Eleusinian Mysteries

On the 6th till the 12th of September, the Hellenic Eleusinian Mysteries is observed.

The Eleusinian Mysteries is a time celebrating  Demeter and Persephone’s mystery cults in the town of Eleusis outside of Athens.

This is an auspicious time to dedicate yourself to your Hellenic Gods or traditions or retake your vows with the same.

Offer symbols of rebirth like wheat.

Here is a hymn you can use in your devotionals:

Homeric Hymn to Demeter (translated by Gregory Nagy)

Homeric Hymn to Demeter

 

(C) T. Georgitsis

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Demokratia Festival

On the 3rd of September, the Hellenic Demokratia festival is observed.

The Demokratia is a festival celebrating democracy in Athens and is devoted to Themis, Zeaus Agoraios and Athena Agoraia (which are all gods connected to the sacred agora ie marketplace).

This is an auspicious time to celebrate democracy in our lives which was created by the Ancient Greeks.

Offer incense such as frankinscense.

Here is a hymn you can use in your devotionals:

Orphic Hymn to Themis

Illustrious Themis, of celestial birth, thee I invoke, young blossom of the earth; 
Beauteous-eyed virgin; first from thee alone, prophetic oracles to men were known,
Giv’n from the deep recesses of the fane in sacred Pytho, where renown’d you reign;
From thee, Apollo’s oracles arose, and from thy pow’r his inspiration flows.
Honour’d by all, of form divinely bright, majestic virgin, wand’ring in the night: 
Mankind from thee first learnt initial rites, and Bacchus’ nightly choirs thy soul delights;
For holy honours to disclose is thine, with all the culture of the pow’rs divine.
Be present, Goddess, to my pray’r inclin’d, and bless the mystic rites with fav’ring mind.

(C) T. Georgitsis

Genesios Festival

On the 27th of August, the Hellenic festival of Genesios is observed.

This is a festival which is dedicated to the dead.

This is an auspicious time to honor your ancestors who have passed.  Visit their grave or memorials and remember the things they did in life.

Offerings which can be made during this time include water, incense, flowers, bay laurel, honey and milk.

Here is a prayer you can use to honor on this day which I wrote for my ancestors:

Imperishable Stars

Imperishable Stars

Never to rise nor set

Your luminous hearts fixed

Watching in abject silence

Epithets eternally emblazoned

Within and upon your earthly kin

Eternally through the promised premise

Incandescent in dogging darkness

(C) T. Georgitsis 2016

Niketeria Festival

On the 24th of August, the Hellenic Niketeria festival is observed.

The Niketeria is day dedicated to Nike the Goddess who embodies victory and is often seen as a personification of the Goddess Athena.

On this day Athena won the competition of naming the city Athens over Poseidon by creating the olive tree – the sign of peaceful prosperity.

This is an auspicious time to start putting into action some of your projects you wish to be victorious in.

Offer olive oil, olive branches, incense and fresh water.

Here is a hymn to Nike (33) by Orpheus you can use on the day to honour her:

“I call on the mighty Nike, the longing for mortality, 
Which only frees the dead from violent lusts 
And from the heavy position caused by mutual fears, 
Settle in disputes to gain their merits, 
Bring them the overwhelming, sweetest war fame of victory; 
For you have everything, and the great fame of every fighter lies [as]
a swelling sacrifice for the famous Nike, 

Hejze, blessed, come, trust the radiant face, 
bringing the end of all good deeds”


(C) T. Georgitsis

 

Kourotrophos Festival

On the 9th of August, the Hellenic Kourotrophos festival is observed.

The Kourotrophos is a festival which is dedicated to Hekate and Artemis.

This day is dedicated to these goddesses who protect women, children and childbirth.

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

“We pray that other guardians be always renewed, and that Artemis-Hekate watch over the childbirth of their women.”

 Aeschylus, Suppliant Women 674 ff (trans. Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) 

(C) T. Georgitsis 

 

Panathenaia Festival

From the 17th to 30th of July, the Hellenic Panathenaia festival is observed.

