It takes courage to walk into the fire, to walk straight into passion, initiation, illumination, rage and purification.
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When planning a ritual involving children, I always have to remind myself to keep it short and simple! Just in time for Spring Equinox, I’d like to share the simple ritual of spring welcome that is perfect for family or a small group of friends. This ritual is designed to be done at night around a campfire and to be followed by a drum circle, but can easily be adapted to day time (perhaps with a fresh flower mandala to gather around instead of a fire). It can take place anytime between March 21 and May 1 and still feel seasonally appropriate.
Why use a gourd?
Gourds are natural musical instruments that have more than 10,000 years of history, spanning multiple continents and uncountable cultures. Evidence from the Smithsonian is that gourds were the first domesticated crop ever grown in the Americas, probably cultivated by women as water containers. The origination of the gourds still grown today is in Africa, where seeds were then transported to Asia and then from Asia to the Americas by Paleoindian peoples who crossed the Bering Strait and originally colonized the Americas. I was curious to know if gourds have any specific association with ancient goddess traditions in addition to their association with modern-day women’s spirituality, but I have not been able to find specific information on the subject. However, I was inspired to read this small paragraph, suggesting that gourds represent the womb of the Earth Mother herself and that using them to create rattles, creates “intentional womb prayer vessels.”
—Shekhinah Mountainwater, Ariadne’s Thread
Why pass the rattle at a women’s circle*?
Passing the rattle gives each woman in the circle an equal voice and an equal opportunity to be heard. The woman who has the rattle, has the “floor” and the other women in the circle give her their full attention. In spontaneous or non-organized groups of friends, we are all aware that not everyone experiences an equal opportunity to be heard. This can be due to personality type and preference as well as to simple logistics (such as presence of one’s children), but also due to people with larger voices or presences dominating the setting and the verbal landscape. In hierarchical and patriarchal settings, individual women’s voices may be actively silenced, oppressed, or dominated.
“If there is one chant in the universe it is to create.”
–Chris Griscolm quoted in Nicole Christine, p. 25
If you have ever eavesdropped on a conversation between my husband and me around the clamor of our four children’s voices, you will hear me making a tired lament: “All I want is a broad swath of uninterrupted time.” In listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, Big Magic, on audio book I was interested by her mention that many creative people lament not having long stretches of uninterrupted time available in which to work. She quotes a letter from Herman Melville to Nathaniel Hawthorne, lamenting his lack of time and how he is always pulled “hither and thither by circumstances.” Melville said that he longed for a wide-open stretch of time in which to write. She says he called it, “the calm, the coolness, the silent grass-growing mood in which a man ought always to compose.”
…I do not know of any artist (successful or unsuccessful, amateur or pro) who does not long for that kind of time. I do not know of any creative soul who does not dream of calm, cool, grass-growing days in which to work with- out interruption. Somehow, though, nobody ever seems to achieve it. Or if they do achieve it (through a grant, for in- stance, or a friend’s generosity, or an artist’s residency), that idyll is just temporary—and then life will inevitably rush back in. Even the most successful creative people I know complain that they never seem to get all the hours they need in order to engage in dreamy, pressure-free, creative exploration. Reality’s demands are constantly pounding on the door and disturbing them. On some other planet, in some other lifetime, perhaps that sort of peaceful Edenic work environment does exist, but it rarely exists here on earth. Melville never got that kind of environment, for instance. But he still somehow managed to write Moby-Dick, anyhow.
Source: Elizabeth Gilbert On Unlocking Creativity, Ideas As Viruses . News | OPB