Saturnalia Ritual
by: D. Pomponia Concordia
SATURNALIA / DECEMBER 22, 2001/Hosted by Sanctuary of the Crescent Moon, Illinois
  • Head covered, Roman tradition

  • Anoint all at temple entrance. (HPS)

  • Bless Elements (HPS)

  • Asperge-everyone stands in circle, facing outwards. The asperger and water are passed, starting from the East.

  • Cense-everyone stands in circle, facing outwards. The censor is passed, starting from the East (or South, depending on tradition).

  • Cast circle -a covener spinkles barley grain and flowers around as the HPS says, "We gather round this sacred space, invoking from the Heavens holy grace. We call the Gods to guard our solemn rite, and ward this hallowed ground with walls of light. Let sky above and earth blow unite, a bond established by Olympic might. Let fear and discord leave without a trace, and peace prevail within this blessed place. Let word be deed by this decree, As it is said, so mote it be! Sit verbum factum hoc decreto. Ut dictum est, sic statim fiat! All share a kiss, passing from east to south to west and then to north "Bona Saturnalia".

  • (HPS) Lights Lumina, "As darkness plunges us into mystery, so light brings forth illumination."
    Call quarters:

  • East: Alpeano-"We call to you, oh ancient one, you who dwell beyond the realms."

  • South:Settrano-"You who once reigned in the time before time, Come! Hear the call!"

  • West: Meana-"Assist us to open the way, give us the power!"

  • North: Taga-"Open wide the gates to the house of the Gods, and come forth by our wish, our want, and our desire. So Mote It Be."

  • Ancestors: Vesta-Facing South: Salvete Di Vesta! Welcome She of all household spirits. Allow your warmth to flood our sacred space."

  • Penates-Facing North: "Salvete Di Lare! Welcome ancestors of our past. Accept these offerings which we now present to you."

  • HPS washes hands as covener whispers words to her: "Father Janus, Lord of new beginnings, you who rise like the morning sun. Open a path between the mortal world and that of the divine, and let us behold in person the Shining Ones. Mother Vesta, Lady of the sacred fire, you who burn forever faithful. Burn a path between the ortal world and that of the divine, and let us behold in person the shining ones. I humbly ask that you bestow your blessings upon me and our children here tonight. Be thou increased by this which I give to you." Wash hands and offer cake/wine

  • Invocation: Lord Saturn, who in times long past was known as Satres, the Lord of Sowing…Oh God of Time and Master of Necessity, join us in celebration!

  • Welcome: Welcome to the Saturnalia! The Circle of the Year is cut in fourths, and in the ancient lands of Greece and Rome the darkening time from autumn equinox to winter solstice was the time to plow and plant the ground, to store away the seeds. When done, the people rested through the winter months, until the Sun returned. During this time, the sun, now at its lowest point, begins its slow ascent. The Winter solstice is the first celebration of the Witches Wheel of the Year-in ancient times, the winter solstice celebration began on December 13 and lasted until December 25. Tonight we honor Lord Saturn, and the Wheel of the Year. Bona Saturnalia!

  • Anointing Saturn with Oil: "Before the mighty Gods that ruled the world from high Olympus' snowy peak were born, Saturnus was the king of all the Gods. But when the time came to yield his throne in favor of a younger God, His son, Father Saturn would not step aside. A fight ensured between the old and new, til Jove had thrown Saturnus from his starry home. He came to our land, teaching us to save seeds and sow them in the ground, so we need never have to search for food. He showed us how to breed our animals so we might always have their meat and fur, so they would help to plow the fertile Earth. Saturnus first taught us to strike bright coins and showed how money might be put away, to use another day. In these and other ways he made our lives much easier and free from care. His happy reign was called the Golden Age, when there was food enough for everyone, and people shared the bounty that they had, and no one ever stole or fought or lied. But when the end had come to his reign, He wisely chose to set aside his crown. He sailed away beyond the Northern Wind, to Hyperborea, where He now sleeps, upon a hidden island at the Pole, awaiting another Golden Age. Now, in this, the coldest season of the year, we go to Saturn's snowy realm to wake from sleep and enjoy his blessings. Bona Saturnalia!"

