Prometheia

Processional- 

Song: “Journey to the Temenos” by Jan Avende

Children of the Earth

Journey to the Temenos.

In reverence and mirth

We join our hearts as one.

 

We’ll make offerings

As our voices sing

To the Kindreds here

That our hearts hold dear.

 

Purification- (written by Jan Avende)

*Celebrants will cleanse hands in a bowl of salt water, and dry on a clean white cloth.*

 

Look within yourself, and set aside those things that will not serve you in this rite.

Look within yourself, and strip away the miasma that clouds your visions.

Look within yourself, find the center of you, and come be welcome in this sacred space.

 

Opening Statements- (written by Jan Avende)

Children of Earth, we come together today, the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice, to celebrate Prometheia, honoring the Mighty Titan Prometheus.  It is fitting that we honor him today, as the Sun rides high in the Sky, burning bright for all to see.  Prometheus is friend to all mankind, having stolen the Divine Fire for us, so that we may live in comfort and joy, and be joined together through the community that the Fire offers us.  With our focus on Community this weekend, joined together here at ComFest, let us honor the Kindreds with reverence and love in our hearts.

 

Opening Prayer: (Three Cranes Liturgy)

The spirits of the sky are above us.

The spirits of the land are around us.

The spirits of the waters flow below us.

Surrounded by all the numinous beings of earth and sky and water,

Our hearts tied together as one,

Let us pray with a good fire.

 

Hestia- (written by Jan Avende)

The Children of the Earth call out to Hestia!

First born and last born,

you are the Lady of our Hearth and Heart.

Your fire burns strong in us,

And we ask that it burn brightly here on our hearth now.

Hestia, sweet fire maiden,

Join us here.  Be our good fire and sanctify our hearth.

Warm us and light our way.

Hestia, accept our sacrifice!

 

All: Hestia, accept our sacrifice!

 

Earth Mother- (written by Jan Avende)

The Children of the Earth call out to Gaea, the Earth Mother!

Great Gaea, you who gave life at the beginning of all things,

You who ground us in your soil and sustain our being.

Through you, all the children of the earth are blessed in their harvests,

Through you, are all creatures given life.

You are Ge, the Earth, and Gaea, the mother,

O Holy Goddess and Bountiful Spirit,

We delight in your rich earth

and sing to your bones.

Gaea, Earth Mother,

Meet us at the boundaries.

Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our good fire.

Aid us and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Gaea, accept our sacrifice!

 

All: Gaea, accept our sacrifice!

 

Surrounding Sea- (written by Jan Avende)

The Children of the Earth call out to Okeanos, the Surrounding Sea!

You who encircle the Earth with your nine shining streams.

Bull-horned god, you drench us in calm and understanding,

In magic and mystery.

From your waves you share with us love and beauty.

You guide the rising and setting of the stars.

Father of river, wells, and springs,

Your serpentine form wraps the powers of the waters around us all.

Okeanos, Surrounding Sea,

Meet us at the boundaries.

Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our good fire.

Aid us and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Okeanos, accept our sacrifice!

 

All: Okeanos, accept our sacrifice!

 

Sky Father- (written by Jan Avende)

The Children of the Earth call out to Ouranos, Brilliant Sky Father,

You who shine down your wisdom,

Who drape us in your star-studded cloak,

Your primal forces breathe life into us.

Air and Sky, whirling and swirling, calling us

to the beginning and end of all.

Starry Heaven, covering all the Earth in your power.

Your azure form that knowns no bounds,

Whom none can tame as you whisper the world to life.

Ouranos, Sky Father,

Meet us at the boundaries.

Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our good fire.

Aid us and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Ouranos, accept our sacrifice!

 

All: Ouranos, accept our sacrifice!

 

Inspiration- (written by Jan Avende)

The Children of the Earth call out to the Muses Nine!

You of verse, history and emotion: Kalliope, Klieo, Erato.

You who dance and act: Terpsikhore, Melpomene, Thalia.

You of science and prophecy: Euterpe, Ourania.

You who sing through me the hymns of my heart: Polyhymnia.

Sweet-voiced Muses: Meet us at the boundaries.

Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our good fire.

Kindle the Fires of Inspiration in us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Muses, accept our sacrifice!

 

All: Muses, accept our sacrifice!

 

Two Powers- (written by Jan Avende)

Children of Earth, take a moment to calm your mind and body. Breathe deep and close your eyes. Listen to the sound of your own breathing. Hear your heartbeat thrumming inside you. Pause for a second and just listen.

 

***Pause***

 

See in your mind‘s eye where you stand now and picture yourself walking away from where you are.

You‘re walking towards a deep and old forest. Feel the cool, damp earth on your feet. As you enter the forest feel a cool breeze brush your cheek, refreshing in this summer heat.

 

Notice the sounds around you. A gentle rustling of leaves, perhaps from the wind, perhaps made by a squirrel bounding by. Notice the sunlight dappling across your face. The joys of summer caressing your face, filling your soul.

 

As you are walking deeper and deeper into the forest you suddenly come upon a clearing. There is a small pond in the middle of the glade surrounded by trees around the water‘s edge. One of these trees calls to you and you glide over to it. Place you hands on the trunk and feel the rough bark against your palm. Feel the ancient wisdom emanating from it.

 

Turn and place your back against the tree. Feel yourself sinking into it, becoming part of the tree. Feel your toes mix with the roots twinning down into the earth. Allow you mind to follow those roots and tendrils as they creep ever deeper, until suddenly they plunge into the cool deep waters far below the surface of the earth. Use the knowledge of the tree to pull those waters up through your roots. Feel them approaching you, up and up, until they reach your toes.

