Early Autumnal Festival

Ceremonial Preface to Pomona
(by Lady Svetlana)


Introductory Music: 'Les Choéphores', by Darius Milhaud.(*)

Musical recordings, usually symphonic, appear in the course of these ceremonies to establish a specific quality of mood in keeping with the unique inner spiritual atmosphere of the present seasonal phase. As in this case, the marvellously atmospheric 'Choéphores' of Milhaud, the recorded music is initially presented at a robust volume. Then, after a suitable length of time for full meditative absorption, a Celebrant gradually reduces the volume so the music may serve as a background for the recitations. After further reductions of volume, the Celebrant zeros-out the recorded sound.

It seems reasonable to assign the element of Earth and Her Gnomic Spirits to the Fall Quadrant when petioles drop from trees and fall to the ground so that the bare structure of plant life is revealed against a dark-brown soil cluttered with yellowing, sometimes orange, purple and even reddening leaves, turning later to beige. In latitudes and longitudes like Coastal Alta California and inwards, where the air is relatively free of toxins, a briskness, a stir, a bustle touched with poignancy permeates the atmosphere, as it always did in pre-technological times.

This exhilaration of breeze-blazed nature, at a point when the blossoming, fruiting, exogenic urge of Life culminates and starts to wane, where it meets the waxing cross-current of an inward rush to grasp revelations of the psyche, couples with a primeval melancholia; cognises its inevitable end, and erupts voraciously one more time – the scream of flying geese before the swan song. Such is the tempered raison d’être that elicits the epiphany and epiphenomera of Dyonisos Bromios (the Roarer) and Artemis Keladeine (Lady of Clamours).

Let us remember, however, that it was Dionysos in the Cretan and Greek myths who was rendered apart, cut asunder, torn to pieces; not Artemis, who as Huntress, was always in control, whether of the wilder creatures entrusted to Her care or in charge of Her Nymphic Entourage. His noise-making serves to draw out the indication of imminent death and then to fall silent as if to be struck dumb from horror at the impending doom – so gruesome and terrible in execution.

Yet, he is Lord of Indestructible Life – the Zoe – as the Greeks termed the generalised Energy of Being that sheds immunicable appearances but cannot be ultimately annihilated, for it always returns anew and produces more forms – ever variable and ever thirsting to imbibe the Sacred Fluids – the Inextinguishable Moisture of Creation; while Her clamorous nature calls forth the realm of Her Divine Sister Persephone, Queen of the Dead, in a demeanour indicating at-oneness with a sense of immortality whose doors swing open to reveal Death, then spring back to unfold another life!

Artemis as Prothyraea safekeeps a ‘to and fro’ Gate, when Her Quiet insures, it assumes a Stillness of Peace and rest. The great Lady of Wild Things is Guardian of 'Bios', the individual Life of a being; as such She is summoned by women in pains of child birth or in the throes of Thanatos.

In Greece Artemis Keladeine – Britomartis Dyktina, had few cults for Her worship and concentrated more on specific situations, most commonly in the life of a woman dealing with hardships related to passages from one realm of being to another. She is the Goddess who shares with Aphrodite and Persephone the title of Hagne – Most Holy, Most Pure – in the sense of Untouched and Untouchable in her Core. Only Goddesses bore this epithet in the ancient Mediterranean World for they alone were and are Providers of Immortality and retainers of Soul. However, in some instances, the early Artemis had sacred fires on mountain tops to signal great festival events.

The God – the male principle - in far distant antiquity exemplified the never-ending procession of alternating between living and dying, which was tragic for the individual whose ‘Zoe’ was suddenly snatched from her of him. The Dionysian Mysteries unearthed this imminent destruction in myths where Death was the ‘sine qua non’ of Existence. Thus the Cretans and Greeks, as well as most other people of those times dealt paradigmatically with the cessation of the pulsing breath, which is always felt as sudden and abrupt. But in the course of the Mysteries, the Divine Feminine restored the God and brought Him back to the Realm of the Living. The ‘Zoe’ either has to return to the Great Mother to be reborn again on Earth, as was practised in Asia Minor; or it is entrusted to women who preserve and care for humanity in the Goddess’ Name as ‘Her Embodiments’ such as was the case in Greece on certain occasions.

