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

Delphinia Festival

On the 3rd of April , the Hellenic Delphinia festival is observed.

The Delphinia is a festival originally dedicated to unmarried women and consisted of a procession where they held olive branches bound with white wool and its patrons are Apollo and Artemis.

This is an auspicious time to petition for protection and ask for boons to be granted.

Offer olive branches or olive oil.

Here is a hymn to Artemis which you can use as an offering prayer on the day:

To Artemis

I sing of Artemis, whose shafts are of gold, who cheers on the hounds, the pure maiden, shooter of stags, who delights in archery, own sister to Apollo with the golden sword. Over the shadowy hills and windy peaks she draws her golden bow, rejoicing in the chase, and sends out grievous shafts. The tops of the high mountains tremble and the tangled wood echoes awesomely with the outcry of beasts: earth quakes and the sea also where fishes shoal. But the goddess with a bold heart turns every way destroying the race of wild beasts: and when she is satisfied and has cheered her heart, this huntress who delights in arrows slackens her supple bow and goes to the great house of her dear brother Phoebus Apollo, to the rich land of  Delphi there to order the lovely dance of the Muses and Graces. There she hangs up her curved bow and her arrows, and heads and leads the dances, gracefully arrayed, while all they utter their heavenly voice, singing how neat-ankled Leto bare children supreme among the immortals both in thought and in deed.Hail to you, children of Zeus and rich-haired Leto! And now I will remember you and another song also.

  The Homeric Hymns Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White
(C) T. Georgitsis

Dionysia ta astika Festival

From the 9th to 16th March , the Hellenic Dionysia ta astika festival is observed.

The Dionysia ta astika is a festival dedicated to the god Dionysus.

Around 500-600 BC the cult of Dionysus was introduced to Athens from Eleutherai a border town of Attica (Athens) and Boeotia (Central Greece).  The myth surrounding this cult follows an Etheutherai man bringing the practice to Athens and it being rejected.  As retribution Dionysus sent a disease which infected Athenian men’s genitals.  To combat this situation the oracle at Delphi instructed the Athenians to hold a procession in honor of Dionysus with the symbol of a phallus prominently displayed.  Since the disease seems to have stopped this procession became a yearly observance.

This is an auspicious time to indulge in the performing arts – attend the theater or similar artistic performance such as a play.

Offer wine and flowers.

Here is a hymn to Dionysus which you can use as an offering prayer on the day:

Homeric Hymn 1 to Dionysus

For some say, at Dracanum; and some, on windy Icarus; and some, in Naxos, O Heaven-born, Insewn; and others by the deep-eddying river Alpheus that pregnant Semele bare you to Zeus the thunder-lover. And others yet, lord, say you were born in Thebes; but all these lie. The Father of men and gods gave you birth remote from men and secretly from white-armed Hera. There is a certain Nysa, a mountain most high and richly grown with woods, far off in Phoenice, near the streams of Aegyptus“and men will lay up for her many offerings in her shrines. And as these things are three, so shall mortals ever sacrifice perfect hecatombs to you at your feasts each three years.”

The Son of Cronos spoke and nodded with his dark brows. And the divine locks of the king flowed forward from his immortal head, and he made great Olympus reel. So spake wise Zeus and ordained it with a nod.

Be favorable, O Insewn, Inspirer of frenzied women! we singers sing of you as we begin and as we end a strain, and none forgetting you may call holy song to mind. And so, farewell, Dionysus, Insewn, with your mother Semele whom men call Thyone.

Hail, child of fair-faced Semele! He who forgets you can in no wise order sweet song.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2017

Asklepia Festival

asclepias


On the 7th of March 2017, the Hellenic Asklepia Festival is observed.

The Asklepia was the day dedicated to the god Asklepias.

Asklepias is the son of Apollo and is known as the Healer God in the Hellenic pantheon.

