As I mentioned in yesterdays post, I spent the time since last Friday helping my husband through the death of his grandmother. The funeral was Thursday, and very Catholic. It was actually my first Catholic Mass since they changed up the liturgy, and it was a little disorientation. Things I have known by heart since childhood have changed and while some weren’t hard (Nicene Creed was interesting to read) others would have tripped my tongue, if I had been responding (And with your spirit? I love the change, but boy, that would be hard!)
Already, what’s with all the Catholicism here, this is a pagan blog prompt. A few things, since I’ve gained a few new readers since I started the Blog Project; 1; I not only grew up Catholic, my oldest brother is a Catholic Priest, and I married into another family that is heavily Catholic and 2; growing up that way has impressed itself on my idea of ritual. I like smells, bells, and a little formality. I’m comfortable with Mystery and eating gods.
But it really impressed upon me just how ephemeral ritual, language, personhood and humanity is. One of my favorite bits of literature is from Ptolemy, “I know that I am mortal and the creature of a day; but when I search out the massed wheeling circles of the stars, my feet no longer touch the earth, but, side by side with Zeus himself, I take my fill of ambrosia, the food of the gods.”
One of the great aims of Mysticism is to give an idea of immortality to we mere mortals, and eat with (or you know, of…) the gods, and to give a little substance to our ephemeral natures.
When my mental Mass tripped over Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, and realizing just how old and young the phrasing is at once, I was struck again by just how wondrous it is that we keep reaching towards our gods, keep wanting both embrace and transcend our mortality.
Tomorrow begins Anthesteria, which is quite possibly the very best of Hellenic festivals: opening wine, the joy of life, the worst pains of life, and when the spirits of the dead walk. In Anthesteria’s three days, we experience Dionysos in his complexity.