Spring Equinox 2015

Aspurge, Cense, Ego at start of the ritual
Statement of Purpose:
We are here to celebrate the Spring Equinox. This is a chaotic time of year. The weather is unpredictable. The seasons are changing. It is in this time of chaos that we, as a grove, celebrate the chaos in our life. We recognize the disorder that comes, and we celebrate it. We also ask that with our recognition of this chaos, the forces that cause it are gentle on us the rest of the year so we may have a long and fruitful year.
This is also the ritual where we found our grove patron, the little bundle of chaos called Ratatosk. We celebrate our working with the Great Squirrley One this day, and ask that he is always there to help us and guide us.
We are here to honor the forces of Chaos.
Guided Meditation:
Gretchen Persbacker
Now, I invite everyone to close your eyes, and open your ears, and open your minds, and open your hearts.
Breathe slowly and deeply. Make yourself comfortable. Stretch if you need to. Allow yourself to relax and feel at ease. Let the cares and worries of the mundane world slip away. Focus on this moment, on the sensation of breathing, the feel of the air being drawn deep into your lungs and then released again.
Now, turn your awareness inward. Focus on that place within you that is the very core of your being—your essence. Cast aside the trappings that others use to define you. Shed the words and attributes that are but a poor attempt to describe the fullness of your being. Leave behind your history. Leave behind your name.
As you continue to draw your attention down into your center, you find yourself floating in dark, warm waters—the well of chaos from which all of existence emerges. You become detached from your physical form and all of its limitations. Here, you nothing more than a mote of awareness, a bright spark of light and thought adrift on the currents of the unknown. You see without eyes, hear without ears, and feel without flesh. Sensation and experience are not limited in this place of imagination and dreams. In this place, all things are possible.
Here there are no restrictions—no calendars, no schedules, no deadlines, no clocks. In this place that is both more and less than a place, time has no meaning. Past, present, future—all are one.
You drift on the currents of chaos, dancing along on the waves of creativity, pulled into the whirlpools of a glorious madness. Here, in this place, there is no fear, no hesitation, no doubt. Each direction is very like another, yet no two are the same. This is a place that defies explanation. This is a place that resists definition. In this realm of the infinite, nothing is real, and everything is possible.
Feel the power and potential that surrounds you and draw a part of it into yourself. Fill yourself with its radiance. Embrace the creative energies that flow around you and through you. Take a few moments to savor the power that fills and surrounds you.
Now, slowly, gently, accept once again those limitations of physical form that you need to cross back into the world that we call real. Feel your body—your feet planted firmly on the ground, the air filling your lungs as you breathe slowly and deeply. Hear the small sounds all around you. Be aware, once again, of your brothers and sisters standing here with you in this sacred and protected space.
As you drawer nearer to reality, bring with you that little piece of chaos that you pulled into yourself, allowing it to flow through your body, filling you with energy and inspiration. Now, allow the chaotic images of the primordial sea to fade. See the faint shimmer of light through your closed eyelids. When you are comfortable, when you are ready, open your eyes so that we may join together in this celebration of nature on this sacred day when we acknowledge the powerful forces of creativity, renewal and rebirth.
Earth Mother:
Great and bountiful Earth Mother. As it is our custom, we honor you first. It is from your bountiful womb that we sprang forth. Your body feeds and sustains us throughout our lives. It is back to you that we return in the end. In this time of chaos, when you are waking up and preparing yourself for the summer to come, we make this sacrifice as a thank you for all that you do.
Earth Mother! Accept our Sacrifice!
Bardic Inspiration:
Kvasir! You were the peace between the Æsir and the Vanir, born out of the spit of the gods. In your death, your blood was mixed with honey to produce the finest mead around, the Mead of Inspiration. You were stolen by dwarves, then by giants, and then stolen once again by Oðin who brought you back to Asgard.
Kvasir, you are the Mead of Inspiration. Inspire us like you have the bards of old. Give us silvered tongues so that we can say what we need to say, and please the Kindred. Kvasir, Inspire us this day! Kvasir! Accept our Sacrifice!
Hallowing the Hallows:
Portal Song
Ian Corrigan and Stonecreed Grove, ADF
CHORUS
By Fire and by Water, between the Earth and Sky
We stand like the World-Tree rooted deep, crowned high.