In Feraferia we feel that the principles involved in Greek ritual and manifested in ‘dromena’ (things done), ‘legomena’ (things said) and ‘dyknomena’ (things revealed) can be solemnised in ways that transform the acting out, even if only through animal surrogates of immolation of the God of Time and His subsequent resurrection by the Goddess of Eternity - in the Dyonisian Mysteries - by Rhea, Mother of the Gods, and subsequently by the Theades, who represented the Goddess through the multifarious forms of Her Nurses!

The passing of a life and all sad and tragic feelings of loss with their implied hope of the Eternal Return through the sense of indestructibility of the Life Force, can be mytho-poeticised and ritualised without dwelling on trucidation and dissolution. Even Diana, the Huntress, is a misnomer for the earlier and future Artemis, whose arrows we must consider as quick means of termination to a life racked with pain or in the grips of agony. Thus the Goddess is merciful in her desire to assuage the suffering of those terminally ill and ready to transmit to the dimension beyond.

Altogether the Feraferian vision emphasises the need for newly evolved visions of mythic ceremony, theurgy and liturgy form the root stock of mytho-poetic elements of an archaic sacred cosmic mystique. Many of these elements are inappropriate and undesirable in view of certain currently acquired awareness; e.g. animal sacrifice, symbolic re-enactments of death through violence, the attribution of negative and quarrelsome traits to the Gods etc. Other qualities, not yet evolved in the ancient world (as known to us), should be incorporated into metaphysical, analogical and ritual structures of our Fey Religion – e.g. the basic benevolence of the Queendoms of Divinities; correlations between particular ecosystems and specific spheres of particular Deities; an interweaving of many surreal elements into our rites and festivities, etc.

In these ways a new religious organism develops within the womb of Holy Earth – one sired by visionary ideals of the new precessional ‘Month’ of Aquarius, fostered through expanded consciousness of Wilderness and wrought in the image of a delicate girl-like yet wild and winsome humanity under the Aegis of the Magic Maiden. Long may She play, Kore Voluptuous, Never Entirely Serious, Long Live the Queen.

Hail Artemis! Hail Dionysos!
Evoe Kore Kai Kouros!
Aweeya!

(*) 'Les Choéphores', by Darius Milhaud; text of Paul Claudel.
The Leonard Bernstein recording is especially appropriate because of the magnificent incantations by Vera Zorina.





The Dionysia Kai Artemisia
(by Lady Svetlana)


Reading from the 'Rubiayat' (*)
(No music here)

Priest(ess):
"Not to the feint in heart nor to the poor in spirit
but only to the worshippers of Psilos –
to Iakchos
(another name of Dionysos) is it given
to know the language of roses and of wine…
I pardon those who do not understand the Hidden Mysteries –
whose joys are revealed alone to drinkers.”

Musical Interlude.

Begin a recording of the symphonic poem entitled 'Poem of Ecstacy', by Alexandr Scriabin. After a few minutes of meditative listening, reduce volume so the following recitations claim full voice-over attention. All these readings can be performed by a priestess or priest or by a coterie extending to include other initiates or even neophytes. The more the merrier.'

Priest(ess):
"Oh Bacchus – God of Joy and Bliss,
of revelers intoxicated by your sublime sensuality
and viscous voluptuousness,
let us partake of Your gratuitous Grape
transformed by stomping orgies to divine frenzy –
Ah! Dionysios! We cannot resist the clarion call
of Your Beauty and toothsome Phallus.
Let the Festival of Artemis and Dion,
of the Grape Harvest on this Fall Equinox, begin !"


(*) 'The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám', translated into English by the British Poet Edward Fitzgerald (1859).





Charge and Charm of Pomona or Harvest Home
(by Fred McLaren Adams)


Priest(ess): (The Charm is sung)
"This is the Charge and Charm of Pomona,
the Festival of Homecoming and Release.
The nights grow longer than the days.
The Divine Lovers pluck and store the finished fruits.
Nectars and ciders are danced out under juice-stained feet.
The Belly of the Goddess swells like the New Moon.
She makes Annunciation,
Their Work-Play of the year completed,
the Holy Pair freely roam the cooling hillsides.
They loosen all their burdens
in the raining gold of autumn leaves.
Autumn leads the Lover’s home.
Fruits garnered, nectars pressed,
Leaf gold gives Annunciation."

(Orphic Hymns to Artemis and Dionysos may be read by those who wish; see Appendix )





Dithyrambus to Dionysos
(by Lady Svetlana)


Priest(ess): (Song chant)
"In the middle of the night… He appears, suddenly… I awake…
His dark Eyes hold me in fear and awe…
I arise and follow Him
For He is the Lord of Madness and of Ecstasy…
Di-o-ny-sos… Di-o-ny-sos…
Me-i-li-chos… Zag-ei-us.
Bac-che-us… Bro-mi-us

(Abruptly)
Polygethes!"

