Archive for February 2013

anthesteria 2013   5 comments




i feel a little like my first crocuses here, pallid and cold and damp. but struggling up to meet the sun.

i’ve done *something* for anthesteria for several years now, but this one took on a particular resonance. part of the reason is simply that i’ve been going deeper into priestess mode, but part also because 2012 was so damn hard on so many levels. losing mumsie was the worst (technically the loss occurred in 2013, but the preceding month was terrible and wonderful beyond anything i’d ever experienced.) the boys all moved out. my horses finally became too old and lame to ride any more. a lot of good stuff happened too, don’t get me wrong, but i actually have a few legit reasons to need the miasma of last year cleared.

but what really kicked my ass going into it was a post by sannion, who had some parallel experiences going on in his life, and as usual he nailed it. to paraphrase, if a person believes in actual, living gods, and has a relationship with those gods, and prays to those gods, and has prayers answered, that person can’t realistically be excused from some degree of responsibility (read blood-guilt) if that person has prayed earnestly and sincerely for the death of a mother.

it doesn’t mean it was the wrong thing to do, or that i feel bad for doing it, or that i’m remorseful. mumsie was amazing during that last month, brave and calm and ready. she suffered a lot, in ways i didn’t expect and which still haunt me. no kind person could have prayed for her to endure it for any longer, and i was filled with gratitude when she died her good, good death. 

that doesn’t mean i don’t bear responsibility, and therefore share in the miasma of orestes. 

i hadn’t ever given more than token ritual service to THAT particular aspect of the anthesteria, and it chilled me that i knew i needed to this time around.

anthesteria is so strange, and it took so long to even begin to wrap my head around it. dver helped me out a lot, showing me how the seemingly disparate narratives actually weave together in unexpected, backhanded, graceful ways. and i journeyed through some of the darker back roads this time.

i didn’t get a sense of the keres, not the way i do, say, at samhain. maybe just because i’ve been celebrating samhain for so very many years now, and am more attuned to those particular subtle energies. i ritually welcomed my beloved dead, and hoped wistfully for some contact with wumsie, but it didn’t happen. what did happen was a lot of time spent with erigone, and ariadne. not the beautiful bride ariadne, not the dewy-eyed basilanna welcoming Dionysos Orthos, but the sad girls. the lost girls. the hanging girls. the dead girls. my dying dryad. and, like a dark note of music, or distant boom of the sea, persephone underlying all of it. the kore, stirring under the earth, preparing to erupt into the spring air, bringing with her the scent of the open grave.

one thing i really screwed up was not having dedicated local wine ready to go. i tried to open the bottle of pink champagne i had left over from christmas, but couldn’t get the damn cork out. so on pithogia i dithered over what to offer, and went with whipped cream flavored vodka, only taking a sip myself. in retrospect grape juice would have been better. dionysos’s gifts of freedom, madness, ekstasis and katharsis are all available to his worshippers through the act of worship, no intoxicants absolutely necessary. but as far as offerings go, giving Him something from his sacred plant would have made a lot more sense. the raw milk was well-received by the maenads (all the nymphoi love that stuff!) but i should have given the god his due.

weirdly, though, i went to bed early after pithogia, and woke late on khoes feeling just awful. it really felt like a hangover. even a lightweight like me doesn’t get even tipsy from a sip of vodka, but i was an unhappy camper. it was interesting to read that those who celebrated ‘right’ (with wine) felt pretty much the same way. i’m thinking the festival affected all of us more than the booze.

i finally did get the dang champagne open, and offered it after sundown on khutroi. and ended up with TONS of panspermia, so offered it not only to hermes and the keres, but at the shrines of dio and the dryad, and persephone. 

dionysos scares me. often, and badly. i was at his tree a month or so ago, and as i lifted the libation to pour it, a pigeon came screaming out of the branches into my face. when i took the panspermia and (finally) opened a bottle of new red wine to finish up the festival, i was standing there in the bright bright moonlight and suddenly i knew there was someone else there. i froze, even holding my breath, and i could clearly hear the sound of breathing close by. 

jesus. so scared.

finally i gathered up my shattered courage, finished the prayer and libation, and turned my back on the treeline and walked away without looking back. it wasn’t until i was across the driveway that i stopped anticipating teeth at the back of my skull.

i will definitely remember to have the wine selected and ready next year. but i’ll bet He scares me anyway.

later that night, after the keres had been ritually expelled, prayers and love offered to hermes, the house smudged, the festival officially closed, i went back out into the moonlight to give the nymphs their full moon goodies, and felt so light and free. i really felt as if my miasma, and to some degree my grief, had been purged. really, pretty wonderful.

but this morning i awoke again with a heavy, heavy heart. not just for my recent losses, but guilt over stuff long past- episodes of being a shitty mother to my boys, of being a bitch to david, of impatience and cruelty to animals in my care, of cavalier treatment of friends who deserved better. an ugly parados of sins, flickering behind my closed eyelids.

i’m reminded that rituals don’t put things to rest, they start processes that often take a very long time to play out. and apparently i have a lot of Work to do.

my gods are demanding, and do not always handle me gently. but i’m so grateful that i have an ass that’s worth kicking into serving Them better.






Posted February 26, 2013 by suzmuse in Uncategorized