Hekate Devotion: Samhain

 

Samhain also known as All Hallows Eve, Feast of the Dead and Halloween is the historically Gaelic festival and in a literal sense means summer’s end, marking just that – as it signifies the start of winter and the end of the harvest season.  It falls between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice and is a time when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest due to it being a liminal/threshold festival. In the 19th century it was suggested to be the “Celtic New Year” and in modern time this became the “Witches New Year”.  This year in the Southern Hemisphere calendar it falls on the 5th of May at 4.36pm. Gods such as Hekate, Hades, Persephone, Osiris, Crom Cruach, Cerridwen, Lilith, Kali, Ishtar, Persephone, Oya, Innana, Pamona, Cailleach, The Morrigan, Nephtys, Rhiannon, Herne, Anubis, Odin, Bran and Cernunnos can all be honoured during this time of year.

I have celebrated Samhain with groups of people in a religious, spiritual and mundane way both here in Australia and overseas.  The one thing which I found resonated with them all was the celebration of what has passed and honouring that which came before us.



One of the first memories I have during this time of year was when we were visiting my mother’s village on a small Aegean island of Greece, Lemnos (where its origins can be traced back to the Epipaleolithic Period) but its more commonly known for its (Mycenean Period) whose matriarchal line had lived on for centuries.  She took me to her family’s mausoleum which from the outside looked like a mini Parthenon with walls.  Once inside, the marble covered walls were lined and stacked from ceiling to floor with ledges crammed with skulls and bones.  My mother with arms outstretched swept over what I was taking in said in an echoing voice that these were my ancestors and I needed to honour them and that one day she would be amongst them and I needed to remember to pay my respects.

I personally like to honour my ancestors during this time by leaving offerings for them on their ancestor shrine I have been keeping and tending to for more years than I can count.  My mother was a very spiritual person and taught me to always tend to the ancestor shrine and light incense and leave offerings for them frequently.  During this time since its so close to Greek Easter I make and leave coloured eggs (usually red with patterns of leaves or flowers on them like I was taught using old panty hose and dried leaves/flowers) along with other items my blessed dead liked in life.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2013

I feel that Hekate resonates with this time of the year for various reasons.  This is a liminal time and this is Hekate’s domain as she can traverse the various realms (sky, earth, sea and underworld) as she easily navigates through the thresholds as well as being Goddess of the Underworld, Crossroads and Queen of the Dead and Lost Souls she can help guide.

I personally like to honour Hekate during this time and make offerings of apples, pomegranates, garlic, onions, bay leaves, mead, beer, wine, red meat such as lamb roast, wine, bread, barley, nuts, acorns, pumpkins, gourds, mushrooms, sage, nutmeg, mint, oregano, thyme, marigolds, lilies, chrysanthemums, mugwort, wormwood, dittany of crete, oak leaves, rosemary, corn, gingerbread, chestnuts and apple cider.

Since this tends to be near or after Greek easter I tend to make an apple tea cake and leave a token inside (usually a wrapped up gold coin) which I divide and serve and whomever gets the coin has the token of luck.  I also like to cook items for Hekate which resonate with familial recipes so I like to bake and offer Anastasia’s Spiral Pita and Greek Kourabiethes.

Some things you can do to honour and mark Samhain in your personal practice (or with a group of likeminded individuals) can be:
  1. Dumb suppers such as a place for them at your table or food left for them on a ancestor shrine/altar, doorstep, property boundary, gravestone or crossroads to your blessed dead such as ancestors or other loved ones who have passed over.
  2. Making offerings of appeasement to lost souls.
  3. Connect and communicate with the spirit world.
  4. Divination using various methods such as scrying (crystal, fire, mirror, black ink and water), reading such as tarot, runes, dice, I Ching and pendulum.
  5. Rituals and spells involving protective and cleansing properties for oneself or one’s property.
  6. Light a hearth fire either in a fire place, outside bonfire style or a simple small fire inside using a proof vessel on a shrine such as a cauldron, lamp or even a candle.
  7. Collect the last harvest from your garden – be it fruit, vegetables or herbs and flowers.
  8. Honouring the dual nature of life and death and accepting its beauty.  This includes honouring the darkness and the light as both are equally as important.
  9. Prepare food for the God/s you honour during this time and thank them for their gifts.
  10. Personally reflect on the last 12 months and take note of your accomplishments and failures and create a plan to continue with said accomplishments and rectify failures.
  11. Make a jack-o-lanturn from a pumpkin or gourd and place a candle inside it and when lit leave i (in safe) view of a windowsill or outside near your front door.
  12. Host a feast with family or friends which can include music and dancing.
  13. Create a shrine with images or items from your blessed dead and recite prayers and leave offerings in their name.