 

Feel the waters pulsing up through your toes and heels, moving up your legs and pooling in your groin. Feel them surging up into your chest and down your arms. Feel your branches swelling and cool waters seeping into your fingers, your leaves. Feel the waters rush up and fountain out the crown of your head, your uppermost branches and leaves, and come cascading back down into the earth to soak back down cooling your roots again. Having taken your fill, feeling replenished, allow those cool, dark waters to bleed back down into the earth.

 

Again feel the wind brush through your hair, your leaves. Feel as the sunlight shines down on you, brightening and invigorating you. Allow your leaves to take in that bright, golden light. Let it convert to pure energy and infuse your head and chest with light and energy. Let it saturate your branches and flow into your finger leaves. Feel as it washes down through your groin and flows down you legs and energizes you down to your roots. Having absorbed as much light as your body will hold, let the remainder reflect back off you, back into the sky.

 

Feel how the combination of the cool waters and the bright light mixes within your body. Feel how it mingles and brings a new awareness to every essence of yourself. Let your attention drift over yourself from your roots, to your trunk, and on up to your leaves.

 

Let a breath of wind catch one of your leaves and watch as it drifts downward to land fall lightly into the pond. Watch as the water ripples outward from this light touch. Allow your awareness to follow this ripple outward and see as it collides with other, similar ripples. As you follow those to their source you see that they also come from fallen leaves.

 

Now seeing all these leaves in the water creating ripples that touch and rebound off your own, you notice all the other trees surrounding the pond. Reach out your awareness and sense that these trees are all part of this grove. Reach out and feel that you are not alone in this glade, but rather you are surrounded by the warmth of your kin. You are all here together.

 

Take a moment and allow this feeling of togetherness and oneness to soak into your mind, your heart, your bones and your soul. Listen to the breathing of those around you. Your hearts beat as one now.

 

***Pause***

 

With this new realization that you are here among family, you begin to disconnect your self from the tree, just as all those around you do. Wiggle your toes and separate them from the roots. Wiggle your fingers and feel the leaves fall away. Roll you shoulders, allowing you to step out of the tree and once again become your own self.

 

As you now look around you see that while before you came to this glade alone, you now are leaving among friends. It is time now to turn away from the glade and walk back out of the forest. Listen, as before, to the sounds around you. You can now hear the laughter of friends, and you feel now not just the warmth of the sun, but the warmth of companionship. As you break out of the forest and head back towards your body here, keep that feeling that you are now one with the people around you.

Now, step back into your body and take deep breath to settle yourself back in. Wiggle your fingers and toes. Now begin moving your arms and legs just a little as you feel yourself come back to this place. Here, among kinfolk, we may now move on with the work we have for today.

 

All:

“The waters support and surround us.

The land extends about us.

The sky stretches out above us.

At our center burns a living flame. 

May all the Kindred bless us. 

May our worship be true. 

May our actions be just. 

May our love be pure. 

Blessings, honor, and worship to the holy ones.”  

(- Ceisiwr Serith)

 

Recreate the Cosmos & Place the Omphalos- (written by Jan Avende)

Let this area around us be purified sacred space where we go to meet the gods, and the gods descend down to meet with us.

 

Let the smoke from our sacred fire carry our voices to the heavens to be heard by the gods.

 

I place this omphalos at the center of worlds, just as it marked the center of the ancient world.  My hands, like two eagles, flying to meet in the middle and establish this as the sacred center of worlds.

 

Through this sacred center, let the World Tree grow, plunging deep within the earth to touch the Sacred Waters below and reaching through the sky to embrace the Sacred Fires above.

 

Standing here at the Center, it is now time to Open the Gates to the Many Realms.

 

 

Opening the Gates- (written by Jan Avende)

Let this water become the Well, and open as a Gate to the worlds below.

Our connections deepen to the Chthonic beings as the Gate is opened.

 

Let this flame become the Fire, and open as a Gate to the worlds above.

Our connections deepen to the Ouranic beings as the Gate is opened.

 

Let this Omphalos stand at the center, and mark our sacred center here and in all the world.  Let the tree wrap its roots around the stone and sink into the Well, and let it’s branches stretch upwards and reach for the Fire.

 

We stand here, connected at the Sacred Center to all the realms of Land, Sea, and Sky.

Let the Gates be Open!

 

Gatekeeper- (written by Jan Avende)

We now seek assistance in maintaining our connection to the Other Realms, and so we call on a Gatekeeper:

 

The children of the Earth call out to Atlas,

Great guardian who holds the earth and sky asunder.

You stand as the axis mundi, amongst the pillars connecting the many realms.

Driving the stars before you as the very heavens revolve around you.

Your feet know the depths of the sea and you hands the clouds of the sky.

Mighty Mountain, with your starry crown,

I make this offering to you and bid you welcome.

Meet us at the boundaries

Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our good fire.

Aid us and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Atlas, accept this sacrifice!

 

All: Atlas, accept this sacrifice!

 

And now, Atlas, I call to you and ask that you act as our Great Guardian here.

Be our Star Crowned and Earth Shod Pillar.

Be the Mountain that holds the earth and heavens asunder.

Hold our axis mundi firm and maintain our connection to all the realms.

Atlas, Guard the Gates!

 

All: Atlas, Guard the Gates!

