Archive for September 2013

The Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, 13.0   10 comments


It’s hard to know how to write about the Mysteries. But I know through all of my attempts over the years to recreate them, I wished more people would. So here goes, although I doubt it will be of much practical use to anyone else. Mysteries are slippery that way.

Since thunking over to the recon side in my Demeter worship, I have tried earnestly and with much hand-wringing and pleading to the Two Goddesses to let me in. I have sat on a fleece (okay, saddle blanket) in the woods, waving a winnowing fan (bigass feather) over my own head. I have given myself passwords, and tied purple ribbons to my ankles and wrists. I have taunted myself ritually with bawdy words and gestures. I have filled the Kiste Mystika with the most mysterious stuff I could come up with, and taken it out, and put it back in, and done stuff with it. I have shown myself stuff, done stuff and said stuff. 

By all the Gods above and below, I have TRIED to recreate the Eleusinian experience. And it’s been good. I’ve gleaned some good stuff out of it. I’ve learned what works, and what doesn’t, and what might, and what never to do again, and what to keep in the wings. I’ve learned that trying to recreate Eleusis for people who are only mildly interested is a good thing for ME to do, as it pushes me out of my comfort zone and gives me tough things to do as a priestess. It does not bring enlightenment, or epiphany, or even a desire to serve the Two Goddesses to anyone who didn’t have it before. 

This is good to know.

So this year I took a different tack. Since I’m still vaguely miasmic (although not officially, I’m all ritually cleansed and able to function as a priestess again) I decided that rather than yet another attempt to re-enact faithfully, I’d spend the 9 days of the GEMs this year in contemplation rather than action, and hope for the silence to bring more enlightenment than the frenzied dancing and cries of Iakkhos (hoping the neighbors didn’t hear) and scattering of barley have done. And I think I can say that for me, it’s been a great success.

Which doesn’t mean I have much of anything to pass on. However, since writing is my form of magic, and the best way I know to engrave important things onto my brain, I’m going to write up a brief synopsis of how it went this year, and how it has helped me put a structure in place for next year. 

On GEM eve I decided how this year was going to go, and did some preliminary lustration and ancestor work. The ablutions were good, lengthy and focused, which made me very impatient at first, but then got past the monkey brain and placed me at least on the outer edge of the pathway downwards, which was where I needed to be. And the ancestors seemed, as near as I could tell, to be present and willing to help, and supportive of my approach. 

I began my fast on the first day (I’ll start on GEM eve next year.) Wimpy fast, just went vegan. Doing the Master Cleanse would be appropriate and awesome, as that degree of deprivation brings its own brand of clear-headedness and connection. Hard as hell, though. But I’ve let my devotional fasting slide abysmally in this year of mourning. Time to get back into a regular routine. Today’s focus was the pompe, moving from the mundane to the sacred, and to begin sinking into the ritual mindspace. I spent a lot of time contemplating the kiste, and what it means to be a sacred vessel. The communications I got were very subjective and personal so I won’t go into them here, but I think the contemplation could be useful for any epoptes. 

Day 2 involved further lustration, purification and the 3-fold offerings. I felt that in order to be pure and worthy enough to make the offerings, I had to be very, very ritually clean. So I scrubbed up twice with soap and water, then created khernips with sea salt, and asperged myself 3×3 with an asperger made from 3 different herb sprigs, while standing before the Demeter shrine. I cleansed the outside of the house, and when it was complete, gave the traditional ‘Hekas, hekas, este, O bebeloi!’ cry. At moonrise I took my offering to the Persephone shrine, and prayed and made offerings to Gaia, and specifically to the US, to Hellas, and to the Middle East. Then to community. Finally to my oikos. At the beginning of my offerings I was distracted by a weird, disturbing crying from the nearby woods. It sounded like a foal, or maybe a fawn, something young and scared. After the offerings I tried to find it, but it kept moving further off, often up in the trees, so I guess it was a bird of some sort. The mares, the dog and the cats, who were there during the ritual, weren’t bothered by it. 

