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

Isian News: Issue #181, Lughnasadh 2021

In the latest issue of Isian News by the Fellowship of Isis features my poem “Just Like Persephone”. For your FREE copy follow this link:

Image

A Poem: Just Like Persephone

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

Heliogenna Hellenic Festival

dandelion-1557110_1280-1

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.

greece-484041_1920

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

 

 

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

Sanctuary of Hekate’s Crossroads: Samhain 2014

This year for Samhain  I focused on honouring my Akhu.  I also retook some of my spiritual vows to enable me to re-focus my energy  with respects to my relationship with Deity and various magickal traditions I am part of.  I did this for various personal reasons and it was incredibly freeing whilst releasing the stagnant clutter and opening up doors to new possibilities…

10313437_10152885960359762_8788092274958997015_n(c) T. Georgitsis 2014

FOI Report: Lyceum of Heka – Dulce Domum Ritual in memory of Olivia Robertson

The Lyceum of Heka within the Fellowship of Isis, ran and facilitated by myself (Priestess Hierophant, Setjataset aka T. Georgitsis) hosted the Dulce Domum Ritual in memory of Olivia Robertson on Sunday, December the 1st at 3.30pm in Sandringham (SE Melbourne, Australia).

It was a warm day filled with dazzling sunshine as we met on the liminal beach cliff beneath the bandstand rotunda. We gathered in seclusion underneath the shade of a giant pine tree and set up the shrine upon the pine needled covered earth to enact the Dulce Domum ritual.

 Image

Upon the shrine I placed an image of Isis.  This was used to represent this wonderful Goddess who is the namesake of the Fellowship I have come to love due to Olivia Robertson being one of the founding members all those years ago. Around the image of Isis I had placed a heka infused ankh necklace I had made from carnelian and bronze.  The ankh is the symbol of ever lasting life and carnelian is identified as the setting sun and with the blood of Isis. Before the image of Isis, a candle was placed atop a holder in the shape of the Egyptian heart – Ib which houses thoughts, feelings and desires. Flanked on either side of the image of Isis, candles were placed in candle holders with engraved pictures of the dragonfly which is a totem symbolising transformation and adaptability.  Also upon the shrine was a handmade iron ankh which had been given to me as a gift previously by one of the attendees (Owen), which highlighted the symbology of the power of the ankh as the key of life. Other items used within the ritual such as my Bast handled sistra, glass chalice containing water, incense holder and several resin blends I had specially made for the ritual were also put upon the shrine.  The shrine was completed with an image of Olivia brought by one attendee who had taken the image during a trip to Olivia’s castle (Roxanne) as well as some lovely orchids left as an offering by another attendee (Cosette).

Image

All gathered had a role to play during the ritual – as priestess hierophant I enacted the role of Isis and Hermies, Osiris by P’Wolverine, Anubis by Owen, Persephone by Cosette and Mayet by Roxanne.

The background noise around us reduced to a hum as the invocation and oracle was enacted and the ritual was worked through by shedding the shadow, the fair haven, the spirit awakens, spirit communion and the committal aspects of said rite whilst making various offerings of incense, candles being lit and sistrum shaking with accompanies prayers by all attendees gathered.

After the rite was completed and we wished Olivia’s spirit a safe journey to the Summerland, a few of us shared some personal stories we had before retiring to the pub for some more libations and agape in Olivia’s name.

December 2013, Setjataset (T. Georgitsis)

Image