First Night of Anthesteria
This ritual is in honor of Dionysos on the first night of His festival Anthesteria.
A pitcher of wine and/or cold, fruity tea is prepared at least two hours prior to the ritual. The spring water for purification is poured one hour before the ritual, as the participants/priest is preparing his/her body for the rite. The Ancestor Shrine is prepared for the Third night of the Festival one day prior to the opening ceremonies taking place tonight.
It would be appropriate for the Hiereus washes himself in warm flowing water half an hour prior to the rite if this is at all possible. A bowl of khernips is placed upon the altar for the temple purification. The incense is placed within the burner and the lighter sits also upon the altar, awaiting its use.
The participants, after purifying themselves carry the offerings to the altar. The flames of Helios and Selene are lit:
Helios, the Sun! Selene, the Moon!
Divine protectors of all those who walk beneath thee
Upon the blessed Gaia,
Come down and bless me with your protection during this
Sacred act of Holy Sacrifice!
Hestia’s Sacred Flame is lit.
Hestia, you who tend the sacred dwelling
Of the far-shooting lord, Apollon, at holy Pytho,
From your tresses flowing oil ever drips down.
Come into this house! Come in gentle spirit
With resourceful Zeus and grant grace to my song!
(Homeric Hymn to Hestia)
The Hiereus sprinkles the khernips around the altar.
Ekas, Ekas! Este bebeloi!
Oh Great Lord Apollon who makes everything pure! Let your waters cleanse and consecrate this sacred space, making it free of all the profane!
The khernips is then placed outside of the ritual space as it is now impure.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE:
The statue of Dionysos is then placed onto the altar.
I come now before the blessed Dionysos!
To sing Him praises and be merry
And to be thankful to Him for his gift of wine-bearing fruit
And to honor Him with joy, prayers and sacrifice!
I begin to sing of boisterous Dionysos of the ivy-wreathed head,
The noble son of Zeus and glorious Semele.
The lovely-haired nymphs nurtured him and from his lordly father
Took him to their bosoms to cuddle and nurse
In the dells of Nysa. He grew up by his father’s will
Inside a sweet-smelling cave as one of the immortals.
But after the Goddesses brought him up with many songs,
Covered with ivy and laurel he started
Haunting the woody glens. The nymphs followed him
And he led the way as the boundless forest resounded with din.
And so hail to you, Dionysos with your many grapes!
Grant that we joyously reach this season again
And then after this season many more years.
(Homeric Hymn to Dionysos)
Dionysos, you who are He who blesses us with wine-bearing fruit,
Who surrounds us with the ivy which grows endlessly upon walls;
You who bestows the blessings of merriment and the curses of madness;
I give Thee thanks for Your help in leading me to Your temple where I may worship you and the other blessed Olympians.
Remind me always to take time to relax and find pleasure
And keep me safe from the madness that you understand so well.
o makar genoito! Let it be thus!
Hiereus draws the invoking pentagram over the offerings with the sacrificial knife.
I bring you gifts!
See these things!
And partake of them as you will wish!
A handful of barley is sprinkled upon the altar.
For You, Hestia; the first and last!
Spring water is poured into the libation cup. The participants each lift the cup to Dionysos, call out “Spondh!” take a sip and pour the rest into the libation dish.
Holy Immortals, my rite has ended. If it be your will, I shall come again unto your altars, bearing offerings and sacrifices; singing hymns of praise and thanksgiving!
Khairete! I rejoice!