Percussion drumming on a metal drum, raucous and loud. Gong struck.





Artemisian Chant
(by Fred McLaren Adams)


Priest(ess):
"Artemis, Artemis;
Artemis, Artemis, Artemis, Artemis;
Britomartis, Kore, Callisto, Despoina Selene;
Artemis, Artemis;
Britomartis, Brito-mar-teess, Brito-mar-teesss."

Bells.




Hymns to Artemis and Dionysos
(by Lady Svetlana)


Priest: (to Artemis)
"Artemis, Goddess of Wilderness,
Young Crescent of Lunar emanation –
Reveal Your Maidenly Grace by rushing streams and gushing waterfalls!
Dart furtively through moonlit forests and glens in the witching hour!
Unveil Yourself, Oh Great lady of Wildness!
Appear to us, Oh Great Callisto,
with Your retinue of untamed creatures!
Shoot Your Arrows of Mercy at those suffering
in the grips of Death or in the pangs of labour.
Help us re-attune ourselves to Your Spritely Spirituality.
Oh Fleet-footed, Doe-eyed Damozel!
As Brauronia, give us strength
to re-align with the forces of great Nature!
Come, lean yet muscular Amazon Queen.
Let the Kariatydes dance and sway to Your claire de lune arabesque.
At eventide, let us hear the tinkle of Your silver bells
as clouds embrace your golden crescent
and rains restore all growing things and our hearts
to their pristine purity!
Come!! Come!!
Fail us not, lady of Clamours…
Ar-te-mis! Ar-te-meesss!!!"

Ring bells.

Priestess: (to Dionysos)
"The Maenads run in frenzied exaltation in Your Honour!
Oh Great Dionysos!
Mad God of Paradox and Mystery,
we beseech You
to seize our circumscribed and dampened spirits by a terrible delight.
Burst the bonds of our repressions!
Unseal the Temple of Overflow and Excess!
Bromios! Who appears amidst Pandemonium and stupefying Din…
Overwhelm us! Enchant us! Come in ecstasy and wild abandon!
Meilechios! Bring us gifts of joy and exaltation!
Venez! Venez! Le Beau Dieu! Venez!
Ivy-wreathed God of the Vine! Bringer of intoxication!
By Your Divine Potion a blissful smile blossoms forth from pain.
Dionysos! The Tumultuous One…
Your dark tragic Side brings Life ever to the edge of destruction,
always to triumph over death and Decay….
Dendrites, Lord of Moisture and Procreation! Graceful God,
whose Existence is illuminated and crowned by Love of Women!
Hail Bacchos! Hail Orthos!
Appear with Impact.
Di-o-ny-si-os!"

Musical excerpts from 'The Bells (Presto 3)' by Rachmaninoff, while celebrants meditate on the memory of the season and the falling of leaves.

Ring bells.
Lights are dimmed to minimum… Music 'Les Choéphores by Milhaud.'





Maenads and Karyatids Speak
(by Lady Svetlana)


Priest(ess): (Reads by candlelight)

"This never happened but it always is… And thus we urge you to submerge yourself in the Being of Our Divine Nursling, the Great God, Dionysos Himself, who appears suddenly to chase who dare to stare into this razor-edgecoin of existence - a masque of Death, a mask of Life – Laughter and Terror – the sorrows and smiles of an autumnal twilight!

When at day’s end the Lord of the Dance summons us with His tipsy look and dazed smile, abruptly we leave our households and depart for the hills. Our hearths are left unattended – infants cry – lovers are speechless –for we attend to the rush of our hearts as we rush to greet Him – the Wild Spirit of Antithesis and Paradox, of Presence and complete Remoteness, of Bliss and Honour, of Infinite Vitality tinted with the seeds of destruction. And we are enraptured for He is mad, yet nothing great is created without a dash of insanity. As the poets say in 'Die Welt Alter': …without constant solicitation to madness… (*), She, who begets must dive into primeval depths and thence arise with a crazy gleam in Her Eyes because there Death lives, cheek by jowl, with Life…

In moisture we are begotten and in moisture we decay. But we know the urge of indestructible Life through Him, ivy-crownded, bedecked with vine and wearing kothornoi on His delicate Feet…

We are made unfettered by Dypnysos Lysios and chains drop from our hearts of their own accord while locked doors swing open untouched by any hand. We grab our thyrsoi and run screaming for freedom as those released from prison do, for He is the Great Liberator! As we whirl maddeningly through the thicket, we strike rocks and water gushes forth. We lower the thyrsos to the earth and a spring of wine bubbles up. When we want milk, we scratch the ground and draw up the pearly fluid while honey trickles down our ivy-wooden thyrsoi. As we dance, these miracles happen because we are bewitched by Nyrtelius, the Nocturnal one.