  • Cleansing : "Just once each year Saturn's image is cleansed. We feed Him with the oil that's pressed from corn, the golden nectar from the nuggets born. So also we in wisdom store away our energy to use another day. Drink deep, Saturne, of this golden oil! Return our gift and bless our sacred soil!"

  • Condens (Storing Seeds): (hand out seed packets) "Father Saturn now gives you this gift, that you may use in the Spring-take these seeds and store them in darkness-where they must lie until the time when Father Sol returns to wake the seeds from sleep. So also Saturn sleeps upon His bed, awaiting to be waked and called to bring His gifts to us, the abundant blessings of the coming light."

  • Edens (Bringing Forth): "As the Sun revolves around the Earth, we pass the light around the circle thus, and as each year the Sun returns to us, the candle - called Cerei - and it's flame comes around to bring rebirth. The lights remind us how Saturnus shared with us the brightness of his wiser ways." (Each person lights a candle around the tree, everyone should keep a candle after the ritual ---as they do, they wish on something they want to come to pass in the Spring.)

  • Sigillaria (Vow to Saturn): "We now take these special figures, called Sigillaria in ancient times, and make a vow to Saturn. Since Lord Saturnus shall give you something as the Light comes, so now you must give in return. Take a moment to ponder on something you wish to start in the New Year---a project begun, a negative habit removed and offer it to Him." (Each person now places their figure on the tree)

  • Loosening of the Bonds: "During the year our Wheel has turned. Father Saturn has slept, gathering a ribbon for each seasonal celebration. Let each Lady from our wheel, loosen these ribbons, and free our ancient God from his sleep.
    I am Ceres, whom you set upon the path at Candlemas. I am the divine source of Life's energy upon all the earth.
    I am Fecunditas, whom you encourage to grow, strong and proud, at Ostara.
    I am Proserpina, whom you teach the meaning of continued growth, at Beltaine.
    I am Flora, whom you watch over as I tend all plant life, especially flowers, at Midsummer.
    I am Felicitas, whom you bless with prosperity, at Lammas.
    I am Abundantia, whom you shower with wealth and plenty, at Mabon.
    I am Consualia, whom you consign to watch over the storage bins, reaped from the harvest at Samhain.
    I am Ops, whom you consort with during the Cold Time, at the Winter Solstice.

  • HPS: The ribbons be free, and now we sing IO Saturnalia! IO Saturnalia! IO Saturnalia!"

  • Choosing the Lord and Lady of Misrule: Cake and Wine

  • "When Saturn rules, all things are turned around, and everything becomes its opposite. From Roman times til the 1800s, slaves have become master and mistress is governed by the maid. As we eat, He who finds the bean shall be called Lord of All Merriment, and She who takes the pea shall be known as Lady of All Merriment. (after finding)

  • Lord: May you always have enough to eat, and some to share. (pass cakes)

  • Lady: May you never thirst! (pass wine)

  • HPS: Now we drink to your rule! IO Saturnalia!"

  • HPS: "Just as Saturn shall reward us during the year, so now we reward eachother."

  • Lord: "Behold the gift of Saturn! See His work! Behold how all is transofrmed. And see how carefully saved and hidden seeds become the fruits that satisfy our needs."

  • Lady: "Come forward now and taste the fragrant fruit, the gift of Saturn and His sister Ops. But share it with those near to you, for that's the law in Saturn's Golden Age."(all participate in the gift exchange)

  • HPS: "We thank the Lord Saturnalia, and our divine Goddesses from the Wheel of the Year for attending this rite, they-as well as Janus, Vesta, and our household spirits may stay, and partake with us our Saturnalia feast. And to all we say-IO Saturnalia!"

  • Feasting and games, lead by the Lord and Lady.
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