A Prayer of Appeasement to the Eumenides

Here is a prayer I wrote quickly tonight. It will be offered to the Eumenides tomorrow during a Zoom-based ritual, but I would also like to share it here in case anyone else wants to pray to them.

The focus of the poem is appeasement for structural injustices committed by ourselves and those who came before us — a state of agos [enagēs] that can worsen already difficult circumstances that chance and Fate have bestowed — with the idea that the person reciting the poem is actually going to make concrete actions of restitution.

The Eumenides’ wrath is a form of purification. For this year’s Eumenideia, I already wrote about how the Eumenides are harmonizing, especially when viewed as daughters of Apollôn himself or the Apollôn in Plouton. They are not swayed by prayers alone. The way they bring balance and harmony may be harsh, but it has an important function. We can appease them by taking action to right injustice, as the Eumenides may be pacified when one deliberately engages in actions that bring restitution. We are absolved when we come back into right relation (where we will hopefully stay).

We pray to the Eumenides,
Goddesses with snakes in your hair,
you who recline in the shaded groves
where pomegranates swell sweet
in the company of your mother,
the Goddess of flower and field.
O Exacters of Justice,
lawyers in the court of souls,
you who hear the testimonies of the dead,
we pray that you accept our offering,
you who know no mercy but Dikê’s blessing.
Goddesses, we pray in appeasement
for the small violences
cascading from moment to moment,
a web we were born into,
that we birth anew,
these injustices we have long accepted
that worsen this sickness as it blooms
like poisonous flowers across the land,
and for the greater crimes of blood
that make the restless dead seethe
within the churning sea and underworld —
those our ancestors wronged,
those we wrong without knowing.
Goddesses, we bend ourselves,
finding the path of justice,
the steep climb that leads up.
You of many faces, dreadful and pure,
may you put an end to sickness,
to the tumult brought by agos,
gentle, soft, and appeased.
We pray to you, O Eumenides,
that we stretch and we strive,
breaking the web of misdeeds
with empathy and kindness,
foresight and prudence,
reestablishing ourselves in virtue,
the memory of the dead and living
sharp and strong in our minds.


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