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!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Xairete (rejoice),

This past Sunday the temple celebrated the annual games for Pan. Thank you to all who participated and attended the event. We were lucky enough to do both the ritual and the games outdoors this year which was a real treat. We set up the main altar out on my deck with a small table off to the side for the board games. The winner of the first game received a jar of honey blessed by Pan during the ritual. The offerings included keilbassa, Spanish rice, yogurt mixed with sunflower seeds, strawberries, and bananas, oatmeal bars covered with a chocolate-peanut butter frosting, sangria and pumpkin muffins.

In a couple of weeks we will be celebrating the Fall festival in honor of Demeter, Persephone, and Haides. There will be the usual ritual and pot-luck feast.

I'm also working on a revision of the different classes offered through the temple. There will be 4 classes offered with the basics of Hellenismos class being divided into two sections to enhance each class. The specifics should be available in the next few weeks when I have the curriculum outlined in more depth.

Kala Noumenia!

Xairete All,

So tonight is in honor of Hekate's Deipnon so I thought I'd post a little something about the ritual I did this evening.

I started by saying a prayer to Hestia and preparing a feast for Hekate and the Ancestors. I also prepared 4 taper candles for offerings. One of which was to be used for purification of the home. This candle was placed inside of a ceramic bowl filled with the last of the prepared khernips from the month. I offered the ancestors and Hekate a meal, asking that They clear away all of the stale energies in the house so that the new month will be open and free for new experiences and energies. Afterward I took the candle in the ceramic dish and brought it through the home visualizing the negative and stale energies in the house being pulled through the candle and into the khernips. I left the candle and water in the living room until it burned out and poured it out at a crossroads.

After this main part of the ritual I gave Hekate a can of soup to be donated to a homeless shelter and changed the water in the ancestors' dish, cleared away old offerings and sat in meditation before the shrine for a few minutes.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the new month and my hope is to spend some time at my main shrine tomorrow cleaning it a bit. I have a candle dedicated to Apollon Noumenios which I'll light and bring through the home asking for Apollon's blessing. I think I'll offer something special for a drink other than my usual water...probably something like peppermint tea.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Prayer

Oh Holy Apollon, who makes all things pure,
Apollon, bringer of light, healer and seer:
Bring healing to those who need healing,
Bring music to soothe the souls who need soothing,
Bring light over those who are blinded by darkness.

Great Zeus, God of the Rain and the Storms,
King of the Gods, Just and Righteous One,
Bring peace to lands in war
Bring balance to those in chaos
Inspire great leaders to be good and just.

Mighty Pan, God of Forest and Field,
God of Life, God of Animals, God of Hunters and Hunted,
Bless those who need to live freely
Keep safe and nurture those who need nurturing,
Reveal pathways to the inner self and inner knowledge.

Most Holy Patrons,
Gods of the Temple,
May it be thus.
Accept these written words
And look fondly on us.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Colors and Gods


While doing my Reiki III homework this morning and reading about the sixth chakra and colors it got me thinking about what colors mean in magic, healing and with the Hellenic Gods. I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on colors and what they mean with different Deities--I'm not going to be referring to ancient sources...just my own personal thoughts:

Red: Red, as all colors do, represents different things depending on what shade it appears in. It's the color of the first chakra, which means it is a color of grounding and re-centering. In this instance it symbolizes Hestia to me as it is through Her that we achieve a sense of stability and solidity in our homes, which then (hopefully) permeates into the other aspects of our lives. Red is also the color of blood, which physically and symbolically is our life force and therefore represents Gaia as the Goddess of creation and life. It also represents the blood shed on the battlefield and can be then used to represent or be an offering to Ares or Athena. Around the time of the Feast of Fear, red symbolizes Pan as the God of Panic and fear. To me, working with Pan in this instance encourages us to look deep into ourselves to confront our deepest animal instincts which make up the foundation of our core. Red is also the color of lust which again can be associated with Pan as well as Aphrodite. Pink, a variation of red and has always been the color of friendship and love in the romantic sense. It is in this case the color of Aphrodite in Her aspect of the Goddess of love.

Orange: Orange is the color of the second chakra which rules sexuality, creativity, desires, and encouragement. When I use these candles in magic, I also am calling for strength and power. Orange as the color of creativity speaks of Apollon as the God of the Arts. Because of its brightness it also speaks to me as a color of Helios. It is the color often associated with fire and therefore also conjures up images of Hestia and Hephaestos. In this instance, it represents the warmth of the fire which gives us strength and power.

