Grove of Balance, Rituals of Gaea

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Grove of Balance, Rituals of Gaea

Postby L`aquera on Sat Mar 03, 2007 6:26 pm

Summer Solstice
The day of the solstice begins with prayer and the giving of thanks for Gaea's generosity and many gifts. Before the changing of seasons may officially begin, a ritualized fight occurs between the forces of summer and winter to represent the forces of light and darkness, the eternal circle of life. Two fighters are selected amongst those of Gaea's clergy, both designated by visions of the high priestess and then clad in sacred armor and weapons. Those of the winter are dark and of burnished steel, while the weapons of the summer being bright and polished and with golden decorations. The fight itself occurs beneath the branches of the goddess’ great oak. The details of the battle are unknown, however the outcome is easily predicted and is unchanging from year to year-- at summer solstice the winter will win, reminding the people that despite the current warmth of the time, that after the defeat of Summer, days will become shorter as cold and darkness come closer.

Afterwards, the great festival begins, usually with plenty of fun and games. Each festival may be different than the last due to the large range of events to enjoy. There are prizes to be won, and any and all whom have respect and love for Nature, even if not towards Gaea herself, but at least respect for her gifts, are invited to partake in the celebration dedicated to the continuance of life. This is then ended with a great feast of different meats, vegetables, and foods which are hunted and prepared by the Attendants and Chosen, but blessed by the priests. This is held every year on the day of June 21st.
OOC: The outcome of the fight is predetermined, and unless a special event or storyline is in occurrence, does not change. No dice are to be used, but only the role-play ability of the two who are chosen to represent the seasons. No matter how hard either character fights to win, as they are directed to give their best effort, summer should be defeated to usher in the arrival of winter.


Winter Solstice
In the darkness and cold of the winter, the triumph of the summer gives hope that light and life will return in the end. The rituals are very similar to those of the Summer Solstice; however with one simple difference being that summer will overcome winter in the great battle of the two seasons. Two different warriors are chosen; both dressed in the ceremonial garb and armaments, and then sent forth to battle beneath the deadened, snow-covered branches of the Oak. After the fights, a great bonfire is lit, and those who came to worship in the name of Gaea, or even nature itself, feast upon different varieties of food, some of it roasted over those flames. This is celebrated each year on the day of December 22nd.

Spring Equinox
In spring, when the winter is finally gone, the followers of the goddess gather under her great oak to strengthen Gaea’s fertility with their own so that the plants may grow again and animals continue the great circle by breeding to replenish stocks. Holy fires are lit and the people dance among them, the younger ones even chasing each other and jumping through the flames. It is said that Gaea grants good luck to the one whom is able to leap through the fires unscathed, and without a single burn to show for it. During the ritual the attendants of Gaea often guide worshippers to the grove, and even invite them to dance as well. This occurs March 20th of each year.



Autumn Equinox
In fall , when the leaves turn golden and colorful berries shimmer on the branches it’s time to thank Gaea for what she had provided over the year and give something of it back to strengthen her for the upcoming winter. People bring fruits and berries, nuts and mushrooms as sacrifices, placing some under the oak or in its branches. Livestock and hunted animals are brought and killed, nurturing the roots with their lifeblood. But the offerings are not just simply left to decay… the flesh of the cattle and the fruits and such are used in a great feast, one of the last chances for one before the winter. This is held September 23rd.
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L`aquera
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