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Dionysia Ritual: Hellenic Spring Equinox

Pre Ritual Briefing/Claiming & Saining

A druid briefs the public on the general outline of the rite, and runs through the words (spoken) and tune (sung) of the chants being used. Meanwhile, other druids claim & sain the ritual space.

Grove Attunement

The Druids lead a meditation intended to attune the company to the Earth and Sky powers and to join the company in spirit. This might conclude with an intoning or a proper chant or hymn.

Processional:

The folk process in, led be a bearer of the hearth flame, with song and dance, travelling at least once sunwise around the omphalos.

Opening Prayers

The bell is rung 9 times

Welcome, friends! We gather to welcome the return of spring, as our ancestors once did. As is our custom when honoring the deities of the Hellenes, we begin by kindling our hearth in honor of Hestia.

Hestia

As this invocation is being read, another lights the sacred fire from the hearth flame

Gentle and eldest and youngest daughter of Kronos and Rhea,
Virgin maiden of fire, Tender of Flame on Olympos,
Sister of Zeus, whose altar lives in each hearth on the Earth,
Great and glorious Hestia, come light our Sacred Fire!

Khaire Hestia! (Rejoice, Hestia!)

Gaia, the Earth Mother

An offering of grain is made to the offering bowl

First and the foremost, the mother of all the gods and the world,
Gaia we name you, Earth who gave birth to the Sky, named Ouranus
Then did mate with him and produce many other beings.
Lovely Gaia, here is a gift from us, your children!

Khaire Gaia! (Rejoice, Gaia!)

Muses, the Powers of Bardic Inspiration

An offering of oil is made to the fire

Muses with thoughts beyond, let your words be heard on our lips!
Tell us the best way to speak and grant us the fire inspired.
Let a new yarn be spun, let blessings go out in their beauty.
Join us, Sisters Nine, and speak through our voices truly!

Khairete Mousai! (Rejoice, Muses!)

Titans, the Outdwellers

Titans you are, who fought the Theoi before Olympos.
This is not your time, please accept this gift for your tables.
Likewise, let us set aside any thoughts not of blessings.
Trouble not our workings here, and leave us in peace.

An offering of wine is brought to the outside of the hall

Creating the Kosmos

silver is offered to the well, oil to the fire, and incense and water to the omphalos as the folk sing:
Song: Portal Song
Chorus

By Fire and by Water, between the Earth and Sky,
We stand like the World-Tree rooted deep, crowned high.

Come we now to the Well, the eye and the mouth of Earth,
Come we now to the Well, and silver we bring,
Come we now to the Well, the waters of rebirth,
Come we now to the Well, together we sing:

Chorus

We will kindle a Fire, Bless all, and with harm to none,
We will kindle a Fire, and offering pour,
We will kindle a Fire, A light 'neath the Moon & Sun,
We will kindle a fire, our spirits will soar.

Chorus

Gather we at the Tree, the root & the crown of all,
Gather we at the Tree, Below & above,
Gather we at the Tree, Together we make our call,
Gather we at the Tree, In wisdom & love.

Chorus

Purifying the Folk

Water is drawn from the well, and incense lit from the fire. They quickly cense and asperge the gathered folk, while the folk chant:

By the might of the waters and the light of the fire, this grove is made whole and holy.

Statement of Purpose

We come to keep the Old Ways. We come to acknowledge the season of birth. We come to honor the returning of growth to the land. And we come to give sacrifices to those that have stirred this growth. At this time, thousands would gather at Eleusis and make offerings to prepare themselves for receiving the greater wisdom of Persephone as she returned to our world from her captivity in Hades. And in the city of Athens, the entire population would gather for entertainments and the rites of Dionysus, who's vines have just begun to bud. As they once did, we too set aside time to welcome these deities of joy and prosperity into our lives.

Opening The Gates

Here sits the Omphalos, the navel of the world, the sacred center of all the Kosmos.
oil is poured on the omphalos stone
At this place did Zeus' eagles meet to mark the center of the world.
At this place did Apollon slay the Pythian serpent.
At this place does a World Tree grow, that stretches from the waters below to the fires above.

