Hekate Devotion: Spring Equinox

The Spring Equinox also known as Ostara or the Vernal Equinox is the day which symbolically marks the first day of spring.  The day and night are of equal length and from this point onwards the days get longer as we head towards Beltane.  The Spring Equinox happens when the sun crosses the celestial equator moving – south in the southern hemisphere and north in the northern hemisphere, which causes the days to lengthen and the temperatures to go up.  Vernal itself means fresh or new like the spring and this time officially marks the time of spring. Ostara is derived from the German goddess Eostre who represents new beginnings in conjunction with spring.

This year in the Southern Hemisphere calendar it falls on Thursday the 23rdst of September at 5.20am. Gods such as Ostara/Eostre, The Green Man, Mother Earth/Gaia, Hekate, Persephone, Demeter, Osiris, Geb, Ver, Flora, Freya, Brigid, Jarylo/Yarylo/Iarilo/Gerovit, Eiar, Ba Jia Jiang, Ashanti, Saraswati, Cybele and Morityema all can be honoured during this time of year.

I have celebrated Spring with groups of people in various magickal settings and the one thing which I found linked them, was the coming together to celebrate the flourishing of the land.  Something which I have experienced often during this festival day is the acknowledgement of the bounty of the earth. 

One of the fondest memories I have during this time of year is celebrating the Spring Equinox through colouring eggs.  It’s something I learned from my mother who would prepare them for Greek Orthodox easter.  When I started observing the Spring Equinox I would make them in September to correlate with the southern hemisphere and would make them exactly like my mother did.  I did this by taking chicken eggs which had been wrapped in panty hose, keeping leaves or flowers in place to make a stencil of them appear on the eggs and using red Greek egg dye and vinegar to boil them. When they had cooled I would buff them with some olive oil to give them a nice shine.  Soon after my first few attempts I started to make eggs in elemental colours for the elemental quarters.  

In my coven and magickal groups thereafter we would occasionally make painted eggs which had been blown out from raw eggs and could be used as magickal symbols of spring.  We would also occasionally make floral or herbal wreaths to adorn ourselves with. 

As an avid herbalist during this time of year I notice that my garden is coming to life.  Plants, herbs and trees which have been dormant over the fallow period of the winter are blossoming, new shoots are being birthed or are regenerating. I like to acknowledge and thank my garden and the Devas of the land and its blessings by leaving herbs, trees or plants, offerings especially those who are decades old or have personal significance.  Such as a fennel plant which was planted by my mother and which is now decades old, plum trees which were part of the original farm which existed way before houses were built in the area, an aloe vera plant which was gifted to me by a coven sister in our youth, succulents gifted by an old friend who is no longer living in the country, a lemon/lime tree which my father created and planted which had stopped fruiting until recent years and a lemon tree I planted which was dying and which has regenerated recently.  Of course I adore and respect all the trees, plants and herbs I haven’t mentioned especially since they bring in local birds, insects and bugs which help pollinate and sustain them due to my garden being biodynamic.

During this time of year I also tend to cook a lot especially with the locally sourced organic produce available and gift items such as bread and biscuits to loved ones.  I also tend to food craft for my patrons (specifically Hekate, A’set and Sekhmet) which I then offer upon their shrines and altars during their devotionals.  

I personally feel that Hekate resonates with this time of the year.  Persephone has come back to her mother Demeter with the guidance and aid of Hekate, after being trapped with Hades during the dark part of the year when the earth lay dormant.  The earth is waking up due to Demeter’s great joy in being reunited with her daughter Persephone.  What this signifies from my perspective is that Hekate can be the enabling force for us to come out of and move on from of the dark and fallow experiences we have endured.  Now we can move onto new beginnings, opportunities and illuminate that which we should focus on to bring the blessings we want and need in our lives. 

Hekate can be a guiding force for change and movement.  Hekate can help us tap into the potential of this time as she lights up way which allows us to take a more beneficial path on the crossroads we might find ourselves at.  She encourages us to take the first step towards renewal and rebirth and the promise of new beginnings.  Hekate encourages us to engage in this movement onwards and upwards and use it for the power it contains – the promise of shedding the old and embracing the new and the power (internal and external) it contains.

I personally like to honour Hekate during this time and make offerings of  eggs, herbs (mint, sage, iron wort, lavender, wormwood etc – herbs of hers which are growing now), seeds (for planting), lavender flowers, sage flowers, saffron, corn flowers, edible flowers (violet, chive, clover, lilac etc) breadapples, pomegranates, dandelions, wine, grape juice, honey infused tea/milk and substitutes such as oat or almond milk, onions, black garlic, grains such as barley, wheat husks, pomegranate cakes, cheese, legumes, beans and meat (lamb, rabbit and goat).

Vegetables such as beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, endive, leek, lettuce, onion, parsnip, pak choi, peas, radish, rocket, silverbeet, snow peas, spring onion, strawberry, corn and tomato.

Herbs such as chives, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, sage and thyme.

Flowers such as alyssum, asters, begonias, celostias, chrysanthemums, cinerarias, corn flowers, geraniums, petunias, daisies, carnations, lavender, marigolds, snapdragons, pansies, foxglove, sunflowers, gazanias, impatients and dahlias.

Some things you can do to honour and mark the Spring Equinox in your personal practice (or with a group of likeminded individuals) can be:

  1. Make food usually consumed during this time and partake or share with loved ones, as well as leave as offerings to your gods or gods of the season: meat (lamb/rabbit/goat) or legume and bean stews, egg dishes such as quiches or boiled coloured eggs, cheesecake, yogurt, cakes and anything which can be shared and is seasonal.
  2. Make coloured eggs or decorate wooden/ceramic eggs and leave them as offerings to the earth, seasonal God/dess or your patron/matron.
  3. Rituals, spells and magick for new beginnings, fertility, rebirth, renewal, new opportunities and endeavours (especially at dawn).
  4. Plant seeds for the future whether they be physical or metaphoric.
  5. Clean and refresh your home or ritual/magickal space ie spring clean through cleaning, decluttering and revamping.
  6. Rebirth rituals which can include taking devotional vows for a specific tradition or God/dess.
  7. Get up at sunrise and bask in the first light of the day in nature, whether you do so in your own backyard, local park or nature reserve.
  8. Feed your local wildlife appropriate offerings such as bird specific feed for your local natives.
  9. Take the day off if you can and spend the time in nature ie a picnic or hike.
  10. Light a fire (bonfire or fireplace) or candles to celebrate and honour the light of the sun during this time.
  11. Make wreaths from seasonal herbs and flowers to adorn yourself with.
  12. Craft some items which resonate with the season for you.
  13. Prick some flowers or treat yourself to some from a favourite florist to bring spring into your living area.
  14. Start a new hobby or lifestyle change (such as exercise) you have been wanting to or reconnect to.
  15. At dawn light candles to mark the passage of time from winter to spring and also to honour the Gods of this season (in gold, green, pink, yellow, blue and purple).

So work your magick this Spring Equinox, honour the dawn, nature and new beginnings and opportunities which are available to you and ask for what you want to blossom in your life.


(c) T. Georgitsis 2021

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