I didn’t have time to write about day two of Anthesteria (Khoe) yesterday so I thought I would just make a brief blog entry about these last two days of Anthesteria. What some folks may not realize is that up here in Anchorage, Alaska, Anthesteria this year falls on the opening of the local festivities of Fur Rendezvous (shortened down to Fur Rondy by locals because who wants to say that mouthful apparently), which made an interesting if not lengthy addition to my own festivities yesterday.
And so Friday night I did my ritual in honor of Dionysos, Ariadne, and in memory of Orestes for whom according to tradition the drinking contest was initiated. I also covered the shrines in my house, which has given my house an eerie feeling that I have described that it is as if all the gods have closed their eyes towards my oikos until I uncover them after Anthesteria. Sadly I don’t have a tree in my yard to tie ribbons to in memory of Erigone…but if I play my cards right maybe I will have that next year if I can talk my landlord into it. However I did get a lovely ivy to grace my home in honor of Dionysos (and for which it has sat upon the household altar-hearth for these last two days) as well as a lovely flowering plant for Ariadne. Ariadne is an interesting figure in Anthesteria as we find that the custom of the wife of the city official becoming the bride of Dionysos plays out in parallel to the wife of Theseus, Ariadne, who becomes the wife of Dionysos. This follows too in a more mystical sense of which I spoke before in regards to the liberation of the soul and the wine of the soul, and to the mystic representation of initiates dressing themselves as brides with Dionysos and Ariadne looking on. There is a sense of the hope for the freedom from one existence. In a sense everyone is seeking communion with Ariadne and to in the likeness of Ariadne that the soul is liberated by the sweet essence of Dionysos. I certainly plan on having a small statuette done of her in the near future to place with Dionysos, especially for next Anthesteria.
The next morning, and thank the gods that I don’t suffer any painful reminders of drinking, I got up bright an early to continue the festivities via Fur Rondy. My daughter plays the bass clarinet and was playing in the marching band during our local parade. So I had the enormous pleasure of enjoying a parade full of bright colors and whimsy even with the cold white of snow surrounding us, it is our shout in recognition that winter is quickly concluding as our days are rapidly getting longer (as I have stated before we have more of a light based seasons than agricultural as our growing seasons due to our climate are a lot shorter). Just before the parade there was a foot race that had me giggling due to all the creative costumes so many of the competitors were wearing. These festivities were later followed in the day with a view at the ice sculpture competition (which coincidentally had a Minotaur sculpture being rendered that made me think again of Ariadne), and concluding with a trip to the city Fur Rondy carnival where my daughter entertained herself on a few rides and we ate hot funnel cake, and lastly fireworks lighting up the sky! It seemed like the perfect conclusion to Khoe, even as freezing and bone-tired as we were when we finally got home! I had no energy to do anything except slide into bed.
This afternoon, after work, I celebrate the final day of Anthesteria, Khytroi. I made the panspermia to be offered. The tone tonight was subdued, as if shades of the dead are pulling quietly at the edges of my clothes and the ends of my hair. Really that is the best way to describe it, as there is a heavy almost oppressive feeling in the air, something that has weighed on me all day like a heavy fog. It was in solemnness I performed the rite this afternoon and made my offerings of panspermia, olive oil, wine and honey. I had enough panspermia left over to leave some for the dead. I have given my prayers in observance of this day that even as Hermes has lifted the babe Dionysos and liberated him from the fiery body of his mortal mother, may my soul be lifted after death from the mortal state that I may progress forward as all souls seek and all the souls of the dead too desire. Now I am watching the sky darken that I may usher away the Keres (who seek to draw all down to death) and declare Anthesteria officially over that I may uncover my shrines and prepare the evening meal for my family.