On my personal spiritual calendar, I have a long festival called “The Awakening”. This is a ritual performed during that time which is used to call up the spring.
Let me quickly explain something. While I do have a full spiritual calendar and perform spiritual duties and rituals, they’re not the same thing as my witchcraft. My witchcraft is secular in nature. It stands alone and apart from my spirituality. A ritual of this nature isn’t witchcraft for me (but it might be for you.) That’s probably a bit confusing but I’ll go more into my secular witchcraft vs spirituality in a later post.
Planning the Awakening Ritual first requires a look at the calendar. The ritual always starts on March fourth but I’m not super strict with my calendar. Since this year the fourth was a bitterly cold day below freezing I pushed the ritual back two days to the sixth where the weather was suppose to be sunny and above freezing and the Moon would be in Gemini (my Sun Zodiac Sign). I hoped the weather would be a bit warmer but I have to compromise in some places usually.
Next I gathered up the items that remind me of spring. This takes quite a bit of running around and preparation on my part. Fresh flowers are an absolute must. Melted snow is also a requirement, gathered back during the last snowstorm. Clean, cool, clear water is collected from a local stream but I also used bottled water and purified tap water too.
Fragrant floral tea, handmade juice, pitchers of lemonade, milk, and that clean drinkable water are served alongside a fresh salad, a thin green soup, mountains of fruits and vegetables, and freshly baked bread. Small cakes, shortbread tea cookies, honey, and fruit smoothies are laid out for the taking. Flowers and scented candles are table decorations. Bright, cheerful instrumental dancing music plays throughout the ritual.
A spring dress or robe is also selected in a light or pastel color. Sandals or flat shoes are selected but ditched at the first available moment. Typically, the ritual is held outside under the bright sun but if that’s not possible, an indoor picnic occurs instead. In either case soft blankets and numerous pillows offer comfort and rest. Space is left for dancing and singing.
Spirits are invited to join in the festivities, if they wish as are humans. Offerings taken from the food and drink are for all to enjoy, whether human or otherwise. Most often though, the ritual is merely held within the company of servitors.
Table or ground serves as the ritual space. A plate of fresh greens and a cups made from the skin of fruits are used to serve the season of spring its own offering. The food served to spring is only made of ingredients that wildlife can eat. Spring is treated as an honored guest and is amused by singing, dancing, and storytelling. When the chill of evening starts, a hole is dug in the garden and the offerings given to spring are buried in it with a sincere prayer for spring’s growth and blessings to the participants.
During the rest of the festival, spiritual cleansing and cleaning of shrines or ritual spaces takes place. Shelves are scrubbed with blessed water and new items may be procured as needed.
Most of the festival is actually taken up by journeys to each and every local land spirit and giving them offerings from the feast. This can be somewhat arduous because you have to hope the food doesn’t spoil before you get to hike out to some distant rock cropping to leave the offering.
Some of these journeys are rather long. I’ve even gone as far north as New Hampshire to make these offerings and sometimes as far as New Jersey or even western Connecticut. Each offering is something like a business meeting and wake up call. Negotiations made be made as needed but usually it’s just a simple hello.
At the end of the Awakening Festival, I bring it all back with a smaller feast that’s more akin to a tea party back home. It’s a good time but is the first big festival of the year so a lot of work goes into it.