While I know that Lenaia is celebrated technically over several days I had decided to reduce it to a two day affair this year. This is better than other years where I have just celebrated it on one day. I am still in the processing of figuring my way around Lenaia. From vase paintings it seems that the celebrations of Lenaia included two important stages, for which reason I decided to do it over two days with a day devoted to each stage. One stage in the basket, and the other stage erect on a pole or column.
Therefore the first stage honors the newly born Dionysos, son of Semele. He is represented as a mask within a basket. Offerings are presented to him in this fashion honoring him as the baby Dionysos. I didn’t have a basket small enough that I could find, so I ended up perching the small statuette had I made some years ago, wrapped in green cloth to represent the coming of spring, and the coming of new life of the vine.
On this first day I decided to forgo offering wine, and instead made an offering that is commonly offered to nymphs and other earthly daimons, milk mixed with honey. Tomorrow shall be the occasion to break out the wine. Rather than a rigorous festival, there was sweet anticipation in the air, and a sense of pushing forward. Even the babe within my womb stretched herself out during the prayers as if she too were affected by it. The sensation of new life springing forward in a rush.
For this ritual I said the following prayers. Aside from the prayers given to Hestia and Hephaistos (for the Orphic month, and also because Hestia is always honored first anyway), and those given to Zeus and Hera (who are honored at every ritual) I read the following hymns:
1) Hymn to Silenus, Satyrus and the priestesses of Bacchus
2) Hymn to Lysius Lenaeus
3) Hymn to Lyknitus Bacchus
4) Hymn to Ippa (who the hymn seems to identify with the mother of the gods)
5) Hymn to Semele.
It seemed that finishing with the hymn to Semele was the way to go, and was profoundly moving particularly in reading that last hymn. I then spent some time playing my wooden flute in honor of Dionysos before closing the ritual. Something playful and flirty, but also containing some longer drawn out notes to pay tribute to the tragedies that were composed for the winter performances during the Lenaea competitions.
On a side note, following the ritual even the ivy plant that I had temporarily set on the altar for the festivities was perkier when I had returned it to Dionysos’ shrine!