First and Last: A Devotional For Hestia

I have a hymn dedicated to Hestia in a new book released in her name!

Terence P Ward congrats on editing this great devotional.

To purchase your copy go here:

First and The Last: A Devotional For Hestia

 

Mabon

Mabon is also known as the Autumn Equinox and is considered a vernal equinox where the hours of day and night is roughly equal in number.  It is the second harvest festival in the wheel of the year seasonal calendar (in the wiccan and Celtic pagan traditions).

I like to work with Demeter during Mabon time and make her offerings of wine, grapes, bread, corn, nuts and apples.  I tend to use seasonal fruit and veggies as during this time they are in abundance.

Traditionally I like to perform a ritual to Demeter for the Autumn Equinox. Offerings of apples/pomegranates cut in half, wine, ears of corn and poppies on her shrine are made, as in the Greek pantheon she is the mother goddess of the harvest and the land.

I also like to bless seeds in her name which I plant during this time of the year such as:  lavender, marigold, cornflower, larkspur, burdock, spearmint, fox glove, borage, calendula, chamomile, coriander, sorrel, parsley, poppy, onion, thyme, chives, rosemary, peppermint, catnip, caraway, soapwort, wormwood, pennyroyal, hyssop, queen anne’s lace, chicory, marshmallow, nasturtium and dill.

Here is a hymn I wrote which you can use for Demeter during the Autumnal Equinox:

Hymn to Demeter at the Harvest

Goddess of the Bounty, Harvest and Grains,

Give us what we need to gather our gains.

Madam of Marriage and the Sacred Law,

Hope giver to followers of your mysterious awe.

Barley, Corn and Poppy Mother,

Giver of food and abundance of Gaia.

Dominatrix of the cycle of life and death,

We pray for our bounty to be full of life’s breath.

Motherly matron of food and blessings unbound,

Turn the earth, sow our seeds to harvest plough.

Giver of boons, fertile and quaff,

Separate the wheat from the chaff.

Great divine feminine light upon the earth,

I adore and honor you with mirth.

© T. Georgitsis 2017

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

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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

Dedication of a Home Shrine to Hekate

 

Like the Ancient Greeks, Anatolians and Romans, Hekate has always had a place in my home.  In times gone by, shrines to Hekate were placed above doorways to people’s homes, at the entries to cities, villages and towns as well as the roads traveled in between (predominately at a three way crossroads).  This was done as a way to supplicate Hekate’s connection as Queen of the Dead and Sorcery and to ensure the dwellers and travelers were protected from the restless dead and evil magick.  Offerings were made in these liminal places during the new moon to show devotion and request protection.

In modern times many Hellenic practitioners, witches, magicians and the like continue this tradition and create a shrine in her name.  The most ideal place to create a shrine in Hekate’s name is within the home, in a place of high volume of traffic, like the lounge room or near the front or back door of the home.  To create a basic shrine to Hekate ensure it contains an image representing her, a flame of some kind, sacred water, incense and offerings.  An example can be seen below which is my Sanctuary of Hekate’s Crossroads shrine in my home:

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It’s prudent to dedicate your shrine when creating it in honour of Hekate as is ensuring the shrine is kept in a state of clean and good repair. Making fresh offerings on Noumenia and cleaning shrines during the Deipnon is traditional and ensures it’s done on a regular basis. Here are some simple steps of how to dedicate a shrine to Hekate:

Dedication of a Shrine to Hekate

  1. Invocation of Hekate and light flame;
  2. Consecration of Water and Incense which is sprinkled over and through image of Hekate respectively;
  3. Offerings Made in Hekate’s name;
  4. Dedication of Purpose of Shrine ie working shrine in Hekate’s name: and
  5. Farewell and thanks to Hekate.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2010

Lenaia Festival

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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

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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

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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

Heliogenna Hellenic Festival

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At the end of the month on the 21st and 22nd December, to coincide with the solstice is a two day Heliogenna Festival.

The Heliogenna Festival is a *modern festival to honor the deities of the solstice.  The days are dedicated to the Gods: Helios, Selene, Eos, Hekate, Hades, Hermes, Protogonoi and Persephone.

Offerings of incense, a flame of some kind (candle/fire pit), prayers and libations, occur during Sunrise, Sunset and at Midnight.

This is an auspicious time to reflect over the past year and thank the gods for their blessings.

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Here is a hymn to Helios which you can use as an offering prayer at sunrise:

To Helios

And now, O Muse Calliope, daughter of Zeus, begin to sing of glowing Helios whom mild-eyed Euryphaessa, the far-shining one, bare to the Son of Earth and starry Heaven. For Hyperion wedded glorious Euryphaessa, [5] his own sister, who bare him lovely children, rosy-armed Eos and rich-tressed Selene and tireless Helios who is like the deathless gods. As he rides in his chariot, he shines upon men and deathless gods, and piercingly he gazes with his eyes [10] from his golden helmet. Bright rays beam dazzlingly from him, and his bright locks streaming from the temples of his head gracefully enclose his far-seen face: a rich, fine-spun garment glows upon his body and flutters in the wind: and stallions carry him. [15] Then, when he has stayed his golden-yoked chariot and horses, [15a] he rests there upon the highest point of heaven, until he marvelously drives them down again through heaven to Ocean.Hail to you, lord! Freely bestow on me substance that cheers the heart. And now that I have begun with you, I will celebrate the race of mortal men half-divine whose deeds the Muses have showed to mankind.

 – The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White

 

*Taken from: hellenion.org
(C) T. Georgitsis 2016

 

 

Rural Dionysia

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On December 10th, there is a Dionysian festival in the Hellenic calendar.

This Dionysian festival is called the “Rural Dionysia” and was celebrated in the rural areas of Ancient Greece.

As with many Hellenic celebrations, processions were held and in this instance with accompanying dancing and singing.

Festivities also included comedy productions and cheerful games which were enjoyed by all – even the slaves at the time.

Offerings of cake and symbols of phallus-es were made in honor of Dionysus before a representation of him.

This is an auspicious time to celebrate with merriment – dance, sing and amuse yourselves with comedy or games.

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Here is a hymn to Dionysus  which you can use as an offering prayer on this day whilst fumigating with some storax resin:

Orphic Hymn to Dionysus

Bacchus [Dionysos] I call, loud-sounding and divine, fanatic God, a two-fold shape is thine:
Thy various names and attributes I sing, O, first-born, thrice begotten, Bacchic king:
Rural, ineffable, two-form’d, obscure, two-horn’d, with ivy crown’d, euion, pure.
Bull-fac’d, and martial, bearer of the vine, endu’d with counsel prudent [Eubouleos] and divine:
Triennial, whom the leaves of vines adorn, of Jove [Zeus] and Proserpine [Persephoneia], occultly born.
Immortal dæmon, hear my suppliant voice, give me in blameless plenty to rejoice;
And listen gracious to my mystic pray’r, surrounded with thy choir of nurses fair.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2016