Anthesphoria The Festival of the Flowers A Hellenic Spring Equinox by Starlit
You will need
A Hearth fire, or Hestia Candle/Lamp Khernips – spring water with the option of salt dissolved in it. A bay leaf or branch presented in a bowl Offering bowls Wine glass Barley or oats/grains Bread Honey sweetened Red wine Olive Oil A couple of coins (doesn't matter what denomination) Dried flowers, suggestions – rose, crocus, iris, violet, lily, larkspur, daffodil Garden tools – whatever you use in the garden, perhaps the handheld tools so they fit in your space. (You could visualise the activities we have done in spiritual growth as tools of your spiritual growth garden.)
What to do
* Ritual Washing * Purification of space – spring water sprinkled from a bay leaf or branch (khernips)
“Be gone all corruption” three times
* Opening Statement
Greetings to all gathered here! We have come to honour the Theoi in the ways of Old. Today, we celebrate Anthesphoria, the Festival of flowers! It is now that we welcome Persephone back from the Underworld and into the Middleworld above. As she walks among us, flowers fall from her feet, and the tears of joy from her Holy Mother, Demeter, bring the sleeping greenery to full wakefulness. Spring has come! Let us rejoice in the light half of the year!
* Lighting of the sacred hearth fire or Hestia’s lamp (always honoured first and last)
“You, fiery Hestia, daughter of Kronos, Sacred hearth flame, may your eternal light illuminate our/my worship, welcome to my/our oikos (home) with blessings.”
- Libation of honey sweetened wine - Homeric Hymn 24 to Hestia
Hestia, you that tend the far-shooting lord Apollo’s sacred house at holy Pytho, from your locks the oozing oil ever – drips down. Come to this house kindly hearth, together with Zeus the resourceful, and bestow beauty on my singing.”
* Strewing of barely around the altar (circling clockwise three times)
* Invocation of Gaia
“Gaia, you who nurture us into being, who nurture us through life, and who accepts us once again unto thee, blessed Kourotrophos, I honour you with khernips…”
- Libation of Khernips (not all of it you need the bowl of water, but place this below your altar now)
Close your eyes. Breathe deep. Breathe in and breathe out. Take in the positive energy around you. Push out the negative energy within you.
Above you, around you, below you and before you….all is darkness. Nyx, the Goddess of Night, has taken control of the world and all is consumed in her eternal blackness, broken only on those occasions when Selene shows us her Moony face. Blackness….
You suddenly realise this blackness is no longer absolute. Images and shapes begin to swirl before you, slowly becoming shadowy impressions of the world around you. You see the faintest hint of a tree or a shrub. Looking around you, you realise that these shapes are gaining definition; details are becoming more and more clear.
Dawn. Eos has awakened. As she stretches her rosy fingers across the sky, she gently caresses Nyx toward to West, making the way clear for Helios in the East to begin his frantic and fiery journey across the sky. This is our Gatekeeper. Eos, Liminal Goddess of the Dawn, with the strength to coax back Night itself and the very Sun at her heels.
* Invocation of Eos
“Eos! Goddess of the Dawn! Bringer of light in the darkest of night! We honour you in the Old ways. Accept our sacrifice and in return, join us! Add your powerful magic to ours and aide us in opening the gates! Eos, Accept our Offering!”
- Libation of honey sweetened wine
* The opening of the Gates
Open the gates open the gates, open the gates….. (chant a few times)
"Eos! Below you stands the gate to the Lower Realm! Throw back the door to the Underworld! May the Well open as a gate!"
"Liminal Being of the morning! Before you stands the gate of the Middleworld! May the wall of this space open as a gate!" (if you're outside you can use a tree!)
"Holy Goddess of the Dawn! Above you stands the gate to the Upperworld, to the Heavens where all the gods and goddesses are free to roam! May the fire open as a gate!"
"Eos! May the Gates be open! Esto!"
* Calling the Kindred
“We stand now, in the presence of the Gods. They hear our thoughts and intentions. Meet them with purity and devotion. Kindred, the children of the Earth have need of you, come forth as you are called and accept the gifts we have brought for you!”
“Shining Ones, Theoi, Gods and Goddesses on high! First Children of the Mother! We honour you today. To the Khthonioi who rule below, to the Titans who stood with Zeus as allies, to the Apotheothenai, Heroes among our Ancestors, promoted to Gods, and above all, to the Mighty Olympians, be welcome in our midst. Theoi! Accept our offering!”
