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 

 

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Communicating with the Blessed Dead

Unknown to me at the time, I first started working with the blessed dead as a young child.  I call them the blessed dead because they have provided me with messages to aid the living, insight or knowledge applicable in life and guided me on my magickal and spiritual path.  The blessed dead is a term I use, as it’s a name used for our ancestors and deceased loved ones in the Kemetic tradition I am a follower of.

It all started in the middle of one night when I was woken up by a loud voice talking to me.  When I opened my eyes I was at first startled when I saw a tall middle aged man standing at the foot of my bed, but as I focused, I realised he was familiar to me and so I wasn’t afraid.  He was talking to me without moving his mouth, was slightly transparent and being so young I didn’t question this aspect.  I just accepted that he was there and didn’t want to hurt me as he just wanted me to pass on a message.

He was telling me that I needed to tell his brother that he was gone and that his brother needed to know he was ok and not to worry.  I got up and ran into my parents bedroom to tell them what this man had told me, but my mother thinking I had a bad dream, put me back into bed after bestowing upon me a blessing and protection prayer.  Some time later, I was woken again by this man who was adamant I pass on a message to his brother and that he wouldn’t leave until I’d done so.  Again I raced into my parents bedroom and this time when my mother tried to explain it was just a nightmare and everything was ok. I started to throw a tantrum because I wanted to be heard.  Whilst my mother was trying to calm me down I practically screamed out the message I had received which was that “John” was in my bedroom and wanted to tell his brother that he was dead but that he was ok and not to get sad.  My mother’s eye’s widened in a quizzical expression and she then asked what he looked like so I carefully described him.  When I was done my mother crossed herself and shot my father a worrying glance.  I started to cry in panic and she soothed me and put me back to bed whilst telling me everything was going to be fine and thanked me for passing on the message from John.

The next morning I found my father crying at the kitchen table and when I asked him why he was sad he told me that his brother John had died.  Uncle John was my father’s favourite brother and best friend who lived interstate and had suffered a stroke and died during the night.  I hugged my father and told him not to cry as Uncle John had visited and told me that he was ok. It did give my father comfort and solace.  Then in the following days when I attended the funeral with my parents I wasn’t shocked to see Uncle John lying in an open casket and was actually wondering why people gathered were upset since he told me himself, he was fine.  When I told this to my mother she explained to me that not everyone talked to people who had passed away and gently warned me not to repeat to anyone what had happened as they wouldn’t understand.  She also explained that some people in our family could talk to the dead in order to help those who were left behind with their grieving.  Since I had this gift she would teach me how to work with the blessed dead in a safe and helpful way.

That was the beginning of when I started working with the blessed dead and to this day I continue to work with them in one way or another.  I predominately work with my own blessed dead as they have guided me on my magical and spiritual path.  When I conduct healings and readings I receive messages for clients from their loved ones which I pass on.  I find that these messages along with descriptions of their loved ones are appreciated by the living as they help them to move on and accept they are no longer in physical form and we don’t need to worry about them.

Having lost both my parents before I turned 30, working with the blessed dead has allowed me to accept and let go of them with love in my heart as I am completely confident they are in a peaceful place.  I had been warned about both my parents passing before it occurred through dreams and other blessed dead who came to me to tell me and in both my parents cases it actually helped them move on.

Over the years I’ve delved deeper into Hellenic and Kemetic magickal and religious practices.  I have found this has added value not only to my personal life but also when dealing with the blessed dead.  My interest in Hellenic and Kemetic traditions stems from my ancestry and I was also drawn to it through the guidance of my spirit guide who happened to be an ancestor well versed in these traditions.

When I was introduced to the concept of Ancestor Veneration in the Kemetic tradition it felt very familiar.  This practice was something which I had always done in some way or another and it was refreshing to see others actively participating in the same practice in this day and age.  I came to learn that “Akhu” also known as the “Shining Ones” or “Blessed Dead” and are the spirits of our ancestors who became a star in the heavens in the body of Nuit.  Nuit is a sky goddess who is depicted as a naked woman covered in stars who arches over the earth.  She is also a goddess of death and swallowed and rebirth the stars and sun. As stars shine their light down upon us, they remind us that they are always with us and watching over us.  This brought me great comfort and resonated within me in a most profound way.

Venerating the Ancestors is a practice where you honour (instead of worship) your blessed dead so their Ka (soul) continues to be fed and therefore continuing to exist.  Through remembering and speaking their name and by leaving them offerings such as incense, water or things they enjoyed in life , it allows them to have the ability to intercede on our behalf and assist us in our lives.  Venerating the Ancestors shows how much you care for your blessed dead even though they are no longer in physical form in this earthly plain.  It allows us to thank them for being as our own existence is due to theirs.  When Venerating our Ancestors it allows them to bestow blessings and offer insight into our lives.  This is because it is believed that they stand in the Duat or underworld/land of the dead and can communicate to us or be go betweens to the Gods themselves if necessary.   All that is needed to Venerate the Ancestors is to acknowledge them in the form of prayers or offerings, this includes asking them for assistance and in return thanking them for their assistance when given.   Also it is worthy to note that you don’t have to be blood tied to your blessed dead as they can be a person you cared deeply for in life and want to remember them in death.

