On 20 March, the Autumnal Equinox in all its bright beauty burst through the cracks in my curtains. The day was bright and I had decided to do a ritual in honour of Persephone and Demeter. I had previously worked with Persephone during Samhain and while doing work for the Witches of the Blackberry Field Oracle (A group of women who work with Dark Goddesses, and the teachings of the Delphic oracle- unfortunately as I’m not in Canada I cannot participate as fully in the group as I’d like. I owe my debts to Sorceress Slaying Crow O’ Hagen for indirectly giving me confidence to start my own system and providing me and The Sisters with wonderful information and resources. However even though I was led down that path by Hekate, it was only a short stop on the way. I feel my work with Anubis and Hekate has taken me down a different path in which Dark Goddess work is complimented by working with Psychopompic energies, “low” magic and Egyptian flavoured ceremonies.)
Anyway I stray… Working with Persephone and Demeter together during this Mabon is poignant for me, as in my own life, there are changes. I am learning to step out on my own, collecting things for my future home, my mother is moving away soon, and I will have to step up, and be independent of her, coming into my own the way in which Persephone learnt to be content and independent as the Queen of The Dead. Hekate, Persephone’s friend, will of course be by my side too, as my friend, my confidant. I will be saying goodbye to my family, some of my pets and the life I once knew, and I’ll have to embrace adult life, with one deaf little dog, a lizard and my boyfriend. Of course this is not an easy transition. Persephone, was said to initially be very unhappy, she kicked and screamed (whether raped or not), and Demeter grieved and raged.
The land became barren, humans died under her wrath, and Zeus had to make a plan (of course he was the one who led to Persephone’s “abduction”.) Funny how all this is happening in the midst of the change from the harsh summer to the crisp autumn, from Pisces to Aries, in every ending is a beginning, in every beginning an end.
Whilst all this was going on, we know little of Persephone’s experience with Hades in the Underworld. She surely changed, a trauma of being taken away, or even moving away into independence willingly creates change. This initiation into her role as Queen of Shades, is cemented when she finally eats the pomegranate seeds and is forced to return to the underworld every year for a third of the time (according to the Homeric hymns). She learns contentment in the land of the dead, she finds happiness when she returns to her Mother.
This lesson is important on many levels, for me it resonates due to a similar ordeal, for others and at other times in my life it may mean something about sacrifice, and working through grief, understanding rebirth through the Mysteries, and finding personal power. It could mean descending into darkness to come out changed, it could mean working with the dead, as we pay our dues to Charon. For each of us, the meaning, the symbolism, the resonance may be different.
I gave my offerings of sweet wine and grain, apple and rose petals and honoured the transition. I had found the 93 Adorations of Persephone by Melittabenu and changed “I adore” to “I honour”, I also pared it down to 66. I then wrote my own for Demeter which can be adapted. As a non-Hellenic practitioner my UPG may lead to different understandings of Demeter than others, I feel this best captured the way she has appeared to me. Our god/desses are not one-dimensional and if these adorations I’ve been looking over for the last week have anything to teach me/us, it is that.
I wrote my “adorations/honourings” using Goddess Aloud (Goddess Worship), The Homeric Hymns (Classical translated text), and Moon Magick (Neo-Wiccan Perspective).
I also wrote it outside, sitting under an apple tree, with crisp autumn leaves by my feet.
My reason for changing I adore, to I honour is the nature of my ritual, and due to me feeling that this ritual was to get to know the two goddesses better, I adore implies an already deep relationship.
- I honour thee, Mother on Earth
- I honour thee, Lady of the corn
- I honour thee, Lady of Sorrow
- I honour thee, Measurer of Time
- I honour thee, of the blue robe
- I honour thee, Carrier of wheat
- I honour thee, Crowned with corn
- I honour thee, Giver of bread
- I honour thee, Protectress of women
- I honour thee, Who presides over the fertile earth
- I honour thee, of maternal love
- I honour thee, Lady of fruitfulness
- I honour thee, Giver of agriculture
- I honour thee, Queen of Law
- I honour thee, Whose feet nourish the soil
- I honour thee, Mourner of Persephone
- I honour thee, Raging one
- I honour thee, Who makes the earth barren
- I honour thee, Who brings cold
- I honour thee, Lady of the equal night
- I honuour thee, Who roams the land
- I honour thee, Queen of the harvest
- I honour thee, Mother of Dionysus
- I honour thee, Who changes everything she touches
- I honour thee, Spinner of the wheel*
- I honour thee, Who searches high and low
- I honour thee, Confider in Hekate
- I honour thee, Draped in black
- I honour thee, Who knows despair
- I honour thee, Desolate land
- I honour thee, Fertile seed
- I honour thee, Initiator of the Eleusinian Mysteries
- I honour thee, Who ripens the meadows
- I honour thee, Blighter of fields
- I honour thee, Autumn leaf
- I honour thee, of the golden hair
- I honour thee, Giver of the splendid gifts
- I honour thee, Bringer of seasons
- I honour thee, Daughter of Rhea
- I honour thee, Who becomes the crone
- I honour thee, Whose voice is crushed leaves
- I honour thee, Queen among goddesses
- I honour thee, Nurse of babes
- I honour thee, Veiled in mourning
- I honour thee, of the fragrant breast
- I honour thee, of immortal hands
- I honour thee, Who buries deep in fire
- I honour thee, Who brings bitter pain
- I honour thee, Who makes us weep
- I honour thee, Who imparts immortality
- I honour thee, Who takes it away
- I honour thee, Revered one
- I honour thee, Source of joy
- I honour thee, Beautiful mother
- I honour thee, Who destroys
- I honour thee, Terrible wrath
- I honour thee, Who celebrates Persephone’s return
- I honour thee, Bringer of darkness
- I honour thee, Who ripens the vine
- I honour thee, Lady of the golden butterfly**
- I honour thee, Who turns the grass
- I honour thee, Who brings rebirth
- I honour thee, Whose seeds fall to the soil
- I honour thee, Who sows the land
- I honour thee, Who reaps the bounty
- I honour thee, Great Mother Demeter.
I included the song “Persephone” by Kellianna in my ritual, as well as the “We all come from the goddess” song (the extended version), which contains the lines “Corn and Grain, Corn and Grain, All that dies is born again”
I believe working with Demeter and Persephone during the Equinox was a good move on my part as it solidified a relationship with the two goddesses, as well as helped me welcome in the season. Samhain’s focus will be different from my usual reliance on Demeter’s grief, and Persephone’s descent. I also feel the resonance of what happened in the myth and what is happening in my life now made the ritual all the more poignant and beautiful for me.
Yes Anubis is almost always on my Altar, he opens the way, and guards the circle.
Of course, not only Is Hekate my other Patron, but she features within the myth and is Persephone’s friend.
Also features on my altar, are a candle each for Demeter and Persephone, Hekate, Apple, rose petals, wheat offerings, cards from my Druid Plant Oracle, Bolline/Sickle, Wine, three candles within a coffin, symbolising the descent and a spicy incense I associate with Autumn.
* In relation to the Wiccan Wheel of the Year.
** I had seen this beautiful large Yellow butterfly fluttering about as I looked up for inspiration:-).
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