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

Bendideia Festival

On the 16th of May 2017, the festival of Bendis is observed in the Hellenic calender.

The Bendideia is a festival honoring when the cult of Bendis was brought to Athens and the patron is the Thrakian goddess Bendis.

Identified with Artemis, Bendis shares several traits including that of huntress.

Historically the festival included a procession which began at daybreak in the Prytaneion and ended at the Peiraios sanctuary of Bendis, a torch held horse race and all night festival which included feasting also took place.

Offerings of wheat can be made to Bendis on this day.

(C) T. Georgitsis

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

Axis Mundi: Ancient Egyptian Aromatherapy

I have an article about Ancient Egyptian “Aromatherapy” in this issue called Fragrance of the Gods – check it out, its free!

Axis Mundi Autumn Issue 2017

 

Isis-Seshat 2017 Spring Issue: Kemetic Medicine

The latest issue of Isis Seshat (the magazine for the Fellowship of Isis and the like) has just come out and I have an article on Kemetic Medicine.

This special issue commemorates the 41st anniversary of the Fellowship of Isis, the centennial anniversary of Lady Olivia Robertson’s birth, and celebrates our relationships with Holy Powers in Holy Places. $5 a copy payments via PayPal at anna.applegate@yahoo.com.

Delphinia Festival

On the 3rd of April , the Hellenic Delphinia festival is observed.

The Delphinia is a festival originally dedicated to unmarried women and consisted of a procession where they held olive branches bound with white wool and its patrons are Apollo and Artemis.

This is an auspicious time to petition for protection and ask for boons to be granted.

Offer olive branches or olive oil.

Here is a hymn to Artemis which you can use as an offering prayer on the day:

To Artemis

I sing of Artemis, whose shafts are of gold, who cheers on the hounds, the pure maiden, shooter of stags, who delights in archery, own sister to Apollo with the golden sword. Over the shadowy hills and windy peaks she draws her golden bow, rejoicing in the chase, and sends out grievous shafts. The tops of the high mountains tremble and the tangled wood echoes awesomely with the outcry of beasts: earth quakes and the sea also where fishes shoal. But the goddess with a bold heart turns every way destroying the race of wild beasts: and when she is satisfied and has cheered her heart, this huntress who delights in arrows slackens her supple bow and goes to the great house of her dear brother Phoebus Apollo, to the rich land of  Delphi there to order the lovely dance of the Muses and Graces. There she hangs up her curved bow and her arrows, and heads and leads the dances, gracefully arrayed, while all they utter their heavenly voice, singing how neat-ankled Leto bare children supreme among the immortals both in thought and in deed.Hail to you, children of Zeus and rich-haired Leto! And now I will remember you and another song also.

  The Homeric Hymns Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White
(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

Asklepia Festival

asclepias


On the 7th of March 2017, the Hellenic Asklepia Festival is observed.

The Asklepia was the day dedicated to the god Asklepias.

Asklepias is the son of Apollo and is known as the Healer God in the Hellenic pantheon.

In 300BC the cult of Asclepius was popular among the Athenians and people wanting to be healed would travel to his temples, known as Asclepieion and would stay overnight within the temple.  The next day they would have their dreams divined wherein the priests would prescribe the cure to heal them.

This is an auspicious time to work on your dream divination and health.

 

Here is a hymn to Asklepias which you can use as an offering prayer on the day:

Homeric Hymn to Asclepius

“I BEGIN to sing of Asclepius, son of Apollo and healer of sicknesses.
In the Dotian plain fair Coronis, daughter of King Phlegyas,
bare him, a great joy to men, a soother of cruel pangs.

 And so hail to you, lord: in my song I make my prayer to thee!”


(C) T. Georgitsis 2017

Wiccan Circle Cast: Elphame Tradition

As an initiate of the Elphame wiccan tradition I was tasked with copying this from the coven’s BOS where all initiates were instructed to do the same.

I figured I would post this online, to be able to have a record of it publicly available since the lineage seems to have vanished or gone underground.

pentacle-1800976_1920

Elphame Wicca Circle Cast

Items Needed:

  • Candle holder and three candles – red, white and black.
  • Incense, charcoal blocks and incense holder.
  • Earth bowl and cakes.
  • Wine chalice and wine/juice.
  • Salt dish and salt.
  • Water chalice and water.

Cast circle.

Salt and water taken around circle.

Earth and water where thou art cast,

Let no evil powers last.

Work in complete accord with me

And as I do will it – so mote it be.

Incense taken around circle.

Creature of air and fire bright,

Do my bidding this very night.

On you this charge I lay,

No phantoms in thy presence stay.

Head my words to thee,

As I do will it-  so mote it be.

 

Spirit candle is now lit and raised up towards the sky whilst the following is repeated:

Be to me the fire of moon,

Be to me the fire of night,

Be to me the fire of joy,

Turning darkness into light!

 

The spirit candle is now carried to the East whilst raising the candle (and hand gestures by the others gathered) in unison with the following words:

As Above, So Below, As Within, So Without.

 

The spirit candle is now passed to other coven members while the above is repeated for the South, West and North quarters.

The Spirit candle is raised up towards the sky once more and the following is repeated:

By the Virgin waxing cold
By the Mother full and bold
By the Queen Hag silent and old
By the power of the moon, the one in three
I consecrate this circle – BLESSED BE!

All to commence magical working.

All to leave appropriate offering.

Cakes and Ale.

Farewell and thank God/dess.

Close Circle.

Agape.