The Alternative Spirit (Issue 13): Regular Column – Ancient Medicine

In this issue of of The Alternative Spirit Magazine, I’m talking about one of my favorite subjects – medicine of the ancients!

You can purchase your copy here:

http://www.alternativespiritmagazine.com/

Athenian New Year

The 25th of June marks the Athenian New Year.

Although no official festivals occurred during this time in Ancient Greece, sacrifices were made to Athena and Zeus for protection for the coming of the new year.

This is an auspicious time to clean and revamp your shrines and finish up projects before the start of the new year

(C) T. Georgitsis

Prometheia Festival

On the 17th of June, the Prometheia festival is observed.

The Prometheia festival is a modern Hellenic festival in honor of the gift of fire given to mankind by Prometheus.

This is an auspicious time to light the flames of your hearth/shrine/altar.

(C) T. Georgitsis

 

Dipolieia/Bouphonia Festival

 

 

On the 9th of June, the Hellenic Dipolieia/Bouphonia festival is observed.

The Dipolieia/Bouphonia is a festival which is dedicated to  Zeus.

The clergy would ritualistically sacrifice an ox for the desecration of Zeus’s alter at the Acropolis.  Afterwards the ox would be eaten during a feast as part of the festivities.

This is an auspicious time to make an offering to Zeus to recognize him as the king of the Gods.

Here is a prayer you can use to honour Zeus on this day:

To the Son of Cronos, Most High
[1] I will sing of Zeus, chiefest among the gods and greatest, all-seeing, the lord of all,
the fulfiller who whispers words of wisdom to Themis as she sits leaning towards him.
Be gracious, all-seeing Son of Cronos, most excellent and great!”

The Homeric Hymns a Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White

(C) T. Georgitsis

 

Skiraphoria Festival

On the 7th of June, the Hellenic Skiraphoria festival is observed.

The Skiraphoria is a 3 day agricultural festival which is dedicated to Athena, Poseidon, Demeter and Kore.

The clergy at the time would ritualistically enact the fertilizing of the crops through three sacred plowing which included blessings and thanksgivings.

The women of Athens would gather in public during this time and would eat garlic to ensure they abstained from sexual interaction wfrom men which they withheld on this day.

On this day young men would race to Dionysos’s shrine carrying vibe branches and the champion would receive food and drink which Athena blessed on the day.

This is an auspicious time to start putting into action some of your project plans for the future.

Offer wine, honey, cheese, olive oil, fruits and grains.

(C) T. Georgitsis

 

Arrephoria Festival

On the 29th of May, the Hellenic Arrephoria festival is observed.

The Arrephoria is a festival in honour of Athena in which white dressed women carry “unspoken things” (its speculated it was Athena’s peplos or spring water from an ancient spring) from the top of the Acropolis down to the sanctuary of Aphrodite which was located at the base of the Acropolis.  Then another unknown item was  taken back up to the top of the Acropolis in turn.

Its assumed that this festival might of been part of the agricultural cycle which formed part of the fertility rites before the new year held on the solstice around June.

This is an auspicious time to complete projects and remove things which are no longer needed in your life and cause stagnation in order to allow room for new opportunities to come into your life.

(C) T. Georgitsis

 

 

Plynteria Festival

On the 22st of May, the Hellenic Plynteria festival is observed.

The Plynteria is a festival in which the statue of Athena Polias who guards Athens is cleansed.

Women of the household of the Praxiergidai (the Athenian family tasked with the care of the statue of Athena Polias)  would take the image and remove the robes, jewelry, then wrap it for a formal procession to the sea at Phaleron, where it was purified by sea water.  At sundown the statue was taken by a torch lit formal procession back to the temple and re-adorned with clean robes and jewelry.

This is considered an importune time and considered quite unlucky so Athena’s temple was closed and so its a good time to clean and revamp Athena’s shrines/altars/tools.

Offer figs or cakes containing figs to Athena.

(C) T. Georgitsis

 

Kallynteria Festival

On the 21st of May, the Hellenic Kallynteria festival is observed.

The Kallynteria is a festival in which the temple of Athena was swept out, her lamps refilled and lit by her Athenian priestesses.

This is an auspicious time to clean and reset up your shrines or working altars to the gods – specifically Athena.

Offer olive branches or olive oil.

(C) T. Georgitsis

Bendideia Festival

On the 16th of May 2017, the festival of Bendis is observed in the Hellenic calender.

The Bendideia is a festival honoring when the cult of Bendis was brought to Athens and the patron is the Thrakian goddess Bendis.

Identified with Artemis, Bendis shares several traits including that of huntress.

Historically the festival included a procession which began at daybreak in the Prytaneion and ended at the Peiraios sanctuary of Bendis, a torch held horse race and all night festival which included feasting also took place.

Offerings of wheat can be made to Bendis on this day.

(C) T. Georgitsis