 

Children of Earth, The Gates now stand open and protected.  Let only truth be spoken here.

 

We have come together today for the Summer Solstice, where the sun stands at its brightest in the sky, and it is right and proper that we do as our Ancestors did before us, and honor the Kindreds on this holy day.

 

Who calls to the Ancestors?

 

Ancestors- (written by Jan Avende)

The Children of the Earth call out to the Ancestors!

Those of our blood and our bone, who have given us life.

Those of our heart and our hearth, who have guided our steps.

Those of our friends and our folk, who strengthen and deepen our relationships.

Those Mighty Dead, Seers, Priests, and Bards.

Apotheothenai, Heroes among the ancestors who have shaped our world.

It is to you we call out to and to you whom we make sacrfice.

You have taught us the ways of old and given us the path to walk,

You have toiled and worked so that we might grow in our gifts,

And bring strength and love to our community.

Ancestors, Mighty Dead,

Meet us at the boundaries.

Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our good fire.

Aid us and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Ancestors, accept our sacrifice!

 

All: Ancestors all, accept our sacrifice!

 

Children of Earth, see in your minds eye the Ancestors stepping out from the mists and joining us here at our sacred fire.

 

Who calls to the Nature Spirits?

 

Nature Spirits- (written by Jan Avende)

The Children of the Earth call out the Spirits of Nature!

To the spirits of soil and stream,

To the spirits of stone and tree,

To the spirits of fur, flesh, fin, and feather,

To all those spirits who dwell amongst us

as Protectors, Guides, and Helpers, we call to you!

Dryades and Naiades, dwelling in forest and stream,

Oeriades and Nephalai, dwelling in mountains and clouds,

Lampades and Haliai, dwelling in cave and sea,

Nymphai, Mysterious Spirits who care for all our realms,

we walk amongst your blessings and listen to your sweet songs.

You who, through your living, teach us the ways to honor the Earth.

Spirits of nature, Nymphs of all the realms,

Meet us at the boundaries.

Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our good fire.

Aid us and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Spirits of nature, accept our sacrifice!

 

All: Spirits of nature, accept our sacrifice!

 

Children of Earth, see in your minds eye the Nature Spirits stepping out from the mists and joining us here at our sacred fire.

 

Who calls to the Shining Ones?

 

Shining Ones- (written by Jan Avende)

The Children of the Earth call out to the Shining Ones,

Bright and shining Theoi,

Mighty Gods and Goddesses on high.

You wise seers and honey-tongued bards,

Shining your light of knowledge and inspiration down on us.

You courageous warriors and skilled crafters,

giving us virtues to strive for and tools for our work.

You hearth tenders and grain guarders,

providing for us each and every day.

Mighty Titans, lighting the Fire of our Fathers,

we are forever indebted to you.

Brilliant deities of land, sea, and sky,

your brightness illuminates our lives.

We hear your voices echoes across our souls,

As you walk with us, guiding us, each day.

Theoi, Shining Ones,

Meet us at the boundaries.

Join us at our Sacred Hearth and be warmed by our good fire.

Aid us and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Theoi, accept our sacrifice!

 

All: Theoi, accept our sacrifice!

 

Children of Earth, see in your minds eye the Shining Ones appearing from the mists and joining us here at our sacred fire.

 

DotO Prometheus- (written by Jan Avende)

Surrounded now by all the Kindreds, we call out especially on this day to Prometheus.

 

Prometheus, flame-haired Foresight and friend of mankind

The Children of the Earth call out to you!

Sculpting our flesh from the banks of the sacred River Styx

You made us: Children of the Earth and starry Sky.

You see the future, and know what may come.

You stole the Divine Fire, the Sun itself,

Giving us this gift of Fire, knowing the cost to you.

Through you we know the ways of the land,

We gather together as community, bound together by your gift,

Though this gift yet binds you to the Earth.

The Fire, burning light of the Stars, burning light of the Sun,

Meant only for the Gods.

You won it for us, your Children.

Your fiery spirit burns hot and strong,

sharing its heat with us here on Earth.

Flame-haired trickster, and Mighty Titan.

Your wisdom shines brightly down upon us

As the Sun rides high in the Sky today.

Prometheus, you who sacrificed for us

So that we may sacrifice for you and all the Gods.

We call out to know and honor you this day!

Come, be warmed at our Fire, that we have kept burning for you,

Join us at our Sacred Hearth, that we would not have if not for you,

Meet us here at this time when the Fire is strongest,

And continue to aid and guide us as we walk the Elder Ways.

Prometheus, Fiery Titan,

Accept our Sacrifice!

 

All: Prometheus, accept our sacrifice!

 

Have the Folk brought praise?

 

All: We have!

 

Then come forth now and make your offerings!

 

(Praise Offerings)- 

Song: “Come Pray With Me”

(Music: Traditional                  Lyrics: Jan Avende)

 

A Fire lit with piety in the center of the rite

The Druids pray around it, around the fire’s light.

They call to the Gods and Goddesses so bright.

Sing praise you joyous pagans, and come pray with me!

 

Sacred Waters far below, flow into our Well

With our voices raised together, our song will surely swell.

Remember all our Heroes, their stories we’ll tell.

Sing praise you joyous pagans, and come pray with me!

 

CHORUS

So it’s into the Grove, and beside the Tree

Come you pious pagans, and make your offering

Let’s honor the Kindreds of Earth, Sky, and Sea

Sing praise you joyous pagans, and come pray with me!

