Our world is a place of wonder!
We must pause —-
To see the ways it changes.
At this time, as the warmth of spring
Replaces the cold of winter,
We have here chosen to gather together.
Night’s darkness retreats,
The light of day prevails.
Let us with understanding and celebration
Greet the warmth and light of spring.
(Candles are lit)
From the power of creation
Have come nature’s wonders,
Galaxies and planets, sun and earth.
Orbiting in its course,
The earth receives from the sun
Light that changes times and season.
Winter’s rays are indirect and weak;
They shine briefly and are quickly gone.
As the rays become direct and full,
The days lengthen and the earth is warmed.
The time of spring has come —-
Joy celebrates its presence!
We raise our cups to life’s flow,
To the force of renewal
That surges in spring.
(Liquids are consumed)
“My beloved speaks and says to me
Arise my love, my fair one,
And come away;
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
The time of singing has come,
And the voice of the turtledove
Is heard in our land.”
We are freed by the warmth of love
To grow full and strong.
From our fullness and strength
Come the gifts we share with others.
So does the warmth of spring
Make the soil tender;
The chains of winter melt,
And the seeds sprout green and tall.
The fruits of earth are nurtured
Bringing their gifts of goodness and beauty.
(Sprouts and salad are eaten)
One of the great religious myths of the ancient world was that of a mother, Demeter, and her daughter, Persephone. In its most ancient form the myth goes something like this. As Persephone becomes a young woman, she decices to embark upon a dangerous journey into the depths of the underworld. Demeter warns her of the darkness and the cold but she understands why her daughter must go. She provides a torch for her, leads her to a chasm, and watches as her daughter begins the journey. While Persephone is gone, Demeter waits and grieves and is disconsolate. She withdraws her power from the plants and seeds. Nothing grows. Finally after many months Persephone returns, and new life blossoms all around as mother and her new adult daughter are reunited.
Originally, this myth may have been a poetic explanation of the seasons. Gradually, however, it became also a metaphor for the personal journey of an individual into the depths of consciousness and the return or rebirth of that person into adulthood and freedom.
In ever life there is a journey to freedom.
Within this world of custom
Freedom is our need;
To meet existence as it really is
By ourselves as we truly are.
From loving discipline without,
From soaring strength within,
With the passage of time we grow
And travel further along freedom’s path.
Grateful though we are to those
Who have taught and loved us,
Still we must see the world in new ways.
We come to live in, and through, ourselves,
Taking responsibility for the actions
That we ourselves now have created.
Freedom enriches existence,
Yet its challenge can be hard.
Its rewards must be earned,
They do not come as a gift.
Life lived through others
May promise safety and ease;
When the course is our own,
Often we are lonely,
Choice is our burden.
(Tie yarn around the wrists of each person)
No one of us is whole and free. We are bound by regrets, by past mistakes, by guilt, by fears of what others think, by the demands of others, by physical illness, by time, by lack of spiritual nourishment, by many things. What binds you? What ties up your energy? What keeps you in the dark places, stagnant, immobilized?
“Right now as we are sitting here in this room, be aware of the energy among us. Do you feel alert? Aware? Excited? Calm or anxious? Tense or relaxed?
Energy travels up and down your spine. Now sit up, as straight as you can without straining. Notice how the energy level has changed. Do you feel more alert? More aware?
Your breath moves energy in and out of your body. It wakens your body’s centers of power. So take a deep breath. Breathe deep, breathe all the way down. Feel yourself relaxing, recharging. Feel yourself become strong, with each breath become refreshed, with each breath feel your worries floating away, with each breath become revitalized, as we breathe together.
Feel the constant processes of change within yourself, in your body, your ideas and emotions, your work and relationships. Within every unmoving stone, atoms are in constant flux. Feel the changes all around you, changes you have made, changes you are about to make. Breathe deep and feel the power of transformation. Think of the transformations you undergo every day. In a moment you die and are reborn a thousand times. Feel your power to break the old bonds and begin anew. Feel your ability to create, to give birth to new things.
Now take a very deep breath. Suck in the power as if you were sucking through a straw. Feel it travel down your spine, and flow into the earth. And relax.”
(Adapted from Starhawk, The Spiral Dance)
Supreme are freedom’s rewards!
Like earth unchained by spring,
To bear its sweetest fruit,
Humans in freedom bring forth their true selves,
Their greatest creation.
In the spirit of freedom, let us share our poetry, and song, our struggles and accomplishments.
(All share what they have brought)
We rejoice in these gifts we have shared.
In every new age human beings in community make new journeys into freedom. In ancient times the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. They could not follow their religion or work as they wished. In time they found the strength to leave their bondage. They left Egypt in a great exodus to begin a long journey to freedom.
In our own country many of us have walked with our black friends as they struggled to leave their bondage. In our own lifetime we have seen them journey from the back of the bus, from separate unequal schools toward the freedom of full citizenship and the fulfillment of their humanness.
Women in our time have gathered in community and have discovered the many chains which bind us in patriarchal society. We too have begun a journey, leaving the stereotyped roles of the past and venturing, trembling, into new depths, new knowledge, new freedom.
In all these journeys to freedom we have met hardships, conflicts, discouragement. Sometimes the journey seems too hard. Sometimes we long for the security of our old slavery.
“Sometimes I Wish” (Carol Etzler)
Yet we do not retreat.
The passage to freedom is taken
By each new generation.
Freedom thus is reborn,
Its strengths recreated.
In community we refresh our spirits,
In community we nourish our bodies,
In community we celebrate the Festival of Creative Freedom
(Bread and honey is eaten)
Symbols are rich legacies from the past;
They point to the deep places of life.
The equinoctial shaft piercing winter’s darkness
Signals the Festival of Creative Freedom;
Uniting heaven and earth with celestial light,
Bringing the sign of Polydox community
To the celebrants of Freedom’s Covenant everywhere.
(Symbol may be displayed)
Let the light of goodness prevail
Let our door be open to those who search for freedom.
Let our food be eaten in love and peace.
Let us share our common ideals about this, our life.
Let Festivals of Creative Freedom arise within us all our days.
(The Creatal meal is served)