- Libation of Olive Oil
“Nature Spirits! Noble Ones! Guardians and guides of this realm! Spirits of fur and feather, of scale and skin, those who we see and those hidden from sight and unnamed, hear us! Worldly Spirits! Spirits of Place! Beloved allies, we honour you. Nature Spirits! Accept our offering!"
- Offering of bread and grain
“Beloved Ancestors! Mighty Dead who have gone before! Honoured Heroes! Grandmothers and Grandfathers of blood! Ancestors of spirit, I call to you! Those of Hearth and those of Heart, hear me now! Those who have stood where we stand, passed to the other side and now hold the secrets of birth and death, we honour you. Ancestors! Accept our offering!”
- Offering of coins
* Invocation of the Deity of the Occasion - Persephone
“Persephone, Daughter of the Sky Father, Zeus and the Earth Goddess of Growing Things, Demeter, Beloved Queen of the Underworld! The time is come for you to resume your reign as Queen of the Spring! The world wept and all went cold and barren in your time of absence. You return now, to your sacred gardens, reminding us that loss is inevitable, but sorrow is temporary. As you walk upon the earth once more and flowers fall from your feet, we are reminded that all things have cycles, life and death and rebirth are the part of the world that is constant when nothing else is. The time of rebirth has come!
“Furthermore, you teach us that when faced with a difficult situation we can either ‘perish in the pits of Hades or become the Queen of the Underworld for a time, rise above our difficulties and turn our faces to the sun. Through your strength to overcome hardships, you teach us the importance of making the best out of difficult situations and finding the good around us. You remind us to be ever vigilant in our tasks and to move forward without complaint. As a pomegranate seed binds you to your station, so too are we bound to follow the Elder ways. Still, you reward us for our piety and for our perseverance. Beloved Persephone, Mighty Queen! Accept our offerings! Esto!”
- Offering of dried flowers (rose, lily, crocus, daffodil, iris, violet, larkspur) - Libation of Honey sweetened wine
* Working - The Blessing of Spring
“During this awakening of the Earth, we see the flowers peeking their heads bravely above the ground, greeting our Lady of the Spring as she passes by. These first flowers awakened by the magic of the Goddess are now used to spread that magic to the gardens ‘round our hearths.
- Sprinkle dried flowers of your choice on to your tools
“By Persephone’s charge, we place these flowers upon the tools of the trade. May they be blessed by her hands. May they be blessed by her mother’s hands. May they bless the hands that hold them.”
“Persephone, may the gardens touched by these instruments that tend the Earth be ever fruitful, healthy and hearty. May the plants grow large, the blooms grow larger and the fruits droop to the roots. All things that grow are blessed by your touch. Persephone, grant us plenty this growing season. Esto!”
* The Departure
“Persephone! We honour you. Your return allows the Earth to Fruit once more, through the hand of your blessed Mother, Demeter. May your continued and growing presence in our realm be ever on our hearts and minds as it is evident all around us. Persephone, Returned Maiden of the Springtime! Hail and farewell!”
“Ancestors! Those of Music and Theatre, those of Hearth and Spirit, and those of blood, we thank you. We are grateful for your knowledge and learn from your experiences. Thank you. Hail and farewell!”
“Nature Spirits! Noble Ones, Allies, Spirits of Place. We are grateful for your guidance, and we thank you. Hail and farewell!”
“Theoi! Shining Ones! Your intervention has saved many of us more than once, and we thank you, for your guidance and your wisdom, for your mercy and your strength. We thank you. Hail and farewell!”
* Closing the Gates “Eos, we honour you, and we thank you for your continued awakenings, for illuminating our paths when they are the most dark, and for the many things you do that are unseen. We ask you to join your magic with ours once more this day and close these gates, leaving behind the imprint of the work we have done today.”
* Thanking Gaia “Gaia! Earth Mother! Without you, there is nothing. You gave us life, you sustain us, and when we die, you assume us back into your body. We honour and praise you. Earth Mother, we thank you. Hail and farewell!”
* Thanking Hestia – if you don’t have an eternal flame you’ll need to extinguish your flame. “Hestia of the Hearth Fire, Sacred center of family and society. Just as you are the first and last born of your Mother, so do we honour you first and last. Hestia, we thank you. Hail and Farewell!
“We have honoured the gods, and we have done it well. This rite is ended! Esto!
Written by Starlit