Starlit Path: Issue 3 Fall 2018: Walking with the Goddess, “How to Build a Shrine to your Patron”

My new column Walking With the Goddess is series of regular articles building on devotional practice from the ground up.

My second column in this series is “How to Build a Shrine to your Patron”.

The Starlit Path is a free magazine which can be downloaded here: Starlit Path Fall 2018

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Coming Soon: Handmade by Setjataset

Athenian Calendar 2018/19 (Southern Hemisphere)

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The best time to honor Hekate is the Deipnon and Noumenia.  With that said, every year I create an Athenian Calendar to calculate the Deipnon and Noumenia using the Southern Hemisphere New Moons, to ensure my devotions are on the right evenings from my location.  This is calculated by the start off point of the Summer Solstice in Greece of that particular year.

The Athenian Calendar also known as the Attic Calendar was a lunisolar calendar used during the classical period of Ancient Greece during the 4th and 5th Centuries BC.  It was exclusively used in Athens at the time and each month starts at the first sighting of the new moon, with the year beginning just after mid-summer.  It’s become a modern go to for practicing Hellenics and as such, what we use and have today is a reconstruction of what they used around 300-500 BC.  I have superimposed this Athenian Calendar over our modern Gregorian one, to loosely create a festival calendar of 12 months based on the cycle of the moon which starts at the beginning of the Athenian year – on the summer solstice in Athens. The names of the months reflect the gods and festivals honored at that time and have agricultural links to the planting or harvesting of food in the northern hemisphere.

Here is what the yearly Athenian Calendar basically looks like:

Summer (Θέρος)

1          Hekatombaion (Ἑκατομβαιών)           July/August

2          Metageitnion (Μεταγειτνιών)             August/September (named after Apollo)

3          Boedromion (Βοηδρομιών)                September/October

Autumn (Φθινόπωρον)

4          Pyanepsion (Πυανεψιών)                    October/November

5          Maimakterion (Μαιμακτηριών)          November/December (named after Zeus)

6          Poseideon (Ποσειδεών)                      December/January

Winter (Χεῖμα)

7          Gamelion (Γαμηλιών)                         January/February

8          Anthesterion (Ἀνθεστηριών)              February/March (named after the festival of Anthesteria)

9          Elaphebolion (Ἑλαφηβολιών)             March/April

Spring (Ἔαρ)

10        Mounichion (Μουνιχιών)                    April/May

11        Thargelion (Θαργηλιών)                     May/June

12        Skirophorion (Σκιροφοριών)              June/July

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Every month lasts for approximately 29-30 days in total.  Each month is broken up into 10 days of three which reflect the moon phases in the following order: Waxing, Full and Waning Moons.

Days 1 to 8 were all sacred to gods or spirit entities and the last day of the month, known as “hene kai nea” translated as “the old and the new”, is dedicate to Hekate as it’s her Deipnon along with the first day of the month, Noumenia which is also dedicated to Hekate.

Here are the details of those 8 sacred days in the Athenian Calendar month:

Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon)

Day 2: Agathos Daimon

Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

Day 29-30: Deipnon

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To get you all started with adapting the Athenian Calendar to the Gregorian one, here is the Athenian Calendar I created for 2018, calculated for Southern Hemisphere practitioners:

21 June 2018, 1.07pm = Summer Solstice in Greece (Winter Solstice in Australia 8.07pm)

Summer (Θέρος)

1          Hekatombaion (Ἑκατομβαιών) July/August

13 July                   Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon) 12.47pm – Super New Moon & Athenian New Year

14 July                   Day 2: Agathos Daimon

15 July                   Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

16 July                   Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

17 July                   Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

18 July                   Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

19 July                   Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

10 August              Day 29-30: Deipnon

 

2          Metageitnion (Μεταγειτνιών) August/September (named after Apollo)

11 August               Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon) 7.57pm – Super New Moon

12 August               Day 2: Agathos Daimon

13 August               Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

14 August               Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

15 August               Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

16 August               Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

17 August               Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

9 September           Day 29-30: Deipnon

 

3          Boedromion (Βοηδρομιών) September/October

10 September         Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon) 4.01am

11 September         Day 2: Agathos Daimon

12 September         Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

13 September         Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

14 September         Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

15 September         Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

16 September         Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

8 October                Day 29-30: Deipnon

 

Autumn (Φθινόπωρον)

4          Pyanepsion (Πυανεψιών) October/November

9 October               Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon) 2.46pm

10 October             Day 2: Agathos Daimon

11 October             Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

12 October             Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

13 October             Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

14 October             Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

15 October             Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

7 November           Day 29-30: Deipnon

 

5          Maimakterion (Μαιμακτηριών) November/December (named after Zeus)

8 November           Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon) 3.01am

9 November           Day 2: Agathos Daimon

10 November         Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

11 November         Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

12 November         Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

13 November         Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

14 November         Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

6 December            Day 29-30: Deipnon

 

6          Poseideon (Ποσειδεών) December/January

7 December           Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon) 6.20am

8 December           Day 2: Agathos Daimon

9 December           Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

10 December         Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

11 December         Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

12 December         Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

13 December         Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

5 January 2019      Day 29-30: Deipnon

 

(C) T. Georgitsis 2018

Starlit Path: Issue 2 Summer 2018: Walking with the Goddess, “How Hekate Became My Patron”

My new column Walking With the Goddess is series of regular articles building on devotional practice from the ground up.

My first column in this series is “How Hekate Became My Patron”.

The Starlit Path is a free magazine which can be downloaded here: Start Lit Path: Issue 2 Summer 2018

Starlit Path: Issue 1 Spring 2018 (The Purification of Autum: Ritual to Hestia)

Writing for a new magazine The Starlit Path and in this issue I talk about the Purification of Autumn to coincide with the Southern Hemisphere and how my Greek roots connect to that with a ritual to Hestia.

