Saturday, April 23, 2011

The New Blog!

Xairete Everyone,

Long story short, I have switched everything over to a different blog due to transferring the blog updating responsibilities to Diane who has thankfully accepted my offer of running the newsletter/blog. The new blog name is Check it out!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

February-March News


So this past month has seen a few cool festivals. On February 13, 2011 the temple celebrated the annual Aphrodisia honoring Aphrodite and all Her forms. Traditionally this festival was held in ancient Athens around August, but with all of the hearts and candles and "love" paraphernalia being sold in the local stores for Valentines' Day it has seemed appropriate to celebrate Her in February. Hellenion, a US organization for Hellenic Polytheism celebrates Aphrodite with a libation on the second Saturday of the month, and many pagans posted offerings they had made on Facebook. Our celebration consisted of washing Aphrodite's statue with water mixed with rose petals, "Love-Healing" water, Aphrodite Oil (a blend of cypress and rose oil in a base of olive oil) and rose water. This was our main sacrifice and the water was given to Her through the washing of Her statue. We asked for many blessings to come our way and then celebrated with a feast of candy, cup-cakes, sweet and sour chicken, shrimp and much more. May Aphrodite grant those who honor Her many blessings.

The day after Aphrodisia, the Anthesteria took place, which was not exactly a celebration in the temple as the temple is closed during that festival. The reason for this is that on the third day of Anthesteria the dead are allowed to roam and visit their relatives. Because in Hellenismos the dead and the Olympians cannot mix, the temple is closed and worship focuses on the ancestors on this day of the Anthesteria. The other two days of Anthesteria involve the worship of Dionysos and His wife, Ariadne. I offered two bottles of wine to Dionysos and to the Dead (on the third day). On the second day, I offered a picture of Ariadne to Dionysos which I found online.

Next month we honor the Diasia, and for this event, which honors Zeus Meilikhios, we will be doing a teddy-bear drive. Zeus Meilikhios is very protective of children, and we will be donating teddy bears to Hasbro Children's hospital in honor of this aspect. The last week of March we will be celebrating the coming of Spring--a season I think everyone's been looking forward to! Offerings will be given to Gaia, Demeter, Persephone, Pan and Artemis with the change of the season.

May the blessings of Spring be upon us soon!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

January News and Updates

So we have now officially entered into the new year, and many exciting things are happening at the temple! New classes are going to be coming out soon offered both in an online form and in-person (individual and small group). I have also been doing some research on rites of passage and am working on incorporating it into the temple's spiritual services. I have been revisiting the concept of initiation and realized that it is not much different from any other rite of passage when traveling along a particular path. Although the ancients did not necessarily have an initiation rite to be able to practice the religion, a modern ritual to mark a person's embarkment on the Hellenismos journey can be a really powerful experience and while many would not call this an "initiation" per se, I think there are a great deal of similarities. As such I am going to be including a lesson on this in the new version of the Hellenismos 102 class (also called Hellenismos in Practice) which will be starting sessions in February or March.

This past month, we celebrated both the Dendraia, where we decorated Pan's sacred tree with ornaments and other such decorations and the Winter Solstice which observed a collection of religious celebrations including the Maimakteria/Pompaia where we received a cleansing and protection ritual from Zeus using the Dion Kodion (fleece of Zeus), the Haloa, a celebration of Demeter asking for abundance and fertility in the coming months (wherever we wish for there to be abundance in our lives), the Rural Dionysia for Dionysos which included an evening Athena's Home Novelties party and some cakes and chocolates in rather provocative shapes, and the Posideia honoring Poseidon.

In January we will soon be celebrating the Diogennia or birthday of Zeus on Sunday, January 16, 2011. We will be offering cakes, honey, miniature crowns, and candles. Oracles will be offered on this day for Zeus, and anyone who would wish to have one given can contact me at (I will only have a limited amount of time for oracular readings so it may take time for me to get them all done). We will also be celebrating the Theogamia or wedding feast of Zeus and Hera at the end of the month (January 30th), where we will be offering Them a wedding cake, apples and a chain made of wedding rings to adorn Their statues.

Hopefully everyone has had a great New Year and may the Gods bless everyone with a prosperous and healthy year to come!

Erosso (peace)

Friday, November 26, 2010

December News!

The season flies by so quickly! So much has happened since my last post. The Puanepsia/Oskhophoria rituals were a great success and the Panaia which followed a couple of weeks later was equally phenomenal. On November 7, we celebrated the Panaia (Pan's Birthday) with offerings of Retsina, lamb chili, phallic pasta with meatballs and alfredo sauce, a chocolate cake and Ouzo. Pan's life-size statue was put up (an annual tradition at HTAZP) and has been up for a week surveying the temple space.

Last Sunday, some of our group got together for an informal hang-out social gathering and played "Arkham Horror" a table-top role playing game along with some great food and all-around fun times. I'm hoping to do something like that once per month as groups need a little fellowship sometimes outside of rituals.

Also last Sunday, the Hellenismos for Beginners class started up again. This time I'm doing both an in-person and online version of the class to see how that works out. If all goes well, I might continue to offer both types of sessions so that more individuals can get involved.