Day 3 was kykeon prep and ritual taunting. I made the kykeon in the morning- organic barley, spelt and hard red winter wheat berries, toasted lightly until just fragrant, then added 9 cups of water, 1 sprig of rosemary (for the ancestors), 1 of stevia (for the sweetness of mortal life), 3 garden mint and 3 Persephone mint from the shrine. Not numerically pleasing, but I was in the zone and this was what I felt moved to do. Also 3 drops of pennyroyal oil. Brought it to a boil, then simmered for 33 minutes, strained and added honey, then let it cool. I brought some to an OCA Equinox ritual which I attended (it didn’t end up getting used), and then took the part of Demeter priestess in an excellent Mysteries-based ritual with Daimon and Beth, and Beth’s daughter who played the Divine Child. Back at home I offered the cooked grain and herb residue at the Persephone shrine, and drank some of the delicious kykeon. No insights, other than NOT to do ritual taunting until I’ve gained more insight into the reasons behind it.

Day 4 was the kiste ritual. ‘I have fasted, I have drunk the kykeon, I have removed the hiera from the kiste, I have performed the ritual, I have replaced the hiera.’ All done (except maybe the last.) I did Mabon ritual with the witches, to which Gabs brought a basket, and took 3 things out for our altar. Great ritual with the girls, no ritual at home except more kykeon at the Persephone shrine, where I got the message that the kiste will contain different things each year depending on my own progress. Possibly at some time in the future I’ll be granted sure knowledge of what it should always be. This year was more about me as kiste, and what I need to carry within myself.

Day 5 was devoted to wandering and mourning, which was exquisitely sad for me last year, but this year hard to sink into as it was a bright, beautiful, busy day. Finally took more kykeon (yes, I ended up with enough to have some each subsequent day of the Mysteries) out at moonrise, and wandered around long enough to finally take me down. Stopped at the Hekate shrine, the Persephone shrine, and finally at the Eleusis shrine, where I got some interesting insights into the importance of the kykeon as a transformational catalyst. As I was returning to the house the whole world lit up, bright green. I looked up in astonishment, and one of the biggest, brightest meteors I’ve ever seen was streaking across the sky until it disappeared in a shower of sparks.

Pretty fucking cool. Even the dog was impressed.

Day 6 was dromena (things done), deiknymena (things shown) and legomena (things said.) And wow! What an incredible experience! Went way deep into grain contemplation, and was gifted with gorgeous revelations that I don’t think would make one shiver of impact on anyone else. I think that’s what the Mysteries are ultimately- common knowledge that from time to time goes SHAZAM! and you go ‘Oh! So THAT’S what that means! And I always thought it only referred to (fill in the blank mundane thing.)’ So I’m not going into any of the specifics, because when written down, as it is in my ritual journal, it just looks like not much, when it was so, so, so very much. The epiphanies came before the 3 Things Ritual, which could have made it anti-climactic but it wasn’t. I lumped off to the Telesterion in the woods, where I haven’t been in so very long. I performed a sacrifice re-enactment involving a pomegranate, and it was awesome. So much for ‘just’ contemplation and no ritual. But I felt moved to do this, and I’m so glad I did.

Day 7 was the Underworld Journey, but instead of the traditional rabbit hole journey I make, this one was celestial. After ablutions went onto the deck, and lay down with head covered, but couldn’t let go. Finally uncovered and gazed upward, and had fascinating visions of Persephone’s seeds, the starbabies. Not sure I can explain it any better than that.

Day 8- Epopteai, the vision and experience of The Goddess. I made offerings at the Persephone shrine in the starry darkness, and felt a degree of terror, some a natural Holy Terror, and some just plain goofy fear (too much Marble Hornets). Got that I should not grant any headspace to stupid terrors, it’s damaging and wasteful.  Went back up to the deck and lay down again. Last year I drummed and danced before a fire, but this year I really wanted silence and stillness. I looked up into the night, and fell into the arms of my ancestresses, with the Two Goddess above and behind them. Again, too personal to go into further detail. But this was absolutely one of the most intense, incredible, ecstatic experience of the Divine I’ve ever had. Oh, if only I could keep it front and center how much I’m loved, we’re ALL loved. Life would be pretty much ecstasy. 

