Spring Ritual


Contents List:

Occasion
Cassette Tape
Preparation
Members' Entry
Commencement
The Procession
Intonation of T-H-O
First Meditation
Discourse
Second Meditation
Dispersal
Members Exit

Return to:

Temple Guide

See also:

Crypt Description
Discourses
Ritual Music

Occasion

A Spring Ritual, also called a LIFE-Ceremony, will be celebrated at or about the time of the Vernal Equinox on 2O March.

Cassette Tape

As most readers will have cassette recorders or similar sound-reproducing devices, participants may wish to prepare in advance of each occasion a tape wherewith to replay both the sounds and the silences described in the following ritual. You may thus punctuate the proceedings with your own musical selections and "join in" with your previously recorded mantra intonation when the tape is replayed.

You may also pre-record your own reading aloud of the discourse provided for each ritual and replay it at the appropriate time. Words always have greater penetration when spoken aloud; and some of us find relaxed listening more satisfying than reading.

Preparation

The Elder of Air will be the Conductor for this ritual.

The Elder of Fire controls the music and lighting. (Readers are free to make their own choice of music. See Ritual Music for pieces suggested as being suitable for this ritual.)

The Elder of Earth censes the Crypt and guards the door.

A gong (ideally tuned to D below middle C) is provided for the use of the Conductor, and a censer for the use of the Elder of Earth. (For the purpose of recording a tape, if no gong is available, any suitable percussion instrument such as a tubular bell from a wind chime may be substituted.)

Under the supervision of the Conductor, the Elders prepare the Crypt, ensuring that it is spotlessly clean, that the lighting is suitably adjusted, that appropriate music is provided, and that all the furniture is correctly positioned. The altar is covered with a yellow cloth.

The Elder of Earth censes the Crypt with incense suitable for the occasion and hangs the censer on a hook provided on the East side of the Altar. When all is ready, the Elders proceed to their seats and meditate quietly on the significance of LIFE.

The Light-Bearers, Grail Maiden and Messenger prepare themselves in the Vestries.

The members assemble in the Ante-Chamber.

All preparation should be completed five minutes before the time appointed for the ceremony to begin.

Members' Entry

TAPE BEGINS HERE

The Conductor strikes the gong once.

The Elder of Fire extinguishes the light in the Ante-Chamber.

The Elder of Earth throws open the Crypt doors, allowing the light from the East of the Crypt to shine into the Ante-Chamber, and says:
"Members may now enter the Ritual Crypt and take their seats".

The Elder of Fire starts solemn music appropriate for the Entry of the Members.

Running time 5 minutes

Commencement

When all the Members are seated:

The Elder of Fire fades out the music.

The Elder of Earth closes the crypt door.

The Elder of Fire restores the light in the Ante-Chamber.

The Procession quietly forms up in the Ante-Chamber.

The Conductor strikes the gong twice, and says:
"Please rise. Place your right hand over your heart as a token of your sincerity of purpose".

The Elder of Earth:
"Let LOVE stream forth into the hearts of men"
and all present respond:
"All men are one and I am one with them."

The Elder of Water:
"Let all the LIGHT unite to heal the hearts of men"
All respond:
"All men are one and I am one with them."

The Elder of Fire:
"Let LIFE be ruled by SOUL to serve the hearts of men"
All respond:
"All men are one and I am one with them."

All remain standing with hand on heart.

Allow 2 minutes.
Running time 7 minutes.

The Procession

The Conductor strikes the gong three times.

The Elder of Fire extinguishes the light in the Ante-chamber and plays suitable Processional music.

The Elder of Earth throws open the double doors and stands on the South side of the entrance.

There now enter in procession:
Four Light-Bearers in the form of a square, each carrying a candle lamp.

In the centre of the square is the Grail Maiden, bearing a crystal bowl filled with fresh green shoots.

The Messenger follows three steps behind the rear of the square carrying a large red egg made of glass or crystal.

The Grail Maiden halts at the West of the Altar, and the Messenger halts at the same time.

The first two Light-Bearers halt when they are abreast of the East side of the Altar.

The rear Light-Bearers halt when they are abreast of the West side of the Altar.

The four Light-Bearers turn to face the Altar, and place their lamps, one on each corner.

The Grail Maiden places the crystal bowl with the green shoots in the centre of the Altar.

The Messenger advances to stand to the left of the Grail Maiden and places the red egg in the "nest" formed by the green shoots in the bowl.

The Elder of Earth closes the Crypt Door.

The Elder of Fire extinguishes the light in the Ante-Chamber.

The Light-Bearers turn away from the Altar, and proceed to their seats beside the Elders in the corners of the Crypt, but remain standing with right hand on heart.

The Grail Maiden processes via the South side of the Altar to her seat in the East of the Crypt and turns to face the West but remains standing with right hand on heart.

