House Sankofa had its spring equinox ritual this past weekend. It actually wasn't a spring equinox thing so much as a celebration of the Orisha Oshun. You see, being a mixed House, we try to honor all of our respective lines equally and since we'd just done a powerful Mani ritual and since Oshun's feast day is March 25, I decided that instead of a traditional Ostara rite, we'd have a ritual to celebrate this amazing, generous, and gracious Orisha.
We laid out a lush altar, all in Her sacred color (yellow). There were several different kinds of flowers and offerings of various food stuffs, honey (all tasted before it was offered---in one of Her sacred stories, Oshun was poisoned by Her favorite food: honey, so now it must be tasted in Her presence before being offered), candles and as part of the offerings made *during* the ritual, along with carefully written petitions and prayers of thanks, She was given jewelry, amber, perfume, and many other good things. I have a river running out behind my home and the end of the ritual, all the offerings were taken down to the riverbank, where a small shrine was made to Oshun. The offerings were then consigned to the waters.
Oshun has been so incredibly good to so many of us in the House and indeed to the House itself; it was a real joy to celebrate Her blessings in this way. She is very well loved in House Sankofa.
After honoring Ellegua as Opener of the Way, making offerings to the ancestors, we prayed and sang to Oshun. then everyone came forward offering their own prayers of thanks, their petitions, making offerings, etc. We made a traditional offering to Her: squash cut in half, hollowed out, filled with honey into which petitions and five shiny new pennies were placed by everyone making an offering. Usually we'd have used a pumpkin for this, but it's out of season for pumpkins so we went with the next best thing.
here is part of the prayer we offered (first in Yoruba and then English. I'm only typing the English here. This is actually a compilation of three prayers):
Hail the benevolent Mother Oshun,
She Who digs up sand, digs up sand
and keeps money (resources) there for Her own people.
help me accomplish mine.
The One Who resides in the deep,
and yet performs various occupations,
the Goddess of the river,
Oshun alters bad destinies.
Ladekoju, the One Who defends somebody's cause
the untiring defender,
the unseen defender,
the unfailing defender.
Hail the benevolent Mother Oshun.
Then, before we ended the ritual, I talked about the young Syrian girl Yana who was denounced by her own brother for being a polytheist, dragged from her home to be beaten, raped, and killed because of her devotion to her gods. I asked that Oshun help make the girl's passage to her ancestors sweet, that she strengthen her, and protect her and all those who are killed in this struggle to restore our polytheisms. We asked her blessings on our martyred dead and that She strengthen those of us who continue the fight.
Then final prayers and offerings were made, Oshun reverenced again and we ended the ritual.
At that point, everyone got to enjoy Wyrd Dottir's workshop on "Eostre/Ostara and Olvir of Egg". We always try to have good workshops after our rituals, because it's so seldom that everyone can get together in one place. Anyway, the day was successful. Ashe and may Her blessings flow.