Noumenia also known as the New Moon is the first day of the lunar month in the Athenian Calender* and a time when the first sliver of the moon appears in the night sky, right after the Deipnon (Dark of the Moon).
Noumenia is the second day in a three day household celebration, which is held each month in the Hellenic tradition. Historically it was considered a time when religious observance occured at home, the temples and in public. This sacred day was celebrated with much frivolity and feasting and acknowledged the household gods. Even though technically Hekate’s day fell on the Deipnon she was also viewed as a deity whose domain covered the home.
Hekate’s Noumenia is a time to:
- Clean your home and decorate your shrine/altars with fresh flowers and herbs.
- Leave fresh food and drinks offerings on shrines/altars.
- Feasting in Her name.
When it comes to the devotional practice of Hekate, Noumenia is the time to leave fresh offerings after the old ones have been cleared away during the Deipnon rites – as a form of inviting her blessings.
2014 (C) T. Georgitsis
Some traditional offerings to leave out for Hekate’s Noumenia are:
Fresh meat, incense, barley, wine and cakes.
Some modern offerings to leave out for Hekate’s Noumenia are:
Incense, wine, cakes, bread, honey, barley, olive oil, cheese, salt, items from nature (shells, flowers, herbs, fruit, rocks/stones/crystals water from the ocean/river/lake) or magically created crafts such as art in her name.
Light follows darkness and so Noumenia comes after the Deipnon which is the darkest night of the month. This shows us that there is an ongoing dual nature of the universe and that one can’t survive without the other. As The Gods children, we celebrate our triumphant progression through life’s cycles of death and rebirth which we see emphasized through nature all around us and which we revel in during sacred days like the Noumenia.
Noumenia Shrine 2012 (C) T. Georgitsis
Traditional practice of Noumenia in Ancient Greece found in academia shows us that there was a public ritual on the Acropolis, whilst in Sparta food and drink were freely given to the populace by the King. In the common man’s home a family meal gathering was the focus and it included cleaning and decorating the household shrines with garlands of herbs and flowers. No other events or celebrations were held in Ancient Greece on this day, such was its significance that it needed to be focused on completely.
Current modern devotees practice similar to their counterparts in Ancient Greece. They make offerings upon their home shrine which can be in the same form as the ancients and include modern favourites such as cheese cake and honey bread. The Noumenia is also the perfect time to embark on new projects, trips, partnerships, work on goals and set new tasks.
I personally recommend you write your own Noumenia ritual ensuring it consists of the following basics:
- Procession to home or Hekate shrine.
- Purification through the use of khernips** on self, sacred/temple space and shrine and throwing pearl barley upon the sacred/temple space and shrine.
- Light the sacred flame (candle or oil lamp).
- Libation of purified water or wine with simple blessing or invitation to Hekate (traditionally and in modern practice Hestia is always offered water or wine first and last with an accompanying blessing/invocation in ritual).
- Offerings which include barley, wine, honey, olive oil, salt, bread, cheese, frankincense, myrrh, bay laurel and round cakes. The kathiskos can be placed upon the shrine at this time.
- Sing or read out hymns in honour of Hekate which you have written yourself or you resonate with.
- Libation of purified water or wine with thanks and farewell to Hekate and the same with Hestia which is done as a conclusion/ending of the rite.
Noumenia Shrine 2011 (C) T. Georgitsis
Noumenia is the perfect time to create or replenish a kathiskos*** with purified water, barley, olive oil and food remnants from the day’s meal. Here is a simple way to make one for your own practice.
How to make a Kathiskos for Hekate © T. Georgitsis 2014
- Glass jar with tight lid
- Offerings: purified water, pearl barley, salt, olive oil, wine and leftovers.
- Red, black or white ribbon, cord or embroidery thread.
- Key or coin which represents Hekate to you.
1. Ensure the glass jar is clean and dry.
2. Place the offerings in the jar in the following order: pearl barley, salt, olive oil, leftovers and then top up the rest of the jar with purified water.
3. Seal tightly with the lid – just as a heads up the contents of the kathiskos might spoil and rot before its thrown out during the Deipnon and replaced during the Noumenia, so be warned to ensure that you have sealed it tightly.
4. Tie a ribbon, cord or thread looped with a key or coin around the lid of the jar.
5. Place upon Hekate’s shrine.
Whatever you decide to do for Hekate during the Noumenia, ensure it is pure of heart and effort and that you do your best with what you have or can acquire.
* Also known as the Attic Calendar.
** Sacred water which is pure like from a sacred spring.
***Was traditionally made for Zeus and means “small bucket” in Greek. It’s a small sealed jar which is used to contain a portion of your home’s food prosperity to Deity.
(C) T. Georgitsis 2014 – Updated 2020