I attended a local Peeps ritual today, run by Gail Wood the Author
and Wiccan Priestess
. She lives near me.
The Peeps ritual is an annual ritual to welcome Spring by being silly and sharing Marshmallow Peeps
Saturday April 9, 2011, 2:30 in the afternoon, A dish-to-pass feast will follow
What’s your Peeps Name? Do tell us! Put on your fun clothes, your glad rags, and your colorful gear. Costumes are welcomed and encouraged. Bring your sense of fun, wonder, and humor for a ritual in celebration of the sweetness of life.
Please bring a dish-to-pass, your drink of choice for the feast that follows. We will have a drawing of wonderful items including some surprisingly peep-a-licious items!
One of the things that struck me about the ritual was the kinds of people who attended. It was mostly older woman with families. There were lots of small children and a few men at this event. The Wiccan community is not made up of young Goth girls, as is often portrayed in the media. Because this is a silly ritual many people were dressed in colorful costumes. The ritual had the usual Wiccan form but all the invocations were Peeps themed and intended to provoke laughter. Just because we are serious about our religion doesn't mean we have to be solemn.
It was a nice way to connect with community and celebrate the renewal and warmth of Spring. Laughter and shared community is a valid path to the divine.
EDIT: A bit more about the ritual.
I've been thinking about the ritual and how the form differed from the form I use.
We gathered in a local community center with food to share. Folding chairs were placed in a circle with an altar in the North and quarter shrines around the edges decorated in elemental colors: yellow for east/air, red for south/fire, blue for west/water, green for north/earth. The North Quarter shrine was behind the altar.
Having an altar in the north is common to most Wiccan traditions. My tradition, Braided Wheel, derives from BlueStar. We put the altar in the middle. I think an altar in the middle is a better design because it re-enforces the circular motif of Wiccan sophiology
When everyone had gathered the Priestess told us a bit about the ritual and taught the songs we were going to sing.
The ritual began with a woman and a small child dancing around inside the circle while we sang "Bringing in the Peeps". I'm not sure what this was about. I sometime have a Processional chant at the beginning of a ritual, if there is a procession, or a grounding meditation and a candle lighting but this was not any of that.
Then there was an elemental purification. Each element was invoked, starting in the East to purify the circle. Using aspect of peeps such as fluffiness, spiciness, meltiness, sweetness, and enlightenment.
Then the circle was cast with a very nice rainbow wand.
Then the quarters were called. starting in the North, which is a feminist Goddess worship tradition. Most Wiccan traditions, including my own start in the east. Which is not a big deal really. But why was the purification not also started in the north to be consistent? I'm a stickler for consistency. The people doing the quarter calls were dressed in the colors of their quarter. The west person was dressed as a pirate :-). There was also an invocation to the fifth sacred thing, spirit, the woman who did that call stood in the center of the circle and wore purple, the traditional color of spirit.
For big rituals I like to have the people doing the calls stand on the opposite side of the circle from their direction (we call that a "cross call"). That way most of the attendees are in front of them and hear what they are saying. And the person calling the opposite quarter can light their quarter candle for them. There were no candles at this ritual, probably because of rental rules for the space.
Then the priestess invoked the goddess and her priest invoked the god. They stood facing their altar in the North. With everyone on the circle behind them also facing north. That is one of the reasons I like to have the altar in the middle, so everyone will be facing the middle for the divine invocations. Instead of being arrayed in one direction behind the priestess and the altar, like a traditional Christian congregation.
Then the Peeps were invoked and presented. There was a spiral dance. (a central altar might have been a problem for a spiral dance, but this was a slow and stately spiral dance not a game of "crack the whip") Then we sat for a meditation. Then the priestess and the priest performed the symbolic Great Rite. Then the dismissals were done in reverse order.
Since this was a silly ritual when it came to the end and the Priestess said "Merry meet, and merry part and merry meet again" I said "Mary Tyler Moore". That is a bit of an old joke in the craft but some people have not heard it before.