(Process in with the flame, perhaps as a candle)
(9 knells on the bell)
Khairomen, o philioi! We gather to welcome the return of spring, as our ancestors once did.
We begin by kindling our hearth, in honor of Hestia.
Daughter of Kronos, 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, come light our Sacred Fire!
(Light the fire with the flame you processed in with)
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, 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- sy)
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
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, with song and entertainment, with drink and dance.
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 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 to the offering bowl)
Khairete Hermes! (KY-ray-tay 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. 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.
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-ry), 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
Kore / Persephone
In times of spring, it is proper to give gifts to the returning maiden of spring, Persephone Kore.
Before we approach her, we must first purify ourselves, with water, fire, and air. As you are sprinkled, censed, and blessed with seed, remove from yourselves all that hold you back from new growth in the coming season.
(three officiants travel together to sprinkle water, cense, and shake the liknon over all participants to a heartbeat drum)
Oh Vernal queen, whom grassy plains delight, sweet to the smell, and pleasing to the sight,
Whose holy form in budding fruits we view, Earth’s vigorous offspring of a various hue,
Hear, blessed goddess, send a rich increase of various fruits from earth, with lovely peace,
Send health with gentle hand, and crown our lives with blessed abundance, free from noisy strife.
Kore, 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. 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.
Persephone, accept our sacrifice!
It is also the time to acknowledge the first fruits of the vine. And we do now as the ancients did, honoring the bringer of mirth with joy and song and entertaining performances.
We welcome ivy-crowned Dionysus, the loud-crying god, splendid son of Zeus and glorious Semele. The rich-haired Nymphs received him in their bosoms from the lord his father and fostered and nurtured him carefully in the dells of Nysa, where by the will of his father he grew up in a sweet-smelling cave, being reckoned among the immortals. But when the goddesses had brought him up, then began he to wander continually through the woods, thickly wreathed with ivy and laurel. And the Nymphs followed in his train with him for their leader, and the boundless forest was filled with their outcry.
Now, let us welcome the god into the grove with song and dance.
(bring in the image of Dionysus, a mask of a bearded figure on a stick, to a steady drumbeat, dance, and a recitation of Homeric Hymn 26 in Greek)
So hail to you, Dionysus, god of abundant fruit! Grant that we may come again rejoicing to this season, and from that season onwards for many a year.
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.
Dionysus, accept our sacrifice!
Final Praise Offering
The focus of the Dionysia were plays, so please help me welcome the Stone Creed Players to perform a new satyr play!
(Lead the applause if needed)
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.
(draw the oracle)
Blessing (wine, water)
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! Estw!
(begin passing the waters)
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! Estw!
Song: Pour the Waters, or The Blessed Draught
- Blessing of the feast
The theoi 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, 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 gained. Let the gate be closed!
Muses, for inspiring the words and poetry of this rite, we thank you! χάριν σοὶ ἔχομεν!
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!
We end as we began, with the sound of the bell.
(9 knells on the bell)
This rite has ended!