Quite obviously I can’t talk about everything that happened at Spring Mysteries — they are called Mysteries for a reason, and furthermore parts of the experience are oathbound. I can tell you that SMF is an attempted recreation of the Eleusinian mysteries of ancient Greece, which focused on the myths of Demeter and Her daughter. I can also tell you that there are people who are cast in different roles, and actually play the roles of the gods in various events over the course of the weekend.
I can also tell you that the Lesser Mysteries themselves did very little for me, and it’s more the peripheral things that touched me like an electric current. I’m hoping that next year the Greater Mysteries will have a similar effect on me.
And I can tell you that something I wasn’t told, which I should have been told, is that there is a part where you must specifically interact with Poseidon. This is not oathbound — I can tell you the Gods are in residence, and I have, and it is a Hellenic based festival. These are not secrets. I realized that Poseidon may have been there; what I didn’t realize is that there is a specific main event that deals with Him: the purifying Parade to the Sea. It’s not advertised loudly, though it’s also not a secret — and I wasn’t told this because there seems to be some confusion among my friends as to what is oathbound and what is not.
I was very frustrated about this, and for good reason: I am devoted to Manannan, and He does not like Poseidon.I had to do quick, last-minute bargaining so that I could still participate without ruining my relationship with Manannan. I now must find a way to walk a road where I am devoted to Manannan but still interact with Poseidon, as I will be returning to the Mysteries next year and presumably a few years after that.
Anyway. The peripheral events that had a big effect on me are as follows.
1. At some point during the main event we were sent in search of specific gods. I had no feelings about going to any of them, so I followed a friend as she went to another god. Right beside that god’s spot was another’s and I felt pulled into that one — Hephaestus. This was a surprise to me, but it shouldn’t have been. I can’t tell you what He said to me, because A. I don’t remember and B. oathbound, but it hit me hard and I started crying. It was exactly what I needed to hear.
2. The Shrines opened on Saturday — these are buildings that are dedicated to the gods, and during Shrine Time they are inhabited by priests and priestesses who have drawn down the gods into them, and you can go in and actually interact directly with the gods.
On Friday I went to look at the Shrines to get a feeling for them, and the first I saw was Hecate’s. It was full of keys. I felt this intense, heavy presence in there of Her, and I looked around for a bit. When I went to leave, I couldn’t, and I heard a voice in my head: MINE. I said, a bit shakily, “Yes, Yours!” and then I could move and was allowed to leave.
On Saturday, I went and spoke to the gods. I started with Zeus and Hera, who are terrifying. I did not stop shaking when I was in Their shrine. I had a question for Hera, because of a dream I’d had on that Thursday that had contained Her*. She looked right into my soul and told me that dreams often lent themselves the faces of the gods to give themselves power, and then She told me the story of Hera’s Renewal. She suggested I look towards the good bounty of the earth to renew my spirit and said that perhaps my dream was a message from Gaia.
Hecate was less scary in person than the day before, and She gave me a key and some questions to ponder about the purpose of my rituals. I then felt drawn to Demeter, who gave me Her blessing, Her advice, and told me to seek out Persephone. Persephone also gave me Her blessing, and amazing advice, and a small glass pomegranate seed with specific instructions. At that point I had to run to my work shift, where Hestia’s shrine was — so I saw Her too and asked Her why She broke my plate.** The answer surprised me, and also was a big DUH: I had refused hospitality when I shouldn’t have, and that — not the lack of offerings — had made Her miffed. Then She gave me a cookie and a hug.
There were more gods that I wished to see, but I ran out of time. Next year I will see Them.
I had a really great time at SMF and made some new friends, too. I’ve also been making some revelations since the weekend, and I figure that the full experience will really hit me within the next month or so.
And I’ve been working on actually organizing my practice and figuring out what it is, so expect posts on that in the near future.
At the end of the weekend, I waited for Mom to pick me up. For 6 hours. The cast and some other folks who had worked on the event were still there for a cast party and unwinding; apparently they keep two of the cabins rented for an extra day. They looked after me while I waited for my mom, and said that if she ended up not showing up I could spend the night and someone would drive me back to Vancouver at least in the morning. (That didn’t happen, obviously, but it was a really lovely offer, and I really appreciate it.)
So the Gods took care of me, as They always do.
*In my dream I stood in front of the Shrine, and Hera came out and looked right at me. “You have poison in your skin,” She said, “and it will seep into your bones and kill you if you do not expel it.”
**A while ago my glass jar of cereal fell onto my stove and broke my plate and spilled cereal everywhere — except Hestia’s shrine, which is also on the stove. It was very clearly a message from Her, but I didn’t realize why.