Calendar of the Moon
Greater Mysteries Day 6: Ritual
Colors: Gold and black
Altar: Upon cloth of black and gold set a single white candle to burn, with incense of myrrh, and a great pitcher of mint-barley tea, with many cups around it. Before the altar lay the Kistai, the round box of holy objects, and a basket with a sheaf of grain in it. The curtains are drawn, and a single torch lights the room.
Offerings: Oneself, as an initiate.
Daily Meal: Fasting until Mesembria of the next day, except for the “kykeon” tea.
Mysteries Invocation VI:
(The invocation opens with a wordless, many-toned chant that all sing.)
We have walked in the footsteps of Demeter,
Who understands the mourning of the loss so terrible
That you think you may die from it.
We have walked in the footsteps of Persephone,
Who understands being taken against your will
To a dark place where only love can change things.
We are come to the moment of seeing, of knowing,
Of bringing together what has been parted,
Yet knowing also that both are changed,
And will never be what they were before.
Mother and daughter must find a new relationship,
As we must find a new way after each of our losses.
(The chant is repeated. Then the Kistai is opened, and each of the holy objects is removed, and explained to the folk. They come forth to touch them as they are brought forth.)
Hail to Demeter, Lady of the Earth,
Giver of nourishment!
As Demeter in her mourning, in her barrenness
Was given kykeon to drink by Metaneira,
Was given shelter and care by mortals
Who would not see an old woman weary on the road
Without offering comfort, so we see
That mortals can offer comfort to the Gods, and to each other.
Here, take, drink of Comfort in the time of darkness.
(Then the kykeon is passed to drink, and all speak in turn of their losses, and how they came forth to find a new path. If this ritual takes longer, it may go late into Arktos without trouble, as there is no dinner; it is important that all get the chance to speak, and weep if necessary. When all have finished, the officiant says:)
Remember always this:
That darkness yields to light, and light to darkness,
And out of every woe comes some good thing,
Even if it is not given to the sufferers.
For lo, Persephone the ravished maiden is now Queen,
And Counselor to the sorrowing Dead,
Bringing healing to the pain of others.
How will you, too, heal from the memory of wounds?
(Each speaks of how they will bring healing to the world, and the rest of the kykeon is poured out as a libation.)
Hail to Persephone, Maiden who goes down into the dark,
And has learned to love the Dark, and its center!
Hail to She who arises again in the spring,
Reminding us that spring will always come again,
No matter how long and cold the winter!
Hail to Hades, Lord of the Underworld,
Who gives the Dead their food, their shelter,
And what care and love he can,
Who gave them the greatest gift of all:
The gift of Persephone, Maiden of the Spring,
To succor them and give them hope.
For lo, they have birthed them a child,
And his name is Brimos, and he is given back to all of us,
Given to the living for our sustenance,
Nourishment born of tears, Birth born of Death,
As all life feeds on Death, as all things turn on the wheel.
Hail to Brimos, born in the darkness,
And may we follow you back to the light!
(End with the wordless chant again, lasting for some time as the torch is put out. Then all should go out into the light as if for the first time, and sing while they work for the rest of the work-hours.)