Come we now to the Well, the eye and the mouth of Earth,
Come we now to the Well, and silver we bring,
Come we now to the Well, the waters of rebirth,
Come we now to the Well, together we sing:
CHORUS
We will kindle a Fire, Bless all, and with harm to none,
We will kindle a Fire, and offering pour,
We will kindle a Fire, A light 'neath the Moon & Sun,
We will kindle a fire, our spirits will soar.
CHORUS
Gather we at the Tree, the root & the crown of all,
Gather we at the Tree, Below & above,
Gather we at the Tree, Together we make our call,
Gather we at the Tree, In wisdom & love.
CHORUS (with gusto)
Gatekeeper:
Ode to the Great Squirrely One
Robert Lewis
O Great Squirrely One!
How you run up and down that tree
From its serpent-infested roots
To the crown adorned with feathers.
How do you not tire
On this endless journey?
O great communicator of Yggdrasil!
You share the words of the wyrm, Níðhöggr;
You share the words of eagle on high.
Insults are hurled between the two.
You keep the order of the worlds
Through the insults that you hurl.
Ratatosk, Great Squirrely One!
We call on you to be our voice:
Spread our words throughout the worlds
From the crown above to the roots below.
Ride that great horse Ygg,
On your path between the worlds!
Ratatosk! Great Squirrely One! Accept our Sacrifice!
Opening the Gates:
Now, Great Squirrley One, join your magic with mine. Let the well be connected to the wells at the base of Yggdrasil, and let them open as a gate! Let the fire be connected to the fires of creation, and let them open as a gate! Let the tree be connected to Yggdrasil, and be the crossroads of all the nine worlds, open to our voices and open to the spirits.
Let the Gates be Open!
Land Spirits:
Land spirits, you are all around us. You of fur or feather, scale or skin. All of you that walk the land around us, we offer you welcome. You of flower or leaf, twig or stem. All of you that grow around us, we offer you welcome. You unseen spirits that live in this place. The weights and elves, all the unseen spirits, we offer you welcome.
Come, join us at our fire, drink of our whiskey. We offer you all welcome.
Land Spirits! Accept our Sacrifice!
Ancestors: 
Ancestors, you who have walked the land before us. Those of our family that have passed, we offer you welcome. Those of our friends, and those who made a difference who have passed, we offer you welcome. Those who lived in this place and walked this land before us, we offer you welcome.
Come, join us at our fire, drink of our whiskey. We offer you all welcome.
Ancestors! Accept our Sacrifice!
Shining Ones:
Shining Ones! You who we call patrons and matrons, all that look over us as individuals and as a grove, we offer you welcome. You who inhabit this land, and look over this place in the world, we offer you welcome. All the deities, known or unknown to us, all you ancient ones, we offer you welcome.
Come, join us at our fire, drink of our whiskey. We offer you all welcome.
Shining Ones! Accept our Sacrifice!
Patrons of the rite:
Ratatosk: 
Ratatosk! We call on you once again. We call on you as a guest of honor. You are our grove patron, and we thank you for all you do for us. We ask that you join us, and share in the revelry that we have today. We give you our devotion, and our love, and ask that you accept this sacrifice we make today.
Ratatosk! Accept our Sacrifice!
Outdwellers/Jötunn:
All you of the outer dark, you who abide beyond this fire's light. We call on you to join us as you are some of the powers of chaos. We call specifically on the Jötunn, the giants from afar. We call on you and ask you join us in the spirit of *ghosti-. We ask that you come to our celebration of chaos. We ask that as we share this time together, you remember our hospitality in the future, and are kind to us throughout the year.
Outdwellers, Jötunn, we offer you welcome.
Outdwellers! Jötunn! Accept our Sacrifice!
Work of the rite and Praise Offerings:
We have work to do this rite. As is our tradition, we will be coloring hard boiled (we hope) eggs. We do this as a symbol of the planting of the seeds of spring. Please, design and color two eggs however you are called to. Infuse them with the hopes and desires for the spring and summer. Later, we will charge them as a group, asking for a fruitful six months, and you will be asked to take them home with you. One is for you to eat to bring this into yourself, the other is for you to give to your land.