The Messenger simultaneously proceeds via the North side of the Altar to a seat in the East to the North of the Grail Maiden, and turns to face the West but remains standing with right hand on heart.

Allow 5 musical minutes.
Running time 12 minutes.

Intonation of T-H-O

The Conductor (Air): "Please be seated."

All except the Conductor are seated.

The Conductor: "We shall now intone the mantra T-H-O.

"There exists in India a secret knowledge based on the study of sounds and varieties of vibratory modality according to the planes of consciousness. As each of our centres of consciousness is in direct communication with a plane, one can by the repetition of certain sounds put oneself in communication with the corresponding plane of consciousness.

"The different sounds used in mantras regulate the breath and bring about balance and equilibrium. Over the course of many centuries, yogis in India catalogued different combinations of sounds which, when intoned aloud, modulate the rhythm of the breath and, through resonance, harmonise the inner vibration. The whole body is a living resonator; every atom is affected by sound. Different vibrations influence the various organic systems.

"The vibrations created by the intonation of T-H-O regenerate the body, especially the bone structure. They also stimulate the thyroid gland, which plays an important role in the processes of growth.

"T-H-O (with the accent on the "th") is intoned on F sharp above middle C, each intonation lasting for at least 10 seconds.

"Please sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor. Rest your hands in your lap, palms down, and remain relaxed and at ease. Take a deep breath before singing.

"I shall intone T-H-O once, and you will then intone it with me three times in unison."

[Before demonstrating the sound, the Conductor may sound the correct note on a pitch pipe, harmonica, piano, or other instrument - if available.]

Conductor demonstrates: "TH-O-O-O-O-OH".

After the demonstration, the Conductor says: "For the first time, Breathe in deeply!"
Intone in unison for not less than ten seconds: "TH-O-O-O-O-OH"

Conductor: "For the second time, breathe in!"
Intone in unison for not less than ten seconds: "TH-O-O-O-O-OH".

Conductor: "For the last time, breathe in!"
Intone in unison for not less than ten seconds: "TH-O-O-O-O-OH".

Conductor: "This concludes the intonation of the vowel sound for this ritual."

Allow 5 minutes.
Running time 17 minutes.

On completion, the Conductor sits.

First Meditation

When the Conductor is seated, the Elder of Water rises.

Elder of Water:
"At a time where our eyes are fixed on life and growth in nature we become aware of the stirrings of the spiritual energies rising within us. As spring returns, we too are spiritually reborn.

"Let us meditate for a few minutes on the significance of Spring."

Elder of Water sits.

Silence (or personal choice of meditative music) for 5 minutes.
Running time 22 minutes.

Discourse

After 5 minutes, the Conductor rises and sounds the gong once.

Conductor:
"The Worthy Messenger will now share with us a Message of LIFE appropriate to this occasion."

Messenger:
Gives
Discourse

(allow 15 minutes)

Second Meditation

Messenger concludes: "May the celebration of this LIFE-Ceremony serve to remind us of the awakening and growth of our own spiritual nature. Let us meditate on this thought for a few moments"

Messenger sits.

Silence (or personal choice of meditative music) for 3 minutes.
Running time 34 minutes.

Dispersal

After 3 minutes, the Conductor rises and sounds gong twice.

Conductor:
"Please rise, and place your right hand over your heart".

The Elder of Earth opens the door to the Ante-Chamber and stands on the South side of the door.

The Elder of Fire restores the light in the Ante-Chamber.

Silence (or personal choice of processional music) for 3 minutes.

The four Light-Bearers proceed to their stations and turn to face the Altar.

The Grail Maiden proceeds by way of the North and takes her station facing the East at the West of the Altar.

The Grail Maiden removes the bowl containing the egg from the Altar and the Light-Bearers remove the lamps.

All turn to face the West and the Light-Bearers from a square with the Grail maiden in the centre.

The Messenger proceeds by way of the South to take station three steps behind the Grail Maiden, and all exit from the Crypt.

The Elder of Earth closes the door to the Ante-Chamber, but remains standing beside it.

After 3 minutes, the conductor sounds the gong three times.

Members drop their hands.

(3 minutes)
Running time 43 minutes.

Members Exit

Conductor (Air):
"This concludes our sacred LIFE-Ceremony. Members may now leave the Crypt starting with those in the South-East."

The Elder of Earth opens the door to the Ante-Chamber.

The members exit to suitable joyful music.

Allow 2 musical minutes. Total running time 45 minutes.

TAPE ENDS HERE

The Elder of Earth closes the Crypt doors when the Members have all gone.

The Elders meditate quietly in their seats for a few moments before clearing away the burnt incense and ensuring that all equipment is turned off and the Ritual Space is secured.