# Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Our next ritual will be a libation to Hera and Zeus on Sunday, January 15, starting at 6 pm at the usual private house in North York.  It will include socializing and the ritual and a pot luck afterwards. Please food to share.  For directions to the house, email Stephanie at stphgryyy at gmail dot com. 

posted on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 3:16:41 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [2]
# Friday, December 23, 2011
Over 20 people attended the Embolden Poseidon-Solstice Ritual in High Park last night.  Offerings were also given to Helios, Zeus, Apollo, Night and Hekate.  The event was enriched by Cassia incense from Israel that wafted from the tall incense burner created by our newly graduated blacksmith, Cat. (Congratulations, Cat!) Songs and prayers were offered in English, Modern Greek and Ancient Greek.  And, as is not surprising when one does ritual to a god of seas and rain, the precipitation arrived--but not until we had completed the ritual!

Blessings to all for 2012.  We look forward to see you all at next year's Solstice ritual and at our upcoming events (the next ritual to Zeus and Hera in January).

Here are some photos from the event.

posted on Friday, December 23, 2011 2:03:53 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Thursday, December 08, 2011
Our Solstice Celebrations--honouring Poseidon, Apollo and Dionysos--will be held on Thursday, December 22 at High Park.  Meet at 6:00 pm in the cafeteria for a warm drink and to socialize.  The ritual will commence at 7 pm in the Labyrinth near the restaurant.  We'll go celebrate at a restaurant (to be decided) afterwards.  Dress warmly and bring a small flashlight if you have one. This celebration coincides with the ancient festival of the Haloa and we also welcome Hekate with her new song. For more information, call Stephanie at 647-854-3811 or email at stphgryyy at gmail dot com. 

scene from last year's Solstice celebration
posted on Thursday, December 08, 2011 4:41:49 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Saturday, November 26, 2011

Beginning at sundown on Saturday the 26th of November 2011, is the Noumenia, the first day of the new month of Poseideon, which, as its name suggests, is devoted to Poseideon.

Poseidea – Beginning at sundown on Monday December 12,is the celebration of Poseidea, a festival in honor of Poseidon, giving the month its name and the god his due.  Little is known about this festival, it is presumed to have been celebrated on the 8th of the month, since that is the usual day established for honoring Poseidon but it could have been celebrated closer to the winter solstice. Some scholars suggest that this month, a time during which the Aegean Sea is most turbulent and restive, reflects the desire for the god to appease the troubled sea so that sailors can soon resume their journeys.

Heliogenna – Beginning at sundown on December 20, is the modern festival of Helliogenna. This festival is celebrated in three sections over 2 days.  The sections are: Sunset, Night, and Sunrise. Some people celebrate a nine-day version of this festival created by Hector Lugo.

Haloa – Beginning at sundown on Wednesday, December 21,(26 Poseideon) is the festival in honor of Demeter Haloa and Dionysos named after the halos (threshing floor). Although little is known about the specifics of this festival, we do know that it honoured Dionysos and Demeter and appears to have been a fertility rite.  It was celebrated with a feast likely held at Eleusis, with genitalia-shaped cakes, but without the foods forbidden in the Eleusinian Mysteries.  After the feast women danced around a giant phallus, leaving it offerings and engaged in ritual obscenity.  Men possibly held a separate festival honouring Poseidon.  This festival included offerings to Poseidon Phytalmios and Persephone.

Hekate's Deipnon - The next Hekate's Deipnon will be celebrated on the 30th of Poseideon beginning at sundown on the 26th of December.

Note that, as a proto-demos of Hellenion, we also include on our calendar a small libation to Dionysos on Saturday, December 10.

posted on Saturday, November 26, 2011 12:00:43 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, November 23, 2011
A small Ritual to Ares was held on Wednesday, November 23. 


posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 10:12:55 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Our Ares Ritual will be held Wednesday, November 23, starting at 7 pm, at the same house as the Harvest Ritual.  The location is a private house in North York near Sheppard and Bathurst.  RSVP to Stephanie (stphgryyy at gmail dot com) and request the address and directions or call 647-854-3811 for the address or more information.  Light refreshments will be served afterwards; bring finger food to share. This ritual includes a memorial to those who put their lives on the line for the rest of us.  You will have a chance to give honor to someone who has served our country or our community.

posted on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 10:00:57 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Beginning at sundown on Thursday the 27th of October, 2001, is the Noumenia or first day of the month of Maimakterion, a "violent" month, probably so called because this is the time of year when the seas become dangerous for sailing.

The Pompaia - In ancient Attica, on the tenth of Maimakterion (sundown on the 5th to sundown 6th of November), the Pompaia was held in honor of Zeus.  Purificatory offscourings were taken away in solemn procession.

Little seems to be known concerning this festival or the equally obscure festival Maimakteria.  Pompaia is thought to been a festival dedicated primarily to Zeus but as mention is made of a procession with a sheepskin considered to have some magical properties and a caduceus, a staff entwined with snakes, and some parts of Greece this month was referred to as the Hermaia, it would seem that Hermes also played a role in this festival.  It could be that the two symbols were considered to have the ability to turn away adverse forces of nature, such as bad weather and the malaise of short, cold days that arrive with this month.  Plutarch in The Life of Aristides mentions a libation and bull sacrifice to Zeus and Hermes and those who "have died for the freedom of Hellas" occurring on the 16th of the Maimakterion and it is possible that it is the same festival.

