Plynteria Ritual

Procession

The folk circle around the statue of Athena, who is beside a torch fed by olive oil. At her feet is a pitcher of water, a bowl and a cloth.

Priestess of Athena: It is the Plynteria, the day of cleansing. Today we take the goddess Athena from her sanctuary to running water so we may cleanse her, and present her with her new dress. Then we shall return her to her sanctuary, where her olive oil lamp can be relit for the coming year. It is a day when the veils betwixt the worlds is thin. It is not a time for honoring our dead, but appeasing the malevolent spirits who may be about now that Athena is not vigilantly presiding over her city, but outside being cleansed. It is only together, affirming our bonds as xenoi that we can protect Athena against the goblins and other malevolent spirits about. So we begin by becoming to each other guest-friends.

FM: I kindle the sacred fire in wisdom, love, and power. Sacred fire burn within us.

Folk: Sacred fire burn within us.

FM will then cense the site and the folk.

KW: In the depths flow the waters of wisdom. Sacred waters flow within us.

Folk: Sacred waters flow within us.

The Keeper of the Well washes the hands of the person next to him by pouring water over the hands and into the bowl. That person in turn washes the hands of the person next to him/her, and so on until the circle is complete.

TT: From the depths to the heights spans the world tree. Sacred Tree, grow within us.

Folk: Sacred tree, grow within us.

TT will then asperge and cense the gateway post.

PA: The fire, the well, the sacred tree,

Folk: Flame, and flow, and grow in me!

PA: In land, sea and sky

Folk: Below and on high!

PA: Thus is the sacred grove claimed and hallowed.

Folk: So be it!

PA: By the cleaning of water and fire let all ill turn away from me and mine.

The Priestess of Athena will lead the grove in meditation, then all will sing the Unity Chant.

Priestess of Athena: It is now time to do our work. Today we take Athena to running water, that we may cleanse her. But first we must appease the malevolent spirits that may be about.

The men will light two torches from the olive oil torch and step outside the sanctuary.

Head of the Warriors: Titans, you who reigned before the gods, and then stood against them, we respect your brute force and make you offerings. Eris, spirit of discord we respect your power to destroy what does not stand firm, and make you offerings. And to all others for whom law is might, or who respect cunning over justice, we respect your powers, and make you offerings, that you trouble us not. Accept this offering.

Men:Within our bounds you shall not cross.

The women will unclothe the goddess, and place her into a basket and cover her. They will then blow out the torch and step outside the sanctuary. The men will tie a rope before the opening of the sanctuary, and then each walk before or behind the women, carrying their torches, as they process to the water.

D1: Nature spirits: Nymphs, dryads, satyrs, maenads, naiads, okeanides, and other daimons of nature we seek your protection and care as we bathe Athena.

Priestess of Athena: lambanete kai hedesth anathemeta hemon.

She strews figs about.

All sing Fur and Feather:

D2: Mothers and fathers we ask that you protect now what you preserved in your lives.

Priestess of Athena: lambanete kai hedesthe anathemeta hemon.

She pours water to them.

All sing Mothers and Fathers of Old.

D3:Gods and goddesses of old times and new, watch over us as we perform our sacred rite for Athena. Let no ill come to us or ours.

Priestess of Athena: lambanete kai hedesthe anathemeta hemon.

The Fire Maiden lights incense.

They all sing Hail all the Gods.

Priestess of Athena: It is time now to perform our sacred rite. Let none look upon the goddess except those who cleanse her, lest we incur her wrath.

The men will then stand guard, with their backs to the water, while the women lift the goddess from the basket and wash her.

All sing Aphrodite Chant.

When the women are done bathing the goddess, they will bring her out and dress her in her new dress.

Priestess of Athena:It is done. Before we return to her sanctuary, we must make sacrifices to the appropriate deities. First we sacrifice to the Fates, in thanks that they have brought us to this day, and in hopes that they spin a promising future for us. To the Fates! lambanete kai hedesthe anathemeta hemon.

The Fire Maiden makes an offering of incense.