People in many cultures including Eastern, Native American, Greek and Egyptian have been known to Venerate their Ancestors for many thousands of years.  Originally it was part of everyday life for the common man to do this and in the modern day these practices have remained in one form or another.  This shows us that many acknowledge that honouring and/or working with the blessed dead gives them comfort or blessings and has a positive impact on us physically and psychologically.

I have an ancestor shrine which I maintain regularly and sits in a part of the house I frequently use to ensure my blessed dead are acknowledged as part of the family.  My shrine is an old desk I have covered with a star studded shrine cloth and I have placed various items on it which represent my ancestors and which symbolically feed their soul.  Some items on my ancestor shrine include personal possessions of my ancestors, photos of my ancestors, a book containing ancestor’s names and their stories, flowers, a libation bowl, a food offering plate, incense holder with incense and candles which are lit during the reciting of prayers.    It is important to note that food offerings are always disposed of in the garbage separately to the household trash and are not to be consumed.  Libations are left to evaporate or poured onto the earth outside.

((C) T. Georgitsis Akhu Shrine 2010)

 

I find an effective way to communicate with my blessed dead other than simply talking to them in shrine is by writing them a letter and reading it to them or leaving it on their shrine.  I have a personally amended a Kemetic prayer (A Hotep Di Nisut Prayer) with my own words at the end which has been framed and placed amongst photos of my blessed dead on my shrine which is recited frequently:

An offering which the King gives to Yinepu-Upon-His-Mountain and to Wesir, Lord of Abydos: a thousand of bread, a thousand of beer, a thousand of oil and alabaster and linen, a thousand of meat and fowl and all things good and pure that heaven gives, the earth produces and the inundation brings; for the ka of _______ ma’a heru.

Your names will live on forever, for you are the stars who watch over me “

If it wasn’t for my ancestors, my blessed dead, I wouldn’t be here and for that I am indebted.  I am a part of them and they will always be a part of me as I remind myself how much I love them through devotional veneration where I bestow offerings and prayers as a symbol of this love and remembrance.  In return they bless, assist me and remind me of where I came from.  Until I see my blessed dead when it is my time to cross over, I will continue to show them respect and be their messenger when needed.

By T. Georgitsis © 2011

This article was the opening piece from the book: Memento Mori – A Collection of Magickal and Mythological Perspectives on Death, Dying, Mortality & Beyond, Edited by Kim Huggens which can be purchased here:

Memento Mori Collection Mythological Perspectives

Dedication of a Home Shrine to Hekate

 

Like the Ancient Greeks, Anatolians and Romans, Hekate has always had a place in my home.  In times gone by, shrines to Hekate were placed above doorways to people’s homes, at the entries to cities, villages and towns as well as the roads traveled in between (predominately at a three way crossroads).  This was done as a way to supplicate Hekate’s connection as Queen of the Dead and Sorcery and to ensure the dwellers and travelers were protected from the restless dead and evil magick.  Offerings were made in these liminal places during the new moon to show devotion and request protection.

In modern times many Hellenic practitioners, witches, magicians and the like continue this tradition and create a shrine in her name.  The most ideal place to create a shrine in Hekate’s name is within the home, in a place of high volume of traffic, like the lounge room or near the front or back door of the home.  To create a basic shrine to Hekate ensure it contains an image representing her, a flame of some kind, sacred water, incense and offerings.  An example can be seen below which is my Sanctuary of Hekate’s Crossroads shrine in my home:

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It’s prudent to dedicate your shrine when creating it in honour of Hekate as is ensuring the shrine is kept in a state of clean and good repair. Making fresh offerings on Noumenia and cleaning shrines during the Deipnon is traditional and ensures it’s done on a regular basis. Here are some simple steps of how to dedicate a shrine to Hekate:

Dedication of a Shrine to Hekate

  1. Invocation of Hekate and light flame;
  2. Consecration of Water and Incense which is sprinkled over and through image of Hekate respectively;
  3. Offerings Made in Hekate’s name;
  4. Dedication of Purpose of Shrine ie working shrine in Hekate’s name: and
  5. Farewell and thanks to Hekate.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2010

Hekate Self Initiation

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One of the simplest rituals I have created and completed is a self-initiation and dedication to a deity.  Here is a ritual I wrote many moons ago for Hekate which you might find useful and which you can use as a guideline when writing your own ritual:

Hekate Self Initiation

Performed on Sunset/Sunrise in a liminal place.

