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 email@example.com (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!