A News Fast, the Anthesteria and Other Random Things   2 comments

I’ve quit watching the news. It was turning into an obsession. So was reading it and arguing about it on Facebook. The sheer awfulness and grotesquerie had me riveted.

So I quit, for the term of the Anthesteria. It’s been almost two weeks now since I’ve read an article on Trump or turned on a news station, and it was only hard for the first day. Now I’m so much happier watching Friends or Scrubs while I do household chores, and scroll past all the shouting on Facebook.

I get all the arguments about staying informed. I do. But sometimes lowering your combustion point is more important.

I think for me that when millions of Americans decided that the appropriate way to treat teenagers who had survived a massacre at their school and were turning their grief and terror and outrage into action is to smear, demean and threaten them, I decided to check out of the America-That-Is-Becoming. It’s not about Trump, ghastly though he is. It’s the demise of the shining ideals I thought were the country I’ve always loved. It’s about Americans, who are to a great extent far more foul, hateful and worst of all, abysmally stupid than I ever dreamed. Proudly, loudly ignorant, and viciously committed to anti-intellectualism.

But this isn’t a post about politics, or the alt-right, or the other atrocities going on in the world. I’ve pulled in the boundaries to right outside my fingertips for the time being, and that was just to explain why. Hopefully I’ll rebalance at some point soon and find a way to be involved and au courant without feeling dipped in a sewer, but until then I’ll remain in my bubble.

What I really want to do is get down my thoughts about the Anthesteria while it’s still fresh in my head. Another of the posts that’s far more for the future Me than anyone else. Sucks to be Future Me, as my stuff is scattered through social media, three blogs, a couple of diaries, a couple of sacred journals, and a stack of spiral notebooks. It’s a wonder I ever find any notes when I need ’em.

After missing the Anthesteria last year to the flu, it was terrific to dive back in this year, even though I’m weirdly and aggravatingly busy to the point where it’s making me a little mad (in all senses.) I didn’t get immerse myself totally in the unsettling festival that is the Anthesteria, but I did perform the rites, participate in the cyclical events that occur when the Dead of Dionysos flood out of the Underworld, and a have a few precious moments of ekstasis.

I flew in and out of the festival, having to work, and do mundane shit like get the photos uploaded and prints ordered for the upcoming show, and most of all bliss on the unexpected blessing of getting a new pony two days before the festival started. It was a disjointed focus. But it’s a disjointed festival. So there’s that.

28059544_10155276503281546_3004589278357429413_nFiona is a pretty wonderful distraction, eh? But never fear, priestessing comes before ponies, even when they’re pretty little Arab ponies with angel faces. And I didn’t let her get in the way of the rites, although I did take a couple of glorious hours on Khoes and go gallivanting on her.

I had really meant to start the festival on the Eve Of, as is traditional, but I was so behind going into it that I really needed the Eve Of to study, get a ritual plan written out, and pull the stuff for the festival together. I’ve gone into Dionysian ritual before by the seat of my pants, and it has bitten me in the ass. He’s a God of wildness and spontaneity, for sure, but having flowers and grapes and wine and chocolate are important ritual elements. If you don’t believe me, go find wherever it is I wrote up the Anthesteria a few years ago and forgot to buy wine and offered Him vodka instead. Thought it would be no biggie. Won’t think that again.

I had moments of this festival being deeply, personally meaningful, and stretches where the World maddeningly yanked me out of it. The main lesson I take from it, I think, is that sometimes priestessing is just about performing the rites. NOT getting anything personally out of it. Being there for my Gods, the spirits of place and time and necessity, my ancestors, and the nymphs. Pouring the libations, saying the prayers, making the offerings, purifying the space, arranging the flowers, reciting the hymns and epithets, bringing into the physical world the sounds and gestures and scents and actions that They require. If I get awesome messages and dunked in waterfalls of Love and story ideas and admonishments and direction changes and moments of awe or ecstasy or holy terror, that’s great. But I’m not the most important being in these interactions by a long shot, something we all pay lip service to but don’t always keep front and center.

The days ran together weirdly too. I had the festival broken into the traditional three days of Various Focuses, but they all bled and ran together in a way they never have before. Pithogia began after a rare night of insomnia followed by both jobs and a busy night, so I was flat out exhausted. Nonetheless I put together a beautiful altar if I do say so myself, with Linganore Indulgence (a sweet red local dessert wine, with chocolate) for Pithogia, 19 Crimes ‘The Banished’ for Orestes on Khoes, and Dark Horse merlot for Khutroi.

Anthesteria shrine

It wasn’t until I was out in a beautiful dusk that the World fell away, and I finally clicked into Priestess mode. It was just wonderful to reconnect, and re-member what my true purpose is. Didn’t last, mind you. I spent the whole three days seesawing wildly between joy, frustration, despair and calm resolution.

On Khoes it felt important to do a full lustration, really work to get the miasma out, but I don’t know that it was entirely successful. I made my Erigone girls, but they didn’t tug my heart the way they have in prior years. Because of time constraints I almost just printed them off the computer, but it feels important to make them, trace them, cut them out and color them, so I did. Although somehow despite being sure I had made the sacred nine, when I went out to hang them I only  had seven. So seven was it this year.

I performed the rites, the prayers, the actions.

Once again I found the silent portions of the day almost impossible, not because of any proscription about it, I’m just so dialed into reading the hymns aloud, using breath and voice, that I forget not to. I did spend a good portion of the day in silence, but not really the deep eerie silence of Orestes. However we did share the last bit of his wine together, he and I, on the deck under the moon, and what we said to each other shall remain between us. It was a good conversation, and really the only part of the day that went to traditional plan.

Khoes

On Khutroi I made the panspermia and dispersed it to the various shrines outside along with the moody dark creepy Dark Horse wine. The Basilanna energy, which had been notably absent on its traditional Khoes, roared in and overtook most of the day, which was disconcerting because it was another very busy day in which Dio and His Bride were jarring and overwhelming.

Not that I’m complaining. One thing I’ve learned about the Anthesteria is that the unexpected is all you can expect, and they weren’t anything like I expected this year, which is just what I expected.

And I did get some thrilling touches from Mnemosyne and Hermes, Working on me in tandem.

Wow.

khutroi

Another Anthesteria in the books! Time to go out the barn and play with my pony.

Anthesteria blessings to you all, dears.

Khairete

Suz

 

 

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Posted March 3, 2018 by suzmuse in Uncategorized

2 responses to “A News Fast, the Anthesteria and Other Random Things

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  1. I think everyone needs a break from the world now and again. I admit, for me, ritual doesn’t take me “away” any more. But then, maybe that is because my rituals are so terribly caused BY the world? I have to find a forest to hide in, or a wave crashing shore to deafen the world’s noise upon. And then, I find myself gripped by a kind of Stoic fatalism at times — some things don’t even bear talking about anymore, I put my head down and focus on what I can affect with my own hands, in my own reach ONLY.

    We find, take, and make our blessings where we can, right?

  2. i have to have ecstatic ritual in my life! otherwise the world would be unbearable.
    khairete
    suz

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