Last night was supposed to have been a relatively simple, if not easy, beginning to my first-ever observance of the Vigil for the Bulls. Simple because I had a clear understanding of what I was intending to do, but not easy because it required me to be awake at two in the morning. Sometimes, one discovers on the way to a task that other tasks must be completed first.
In my case, I had to build a temple. I have a personal shrine to Poseidon — that’s been around for six or seven years, at least — that I thought I’d be using for these observances, but it didn’t work out that way. I’d also intended on having a nap and then rising for the vigil proper, but nope.
What happened is that I got home close to midnight and was thinking of catching a few winks when suddenly I remembered that I am overdue with some of my assignments regarding my priesthood training. Most important among these is hte creation of a temenos, because it’s tough to be a priest in Hellenic tradition without a temple. Instead of going to sleep, I found myself emptying, sweeping, scrubbing, purifying, assembling, and then performing the entire ritual for sanctifying the temple space in my home.
Then I showered and made ready for the vigil.
As for my humble little temple space, some commentary.
- No cult image of Poseidon is visible because I fashioned a khoanoas that may only be revealed during ritual.
- The space is quite small — perhaps two feet by three — and definitely is not going to be hosting others for ritual. I’ll have to find larger spaces for that sort of thing.
- Those columns are full of win.
Regarding the Vigil for the Bulls:
- The bulls in question are the ones being run in Pamplona, as representative of all bulls who participate in these runs. What is made out to be a dangerous situation for humans is guaranteed death for the bulls; at the end of the run is a bull fight. The vigil is in recognition of the holy grief of Poseidon Taureos over this practice.
- In the night I found a blending of my paths. In the light of a candle lit for Hestia I poured a libation to Poseidon Taureos and read to him hymns and prayers. Then I opened myself to share his grief, and because I sat with the khoanoas in which he can choose to reside, we could do so together. In effect, I settled into Quaker silent worship with my god. This was a comfortable behavior in an entirely new context; I’d never merged the two to this extent before. It was thus easy, but I could tell that the burden was not upon me fully, and it could have been much harder.
- While I’m not fasting, I am avoiding the flesh of four-leggeds during the courtse of the vigil, as well as sexual activity.
- Covering my head with a red bandana is also comfortable; I’ve been covering almost daily for a year or more without a specific purpose. This is the first ritual reason I’ve done so, and the practice has been well worth it.
- Naptime is definitely a priority today.