Ostara Ritual on the Labyrinth of Ancient Crete
Facing Your Own Minotaur as Theseus Did
Performed at the Unitarian Universalist Church
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
March 21, 2009
PRELUDE: Explanations of the Season. Relations between Ostara, Beltaine, and Easter. The timing of the seasons in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Explanations of the gods and goddesses of many names, and the traditions we draw upon from the islands off Greece long before Athens was a great state. BLESSING: HP and HPS together approach participants as they stand in the circle area. HPS: Bright Blessings and So mote it be! (Trace a pentagram on each forehead using any of the following oils: sandalwood, vanilla, balm or jasmine. Baby oil works well.) HP: (Raise Athame) Be it known, the Temple is about to be erected; the Circle is about to be cast. Let those who desire attendance, follow behind. Let none be here but of their own free will. Share with no one the identities of others here tonight. Some of us are still closeted. (High Altar is in Southwest. A hay bale, that will serve as the bull, stands in front of High Altar.) ERECTING THE TEMPLE: HPS: My fine visitors, welcome here to the ancient land of Crete. Our island grew a mighty civilization long before Athens became a power in the Mediterranean. Starting in the East, let the drums sound! (The East Caller and troop walk around the circle and up to the high altar.) HPS: Let the words be spoken! East: "Come energies of Sappho, Lyric poet of the Isle of Lesbos. Known as the tenth muse. You are a giant among women in a Greek culture of rising man. Bring to us your skill with words." HPS: Let the drums sound! (East Caller and troop return to their station. The North Caller and troop walk around the circle and up to the high altar.) HPS: Let the words be spoken! North: "Come Energies of Corinna, poet of Tanagra in Boeotia. Your beauty and your use of words are your power. You blended stories of legend with the local traditions. Bring to us your earthiness and connection." HPS: Let the drums sound! (North Caller and troop return to their station. The West Caller and troop walk around the circle and back to the high altar.) HPS: Let the words be spoken! West: "Come Energies of Anyte, poet of the Peloponnesus. You were so highly esteemed in antiquity and known as "a woman Homer." Your dedications for the nymphs of the springs show us the Greek feeling for a quiet landscape. Your love of nature and animals mark you apart in the early years of Greece. Bring to us your emotion and your caring." HPS: Let the drums sound! (West Caller and troop return to their station. The South Caller and troop walk around the circle and back to the high altar.) HPS: Let the words be spoken! South: "Come Erinna, Greek poet of the Aegean island of Telos. You, the writer of lament worthy to rank with those of Homer. We lament your untimely death. Yet, bring to us your passion. Bring us your feeling for all about which we might care." HPS: Let the drums sound! (South Caller and troop return to their station.) (HPS castes the Circle with her athame. HP leads a chant: ) HP: We caste this Circle round and round. By its protection, we are bound. As I will it, so mote it be! (HP places point of athame in the salt.) HP: As Salt is Life, let it purify us in all ways we may use it. Let it cleanse our bodies and spirits as we enter this change of the seasons from darkness into light. (HPS uses athame to place three portions of salt in the water.) HPS: Let the Sacred Salt drive out any impurities in this Water, that we may use it to wash away all that prevents us from achieving our highest good. (HPS moves around Circle with salted water. HP follows behind with the incense.) (Back at the Altar, Attendants present two chalices to HPS. HPS give one to HP. HP and HPS drink a toast and salute each other, then they salute participants.) HP: We bid you welcome. May you all be here in peace and love. We are between the worlds, Beneath the Fullness of the Moon, Beyond the bounds of time, Where day and night, Birth and death, Joy and sorrow, Meet as one. SEASONAL STORY: HP: Let me introduce myself. I am Theseus, Greek hero from a time before the stories of the War for Troy. I came from Athens to the Island of Crete. I came to put an end to the tribute paid by Athens to Crete. I came as one of the seven youths with seven maidens who were to be that tribute. Victims to the Minotaur than lurked at the center of the labyrinth within the depths beneath the palace at Knossos (NOSUS). HPS: And I am the Lady Ariadne. I am daughter of King Minos of Crete and his queen, Pasiphae, she the daughter of Helios, the Titan Sun God. I have taken a liking to this Theseus...and so I aided him in overcoming the Minotaur. I fell in love at first sight, and helped him by giving him a sword (Attendant #1 picks sword from High Altar and hands it to HPS who brandishes it and then gives it back to Attendant.) and a ball of red fleece thread that I was spinning. (Attendant #2 lifts ball of thread from High Altar and hands it to HPS who show it off. Then she gives it back to Attendant #2). Thus he could find his way out of the Minotaur's labyrinth (mockingly). I ran away with Theseus after he achieved his goal (triumphantly). HP: What does all this have to do with Ostara? This season later came to be associated with Dionysus, god of flowering plants and fruitful vines. The Spring Equinox was his time and