A traditional celebration and acknowledgment of the spring equinox: the arrival of spring, more light and warmer weather in the northern hemisphere. We will celebrate the Italian Goddess Prosperina and her mother Ceres, who some may know as Greek Persephone and Demeter.
What is this?
Read about why I am creating an Abruzzo-Italiana Wheel of the year here.
The story is that Prosperina, daughter of the Earth Goddess, Ceres is in the underworld for half of the year. This creates winter. In the spring she is released from the underworld and reunited with her mother. In celebration, the mother allows the earth to flourish with growth and life once again. We experience spring and summer.
Indeed, the arrival of spring is a celebration not only for humans but for the entire natural world we are embedded within. We can hear the birds celebrating, many species mate at this time of year. We begin to plant or think about planting our crops or gardens, and new beginnings are evoked. The current traditional religious holidays that fall near the spring equinox are about rebirth, seeds, eggs, newness.
Unfortunately in the story of Prosperina, we have another story of rape as Prosperina is abducted and raped by the god of the underworld. Ceres must bargain for her return. However, the true root of Prosperina is the Roman Goddess Libera, goddess of viticulture, wine and freedom. In many places in Italy, on March 17th there is a celebration to Liber and Libera. Many of us are familiar with the Goddess Libera in the form of the Statue of Liberty. Interestingly, the Jewish story of Passover celebrated at this time of year is a story of freedom from enslavement.
For the ritual (listed below) we will take all of this into account as we celebrate Prosperina’s emergence from the underworld and the return of spring.
A classic Italian food tradition I grew up with at Easter was that of my grandmother baking a sweet bread in the shape of a Goddess with an egg in her womb space. It is made out of biscotti dough (sorry I cannot share this recipe because it is a family secret). I found this one online for you from An Italian in my Kitchen if you want to try it.
There are many variations on the classic Italian bread with eggs baked into it for this time of year. So if this one doesn’t do it for you, search around the internet I am sure you will find one that does.
Participants are invited to bring:
Anything to offer the fire that has carried over from the previous ritual for them that they feel needs more attention.
A prayer and offering once again for women who are or have experienced violence against women and live in fear
A bottle of wine
Ritual: Spring Equinox: Planting seeds to Prosper
An altar is set up with:
A candle for each woman (unlit)
A bowl of pomegranate seeds
The wine and grapes are set on this altar.
- Call in the 6 Directions
- Invoke Prosperina, Ceres, Libera, Spring, abundance, quickening and the energy of Prosper
- Call upon Fire and as we light the fire we dedicate it to mothers and daughters, Prosperina and Ceres, Persephone and Demeter, and welcome the Goddess Libera into our lives.
- Each woman offers her prayer and offerings for recognition of and healing to women who have or are suffering from violence and fear. We do this one at a time and aloud for all to hear.
- Planting our Seeds to Prosper
Each participant receives a whole raw chicken egg which they hold in their hands and energetically imprint with that which they wish to see prosper: in the world, in their personal life, in their family or work life.
Each participant places their egg, (stating their wish aloud) under the fig tree, one at a time.
Now we each make offerings onto the collections of eggs imprinted with our wishes, encouraging them to grow and prosper.
- What I was told to have available as offerings
Hibiscus tea with mineral glitter in it
(These will be present under the tree for all to offer onto the eggs one at a time)
As we each make a prayer over the collective of eggs, we amplify the wishes of all
- Return to circle around the fire
Each participant lights a candle on the altar to Prosperina to welcome her back from the underworld and offers her three pomegranate seeds onto the earth
- Honoring of Libera
We pass each bottle of wine around blessing each one as we honor and thank Libera. We open the wine and toast to freedom in all its many forms. With wine, we bless the fire and welcome the arrival of spring.
Celebrate and feast.