 

Standing tall and strong is the all-connecting Tree

Beneath its arching branches we stand in harmony

Honoring the spirits so wild and free.

Sing praise you joyous pagans, and come pray with me!

 

CHORUS

 

We pagans all together still long for the day

When we’ll honor the Earth upon which we lay.

She holds us forever, in her arms we’ll stay.

Sing praise you joyous pagans, and come pray with me!

 

CHORUS x3

 

Final Sacrifice- (written by Jan Avende)

We have made many offerings this day.

See now as they burn, smoke rising to the heavens.

See now as they sink, into the depths of the well.

See now as they traverse all the realms and are delivered to the Spirits we have called.

We now make one last offering, one final sacrifice,

to honor the Sprits and ensure our gifts are received.

Prometheus, Kindreds All, Accept this Sacrifice!

 

All: Prometheus, Kindreds All, accept this sacrifice!

 

Omen- (written by Jan Avende)

Having given offerings to the Kindreds, we now seek to know what blessings and advice they give us in return.

 

*Seer crushes and makes an offering bay*

 

Apollo Mantikos guide my hand.

See with my eyes, Hear with my ears, and Speak with my voice.

What blessings or wisdom do we receive…

 

From the Ancestors…

From the Natures Spirits…

From the Shining Ones…

 

Waters- (written by Jan Avende)

Calling for the Waters

Having given of ourselves, and received wisdom and blessings in return, we now seek to take of those blessings to enrich ourselves for the work that is to come.

We seek to fill ourselves with these blessings so that we may be thusly imbued with the sacred powers and apply ourselves to the work ahead.

 

All waters are by their very nature sacred,

We set aside these Waters, for they have been won for us.

We ask that you allow us to partake of them and of these blessings,

To take these sacred waters into our hearts and our minds.

Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

 

All: Shining Ones, Give us the Waters!

 

We ask for The Waters of Community.

We call forth these Waters from the Well of Fellowship.

We draw these Waters forth, to sparkle in the air about us,

That we may feel their cool mist surround us,

And quench our thirst in the Summer’s heat with their blessings!

Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

 

All: Shining Ones, Give us the Waters!

 

We open our hearts and our minds to the blessings we have been given.

As we stand amongst the Kindreds,

Amongst our Folk, and amongst our community

We call forth these Waters as our due.

We stand, united with all the Powers of the Worlds, ready to receive the blessing!

Shining Ones, give us the Waters!

 

All: Shining Ones, Give us the Waters!

 

Hallowing the Waters

Let the brightness of the Shining Gods fill these waters with the omens we have received: [Omen, Omen, and Omen].

 

Let their blessings grow in strength, just as the sun has cycled to its greatest power today,

Let the blessings shine with the brilliant power akin to this Summer Solstice Sun.

Theoi! Shine your blessing down upon us, and fill our Sacred Cup.

 

When we share these Waters

We share our own wisdom and love.

We prepare to do the good work of the Kindreds in the world.

We prepare to grow and nurture the community in which we live.

 

Shining Ones: Hallow these Waters!

 

All: Shining Ones: Hallow these Waters!

 

We, your children, rejoice in your gifts

Bless our spirits and our lives with your magic and bounty.

As we celebrate the strength of our community here today.

 

Behold, the Waters of Life!

 

All: Behold, the Waters of Life!

 

Receiving the Blessing

*waters are passed and quaffed*

 

“Blessings in the Waters” (by Traci Auerbach)

May the power of the Kindreds be shown to me.

May the omens and the blessings be shown through me.

May the blessings in the waters fill my soul.

May the wisdom of the Kindreds make me whole.

 

Working- Receiving the gift of fire and community from Prometheus

Story: The Finding of Fire (retelling of Hesiod, written by Thexalon)

 

In the earliest days of the world, there Gods, and there were Beasts, and there were Men. The Men feared the Gods, because the Gods were much older and much wiser than Men. And the Men feared the Beasts, because the Beasts were faster and stronger than Men could hope to be. Sometimes the Beasts would attack the Men’s village, and the Gods would send hail or drought, and the Men suffered. So the Men came together in council, and decided to leave tribute for the Gods and Beasts in the hopes that they would be left in peace.

 

The built a high altar and left trinkets for the Gods, and left food for the Beasts in the nearby forest. The Gods seemed to listen to the Men, and sent no more hail or drought, but the Beasts did not understand Men’s gifts and continued to attack the Men. And so the Men suffered still.

 

One of the Gods was named “Foresight”, and it was his job to observe and predict what would happen. He had an idea, and went to the king of the Gods to explain it:

“Ah, sir, you see how those Men down there keep offering us gifts? Perhaps we could make them our allies by helping them against the Beasts.”

“Why do we need allies? We’re Gods, and the Men have nothing we care about.”

“Not even the occasional dalliance?”

“You leave my private life out of this! And don’t tell my wife! Now listen, remember why I’m in charge here? I overthrew my father and his crew. He overthrew his father and his crew. These Men are our children – what do you think would happen to us if they got too strong? We cannot help them, and that’s all there is to it.”

“But wouldn’t it be nice to have Men down there happily doing what we want? We could enjoy more of their gifts, watch their triumphs in our name, …”

“Enough! You are forbidden to do anything to help them, do you understand?”

But Foresight had known what the king might say, and he had a plan. He went to the highest parts of the heavens, and took a small piece of the Fire he found there, and headed down to the Earth to give it to the Men.

