A very busy weekend.
I had four rituals in a row this past weekend – a Hindu inspired ritual, an Age of Reason, an Odin Invocation, and a return of winter/farewell to Persephone ritual.
The Hindu inspired ritual (called puja in Hindi) was for clearing away obstacles to good fortune. We made offerings to Ganesh and Lakshmi. Ganesh helps clear away obstacles and Lakshmi is a very popular Hindu goddess of luck and good fortune. It was nicely done and I very much enjoyed this kind of observance. I’ve been meaning to study more about the Hindu gods, but just haven’t gotten around to it. (Though now, I’m reading about India in my World’s Religions book. I found a used textbook called The World’s Religions written by Ninian Smart. It was published fairly recently in 2003, so it is somewhat up-to-date.)
An Age of Reason is a ritual for pre-teens usually. When a child reaches a certain age and begin to show capabilities of making her/his own decisions in life, they can have an Age of Reason. In an Age of Reason, we recognize this in the child and welcome her/him into an adult life recognizing that there is still much for the young person to learn. We expect the young person to behave maturely while allowing her/him to behave child-like, but not childishly. (Hey, even as adults it’s still good to have some child-like wonder at the world.) Basically, we recognize that the young person can think reasonably. If we have an issue with the young person, we discuss it with the young person first. The young girl we held this ritual for is quite amusing and adorable. She’s an impulsive type, but quite intelligent. She said she didn’t feel any different after the ritual, but I expect she might notice the differences later especially how adults will treat her for now on.
The Odin Invocation was interesting. Invocations are quite intense rituals where a deity is invoked into a person (called a “vessel”). While the deity is invoked, people have a chance to speak with the deity or ask questions. Overall, it is quite interesting. While I admit that there is no “real proof” (what is “real proof” but experience?) of the existence of deities, it is always fascinating to take part in an Invocation. What I cannot deny is that the deity in the vessel always seems to know me (and other people who take part) quite well. It’s strange. There is something to be said for experiencing something. So far, at the Invocations I’ve been to, the deity has read me quite accurately. Choosing to believe in gods with no real proof except for experience, I’d have to say they know us and our minds pretty well. (In case you were wondering, Odin is a Norse god. He became the primary god of the Norse, somewhat displacing Thor. You could equate Odin to Hermes in Greek mythology as Odin has communication attributes – he “discovered” the runes – and is also a psychopomp.)
Public ritual was a return of winter/farewell to Persephone ritual. Persephone always has such wonderful energy. You always leave a Persephone ritual feeling light-hearted and peaceful. For those who are not familiar with Greek mythology, Persephone is the goddess of the spring. Persephone was given to Hades (Lord of the Underworld) in marriage by Zeus against her mother’s wishes. Her mother, Demeter, the goddess of the fertile earth, refused to let anything grow unless her daughter returned to her. In short, it was arranged that Persephone would return to the world above during the spring and summer seasons so that the earth could be fertile again. Then Persephone would return to the Underworld in the autumn to spend the winter with her husband, Hades. A very beautiful myth. Thus, her rituals always give off a warm glow. (Oh, and let’s not forget Hades. I happen to be somewhat of a Hades child, and he can be quite adorable even if a little grumpy at times.) People just leave ritual feeling loved.
This coming weekend is Samhain weekend, another very busy weekend. First, there’s the Witches’ Ball Friday night. Then, Saturday I’m getting a drive out to Hamilton to the temple there – I finally get a chance to visit the Hamilton temple. Then, of course Sunday is public ritual. We are having the same ritual performed Saturday and Sunday for Samhain. It is to be a very special mystery play ritual based on the Descent of Inanna from Sumerian mythology. I haven’t seen this ritual before and am very excited to see it performed. Since I’m Summoner on Sunday, I won’t get to experience it as a participant. Thus, I am going on Saturday so I can have that experience. I expect it will be really well done. I’m told the majority of Priesthood is involved. Since they have been rehearsing quite a bit for this, I’m sure it will be a great performance. I really can’t wait. (Can’t you tell?) I will try to get a blog post on here about the Samhain ritual soon after, but the week after promises to be busy as well. (I’m hoping I can actually breathe in November and get some more work done.)
P.S. Since I don’t have time to provide sources for the mythology mentioned here, I recommend using Wikipedia as a starting point for some of the mythological names mentioned. There is always some good basic information available on there regarding different mythologies.