Ostara Blot

 

Hallowing

Godi holds the ceremonial hammer and opens the circle with the traditional blessing:

In the Elhaz position standing facing North the Godi speaks:

 

"Hammer to the North, hold and hallow this holy stead."

 

Godi faces East and speaks:

 

"Hammer to the East, hold and hallow this holy stead."

 

Godi faces South and speaks:

 

"Hammer to the South, hold and hallow this holy stead."

 

Godi faces West and speaks:

 

"Hammer to the West, hold and hallow this holy stead."

 

Godi return to the North position and speaks:

 

In the name of Thor we call to the ancient Gods and Goddesses – all.  May this Hammer, symbol of Mjolnir and symbol of Thor, reaffirm the abundant strength and power of our Gods and of our people.  I consecrate this place of community and frith, banishing from it all impure influences.  May our minds in this consecrated place likewise be sanctified, as is our will to the just services of Odin, ancient god of our people.  As Heimdall guards the Bifrost, may this place be warded against all forces unharmonious to our purpose here this day.   Wights of the land, wherever we may be, give us your blessing this Ostara.

Sacred Fire

 

Godi lights candles

 

Invocation

Godi faces altar and speaks:

We invoke thee, Ostara

Grant us thy presence

In this our sacred circle,

That we have prepared for you.

It is in your honor

That we take this time of remembrance

For the coming season

Of warmth, joy, and life.

Ostara the Fruitful,

We welcome you,

Comfort us with your timeless spirit.

Thou appearest in beauty

In the dawn of each day.

O living Ostara,

The beginning of life,

When thou risest in the eastern horizon

Thou fillest Midgard

With the giving light of life.

Thou art gracious and radiant,

Glistening high over every land.

Thy rays encompass Midgard

To the bounds of all

That the Gods have made.

Blessing of Ostara

 

The Godi dips evergreen sprig into the horn of mead and sprinkles each individual in the circle, in a sunwise progression saying:

I give you the blessing of Ostara.

 

Godi holds horn of mead overhead and continues:

 

The messengers of Spring

Have once again returned.

All hail to Lady Ostara,

Goddess of Spring!

As the seasons blossoms

By your holy grace,

May our spirits grow in strength

Ever stronger

Like the mighty oak,

In your praise

And in your honor

Do we now pour this libation.

 

Godi pours mead form the horn onto the ground (or into a bowli when celebrating indoors to be poured outside later).

 

First Reading

 

Holding a runestaff, the Godi speaks:

Ostara, the goddess of Spring, of resurrection of nature after the long death of winter, was highly honored by all of the Norse people, even Christian zeal could not prevent her name from being immortalized in the word Easter – the period of Spring at which time the Saxons in England worshipped her.  The memory of these olden times has long since passed away, although the “hare” still lays her “Easter eggs.”  The custom is very old of giving each other colored eggs as a present at the time when day and night become equal in length – the Vernal Equinox – and when the frozen earth awakens to new life after the cold of winter is gone.  The egg symbolized the beginning of life.

 

There are no existing legends about the Goddess of Spring.  One monument alone is all that remains of the old worship, at the Externsteine, which are found in the Teutoburg Forest in Germany at the northern end of the wooded hills.  There has been ample evidence that Ostara was kept on the memories of the people for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, and shows how deeply rooted it was.  There, as elsewhere, the pagan priests and priestesses of the Goddess assembled, scattering May flowers, lit bonfires and made sacrifices to her, and went on procession on the first night of May, which was dedicated to her.

 

Very much the same as this used to be done at Gambach, in Upper Hesse, where up until the early 1800’s the young people went to the Easter-stones, on top of a hill every Easter to dance and hold sporting events.  As with all ancient celebrations, Christianity incorporated Ostara intro its annual holy festivals in order to co-opt and replace traditional heathen practices.

 

Edicts were published in the eighth century forbidding these practices, but in vain – the people would not give up their old religion and customs.  Afterwards, the priestesses were declared to be witches, the bonfires, which cast their light to great distances, were said to be infernal origin, and the festival of May was looked upon as the Witches’ Sabbath.

 

The name Easter is derived for the Goddess Eostre, or Ostara.  East is the direction of the first light and warmth of the dawning sun.  Many pagans of old positioned their horg facing east in honor of Ostara.  Ostara will never be eradicated, for it is she who gives new life to nature, is the divine protectress of youth and the giver of marital happiness.

