Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Ostarablot

Well, we did Ostara last night and it went just fine. I had different people reading the parts of the players in the Skirnismal. Chip was Freyr, Anne was Gerd, I was Skadi (she only had one line at the very beginning), Joe was Skirnir (because he had a lot of lines with a lot of weird Norse words in them that most other people could not pronounce) and Peter was the watchman (who only had 2 lines).

The only part where I thought, "Oh dear, this is a bit much," was the comment about the goat urine.

Well, Skirnir is sent to woo Gerd for Freyr. He offers her lovely gifts, but she refuses. He threatens her with death and she refuses. Only when Skirnir threatens her with baneful magic that will render her forever barren and ugly, does she relent -- and that includes leaving her to a life of drinking goat urine.


I'd relent too. Sex with a God is far better than goat's urine.

I rather hope I didn't piss people off by doing this. See, at the beginning of March, at the last Mystic Grove meeting, Tom said, "So who's going to do Ostara?" and there was complete silence. So I said I'd write up a ritual.

This was apparently ignored, because later an email went out saying everyone should bring something and prepare to improvise a ritual. I then sent out an email saying, "I've written one AS I AGREED TO DO AT THE LAST MEETING, and here it is," and I inserted the blot. Apparently this went ignored too. Is this some weird game of "let's ignore Tracie and she'll go away" kind of thing? Are these people getting tired of Joe and I doing blots, and they don't want to do the same thing twice in a row? As Jarred commented to me on chat, are they just ravens looking for the next shiny? WHAT IS IT people have against consistency and REAL RITUAL??

I think there's this huge push for CREATIVITY amongst Wiccans, and they think, "Oh, if I do the same thing every Ostara, it's not being creative," and they feel obligated to write a new ritual for every ceremony, every year. Can't do what we did last year for Ostara, that's being stagnant. We have to be creative and do something new!

And sure enough, by the time Joe and I got there last night, an altar was already set up for ritual. GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

But here's the thing...


They all sat there like a bunny in the headlights when Tom said, "Who's doing Ostara?" And I didn't want to volunteer, because I ALWAYS DO THAT! I think I'm the only one, besides Tom and Mary, who has a clue how to do ritual! Hell, getting people to volunteer to read parts was hard enough, AND IT WAS ALL RIGHT THERE IN PRINT!


The single most important bit of jewelry I have, and it isn't even occult, is my gold claddagh ring (for those who may not know what a claddagh is, click here). I bought that back in 1989 when I committed to the Pagan path, and it is something that speaks to my Irish ancestry. I've worn it every day since then as a physical sign of my decision to be Pagan. That ring means more to me than anything else I have.

Well, like I said, I hope I didn't want to piss anyone off by being prepared, but if they don't like it, let them step up and deliver.

During the sumbel (the part where you pass the horn and drink toasts and sing a song or say an oath or whatever) our Panda/Shannon decided to take the floor and talk about her late mother, and the minni hof (basically an altar to her memory) that she'd set up in the west. She got rather emotional about it, and Joe (who at the moment was passing the horn around and also the blessing bowl so people could pour a tiny bit of tea into the bowl - I decided to go with tea this time because it was quick and easy) had to stop and give her a hug so she could get her equilibrium about her again.

I'm very glad she did that.

That's what the sumbel is supposed to be. Emotional. Passionate. Intense. If you're going to sing a song, sing with a firm voice, even if it's not very good. No one cares if you're good or not, just that there was some passion in your song. If you're going to get all misty-eyed about your late grandmother, bawl your eyes out. If you're going to say a boast or make an oath, do it with fireworks. Have some BALLS about it! Ironically, it's exactly like what Steven Curtis Chapman sings about in one of his songs:

Everyone around creation
Is a living declaration
Come join the song we were made to sing
Wake the neighbors
Get the word out
Crank up the music
Climb a mountain and shout
This is LIFE we've been given
Meant to be lived out
So la la la la LIVE OUT LOUD!

It's ironic because Mr. Chapman is a Christian musician. I think he's even an ordained minister as well. But I do really like that song and what it talks about; how can one be all small and quiet if one has the love of the Gods in one's heart? He says "God" in the song, of course, but it's still a lively, upbeat song.

Most of the time when I do a blot and a sumbel, people are very shy and quiet about drinking to something. I want high emotion. Tell you what - the Einherjar who even now sit in Valhall waiting for the Ragnarok are not being meek, quiet heroes. They're noshing on juicy pork, they're quaffin' ale (quaffin' is sort of like drinking only you spill more) and they're getting busy with the wenches and boasting of their battle exploits, the whole nine yards. They go out and fight every day, and those who are "killed" are alive again at the end of the battle, and they go back in at eventide and feast all over again. Feasting! Drinking! Boasting! Nookie everywhere! Battle! Tests of strength and courage!

Seems like a sweet afterlife, eh? This is where Joe hopes to be after he dies; those who die in battle have an E-ticket to Valhall. Those who don't, have to make their own way from Hel to Asgard, where Valhall is.

And no, Hel is not an afterlife of punishment. It's more like...a quiet misty autumn evening. That's about the worst of it.

Well, there it is. The Ostarablot. Tom is doing Beltane, and I think Chip will be doing Midsummer, and Midsummer is when we can have an alfablot, and do a sumbel to the male ancestors such as Chip would like to see. He's far more identified with his alfhar than the disir (female ancestors). So, since the Winter Solstice is the time to drink to the disir, the Summer Solstice is the time to drink to the alfhar. But he may be in Ireland by that time, and we may have to work something else out; I don't know.


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9:16 AM  
Blogger Lunaura Harvest said...

Really enjoyed reding your Blog, especially the Ostara bit ;o)
I really can IMAGINE how it went, haha.
Don't the wiccans you worship with realize that 'cycles' are OK??!! (I mean of course that there is nothing wrong with repeating things done before(such as the Ostara ritual)Wicca is nota bene a tradition religion- LOL
Keep up the good work!

Blessed Be,
The Netherlands.

8:19 AM  

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