Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Autumn Equinox Ritual to Demeter and Dionysos

The following is a ritual I developed to celebrate the Autumn Equinox by honoring Demeter and Dionysos as the Great Mother and Father of our physical and spiritual sustenance.  Enjoy!
Second Harvest Rite to Demeter and Dionysos
Autumn Equinox 2010

You Will Need:
Hestia candle
Icons of Demeter and Dionysos
A candle for each Demeter and Dionysos
Large bowl
Feast dishes (provided by participants)

Priestess of Demeter (lady of the house)
Priest of Dionysos (man of the house)
Priest/ess of Hestia
Priest/ess Panagia
Heirophantid of Demeter (youngest girl)
Heirophant of Dionysos (youngest boy)

-all gather in a semi-circle before the altar holding their dish for the feast, except for Priestess Panagia who holds the bowl of grapes for ritual-

-Priest/ess of Hestia approaches altar-

We begin this rite by calling Hestia who is first and last among all the Gods, who is Goddess of hearth and temple fire, of the spiritual center of our world and of all sacred places.

-lights central flame-

Hestia, beloved goddess of the spiritual flame, come and make all that is here holy and sacred in your name. Bring to us the peace and sureness of home and hearth. Bring your purity and beauty to us as we honor you who are the center of the spiritual flame. So mote it be.

-Priestess Panagia approaches the altar and faces the group-

At this time we will make our offerings to the Lord and Lady. Each in your family group place your dish for the feast on the altar with these words: “For Demeter and Dionysos this sacred offering to honor the Mother and Father of all.”

-Priestess Panagia places the bowl of grapes in the center of the altar in front of the Hestia flame. Each group places their feast dish around the table and recites the offertory words-

-Heirophantid of Demeter approaches altar, rings bell and says-

Now we will call the Mother Goddess who is Queen of the golden harvest. She is known as Demeter and by many other names as well.

-Priestess of Demeter approaches the altar-

Lady of all good harvests, our stores are filled again with your generous bounty. O you who are the blessings of earth, who sustains both body and spirit, hail!

-lights the Goddess candle from Hestia’s flame-

Beloved Demeter, you spin out your magic from the mysteries of the seed, bringing us the miracle of life and growth. The riches of the orchard and cultivated field are all born of your power and so we honor the Great Mother of the land. O mother of life, we were born from the infinite seeds of creation and live through the powers of earth. Our spirits rise with your beauty for you are everywhere, in every broad meadow and mountainside, in every lovely field and flower, and in every living and growing thing Today at the blessed Autumnal Equinox, the ending of the second harvest, we honor you, bringing you offerings and praising your name. We thank you for all that you give
and ask that you come and bless this rite with ease and joy. So mote it be!

-Priestess of Hecate approaches the altar, retrieves the athame from the bowl of grapes and turns to face participants-

By Hecate’s blade, the grain was separated from the earth so that the threshing could begin. It is fitting then that at the ending of the second harvest, when seed shall be separated from chaff, for us to note anything we no longer want in our lives and from which we wish to be separated. We approach the altar and raise the blade, praying aloud or silently for whatever it is that might be beneficial for you to be separated from, that it be done so now.

Begin with the words, “By her blade...” When you are done, breathe upon the blade. End with the words “Hail Hecate!” then place the blade back on the altar and return to the circle.

-Priestess of Hecate begins the ritual of the blade which proceeds until all are done-

-Priest of Dionysos approaches the altar-

Now we shall honor the Father God known as Dionysos and by countless other names who, at the Spring Equinox, the time of sacred planting, loved the Mother Goddess in the thrice-plowed field to ensure the bounty of the land.

-lights God candle-

Sacred one of both forest and field, from your own untamed spirit did you receive and then impart the liberation of the wild that lay the foundation for our deepest joy and pleasures, and, as emissary of the Great Mother, from August Demeter did you receive and then impart the arts of agriculture that lay the foundation for civilization. And so we honor you. So mote it be!
-Heirophant of Dionysos approaches altar-

Wise and Wild One, it is with food stores set aside that we may enjoy the luxury of time
in which to pursue our loves with your ecstatic abandon, in which to glorify the museswith your gifts of music, dance, drama, poetry and art, and in which we may honor the Gods with joyous festivals and celebrations. These are the blessings that you, Dionysos, in concord with Her, have given to all of humanity.

Priest of Dionysos:

Treasured God Dionysos, we thank and honor you as we bless this sacred place in your name. So mote it be.

-Priest of Dionysos uncovers the grapes, faces the group and gestures to them-

Grapes, warmed by solar light and nourished by the bosom of the Earth, have long been a symbol of wisdom and passion combined. It is fitting then that at the time of the second harvest, when we enjoy this sacred fruit in its abundance, that we note the abundance in our own lives and pray for abundance in harvests yet to come.

Now we will each approach the altar praying aloud or silently in thanks for what we have and supplication for what we desire, that it be done so now. Begin with the words “By his vigor...” When you are done, choose a single grape. End with the words, “Hail Dionysos...” then pass the grape over His flame before partaking of it.

-Priest of Dionysos begins the rite and each participant follows until all are finished-

-Heirophant of Dionysos fills a cup for each person and offers a toast-

Raise your glasses! Filled with gifts, the chalice of plenty overflows with good fortune. How blessed are we who love and honor the Goddess and God. May we drink from the royal cup! So mote it be.

-Priestess of Demeter and Priest of Dionysos approach altar and face the group-

Priestess of Demeter:

These are the rites of the second harvest and they are now complete in grace and joy.

Priest of Dionysos:

May her blessings proceed unto all. Now, on to the feast!

-Heirophantid of Demeter rings bell joyfully-


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