Items Needed:

  • 1 black candle
  • 2 white candles
  • 1 lighter/matches
  • 2 coins
  • 2 keys
  • 1 glass of wine or grape juice
  • Moon cakes
  • 1 glass of water
  • Salt
  • Hekate incense or similar
  • Charcoal
  • Incense burner
  • Hekate oil or similar
  • Pad and pen

Preparation:

Clean the working space and neutralize energies.  This can be done by completing the LBRP, sweeping the space with a broom, clearing the temple with incense and khernips etc.

Ensure alter is set up with items needed.

Anoint the black candle with the Hekate oil.

Anoint self with Hekate oil between the brow.

Create Sacred Space

In any manner you are accustomed to.

Magickal Working

As a sign of devotion offer Hekate a coin, a white candle and a key.

(The coin can be given to a charity or left at a crossroads after the ritual, the white candle can be used when invoking Hekate and the key can be used when working with Hekate to unlock mysteries or connect to her).

Light the black candle and Invoke Hekate by reciting a prayer written in her name.

Make an offering to Hekate consisting of wine and moon cakes.

Speak to Hekate in your own words.  Tell Hekate that you are dedicating yourself to her service and let her know what you can offer her as her devotee.  Share with her where you are at in your life and what you feel is holding you back and what you want to achieve.  Ask Hekate for her blessings, guidance and help.  Remember to be clear and concise with your words.

After you have done this visualise Hekate unlocking a door and opening it before you, she hands you a key as you pass through the door and there you find a crossroad before you.  Hekate holds her arms up before her in witch pose and lights the appropriate path before you with her blazing torches.  Hekate hands you a torch and beckons you to walk along beside her as she guides you down the illuminated path.  Follow the illuminated path until you find the answer you seek. After you have found the answer you seek thank Hekate for her assistance and farewell her.  Record any insights or advice given.

Close Sacred Space

In any manner you are accustomed to similar to creating sacred space.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2010

 

Athenian Calendar

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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 2016, calculated for Southern Hemisphere practitioners:

21st of June 2016, 1.33 = Summer Solstice in Greece (Winter Solstice in Australia)

Summer (Θέρος)

1          Hekatombaion (Ἑκατομβαιών) July/August

4th of July                   Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon).

5th of July                   Day 2: Agathos Daimon

6th of July                   Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

7th of July                   Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

8th of July                   Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

9th of July                   Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

10th of July                 Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

4th of August               Day 29-30: Deipnon

 

2          Metageitnion (Μεταγειτνιών) August/September (named after Apollo)

5th of August               Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon).

6th of August               Day 2: Agathos Daimon

7th of August               Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

8th of August               Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

9th of August               Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

10th of August             Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

11th of August             Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

31st of August             Day 29-30: Deipnon

 

3          Boedromion (Βοηδρομιών) September/October

1st of September         Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon).

2nd of September        Day 2: Agathos Daimon

3rd of September         Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

4th of September         Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

5th of September         Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

6th of September         Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

7th of September        Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

30th of September      Day 29-30: Deipnon

 

Autumn (Φθινόπωρον)

4          Pyanepsion (Πυανεψιών) October/November

1st of October             Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon).

2nd of October                        Day 2: Agathos Daimon

3rd of October             Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

4th of October             Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

5th of October             Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

6th of October             Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

7th of October            Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

30th of October          Day 29-30: Deipnon

 

5          Maimakterion (Μαιμακτηριών) November/December (named after Zeus)

31st of October           Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon).

1st of November          Day 2: Agathos Daimon

2nd of November        Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

3rd of November         Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

4th of November         Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

5th of November         Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

6th of November         Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

28th of November       Day 29-30: Deipnon

 

6          Poseideon (Ποσειδεών) December/January

29th of November       Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon).

30th of November       Day 2: Agathos Daimon

1st of December          Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

2nd of December         Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

3rd of December         Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

4th of December          Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

5th of December          Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

29th of December        Day 29-30: Deipnon

 

(C) T. Georgitsis 2016

The Alternative Spirit (Issue 12): Regular Hekate Column – Hekate on the Shore

In this issue of of The Alternative Spirit Magazine, my regular Hekate column is on “Offerings of Hekate on the Shore” which also details a group ritual which can also be performed solitary on the beach.

You can purchase your copy here:

http://www.alternativespiritmagazine.com/


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Heliogenna Hellenic Festival

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At the end of the month on the 21st and 22nd December, to coincide with the solstice is a two day Heliogenna Festival.

The Heliogenna Festival is a *modern festival to honor the deities of the solstice.  The days are dedicated to the Gods: Helios, Selene, Eos, Hekate, Hades, Hermes, Protogonoi and Persephone.

