Amanda Aremisia Forrester
The altar is a coffee table, so it’s long. It has one end set up for Hera, and one for Hephaistos. Hephaistos’ image is covered with a cloth, as He has run away from Olympos and hidden Himself. Between Them is a khernips bowl, a small Libation bowl, a container of barley, some (unlit!) candles, and an empty plate for offerings. Don’t light the candles till the part of the ritual when Hephaistos returns!
Behind these are set up a few small symbols of Dionysos, and a glass of wine, to symbolize His help in bringing Hephaistos back to Olympos. Don’t make His image be the same size or scale as Hera’s or Hephaistos’ sides. It’s important to thank Dionysos for His role, but He is not the focus of the festival.
After closing your eyes for a moment and centering yourself, step forward to the altar.
“To the givers of life, Life.” Sprinkle barley on the altar.
Place hands and face in water. Say: “With this holy water, I am cleansed. I enter the Presence of the Gods purified and free from pollution.”
Pick up khernips bowl. Walk around the altar or circle, and while sprinkling water onto the ground say: You are pure! You are pure! With this holy water, this is now sacred ground. You are pure! You are pure!”
Walk around the circle one more time, and have the worshippers wash their hands and face in the water while you hold the bowl. As they are doing so, say: “With this holy water, you are cleansed.” Do this with each one, then replace the bowl at its previous spot on the altar.
Prayer to Hera
Stand before the altar, palms raised to the sky. Say: “O royal Hera, of majestic mien, aerial-formed, divine, Zeus’ blessed queen, throned in the bosom of cerulean air, the race of mortals is thy constant care. The cooling gales they power alone inspires, which nourish life, which every life desires.
“Mother of showers and winds, from thee alone, producing all things, mortal life is known: all natures share thy temperament divine, and universal sway alone is thine, with sounding blasts of wind, the swelling sea and rolling rivers roar when shook by thee.
“Come, blessed Goddess, famed almighty queen, with aspect kind, rejoicing and serene.” — From Orphic Hymn 16 to Hera
Plea to Dionysos
“O freedom-loving Dionysos, help us now! Hephaistos in His anger has trapped Queen Hera in a throne of steel, and fled from Olympos’ snowy peaks. With Him goes His gifts to mankind. Bright fire to warm us and cook our food, technology to make our lives easier, and even pretty jewelery and adornments, pleasant to the eye. None can exist without the Smith. Though many people take Him for granted today, or ignore His existence completely, our world cannot exist without Him!
“Proud Dionysos, go to the Wounded Worker, ply Him with Your sweet wine until His heart becomes peaceful once more, and bring Hephaistos back to Olympos where he so rightly belongs!
Revealing of Hephaistos
Remove the cloth covering the image of Hephaistos. Joyously shout:
“Hephaistos has returned! Light appears unto the world again! Fire will burn and machines will run! Praise be to the Mighty Smith, creator of many wonders for mankind!”
Light the Candles and Incense
“Strong, mighty Hephaistos, bearing splendid light, unwearied fire, with flaming torrents bright: strong-handed, deathless, and of art divine, pure element, a portion of the world is thine: all-taming artist, all-diffusive power, tis thine, supreme, all substance to devour: aither, sun, moon, and stars, light pure and clear, for these thy lucid parts [of fire] to men appear.
“To thee all dwellings, cities, tribes belong, diffused through mortal bodies, rich and strong. Hear, blessed power, to holy rites incline, and all propitious on the incense shine: suppress the rage of fire’s unwearied frame, and still preserve our nature’s vital flame.”
* Orphic Hymn 66 to Hephaestus
Thanks to Dionysos
In a loud voice, proclaim:
“We offer our thanks also to the Ivy-Twined One, Bright Semele’s child, Dionysos the Two-Horned, He of Two Mothers. Thanks be to Zeus’s mighty son, for His sweet wine has calmed the fiery temper and softened the metal heart. Let it be known through out the lands, that this time, it was drunkenness that saved the world!”
Offer the fish to Hephaistos, pomegranate to Hera, and wine to Dionysos.
“Famed Hephaistos, the Sooty God, who creates beauty from ugliness, we offer You this baked fish, in remembrance of Your childhood among the waves, of Thetys and Doris, those sea-Goddesses who bought You up. May our offerings please You.”
Cut a fat, juicy looking piece of fish and put it on the plate on the altar.
“Glorious Hera, Queen of Heaven, arrayed in peacock feathers, we offer You Your sacred pomegranates the fruit of marriage, in honor that You are Zgyia, the Uniter, who makes one being from two, and strengthens the bonds of family. May our offerings please You.”
Place slices of the pomegranates onto the plate. To avoid mess, cut the pieces out beforehand.
“O Dionysos of the wine-casks, we will share with You this glass of wine, light and sweet, to remind ourselves that life cannot be all business; we must enjoy all the Gods give to us. We must stop to smell the roses. Let us remember, also, that life is too short for grudges, for hatred or revenge, for all too soon we who take our journey Underground.”
Pour some of wine into libation bowl. Then pass it around so everyone gets sip.
Worshipers partake of the fish and pomegranates.
Turn back to the altar. Say:
“And now, we the celebrates, the worshipers, will take our portion of this sacred meal. Lady Hera, Hard-working Hephaistos, and Laughing Dionysos, we humbly invite You to dine with us tonight. May Your hear our prayers, and be kind towards us. In community we begin. In community we end. Khairte.”
Now FEAST! Be merry, and be kind to each other.