September 5, 2015

Updates to the Starry Bull week

For more than a year and a half now, I've been keeping a weekly cycle of prayers in the Starry Bull tradition. I like it. It works well for me, and along with my prayers to the Hyades and the Purple Thread, gives me a pattern, a backbone for my daily practice.

A while back, the original Thiasos of the Starry Bull was dissolved. Now the tradition is in the process of being reborn. Which is cool to participate in, but it does mean some things are changing and being updated. For example, the weekly calendar has been changed. The Heroes and Heroines share a day now, and the rest of the Retinue of Dionysos has its own day. I actually really like this particular change. For a while, I had four days of the week with two verses to recite, and three days with only one verse, which felt very unbalanced to me. The new schedule allows me to correct that imbalance, by giving the Nymphs and Satyrs each a verse of their own, where they used to share one, and then dividing the rest of the Retinue into two overlapping groups. It gives me new things to think about, too.

I like to store my prayers here, so I can find them easily. Maybe someone else will find them interesting, too.


I pray to Dionysos
Who liberates and saves us
Who offers an eternal feast to those who know the Mystery
I pray to Dionysos, who is the Starry Bull

I pray to Apollon
Who runs with wolves
Who knows and who tells
I pray to Apollon of the Starry Bull


I pray to Persephone
The Iron Queen of Erebos
Who welcomes and transforms the reveler
I pray to Persephone of the Starry Bull

I pray to Melinoe
She of the double nature
The light in the darkness and the dark in the light
I pray to Melinoe of the Starry Bull


I pray to Ariadne
Who guides the way to the Starry Bull,
And returns from under the earth
I pray to Ariadne of the Starry Bull

I pray to Aphrodite
She who brings together what is separate
Who inspires the action of the night
I pray to Aphrodite of the Starry Bull


I pray to Hermes
Of the staff and the fleet feet
Who guides us down and sets our feet on the path
I pray to Hermes of the Starry Bull

I pray to Hekate
Who brings the Dead to the feast
Who dances in revels lit by her torches
I pray to Hekate of the Starry Bull


I pray to the Heroes 

Those who have walked these paths before 

And feast forever at our Lord’s side

I pray to the Heroes of the Starry Bull

I pray to the Heroines

Who have sorrowed before us

And will rejoice beside us when we follow

I pray to the Heroines of the Starry Bull


I pray to the Band Above
Who swirl around him in the open air
To dance and drink in mortal lands
I pray to the Band Above of the Starry Bull

I pray to the Band Below
Who revel in dark caverns
To welcome shades to the Dry Lands
I pray to the Band Below of the Starry Bull


I pray to the Nymphs
Who welcome him to mountain and to spring
Their songs filling the air sweetly
I pray to the Nymphs of the Starry Bull

I pray to the Satyrs
Who follow him through fields dark and light
Their hooves drumming a beat on the earth
I pray to the Satyrs of the Starry Bull

I'm particularly pleased with a couple of aspects of the new verses. Nymphs are, for the most part, spirits of particular places -- of this spring, that tree, the mountain over there, the mouth of this river where it empties into the sea. And so they welcome Dionysos into their places. Not that they can't and don't travel with him, but they are also already in their own places when he arrives. Satyrs, too, are earth-spirits, but are less place-focused. They tend to be associated more with agricultural and/or seasonal cycles, with rhythms. And so they follow him, and they drum.

For the Band -- and finding that one word took as much time as writing all the rest; retinue was too long for the form, and I had to test out three or for others before I decided I liked the alliteration of Band Above and Band Below, and liked the implication of wandering more broadly -- I wanted the strong images of above-ground and below-ground, of sun and trees and open air, and of vast dark spaces where the Dead are, of Life and of Death, to really get at concepts that are very much at the heart of the Starry Bull tradition for me.

I think I succeeded, at least for myself. I never feel like these things are going to work well for other people. I don't feel like I... I dunno, put enough work into them to make them powerful for others. Really, I feel like they're very personal things, for my very personal practice. I do get compliments, though, which is nice, if sometimes somewhat puzzling.

But there it is.