<color eggs>
We now open our fire for anyone to make offerings of the season, and to the powers we have invited in.
Sacred Goat Sacrifice (loaf of bread):
Behold, the Sacred Goat! We make this sacrifice as a shared meal, between us and all those that we have called in today. Kindred, Ratatosk, Outdwellers, and Jötunn! Accept our sacrifice and join us in this meal!
Omen:
Omen will be taken using runes
Hallow the Waters:
Ancient and Mighty ones, Powers of chaos, we have given to you. We have honored you. In good *ghosti- tradition, a gift calls for a gift. Hear us and fill these waters with the omens we have just heard. Infuse them with your wisdom and strength. Give us the Waters of Life!
Behold, The Waters of Life!
<pass waters around to drink>
<infuse the eggs with the intention stated above>
Thanksgiving:
We now give thanks for all of those that have come and aided us in this rite.
Jötunn and all the Outdwellers. We have welcomed you into our lives. We ask that you accept our sacrifices, and that you give us a year that is not full of chaos. Jötunn and all the Outdwellers, we thank you.
Ratatosk, our patron. We thank you for all that you do for us and ask that you continue to look over us and guide us. Ratatosk, we thank you.
Shining Ones. Those whom we call patrons and matrons, those that look over us know or unknown to us, we thank you.
Ancestors. Those who have walked the world before us, we thank you.
Land Spirits. You are all around us, and you are the closest to us, we thank you.
Closing the Gates:
Ratatosk, we thank you once again for the aide you have given us as our Gatekeeper. It is time to close the gates, so I ask you once again to join your magic with mine. Let the well become just water. Let the fire become just flame. Let the tree become a tree once more. Let the connections between all
these symbols dissolve. Let the Gates be Closed.
Ratatosk, we once again express our gratitude for all you have done for us as the gatekeeper, and as our patron. Ratatosk, we thank you.
Kvasir, you have inspired us, and given us the ability to say what needed to be said. Kvasir, we thank you.
Earth Mother, you are first in our thoughts, and you are last in our thoughts. Without you, we wouldn't be here. As is our tradition, we give to you all that remains. Earth Mother, we thank you.
Closing Meditation: 
Now, I invite you once again to close your eyes, and open your ears, and open your minds, and open your hearts.
Breathe slowly and deeply. Relax your body, calm your thoughts and journey inward once again to the endless sea of possibility—the great void of chaos. Since you carry within you a piece of this source of all being, the transition is made smooth, and you soon find yourself floating on the ceaseless, directionless currents.
Now, as your thoughts mingle with the forces around you, release back into the void the excess energies that you have drawn into your being. Keep only that which you can comfortably carry with you in the world of everyday reality—just enough to spark the fires of creativity and open your mind to inspiration. Allow the rest to flow away from you, back into the ever-churning sea.
Now, it is time to prepare once again for the mundane world. Once again, accept the limitations of flesh—be aware of your body—the feel of your breath flowing slowly, in and out, the rhythm of your heart beating within your chest. Feel the ground beneath your feet, the air against your cheek, the scent of the incense, the small sounds around you. Feel the presence of your brothers and sisters gathered together in this sacred space.
Accept once again the boundaries and restrictions with which we define the real world. Take back the trappings of that which we call reality—the passage of time, the burden of commitments and duty. Reclaim the words and attributes with which you define yourself. Take back your history. Take back your name.
But in the midst of all these things that rein you in and weigh you down, do not forget that you are still a child of chaos. You still carry within you the seed the infinite—the spark of potential that is your blessing—one that you have received, and one that you are called upon to bestow upon others.
As our rite draws to a close, and we end what we began, remember the lessons of chaos—of imagination and spontaneity, and carry them forth into your life, bringing balance to order and magic to a world in great need of it. When you are comfortable, when you are ready…open your eyes.
Closing Statement:
And now friends, our ritual is over. We have celebrated the powers of chaos and made connections with those that we normally do not. Take the chaos they brought into your lives and turn it into something productive, not an obstruction to the life you want to live. As was done before, we have done again, and will do once more. Children of Earth, the rite is ended.