1. WELCOME: Gather the group in a circle (inside or outside the Medicine Wheel) and get everyone to hold hands to unite the group. One of the leaders welcomes everyone to the celebration and says a few words about the actual occasion and to connect with the ancestors of the land where you are: -
eg: at Spring Equinox: 'Our tribe gathers together today to celebrate the Spring Equinox - the time of equal day and night across the planet! We come together today to connect with our Earth Mother and Sun Father at the time of this sacred alignment. We ask for the blessing of the ancestors who are present here on this land, and of the guardian spirit of this land. May our celebrations bring joy into the body of Gaia here, and may she hear our songs and feel our love for her!'
2. INTENTIONS: Go around the circle, each person saying their name and their intention for the ceremony. When each person has spoken, he/she says 'AHO!' and everyone says 'AHO' back at them in recognition of their words. (It is traditional to go around the circle Sun-wise (clock-wise) when opening, and to close going around Earth-wise.
3. SMUDGING: One of the leaders (or more than one) will move around the circle 'smudging' each person present with a sage smudge stick (a bundle of dried white sage, as used by indigenous tribes for aeons - easily ordered online at amazon, etc). It helps to have a 'smudge fan' which is usually made of feathers, so that you can waft the smoke into the person's energy field.
Smudge each person from head to toe on the front of their body and then the back. You may say an invocation of your choice as you do this, like 'Let go of anything from your energy body which doesn't serve you, right here, right now'.
The person being smudged stands with arms slightly away from the body and eyes closed, receiving the gift of the sacred her plant with gratitude and joy. There may be drumming or music while this takes place.
4. CALLING IN THE 4 DIRECTIONS: Choose which direction to call in first, according to the season and celebration, and move sun-wise as you call each one in. EVERYONE FACES THAT DIRECTION AS YOU CALL THE ENERGIES IN.
The same person can call all 4 directions in, or 4 different people can each call one in. What works best is a heart-felt, natural invocation to the spirits of that direction and that element, (rather than reading something)
For example: -