Initiating the Rite-
*3 Chimes* “For the Ancestors”, *3 Chimes* “For the Spirits of Nature and this Place, 3 *Chimes* “For the Theoi, worthy of worship”
The Two Powers
Offering to the Outsiders
To You who are not part of our people, To those powers and spirits that might mean ill intent, we offer this bread that you might leave us alone for this rite. Take and be satisfied.
Just as there are those unclean things beyond this space, there are unclean things within our hearts and minds. Let us wash ourselves of these shadows, that our rite may please the Kindreds.
*One Person takes the bowl of water for participants to wash hands, followed by another with a towel.*
Honoring the Earth Mother
Broad-breasted Gaia, You who hold all of us on your back. You are the everlasting foundation of the Gods of Olympus. We offer the grains of this new land, that was born through your fertility. Please bless and uphold our rite today. Gaia accept our sacrifice.
Statement of Purpose
The light of Apollo grows stronger and the time for Hecate to collect Demeter’s daughter has come. Let us honor Demeter’s gift of the new life of spring as well her daughter, Persephone, whose arrival is the reason for the bountiful gifts of the harvests to come. Let us also honor Hades, keeper of our ancestors, dark lord of the underworld, who has again agreed to part with his wife and Queen for one more season of growth upon the Earth.
Re-Creating the Cosmos
Virginal Hestia, receiver of offers both first and last. Sacred center of hearth, and community. We light this fire in honor of you and of the upper world where the Theoi live. We kindle this sacred fire in wisdom, love, and power. Sacred fire burn within us.
Hestia, sacred fire, accept our offering
Let us offer to the deep underworld, Let us give to Hades who keeps our ancestors in his Kingdom, and who will one day take us into his care. In the realm of the dead there runs 5 rivers. The Lethe (lee-thee), which is the river of forgetfulness from which those who wish to be re-born into a new life must taste. The Styx, the river of hate, Akheron described in the Suda as "a place of healing, not a place of punishment, cleansing and purging the sins of humans", Kokytos, the river of lamentation, and Phlegethon the river of fire which borders Elysium, the final resting place of the virtuous. We offer this silver to the well of water that goes down into the Earth and is connected to those 5 sacred rivers of the land of the dead.
*Offer Silver to the Well*
Mighty Tree, your roots go deep into the world, and drink from the sacred waters of the underworld, your branches reach high, even up to the realm of the Gods. You span the worlds and connect us all, you stand at the center of all. Please carry our voice out into the other worlds. Act as a conduit to the kindred. Accept this offering of sweet smelling vanilla.
Accept our sacrifice.
Opening the gates
Great Goddess Hecate, Hesiod tells us that Zeus honored you above all others. He gave to you a share of Earth and the sea. It is your place to travel between the worlds, for you own privilege on Earth, in the sky, and in the sea. You lead Persephone into the dark chasm, so that she may again rejoin her husband and take up rulership of the underworld. You also lead her back again, that the cold winter may end, and spring return. Great Klêidouchos, you who stand before the gates, please act as our guide and keeper of the ways. We offer you garlic. Hecate accept our sacrifice.
Inviting the Kindreds
Ancestors: Blessed dead, blood of our blood, bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh. We honor you and ask that you join us here by the fire, as we honor this period of new life and growth. Accept this sacrifice of tobacco.
Nature Spirits: Spirits of nature that share this space with us. We ask that you join us as we honor the slow awakening of this season. We offer you this honey, sweet gift of your hard workers. Please accept our sacrifice.
Deities: Shining ones, you who are worthy of worship. We call to you and ask that you join us by our fire as we honor the gifts of the season. We offer you beer made by our own hands. Shining ones, accept our sacrifice.
I only had a single moment with her father, but it was enough. When I first knew that I was pregnant, I felt such joy at the thought of this small life growing inside of me. I felt her tiny kicks and stirrings. I found myself smiling with each push and stretch. When she was born, crying and bloody, I held her to my chest and felt my soul bind to hers. She was so beautiful, I never wanted to put her down.
For those first few months, I didn’t. I held her, so that any cry would be instantly met with what she needed. Her coos were my constant music, and I often lost myself in her determined gaze. She was this small mystery that began to change and reveal its secrets slowly over time. She began to roll, and crawl, then walk, and who she was began to be revealed. I was so happy. My heart was filled with love and wonder at this amazing creature. It spilled out into the world and made the path ways green, and the fields rich with abundance. My daughter would run through the brightly colored flowers and laugh. She was so independent. By the time she became a young lady, I was so proud of how strong she was. I felt no fears, for I knew how determined she was. I knew she would always get her way. She was my Persephone.
