This series, which I hope to publish every Friday or Saturday, will focus on specific prayers for the Thiasos of the Starry Bull. These prayers may be original creations, chants, translations of ancient prayers, or analyses of modern ones, but all will be useful for members of the Thiasos.
During the course of this Thursday’s Starry Bull Chat, I mentioned in passing that I had learned something related to my mental health while celebrating the Pannykhis of Ariadne. I did not go into detail at the time; I have a tendency to derail chat conversations and don’t want to feed into that any more than I already do. What I saw and experience is something that has already helped me, and if a few of our readers get some good out of it, even better.
I’ve documented my less than stellar mental health in previous posts on this site, so I won’t give much exposition here except to say that anxiety tends to be comorbid with everything mentioned in that previous post. Anxiety is crippling: at low levels, it feels like my brain’s set to a constant simmer in worry-broth. When it peaks, it comes out as anxiety attacks. The attacks are difficult to describe, but there’s a telling similarity between anxiety attacks and depression. When you’re in the middle of either one, you don’t remember what it was like to have a positive thought enter your mind.
I did not go into the Pannykhis anticipating work with my anxiety, but work is what I got. It inspired this prayer to Ariadne and Apollon:
A burn, an open wound where fears have entered.
Come, trace their path: through all my twists and turns,
The poison seeps, and I cannot resist.
My Lady, grant me healing from within.
I cannot stop my fears by using fear;
The cure cuts deeper than the wound itself.
The burn has never scabbed. There is no scar
(For scars imply the healing’s all but done).
My graft, rejected, rots upon the surface.
Without, o Wolf, I pray You open up
Each wound; remove the graft inexpertly
Sewn in by hands as dangerous as mine.
Then teach me not to cover, nor to guard,
Nor guilt myself nor say I don’t deserve.
My health will be an offering to Us.
Emily Kamp is a Hellenic polytheist, devoted in particular to Hestia, Hermes, and Dionysos the Starry Bull. When not teaching high-school Latin or making horrendous puns, she is the moderator of an online shrine to Hestia (which doubles as a daily devotional for polytheists of all stripes).