Offerings of incense, a flame of some kind (candle/fire pit), prayers and libations, occur during Sunrise, Sunset and at Midnight.

This is an auspicious time to reflect over the past year and thank the gods for their blessings.

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Here is a hymn to Helios which you can use as an offering prayer at sunrise:

To Helios

And now, O Muse Calliope, daughter of Zeus, begin to sing of glowing Helios whom mild-eyed Euryphaessa, the far-shining one, bare to the Son of Earth and starry Heaven. For Hyperion wedded glorious Euryphaessa, [5] his own sister, who bare him lovely children, rosy-armed Eos and rich-tressed Selene and tireless Helios who is like the deathless gods. As he rides in his chariot, he shines upon men and deathless gods, and piercingly he gazes with his eyes [10] from his golden helmet. Bright rays beam dazzlingly from him, and his bright locks streaming from the temples of his head gracefully enclose his far-seen face: a rich, fine-spun garment glows upon his body and flutters in the wind: and stallions carry him. [15] Then, when he has stayed his golden-yoked chariot and horses, [15a] he rests there upon the highest point of heaven, until he marvelously drives them down again through heaven to Ocean.Hail to you, lord! Freely bestow on me substance that cheers the heart. And now that I have begun with you, I will celebrate the race of mortal men half-divine whose deeds the Muses have showed to mankind.

 – The Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White

 

*Taken from: hellenion.org
(C) T. Georgitsis 2016

 

 

Dumb Supper

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Although Samhain is celebrated in the Southern Hemisphere on the 1st of May, in the Northern Hemisphere its celebrated on the 31st of October, and some here chose to connect to those energies.  Therefore, I thought I would post something I wrote a few years back on Samhain and the practice of the Dumb Supper .

Samhain is also known as the last harvest.  It’s the time of year when the land’s fertility withdraws in preparation for the dormancy of winter.  Since Samhain is when the veil between the living world and that of the spirit world is the thinnest, I use this occasion to make offerings in the form of a Dumb Supper to my ancestors in thanks for the connections to my blood history.  Samhain is also a time of endings and beginnings for the witch, as its the start of the witch’s new year.   Along with ancestor veneration, acknowledging and honoring the Gods of this time – the turning of the seasonal wheel is also of importance.

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A Dumb Supper is a meal, which can include drink created in honor of the dead.  This supper cannot only be for your ancestors but also for friends who have passed or those whom you have a connection to and are no longer in the realm of the living.  Dumb Suppers are a time of silent remembrance so when offering a meal to them, it is traditional to commune with them silently or you can write a note to them and leave it with the meal.  Dumb Suppers can be offered in sacred space, like part of a Samhain ritual or they can be offered at a place at the set table of your Samhain meal you prepare (usually at the head of the table and served first).  Dumb Suppers can be covered in a shroud to symbolize its for the blessed dead, have a candle lit before it so its easy for them to find it on the astral, as well as saying a silent prayer in honor of them.

I like to create a Dumb Supper with things my blessed dead liked to eat in life. I personally include my supper as part of my Samhain ritual, which I use to communicate with them and thank them for their blessings of giving me life. Since candles were used to help spirits find their way home, I place a candle with images of my ancestors, a personal item of theirs and a plate consisting of their food in the North West of my cast circle.  I place a note I have written to them underneath the offering plate ensuring this plate is never used by the living (lest death take those who partake of it).  During my Samhain ritual I also burn the note of correspondence I wrote for them in a cauldron or fire pit so its released to the ether of spirit.

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Whatever you decide to create for your Dumb Supper, ensure you use what’s in season, and connect to the energies of Samhain.  Foodstuff in season can consisting of apples, pumpkins, corn, mushrooms, turnips, pomegranates, garlic, onions, potatoes, wine/mead, meat, nuts, within your meal offering for the ancestors.  Herbs which can be infused in your food and drink which resonate with the energies of Samhain are rosemary, mugwort, rue, tarragon, sage, wormwood, bay, nettle, mandrake, nutmeg, fennel (please note some of these herbs can be toxic with overuse or be incompatible with pregnant women so please refer to a material medica for further detailed information on the herbs you use).

If you would like some recipes check out my food blog:

https://madammagick.wordpress.com/recipes/

(c) T. Georgitsis 2014

Wyld Zine (Issue 2):

In this issue of of Wyld – A Journal of Magickal Art, I have written on magickal food crafting. You can get your free copy here:

Issue 2 – Wyld

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The Alternative Spirit (Issue 11): Regular Hekate Column – Ritual

In this issue of of The Alternative Spirit Magazine, I have written a piece on ritual and why do it accompanied by a step by step self-initiation ritual for Hekate I composed. You can purchase your copy here:

http://www.alternativespiritmagazine.com/


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