With lighted torch, we dance in Wilderness through the night to strange, bewildered music, for we are God-intoxicated and we know no bounds for Life is limitless as the Sea – it flows as water… it flows as wine… it flows as blood…

As we dance, we sing in exaltation. And the whole earth sings a dithyrambos to the Lord of melody – a most chilling and profound one.

For the wild world of organic life, teaming with orgonomic energy against the loneliness of the mountains is revealed to us who are goaded by Him, who lays bare the ancestral ground of Being, where we see the dead as in a mirror or reflecting pool for we know that we too shall pass. But we rage onward for it is this primeval world that is most alive – rather, it alone is truly alive in its oppositeness, in its supreme tension, in the pandemonium in which deathly silence is inherent.

At moments we stop suddenly as if turned to stone and the stupefying din becomes the profoundest of silences for He is the Bull who Roars. Nothing so reveals Bromio the Roarer, the instigator of this incredible noise-making as the death-like trance which follows. First we dance until we fall into this trance – over and over the dichotomy is revealed by Dionysos, who offers wine from His cantharos. As we drink, we start up again with bellowing shriek-sounding instruments and bronze cymbals for we are the Bacchantes, the Raging Ones, the Shrieking Ones, the demi-sisters of lithe Artemis Keladeine – Lady of Clamours! In our drunkenness, we suckle wildings – fawns, lion-cubs, and young wolves to please Zagreus – God of Many Forms who comes to us in our maddened intoxication as Dionysus Bougenes, the Bull or Taurus; as the Panther or Scorpia; as the Lion or Leo; and as Dragon or Aquaria…

We take snakes and coil them around our bodies as they curl around us in slithering sensuousness, while we swivel our hips in marching lasciviousness for Artemis – Britomartis. The Sweet Virgin protects us from the poisons of serpents and the rapine of bestial men alike… with Her silver bow.

As the night wears thin and our limbs grow weak, the beautiful girlish face of our beloved Dionysos disappears just as suddenly as it had come. We fall into a darkened stupor as Helios furtively rises in the misty dawn of Antheides – Fays of the East. At first our sleep is dreamless, but as the fog lifts at noon, we envision Artemis Arktos of the boyish figure roaming through the woods with Her Entourage of she-bear, she-wolf, lioness, and deer. Whenever a wild beast is in pain, She sends Her gently-slaying arrows to assuage their suffering and to ease their departure for the realm of Her mystic Sister – Persephone, Queen of the Dead.

She smiles enigmatically and begins dancing to sunlight that has been turned to music. Wilder and wilder She dances, spinning quicker and quicker, faster and faster until She becomes totally invisible."


Bells

"Oh Aphaia! Thou hast suddenly been lost to our inner sight but we shall search for Thee in the outer realms. As we rub our eyes in the dimming light of late afternoon delightfully we see the albionic waxing crescent moon in the Western skies – chasing Her reddening, blushing Brother, Apollon, as he reaches for the Fay Realm of the Hesperides.

It is the 'Evening of Artemis' and we become Karyatides so we may bathe in moonlight and in her wild brooks and pools; refreshed by crystal clear waters and lunar emanations we join the ecstatic round dance in her honour while we carry baskets of live reeds as if they were dancing plants. Satyrs and Selenoi; lusty, hoofed companions of Dionysos, join us in our mimicries; we don phalli while these passionate creatures put on antlers to perform the Kordax in honour of Artemis Kordaka..."


Chant:
"… We move with feminine aplomb. We dance and dance and dance!"

"Once more we implore you to join this masquerade where both women and men realise the Oppositeness of Existence through ritual mime and play. The masculine within the woman and the feminen within the man is a necessary experience for the wholeness of the Self. And both extremes of ecstasy and terror within a network of Wilderness without and Wildness within must be made known to the Psychosome before Death can be transcended: these are the hallows of Artemis Propylaia – gatekeeper of Life; and Dionysos Energetis – Provider of Indestructible Energia.