the beginning of the new year? HPS: Don't you worry yourself about that Dionysus. My name means "utterly pure" (Long pause for laugh). I have been a fertility goddess of Crete, and I will be the first divine personage from here to be adopted into your Greek pantheon of deities. HP: I am told you were originally the "Mistress of the Labyrinth." This was both a prison with the dreaded Minotaur at its center and a winding ground of dance linking you to Crete's more ancient Snake Goddess. (Attendants shimmy.) HPS: Do not worry yourself. The Minotaur is long dead, and the God of the Vines is yet to be born. Today we commemorate our past triumph together. I have for you the sword and the ball of red fleece thread that I was spinning. These are how you found your way out of the Minotaur's labyrinth. WORKING MAGICK: HP: We each face an inner Minotaur, a spirit half human and half beast that lurks inside us. The Lady and I shall enter the labyrinth from the South. There is a hay bale in front of the High Alter. This shall serve as your Minotaur. Ariadnae and I will enter the Labyrinth starting in the West reeling out this red cord. HP: Quarter Minions come forward. Take hold of this cord. (Four quarter minions step forward to receive the cord, West Minion steps forward to hold end of cord next to bull. HP and HPS circle the Fire Circle, one stepping forward at North, the next East, the last at the South. The cord is on a stick which is pressed into the earth. Now we have the cord starting at the bull and running 3/4 around the Circle.) HP: (Looking Back) Behold, our cord through the Labyrinth. Follow my example. I take this sword from the lady and slay my Minotaur, my inner demon. (Say something profound and whack the hay bale. Smack the bale with the edge of the blade and not the flat.) Then I grasp the cord and we dance widdershins on our way out of the labyrinth. (HP wacks hay bale and with HPS dances down the cord and then circles around back to the High Altar.) HPS: Come take the sword. Whack your Minotaur or demon and dance out of the labyrinth. Let another start with the sword as the last enters the maze. (People circle to the Attendants, receive the sword and brandish it and then dance down the cord. Attendants, HP and HPS hurry them along. Minions who are holding the cord, invite others to hold it while they take a turn with the sword. When all are done, the Minions drop the cord to the ground.) CAKES AND ALE HP: Now that we have defeated our Minotaur, we give thanks for the approach of Summer and all that which sustains us. (Minions distribute the cakes. Attendants present chalices to HPS.) HPS: May we ever be aware of all that we owe and be grateful. (Minions distribute the cups and ale. HPS hands chalice to HP.) HP: Eat and drink. Be happy. Share and give thanks. So mote it be! HPS: And as we share, let us remember, that all that we have, we share with those who have nothing. So mote it be! (chalices are raised) (Minions gather cups. HP returns chalice to HPS. Attendants take back both chalices.) CLEARING THE TEMPLE HP: And now as Light overcomes Darkness, we have kept the faith, and it is time to Clear The Temple. HPS: And now it is time to dismiss the quarter energies, moving widdershins, starting with the North. HP: Let the drums sound! (North Caller and troop circle to high altar.) HPS: Let the words be spoken! (North) "Farewell, Energies of Corinna, poet of Tanagra in Boeotia. We thank you for your presence in our circle tonight. Go if you will. Stay if you must." HPS: Let the drums sound! (North Caller and troop return to their station. West Caller and troop circle to high altar.) HP: Let the words be spoken! (West) "Farewell, Energies of Anyte, poet of the Peloponnesus. We thank you for your presence in our circle tonight. Go if you will. Stay if you must." HPS: Let the drums sound! (West Caller and troop return to their station. South Caller and troop circle to high altar.) HP: Let the words be spoken! (South) "Farewell, Erinna, Greek poet of the Aegean island of Telos. We thank you for your presence in our circle tonight. Go if you will. Stay if you must." HPS: Let the drums sound! (South Caller and troop return to their station. East Caller and troop circle to high altar.) HP: Let the words be spoken! (East) "Farewell, energies of Sappho, Lyric poet of the Isle of Lesbos. We thank you for your presence in our circle tonight. Go if you will. Stay if you must." HPS: Let the drums sound! (East Caller and troop return to their station.) HP: We have come together in love and peace, let us depart the same way. Love is the Law and Love is the Bond. HPS: The Temple is now cleared. HP: The Circle is open, but unbroken. So Mote It Be! It is our tradion to hug one another following a Ritual. (Kiss athame blades, greet participants.) Cast: Props: HPS- Ariande Altar Setup with pair of chalices HP- Theseus Sword 2 Attendants Tiara for HPS for Ariande 100' Red Cord on Stick 4 Quarter Minions Hay Bale (for fake bull) 4 Quarter Teams Cakes & Ale (crackers and Fresca) Paper Cups Sources: Myths come to us as many layers compressed together through time. Originally there were many versions for differing times and places. These stories were extracted from Wikipedia entries and Google Searches on keywords used above. Further tidbits were extracted from lectures by Professor Elizabeth Vandiver, PhD, entitled "The Aeneid of Virgil" and "Classical Mythology" recorded by the Teaching Company, www.teach12.com.