Swiftest Traveller, witness to all the realms and worlds,
Hermes, we call you to be our guide and keep safe our journey!
Show us the way to the lands beyond, let our voices be heard,
Make sure that blessings will reach the hearts and ears of the Kindreds!

honey and round cakes are offered to Hermes, and placed in the offering bowl
Khaire Hermes! (Rejoice, Hermes!)

Let the path to the Underworld be open!
Let the path to Olympos be open!
Let the path to the Otherworld be open!
Hermes guard our way, and let the gates be open!

Renew your center, and remember that with the gates open, the Kindreds hear our thoughts, so let only good things be welcome here. Also remember that the gods, and Dionysus in particular, wish us joy and happiness in our lives, so feel no need to hide your mirth.

Kindred Offerings

Progenoi, the Ancestors

an offering of wine is made, while one speaks

Oh Progenoi, our fathers and mothers, heroes and thinkers,
You whose lives still uphold our lives with your words and deeds,
Those whose warrior discipline kept safe the folk from the barbarous,
Hail the patroi of our polis, come and be welcome among us!
Those whose creative spark left us knowledge and artwork and wisdom,
Those whose poetic voice brought the thoughts of the Muses to writing,
You whose work in the world stayed after your souls went to Hades,
Hail the meteras of our polis, come and be welcome among us!

Khairete progenoi! (Rejoice, ancestors!)

Song: Mothers and Fathers of Old

Pneumatoi, the Spirits of Nature

an offering of seeds and sacred water is made, while one speaks

Pneumatoi of the stones and the streams, the rivers and farmlands,
You who dwell here alongside the folk, who join us as allies,
Dryades of trees, and mainades writhing, owning the forests,
Hail all nymphs, naiedes, aurai, come and be welcome among us!
Those who travel the mountains wild, erect and seething,
You who dance with frenzy to music of flute and drums,
Spirits inhabiting all the earth, and the seas, and the skies,
Hail all satyrs, sileni, and potamoi, come and be welcome among us!

Khairete pneumatoi! (Rejoice, spirits of nature!)

Song: Powers of the Land and Sea

Theoi, the Deities

an offering of oil and wine is made, while one speaks

Theoi, mighty gods and goddesses, strength of Olympos,
Wisest and strongest, overthrowing the cruel and barbarous beings,
Those who rule the worlds below, Khthonioi, welcome!
Those who rule the worlds above, Olympians, welcome!
Heroes who's deeds allowed them to join your great company,
Patrons and matrons of all those who gather before you,
You that create and guide our paths from the first to the last,
Hail all the Theoi, come and be welcome among us!

Khairete theoi! (Rejoice, deities!)

Song: Hail all the Gods

Key Offerings

Persephone Kore

In ancient times of spring, many would gather at Eleusis to begin the process of initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries. The first stage of this initiation was a sacrifice as a preparation to receive the wisdom of Persephone, queen of Hades' realm, and her mother Demeter. As they did, we will attempt to do so now, as best we are able.

To approach Persephone, we must first purify ourselves. We will purify ourselves with the water from the well, the flame of the hearth, and the air all around.

As the song is sung, another person will sprinkle the folk with well water, cense them with incense lit from the fire, and then shake the basket with seeds over their heads
Solo song: Demeter's Daughter

Snatched from our world, dear Demeter's daughter, to Hades' court below
Several small seeds, that tiniest morsel, kept her amongst the dead.
So gentle maiden, defend your choices, carefully make your plans.
For Persephone's sake, keep this counsel - always resist, you can.

Mourned all the world for Demeter's daughter, withered the fruitful crops.
Barren and cold, the land would not yield, her mother her crops did shun.
So gentle maiden, defend your choices, prepare to make your stand,
For many depend on your slightest whim, the bounty of all the land.

Many the pleas to restore her presence, not on deaf ears they fell
Returned that lady, restored the soil, seasons will turn again.
All for that goddess taken from beauty to the Elysian Fields.
She waits for us all when gone from this world, deep in the darkened land.

While this is being spoken, offerings of round cakes, pork, and poppies are prepared and given

--
Now purified, we approach the thea hagne, the pure Persephone. Kore, we bring to you the pelanoi, round cakes, to enjoy the bounty of the world as you return to the living land. We bring to you pork, in honor of those of the animal kingdom who must also go to your realm below. And we bring to you poppy pods, to help your mother Demeter forget the grief of your loss and experience the joy of your return.

