"In darkness, the drums beat like a wild heart, and the steady pummel gives way to chanting. Bare feet dig into the sandy ground. Candlelight flickers in the corner of the room, a wave of yellow that drowns out the shadows and ebbs the altar. It sits in the center of the consecrated space. Flower petals cover on e end; a jug filled with water sits on the other. Those who have gathered are young and old, black and white, male and female. They are Witches, priests, and priestess of Voodoo, shamans from various Native American tribes. Religion is secondary to the intended goal. The worship of Earth has no specific affiliation, and ritual belongs to every creed and culture.
On this, the eve of the Summer Solstice, the group has joined forces to honor the birth of the God. For the moment, daytime and nighttime are equal, but soon the Sun will reign supreme in the heavens. Blessed light. It is the season of fruit and bounty. It is the time that augurs a renewed sense of life and passion. Earth, having slept through the long winter months, is now ready for a rebirth.
A woman dressed in white moves to the center of the circle. Following the rhythm of the drums, her body jerks and bounces beside the altar. She wraps her hands around the jug of water and , praising it as a symbol of the ocean, lifts it above her head. "Hail to Macomba," she cries out. "Goddess of sea! We give honor!" She dances clockwise, pausing before a young man holding a ritual gagger in his fingers. Together they drift back toward the altar. The cadence of the drums if furious. The young man freezes, looks up, and with his dagger carves a pentagram on the air. "We honor the elements of Earth and the Spirit of the divine!" he shouts. He turns to glance at the woman. She is trembling in the immediacy of the moment, a soul possessed.
Others come forward. They scoop the flower petals from the altar and sprinkle them across the ground. An elderly man utters a prayer before dropping a handful of seeds at his feet. "We honor the God," someone says. "He who is known as Apollo, Pan, Hermes, Zeus, and by many other namescome into our circle now! Grant us health, Grant us union with the universal forces that are your guides! Come!"
The drummer-his face covered by a red mask, his head adorned with deer antlers- stands and walks forward. He pauses. There is silence. A collective breath pierces the air. They listen as the candle flames crackle and a soft wind stirs.
The drum is struck-a single, deafening boom. Something moves but everyone remains still.
The woman in the white holds out the jug of water, uncaps it. "May our knowledge flow like the boundless oceans of the earth," she says, pouring the water over the dandy ground and the scattered seeds. "May the power of our minds grow like the sweet bounty of the earth."
The drums resume their chilling beat. Arms outstretched, the men and women dance and pull at the sky, summoning the forces of a new dawn.*