Spring Equinox is a time when day and night is of equal length. Traditionally, this is the time of the year when the Crone departs, and we welcome in the Maiden as a recognition of renewed life. Spring Equinox is all about celebrating new life, and working with the power of the Green Man to welcome the Maiden back into the world.
Spring Equinox is a time when we can plant new goals, hopes and wishes for the future.
Requirements for the ritual
- Candelabras or candle holders; lighter
- Pure white candle (for the Maiden)
- Small candles (tealights are suitable)
- Crown of withered leaves (for the Crone)
- Cauldron with lid
- Heat-proof mat for cauldron (if ritual is performed indoors); or fire-safe space cleared for cauldron in center of circle
- Singing bowls or bells for raising musical energy
- Small slips of paper and pens / pencils (enough for attendees)
- Cakes and ale.
The Spring Equinox (Ostara) ritual starts with a ‘Meet and Greet’ session, in which new attendees gave a brief intoduction about who they were and a little about their life. They can say as much or as little as they wished, and both magickal and / or non-magickal names may be used.
When we are ready, one Covener outlines what will happen throughout the evening. Then the lights are dimmed and general lighting candles (candlabras) are lit.
Next, slips of paper and pens are passed around, and people are asked write down a goal, a wish or a hope that they want to see come about through the strength of the Maiden. Small candles should also given to everyone. Once this is done, people are asked to hold on to the papers until the Crone collects them later in the ritual. Their candles will be lit later in the ritual.
Lights are turned off completely, and the quarter candles lit.
The CRONE, veiled in black, with a crown of withered leaves and a staff of dried pine, casts the Circle, thumping her staff in each of the quarters and calling the Elements in. In the background, ritual singing bowls hum eerily, helping people to establish a trancelike state and heighten the energy within the Circle.
Then the GREEN MAN, at the South of the Circle, speaks the following:
GREEN MAN: The Green Man is awake!
The Green Man is alive! I wait for the Maiden to join in the Dance!
The Green Man then starts moving deosil (anti-clockwise) around the Circle, whispering “Awake! Alive! Alive! Awake!” and touching people to join them. Eventually the whole Circle is moving deosil, chanting “Awake! Alive! Alive! Awake!” and gradually getting louder, building the energy within the Circle.
At this point, two Coveners moved into the Eastern quarter of the Circle, and formed an archway with their hands, creating a gateway into the Circle.
1ST COVENER: We welcome the Maiden into the Circle
We welcome the Maiden into the Dance
Life and warmth are renewed.
2ND COVENER: She wakens the green leaves
She touches the living earth
She kisses the dawn and embraces the fiery dusk
She is awake once more
Light and life are renewed!
The MAIDEN, dressed in white and carrying a pure white lit candle, starts approaching the Circle from the East.
The Maiden enters the Circle, and is welcomed by the Green Man, who kisses her and places a wreath of flowers on her hair. She then moves deosil about the circle, lighting the candles of the Circle members in turn, and bringing light and warmth to the Circle.
As the Maiden moves around the Circle, the Crone follows her, collecting people’s wishes on their slips of paper in a brass bowl.
Once all the candles are lit, and the Circle is ablaze with light, the Crone passes the wishes to the Maiden, and throws down her crown of withered leaves, signifying that Winter is indeed ended.
The Maiden raises the bowl of wishes up to the sky, blesses them, then bends to place them in the cauldron. She then sets the cauldron alight with blue flames, and finally puts the lid on the cauldron, closing the flames and sealing the wishes.
Cakes and ale (bread and juice) are then shared, with the traditional greetings of “May you never hunger” and “May you never thirst”. This helps to ground people, and signifies the end of the ritual. After cakes and ale the Crone closes the circle.
Egg image by Thorskegga