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

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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

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