(Process in with the flame, perhaps as a candle)
Khairomen, o philioi! (Welcome, friends) We gather to welcome the harvest season, as our ancestors once did.
We begin by kindling our hearth, in honor of Hestia.
(Light the fire with the flame you processed in with)
Daughter of Kronos (CROW-nose), venerable dame, the seat containing of unwearied flame;
In sacred rites these ministers are yours, Worshippers much-blessed, holy and divine
Accept these rites, accord each just desire, and gentle health, and needful good inspire.
Great and glorious Hestia (HES-tee-ya), come light our Sacred Fire!
Khairete Hestia! (KY-ray-tay HES- tee-ya)
O Goddess, Earth, of Gods and men the source, endowed with fertile, all destroying force;
All-parent, bounding, whose prolific powers, produce a store of beauteous fruits and flowers,
All-various maid, the eternal world’s strong base immortal, blessed, crowned with every grace;
From whose wide womb, as from an endless root, fruits, many-formed, mature and grateful shoot.
Deep bosomed, blessed, pleased with grassy plains, sweet to the smell, and with prolific rains.
Lovely Gaia (GY-yah), here is a gift from us, your children!
(grain to the offering bowl – or ground if outside)
Khairete Gaia! (KY-ray-tay GY-yah)
Sources of blameless virtue to mankind, who form to excellence the youthful mind
Commanding queens who lead to sacred light the intellect refined
And to mankind each holy rite disclose, for mystic knowledge from your nature flows.
Come, venerable, various, powers divine, with favoring aspect on your worshippers shine!
Join us, Sisters Nine, and speak through our voices truly!
(oil to the fire)
Khairete Mousai! (KY- ray-tay MOO- sigh)
Acknowledgement of the Outsiders
Titans you are, who fought the Theoi (TAY-oy) 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.
(wine to the outside)
Fire, Well, and Tree
Song: Portal Song
(usual censing and sprinkling)
Statement of Purpose
We come to keep the Old Ways. We come to acknowledge the season of harvest. We come to honor the in-gathering of the bounty of the land. And we come to give sacrifices to those that have stirred this growth. To Dionysus, who has given us the gift of fruitful vines and vegetables, as well as joy, we will give our welcome. And as the ancients did at Eleusis, those who choose to do so will attempt to learn from the goddess Persephone, who returns to rule in the realm of the dead on this day. 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 Cosmos.
(oil 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 Traveler, 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 to the offering shaft)
Khairete Hermes! (KY-ray hair-MAZE)
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.
Oh Progenoi (proh-geh-NOY), 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 (pah-TROY) of our polis (poh-lees), 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 (MAY-tay-ras) of our polis (poh-lees), come and be welcome among us!
(Offer wine to the ancestors)
Khairete progenoi! (KY-ray-tay pro-geh-NOY)
Song: Mothers and Fathers of Old
Pneumatoi (PNEW-ma-TOY) of the stones and the streams, the rivers and farmlands,
You who dwell here alongside the folk, who join us as allies,
Dryades (DREE-ah-days) of trees, and mainades (MY-nah-days) writhing, owning the forests,
Hail all nymphs, naiedes (NY-ay-days), aurai (OW-rye), 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 (see-LAY-nee), and potamoi (POH-tah-moy), come and be welcome among us!
(Offer seeds and sacred water to the pneumatoi)
Khairete pneumatoi! (KY-ray-tay PNEW-ma-toy)
Song: (Powers of the Land and Sea, or Fur and Feather)
Theoi (TAY-oy), mighty gods and goddesses, strength of Olympos,
Wisest and strongest, overthrowing the cruel and barbarous beings,
Those who rule the worlds below, Khthonioi (k-TAWN-ee-oy), 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!
(Scented oil to the fire, wine to the offering bowl)
Khairete theoi! (KY-ray-tay TAY-oy)
Song: Hail all the Gods
Throughout the year, Dionysus has brought us bounty, joy, entertainment, and even divine frenzy in which truths are learned. He is the dying and reborn god, he who was cut into pieces and rejoined into the friend of humanity and bringer of joy we now know.
With love for your gifts to us 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.
Dionysus, accept our sacrifice!
In the harvest season in ancient times, many would gather at Eleusis to be initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries. Included in these mysteries was a secret which all were bound by oath to share only with others who had been initiated.
