I have been really amiss this year with blogging about festivals…usually because I forget to write something before hand or directly after and after a few days I decide not to bother with it. But as Karneia is one of my favorite festivals of the year I have been watching the fullmoon approach with a sense of excitement, especially as the weather has been cooling down and autumn starting to turn its way round into the pattern of the year’s dance. Today was perhaps the first really autumn day weather-wise. The sky was crystal blue and the sun shining down, and yet there was a definite nip in the air, and a smell in the air of plant life ripening and breaking down into decay. Autumn always has a rich smell to it, and so the beginning of this wonderful smell always delight my nose.
Even though Karneia was celebrated over several consecutive days, as it culminated on the fullmoon that is when I celebrate it as a solitary worshipper. So for those who are planning on celebrating, it is coming tomorrow after sun down! This actual is great timing for my household since we will be spending the afternoon at the state fair, where there will be goats, and sheep, and cattle, as well as giant Alaskan cabbages and pumpkins (not to mention the funnel cakes, cotton candy and other tasty fair foods to gorge oneself with). It takes a feast of the beginning of autumn to an entirely different level this year, one that exemplifies the beginning of the season for my household just as the Karneia, with its harvest of immature grapes and special-raised rams, marked the beginning of its own particular harvest. And while I will be honoring the plentitude of gifts that Apollon brings by staying the foul weather and in a year that spends so much time encased in ice and snow, recedes the temperamental weather just long enough to bring new life to the landscape however briefly, I will also be honoring Dionysos of this festival time, who laughs and dances with the Satyrs among the whirling Doric maidens, and Apollon is honored with the Shepherd’s cloak as flowers are poured into his boat in offering.
I actually rather wish I had some basket making stuff this year. I have woven a basket in years but I would love to make a special Karneia basket with a wide bottom that can be worn on the head in festive dancing for the gods before Apollon Karneios and in the company of Dionysos as those afore-mentioned dancing maidens….filled with those sweet things of autumn harvest. Whereas it is likely that these baskets, if they contained anything, would have held the tender grapes of the harvest, as we don’t have grapes this far north and it represents the initial harvests in general it would be more appropriate to have an assortment of things of that nature to have up here….that and the horn of a ram I think (considering that Zeus comes before Dionysos in this particular role and is himself the ram, and so was perhaps similarly honored, and Apollon honored as the shepherd). Maybe next year if I think about it far enough ahead of time rather than last minute…..especially since I would have to order basket making supplies.
Still I am looking forward to the high celebration that Karneia will present this year as it is occurring late enough in the year this time to coincide with local festivities. It is certain to make the occasion a grand time and one which can be happily followed by offerings to Apollon Karneios and to Dionysos. So to all who are celebrating….a very happy and blessed Karneia to you!