A seasonal ritual drama

Tired of the emphasis on the heterosexual relationship between The Goddess and the Gods in most ritual drama cycles which celebrate the seasonal Wheel of the Year, we have created a mythic cycle which focusses exclusively on different faces of the Goddess and, sometimes, the interplay between Her different aspects.

Over a year we discussed which Goddesses and their myths we associate with each festival. From these we selected stories which lent themselves to ritual drama and created a “script” for that festival’s ritual, with one or more women being honoured to carry (literally, to be possessed by) the Goddess. We are also inspired by the wealth of ancient sites in West Cornwall in which to enact our sacred dramas.

Here in the fifth of our eight-part series we publish our SUMMER SOLSTICE ritual, dedicated to Sovereignty, here invoked as Hera, Queen of the Land. We offer these scripts as our contribution to the myriad creative ways to celebrate the Goddess at the seasonal festivals.

"Midsummer" by Geraldine Andrew
by Geraldine Andrew

The women met at midday in a clearing in the centre of the trees on top of a local holy hilltop, and invoked Aphrodite into B. Aphrodite came dancing in, bringing her energy from Beltane and radiating exuberant pleasure, sensuality and playfulness. Aphrodite then passed aspect to L by crowning her as Sovereignty (Hera), the Ruler of All and the Queen of the Land, with a beautiful copper crown with crescent moon horns. Aphrodite decorated the crown with roses and then left, her part in the seasonal year completed.

B put down aspect and returned to the women in the clearing, who praised and worshipped Hera. She spoke the powerful Charge of the Middle Aspect Goddess, offering choice, desire and growing strength. Hera lit the fire and threw on it the seven sacred herbs of Midsummer (camomile, fennel, thyme geranium, pennyroyal, rue and chervil).

She bathed herself in the smoke and invited Her women to partake. She danced Her power and rulership in a fierce and passionate dance with the copper labrys. She offered the labrys to the women, inviting them to dance into their own power with the Goddess’ sacred weapon. Hera then crowned each women with a flower crown.

The women collected items with which to make an altar to Hera on a small mound among the roots of a huge oak tree. Shells, roses, candles and pebbles helped to make a beautiful altar, and the Goddess planted the labrys in it. Hera invited each woman in turn to place her footprint into the soil. Hera stood on the altar holding aloft the rose and knife. She gestured to each woman to place her foot in the footprint and invited her to make a commitment to the Goddess of/and the Land, in the way of the old kings who acquired their status by marrying the Goddess of the Land.

When the women had made their pledges, Hera took their hands and transmitted some of Her sacred power. She then called H who was to carry the Goddess at Lammas. She removed from her own neck Her labrys, now charged with the Goddess’s power. She placed it around H’s neck and passed on the Goddess’ power to her ready for Lammas. Hera then spoke a final charge to the women:

Let there be beauty and strength,
power and compassion,
honour and humility,
mirth and reverence amongst you

(from The Charge of the Goddess)

Finally, Hera left the clearing and put down aspect, returning as L. The women then raised power for strength and empowerment with a dance and a chant:

We are the power in everyone
We are the dance of the Moon and Sun
We are the hope that will
never hide
We are the turning of the tide

The ritual ended with a sacred feast, and the women made their way down from the holy hilltop in the late afternoon sunshine.