Hekate’s Deipnon is Hekate’s main day of veneration and adoration which falls on the Dark of the Moon. This works out to be at the end of the month in the Athenian Calender (aka Attic Calendar) and any time before the first sliver of the new moon appears in the sky. The word Deipnon means supper/evening meal which *traditionally was the biggest meal in the day.
Hekate’s Deipnon is a time to:
- Venerate Hekate and keep the restless dead at bay;
- Clean and purify the home, shrines, altar and ourselves in preparation for the Noumenia (New Moon); and
- Make up for slights or offences caused to Hekate, as she won’t grant your boon or bless you unless you make amends.
Making and leaving offerings during the Deipnon is a beautiful hands on approach to honour Hekate and is a very important aspect of ritualised practice in her name. It’s also a way to placate the restless dead, as in Ancient Greece it was believed that Hekate was the Guide of Lost Souls, whom she guided into the underworld flanked by her hounds. Traditionally perishable food and drink offerings were left inside or upon shrines, on the door step of homes or at a crossroads. Offerings left outside were typically left in the middle of a crossroads – the person would present the offering, turn around and leave without looking back, lest they go mad or anger the restless dead and be followed to their home. Those who were poor, hungry and/or homeless would often consume the offerings. This wasn’t seen as anathema by the ancients but instead viewed as something which offered a dual purpose – one of honouring Hekate and one of feeding the needy.
Modern practitioners are divided in their practice with respects to the perishable Deipnon offerings – some dispose of the items, saying to partake is unfavourable, whilst others disagree and consume them in an act of appropriating her blessings. Modern devotees as well as placing offerings in traditional places, also use liminal locations such as: the base of trees, mouth openings of caves, edge of a streams, rivers or beaches. Tithing has also become quite popular among modern practitioners with goods, services or donations being given to various charities which predominately include nursing homes, hospitals, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and animal rescue homes.
Other non-perishable things to proffer Hekate during the Deipnon are things you want to remove from your life and sweepings from the home. Taking stock and cleaning out your pantry or fridge is an ideal way to “clean house” and find items to present at the Deipnon . Other suggestions to engage in during the Deipnon could be to “spring clean” your home and/or work, donate items not needed to charity and/or sell them with proceeds going to good causes. Some other suggestions are helping out your local community and spiritual/religious/magickal groups you are connected to, cleaning up of natural public places (beaches, parks etc) and assisting family, friends, acquaintances or perfect strangers in need. Every little bit helps regardless how small the token, as giving of yourself without expectation of return is a very distinguished way to venerate Hekate.
The Deipnon is also an apt marker as it’s a timely way to set goals with respect to the things you want to rid yourself of emotionally, physically and spiritually. Following every Deipnon you can check on your accomplishments and progress with regards to following through with removing the obstacles or things you wanted out of your life.
Traditionally Purification of the home was another important aspect of the Deipnon and included the following steps:
- Clean and sweep out all waste including the fireplace;
- Fumigate through censoring the home and persons with incense and sacred herbs; and/or
- The sacrifice of a black dog, especially when it related to bad deeds the householders wanted to expel.
These days the practices outlined above are continued with modern devotees, with the exception of the sacrificial dog, which is rightfully frowned upon.
I personally like to clean, purify, refresh my working shrine/altar with offerings and set goals of banishments/removals of toxic and unnecessary things in my life. I also empty my **Kathiskos to Hekate and many other devotees find this useful. I take a jar which has been consecrated and decorated in Hekate’s name and place items from my fridge and pantry in the jar. These items, for me, symbolise prosperity and vitality and the Kathiskos is created during the Noumenia (New Moon) which I then empty and clean out during the Deipnon.
Some traditional offerings to leave out for Hekate’s Deipnon are:
Ampiphion (cheesecake with candles), milk, eggs, garlic, bread, bay leaves, honey, wine, olive oil, onion, fish, leeks and incense (myrrh, frankincense, copal and storax).
Some modern offerings to leave out for Hekate’s Deipnon are:
Craft projects for items used in Hekate’s name, pomegranates, honey cakes, lamb, herbs associated with Hekate (wormwood, poppy seeds, rue, maidenhair fern, bay laurel, lavender, juniper, mandrake, mint, mugwort and saffron ), raisins, apples, snakeskin, dog hair, oak leaves, roses, mushrooms, mead, keys, skulls, poppy flowers, crystals( amethyst, tourmaline, onyx and black obsidian), poppy and sesame seeds, candles and oil burners.
The way to dispose of perishable offerings from the home is to place in compost, bury or burn off in an incinerator/fire pit.
Whatever you decide to offer Hekate during the Deipnon ensure it is pure of heart and effort and that you do your best with what you have or can acquire.
* Traditionally as in the traditions of devotees, followers or the people in Ancient Greece.
**Kathiskos was traditionally made for Zeus and means “small bucket” in Greek. It’s a small sealed jar which is used to contain a portion of your home’s food prosperity to Deity.
(C) T. Georgitsis 2014 – Updated 2020