Yellow: This color I have always connected with Apollon and Artemis. I read somewhere (not exactly sure which book) that it was associated with Artemis. To me this makes sense in Her aspect which is represented by the light of the moon or Apollon when He is represented as the sunlight. It is the color of the third chakra which is the chakra of manifestation which connects it therefore to Hermes, Hekate and any other deities involved in magical workings. Hermes is also associated with money and I have often used yellow as a substitute for gold in money workings/prayers. It is the color that I see in the light from a flashlight, which shines through the darkness showing pathways and helps us to become oriented. I am also reminded of the saying "all things come from Zeus" which places Him as the epitome of manifestation. He is also known as a God of Light.

Green: Green is the color of the fourth chakra which rules over relationships, love, vitality, balance, and unity. It refers to our connections with those around us. Therefore Deities which to me are connected with this color are Pan, Aphrodite, Asklepios, Apollon, Gaia, Themis, and Zeus. For Pan, I see light green as the color of His fields and dark green as the color of His forests. It is through the Earth that we find Pan's healing aspect as one of His blessings can be vitality. Aphrodite is as stated earlier the Goddess of love, and the Goddess who sprung from the sea. I have always pictured Her in visions decked with seaweed. She is also the Goddess of inner beauty and self love. As green is the color of relationships, I can also see it being connected with marriage and therefore can represent Hera. Murry Hope in "Practical Greek Magic" associates emerald green with Her. It is also the color of paper money, and can also bring images of Hermes as the God of commerce and luck. Green is also a color of healing and can be then associated with Apollon and Asklepios. It is also the color of the Oak tree and vitality connecting it with Zeus.

Blue: As the color of the ocean, I associate blue with Poseidon and Aphrodite (being born from the sea). I also see it as a color relating to Apollon as the God of Dolphins. It is also the color of the fifth chakra which rules communication, sound, telepathy and creativity. I see this particularly as dark blue as it reminds me of the void over which we all communicate either verbally, bodily or telepathically. It is here also where it can be connected to any Deity associated with divination such as Apollon, Zeus, Pan, and Hekate. As it rules sound, it can also be connected with Apollon, Dionysos, Athena, and the Muses as the Gods of Art and Creativity. Light blue is also the color of the sky, which I sometimes use to represent Zeus or all of the Olympian Gods (as They are said to dwell above the clouds). It is also one of the main colors of the Greek flag which to me draws images of Athens--Athena and Poseidon.

Indigo: This color, somewhere between purple and blue, is the color of the sixth chakra which is located just above the eyes. It is the color of sight, perception and intuition which to me automatically connects it to Apollon, Hekate, Hermes, and Artemis. It represents the world in between things which is connected to Zeus. As this world is also known as the unseen world, it reminds me of Demeter and Persephone as the Goddesses of the mysteries. I think that I would also burn candles of this color while in a period of mourning, as it represents the space between life and death which we are very close to when someone close to us passes on into the next world--whatever/wherever that may be.

Violet: Violet as I see it is the color of royalty which represents both Hera and Zeus. It is also the color of priesthood in Greek religion (priests often wear purple sashes) and therefore can represent spirituality and higher levels of existence/consciousness. It is the color of wine, which connects it to Dionysos (who is ironically the God of Enlightenment through the destroying of boundaries). Since priesthood was not connected with one specific God or Goddess, it makes sense that it would also represent all the Gods and Goddesses of the Greek Pantheon and even those beyond it. It is the color of the seventh chakra, which rules over consciousness, understanding, and information which connects it to Apollon and Athena (the Goddess of Wisdom).

The last two colors I think I'll write about are white and black. To me, these colors are directly related to one another. One is the presence of all colors (white) and the other the absence of all color (black). White has always symbolized purity to me as it repels negative energy. It is also in some cultures the color which represents death and it is the color of the cloth I have on my ancestor shrine for that reason. As a color of purity I see it as being connected with Apollon, Zeus, Athena, Artemis, and Hestia. I have also pictured Hera as being dressed in white as the Goddess of Marriage and also the clarity and sanctity of the marriage vows. Persephone I have seen connected with both white and black as She exists in both worlds. Black represents the sheep's skin of Zeus (Dion Kodion) which absorbs negative energy and miasma (impurity). The ancient Greeks associated it with death (see Robert Garland's "The Greek Way of Death") and I often use candles of this color upon my ancestor shrine and a color I connect with Haides. Hekate to me is both white and black as She moves between both worlds and is both the giver and remover of obstacles.

There are obviously many more colors and associations which the colors have with the Gods. To me, color correspondences and associations are rather subjective, as each person may have a different take on what they mean. I would encourage any Greek Polytheist or other Pagan (or really anyone at all for that matter) to do some research and meditations on their own to come up with their own associations. It's actually gotten me to think about the different aspects of the Gods and how they relate to each other which is a great way to get to know Them a bit better and to me, that makes it worth exploring.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hekate's Deipnon August 2010


This evening I will be performing the ritual for Hekate's Deipnon which honors Hekate and the Dead at the end of the lunar month. Tomorrow begins the official month of Therapeion for HTAZP and I'll be doing a ritual for that as well. I thought I'd post the prayer I'm going to use in the ritual for Her and my ancestors so that if anyone wanted to use it in their rites they could.

