Welcome to "Ostara Rit 01 explain" (shudder, amazing how a tradition gets started, even an ugly trivial one like that naming scheme). Of course this is Ostara Rit 01 explain 1.03 beta. Stay tuned for Ostara Rit 01 explain version 2.0.4 due out in August. If you cannot wait until August, a patch will be released to registered subscribers sometime between now and then.
This Ostara, during the quarter calls, flowers will be taken to each quarter and dedicated to a wish appropriate to that element. The wishes should be something broad, you know, like World Peace or "tougher sentences for parole violators", or .. uh World Peace! (I leave it as an exercise to the reader to ascertain which elements those example wishes belong to (you may write away for the answers to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are really stumped)). Because this requires some understanding of the occult (oooooh...) character of the elements, Deborah would like the wishes to be done by certain more experienced people. Your assignments, should you choose to accept them are as follows:
Deborah - air (she doesn't get a choice, heh heh heh)
Hanna - fire
Mari - water
Shanon - earth
This text will self destruct in 1 minute. It is not a viral effect, but rather a perverse and ingenious blend of magic and spy technology. But wait! Were the Mission Impossible team spies? They certainly did some spying, but would you characterize the show as a spy show? You can think about that one along with all your other Ostara assignments and debate it during the Cakes ën' Ale portion of the ritual (disclaimer for those less experienced: there will certainly not be ale in the ritual, and the presence of genuine cakes is unpredictable, these words stand for the general consumption of food stuffs for fun and grounding (in other words it is a Traditional Phrase)).
But back to the assignments. Yes, in certain cases these were designed as a challenge for the "wish officer" in question (in other words, Deborah is trying to make it hard for you - Suffer to Learn and all that (disclaimer: for those less experienced: there will hopefully not be any actual suffering during the ritual, these words are another important Traditional Phrase!).
After each quarter call (so the all important energy is present), the assigned person takes the flowers to that quarter (natch), says their wish (yep, that means you lucky wish officers get to come up with the wish yourself), and then everyone says (altogther now)
"As fresh flowers bloom anew, let this blossom."
(Hey, pipe up in the back , I can't hear you)
This is from Rae Beth, a witchy author, and boy are we abusing her work here, since she wrote an early book for the desparately-seeking-sources solitary wiccans in the world. But now we are shoehorning it into a frickin' group ritual. Er, I use "we" in a poetic sense (I have license) of course, since I am no witch at all, despite my vast knowledge of the subject, and I shan't be at the rit (note appropriate jargon).
For the less experienced - Mae and Simone, you get to participate in the circle casting and quarter calls too, but your parts are more set. Again, should you choose to accept them, your assignments are:
Simone - incense (= fire and air) a.k.a smudging (traditional
Mae - salt water (= salt and water, I should hope) a.k.a. spritzing (not a trad tech term)
So what do you do with these substances? Well, they get taken around the circle in the beginning (more elucidation can be acquired from Deborah at the ritual), they get "done to" everyone. And for your most dramatic part.... At each quarter call you stand by Deborah with your substance, say at the appropriate moment:
Mae - "With earth and water I call
purification from the [insert cardinal direction
Simone - "With fire and air I call power from the [insert cardinal direction here]"
In case of lack of jargon on the part of the reader: cardinal direction means nothing like "north by northwest", or "a skoash to the right" (hmm there is a spelling challenge, scosh? skosh? skoshe?).
Guess what? You get to do this 4 times! And it is a different direction EVERY TIME!
Okay, now we get to the magic part (ooooooh! squirm!). The magic du saison (that is French (snort) for "what Deborah wants to do this time") is cord and knot magic. And you know what? It's just what it sounds like. You play with cords, and you make knots in them. Sounds pretty tame, eh? But guess what? You do it with energy and intent. Oh yeah! Get down! That's the shit! There will be some braiding, while chanting, periodically punctuated by the tying of knots (with energy and intent) for specific wishes. All the cords will be joined at the center in a wheel (nota bene: this is Very Significant), and the magic charged with (I'm listening... anyone? anyone?) Yep! Energy and intent. So guess what this means? You have to decide what your intent will be! Oh shit, not more pre-ritual homework! Yep, well don't blame me, I'm just writing about it so that at least you have a nice clear advance explanation. And entertaining, too. Such a deal! But that's a Gemini Moon for you...
So, figure out what wishes or intentions you wish to put your magickal (see, that ëk' was no fluke last time) effort into. These don't have to be broad and altruistic. It would probably be most natural and harmonious if they were about things either new or being re-newed. You know Spring: kittens and flowers and seeds sprouting and all that red-cheeked stuff. I believe the term "frisking" is actually mentioned in the ritual text. So don't be squeamish... As for advice on how to formulate these wishes, why try to top perfection? Here repeated from Imbolc Rit 01 explain:
"The usual advice applies to all wishes, affirmations, magickal intents, etc. Express them in a positive mode, don't use a lot of "nots" and "won'ts" linked with qualities or entities you don't want. Express them as occurring now, rather than in the future, since the future is forever the future to Younger Self (a.k.a. your unconscious). And if you really want to wicca it up, be sure to qualify everything liberally with clauses like "for the greatest and highest good of all" (please forgive me that little gagging episode, it must have been a bit of cat fur floating by)."
And there will be a chant for the braiding and knotting, and possibly even the charging. So here it is in case you would like to familiarize yourself with it in advance (damn I am considerate!):
"Four elements to weave the spell,
Cords and colors bind it well.
Wrap the knot and pull it through,
By our will the magic is true."