As is my style, I like to craft during this time of year making Hekate and ancestor beaded necklaces, anointing oils, and seasonal incense and candles.  With the necklaces, I make them using my mother’s agillete (knot magic or witches ladder) and then I bless and consecrate them in my yearly Samhain ritual which you can find here:

Hekate Magick: Samhain for her Witches

So work your magick this Samhain, honour those who came before you and reflect and contemplate on your journey thus far taking in and celebrating the ebb and flow of the seasons and of life itself.


(c) T. Georgitsis 2021

 

 

 

 

Hekate Devotion: Mabon/Autumn Equinox

 

Mabon or the Autumnal Equinox is the second harvest festival in the Southern Hemisphere calendar which is a vernal equinox meaning the hours of the day and night are approximately the same length. This year it falls on the 20th of March at 7.37pm. Mabon is named after the god of the same name in Welsh mythology but its a modern adaptation from the 1970’s.  Other gods such as Pamona, the Green Man, Bachus, Dionysus, Artemis, Carpo, Hestia, Persephone, Demeter and Hekate can all be honoured during this time of year.

My mother was a wildcrafter and I have very distinct memories of her taking me foraging during this time of year. We would forage for various herbs, plants, nuts and flowers.  The area I grew up in was surrounded by farmland and so there was a plethora of nature’s gifts to be found and used.  On occasion we would also take day trips to forage seasonally. 

I like to take long walks and see the changing of the leaves (yes I am one of those people) and I do this locally as well as around my beautiful state. I also go out foraging during this time of year and I have engaged in various foraging expeditions and would recommend the following books for those living in Melbourne/Victoria to assist you as you need to be VERY careful with what you collect and use (and if in doubt leave it be and don’t risk poisoning yourself):

  • The Weed Forager’s Handbook: A Guide to Edible and Medicinal Weeds in Australia by Adam Grubb and Annie Raser Rowland.

  • Wild Food Plants of Australia Paperback by Tim Low.

I feel that Demeter resonates with this time of the year.  This is the time when Demeter withdraws her creative powers from the earth as Persephone descends into the underworld. I also feel that Hekate also resonates with this time of year especially since its a liminal time – a day of equal day and night and Hekate’s ability to dwell within those times.

I personally like to honour Demeter as well as Hekate during this time and make offerings of wine, grapes, bread, grains: corn, oats and barley, nuts, acorns, apples, pomegranates, onions, poppies, mushrooms, dandelions, nettles, marrow, chickweed, black berries, oak leaves, vine leaves and herbal teas.

I like to cook with seasonal foods and for Hekate and Demeter I like to bake and offer Cheese Garlic and Thyme Bread , Garlic and Saffron Risotto  (I substitute the rice for barley and the butter for Nuttlex) and Apple Tea Cake (I substitute milk with soy/almond/oat milk and butter with Nuttlex)

Some things you can do to honour and mark the Mabon/Autumn Equinox can be:
  1. Rituals and spells involving balance within or outside of yourself such as removing an addiction and replacing it with a healthy lifestyle change.

  2. Rituals and spells involving mourning something lost – to be able to better accept this loss.

  3. Honouring the dual nature of life and accepting its beauty.  This includes honouring the darkness and the light  as both are equally as important.

  4. Prepare food for the God/s you honour during this time and thank them for their gifts.

  5. Cleanse and purify your home and garden.

  6. Gardening such as blessing and sowing autumnal seeds specific to your region and/or fertilising and turning the earth.

  7. Go foraging with friends (ensuring you are very careful and don’t collect anything poisonous or which has been sprayed with chemicals) or alternatively book a local guided wild forager tour (such as mushroom or herbs/plants) or go apple picking at a local orchard.

  8. Like Demeter go for a wander – take a long walk in the woods or somewhere where you feel close to the gods and spirits of your local land.

