Wednesday, March 24, 2010
We had a lovely time at Spring Rites this year, although it was a very small group (just four of us). I'm opening a bottle of wine here, although I later found out it wasn't wine (it was mead). Everyone was very glad I'd watered it as the Greeks do, or we'd have been weaving on our way down the hill! To the right of me you can see the small bbq unit I bought to use as a tiny raised fire pit. It worked incredibly well, although I didn't get the fire going well enough for it to last the whole ritual. It did burn through all the important parts, though!
In this picture, I am making offerings of barley and wine to the gods we called upon for ritual (Haides, Persephone, Demeter, and Hecate). To the left of me you can see our basket of goodies, and around the fire pit are the items that we offered up in sacrifice.
Part of what I do at this time of year is read a version (usually not the same as the previous year) of the myth of Haides abducting Persephone. Last year I read a version written by Dianne Sylvan, so this year I decided to be Classical and read Homer's Hymn to Demeter. It's very long, so I had to modify it slightly. I did not read the parts that were not directly involved in the abduction story. It still ran over five minutes! Yet it was beautiful, and it carried a lot of meaning.
Here I am making an offering of unwatered wine to Haides and Persephone as Queen of the Underworld. It was poured into a small shallow dip in the ground, and we didn't share that part of the wine.
I also made two new offerings this year, which had strong meaning for me but which are not particularily Hellenic in origin. I offered some of our fresh-made maple sugar and some wine mixed with lemon into the fire, for Persephone as Demeter's Daughter, a mix of the sweetness of life that can fill us, and the bitterness that sometimes overtakes us. This part of the ritual in particular had very deep meaning to me.
Our family has blessed eggs to "plant" in the corner of our garden for a number of years now. This year, we had our own eggs from our hens, and I decorated them with black images. There are eight of them: four for the corners of the garden, and four for the corners of the orchard. On top of the eggs are prayer flags, brought to me by our dear friend Kyther all the way from Thailand! I added those to our pile of items to be blessed for hanging in the tree in our front yard. I suppose it's a hold-back to my Wiccan days, but it's such a meaningful ceremony for us. It fits the season.
We blessed them, hands over the pile, sharing and mingling our love, our energies, our frustrations and joys. Being able to share this special time with my friends and family was just wonderful!