For many, today is the beginning of the Hellenic festival of Anthesteria, a three-day affair honoring many things including the first flowers of the year, the wine harvest, and the dead. It’s a festival honoring Dionysos, Hermes, Ariadne, among others. Originally it found it’s way onto my calendar because it was important to people who were, at the time, important to me, and because at least some of the gods involved came across as being important to Poseidon. There are bits of the festival that really resonate with me – honoring the dead, for example. Observing the importance of Hieros Gamos, for another example. Anthesteria has been, almost since the beginning of its placement upon my personal religious calender, The Hellenic festival that had nothing at all to do with Poseidon that still managed to feel . . . proper, in being on my personal religious calendar. Even the observance of the marriage of Zeus and Hera did not feel that natural, that familiar, and outside of all the festivals I hold for Poseidon, Theogamia is the next most important Hellenic festival I observe.
This year, I’m not marking Anthesteria. I hadn’t planned to. I can’t say I forgot it was coming – I mark my anniversary on the 9th of February, but the year I gave Him my vows, it fell on the 8th of Anthesterion, so I’m always aware of that month’s approach. This year, I’m scaling way, way back. I’m returning to what feels comfortable for me, what feels more authentically me, in where I’m coming to worship from. Elaborate festivals, even private, simple but formal ones, do not work for me. Not this year, not right now. I decided, in part of the Giving Up Guilt, that I would not celebrate a festival that I did not feel, stirring in my heart. I’m already torn about this, because I do believe that we need not always feel like it, when we stand before our shrines, our altars, our gods, and give to Them of ourselves. The gods know there are days when I’ve wanted only to be left to my own, but that does not happen, not in my life, not anymore. He is always, always there.
Last year for Theogamia, I gave Zeus and Hera offerings of wine and simple pastry. . . and I tore into myself over such a paltry offering. This year, They were given wine and such adoration and appreciation for Their touch upon my life, and it was beautiful.
This year, our hearth shrine, which doubles as our holiday shrine, is still set up for the Hunt Season. This year, I feel caught up with that instead, as though Anthesteria is so very far removed, far away, not inconsequential exactly, but almost. This year I feel wrapped up tightly, bound to my Husband, bound to my Father, brought home, held close. This year, I want only those that touch my soul and stir my blood. This year, the thought of spending time with Others away from my Hearth feels much like venturing forth while unwell. Perhaps it’s simply that it is falling too close to my anniversary, and I don’t want it caught up with it. Perhaps They have reasons for urging my focus more tightly ‘homeward’. Perhaps Poseidon is super-serious when He says, “Back to basics,” this time. I guess we’ll see. But in the meantime, there will be no guilt. Guilt is useless.