 

But the king of the Gods noticed what Foresight was doing, and knew he had to stop Foresight from delivering his gift. He sent a storm, and flung a lightning bolt *KABOOM!* at Foresight. The king then rushed to where Foresight was, grabbed him and dragged him to the far ends of the Earth, and chained Foresight to a rock, and sent a bird to peck at him every day.

 

Some Men heard the commotion, and came to investigate what had happened. There they discovered Fire, still burning, forgotten on the battlefield. They were scared of it at first, but decided this might be useful, took it back to their village, and tended it, and cared for it. The Fire kept them warm, it allowed them to see at night, and the next time the Beasts attacked the Men brought out pieces of Fire and scared the Beasts away, and the Men could prosper.

 

Generations went by, with Men becoming stronger and wiser with the help of the Fire. And one day, a great hero of Men was wandering the Earth when he discovered Foresight, still chained to the rock.

“I was wondering when you would get here!”

“How did you know I was coming?”

“Listen, I am Foresight, and I knew that if I helped Men one day Men would find me, and help me in return.”

“But why are you chained here?”

“That’s not important right now. If you release me, I will be an aid to Men henceforth.”

“But how do I get you out? If these chains are too strong for you, a God, surely they are too strong for me.”

“Remember the tool that saved you from the Beasts? Try that.”

The hero took the Fire bundle from his pack, and rekindled it near the chain. As the chain heated, it became weaker, and Foresight and the hero pulled and bent and tugged until Foresight was free.

 

Foresight was good to his word. And so now, if you have a difficult decision to make, sit quietly by the Fire and listen carefully – the voice of Foresight will whisper from the flame and tell you the path of wisdom.

 

Working: Receiving the gift of fire and community from Prometheus (written by Jan Avende)

 

*a tea light is given to each celebrant.  A taper is lit from the Fire,

and used to light each candle in turn*

 

Children of Earth, think now on the gifts that we have received.

Prometheus knowingly made a sacrifice,

so that we might have such a bright and shining gift.

Think on the community that can be built around a Fire.

Think on the prayers that can be spoken around a Fire.

Think on the offerings that can be made around a Fire.

 

In it’s simplicity, this flame burns hot and strong.

When you lack for community, let this flame remind you of your folk.

When you lack focus, let this flame be your guiding light.

When all the world seems dark and unforgiving, let this flame brighten your heart.

 

Children of Earth, the gift of Fire is ours,

and through it we may continue to find joy and light,

warmth and community in our lives.

Take this flame, extinguishing it for the moment,

Back to your hearth, where you may again rekindle it.

With it’s life and light, be warmed and reminded of the joy today.

Rejoice, for we have the gift of Fire!

 

And now, Children of Earth, having honored the Kindreds, received their blessings, and done good work, it is time we thank those we have called so that we may take the blessings we have received out into our community and out into the world.

 

Thank Prometheus- (written by Jan Avende)

Prometheus, Flame-haired trickster,

For you presence here today,

And for all the gifts you have given us,

We say: Prometheus, we thank you!

 

All: Prometheus, We thank you!

 

Thank the Shining Ones- (written by Jan Avende)

Bright and shining Theoi,

Mighty Gods and Goddesses on High.

You who shine down your wisdom upon us

And walk with us, guiding us, each day.

We say: Theoi, we thank you!

 

All: Theoi, We thank you!

 

Thank the Nature Spirits- (written by Jan Avende)

Nature Spirits and Noble Guides,

You who, through your living, teach us the ways to honor the Earth.

Nymphs of all the realms, as we walk amongst your blessings

And listen to your sweet songs,

We say, we thank you!

 

All: Nature Spirits, We thank you!

 

Thank the Ancestors- (written by Jan Avende)

Ancestors, Mighty Dead, Heroes,

Those of our blood and bone,

Those of our friends and folk,

Those of our hearth and home,

You have taught us the ways of old and given us the path to walk,

You have toiled and worked so that we might grow in our gifts.

We say: Ancestors, we thank you!

 

All: Ancestors, We thank you!

 

Thank Atlas- (written by Jan Avende)

Great Titan and Mighty Mountain, Atlas.

You who have stood as our Star-Crowned and Earth-Shod pillar,

Holding the earth and sky asunder, aligning them as our axis mundi.

You have stood firm as we celebrate here today.

You have Guarded the Ways for us as we rejoice here today.

Accept this gift now *make offering* and know we honor you for the work you do.

For the connections you’ve helped us to maintain,

And for aligning the cosmos itself,

We say: Atlas, we thank you!

 

All: Atlas, We thank you!

 

Close the Gates- (written by Jan Avende)

Let this Well be but water, ever sacred in its own right,

but no longer a Gate opening to the many paths.

 

Let this Fire be but a flame, ever sacred in its own right,

but no longer a Gate opening to the many ways.

 

Let the omphalos no longer be the Center of the Worlds holding us at the Crossroads.

 

Let the Gates be Closed!

 

All: Let the Gates be Closed

 

Thank Ouranos- (written by Jan Avende)

Ouranos, Brilliant Sky Father,

You who shine down your wisdom,

Who drape us in your star-studded cloak,

Your primal forces breathing life into us.

We say: Ouranos, We thank you!

 

All: Ouranos, We thank you!

 

Thank Okeanos- (written by Jan Avende)

Okeanos, great Surrounding Sea,

You who encircle the Earth with your nine shining streams,

Guiding the stars and the tides.

Your form laps against our shores as your Waters wrap us in their blessings.

