words:

 As the Sword is to the Grail, the Wand is to the Chalice, Will is to Love.  We bring together the energies of the Goddess and the God.  So mote it be.

All: So mote it be.

Officiant 1: Blessed be.

All: Blessed be.

The Chalice is passed to all participants with the words "May you never thirst."  The response is "Blessed be."

Meditation

Get into a comfortable position and relax your body.  Follow the sound of my voice as I count down from 13.  There is no need to visualize numbers this time.

13. 12. 11. 10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1.

On the screen of your mind, picture a giant tree, larger than any tree you have ever seen.  This is the World Tree.  Its branches reach up to the heavens, and its roots dig deep into the earth.  Imagine that the screen of your mind is a portal, like a doorway or window, something you can easily pass through.  Pass through the screen of your mind and stand before the great tree.  Hear the wind in its branches.  Smell the earth where the roots dig in.  Feel the texture of the bark.  Know the World Tree.

Place your hands on the bark and hold the intention of visiting the Oak King in the heart of the forest.  Search in the roots of the tree for a tunnel.  Find a tunnel and follow it.

The tunnel leads downward, sloping gently.  You follow the tunnel deeper and deeper.  Notice the way the tunnel feels.  What is it made of?  Is it rough or smooth?  Do you smell earth?  Do you hear anything?  Follow the tunnel deeper.

The tunnel begins to open out, and you find yourself walking through a forest in early spring.  Follow the path through the forest.  What do you see?  What do you hear?  What do you smell?  What plants and animals are present.

Continue to follow the path.  Now you are coming to a clearing in the forest.  In the center of the clearing is one giant Oak tree.  On the branches of the tree are the very beginning of tiny leaves.  Walk to the Oak tree.  Pause for a moment to take in the majesty of the great tree. 

Then draw nearer to the tree, and place your hands on the bark.  Bring your attention to your breath.  Breathe in and breathe out.  Breathe in and breathe out.  Become aware that you breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide.  Oxygen in, carbon dioxide out. 

Now bring your awareness to the breath of the tree.  The tree's breathing is much slower and less obvious.  Search with your senses until you can perceive the breath of the tree.  Become aware that the tree breathes in carbon dioxide and breathes out oxygen.  Carbon dioxide in and oxygen out. 

Become aware of this exchange.  As you breathe in the oxygen that the tree breaths out, and the tree breathes in the carbon dioxide that you breathe out.  Feel the balance and the harmony as you and the tree breathe together.

Now expand your awareness out into the forest.  Become aware of the ways the forest is waking up as spring approaches.  The sap is beginning to rise in the maples.  The trees are starting bud or to send out leaves.  The forest is awakening. 

Become aware of the ways the forest will soon begin to take in more carbon dioxide and transform it into new life for the forest, and oxygen that will be used by animals and people.  Become aware of the beginnings of the forest's great in breath. 

Bring your awareness back to the one Oak tree and to your sharing of breath with the tree.  As you breathe with the tree, consider ways that you might become a partner with the tree.  How can you help to protect the forest?  How can you help to keep the forest healthy and strong?  Is there a task for you in the protection of the trees and their breath which sustains your life?  Is there something you can do, something you have to offer? 

When you are ready, decide if you have a commitment to action that you can make.  If so, tell the Oak tree of your commitment.  Listen to see if the tree has any response.  Look at the roots of the tree until you find an acorn.  Take the acorn as a reminder of your commitment, a seed of action to plant when you return home.  Thank the Oak tree for this time together and any wisdom you have found.

Find your way back to the path through which you came.  Follow the path back through the forest.  The path becomes the tunnel.  Follow the tunnel as it slopes back up.  Follow the tunnel up and up until you stand once more before the World Tree. 

Thank the World Tree for this journey. 

Come back through the portal in the screen of your mind.  Come back to this circle.  Come back, come back, come back. 

When you are ready, open your eyes and rise in body or spirit.

Wait until all risen or at least opened their eyes. 

Seeds of Commitment

Invite participants to come to the central altar and take an acorn as a reminder of their commitment in this meditation.  Instruct them that they can literally plant it, or place it in a special place at home as a way of spiritually planting it.  Tell them that as the Wheel of the Year turns, to nurture the seed of commitment into action in the world.  If you have a small circle, you may ask participants to share something about their commitments with the group.

Working

Officiant 1:

Now we are going to raise energy for the health and protection of the forests of the world. 

 Officiant 1 invites participants to rise and dance in a circle clockwise around the central altar, using the following chant.  Ideally, this should be accompanied by drummers and singers who can gradually increase the volume and speed as energy is raised. 

Officiant 2 should focus on directing the energy to its purpose.

Chant:

To the tune of the Mill of Magic Chant.  (There are lots of variations of this, and here's one: http://threehundredandsixtysix.wordpress.com/2011/06/26/the-witches-mill)

Oak King, Oak King/ Help us with the balancing/ Work the will for which we pray/ Io Dio Ha Hee Hay

 When Officiant 1 feels that the energy has peaked, s/he stops the dance by shouting the last syllable and raising his/her hands, a sign to the drummers and singers to stop.  Then s/he directs the participants:

We are going to send the energy of this circle now to restoring balance and cooling the earth.  We raise our hands slowly, saying "EE-AH-OH", releasing on the "OH'.

All: EE-AH-OH!

Officiant 1: So mote it be!

All: So mote it be!

Officiant 1 now directs everyone to ground any excess energy.

Thanks to the Goddess and God

Officiant 1:

We thank the Goddess Oestara, Goddess of the Spring.  We give you thanks for presence and blessings this night.  Stay if you will, go if you must.  Hail and Farewell!

All: Hail and farewell!

Officiant 1 extinguishes the Goddess candle.

Officiant 2: We thank the Oak King, lord of the awakening forest.  We give you thanks for your presence and blessings this night.  Stay if you will, go if you must.  Hail and Farewell!

All: Hail and Farewell!

Officiant 2 extinguishes the God candle

Release the Quarters

Each quarter should be released by the same person who called it. 

All turn to the North, raising dominant hands to send the energy of the quarter back out of the circle.

To the north, we thank and release the element of earth and the Stag.  We give you thanks for your presence and blessings.  Hail and farewell!

All: Hail and farewell!

All turn counter-clockwise to the West, raising dominant hands to send the energy of the quarter back out of the circle.

To the west, we thank and release the element of water and the Snake.  We give you thanks for your presence and blessings.  Hail and farewell!

All: Hail and farewell!

All turn counter-clockwise to the South, raising dominant hands to send the energy of the quarter back out of the circle.

To the west, we thank and release the element of air and the Crow.  We give you thanks for your presence and blessings.  Hail and farewell!

All: Hail and farewell!

All turn counter-clockwise to the East, raising dominant hands to send the energy of the quarter back out of the circle.

To the west, we thank and release the element of fire and the Horse.  We give you thanks for your presence and blessings.  Hail and farewell!

All: Hail and farewell!

Open the Circle

The same officiant who cast the circle now walks the circle counterclockwise once, opening the circle with the wand.

I cast this circle out into the universe.  May it join with the circles of our siblings, through space and time to the highest good. 

The circle is open but never broken.

All: Merry meet, and merry part, and merry meet again.