In 300BC the cult of Asclepius was popular among the Athenians and people wanting to be healed would travel to his temples, known as Asclepieion and would stay overnight within the temple.  The next day they would have their dreams divined wherein the priests would prescribe the cure to heal them.

This is an auspicious time to work on your dream divination and health.

 

Here is a hymn to Asklepias which you can use as an offering prayer on the day:

Homeric Hymn to Asclepius

“I BEGIN to sing of Asclepius, son of Apollo and healer of sicknesses.
In the Dotian plain fair Coronis, daughter of King Phlegyas,
bare him, a great joy to men, a soother of cruel pangs.

 And so hail to you, lord: in my song I make my prayer to thee!”


(C) T. Georgitsis 2017

Lenaia Festival

15873097_10155835978189762_343124918447232429_n

This months Full Moon coincides with the Hellenic Lenaia festival (11th-13th January 2017).

The Lenaia was a three day festival dedicated to Dionysus and his Maenads.

A ceremonial procession in which attendants danced and carried representations of Dionysus and his symbols (like the thyrsus) occurred along with dramatic competitions.

This is an auspicious time to celebrate with drink, food and dance.

Here is a hymn to Dionysus which you can use as an offering prayer on the day:

Orphic Hymn 30

“Liknitan Bacchus [Liknitos Dionysos], bearer of the vine, thee I invoke to bless these rites divine:
Florid and gay, of nymphs the blossom bright, and of fair Venus [Aphrodite], Goddess of delight,
‘Tis thine mad footsteps with mad nymphs to beat, dancing thro’ groves with lightly leaping feet:
From Jove’s [Zeus’] high counsels nurst by Proserpine [Persephoneia],
and born the dread of all the pow’rs divine:
Come, blessed pow’r, regard thy suppliant’s voice, propitious come, and in these rites rejoice”

(C) T. Georgitsis 2017

Anthesteria Festival

dionysus

This months Full Moon coincides with the Hellenic Anthesteria festival (8th-10th February 2017).

The Anthesteria was an Athenian festival dedicated to wine, the ancestors and the coming of spring which was celebrated for three days:

Pithoigia (Opening of the Jars) – First Day
New jars of wine were opened and dedicated to Dionysus.
Small children were crowned with garlands of the first spring flowers of the year.

Khoes (Day of Cups) – Second Day
Sacred marriage of Dionysus ritual with the Queen.
Athenians celebrate with contests containing drinking games.

Khytrai (Day of Pots) – Third Day
Offerings for the ancestors were placed in pots and held traditional foodstuffs such as cooked wheat kernels (aka Kollyva or Funeral Cake).*

This is an auspicious time to spring clean your home, shrines/altars and offer new vintage wine to Dionysus and cooked grains to your ancestors.

*This practice continues this day with modern Greeks offering kollyva at funerals or memorials.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2017

Haloa Festival

ceres-146942_1280

On the 26th of December there is a Hellenic festival (from the Attic/Athenian calendar) by the name of Haloa (aka Thalysia/Syncomesteria)  in honor of the Halos.  Halos translated from the Greek, means threshing floor/garden.

The Haloa was a festival day dedicated to Demeter, Dionysos, Haloa, Poseidon, Phytalmios and Perseophone.

Most likely a fertility festival, this festival related to the fist harvest and the fruits of the earth.  Celebrations included feasts at Eleusis and *offerings of cakes in the shapes of genitals were made along with music and merriment.  Women would dance around a symbolic phallus and leave offerings whilst its speculated that men would of had similar yet separate festivals honoring Poseidon.

This is an auspicious time to start projects related to fertility.

*Exclude offerings of  forbidden Elusian Mysteries foods: fish, chicken, pomegranate, apple and eggs.

Homeric Hymn to Demeter which you can use on the day when leaving offerings of stone fruit and grains as she is the protectress of the earth:

Homeric Hymn to Demeter

(C) T. Georgitsis 2016