We say: Okeanos, we thank you!

 

All: Okeanos, We thank you!

 

Thank Gaea- (written by Jan Avende)

Gaea, Earth Mother, All Mother,

You who gave life at the beginning of all things,

You who ground us in your soil and sustain our being.

We walk lightly upon your bosom as we honor you.

For you support this day and all days,

We say: Gaea, we thank you!

 

All: Gaea, We thank you!

 

Thank the Muses- (written by Jan Avende)

Sweet voiced Muses Nine,

You have sung with my voice, danced with my feet,

enflamed my passion, and sweetened my words.

For the fire you have filled us all with

And for letting it pour forth in harmony and wisdom

We say: Muses, we thank you!

 

All: Muses, We thank you!

 

Thank Hestia- (written by Jan Avende)

For Hestia, I pour these last libations.

First-Born, and Last-Born,

Lady of the Hearth

And Keeper of the Sacred Flame.

Though your flame may go out on our hearth,

May it continue to burn ever strong within our hearts.

Hestia, we thank you!

 

All: Hestia, We thank you!

 

Recessional-

Song: “Walk With Wisdom”

(- Sable)

Walk with wisdom from this hallowed place.

Walk not in sorrow, our roots shall ere embrace.

May strength be your brother, and honor be your friend,

And luck be your lover until we meet again.

Personal Religion and Hearth Culture

A brief account of the efforts of the Dedicant to develop and explore a personal (or Grove-centered) spiritual practice, drawn from a specific culture or combination of cultures. (600 word min)

Inadequate Adequate Excellent
·      Word length under
·      Uninvolved, lack of practical application
·      Lack of spirituality or spiritual growth
·      Word length adequate
·      Research and practice with one or more hearth cultures
·      Observable spiritual growth over the course of the training period
·      Publishable quality reviews
·      Deep/unique insight
·      Development of a working personal spiritual system with a particular hearth culture

When I finally joined ADF and Three Cranes Grove it was after much deliberation.  I’d been attending rites for almost 5 years, but had been putting off joining mostly out of fear that I’d become attached to the people and then have to move.  That is what has happened.  I was only in Columbus for about another year, but my time spent in close vicinity to my Grove allowed me to form bonds that I have maintained even after moving. 

After moving, I realized that I being with Three Cranes built a very strong foundation for me, and that now being away from them I was/am able to branch out.  My solitary practice has blossomed over the past year.  I still connect with my Grove, and my Delos (the Hellenic group I work with), but it is the foundation that they helped to build that has proved most beneficial.  Even now, working within the structure of ADF, most of my full core order of rituals happen on the High Days and Druid Moons with the Grove.  In the beginning, I needed the guidance of my Grove and my Grove mates to feel comfortable in this format. It was helpful to experience ritual with them leading and guiding the rest of us. Slowly I was assigned more and more involved parts, moving from Earth Mother, to the Kindreds, to Outdwellers, and up into Two Powers and Attunement, Re-Creating the Cosmos, and Opening the Gates. For our public rituals I started out writing my parts before hand and reading them from that script in ritual. Now I’ve grown into still writing before hand, but I rarely use it during ritual. It’s just my back up piece in case I freeze up. Our Grove also does monthly Druid Moons, and during these we are rarely assigned parts before we get there. We are able to just get together and perform a ritual in the common framework that ADF gives us. I really like this, though it was nerve wrecking at first, because there is so much less pressure, and you really can just speak from the heart.

I do a kind of modified core order for most of my full on rituals at home, though more often than not I’m doing more devotional type works at home rather than full rituals. When I’m working at home, I almost never acknowledge the Outdwellers except in the sense of calming myself and entering a state in my own mind that is free from things that would distract me during the ritual. I honor the Three Kindreds, as well as specific deities and patrons. Most of my work at home takes the form of devotionals for an individual God or Goddess, or for a pair or set of related Gods or Goddesses.

The hearth culture I work in is Hellenic.  I’ve learned a great deal about the Greek Gods and Hellenic religion by studying and researching ways to fit Hellenic Reconstruction and ADF methodology together.  Working with the Delos I co-founded with Irisa has been instrumental in my understanding of my chosen hearth culture. We’re all working together to learn more about our Deities and the customs and rituals that were traditionally done to honor them. Most of the Delos members are also ADF members, so we all have a general sense of how ADF ritual works, and are learning how Hellenic Reconstructionists perform rituals. A lot of what we’ve done has been a sort of mix between the two. We incorporate some of the parts of ADF ritual that we really connect to, and then leave out other bits that don’t make as much sense for rituals. For instance, when we recreate the cosmos, we will often just place the omphalos as the center of the world and then use our sacred fire for offerings. We also always honor Hestia first and last, whereas in ADF core order, the Earth Mother is honored first and last. We try to get together as least once a month, where we celebrate Noumenia, a festival that honors the agricultural aspect of Zeus. It is a time for fellowship, honoring the gods, and blessing our homes.

Hellenic Kin Quilt Square

I made the quilt square for the Hellenic Kin for the Artisan’s Guild Quilt project. I had the idea for the square, it just took me awhile to actually sketch out what I specifically wanted. Then I had to figure out how to get the sketch onto some fabric (Thank you gel pens!)  The design is a white owl in the center (it’s actually sketched off a barn owl), with acorns and oaks leaves in the corners.  Then there is the Kins name in English (White Owls Kin) and in Greek (Oi Asproi Koukouvayies), which actually translates to The Owl Kin.  The Fabric is cotton duck, and the design is done in puffy paints (brushed on) that are all metallic colors. I hope the Hellenes approve 😀

And some details shots.  First a close up look at the owl:

And then a slightly better look at the finished square:

All hail the Muses!

