Friday, 29 June 2007

DIONYSIAN LITURGY


Liturgy of A New Dionysian Harvest Festival

We place no power outside ourselves, recognise no priestly authority, and do not offer praise in the hope of special favour, but we dance now in ideas and simple ceremony through steps that activate age-old resonances, in awakening and invoking you.


We invoke you as the Dance-Weaving One


We understand that in this resonance resides a living genius, and also understand that in some sense this is a part of our collective, multidimensional consciousness. We invoke you as a genius which brings pleasure, and are happy if through us such pleasure may spread into the world.


We invoke you as god of the Comedy, of laughter and wine.


And so, to dance in resonant ancient steps, we have set up this idol as of old, to the same specifications, the mask upon the pillar, the double garment, and with the eye that is mind we see back to that time when this idol was raised with great ceremony.


We invoke you as Dendrites, He-Who-Is-In-The-Tree.


Through this image we remember you as Osiris who grew up into a tree which was then made into a pillar, and recall how Isis by her magic awoke your essence within this pillar.


We invoke you as the Pillar, and He-Who-Entwines-Around-the-Pillar

And so we shall pour libation to you, saying as in very ancient times, that we return to you what was pressed from you, the Life energies of Sun and Moon that are called the Eyes of Horus which had infused the grapes from which this wine has been made. We shall return to you the Eye of Horus.


We invoke you as the Sun-in-the-Grapes


We invoke your energy in the pillar, and the first object we bring before you, before this idol, is a basket which contains a representation of a vinestock. It represents the first vinestock that was brought to these shores and planted in these soils. At Harvest the vine is cut down to this core part, and in Winter you dwell within the Underworld while the vine seems to sleep. There you were initiated into the mysteries of Rhea, Mother Earth, so that when you returned to the surface you were stronger and more fruitful than before. In Spring the horned vinestock wakes and sprouts green tendrils like serpents as the sap rises.


We invoke you as the Horned-Child with serpents for hair


Riding on a goat you found safety, and then received protection from Rhea. It is said that the vinestock was carried to new lands in a basket on the head of the goddess, and so we now carry this basket and place it before you.


We invoke you as Liknites, the Child-in-the-Basket


We close our eyes for a moment and image ourselves in the Underworld receiving the Mysteries from Rhea, Mother Earth, entwining around us protectively as a healing serpent. [PAUSE]
And now we open our eyes as if reborn as initiates.
Risen from the Underworld you are the Initiated Dionysos, and you grow strong through the Summer, riding high in the evening skies as the wine-bringer constellation Ikarios, the constellation also called the Herdsman. Ikarios ascended into the stars while a vine grew up from his tomb.


We invoke you in the form of your human stand-in, Ikarios, who took you into his house and first received from you the gift of wine.


As this constellation, Dionysos, you ascend, riding in your chariot pulled by the magnificent team, Leo and Leo Minor, while behind you follow the revelling throng, the Bearers of the Serpents, called Maenads, and your Sagitarian mentor, the half-man, half-horse Silenus, on his mule, and the goatish satyr of Capricorn. You lead this triumphant party from the East, happy with your successes!


We invoke you as He-Who-Leads-the-Throng


Now we recall that your birth was two-fold. While she was in the Underworld your mother, Semele-Persephone, became pregnant with you, and when you were born you were protected from the light of Zeus by a covering of ivy which he, your father, placed around you.


We invoke you as the Ivy Apollo


From Persephone, of the green plants, you were born as Iakchos, who is in the fresh, new fruit juice, the gleukos. And so we now carry the branches hung with grapes and other first fruits of the season and place them before you. And we now drink fruit juice that is sacred to you. We pour first the grape juice, and we feel thankful for the gifts of rejuvenation in this elixir, for the powerful antioxidants - polyphenols - and for the rejuvenating resveratrol. We drink also pomegranate juice, remembering how this plant was said to have grown up from where drops of your blood hit the ground. Such gleukos is fermented and sewn into the wine skin to be matured. Zeus sewed you when you were premature into his thy to complete the gestation.


As this time of year is upon us, we invoke you as the sewn-in god.


The matured wine may be opened at any time of year, and such an occasion is your second birth. And as we open the wine and celebrate simultaneously this second birth we shout, as they did of old at this moment of the first opening of the matured wine: "Son of Semele, Iakchos, Bestower of Wealth!"


Son of Semele, Iakchos, Bestower of Wealth!


Hence you are are the Twice-Born.


We cast the sight of the eye that is mind back to this moment in the Temple of Dionysos in the Swamps of Athens, the Lenaia, when the birth was announced, and when the wine was ladelled out of wine-mixing jars set upon tables placed before the idol, just as has been arranged here. We ladel this out for ourselves, and also into a kantharos that we have reserved for you Dionysos, which we place before you on the table.
And now comes the next part of the initation, the kraterzein, the original Eucharist. For we shall drink this sacred blood-of-the-vine, recalling how as the Sun rises with Sirius in late Summer the grapes undergo the mysterious transubstantiation from green to red, transformed to ichor, the blood-of-the-gods. May our minds become pregnant with pleasure-bringing genius and may we birth this into the world through our creativity.
May the Dionysian Pagan codes be activated to beneficial effect in the Age of the Cup Bearer!
And so as promised we now pour libation to you, saying as in very ancient times, that we return to you what was pressed from you. We return to you the Eye of Horus.


We invoke you as the Sun-in-the-Grapes
May the Dionysian find its place in our world
May the genius in the plants awake
Wassail!

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