Day 9- Coming back was hard, hard, hard. I felt exhausted, heavy and slow all day, could barely drag myself around. I planned to run 9 miles, but barely staggered through 3, and that was about all I accomplished, except for final ablutions, libations and offerings to the dead. Nothing at all woo-woo happened, except for the stir of wonder when I remembered what the days before had brought. 

So, that was my GEM celebration, and I’m still spinning with it all. I have my outline for next year.

GEM eve- Start fast, cleanse, and mentally prepare.

Day 1- Pompe and kiste contemplation

Day 2- Lustration, purification, 3-fold offerings

Day 3- Kykeon prep and ritual, ritual taunting if permitted

Day 4- Kiste ritual

Day 5- Wandering and mourning

Day 6- Grain contemplation, dromena, deiknymena, legomena

Day 7-UW journey

Day 8- Epopteia

Day 9- Offerings to the dead and return.

And now it’s finally time to move into autumn……….

🙂 Khairete



Posted September 30, 2013 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

skeery things   5 comments


i’ve posted before about the gods scaring me sometimes. i’ve also posted about how i wish there were places to discuss offbeat things without sarcasm and know-it-alliness taking over.

there are a few places. and …duh, suz!……i’ve kind of got one right here, don’t i? not many people happen by my quiet little corner of the ‘net, any more than they do down the hidden lane where i live. but if i end up just talking to myself, well, shit, there’s value in that too. as a devotee of Hermes, i know the magic in the act of writing. (typing, in this case. writing works better. but that’s a different post.)

my land is so sacred, and dear to me, and peopled with non-people. it is protected, to the extent that a not-totally-competent mage can do, and it is holy ground because of the many shrines, the ground soaked with offerings, the numinous places, the relationships that have developed, and the beings that walk here. i love it here, i love being here, and tending the land, and worshipping the gods here, and getting to know the various spirits and wights and fae and nymphoi.

sometimes Things wander in. sometimes they’re curious, sometimes helpful. i have no doubt that i don’t even perceive most of ’em, perception not being my strong suit.

but sometimes they scare me. and it really, really bugs me when i’m out in my enchanted garden, and i get scared. i’m not so much talking about the Holy Terror that i sometimes feel (usually at a shrine, in the act of worship, and frankly it’s usually the kthonic crowd who can be pretty scary anyway.) THAT’S awesome, in a scary sort of way.

i mean just plain in terror of your life, no logical explanation, scared.

i was headed out to the Hermes shrine last night, clutching my ubiquitous cup of raw milk, after moonset but under starlight, through the dark orchard, when i found myself frozen. i just could not bring myself to take another step forward. a buck did that huffing noise over by the treeline, which is startling, but i live with lots of deer and they don’t scare me. it huffed and chuffed, moving up and down the front pasture, invisible but sounding the alarm. i stood in a circle of dying fireflies, glowing weakly in the grass, trying to summon up my personal power and MOVE. but the darkness by the shrine just looked so dark, and menacing, and fraught with Things i didn’t want to see.

i do not like being scared in my own sacred space. so i whipped myself up into moving forward. but as soon as i got my feet moving toward the shrine, a siren started to wail in the nearby town, and the high-tensile wire of the pasture came twangily alive as deer (presumably) began to flee over and through it.

i was done. i performed my prayers and libation where i stood, then came back in the house, but it frosted my nuggets. i feel so utterly safe here, it’s unsettling and unbalancing when i don’t. i’ve encountered gods, spirits, even a jotun on my land before, and dealt with it.

i dunno. maybe just a case of the heebie-jeebies. but i’m curious as to how many folks out there have encountered something similar, and how they handle it.



Posted September 10, 2013 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

Agon for Aphrodite   1 comment

Agon for Aphrodite.

isn’t this a nice idea? i’m going to have to see if i can come up with something!

Io, Ambologera!

Io, Anadiomene!

🙂 khairete


Posted September 10, 2013 by suzmuse in Uncategorized