A Changing Altar, achangingaltar, Anthesteria, Bacchus, dionysos, dionysus, Hellenism, Hellenismos, pagan, paganism, Ritual, spirituality
Or: The Saga Ends and I Have Become a Flower
Well, it’s finally happened.
My Anthesteria was a day late, and wasn’t organized at all. Really it was just a huge clean-out of the altar and a night to spend one-on-one time with Dionysus, because that has been seriously lacking as of late.
About a week before the Anthesteria, my old workplace at the magic shop surprised me with gifts for ‘Employee Appreciation Day’ (March 1st, but they gave the gifts early) because I still come in on a regular basis and volunteer around the shop, packing things or redoing displays, etc.
I was gifted 3 magpie feathers, a bottle of organic red wine, two Hail Dionysus notebooks, and a bar of Dionysus soap!
All of this went on the altar, waiting for a big clean-up. It finally happened, and I redecorated the altar. Considering that I hadn’t done any proper research into Anthesteria, I really considered skipping it, but I kept feeling the pull, especially considering it is a holiday that specifically relates to Dionysus and his links to flowers!
I went and bought a brightly coloured bouquet, as well as some tasty treats, cleaned and redecorated, washed up and kneeled at the altar. Dionysus had taken His place in the middle for this special occasion, and I poured some of the gifted wine into the offering cups I keep for Dionysus, Hekate, and Aphrodite. Out came the cookies, and I pressed play on my 60’s playlist.
I drank nearly 3/4 of the bottle by myself, dancing and singing and finally putting my hand-made scourge to use. I didn’t do any magic, and really just tried to let myself go and be. I read about wild, ecstatic experiences of other devotees, and while I admire them and am inspired by them, I know I have a lot of work to do before I get anywhere near that. I have to learn to let go, and to not worry. I have to learn to give up control.
I did my best, and I think that despite its slap-dash nature, my ritual was well received.
As I knelt before my altar, flogging my back and drinking and singing, I broke away the pieces of me that I didn’t need any more. This is a continual theme in my work with Dionysus. Growth, shedding, blooming, flowering. All of it because of Him, but for myself. I focused on the idea of flowering, and asked Dionysus to give me His blessings regarding my choice of new Craft name.
After some time, a song came on the playlist and I lost my shit.
‘My Guy’, by Mary Wells, came on. And while this could have been just a cute little *sigh* moment, many of you may recall Sister Act’s cover, which they changed to ‘My God‘… I sing that song on a regular basis and love the treatments from that film. I was rocking back and forth, laughing loudly and singing along drunkenly and feeling stellar.
I drunkenly laid down on the floor, chanting over and over again “Anthos, Anthos, Anthos, Anthos…” until I fell asleep.
I awoke, giggling, and crawled into bed with my fiance. I slept hard, woke early and still a bit drunk, went to work. My knees ached, and my stomach wouldn’t settle, but I never felt I needed to stop…I had finally gotten my answer, and His blessing.
And so, the saga that the search for my name has become is finally over.
I would like to introduce myself now…
Blessed by Dionysus Anthios, I am Anthos.
That was one wonderful (and moving) Anthesteria. And pretty consistent with the theme of the celebration from the get go as the first day is much about Big D coming into the town to slip His gifts to the people – I grinned so hard when you mentioned receiving magpie feathers (not many remember Bacchus’s bird was the magpie) along with all those other Dionysian items.
This post warmed my heart and made me to smile.
A Changing Altar said:
I’ve always had a love for magpies, so when they were gifted to me I was just kind of selfishly pleased, but then after I put them out on the altar and let them sit with all of His other symbols and such I could just feel Him saying “Hmmm. Yes. Gooood.” Hahaha!
I’m really glad that you enjoyed the post; when I wing it like this, I’m always worried someone is going to tell me “That makes NO sense!”, but I figure that Big D and I can celebrate however we want and I just go with it.
Thank you 🙂
No need to be self conscious and sell yourself short, your celebration made good sense and was elaborated enough to me – I like keeping the formalities to the minimum myself even in the big days, as I find it keeps me focused on the mysteric aspect of the holy day instead of distract me with the ‘sparkles’ ahah.
Susan C. Forsythe said:
Ryan, you have a knack for sharing your feelings, thoughts and experiences with your readers and I thank you for the joys your blog brings. By the time I finished reading this particular post, the hair on my arms was standing up on end. I felt “charged” with the experience you shared so vividly. I truly am happy for you.
A Changing Altar said:
I always appreciate your comments. You know I love the support 😉