Holy Goddess Hekate,
Goddess of Doorways, Paths and Crossroads,
Triple Goddess who sees in all directions,
Psychopomp who guides souls and spirits:
Great Goddess, take away from this space (house)
All that is profane and impure.
May You and my Ancestors take it deep into
The underworld where it can be changed
Into something positive and loving
To be born anew as the new month begins.
Gracious and Powerful Goddess
I offer You this canned good
Which will be given to those in need
As it is Your suppers which feed
Those who wander lost and alone
In the world around us. 
Sacred Goddess,
Loving Ancestors,
Accept and delight in this offering,
And let my home be purified,
Ready for Hestia's fires to be 
Lit as the Noumenia arrives.

  I usually offer a canned good during this ritual as the prayer statues. It's my way of continuing the ancient tradition of Hekate's supper. The ancients left plates of food for Her at the crossroads which the homeless would take away and eat. Thus I see Hekate as a Goddess of those who protects the homeless. I also brought white flowers which I plan to offer to both Her and the dead this evening as well as offering some to the Gods of Noumenia (new moon) tomorrow.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mini-Ritual to Zeus


I thought I'd post the little mini ritual I'm doing tonight for Zeus to acknowledge the Thiasos Zeus weekly libation.

The altar is adorned with Zeus' libation bowl, incense burner and offering dish as well as a candle and oil diffuser for Hestia. Barley and khernips (pure water) are close by the ritual space. The music played in the space is set to thunderstorms. Offerings include amber incense and water.

1. Procession to the ritual space.
2. Washing of hands in khernips
3. Lighting Hestia's fire and bringing it to the altar:
Holy Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth, Home and Family
Bless the altar with Your sacred fire.
Receive this offering of a candle in my thanks.
4. The candles on the altar are lit, and the worshiper takes a handful of the barley. With hands held out, palms facing up, speak the following or similar prayer:
Great and Mighty Zeus,
God of the Heavens and King of the Gods,
Great Leader who is wise and just,
Gatherer of clouds who descends to
Gaia's green earth below in the shining bolt
And the clap of the thunder:
I thank You, Oh Zeus for Your gift of rain.
May You receive this incense and water with pleasure
And grant many blessings to Your worshipers. 
5. The barley is sprinkled upon the altar. The incense is lit and placed in the incense burner after being wafted over Hestia and Zeus' statues. A libation of water is poured into the oil diffuser with some sage oil as well as into Zeus' libation bowl. This is a time for meditation and more prayers or any magic to be performed if someone is so inclined.
6. After the incense has gone out, the candle is extinguished with a thank you prayer to Zeus and Hestia. A final libation is poured into Hestia's offering bowl.

I just thought I'd share that with everyone. 


Monday, August 2, 2010

Getting Things Started

Xairete (Rejoice)!

So I started this blog to go alongside with the Hellenic Temple of Apollon, Zeus and Pan website as I continued to do work with it. I'm going to post whenever I am able at first just to see if this gets going and if people follow it. May Hestia be honored with the first post on this blog and may the Muses and Apollon bless my hands as they type so that what I say is clear and eloquent!

So here goes!

Today I worked on a draft of a calendar which I'll post as a .pdf file to the web page every couple of months. The calendar will include all of the celebrations and events going on in the temple space as well as any outreach programs the temple does. I also borrowed an idea from the Temple of Hekate's Torch and other temples which include the Gods for each day of the month which are being honored with libations.  The daily deities were determined by the original days the Athenians honored the Gods (the Noumenia on the new moon for everyone; second for the Agathos Daimon, the third for Athena, the Fourth for Hermes and Aphrodite, etc) and then filled in the gaps with whatever seemed to make sense to me intuitively. I guess my main purpose for this was to build the space into less of a "once a week" worship space and make it to be used daily. I'm going to roll with it though...we'll see what happens.

At any rate, many of the libations will follow the same pattern I use during my daily devotions based on the different groups I belong to. Kyklos Apollon runs a ritual every Sunday so I'll do a libation for Apollon; Thiasos Zeus (although quiet as of late) at one point had a libation for Zeus on Thursdays, and Temenos Pan has a libation on Saturdays which I've been trying to observe as much as I can.

I've also been doing a lot of thinking on the Basics of Hellenismos class that seems to ever be going through various incarnations...I'm really enjoying teaching it in person this time. I feel like I've been able to pass along more information than I was able to before...and take some liberties as needed.

So anyway, I hope that everyone likes the new blog!

Hiereus Timotheos