Evoe Artemis!
Evoe Dionysos!
Let there be more gentle men
and more strong women…"

Dwell on these Mysteries with eyes shut while the Bachanalian music reveals the Ineffable.
Continue music 'Les Choéphoros' by Milhaud.

Priestess:
"Arretos Kura!"

All:
"Holy Maiden!"


(*) Walter F. Otto; 'Dionysos; Myth and Cult'; Indiana University Press; London, 1965. (Translated from German).





The Aporrheton
(by Lady Svetlana)


Lights are dimmed once more.

Priestess:

"Oh Mystai – the Darkness calls you to experience the ecstasy and agony of the extremes of existence… Come and receive the blessings of Artemis – Lady of Clamours; and Dionysos the Noisemaker in the penultimate restrictions of the Inner Sanctum – the concentrated quintessential sphere suddenly burst open to reveal the Ineffable, paradoxical Nature of the conundrum of Being. Come in silence… Come with quivering anticipation… Come one by one as the rest enjoy this ecstatic musical poem – in order to grasp the Dionysian Nature so long repressed by Apollonian rationalism rather than counter-balanced by the Solar Order of the Sacred Year and the wilder Nature of Artemisian organic ebb and flow! Step into the void and be comforted."

In Hearthroom, the assembled Celebrants enjoy the symphonic composition 'Poem of Fire' by Alexandr Scriabin.


As Mystis enters darkened corridor, a Priestess or an Initiate holds hands over her/his eyes while standing behind the celebrant. A rasping sound is heard, softly nearby.

Priestess:
"Partake of the Essence of Artemis and be bewildered."

White retsina or dry vermouth is offered.

"Partake of the daimon of Dionysos and be enraptured."

Red sweet vermouth or mavrodaphne wine is offered.

A raucous gong smash resounds directly over the Mystis.


The female and male Mystai are then led to the Dionysian Chamber to their left where a priestess officiates.
She intones the Dithyrambus to Dionysos and instructs.

Priestess: (Chants)
"In the middle of the night…
He appears, suddenly… I awake…
His dark Eyes hold me in fear and awe…
I arise and follow Him
For He is the Lord of Madness and of Ecstasy…
Di-o-ny-sos… Di-o-ny-sos…
Me-i-li-chos… Zag-ei-us.
Bac-che-us… Bro-mi-us
Polygethes!"

Priestess: (Instruction)

"Let each one imprint his or her palms into flour, then press them into a pottery container of moist earth, thus relinking human artifacture with Gaia’s natural base."

Each celebrant imprints her/his palms into flour and then presses them into moist earth.


The Mystai are led into the Artemisian Chamber to the right where a priest officiates. He intones the Artemisian Chant and instructs.

Priest: (Chants)
"Artemis, Artemis;
Artemis, Artemis, Artemis, Artemis;
Britomartis, Kore, Callisto, Despoina Selene;
Artemis, Artemis;
Britomartis, Brito-mar-teess, Brito-mar-teesss."

Priest: (Instruction)

"Take the basic soil wherein the planet queendom flourishes and re-animate the pallid extension of over-civilised and sterile human endeavours."

Each celebrant takes dirt and deposits it into the basic dough of human sustenance.


Each woman and each man with hands still covered with the two sacramental substances now mixed, come to meet in front of the High Priestess in a small ante-chamber. There they touch hands.

Highpriestess:

"The cultivated aspects of the masculine and feminine have been reunited with the primal soil of wild and wilder existence for a higher Love Synthesis."

The celebrants are told to kiss. They cleanse their hands in the bathroom and re-enter the Hearthroom in a higher state of mind, ready for joyous festivities in honour of the Blessed Beings Diana and Bacchus.

Highpriestess:
"To Kore Henge!"

All go to the stone ring of Kore outside the house. A circle dance follows in the stone ring (or Hearthroom if rain or snow is falling).

Priestess:

"When you dance and sing please put out your individual energies for communion with all fellow wild beings and the return of most of our planet to Wilderness."

All: (Chant)
"Maenad, Thiad, Phoibad,
Lyssad, Ouvrania
Di-o-ny-si-os / Ar-te-mis."

At ‘Dionysios’ the women throw their arms up, then when the men cry out ‘Artemis’ they direct their arms downward.

Priestess:
"All hail Artemisian Wilderness and the wild Nature of Dionysos
Evoe Dioné Kai Baccheus!!

Celebrants, please be seated
while we prepare the Aval Communion."

Musical interlude which Celebrants silently commune.


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