Friday, September 21, 2007

And my Dedication to Dionysus

Dedication of Ariadne to Dionysus

Ariadne must bathe and purify before the ritual. She should fast that day. It will be her responsibility to create the water for all of the later purifications and sanctifications.

Take a bowl and fill it with water. Hold it aloft and say:

Water, be pure! Become like the tears that my namesake Ariadne shed when she behold the beauty of Dionysus on Naxos; become like the streams that flow through the forests on Mount Nysa, where the pure and lovely Nymphs dance; become like the waters that washed off the foolishness of Midas. Water, you are pure! You are pure! You are pure!

Pick up the bowl of salt. Hold it aloft and say:

Salt, be pure! Become like the bones of Dionysus which are stored in the tripod at Delphi; become like the rich, black soil of Nysa, nourished by the dancing feet of the pure and lovely Nymphs; become like the bran smeared on the face of the Initiate in the Lord's secret, nocturnal rites. Salt, you are pure! You are pure! You are pure!

Pour some of the salt into the water. Mix it thoroughly, envisioning the two essences uniting. Then wash your hands and face with the holy water, feeling it carry off whatever miasma has attached itself to you. Pour some of this holy water into the bath water before bathing.

Climb into the tub and bathe. While bathing, meditate on purity, and what it means. When done, drain the water, and watch the dirt, both emotional and physical, drain down with it.

During the ritual, when it comes time to do the Dedication, Ariadne should approach the altar with her sacrifices, wine, food offering, etc. She should pick up the water, and sprinkle herself with it three times, saying:

Let all things profane depart!

She should stand there, mindful that she is before her Lord. She should speak words to him, like this:

Greetings, O Dionysus! You who are hailed by the maenads as the beautiful one, the fertile bull, the dancer on the mountain, mad one, boisterous one, full of life, ecstatic, many-formed and many-named Lord of ineffable mysteries, hear my words, my praise, and my pleas.

The first offering is of incense. She will toss the incense into the flames, and say something like this:

As fragrant as your skin when you appeared to Ariadne on rocky Naxos, are these herbs. Sweet smelling mint, fresh and inviting, and dusky, musky oregano, deliciously scented. Fill this sacred space with the scent, that we may rejoice in you!

She shall light a candle and place it in the middle of the altar. Her right hand shall rise to Dionysus, her left shall pass over the candle flame, feeling the warmth on her palm. She should say something like this:

This flame is lit as a reminder of you, O Lord, for you are the one who leads the torch-song on the Holy Way from Eleusis. You appear out of the dark, when we most need you, to guide us into the light. You show us the way to live more fully, to embrace the heat of passion, to ignite the molten core within us until it burns as brightly as the shining stars in heaven, who dance forever in your train!

She shall hold up the bottle of wine to Dionysus and say something like this:

This, O Lord, is your greatest gift to care-worn mortals, for it eases our suffering, and when we are drunk from it, we are filled with joy and a lively spirit. Without wine, there would be no festivals, no fine banquets, no sacrifices for the Gods, and love would completely disappear from the world. But wine is even more precious than that, for this wine is your blood, first poured out upon the black earth when the Titans set upon you with their murderous knives. A part of you dwells in each sip of wine, and dwells within us when we drink it.

She shall pour out the libation, and then share the wine with everyone else. When the wine is drunk, the food offering should be made, then shared with everyone else. Then she shall say something like this:

O Lord, you have called to me from the vines, as you called to my namesake as she wept on the rocks of the isle of Dia. I am learning, slowly, to answer your call. I beg you to accept me as your priestess, to help me to become better in your service. I approach you with the four virtues firmly in mind: courage, temperance, wisdom, justice. I am not perfect, but I am yours. In honor of you, I take a new name, and henceforth I shall be known as Sofia Ariadne, that I might always be mindful of the wisdom you can grant us.

I also take pause to libate to Hecate, my Lady for so many years.

She shall libate wine.

Hecate was first to call me, and I shall never turn away from my service to her. I owe her many debts, and much love. I thank her for her patience as I, stumbling and occasionally blind, learned better and greater ways to honor her. I shall now serve you both, your priestess.

Sacrifices of icons or images of both Dionysus and Hecate shall be commended to the flames at this time. The priest shall say,

Let all be silent.

After a few moments, Sofia Ariadne shall turn to the attendees and greet them all, newly reborn into the service of the ancient Gods.

Bibliography:

Sannion's Sanctuary. Hellenic Polytheism. http://www.winterscapes.com/sannion/hellenic_polytheism.htm
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