The Rite of Vine and Leaf

The Rite of Vine and Leaf

Introduction

The Rite of Vine and Leaf is a Pagan liturgy ritual created by Constantine, and regularly celebrated in his chapel (the room beyond the stream, where Garrett wakes up in Escape.).

Constantine's original copy (transcribed here), and other material were salvaged from his mansion by Keeper agents, right before the Hammers raided the estate and torched the remainder in a bonfire as revenge after the Trickster's fall.

Constantine had a parallel plan to gain power in the City. He composed this ritual, a Pagan 'mass' adapted to urban life, based on various original Pagan sources, but refined and with ‘rustic’ elements toned down. He first invited some of his guards, then open minded City dwellers to it discreetly, through the underground, gradually attracting more and more people, as a means of gaining demographic advantage in the City. He soon began training priests & priestesses and planting ‘house congregations’ throughout the City to spread the 'Viridarian Circle' as he called it. He planned to rename it to 'Order of the Vine' once it gained significant power. 4 months after beginning the ritual (which was more successful than he had hoped), he wrote in his diary:

The Hammers are weak, and of little influence. Most of the City has turned its back on the filthy church, and slipped into an uneasy atheism. The people are impressionable and ripe for the Old Ways. The increasing interest in the Circle, should the present rate continue, ensures that a third of the City may be converted within two years. We must be cautious and discreet for now, but will eventually invite Lords and authorities in the Baron’s service, gaining a foothold in government, and wipe out the sad remnants of the Builder’s spawn.  Nothing will stop us then.

Constantine continued with the conversion plan, but being impatient, he sought out Garrett’s help to fetch the Eye and precipitate his conquest of the world through the opening of a Portal. "If one method fails, the other shall succeed" we read much further in his diary.

The Liturgy took place every full moon. Constantine and Viktoria officiated as the Priest and Priestess. According to the Keepers, the ritual insidiously binds the participants to the Trickster’s power, whereby everyone who participated was immediately enthralled by their new faith, while Constantine himself was empowered by the worshippers' devotion. It is rumoured that long term practice of this ritual was the origin of rat and ape beasts, former humans transformed by the Trickster's power, and added to his growing army, though this has not been confirmed. Despite the Trickster's defeat, and the later ascension of the Mechanists, several underground groups in the City continue to practice this ritual.

Requirements:

- Four golden cups filled with berry mead and wine mix on the altar. Each has a spice relating to one of the four elements
- Candle or lamp
-Altar
-A sprig of marigold
-A bowl of blessed water
-A bowl of berries, enough for the whole congregation
-Resin incense
- Officiants shall don green robes. The Priest is the earthly representative and vehicle for the Woodsie King, while the Priestess is nature, the Moon, and His consort. If possible, let the priest wear the skull-mask of a stag or goat, as the village shamans do 

The Rite of Vine and Leaf

All gather in temple, face the altar and say:

We arise from the Thorn-Forests of Night into the Ordeal of the Briar-thicket. From the Briar-thicket we go to trespass the vine-covered Tomb.  Out go we from the vine-covered Tomb unto the waters of the Gardens of Desire.  Out anew from the Gardens of Desire to the haunted place of the Gallows-Root.  Flying from the Gallows-ground into the Wood of the Tree of Knowing. Departing from the Tree of Knowing to consume the fruit eternal. Out go we from the fruit eternal into the tendrils of the Soul-Vine. Leaving the Soul-Vine, we head  into the grain-circle of shaman-crafts and the Vale of the Woodsie Lord.

Priest places incense on the burner, faces the image of the Woodsie Lord beyond the altar, and says:

Hail, Woodsie Lord, Consort of Nature! Hail, holy Goat of our adoration, betwixt whose horns burns the Torch of true Wisdom. Hail Leafy one, whose cloven feet tread the immeasurable abysses of Earth; in whose body the Satyr and the Nymph are honoured as One. Hear us holy one, accept this sweet suffumigation, attend to this sacred rite which in Thine honour we here celebrate.

Congregation responds:

Through the thorny forest, the purging briars of ordeal; through the bleak and tearing gales, of mortal voice and of bestial cries, raised and joined in orison, came we unto the Dance of Satyrs, unto the Horned God's throng. O Horned One! Lord of all Life and Death! In the Making and the Breaking of the Masquerade, we crown Thee as our king. All-hail to Thee, Lord of the Living, King of the Dead! Open the floodgates of the old ways! Open for us the Eye that looks to ages past! 

