Journey to Eleusis: The Final Stretch

By this time, next week, the 31st annual Spring Mysteries Festival will be over. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost upon on us.

Euphrosyne - Spring Mysteries FestivalThis has been the shortest rehearsal period since I’ve been involved with the ritual presenting crew. That’s because Easter is very early.

Do you know why the date for Easter changes from year to year? It is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. And this year, the stars have aligned for all of those events to happen within a week! So Easter, and therefore Spring Mysteries, is about as early as it possibly can be.

I alternately go between feeling confident that we are going to rock it out of the park, and freaking out that I have no idea what I’m doing.

That’s the nature of theater, though. Some people say that an awful dress rehearsal means a fantastic performance. And really, for 5 hours of performance time throughout the weekend, we do amazing work with only about 48 hours of rehearsals.

Each person does their own work to learn about the particular deity they are portraying – reading up on their myths, and connecting with their energy through prayer or meditation.

It’s been a little challenging for me this year, having three deities to work with. After our dress rehearsal yesterday, I was physically sore. I didn’t feel like I had done a lot – certainly not a lot of physical work. And yet, running energy for 4.5 hours is not easy! It’s hungry work, and it can take it’s toll on your body if you don’t take care of yourself.

So the next couple of days, I’m going to be taking my vitamins, drinking lots of water, and getting as much rest as I can. Because once the Festival starts, sleep is something we do AFTER Festival.

Because I will be at the Festival all weekend, I won’t be writing my usual post next week. I’ll see you all on the other side!

Blessings,

Mary

Journey to Eleusis: Split Personalities

I haven’t written much yet about this year’s Journey to Eleusis, probably because of all of the other challenges in my life right now – the Journey to Eleusis has taken a bit of a back seat.

Spring Mysteries Festival is still on, though, and my family is attending once more. Actually, four of the five of us have roles as ritual presenters! Thankfully, we have been able to borrow a lot of costumes this year, at least for the others.

I have three roles this year, as do two other priestesses – together we are the Graces (Charites), the Fates (Moirae), and the Furies (Erinyes). And wow! Is there energy ever different!

three gracesThe Charites were most commonly said to be daughters of Zeus (because wasn’t everyone Zeus’ progeny?), with various mothers given, though some accounts list them as daughters of Helios, Hera, or even Dionysus. They are the personification of Grace and Beauty, and were often pictured as attendants of Aphrodite or Hera.

The names and numbers of the Charites also varied. Once again, we are following the most common myths and depictions of three Graces: Euphrosyne, goddess of good cheer, joy, mirth and merriment; Aglaia, goddess of beauty, adornment, splendour and glory; and Thalia, goddess of festive celebrations and rich and luxurious banquets. They are the “hostesses with the mostesses!”

Their energy is very light and fun, almost air-headed.

FatesThe Moirae are goddesses who determined a person’s fate in life. Clotho spun the thread of life, Lachesis measured the thread of life, and Atropos cut the thread of life at its end. As with just about everyone in Greek mythology, their parentage is given differently by different authors. Zeus, of course, is given as a father of the Fates, but others credit Nyx, the goddess of night as their sole parent.

Disney depicted the Fates as sharing a single eye and tooth between them, and Percy Jackson depicted them as blind and sharing an eye, however, that description belongs to the Graiai, another set of three sisters that features in the myth of Perseus. To know a person’s fate, they must have been been able to see, and they were also known for prophecy.

The Moirae are alternately depicted as ancient and crone-like, or young and fair. Their energy is deep, and calm, and ancient.

William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_(1825-1905)_-_The_Remorse_of_Orestes_(1862)The Erinyes were the avengers of crime, particularly murder. My favorite, and the most common, version of their parentage is that they were born of Gaia from the drops of blood that fell when Cronus castrated his father, Ouranos. That parentage makes them sisters of Aphrodite, who was born of the drops of semen that fell in the ocean and created a sea foam. Their names were Alecto, the unceasing; Tisiphone, the avenger of murder; and Megaera, she who holds a grudge.

Other versions of their birth are similar to the Fates, being born of Nyx. The Fates were often said to dispatch the Furies to avenge a crime, and thus bring a person to their rightful fate. They pursued the criminal relentlessly, often driving a person mad or inflicting illness or disease. Anyone attempting to hide a criminal would also be subject to the wrath of the Furies.

The energy of the Erinyes is angry, furious, and demanding of justice.

Though this year’s journey has a few more twists and turns for me, I’m really looking forward to it. I hope you’ll join me!

Blessings,

Mary