To approach Persephone, we must first purify ourselves of any mistakes we might have made that would make us unfit for her presence. Breath deep, and remember your center. Find within yourself anything that would take you away from this sacred space and work. Cup your hands in front of you, and allow those ills and impurities to flow into the cup of your hands. Keep them there as we come by and cleanse you with the waters of the Well, the fires of the Hearth, and the breath of the Air.
(asperge all participants with water, cense them with incense, and sprinkle the seeds in the liknon over their heads, to the steady drumbeat) Faith
Now purified, we may approach Persephone. Persephone, we bring to you the pelanoi (pay-lah-noy), round cakes, to enjoy the bounty of the world as you return to the living land. And we bring to you pork, in honor of those of the animal kingdom who must also go to your realm below.
Persephone, accept our sacrifice!
In your minds eye, see the beautiful goddess approach us through the gate. In her right hand, she holds a sheaf of grain. In her left, a flaming torch. Her hair is in dark curls, and falls freely on either side of her face. She is dressed for a funeral, prepared to make her journey.
(praise offerings as usual)
See now before us many of our gifts. And now we present for to Persephone, Dionysos, and all the gathered kindreds a portion of our harvest, that it may be given as one last offering in thanks for our prosperity.
(Final gift of oil and basket-of-produce, offer up with a classic druid’s hum/tone)
I take my seat in the temple at Delphi.
Show me the truths that the folk should hear.
Show me the blessings of the gods of the season.
(draw the oracle)
Blessing (wine, water)
We call for the blessing of the ancient ones.
From the cup of Hyacinthos 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 your strength and bravery! Hear us, Dionysos, and hallow these drinks with joy and bounty! Kindreds all – progenoi, pneumatoi, theoi – hallow these drinks with your knowledge and powers! Estw! Behold, the Waters of Life!
(begin passing the waters)
Song: Pour the Waters, or The Blessed Draught, or Water of Blessing
Now, we will accompany Persephone Despoina on her journey from this realm to the land of our ancestors.
Remember the goddess in your minds eye, clad in a black cloak, with torch and sheaf in hand. She looks at us and beckons us to follow if we dare.
She leads us out of our Grove and down a path to the shores of the Ocean. We begin to pass across the Ocean, at high speeds, as if we were in a very swift boat, landing on the far shore. The land here is blurry and dark, and it is hard to see exactly where your steps are taking you. But you see the faint form of the goddess ahead of you. A mighty three-headed hound, Cerberus, stands guard, but he sees the goddess and allows you to travel with her. We next pass by two springs, and the goddess speaks:
“Do not drink from these, no matter how thirsty you may be, for they may cause you to forget all you have learned.”
Now as we enter the Underworld proper, we are surrounded by shades of our beloved dead, and carefully continue following the goddess through the halls of the dead to the very heart of this realm, until we stand at the foot of Persephone’s throne in her court in the Underworld. From there, she speaks:
“The end of life is part of a cycle of constant change. What you have seen is a path that all of your kind must take, and with proper action in life it is a path that you need not fear. Remember this: The seeds of the next year’s growth come from what has been reaped. This applies to all things, not just to the grain. The balance of light and dark, birth and growth and death, joy and despair, it must be preserved lest all fall to ruin. Live lives of virtue and wisdom, and your contributions shall not be in vain.
Now, as I grant you release from this realm, I have asked Hermes to guide your way back.”
Now envision the gatekeeper Hermes in your mind’s eye, with wings on his feet and a herald’s staff in hand. He floats easily across the ground, and leads us out once again. He waves aside the shades of the dead as we pass, and with a gesture to Cerberus the mighty guard allows you to pass. With his aid, you float easily across the Ocean, landing back on the shores of the living. From there it is a simple walk back up the path to return to our sacred space.
Blessing the Feast
As we return to our realm of life, it is proper that we bless and honor the bounty of food that sustains us. May the wisdom and judgment of Persephone, the joy and fellowship of Dionysos, and the blessings of all the Kindreds of theoi (TAY-oy), pneumatoi (pNEW-mah-toy), and progenoi (PRO-gay-noy) be all present in our next meal. So be it!
- Any other workings that need to happen at this time
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, for your hidden wisdom, and for your fair judgment as queen of the dark, 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, We thank you!
Hermes, for guiding us back from the Underworld, for 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 gained. Let the gate be closed!
Muses, for inspiring the words and poetry of this rite, we thank you!
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! χάριν σοὶ ἔχομεν!
This rite has ended!