Anthesteria

I sing a song of Dionysos
Greatest of Gods
Animating Spirit Of  all Life
Wild God
Bull God
Goat God
He Who Is In The Grapevine
He Who Taught Viticulture to Ikarios
Sweet ecstasy-causing libation
Mistaken for poison
By the farmer’s friends
The party ended in bloodshed.
Poor Erigone! Faithful daughter,
Like Arakhne She was seen swinging from a tree
Mourning for Her father Ikarios.
Her loyal dog Maira
Threw herself down a well.
And so death and sadness descended on Athens!
A rash of madness
Cursed the daughters of the Athenians
And like Erigone
They hung themselves from the trees.
Woe, Athenians, woe!
Cursed are ye,
Who killed the favored of Dionysos
And caused the death of His lovely Erigone!
To the Oracle of Apollo
The Athenians appealed
To know which God they had wronged.
The answer came:
“Erigone was beloved of Dionysos
And Her father the purest of men.
To their spirits you must appeal
And set right this heinous crime.”
So the Athenians returned
And glorified the lonely graves
Of Ikarios and his faithful daughter.
Even Maira received her honors,
The loyal dog placed amoung the stars.
And so a festival was declared,
Which we now call the Day of Swings.
During joyous, ghost-ridden Anthesteria
Hail Ikarios, first among men to make sweet wine!
Hail also the spirit of Erigone-Arakhne!
Most of all, hail Dionysos, the Liberator!
Ivy-twined God, of Two Mothers, I sing to You!!

[Amanda Sioux Blake has been a Hellenic Pagan and devotee of Athena for ten years. She currently resides in South Bend, Indiana, with the various animals that find their way to her. She is the author of Ink In My Veins: A Collection of Contemporary Pagan Poetry, Songs of Praise: Hymns to the Gods of Greece and the forth-coming Journey to Olympos: A Modern Spiritual Odyssey. She also runs her own online clothing store Otherworld Creations, specializing in fantasy and Pagan designs; mostly Greek Gods but a few Egyptian designs are on the way.]

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