As is my style, I like to craft during this time of year making abundance pouches which I fill with various items which symbolises abundance to me, along with cleansing washes, blessing oils, and seasonal God/dess incense.

I would like to share with you a Hekate Incense I came up with which I love and resonates with this time of year and which I urge you to try your hand at making:

Hekate’s Autumnal Incense (C) T. Georgitsis

1 Part Dehydrated (or oven dried) Apple Peel

1 Part Dehydrated (or oven dried) Pomegranate Peel

1 Part Pine Resin

1-3 Sprinkle of Cinnamon (or crushed cinnamon stick).

Since I love to perform rituals to honour Hekate, I like to mark the date with a ritual in her name.  Here is a hymn I wrote to Demeter and Hekate for my devotional rites which I would also like to share with you:

Autumnal Hymn to Demeter and Hekate (C) T. Georgitsis

Great Goddess Demeter

I thank you for your bounty

You who separates the chaff from the grain

I pray to you so that my life be full of boons

Madam of the Sacred Law

Encourage and protect me as I work its mysteries

Great Goddess Hekate

I thank you for your guidance

You who perceives the cycles of life and death

I pray to you so that my life be full of blessings

Madam of Magick

Encourage and protect me as I walk its path 

 

So work your magick this equinox and engage in some activities which can bring you in closer connection to your Gods and the cycle of the earth.


(c) T. Georgitsis 2021

 

 

 

 

Proerosia Festival

On the 27th of September, the Hellenic Proerosia festival is observed.

The Proerosia is a festival of “first fruits” devoted to the time of plowing.

This is an auspicious time to honor Demeter.

Offer seeds, fruit, flowers and herbs.

Here is a hymn you can use in your devotionals:

Homeric Hymn to Demeter

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

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

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

Aside

An undine (also spelled ondine) is an elemental of water and the word itself is derived from the latin root “unda” which means wave.  Guardians of the west and ruled by the moon, the undine in the tarot is represented by the suit of cups. Like the ocean they come from, undines can be temperamental and have various emotional extremes from calm to ferocious.

I personally resonate with the water element even though I am predominately an air sign. I think this connection comes from my father’s influence as I spent lots of time near or in the ocean growing up.  My father was a deep sea diver, captained various vessels and was an avid fisherman who also served in the navy.  He taught me how to swim when I was 4 (by throwing me off a pier) and a few years later I reached the highest levels in my swim/dive class at school due to my fearless confidence.  Even after a close call with a shark (which could of taken my left hand) when I was 6 and nearly drowsing (due to a rip when I was deep sea swimming) when I was 16, nothing has put off my obsession with the ocean.  I have always felt like I was being taken care of and protected by the elementals of water and developed a fascination with mermaids and later on sirens.

800px-WATERHOUSE_-_Ulises_y_las_Sirenas_(National_Gallery_of_Victoria,_Melbourne,_1891._Óleo_sobre_lienzo,_100.6_x_202_cm)

(Odysseus and the Sirens by John William Waterhouse)

I have had a thing for Sirens ever since I first visited my maternal grandmother’s home island of Lemnos and learned about their mythology from the Ancient Greek point of view. There was more to their myth than trying to lure Odysseus and his crewmen with their song to their watery deaths by crashing their vessel against the rocky shoreline.  They were known to have beautiful voices which lured people (predominately male mariners) into the depths of the sea where they resided.  However some of the locals I spoke to during my last trip to Lemnos insist it wasnt the sirens voices but the words they used which was so poetically entrancing that it would seduce anyone anywhere.

(The Siren by John William Waterhouse)

In Lemnos at a place near my grandmothers home was a place called Kaviria (where the kavirian mysteries took place) and where according to local folklore legend, the Sirens reside. The siren is known as the handmaidens of Persephone and are part bird and part woman.  When Persephone was was taken by Hades, Demeter gave the sirens wings to search for her.  Demeter then cursed the sirens for not assisting when they witnessed Persephone’s abduction by Hades. Muse of the underworld, the siren was considered a very powerful creature whose image was used as a protective totem by the locals of Lemnos.  Where my grandmother’s house is located near the Kaviria in Lemnos (far east of the island) they have found many images of the siren buried under homes as a protection charm (see image below).

image
(image from http://odysseus.culture.gr)

 (c) T. Georgitsis 2014