Summer Solstice

How does it relate to Hellenic traditions? Some beginning research:

Philokhoria

http://neokoroi.org/artemis.html

An interesting interview with Thista Minai: http://www.sequentialtart.com/article.php?id=976

Prometheia is a modern day Greek festival that is basically celebrating summer solstice: http://sites.google.com/site/hellenionstemenos/festivals/prometheia

Other thoughts:

Skira: http://sites.google.com/site/hellenionstemenos/festivals/skira

Arrephoria: http://sites.google.com/site/hellenionstemenos/festivals/arrephoria

Dipolieia & Bouphonia: http://sites.google.com/site/hellenionstemenos/festivals/bouphomia—dipolieia


Autumn Feast

In the neo-pagan high days this feast is often designated as Lughnasadh.  August 1st is said to mark the beginning of the harvest season, the first ripening of fruits ready for the picking.  Traditions of Lughnasadh:

  • make a cornmeal bread or cakes in the shape of Lugh and then symbolically sacrifice and eat them.
  • funeral games for Lugh’s foster mother Tailtiu (games of skill and strength)
  • Tailtiu predicted as long as the games were still happening, Ireland wouldn’t be without song (cite)
  • Games were much like the Olympics

The beginning of the harvest season can be seen as birth, fruition, and renewal.  While researching in an attempt to link the autumn feast to Hellenic traditions, the closest major festival is Panathenaea.  This festival celebrates the birth of Athena Polias, the Guardian of the City.  Traditions of Panathenaea (cite):

  • Panathenaea Games (athletic & bardic arts contests)
  • Peplos sacrifice and renewal (cite)
  • honoring of craftsmanship & protection of the city
  • Great Panathenaea every four years (much like the Olympics)
  • the feast of bounty

I also could see the Autumn Feast relating to Demeter and Kore, as it is the first of the harvest festivals.

Another festival is Kronia: http://sites.google.com/site/hellenionstemenos/festivals/kronia

Perseverance

Perseverance is something that I’ve been struggling with lately.  I’m going through a lot of changes in my life right now, and it’s hard sometimes to keep pushing myself and to keep moving forward, or at least not moving backward.

perseverance: noun:

steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc. especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. (Dictionary.com)

persevere: verb:

1.  to persist  in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose inspite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly.

2. to persist in speech, interrogation, argument, etc.; insist.

“The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground.”

Perseverance is the flame that continues to burn inside yourself when the storm seems the worst.  Sometimes it burns bright and strong with no trouble, though this is often only when the winds are calm, and the Theoi are easily heard on the breeze.  When times become difficult, and the rain is pounding down, the flame flickers, just barely keeping alight.  The sound of the rumbling thunder seems to drown out the Gods, and the lightning blinds you from seeing them in your life.  It is then that the flame needs to be tended most, and cared for.  And just as it seems as though it may extinguish itself in the whipping wind you remember: The Gods are always present in your life, and will hold you close and keep you tending that small flickering light.  After all, even when the storm seems worst, it is still the mighty Zeus. (150 words)

Greek Alphabet Oracle

I’m starting to learn about the Greek Alphabet Oracle, and as such am trying to learn the meanings associated with each letter of the Greek alphabet.  I got the information on the oracle here.  What I tried to do was take the meaning of each letter and write it in a  phrase that began with that letter or sound.  This is what each of the Greek phrases did, so “translating” it has been slightly more difficult.  I would eventually like to turn this into a song of some sort for a better mnemonic device.  I’m using the dice method right now until I can make my own set of “Greek Runes” and plan to take an omen each day.

Alpha

  • All you do is successful

Beta

  • Because you asked for help

Gamma

  • Gaia gave you the fruits of your labors

Delta

  • Deciding how to act and when strength is necessary

Epsilon

  • Eager to see the results of union

Zeta

  • Zeus causes the storm: flee before his anger

Eta

  • Every word you speak, Helios knows the truth

Theta

  • Throughout your journey, you will have the gods help.

Iota

  • If you lose all else, your hard work remains

Kappa

  • Keep on enduring the inevitable with courage.

Lambda

  • Learn that blessings come from the most unsuspecting places

Mu

  • Much good will come through labor and toil.

Nu

  • Notice when strife has come, for it is a sign.

Xi

  • Expectations should be rational

Omicron

  • Only what you plant will yield a harvest

Pi

  • Perseverance through adversity will win many battles.

Rho

  • Remain a short while and you will proceed more easily.

Sigma

  • Stay and hold your ground

Tau

  • Travelers must eventually part ways.

Upsilon

  • Understand whether you should seek a noble quest, or whether your quest is being hindered.

Phi

  • Fate is yours alone – take responsibility for it and do not blame the Gods.

Khi

  • Completion of your goals is excellent

Psi

  • Suitable judgment has been passed down by the Gods.

Omega

  • Onerous times await you.

The Home Shrine

I redecorated my altar a couple days ago to better match my growing knowledge of Hellenic rituals.  There have been some major additions, and some rearrangement as I made more space on my bookshelves.

