Rite of the Winter Winds

Seasonal Rite

Level Two

On the longest night of the year, Garou enact this rite as a salute to Helios and an encouragement for him to begin lengthening the days again. Some werewolves believe that if this rite is not performed, the nights will continue to lengthen until Gaia has fallen into a terrible twilight state of perpetual pain. Most modern werewolves consider this mere superstition, but even such skeptics participate enthusiastically in the rite.

The Rite of the Winter Winds is rarely the same from sept to sept. European Garou practice a common version that begins with the ritemaster gathering the Garou in a circle around a small bonfire. She then leads the group in an extended howl that begins as a low, rumbling growl and eventually rises to an ululating crescendo. When the ritemaster feels that the tension is at its height, she leaps forward, snatches up a burning branch and runs into the
woods. The other Garou follow her, grabbing branches as they go. Running as swiftly as they can, the werewolves make as many frightening and strange noises as possible. This rite is performed both to encourage Gaia’s labor in giving birth to the sun, and to frighten off any minions of the Wyrm that might be lurking about, ready to snatch the newborn sun or harm Gaia as she turns her attention away from the surface world.

The ritemaster finally leads the howling pack back to the bonfire, where they hurl their branches into the conflagration. Once the fire is raging, the Garou celebrate with a revel that lasts until dawn, at which time they greet the newborn sun with one last, triumphant howl.

Rite of the Winter Winds

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