Note that, as a proto-demos of Hellenion, we also include on our calendar a small libation to Ares on Saturday, November 12.

posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 11:14:26 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, October 16, 2011
We held our Harvest Ritual honouring Demeter, Dionysos, Apollo and Athena on Saturday, November 15 at Melissa's house.  About 10 people of all ages took part in the ritual, which was followed by a festive meal including panspermia, a traditional bean dish, and other harvest treats. 

To see a larger version of each photo below, just click on it.  (Photos thanks to Krys Przybylska and Karen Wehrstein.)

posted on Sunday, October 16, 2011 11:34:57 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Friday, October 07, 2011
Our next event is our Harvest Celebration, incorporating elements of Pyanepsia and Oskhophora and the festival of Demeter, and it will be held on Saturday, October 15 starting at 3 pm. The location is a private house in North York near Sheppard and Bathurst.  RSVP to Stephanie (stphgryyy at gmail dot com) and request the address and directions.  This is a pot luck featuring vegetarian and dairy foods, so let Stephanie know what you're bringing. We will provide the panspermia (bean stew) that was traditionally eaten at the Pyanepsia.

posted on Friday, October 07, 2011 11:23:42 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Beginning at sundown on Wednesday the 28th of September 2011, we celebrate the month of Pyanepsion, which is the fourth month of the third year of the 697th Olympiad. The month is named for the festival of Pyanepsia, which refers to the bean dish eaten on that occasion.

Proerosia– 6th Pyanepsion (from sundown on the 3rd October). The Proerosia was held with great pomp in honour of Demeter and was held at Eleusis, site of the Great Mysteries. The Proerosia, though technically about the things to be done “before ploughing”, was actually a harvest festival, in which the main offering was from the “first fruits of the cereals”. The offerings to Demeter were made to invoke her blessing on the ploughing and seeding to come.

Pyanepsia – 7th Pyanepsion (from sundown on the 4th of October), the Pyanepsia was celebrated in honour of Apollon. The Pyanepsia festival derives its name from a stew of boiled beans and other leguminous vegetables. Pyanepsia refers to the mixture of beans boiled together by the crew of the ship and the youths who were brought back safely by Theseus. They put the mixture of beans, which was all they had left of their provisions, into a common pot and after making an offering of them to Apollon feasted upon the rest. It is also an offering that is ritually sown with prayers that the next harvest may be bountiful. At this feast the ancients also carried the “eiresione,” which is a bough of olive wreathed with wool, such as Theseus used at the time of his supplication, and laden with all sorts of fruit-offerings, to signify that scarcity was at an end.

Theseia – 8th Pyanepsion (from sundown on the 5th of October). The Theseia on the day following Pyanepsia and Oskhophoria the return of the (alleged) bones of Theseus to Athens from their original burial place on the island of Skyros, as ordained by the Delphic oracle. The Athenians created a temenos near the agora (and likely near the temple of Hephaistos) to re-inter the remains and instituted a festival in 475 BCE to honour the state hero. The observance became a major festival with a procession, athletic games and consumption of meat sacrifices. Another distinctive feature of this festival was the serving of athara, a special "pudding" made with milk. The eighth of the month is a day devoted to Poseidon, divine father of Theseus, and often to Theseus himself, hence it lent itself to an observance of such an important event as the return of the state hero’s remains.

Oschophoria - 8th Pyanepsion (from sundown on the 5th of October. The Oskhophoria was a separate ceremony held on the same day as the Pyanepsia honoured Dionysos and Athena Skira who protects the grape harvest.  The celebration consisted mainly of a procession from a now unknown temple of Dionysos to the temple of Athena Skiras (at Phaleron). Two young males dressed as women (relating again to the events from the legends of Theseus), carried vine branches with bunches of grapes (oskhoi) still attached (Plutarch, Theseus, XXIII, 2-3).  The herald accompanying the procession did not wear a garland, as is the custom, but attached it to his herald’s staff, because of the precedent set in the legend of Theseus.

Stenia – 9th Pyanepsion (from sundown on the 6th of October). The Stenia was celebrated, a women’s festival in honor of Demeter and Kore held at Eleusis and featuring a night banquet characterized by the trading of insults.  Sacrifice was also made to Demeter and Kore by the members of the Prytaneion at their own expense on behalf of the Demos.

Thesmophoria - 11-13th Pyanepsion (from sundown on the 8th through sundown on the 10th of October). The Thesmophoria, a major women’s festival, was a pan-Hellenic festival that in Athens lasted up to five days during the time of the fall planting. Scholars debate what the thesmoi were that were borne by the women leading the procession of all the women of Athens (except for maidens) up to the Thesmophorion, a site probably on the hillside of the Pnyx, where they encamped in huts and tents for three days apart from all men. Among other features of the festival, they celebrated without wearing wreaths and avoided foods that appear to relate to Demeter, such as pomegranate seeds that had fallen on the ground, for these, apparently, were deemed to be an offering to the Chthonic Deity.

Note that, as a proto-demos of Hellenion, we also include on our calendar a small libation to Poseidon on Saturday, October 8. 

posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 10:10:04 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]