Priestess of Athena:Now we make sacrifice to Zeus, leader of the Fates, in thanks for his blessings and in hopes of his future favor. To Zeus! lambane kai hedou anathemeta hemon.

The Fire Maiden makes an offering of incense.

Priestess of Athena: Now we offer to Gaea, the well-founded earth. We honor you, mother of all, oldest of all, who nourishes upon the earth all that is. lambane kai hedou anathemeta hemon.

The Priestess of Athena sings Earth Mother Hymn, and an offering of honey mixed with flour is made.

Priestess of Athena:It is time now to place Athena in her sanctuary once again, and relight her hearth fire.

All process back in the same order as before. When they arrive, the men will remove the ropes from the gateway. The women will enter, but not place Athena down until the men have relit the torch from their torches.

Priestess of Athena:We have bathed the goddess and returned her to her home. Now do we have further offerings to make to her or to any of the other gods?

Praise Offerings

Priestess of Athena: Our praise goes up to you on the wings of owls, our voices on the wind. Here us now Athena, and all the rest, as we offer you this sacrifice. Accept it and open our hearts to your blessings. outos exoi!

Divination

The Priestess of Athena will chant: "Alétheia, Diké, Sophia, Areté." As the Diviner reads the Omen, everyone else will sit in meditation, waiting for any signs to come to them as well. After the diviner reveals the omen, anything else that has come to others can be shared as well. The Diviner then leads the folk in a meditation on grove and personal needs. After that the Keeper of the Well will mix the water from the pitcher and the wine in the cup.

PA:Of what does the Earth Mother give that we may know of the continual flow and renewal of life?

Folk:The Waters of Life.

PA:And from whence do these waters flow?

Folk:From the bosom of the Earth Mother. The ever-changing All Mother.

PA: And how do we honor this gift that causes life?

Folk: By partaking of the Waters of Life.

PA: Has the Earth Mother given forth of her bounty?

Folk: She has!

Priestess of Athena calls for Athena and all the others to bless the waters of life. The cup is passed while all sing Share the Waters.

SD:Is there an aspirant for Grove membership here today?

NM:There is!

SD:Step forward so that the folk can see you.

NM steps forward.

SD: Are you a member of Ár nDraíocht Féin?

NM:I am.

SD:Will you take oath before the Gods and the Folk?

NM:I will.

SD:Is there any of the folk here who can say why this person should not be welcomed to the Grove?

SD pauses. Step forward to the World Tree and state the name we shall know you by.

NM stands next to the Bilé.

NM: My name is ________.

SD: Lay your hand on the World Tree and repeat after me. I _______, swear before the Gods and the folk, to work for and with this grove, for as long as I am a member, in return for being counted among the folk. Thus do I swear by all I hold sacred!

The NM is dressed in their tabard, and censed and asperged.

SD:Welcome to _________ Grove, A.D.F., you are now numbered among our folk.

Each member of the Grove will now step forward in turn, put their hands on the NM shoulders, look into their eyes and say:

You are of my folk, Welcome!

SD:Let there be music and drumming so that all know that World Tree Grove is one stronger!

Priestess of Athena:The gods have blessed us. With joy in our hearts, let us return to the realm of mortals to do both their will and ours. Every time we invoke them, they become stronger and more alert to the needs of the folk. But now comes the time when we must prepare to depart. So let us give thanks to those whom we have invited here.

"Athena, charin echomen soi.

All:We thank you.

Priestess of Athena:Panes theon charin echomen humin.

All:All the gods and goddesses, we thank you.

Priestess of Athena: Meteres kai pateres, charin echomen humin.

All:Mothers and fathers, we thank you.

Priestess of Athena: Nymphai, Satyroi, charin echomen humin.

All:Nymphs and satyrs, we thank you.

Priestess of Athena: We have done as our ancestors did and as our children will do and the Gods have answered!

The folk are led in a meditation of regrounding, recentering, unmerging and draining of excess power.

Priestess of Athena: Let us go out into the world secure in the knowledge that our sacrifices have pleased the gods and that we go forth under their protection. The ritual is at a close.

Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship, Inc.

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