Our next festival is the Dendraia in honor of Pan and His relationship with Pitys, the Nymph who turned herself into a Pine tree to escape His advances. Legend has it that Pan still loves her, which is why the pine tree is sacred to Him. HTAZP honors this with a modern festival of Dendraia where we decorate a pine tree in His and Pitys' honor and feast on keilbassa, rice, and other goodies.

May the blessings of the Gods be with everyone and may the Holiday season be filled with the grace of Hestia!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Puanepsia and Oskhophoria

Today we celebrate the Puanepsia and Oskhophoria honoring Apollon and Dionysos as harvest Gods. Both of these festivals originated in Ancient Athens and many modern Hellenics honor this as the time when the rulership of Delphi switches from Apollon to Dionysos as according to Myth, Apollon spends half of the year in Hyperborea. The celebration includes singing, dancing and the offerings of Panspermia (a stew of beans and legumes) and grapes to the two Gods. One of our temple participants brings an awesome lentil soup for the panspermia wwhich is always a looked forward to treat. In the oven is a loaf of cinnamon-sugar swirl bread filling the house with the spicy aroma of cinnamon and clove.

We shall also be making the eiresioni, a branch decorated with bay leaves, dried fruits, nuts, ribbons and wool which is hung over the door to bring good luck through the coming year. In ancient times, this branch was brought around the city of Athens by children who would ask for gifts in exchange for pieces of the branch, much like the tradition of trick-or-treating in America today.

In the ancient celebration of the Oskhophoria, the procession of grape vines was led by two men dressed as women to symbolize the androgynous nature of Dionysos. Some of us participating in the event this year have decided to dress in clothing of the opposite gender to honor this aspect of the festival. Dionysos is all about the blurring of boundaries and pushing them to the point where they break and it is through the destruction of these boundaries that we begin to understand ourselves and connect with the larger picture at the same time. All in all, it looks to be a great celebration!

Friday, September 24, 2010

September Musings


This week marked the Autumnal Equinox. All round us are signs of change. The days are now noticeably shorter, the leaves on the trees are turning beautiful shades of red, yellow and orange, and here in Rhode Island we are definitely feeling a change in the temperature. Heck, I've even started to think about space heaters for the temple! Change is definitely all around.

As part of my own spiritual practice, I attend yoga classes two times per week. My instructor and I were having a conversation on Tuesday all about how not just the seasonal changes of Fall being prominent, but that it seems that our lives and the lives of the people around us are experiencing a definite shift. Many things are coming to an end (or something new has jumped in) and it is sometimes a struggle to figure out exactly where the next path leads. Even some of the groups I am a part of are experiencing a shift. It seems like all things are a natural shift, but change is scary even so.

Autumn is a time to be thankful for all the experiences we've had in the past year. It is a time to be grateful to the Gods of Abundance (Whomever They are in peoples' spiritual traditions). In Greek Tradition, these Gods are Demeter, Persephone, Pan, and Dionysos. Apollon has connections with the harvest and His holiday Puanepsia is not too far in the future. Artemis even has a celebration of the Kharisteria which also is a ritual of thanksgiving. On Sunday, the Hellenic Temple of Apollon, Zeus and Pan will be celebrating the annual Fall Celebration in honor of Demeter, Persephone, and Haides with a feast, ritual and fellowship.

The most important thing to me about Fall is that we should acknowledge these changes which are going on all around us and inside us. It is helpful to remember that these changes are natural and normal and that asking the Gods' guidance in finding our way through the path can instill great courage and power in us. Let us give thanks for this harvest season! Let us thank the Gods for Their presence and all the great things They have brought to us!

Friday, September 17, 2010



So this past Sunday with a little help from my mother I redesigned the inside of the temple space in order to make it a little more organized and to focus the energies a bit more. The shrines are now the first thing that people will see when they enter the space, which is something I have been feeling drawn to doing for a while and on Sunday evening when I was reading about Greek temples in the past I was inspired to go ahead and do it.

In ancient times, the Greek temples were set up so that the first thing people saw when entering the temple was the cult statue. Rituals were not always performed inside the temple (at least not sacrifices) in fact this was very rare, but rather outside the temple space so that more people could gather around the altar, which stood a few feet from the temple doors. The God's statue could be seen through the doors of the temple so that the God was looking upon the ritual being performed in His/Her honor. (from the book The Complete Greek Temples by Tony Spawforth) This got me thinking of how the space could be adapted so that it would have this feel to it as well as refocus the energy a bit.

I also had an epiphany today while doing my daily devotions. I had been thinking about why making offerings to the ancestors prior to the beginning of rituals feels so appropriate and how it connects with Hestia and Her being honored first and last at every ceremony. Hestia is the Goddess of the home and family and honoring the ancestors is honoring the family, thus it is also honoring Her. I can see that honoring the dead either before and/or after the ceremony would seem appropriate. It also seems to help ground and center the ritual somewhat.

May everyone reading this have a great day and receive the Gods' blessings!