Dionysos

Not far away, in the city of Athens, the citizens would gather at this time in their ampitheater to celebrate the Dionysia ta Astika, the Greater Dionysian festival. As they did, we will welcome the god into our gathering with song and dance.

As the song is sung, the image of Dionysos, a mask on a stick, is brought in and shown to the folk
Solo song: Dionysos Rise

Born and gone, the brilliant boy, lost to jealous rage
Father saved him in his thigh and reborn the happy sage.
Some are too precious, some must be saved, when an idea is torn
Never give up, the thought cannot die, Dionysos born.

From the Trickster, from his teacher, travelled the world far
On his return, transformed his captors, kept a seed in jar
Go and learn, watch for wisdom, you may see the way.
Overcome the obstacles, dear Dionysos, stay!

Raised up the vine, and joy emerged, he brought the frenzied trance
Laughter and freedom is his cry, drama and leaping dance.
From a chaos life emerges, welcome the strangest guise.
Share his blessing on all peoples, Dionysos, rise!

While this is being spoken, offerings of wine, figs, and ivy are prepared and given

--
With joy in our hearts, we now bring our offerings to welcome the joyful theos (TAY-ohs) into our company. We bring you wine, your gift to our kind and the bringer of joy and mirth. From our liknon, we bring you figs, that you be well-fed at our feast. And we bring you ivy, that you may calm yourself and recover from your frenzy when it is time to do so.

Praise Offerings

Final Praise Offering

The focus of the Dionysia were plays, so please help me welcome the Stone Creed Players to perform an abridged version of a complete new satyr play, Aeolus!

Oracle

I take my seat in the temple at Delphi.
Show me the truths that the folk should hear.
Show me the blessings of the theoi of the season.

An oracle is taken and interpreted

The Blessing

Hallowing the Waters

Children of earth, we call for the blessing of the ancient ones.
Together we cry … Olympians, give us the waters!
We join our hearts, that each of us be blessed.
Together we call … Olympians, give us the waters!
And as we are blessed, let all the worlds be blessed.
Together we pray … Olympians, give us the waters!

From the cup of Hyacinth we take up the nectar of blessing! This is the draught of Olympos, full of wisdom, love and strength, to aid us in serving the Shining Ones and each other.
Hear us, Persephone, and hallow these drinks with new life and health! Hear us, Dionysus, and hallow these drinks with joy and bounty! Behold, the Waters of Life! Esto! (So be it)

The waters are passed out to the folk, while the other blessing is made

In addition to the blessings of the fruits of the vines and the grains, we also have brought forth eggs and seeds, the symbols of new life, with the power of growth, to be as seed for our spirit, to grow blessings in us, to fill us with strength and joy in the time of springing green. Persephone, bless these new lives so that our crop for the season will be strong, our offerings great, and our minds wise! Esto! (So be it)

Song: The Blessed Draught, or Pour the Waters

Now let us rest in silence, with the Power of the kindreds in us, and know the blessing as it manifests itself in our lives...

Works

Works (if any) are brought before the Grove

Closing

The Olympians have blessed us. With joy in our hearts let us carry the magic from our sacred temple into our lives and work. Each time we offer to the powers they become stronger and more aware of our needs and our worship. Now as we prepare to depart let us give thanks to those who have aided us.

For your blessing and bounty of the upcoming season, Persephone, we thank you!

For your humor and joy in the upcoming season, Dionysus, we thank you!

Theoi, we thank you!

Pneumatoi, we thank you!

Progenoi, we thank you!

To all those powers that have aided us, we say again...
All: We thank you!

Hermes, for guiding and keeping safe the ways between, and for ensuring that honor and blessings can pass between us and the theoi, we thank you!

Now it is proper that we end what we began. By the power of Hermes, and by our magic:
Let the fire be flame.
Let the well be water.
Let all be as it was before, save only for the blessings we have shared. Let the gate be closed!

Muses, for inspiring the words and poetry of this rite, we thank you!

Then any unused offerings, return flow, incense, water etc. is offered, as one speaks

Gaia, to you we return all we leave unused. Uphold us now in the world as you have in our rite. Gaia, we thank you!

Hestia, for keeping the flame in our hearth and in our hearts, we thank you!

We end as we began, with the sound of the bell.

The bell is rung 9 times

This rite has ended!