Plynteria Festival

On the 22st of May, the Hellenic Plynteria festival is observed.

The Plynteria is a festival in which the statue of Athena Polias who guards Athens is cleansed.

Women of the household of the Praxiergidai (the Athenian family tasked with the care of the statue of Athena Polias)  would take the image and remove the robes, jewelry, then wrap it for a formal procession to the sea at Phaleron, where it was purified by sea water.  At sundown the statue was taken by a torch lit formal procession back to the temple and re-adorned with clean robes and jewelry.

This is considered an importune time and considered quite unlucky so Athena’s temple was closed and so its a good time to clean and revamp Athena’s shrines/altars/tools.

Offer figs or cakes containing figs to Athena.

(C) T. Georgitsis

 

Kallynteria Festival

On the 21st of May, the Hellenic Kallynteria festival is observed.

The Kallynteria is a festival in which the temple of Athena was swept out, her lamps refilled and lit by her Athenian priestesses.

This is an auspicious time to clean and reset up your shrines or working altars to the gods – specifically Athena.

Offer olive branches or olive oil.

(C) T. Georgitsis

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

Basic Hellenic Ritual

1475811_10152448752794762_1673674297_n

Basic Hellenic Ritual

Set up working shrine with the following: image of God/dess, knife, khernips, khernips bowl, offerings including: barley, flowers, grape juice/wine, blessing cups, libation vessel, olive oil, salt, bread, candle/lamp, incense, charcoal, incense burner, bay leaves and matches.

Purification

Wash your hands in the khernips which is placed in a bowl outside the sacred space.

At this point state, Let all that is profane be gone!

Take barley and throw the offering of cleansing upon the shrine and upon the sacred space and say,
Hekas hekas este o-bebeloi(Afar, Afar, O The/Ye Profane).

Procession

Form a formal procession and walk towards the sacred space carrying the offerings with you.

Present the offerings to the God/desses by holding them up in a gesture of offering and placing them on the shrine before forming a semi-circle around the shrine. You do not need to speak to do this but may say a few words as a statement of purpose if you are inspired.

Sprinkle khernips over offerings to purify them with the words “Xerniptosai (be purified).

Honoring God/s

Read out a hymn to Hestia (the first and foremost) and offer a libation in her name.

Read out hymn to specific God/dess and offer a libation in their name.

Offerings and Blessing Request

Present any offerings.

These can be in the form of items lifted up to the heavens, in the form of hymns or prayers you would like to read out, any petitions of askance, blessings or the like and lastly any jewelry or ritual tools may be consecrated using the khernips.

Pour a libation for God/dess.

Partake of the libations if so inclined.

Closing

Thank God/dess by saying:
“God/dess, in your name we gathered, thank you for your eternal illumination and blessings.”

Ritual is complete.

This is now when the “feasting” part of the ritual takes place ensuring that afterwards the shrine is disassembled and cleaned up.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2012

 

Rural Dionysia

dionysus-1483423_1920

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.

dionysus-172363_1920

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

With Lyre and Bow: A Devotional in Honor of Apollo

A new anthology dedicated to Apollo is here!

I have personally contributed some recipes to this devotional and its available for purchase right now through the Bibliotheca Alexandrina website on Createspace and will be available later on through Amazon and Barnes and Noble:

With Lyre and Bow: A Devotional in Honor of Apollo

 

wlab_frontcover