Modern Hymns and Poetry for Ariadne

Blood Honey
by Richard Norris

What use did the red thread of Ariadne have?
Binding, of course. How else did it turn crimson?
Seven years is a long time to hunger
And She was not without sympathy…
Or fear.

“Come, I will lead you to safety!” she said
And in the gardens and by the fountains
She bound them tight for the Beast
The only carnality she could afford Her brother
To avoid the fate she gave to others.

But the Labyrinth would be forever home
Unless Asterion was given fatal rest
And so She handed it to shining Theseus
As a guide to Her freedom, and his, and His
For sympathy can be a blessing or curse.

And did the hero startle, when that thread
Was wound tight after the brutal victory
When, balled up, it pulsed once, twice,
And covered his hand with its secret
vulgar, red, sticky honey?

Did she clutch that mangled skein on Naxos
As she wept in desolation and loss
Did she then feel the quickened pulse
Of He Who Comes, reborn in new form
Freed by her loving, betraying deed?

Brother no longer, He came for her as new kin
And swept up the threads along with Her
Pushing it to his chest, blood-honey thick
Leaving just a single vein-strand free
So She may find Him as they wandered

Call to mind
by Sannion

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.

Communal Hymn of the Old Thiasos

Ariadne, wise and clever daughter of Crete.
You go where others dare not travel.
When we are troubled or worried,
be there to give us your wisdom.
Help us when we are lost,
or take the uneven steps on our path.
Remind us there is hope at the end of our patience.
Unlock the puzzles we find ourselves in,
Mistress of the Labyrinth.
Swinging, spiraling dancer of the shadowy in-between
– your love and your wildness can only be contained by the stars.
I will grasp the thread you offer,
the one that snakes through my heart,
and I will not be afraid.
Axe-dancer,
swinger on the vine,
net-weaver,
mistress called wife,
you that make the trees grow erect and fruitful,
you whose face is sweet and fierce by turns,
ferocious hunter,
hidden behind meek face ripped and torn by the beaked monster within,
mad and maddening paradox in the skin of a maiden none too maidenly,
bless the land with the blood you shed and that shed by your followers,
may it stream through the labyrinth as water from the earth.
Betrayal was neither your intent nor your sin, our Lady,
but for surpassing love and mercy were you punished.
For helping those in need,
you were helped in yours,
forsaken then reclaimed queen among mortals!
Deep love can lead us into danger and despair;
lead us from danger into the safety of divine embrace,
lead us from despair into the hope of divine love.
I pray to Ariadne,
who guides the way to the Starry Bull,
and returns from under the earth.
I [take action] for Ariadne of the Starry Bull.

Ekphrasis of a krater from Magna Graecia
by Sannion

The maiden lingers at the boundary stone,
glancing wistfully behind her
at the home she is leaving.
Her hair is artfully arranged,
her pale cheeks reddened like the summer roses,
and a dress fit for a bride clings to her supple curves,
with nothing on beneath.
A ball of golden string rests at her bare feet;
her smile is joyful, expectant,
but her eyes betray more complex emotions inside her.
Sadness, and perhaps a touch of fear.
Where she goes, none may return.
The silent guide waits for her, hand outstretched
and face concealed by the shadow of his broad-brimmed hat.
The snakes twined around his staff hiss and sway
to the clamor of drums played by satyrs in the distance.
Their music has cast a spell on her,
drawn her out of her father’s doors
with light, dancing steps to revel in the forested Italian hills
where the women of her village go to hang
ribbons and masks on the night of the spider,
where she can finally be free.
She knows that he waits for her,
the handsome youth with the kantharos and a crown of violets and ivy-leaves.
He’s the one who tossed the golden ball at her feet;
all she has to do is reach down, pick it up, and follow the thread back to him
and they will feast together in love’s banquet.
But she hesitates.
Only for a moment, but she hesitates.
She hungers for him with all her soul,
wants to lose herself in his kisses,
feel her flesh come alive for the first time
as he caresses her and claims her as his own,
aches to be filled with the frenzy of him,
that strange and beautiful youth
who she senses is so much more than he seems
– but she fears. Fears the finality of that first step,
fears that her family will forget her when she does not return,
fears that she is not worthy of his love.
But what choice does she have?
She has already closed her eyes,
let her hand fall to her side,
felt the last breath escape her lips.
All that remains is the journey into eternity
and the cup of her beloved, full of his wine.

For the Mistress of the Labyrinth, honey
by Sannion

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!

The Holy One
by Fiona Husch

First you were a treasure,
great beauty of Knossos

Then you were a prize,
won for your brother’s death

Next you were a bride,
crowned in flaming stars

Now you are free,
the Queen of the Mad

To Ariadne
by Fiona Husch

It was not your sadness
that drove Theseus to abandon you.
It was the night he looked into your eyes
and saw something else look back.
For he realized perhaps,
The Minotaur
had not been the only monster in Crete.

To Potnia Theron
by Sannion

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.

Who Is This Wife of Dionysos?
By Amanda Sioux Blake

Who is this wife of Dionysos
Kohl smeared around her eyes?
Who is this wife of Dionysos
Playing with thread, with knots and ties?
Who is this wife of Dionysos
An alluring smile on her lips?
Who is this wife of Dionysos
A flirty swing in her hips?

She is the Kreten Ariadne, Mistress of the Labyrinth
Theseus thought he used her, but he was used by her
She is the Kreten Ariadne, Mistress of the Labyrinth
He’d never have escaped alone, that’s for sure
She is the Kreten Ariadne, Mistress of the Labyrinth
Who leads the way through unexpected paths and twisting turns
She is the Kreten Ariadne, Mistress of the Labyrinth
Ariadne takes us through emotional tangles, works through pains and burns

Hail to Ariadne, the worthy wife
Of the Ivy-Twined God!

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