Cleansing the Sacred Space
Carrying the khernips, the Priest/ess walks around the ritual area, sprinkling everything with the water. Recite the following as you make your circuit:
“You are washed clean by the life-giving waters of the Nile! You are pure! No man has set foot on you, for you are the primordial mound rising from the broad depths of the Ocean at the First Time. You are pure!”
We come together today to celebrate the fall equinox, the point of balance between dark and light, day and night, summer and winter. Tonight Kore descends to meet Her husband in the Underworld, the Spring Maiden is transformed into Persephone, fearsome Queen of the Dead. We honor Persephone and Her Divine mother, Demeter. At the same time, we prepare to move into a quieter, more contemplative time, as the season slows down, so do we. We celebrate the last harvest as we enter the time of the ancestors.
To Eleusinian Demeter (as translated by Athanassakis )
Deo, divine mother of all, goddess of many names, august Demeter,
Nurturer of youths, and giver of prosperity and wealth.
You nourish the ears of corn, O giver of all, and you delight in peace and in toilsome labor.
Present at sowing, reaping and threshing, O spirit of unripe fruit,
You dwell in the sacred valley of Eleusis.
Charming and lovely, you give sustenance to all mortals,
And you were the first to yoke the plowing ox and to send up from below,
A rich and lovely harvest for mortals.
Through you there is growth and blooming, O illustrious companion of Bromios Dionysos,
And, torch-bearing and pure one, you delight in the summer’s yield.
From beneath the earth you appear and to all you are gentle,
O holy and youth-nurturing lover of children and of fair offspring.
You yoke your chariot to bridled dragons,
And round your throne you whirl and howl in ecstasy.
Only daughter with many children and many powers over mortals,
You manifest your myriad faces to the variety of flowers and sacred blossoms.
Come, blessed and pure one, and, laden with the fruits of summer,
Bring peace, together with the welcome rule of law, riches too,
And prosperity, and health that governs all.
Move the statue of Persephone from the Upperworld altar to the Underworld altar.
Orphic Hymn for Persephone(as translated by Athanassakis )
Persephone, blessed daughter of great Zeus, sole offspring of Demeter,
Come and accept this gracious sacrifice.
Much-honored spouse of Plouton, discreet and life-giving,
You command the gates of Hades in the bowels of the earth,
Lovely-tressed, Praxidike, pure bloom of Deo, mother of the Furies,
Queen of the netherworld whom Zeus sired in clandestine union.
Mother of loud-roaring and many shaped Eubouleus,
Radiant and luminous playmate of the Seasons, august, almighty,
Maiden rich in fruits, you alone are beloved of mortals.
In spring you rejoice in the meadow breezes,
And you show your holy figure in shoots and green fruits.
You were made a kidnapper’s bride in the fall,
And you alone are life and death to toiling mortals,
O Persephone, for you always nourish all and kill them too.
Hearken, O blessed goddess, and send forth the earth’s fruits.
You who blossom in peace, in soft-handed health,
And in a life of plenty that ferries old age in comfort to your realm,
O queen, and to that of mighty Plouton.
O Two Goddesses of Eleusis, accept this meal as offering. Demeter, adorned in corn-ears, come down from Olympos to join us. Persephone, Queen of shades, come up from Haides’ hall to join us. Take a moment to feast upon these offerings, this food and drink, prepared in love for Your honor. Be with us as we adjust to the new season, as fall decays into winter. We spiral with You, O grieving Mother, O dark Queen. Loss is inevitable in life, mortal and Divine. But all death contains within it the seeds of rebirth. As we approach the dark of this cycle, we know that the sun will come again, that Persephone will ascend in the Spring to become Kore once again.