Priest traces sigil of the Eye toward the image with censer three times, then lays down censer, and goes behind altar, facing congregation. Priestess comes with bowl of water, and sprig of marigold, wherewith she asperges water toward the congregation, saying:

May the ninefold dew of the Moon descend nightly hereinto, purifying your minds and bodies by the Green Lady’s hand. From out of the single sky-fallen droplet; from the rolling mist at the borders of dusk; from out of every twisting stream and rushing river; from each mirrored pool and from every dark-watered lake; from out of the seas that seethe and boil, out of every Kingdom of the vast and unmapped deep - We bid ye powers - hear us and cleanse us all! Wretched Builder, false God of foolish men, flee hence, for lies have no place here.

Priest lights candle, bows with it facing the Image, and whispers:

Unto the Fields of the Accursed ride forth ye Host of Hammerbane might, tendril of the gallows rope. Draw back the Coil & pull it tight. Hangman, fixes Heads in earth. From Root to Vine and Vine to Leaf, ensorcell now by Ban of Knot, Thou Compass whole of Midnight Sheaf.

Then faces the congregation & says:

IGNIMINUM SARTAMI PURISAROM! Let this candle burn in the Blood-acre, bright at the heart of the sacred altars of Nature; refulgent as the shining midnight in the Place where all Vessels shall break! There let the flame be quickened for the sake of the Point beyond the Pole; to mirror the Light in the Waters below, to summon darkness from the deeps and veil our world.

Hands candle to Priestess, who says:

Let this flame be quickened to open the Crossroads of Emptiness, to open the old ways beyond the swift arrow-flight of the hawk and sparrow; yea, to light the secret hearth-flame of ages bygone. For all shall pass through the centre of the Maw - to burn and thus be reborn in the dance of the Woodsie’s servants!

Priestess lays candle back on altar. Raises her hands and says:

I am the Time-wracked Desert Tree . Like unto a vast and splintered spine, my silhouette rears to strike the Heavens; in scarlet lightnings amid Star-fed fires, I thrive - the Naked Icon of all Desire! Revere me, and upon my boughs, hang ye the Offerings of thy Heart: wreaths of sweet flowers and of vines with tendrils coiled about such bones as from thy Rites shall linger. Thine own life and that of Beast conjoin, in bloody libation pour'd out upon my root. For I am that without whom ye could not be: the Vine of All-Sustaining Life!

Priest pours out the mead & wine into the four cups, saying:

Sap of berry, nectar of life, Honeymaker’s potion, fruit of the Vine, be’s you poured out as the rain over the fields. From root to vine, from vine to leaf, do thou nourish us this night, that our greenery may flourish.

Priest and priestess place the cups at the 4 quarters: East for air, South for Fire, West for Water, North for Earth. Priest at the East, priestess at the West. Priest sprinkles spice of Air into cup, then lifts it toward the East and invokes the powers of Air:

Host of the Four Winds, now gather in the East, great storehouse of the powers of Air, to drive the sails of the ship of shadow: mark in silence our ascent. Whirlwind gust, rouse to my command! Come wind and mist in ineffable form, to shake the temple with bellows-roar  and turn, turn, all to storm. Arouse the cup’s elixir with waves and squalls!

Congregation replies: Let it be filled!

Priestess in the west casts water spice in her cup, then lifts it and invokes water:

Waters of the West I call, bubbling well of silent deep, blood of life, and mist of morning. By Sun and Moon and Heavens between I adjure you: flow as the Font of Life. Waters black to hide the Cup, waters white to see it.  Waters red to enchain the flesh and waters wise to free it. By Dew-pool’s calm and wrathful skies, I call forth the One Fountain’s Flood, that the cup may overflow.

Congregation replies: Let it be filled!

Priest goes to South, places fire spice in cup, lifts and invokes Fire:

From the South do we call to the flames from without, that they may be united to the fires within. Furnace of heat and reduction, I entreat Thee. Spirit of Consumption, yet blessed flame of succor. In Force art Thou Hallowed, in thy kindling dwells the Benediction of the heart flame of our aspiration. Enkindle, enlighten this cup forthwith!

Congregation replies: Let it be filled!

