Boreaia Rite

Honoring: Boreas, god of the north wind, and his daughter Chione, goddess of snow
Date: Beginning of winter
Season: Winter

Items needed
Bowl of water and stick (incense, punk, or natural) to light and douse
Candle, matches or lighter to light the stick
Bowl of barley
Offering of a paper snowflake or other gift(s).
Libation
Libation bowl
Cup

In the ritual script, italicized text refers to directions and actions and isn’t meant to be spoken.

Procession

Assemble and prepare to process to the altar.

We go to the holy place with reverence and love, to honor the gods.

Proceed to enter the sacred space.

Purification of participants

Light the stick or incense and extinguish in the bowl of water, creating lustral water.

May all be made pure who wash in this water.

Pour water over the hands of each person so that they may rinse their face and hands in the lustral water.

Purification of space

Pass the bowl of barley among the participants so that each may take a handful of barley.

May all that is profane be gone from here!

Each person throws barley onto the altar, gently if indoors, with force if outside.

Invocation

Boreas of the bitter winds, lord of the north,
lord of distant Thrace, master of the wintertime,
purple-winged god of the darkening days,
I call to you, O Boreas, O god of cold and ice.

Chione of the snows, of the softly falling flakes
and the keen and biting storms, the billowy drifts
and the treacherous ice, daughter of the north,
I call to you, O Chione, O goddess of the frost.

If ever we have honored you, poured out sweet wine
in reverence and love, O great ones, deathless ones,
hear now our prayers, grant now your blessings. Praise be to you!

Statement of purpose

As the days grow short and the nights grow long,
as the air grows chill and the earth stone-cold,
we gather to welcome the gods of the season,
to greet you with reverence and love.

Prayers and Offerings

We welcome you, O Boreas, who rules the lands
of ice and rime, who in your season brings to us
a frost to rest the weary earth, a chill to set
our bones a-shiver, to set the world anew.
We welcome you, O Chione, mistress of the snows,
whose might it is that cloaks the land in alabaster white,
whose hand it is that dips each tree in shining ice,
whose gift it is to grace the world with beauty.

O gods of the cold and silent lands, O gods
on whose power we rely, in whose good will we trust,
we thank you for your many blessings, we praise your might.
For your care and warding in seasons past, we thank you;
we pray to you, O gods, grant us your enduring favor.
For a safe return from uncertain travels, we thank you;
we pray to you, O gods, grant us your enduring favor.
For abundance granted each wintertide, we thank you;
we pray to you, O gods, grant us your enduring favor.

Hold up paper snowflakes or other gifts.

We offer you this token of our reverence and thanks, O gods.

Place gifts on altar.

Libations

Pour wine, milk, or other liquid offering into cup, hold up filled cup.

To noble Hestia, who ever comes first and last,
We offer this drink; all praise to you, O Hestia!

Pour out some drink into the libation bowl; hold up cup, refilling if necessary.

To Boreas of the cold north wind, winter’s lord,
We offer this drink; all praise to you, O Boreas!

Pour out some drink into the libation bowl; hold up cup , refilling if necessary.

To Chione of the snows, capricious and comely,
We offer this drink; all praise to you, O Chione!

Pour out some drink into the libation bowl; hold up cup , refilling if necessary.

To noble Hestia, who ever comes last and first,
We offer this drink; all praise to you, O Hestia!

Pour out some drink into the libation bowl; hold up cup, refilling if necessary.

We share this drink among ourselves with love for the gods
and gratitude for all we have been given.

Pass the cup among the participants.

Thanks

We thank you, O gods, for your presence this day
as we celebrate your festival with reverence and joy.
We thank you, O gods, for your many blessings,
for the great gifts you grant to humanity.
With love and devotion we praise and honor you.

Close

We leave this holy place, with reverence and gratitude for all we have been given. The rite is ended.

Step away from the altar and leave the sacred space.


A PDF version of this ritual script is available here.

For more information on ritual format, see Some Elements of Hellenic Ritual at my other blog.

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One thought on “Boreaia Rite

  1. Pingback: Festivals: Boreaia (An Exercise in Modern Festival-building) | Hearthfire Handworks

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