I heard the thunder of the ground splitting. I felt it shake the world. I felt the cold water of fear run through my chest. I ran. My Baby! I ran so hard, my chest pieced with pain and my heart thumping so hard, it felt as if it would split me open. Where is she? Where is my baby?
I circled the world looking. With each passing day I lost hope. I felt the fear splinter into a million tiny thoughts. Each shard danced and changed into a new horror in my mind’s eye. The visions soon were replaced by grief and despair. Would I ever know what had become of my precious one?
I crawled into a cave dark enough to match my feelings. Horrors swept my mind. Thoughts of what she must had endured in her final moments refused to leave. I wept. I cut the pain out of my skin with stones. The blood ran free. I endured such agonies in my own head.
My despair began to leak out into the world. The crops had long since begun to whither when Hecate’s torch light fell on my dirt covered face. This wise woman had been walking by the crevice that had torn the world the day my daughter was lost, when she had heard the singing. She held her torch high as she gingerly crawled down into the belly of the world, following the voice she knew in her heart was my daughter’s.
There is the throne room of the Dark God Hades was my sweet child. Her voice raised in song; singing to chase away her hunger. Hecate told me that Hades had struck a deal with Persephone’s father. Hades had taken my beautiful girl to be his wife. All the pain, the fear, the despair burned hot now as true hatred and anger. How dare Zeus take my child and give her away to the land of death? I approached him, all my anger leaching into the air around me. It poisoned the world to the point that there was no plants left alive.
Give me back my child, I demanded. You had no right to take her.
I am her father. I have ever right, he replied.
My anger became a flame that burned cold. Cold enough to freeze the world. The lives of those who rode Gaia’s back had lost so much. They had nothing left to give to the Gods in sacrifice. Did the Gods not feel that lost dearly? They began to beg Zeus to force me to make the world grow again. How could he force the anger and pain from my heart? He knew he could not.
You have no rights to take the sacrifices away from you Brother and Sister Gods.
My anger gives me the right, I replied.
I saw my rage mirrored in his face. His pride made him hesitate, but when the sacrifices stopped completely, he relented. Zeus went to our brother to ask for his daughter back. Had his pride not kept him so long... Persephone was in the land of the dead, but she was not yet dead herself. She had grown so hungry. It was just a few seeds from the pomegranate that Hades had given her. Just a few. That fruit had come from the underworld and was part of that dark land. When she ate the seeds and absorbed them, she took part of the underworld into herself. Hades agreed to allow his Queen and bride to return to me for part of the year. It was also agreed that Hecate would guide my sweet child home again. She would have to return in time, but I could ignore that for now.
I watched the road leading from that dark gash in the Earth, and when I saw her shadow far off, the light of Hecate’s torch, I screamed my joy. It burst forth from lips, and with it my love flowed out into the world again. My joy was repeated in the songs of the birds, and the birth of new life. My baby! My Baby! Sweet child of my life. Home again. Sweetest Persephone.
Lord Hades: Lord of the land of the dead, giver of Elysium, Asphodel, and Tartarus. You have always honored your bargains and it is for this reason that your Queen is again released to join her mother here in the middle world. Lord Hades you guard our dead and serve the order of the universe. All the bounty under the Earth is yours to give, including those precious gifts that nurture the plants, and through them us. This is why you are called Pluton. Lord Hades we offer you whiskey with our thanks. Lord Hades Accept our sacrifice.
Lady Persephone: Queen of dark and light, Lady Persephone, in the dark of the year you help guard our dead, and when the wheel of the year turns to light you bring the abundance of the underworld with your return. Sweet Lady we offer you these seeds of the pomegranate, may they honor you. Persephone accept our sacrifice.
Lady Demeter: Green Lady of the Grain, rich haired nourisher and bringer of seasons. Rejoice for your daughter returns to you. Your joy is ours as well. The buds on the trees and the first sprouts of green in the garden all speak of the beauty to come. We offer you wheat, a sacrifice given from what returns to us. Demeter, accept our sacrifice.
Calling the Blessings
Hallowing the Blessing
Affirming the Blessing
Thanking the Beings: Shining ones, Nature spirits, Ancestors
Closing the Gates
Thanking the Earth Mother
Closing the Rite