Archive for February 2019

Anthesteria ’19   2 comments

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the Anthesteria, it’s not to get too invested in how I think it will go. So this year was interesting in both what is proving over the years to be consistent, and what veers into completely unexpected directions.

One thing that’s been eerily consistent over the years is the weather. (And now that I’m saying it aloud, it will almost certainly shift- the old witch admonition to Remain Silent exists for a reason.) The first day, Pithogia, is usually fresh and spring-like and exciting. Winter returns on Khoes, and Khutroi plummets into snow or polar vortex temps or other uncomfortable meteoroligical phenomena. And that proved true this year.

Pithogia started off gorgeous, sunny and mild with cool sweet spring-y breezes. But it clouded up quickly and stayed gray all day. At least it didn’t rain. I did my farm chores, bounced out to the Inn for a tarot client, and came home to the heart-shaped (although not spurting) meatloaf for our belated Valentine’s dinner. After we ate I set up a really, really beautiful altar- Linganore peach wine, a white candle and white and red flowers for Pithogia, 19 Crimes ‘Banished’ (for Orestes) with a red candle and pinkish/greenish roses for Khoes, and Dark Horse pinot noir with a purple candle and dark purple irises for Khutroi.

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There were also gold tapers, fresh grapes, statues and bling.

Shrouded all the shrines but Dio’s (Hestia was ambiguous but ended up covered), cleaned the hearth and selected the incenses. Opened the ritual with some pretty heavy duty cleansing in addition to the standard stuff, and read a hymn by Lykeia from Written in Wine. Later I took a pretty plate of food out to Dio and his dryad under the eerie clouds, which had thinned just enough to let the almost-full moon gleam through. While I was out there with Him, the wind shifted to the north and the temp dropped significantly. It blew across the open mouth of wine bottle, making ghost sounds. I felt spirits I’ve never encountered before in addition to the restless dead of Dionysos, the Mothers and Others and familiar nature spirits. What passed between us all is for my private notes, but I was surprised that after Her strong presence last year, Persephone was as quiet as….. well, the grave.

Later I traced and cut out my Swinging Girls.

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Khoes was spectacular, brilliant sunshine followed by a brilliant moon-drenched night. But brrrrr, so cold! It was a very pleasant day all round, really, but a strong undercurrent of miasma ran through it, as it did on Pithogia. The moon accompanied me on the drive to PA to visit some of my favorite kids, ghostly and enormous in the electric blue sky, then dramatic as I drove home through the sunset and purple dusk.

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I’m not an artistic person. Coloring my Erigone girls isn’t a process I particularly enjoy. This year, as the last several, I really wanted to just print them off the internet and be done with it. But there’s something so intimate and necessary in actually making them, adding eye color and features and sashes and buttons. I might freehand them next year instead of tracing, which is a PITA, but the dynamic poses once they’re hanging from the tree are so heartbreakingly evocative, not sure my freehand skills will be sufficient.

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Orestes didn’t actually come through (I remember one Khoes spending a lot of time shooting the shit with him under the stars on my deck) but the feeling of his role in the festival did. The role of the girls as pharmakoi, together with the silence of the night’s ritual, has given me some deep ponderings to ponder going forward.

Hestia had a surprising amount to say to me.

Khutroi was a dark, difficult day. I had a feeling this was coming (my Imbolc with Gabs gave me some heads-up that I have Things to Go Through between now and Ostara) but it was still unpleasant. I combined the dregs of all three wine bottles and carried it to the pond to perform my first Hydrophoria, which I’ll probably keep going forward. I didn’t make a panspermia this year, something HAD to give, so instead I offered the departing dead a nicely dressed plate of regular food. By the time I banished the keres it was after midnight and I was wrung out like an old sponge.

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But I was gifted with a precious, precious message from my Mom, which made all the pain, difficulty and discomfort of this particular Anthesteria all worthwhile.

When the rubber meets the road, I trust Dionysos with all of it. It’s not always fun, but it’s always Good.

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I’m glad there’s a week to breathe and regroup before the Lesser Eleusinian Mysteries start next week. The Anthesteria usually wring me out, but more so than ever before this year.

 

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Posted February 20, 2019 by suzmuse in Uncategorized