Priestess goes to North, places spice in cup of Earth, raises it and invokes earth:

Salt of Earth, stone of the wise, bones of the blessed dead. Ash to ash, dust to dust, white Earth to black, to red. Mud of life whence flowers flourish, Earth perpetually grinding the bone-seed, ever afresh, to beget the essence of life. Former of the living bread in the miracle of incarnation; parting its substance at Midnight’s Table that all mortal flesh may eat. Let this cup be the form to thy force!

Congregation replies: Let it be filled!

Priest returns behind altar, faces congregation, candle in right hand:

May the emanation of the Four Elements from the quarters, the four seasons and the blessing of the Leafy Lord from beyond, the Curse of the Four Poisons and the Blessing of the Four Nectars, the honing of the sword and quenching of its blade - be realized in unison in partaking of this elixir.

Priestess at the west raises both arms and says

Sweet be this Garden of Virgins, beloved realm of the Greenwod’s Vine! Wherein the berry grows eternal. Drink ye the sun, awash in the moon beloved ones. Green hands, steal the Builder’s own Light.

Priest takes berry bowl, and goes to the congregation, saying:

And the Woodsie Lord said: If you be hungry, then feed for I am the honeymaker, and the jacksberry! Feed ye your flesh, take your fill of Me, for though manflesh is flawed, it is the steed of spirit, and all shall come to ride upon Man. Therefore let the worthy partake!

Priest eats a berry, then gives it to priestess who comes to the East. She then takes the bowl and serves the congregation. Afterward, her and the priest face east and say:

And the Leafy One said: If you be thirsty, drink of me. (pause)

Spirit of the Woodsie King, move thrice upon the Water’s face.  Spirit of the Green Lady, bear Thou three Lights of Grace. Spirits of the elements, claim four drops as yours. One gone forth to burn, one gone forth to churn, two to open up your eyes: take, drink, and be Thou Wise.  

Priest and priestess then direct the congregation to face the 4 quarters, first east, then west, south and north. They bring the respective cup from each quarter, drink therefrom, then give to the congregation to drink. Once done, congregation faces East, Priest and Priestess go behind altar facing congregation. Priest says:

Raise up your Holy Heads, Beloved, by golden flame and crimson shine. How smile upon the Woodsie fair  and pour forth the revel-wine.

Priestess:

Blood of our Father, Master of impenetrable groves! Bless us with this utterance: the remembrance of Thy Names! A silent sign of what lies beneath.  My flowers are the fragrance of desire, the Lady’s song in the greensie fields. My fruits ambrosia amidst desert thorn, for they nourished the Honeymaker’s sons in their wandering.

Priest and priestess, holding the candle aloft together:

Flesh of Our Father! Red-of tooth and white-of claw! Cleaver of the Shadow-gate! Long-of Reach and Supple-of Limb! Stalker at the edge of sunlight! Swift-of striking! Broad-of Swiping! Of grasp unyielding! Stripper of Bones! Opener of the Heart to the doors of the Sky! Laughing Scavenger! Proud-of stride! Green man of shady groves! Teacher of Dexterity! Turner of the Talon to the Glaiver of Flint! Slayer of Manflesh in moonlit nights!

(Here follows a period of meditation. Members of the congregation may have revelations or visions at this moment, as the Woodsie manifests Himself to each). Afterward, the Priest or priestess reads a sermon on Pagan Lore from a primary text. 

The ritual finishes with the Priest at the east, priestess at the west.

Priestess:

I am the Keeper of the Ever-turning Path of Wisdom! The Guardian of the Precious Greenwoods and beasts therein, compassing all mansie works, eroding them with vine and moss. Treading upon the Builder’s back, may we go forth amid our ancient brethren, yea, may we be numbered among the elect and the pure. 

Priest to congregation

Oh children of the Woodsie One, perfect disciples of the ever-growing Vine, may your hands go forth one unto the other, your mouths speak in perfect rhyme, your ears hear the Song of Leaves, your feet walk the roads of night. Blood of the Land, Blood of Man, depart from the twin Spirit-Fountains. Unite the Golden Road of nightly treks From step, to cloven step.

Priest, extinguishing the candle:

I shroud the lamp of life.  From root, to vine, to fruit to death,  ManzarI Amigrimun YedepaSH niResu ATSipriper hidamiUn menSiRIk. All is accomplished.

All bow, and disperse.



 

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