Full Altar

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The altar itself resides on the top two shelves in the picture, with the bottom two shelves for ritual items and related texts.  The whole set up in the middle of my bookshelves in my bedroom, but as they are for books, the shelves are very shallow.  Ideally, I’d like to be able to have the altar arranged on a deeper surface so I wouldn’t have to separate out my Fire and Well.a

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Omphalos

One of the big changes/additions I made to my altar was to add an omphalos (or navel stone) for offerings.  The omphalos is the Navel of the World, and so it’s arranged to sit at the base of my Tree.  I’m not entirely sure what kind of stone it is, but it’s a bluish gray, shot through with streaks of white.

My Tree is a copper wire representation.  I especially like how I can send the roots down into the bowl where the omphalos sits.  Most of my offerings over the omphalos have been oil, though I just recently went out an got some nice deep red wine.

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Gods of the Wild

On the left side of my alter I have my representations of the Wild and some of the Gods who protect the Wild.  The unicorn rampant represents Artemis.  There are many myths regarding what type of animal pulls the chariot of Artemis, and one suggests that it is pulled by 8 unicorns.  In the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili there is a plate illustrating what is supposedly the chariot of Artemis (see spread #88).  The black disc at the base of the unicorn sculpture is a deer, one of the sacred animals to Artemis.  So, I use this combination of symbols to represent Artemis on my altar.

The other wild god represented on my altar is Pan.  I would like to update this representation of him to be more goat-like, and less deer-like.  I’ve also go the twigs shaved into a spiral that seems to resonant with Pan right now, so they will sit by him until it seems they no longer should.

I’m still missing a representation that really speaks to me for Dionysos.  The closest thing I have for him right now is the silver leaf sitting below Pan.  It loosely shows Dionysos’s domain of vegetation, including grapes for wine.

The ladybug is a polished red stone (I don’t know what kind) that is painted to look like a ladybug.  This has a place on my altar partly because ladybugs are sometimes said to represent piety, and it also has a place on my altar in part to represent the Ancestors.  The reasoning regarding the Ancestors comes from the following rhyme, which can be interpreted to tell the story of ancient pagan temples and people being burned and persecuted as Christianity took over.  So, in general, it serves as a reminder to follow the ways of the Ancestors.

Well

“Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home.
Your house is on fire and your children are gone.
All but one, and her name is Ann,
And she crept under the pudding pan.’

‘Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home.
Your little house is burning.
Your little mother is crying and
Your father is on the threshold,
Fly away to heaven, away from hell.”

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My Well is in a glass dish surrounded by stones that change as they feel charged and with the seasons.  Just to the right of the well is an incense burner that I mostly use for Artemis.  I plan on getting a separate place for smoky offerings for each deity on the altar, but for now they share.  Behind the incense is a stained glass dragonfly container.  I keep my offerings for the well in this.
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Flames of Importance

The representation of Fire on my altar is completely separate from all the other flames on the altar.

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Hestia's Flame

I have a candle specifically dedicated to Hestia.  It was lit from our Grove’s Flame and from the Hellenic Kin’s Flame.  This way it represents the strength of my own hearth, as well as kinship between myself, my Crane-kin, and other Hellenes.  I made this candle by carving down a votive candle and carving Hestia’s name into it.  After I’d carved her name, it wasn’t really showing up, so I then melted some wax from a blue candle and pushed it into the carvings, let it cool, and then gently shaved down the candle again so the blue wax was only visible in the carvings.  Her name is barely noticeable when then candle isn’t lit, but when it is, the glow of the yellow candle makes her appear to darken, as shown by the picture.

The white candle in the bud vase is our Grove’s flame, lit from the flame of Kildare.  The Grove flames I the one I use to keep the Kinship with Three Cranes alive.  It is also the flame we use when we’re doing house blessings. Sitting below that flame is a small folded paper crane to represent Garanos.  The Crane is a guide for transformative work, and I occasionally call him as a gatekeeper.

Some more recent additions to the new altar are a larger tree that is a tea-light candle holder.  The candles sit at the end of each branch, and there are five of them.  It sits in the middle of the new altar.  Below it is where my Greek Alphabet Oracle usually sits when I’m not using or charging it.  I kept a set of runes there for awhile, but they were in a fox fur bag, and the cats saw that as an open invitation for them to play Godzilla on the altar, so the bag of runes has moved to a drawer where the kitties are less likely to eat them.

There is also a statue of the three aspects of Brigid.  She has a candle lit form the flame of Kildare, as well as a bit of charcoal in front of her.  The charcoal is what I use for her because it the one thing that connects all three of her aspects.  Charcoal in pencils for writing (inspiration), charcoal for heating a forge (crafting), and charcoal for purifying water and cleansing toxins (healing).  She originally claimed a place on the altar for Thom, but I’ve begun working with her as well.

Some Hellenic Gods that have claimed space are Athena (and her many owls), Hera (a bit of peacock feathers here and there that I have to protect from the cats), Helios (a very shiny pillar candle), and Poseidon (a bowl full of sea salt).  I’ve been working with Athena more closely since I began teaching.  She has the pursuit of knowledge and has helped me to deal with the challenges that working with youth and encouraging them to learn bring.  Hera has begun knocking at my door with my upcoming marriage.  I suspect after the wedding my relationship with her will develop more fully and deepen.  Helios I’ve been working with strongly ever since I wrote our Grove’s Yule rite, and I decided to do Heliogenna with him as the Deity of the Occasion.  Poseidon has been calling to me for a couple of months now, and I’m not sure where my relationship with him will go, but I’m trying to keep him happy, and keep the door open.

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