To get your free copy follow the link below:

Start Lit Path: Issue 1 Spring 2018

Hekate for Halloween

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Halloween is also celebrated as the witches new year and is the time when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest and therefore perfect for divination or contacting the dead.  Hekate’s connection to witches can be traced back to classical Greece where they worked with her for various incantations, spells and called upon her for assistance and blessings.

Hekate, the virgin titaness who prefers solitude, goddess of the sea, earth and sky, light bearer and revealer to those who seek, keeper of the crossroads who roams the cemeteries for lost souls, queen of magic and the night, key bearer who has access to the otherworld and can commune with those who have passed between the veils, goddess of ghosts and necromancy, patron of travellers who guides them to their destination.

Goddess of witchcraft, magic and ghosts – Hekate in my opinion exudes the energy of Halloween. During Halloween Hekate, the embodiment of death roams the earth and is therefore one of the most suitable gods to honour during this time.  Since Hekate is known as goddess of the dead, mistress of souls who can accompany the departed between the realm of the living and that of the dead, witches have naturally been drawn to call upon her during the festival of the dead: Halloween also known as Samhain.  Hekate can be called upon as an intermediary to connect you to your ancestors especially since our dearly departed tend to visit us during Halloween.  Also communing with the ancestors during this time can reveal future fate and Hekate can also be of assistance when divining.

Venerating the ancestors and Hekate during this time which also celebrates the last harvest ensures blessings and that fertility to the land is returned in spring.  The ancient Greeks would often leave offerings to Hekate in order for their crops not to fail and for her storm aspect to be pacified.  Considering winter is a time of storms and the earth lays dormant, getting Hekate on your good side with respects to these aspects is forward thinking.

I personally see that during Mabon (Autumn Equinox) is when Hekate, torches in hand, guides and protects Persephone as she descends into the underworld.  At Halloween, Hekate has returned from the Underworld with news from the dead, as she is one of the few gods who can traverse between all the worlds.

Constructing a dumb supper for Hekate and your ancestors is a wonderful way to honour them both by placing a plate of food that Hekate and your ancestors would appreciate then leaving it on a Hekate or ancestor altar, on a crossroads or on your doorsteps ensures they will take on the essence of the food offered.

Offerings to your ancestors can include food they enjoyed during life and offerings to Hekate that compliments Halloween includes apples, pomegranates, garlic, onion, wine, mead and mugwort tea.

Here is a simple ritual for Hekate, Halloween and your ancestors I have composed and used successfully in the past:

Prepare a dumb supper and place in the NW of your circle or on the left of your altar.

Create sacred space.

Light some incense preferably dragons blood, frankincense or livani (which is found at Greek continental shops and I prefer the rose scented type).

Have a candle placed in the middle of your altar before an image of Hekate in red or black so your deceased loved ones can make their way to you whilst invoking a hymn to Hekate (I prefer the Orphic Hymn to Hekate).

Have a key (I prefer skeleton keys) and an image of a skull (I prefer to use crystal) on the left side of your alter.

Any forms of divination should be placed on your shrine which include, tarot cards, scrying bowl or mirror.

Begin the rite by lighting the spirit candle and evoke Hekate with the following Orphic hymn:

“Hekate Einodia, Trioditis, lovely dame, of earthly, watery, and celestial frame, sepulchral, in a saffron veil arrayed, pleased with dark ghosts that wander through the shade; Perseis, solitary goddess, hail! The world’s key-bearer, never doomed to fail; in stags rejoicing, huntress, nightly seen, and drawn by bulls, unconquerable queen; Leader, Nymphe, nurse, on mountains wandering, hear the suppliants who with holy rites thy power revere, and to the herdsman with a favouring mind draw near.”

 

Take the key and tap the top of the skull three times and repeat the following chant:

“Hekate we ask that you open the gates of Hades and allow our ancestors to traverse to us this night

Guide our loved ones who have passed over, to us with your wisdom and might

Bring our ancestors of old and new with you to share with us their gift of foresight

Great Goddess we seek to commune with them in the name of all that is light

Bless us for we pay homage to you and our departed ones in this very rite”

 

Commune with your ancestors and use your divination tools to see what the year has in store for you or ask any specific questions that you have.

Thank and farewell your ancestors and Hekate.

Close sacred space.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2010

Khalkeia Festival

On the 20th of October, the Hellenic Khalkeia festival is observed.

The Khalkeia is a festival celebrating and is devoted to Hephaistos, Athena Ergane and the Khalkeia (patrons of artisans).

This is an auspicious time to celebrate crafting and to make devotional crafts.

Offer meat and grain.

Here is a hymn to Hephaestus you can read out during your devotionals:

Homeric Hymn 20 To Hephaestus

 Sing, clear-voiced Muse, of Hephaestus famed for inventions.
With bright-eyed Athena he taught men glorious crafts throughout the world,
—men who before used to dwell in caves in the mountains like wild beasts.
But now that they have learned crafts through Hephaestus the famed worker,
easily they live a peaceful life in their own houses the whole year round.

Be gracious, Hephaestus, and grant me success and prosperity!

English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White

 

(C) T. Georgitsis 2017

We Are The Witches – A Poem

We are the ones who rise
We are the cursers
We are the crafters

We are the ones who heal
We are the charmers
We are the wise

We are the ones who dare
We are the quiet fury
We are the witches

(C) Image and Prose: T Georgitsis 2017