# Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Several members of Hellenic Spirit participated in the Summer Solstice observation convened by Thyrsos, Greece.  This time, we conducted rituals at our individual homes rather than as a group, honouring Eos (Dawn), Ilios (Sun) and Apollo.

Photos from at least one ritual can be seen below. Click on each photo to see a larger version. To see the video assembled by Thyrsos from photos submitted by participants around the world, click here.

Χαίρε Ανίκητε Ήλιε!

posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 7:40:27 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Sunday, June 19, 2011
About a dozen people took part in a ritual to Aphrodite on the morning of Saturday, June 18, at the Wiccanfest near Mansfield, Ontario.  This was a different kind of offering for both Wiccanfest as well as Hellenic Spirit.  For us, it was wonderful to be able to have an actual fire in which to burn offerings and wishes/prayers for Aphrodite as well as being able to pour our libations directly on the ground.  For Wiccanfest, it was the first time an all-Hellenic ritual has taken place. In the afternoon, three people joined Melissa and Spyros for a workshop on Hellenic Spirituality.  Wiccanfest is a five-day festival occurring annually at or near the Solstice in June.  Another event, Harvestfest, takes place the second weekend in October and Hellenic Spirit plans to have a presence there, as well.  It was a delightful experience for everyone, and the warm sun and cloudless sky didn't hurt!

Here are a few photos from preparations for the morning ritual, including a wide angle view of the ritual grounds.  To see a larger version of each photo, just click on it.

posted on Sunday, June 19, 2011 7:51:52 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Monday, June 13, 2011

Beginning at sundown on Thursday the 2nd of June 2011, we celebrate the new month of Skirophorion which is the Twelfth month of the ancient Athenian calendar, a month in which all old business is concluded for the year.

Important festivals during this month in ancient times include:

  • The Arrephoria -  On the 3rd of Skirophorion (sundown on the 4th until sundown on 5th June 2011), a festival that marked the end of the years’ service as priestesses of Athena of the City of two young girls, the Arrephoroi, and the beginning of the annual term of a new pair of Arrephoroi.   The festival may have commemorated Cecrops' two daughters who fell from the Acropolis, Erse and Pandroso—both named for dew (or tender growth).  In any case, Arrephoia is a ritual for fertility and is part of the agricultural cycle.  It is more obviously the beginning of the process that winds up the old year before the New Year commences, since in Athens nothing was carried over from one year to the next.  On this day, we begin to finish unfinished projects and to clear away debris and what is no longer needed, to make room for the new.
  • The Skira - On 12 Skirophorion (sundown on the 13th until sundown on 14th June 2011), the Skira or Skirophoria was celebrated by Athenian women.  This was the month of the final harvest of the grain and the three day Skira was another major agricultural festival.  In the procession from the Acropolis at Athens to Skiron, a precinct on the road to Eleusis near a sanctuary dedicated to Athena Skiras, large white sunshades or parasols (skiron) were held over the heads of the priestess of Athena Skiras and the priests of Poseidon and Helios and carried by the priest of Erechtheus.  At Skiron, which was also dedicated to Demeter and Kore, the priests and priestesses conducted rituals pertaining to the fertility of the crops.  As Plutarch mentions that one of the three “sacred plowings” of the Athenians took place at this time, the Skiraphorion likely entailed thanksgiving for the harvest and blessings for the harvest to come. 
  • The Bouphonia and Dipolieia - On 14 Skirophorion (sundown on the 15th-16th June 2011) was a festival held in honor of Zeus Polieus (Di = Zeus, polieus = of the city).  Its other name Bouphonia (ox murdering), involved the slaying of an ox for the desecration of the altar on Zeus on the Acropolis, according to Pausanias. In the ritual, sacred grain is put out on an altar for a group of oxen, and the first ox to eat the grain is struck down with an ax.  The ox-slayer then flees, leaving the ax behind.  The ox is butchered and consumed in a sacrificial feast.  Afterwards, a trial is held for its murder with the blame passed from one party into another until finally, it rests on the ax, which is then thrown into the sea.  The Dipolieia, a festival of Zeus Polieus (Zeus of the City), was held at that time.

Note that, as a proto-demos of Hellenion, we also include on our calendar a small libation to Zeus on Saturday, June 11.

posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 6:37:20 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]
# Wednesday, June 08, 2011
A small ritual to Athena was held in the backyard of one of our members.  About a dozen people took part and the weather was wonderful!  In addition to offerings of honey cakes, incense and hymns, we offered our personal prayers.  We also took the time to anoint Melissa's bike as she is about to take part in the Ride to Conquer Cancer on June 11-12 and this will surely become an annual tradition for bikes and other important items.  The ritual was followed by a feast in the outdoors.

See photos below.  More photos are available by clicking on "read more." To see a larger version of the photo, click on it.  Photos are thanks to Melissa Gold and Marija Kuncaitis. 

posted on Wednesday, June 08, 2011 2:14:04 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #    Comments [0]