The Panathenaia is a festival which is dedicated to the city of Athens.

Historically celebrations included an all night service, a race involving torches (where only Athenians could participate) and a meal for all citizens paid for by the city containing meats.  This was the early beginnings of the Olympic games with the event being open to all Greeks every forth year around 566 BCE.

This is an auspicious time to honour Athena with food, drink (a communal meal), offerings (such as olive oil) and prayers.

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

“To Athena

I begin to sing of Pallas Athena, the glorious goddess, bright-eyed, inventive, unbending of heart, pure virgin, saviour of cities, courageous, Tritogeneia. Wise Zeus himself bare her from his awful head, arrayed in warlike arms of flashing gold, and awe seized all the gods as they gazed. But Athena sprang quickly from the immortal head and stood before Zeus who holds the aegis, shaking a sharp spear: great  Olympus began to reel horribly at the might of the bright-eyed goddess, and earth round about cried fearfully, and the sea was moved and tossed with dark waves, while foam burst forth suddenly: the bright Son of Hyperion stopped his swift-footed horses a long while, until the maiden Pallas Athena had stripped the heavenly armour from her immortal shoulders. And wise Zeus was glad.

And so hail to you, daughter of Zeus who holds the aegis! Now I will remember you and another song as well.”

(C) T. Georgitsis 

 

Synoikia Festival

On the 9th – 10th of July, the Hellenic Synoikia festival is observed.

The Synoikia is a festival which is dedicated to Zeus Phratrios and the unification of Attica by Theseus.

This is an auspicious time to make a sacrificial offering to Eirene who was also honoured at this time.

 

(C) T. Georgitsis 

Kronia Festival

On the 6th of July, the Hellenic Kronia festival is observed.

The Kronia is a festival which is dedicated to  Kronos.

This is an auspicious time to make a sacrificial offering to Kronos to recognize him as the God of the grain harvest.

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

Orphic Hymn to Kronos

Etherial father, mighty Titan, hear, great fire of Gods and men, whom all revere:
Endu’d with various council, pure and strong, to whom perfection and decrease belong.
Consum’d by thee all forms that hourly die, by thee restor’d, their former place supply;
The world immense in everlasting chains, strong and ineffable thy pow’r contains
Father of vast eternity, divine, O mighty Saturn [Kronos], various speech is thine: 
Blossom of earth and of the starry skies, husband of Rhea, and Prometheus wife.
Obstetric Nature, venerable root, from which the various forms of being shoot;
No parts peculiar can thy pow’r enclose, diffus’d thro’ all, from which the world arose,
O, best of beings, of a subtle mind, propitious hear to holy pray’rs inclin’d;
The sacred rites benevolent attend, and grant a blameless life, a blessed end.

(C) T. Georgitsis 

 

Faces and Masks – Nikos Vavdinoudis

 

Faces + Masks is a photographic series from Greek artist Nikos Vavdinoudis showing at the Hellenic Museum in Melbourne.

This series features modern costumed practices and obscure, fascinating rituals of eight rural villages in Northern Greece that have their origins in ancient Dionysian celebrations.

 
These ancient festivities are now celebrated during the Christian holiday of Epiphany and the Baptism of Christ and the particular practices of these villages are known for their elaborate, animalistic costumes.

 

The subsummation of ancient or pagan festivals into newer religious ones is a practice adopted by many religions; thereby allowing the dialogue between the ancient past and the present to remain virtually unbroken.

For more information go here:  http://www.hellenic.org.au/

 

 

Oneiroi – Bill Henson

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ONEIROI is a photographic installation by Bill Henson that will be housed permanently at the Hellenic Museum.

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The photographs that make up ONEIROI incorporate priceless treasures from the award winning Benaki collection, Gods, Myths & Mortals. The exhibition represents over 8,000 years of Greek history and culture and comprises pieces of exquisite beauty and immense cultural significance.

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Henson’s unique style uses composition, chiaroscuro and the human form to create powerful, narrative driven works of art.

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For more information go here:  http://www.hellenic.org.au/