My own spiritual work is focused on the ways and lore of the Pagan Gaels - the Celtic peoples of Ireland and Scotland. However I have worked ritual in a number of formats over the years, in many cases writing eclectic and modern pieces that mix-and-match mythic elements. Most notable for that are rites I created for the Winterstar Symposiums. These were events promoted by A.C.E., the folks who do Starwood, and held in a resort setting with cabins and hotel meeting rooms. Every year the Saturday night "Multi-media ritual" transformed the hotel ballroom into a temple of light, color and sound. Rites done there included ecstatic wildness by Bate Cabal, Walk-through symbolic and interactive labyrinths, and, occasionally, actual circle-style ritual.
Usually scheduled in mid-February, one year the event was held later than usual, on Spring Equinox weekend. I wrote and directed the rite, and for that unusual crowd wrote an unusual rite. In the middle of it is this invocation to the Winter Queen (who transformed into the Spring Maiden in the rites climactic mystery). It is plainly a call to Persephone, though the name is unmentioned.
The Equinoxes have no particular Celtic context - there is blessed little lore or mythic content available to fit them into a Gaelic calendar. Our own local Grove (which does a variety of ethnic Pagan rites in addition to our core Gaelic work) is celebrating Equinox in Hellenic fashion this weekend. Looking through old material I thought this invocation was fitting, and so I offer it here.
(I have an announcement coming about the fate of this blog, readers, so watch this space...)
An Invocation of Persephone
• The Green Earth is a Goddess, this we know
By ancient lore and by our own heart’s eye
In winter she abides beneath the land
The Underworld her home, and she its queen
• For in the Dawn-time she was wedded true
To that dark power of the Underworld
A maiden she, she went into the earth
There to be crowned, and reign among the dead
• The Gods of Earth were loathe that she should stay
Away from light and life, from warmth and weal
For with her gone, the land lay still and gray
Cold winter banning blossom, bud and fruit
• So by their wit they struck a bargain fair
Twixt life and death, between the dark and light
When sun and shadow are together joined
The Goddess goes from one world to the next.
• Now see her, seekers, in your vision eye
Upon her throne, deep in the wide world’s root
Her power keeps the Flame of Life alive
Preserved, like pomegranate seeds, for spring
• For there, in her deep realm, lie riches great
The force that makes seed spring lies in her hand
From last year’s death she makes the stuff of life
That new good may spring forth from old and gone
• We call you now, Great Goddess, we who seek,
We bring you gifts, hear us, we ask you now,
Flowers we bring, that you remember spring
And rise from your cold throne into the world.
• We stand with star and sun within our souls
And offer incense, that our prayers may rise
Unto your spirit, come to us, we cry
Garbed in your winter pallor though you be.
• For you are Death’s Queen still, who keeps the Dead
Rise now among us, Goddess, hear our call
In wonder, awe and wisdom, love and dread
We offer fire, now come into our hall!