Day I. To Ariadne, Sleeping Beauty
Hail to you bull–betrothed Maiden of Knossos,
Ariadne the Sleeping Beauty who was coaxed back to life
when her green Master lifted the noose
from her oddly–angled neck
soft as a dove’s breast,
and filled her limbs with warm, moist, divine breath.
Her eyes opened like stars exploding in the heavens
and she rose to her feet
and danced herself into Thyiadic frenzy;
an ecstatic she roamed the woods at night,
hungry for flesh and for wine—
hail the Queen Bee, the Serpent Mother,
Leader of the Revels of the shaggy Goat Men’s chorus,
Ariadne the Chief Bacchant.
Day II. To Ariadne Frenzystirrer
I sing the praises of the Kore of Knossos,
the bare–breasted Queen who never let the bull go hungry,
whose dancing–ground winds round
like the web of a spider dangling from a tree,
her lips sweet with honey of frenzied bees,
slender hands familiar with the soft flesh of serpents
and the taut hide of a drum pounded in ecstasy
while the flames leap and thunder rumbles
in the distance. Ariadne who went mad on the island,
with only herself to keep her company.
Ariadne whom Dionysos loves above all others,
weird reflection of his wounded heart.
Day III. To Ariadne the Weaver
Hail Ariadne of the Red Thread,
Maiden wise and remorseful,
you who know the ecstasy
of the grape’s seduction
and unbearable grief at the loss
of your homeland and family.
Hail Ariadne of the Black Thread,
you who make your home
beneath the earth with the Dead
and climb the Tree to the high heavens
to speak with the blessed Immortals.
Proud in your sacred craft,
O Ariadne of the White Thread,
teller of the stories of the forgotten and despised,
keeper of the mysteries of holiness,
leader of the dance that brings release,
reader and spinner of the Golden Threads of Fate,
you who carry the Dead on your back
like a sac of eggs, so that they may rise up
and join us in the Feast of Flowers,
receiving their rightful share of the sacrifice
as you mate with the Bull King in the holy Ox-Shed.
Hail Ariadne, Mistress of the weblike Maze,
wearer of many Masks, hail and hail again
our Goddess of Sex, Death and Insanity, Starry Ariadne!
Day IV. To Ariadne the Mistress of the Labyrinth
For the Mistress of the Labyrinth, Honey
Hail to you radiant Ariadne, daughter of proud Minos
who sits in lordly judgment of those beneath the earth;
mad–eyed, serpent–hipped, hair swaying
like the white–capped waves that wash the sandy shores of Naxos
as your agile feet lead the Nymph–ridden Bacchants
in a wild dance through the hunting grounds of the Godly Bull,
fruit of an unspeakable union with a mortal Queen.
You whose fiery crown of ancestral Spirits shines
in the gloom of heaven, bride of freedom’s God,
and always by his side—hail Ariadne!
Day V. To Ariadne the Goddess of the Masque
Raise a glass in honor of the Mistress of the Feast
wine–loving and frenzied Goddess of wet grace
who revels with Nymphs in river–fed grottoes,
whose dancing feet excite the pulse of life in all creation,
who leads the wild beasts as they roam through primordial forests,
who laughs in the darkness and can bring to completion
with just a smile. Heart–render, tomb–haunter, hunger and fire
and the fathomless depths of the sea, maenadic Aphrodite
who wields the scourge of the mysteries, hail to thee Cyprian Ariadne
mortal of far-surpassing beauty who washed ashore a Goddess,
the fiery-crowned wife of Dionysos of Naxos.
Day VI. To Ariadne, Dancing Queen
Call to mind, O all–holy Ariadne,
my prayers and offerings of the past,
as you remembered the way out
of the winding passages of the Labyrinth.
You, crowned with stars and holding the thread of fate in your hand,
a hand that has wielded the ceremonial double axe,
sharp for cutting the throats of bulls so that the fields will be fruitful
and there will be wine and flowers to scatter on the altars of the Gods.
Queen of love and death, Mistress of the swarm
who delights in golden honey
and the Crane Dance and the serpents who know
the way down beneath the earth and how to rise up again.
Hail Ariadne, fulfilled on Naxos and leader of the maniac Hunters,
receive this bounty and cause to prosper
the house that honors you properly.
Day VII. To Ariadne, Granddaughter of the Sun
Ariadne whose tender feet know the dance
of those who desire the ecstatic embrace of the Deliverer
who comes from afar, wearing an unfamiliar face
and bearing unexpected gifts, gifts that tear open the heart
and free the mind of the shackles of past conditioning
so that one can kneel trembling in the presence of the holy Beloved.
Hear my prayers and help me to become a better vessel
for the pouring out of offerings that enrich
the land and the house that receives all
Gods who wander in the guise of suppliants.
As every act of yours was an act of devotion
—even the act of swinging from the Tree for the sins of your line—
never let me falter or lose sight of what and who I am devoted to.