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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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

Genesios Festival

On the 27th of August, the Hellenic festival of Genesios is observed.

This is a festival which is dedicated to the dead.

This is an auspicious time to honor your ancestors who have passed.  Visit their grave or memorials and remember the things they did in life.

Offerings which can be made during this time include water, incense, flowers, bay laurel, honey and milk.

Here is a prayer you can use to honor on this day which I wrote for my ancestors:

Imperishable Stars

Imperishable Stars

Never to rise nor set

Your luminous hearts fixed

Watching in abject silence

Epithets eternally emblazoned

Within and upon your earthly kin

Eternally through the promised premise

Incandescent in dogging darkness

(C) T. Georgitsis 2016

Niketeria Festival

On the 24th of August, the Hellenic Niketeria festival is observed.

The Niketeria is day dedicated to Nike the Goddess who embodies victory and is often seen as a personification of the Goddess Athena.

On this day Athena won the competition of naming the city Athens over Poseidon by creating the olive tree – the sign of peaceful prosperity.

This is an auspicious time to start putting into action some of your projects you wish to be victorious in.

Offer olive oil, olive branches, incense and fresh water.

Here is a hymn to Nike (33) by Orpheus you can use on the day to honour her:

“I call on the mighty Nike, the longing for mortality, 
Which only frees the dead from violent lusts 
And from the heavy position caused by mutual fears, 
Settle in disputes to gain their merits, 
Bring them the overwhelming, sweetest war fame of victory; 
For you have everything, and the great fame of every fighter lies [as]
a swelling sacrifice for the famous Nike, 

Hejze, blessed, come, trust the radiant face, 
bringing the end of all good deeds”


(C) T. Georgitsis

 

My Akhu: Not for Your Personal Use

 

One of my family akhu who is lovingly known as “Thea” has had more of a dominating presence of late (what’s new as she’s always been the dominant one when it comes to family akhu) and yesterday in shrine I got the distinct impression from her that she is waiting for me to put in writing the story of her life I have collated from various family members and those who knew her.  I feel this will honor her greatly as well as framing the large portrait of her, which I had made which needs to be placed on the wall backing my Akhu shrine.

Speaking of Thea, an old coven member of mine, who moved, years back, tried to call her to assist her with her personal crisis and all I can say is Thea was NOT impressed.  This old coven member said that she’s been trying to connect with Thea for the last couple of years and she’s not been able to.  Whilst the old coven member was telling me this over the phone in that instant I felt Thea’s presence come up behind me and I felt her say in Greek in quite an arrogant and pissed off way  “who is SHE for her to call favours from me – I don’t owe HER a thing” and the vibe I got from Thea was that she was really put out by being summoned by someone she has no connection to.

If you knew my Thea you knew NEVER to piss her off as not only was she quite a powerful magician in her day she had a wicked temper and was only loyal to her blood relations.  So I questioned this old coven member as to why she’s been calling to my Akhu, as after all she has her own and she’s not even practicing the kemetic or witchcraft path anymore. I was told that she needed help and didn’t know who else to call upon.  I suggested that she call upon her own Akhu and I had to delicately explain to my old coven member that Thea has been ignoring her and that her call for help will go unheard because she’s not bound to her in anyway and is not going to help her.

Thea has helped this old coven member before on one occasion but that is because I interceded and asked her to help them.  Also I feel Thea was annoyed with this old coven member because. 1. no one commands Thea 2.  Thea always takes payment for her services and 3.  Thea does what she pleases – even in the spirit world.

So moral of the story is – don’t use other people’s Akhu…its disrespectful and might actually annoy your ancestors!

(C) T. Georgitsis 2017

Kourotrophos Festival

On the 9th of August, the Hellenic Kourotrophos festival is observed.

The Kourotrophos is a festival which is dedicated to Hekate and Artemis.

This day is dedicated to these goddesses who protect women, children and childbirth.

Here is a simple prayer you can use to honour Hekate on this day:

“We pray that other guardians be always renewed, and that Artemis-Hekate watch over the childbirth of their women.”

 Aeschylus, Suppliant Women 674 ff (trans. Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) 

(C) T. Georgitsis 

 

Panathenaia Festival

From the 17th to 30th of July, the Hellenic Panathenaia festival is observed.

The Panathenaia is a festival which is dedicated to the city of Athens.

Historically celebrations included an all night service, a race involving torches (where only Athenians could participate) and a meal for all citizens paid for by the city containing meats.  This was the early beginnings of the Olympic games with the event being open to all Greeks every forth year around 566 BCE.

This is an auspicious time to honour Athena with food, drink (a communal meal), offerings (such as olive oil) and prayers.

Here is a prayer you can use to honour Athena on this day:

“To Athena

I begin to sing of Pallas Athena, the glorious goddess, bright-eyed, inventive, unbending of heart, pure virgin, saviour of cities, courageous, Tritogeneia. Wise Zeus himself bare her from his awful head, arrayed in warlike arms of flashing gold, and awe seized all the gods as they gazed. But Athena sprang quickly from the immortal head and stood before Zeus who holds the aegis, shaking a sharp spear: great  Olympus began to reel horribly at the might of the bright-eyed goddess, and earth round about cried fearfully, and the sea was moved and tossed with dark waves, while foam burst forth suddenly: the bright Son of Hyperion stopped his swift-footed horses a long while, until the maiden Pallas Athena had stripped the heavenly armour from her immortal shoulders. And wise Zeus was glad.

And so hail to you, daughter of Zeus who holds the aegis! Now I will remember you and another song as well.”

(C) T. Georgitsis