 

Ostara is honored at the Equinox, when day and night are of equal length.  At Ostara we take pleasure and reassurance from life’s resurgence in the world around us.  The fields are once again green, following winter’s abuse, and young animals totter about on new legs.  We think on the quickening of life and what it means for us – our role in the natural order.

Attendant speaks:

 

Bless us, O Queen of the Spring

Your beauty and bounty

Are in all living things.

Now the peak has been reached,

The change shall be made.

Let your warm light

Penetrate earth and sea

 And stir our hearts and blood

All the celebrants join hands around the bonfire in readiness for the carole dance.

 

Preceding the dance this song is recited:

 

“Where were you going fair maid” said he,

“with your pale face and yellow hair?”

“Going to the well, sweet sir,” she said,

“for strawberry leaves make maidens fair”

“Shall I go with you, fair maid,” said he,

“with your pale face and your yellow hair?”

“Do if you wish, sweet sir” she said,

“For strawberry leaves makes maidens fair.”

 

Music starts and dance begins.  Celebrants move sunwise around the bonfire.  At each quarter rotation stepping toward the fire and back again.

When the carole dance concludes, Godi continues:

 

Now is the time of awakening,

Of healing and renewed strength,

A time of re-making

As Midgard unfurls

A new green mantle

 Of life and promise.

We hail to Frey,

To Thor and Heimdall.

To vitality, kinship

And the warm season ahead!

 

Attendant reads Meditations from Theodore Roethke:

 

The river turns on itself,

The tree retreats into its own shadow.

I feel a weightless change, a moving forward

As of water quickening before a narrow channel

When banks converge and the wide river whitens;

Or when two rivers combine, the blue glacial torrent

And the yellowish-green from the mountain upland, -

At first swift rippling between rocks,

Then a long running over flat stones

Before descending to the alluvial plain,

To the clay banks, and the wild grapes

            Hanging from elm trees.

The slightly trembling water

Dropping fine yellow silt where the sun stay;

 

I think of the rock singing, and light making its own silence,

At the edge of a ripening meadow, in early summer.

The moon lolling in the close elm, a shimmering of silver.

Or that lonely time before the breaking of morning

When the slow freight winds along the edge

            Of the ravaged hillside,

And the wind tries the shape of a tree,

While the moon lingers,

And a drop of rain water hangs at the tip of a leaf

Shifting in the wakening sunlight

Like the eye of a new caught fish.

           

I learned not to fear infinity,

The far field, the windy cliffs of forever,

The dying of time in the white light of tomorrow,

The wheel turning away from itself,

 The sprawl of the wave,

The on-coming water.

 

A man faced with his own immensity

Wakes all the waves all their loose wandering fire.

The murmur of the absolute, the why

Of being born fails on his naked ears.

His spirit moves like monumental wind

That gentles on a sunnier blue plateau.

This is the end of things, the final man.

 

Attendant marks rhythm of sejdr drum as Godi recites:

 

Great Mother Ostara-high

Whose mercy lies all about us,

Your radiant beauty illuminates Midgard.

A dazzling display of crystal light

Enthroned on high.

Your presence gladdens our world.

You, too, contemn the cosmic laws,

Oneness of mind and being

For Aeons you have returned to us

Eternal creations

Eternally roll into being

As your might summons;

Beauty and love rejoice therein

Ebbing and exulting

On green meadows of everlasting joy.

From your pale blue eyes

Sparkling patterns of creation

Go dancing by,

A dance through eternity,

Going and coming in countless ranks,

O Mother, O Mildness.

Your every expression,

Your movement, your being

Lifts our hearts with joy.

We laud you,

All-powerful and divine goddess,

We welcome you again to Midgard.

 

Godi anoints everyo0ne in circle with scented oil, pressing a drop on the thumb and pressing it on the forehead of each celebrant, progressing sunwise around the circle saying:

 

May the blessing of Ostara be ever with you.

Closing

Godi stand before the altar and rings bell three times in five second intervals.

 

Godi speaks:

 

Spirits of Asgard we thank you for your presence here in this circle.  We ask for your blessing and while you depart to your noble realm, we bid you hail and fair well.  I hereby release any Spirits that may have been imprisoned by this ceremony.  Depart now in peace to your abodes and habitations. The blót is now ended, let the sumbel begin.

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