Below is a list of the official rituals and festival celebrations marked on the Neos Alexandria calendar. Members are not expected to celebrate them all. Rather, this list was compiled to aid members in devising their own ritual schedules. So, for example, if your patron Deity is Hermes, this festival and ritual list will help you keep track of the days when Hermes was celebrated in the ancient world — and when we can honor him now.
Additionally, some members (and friends) of Neos Alexandria have devised their own personal ritual celebrations, based on both the official calendar and their own needs and desires. Those are listed here. There are also two versions of the Weekly Neos Alexandria ritual: Version 1 by Melia Suez and Version 2 by Ariana Dawnhawk.
Abrasaxia (Date variable – whatever one considers to be their spiritual new years) Bring together representations of the elements of the universe (whether the more traditional 4 or 5 element systems, or just “fire and water,” etc.), honor each individually, and then combine them as you read or contemplate images of Abrasax/Abraxas and read or recite hymns, texts, or poetry to him (pre-written or improvised). Imagine him as timeless and unchanging, but also as the ever-changing and shifting spirit of the year, present in many different deities (Iao, Dionysos, Helios, Zeus, Hades, Poseidon) and yet distinct, behind, and transcending them. Call for the blessings of the Agathos Daimon on the changes of this year’s coming Abrasax/Aion. Contemplate the presence of the divine in the everyday, but also the transcendental and unitive nature of divinity behind all things and all the stars in the cosmos while chanting ABLANATHANALBA (for at one point, just before the big bang, everything in the universe WAS one). And when you’re done, throw a party, and re-enact the “big bang” all over again! [See Abrasax in The Pantheon.]
Adonia (9-10 Lōios) A popular festival largely observed by women. In Athens, women would plant gardens in broken pots and take them up onto the roofs of their houses. On the first day statues of Adonis were brought into the streets, which were laid out as corpses; all the rites customary at funerals, beating themselves and uttering lamentations, in imitation of the cries of Aphrodite for the death of her paramour. The second day was spent in merriment and feasting because Adonis was allowed to return to life, and spend half of the year with Aphrodite. [See Adonis in The Pantheon and Astalon’s article The Gift of Adonis.]
Anelisseia (6 August) “Unrolling of the Scrolls” A festival in honor of Hermes Logios and Thoth, the inventors of writing and scribes of the gods. Take a trip to a bookstore – if there are any books you want, buy them, regardless of how expensive or frivolous it may seem. Hold a symposium in honor of Hermes and Thoth – share wine, food and intellectual conversation among friends. Mark out passages from your favorite books and read and talk about them. Discuss wisdom, the power of speech, and the importance of philosophy. Perform divination, especially bibliomancy. If you aren’t already, start keeping a journal on this date of all the important spiritual events in your life. Each year go back and read through it on this date.
Anthesteria (11-13 Dystros) We know that at least the second day of Anthesteria, Khoes, was celebrated at Alexandria, and it is probable that the other two days Pithoegia and Khutroi were as well. Anthesteria – the greatest festival of Dionysos – is a complex and powerful event, celebrating the opening of the casks of new wine, fertility returning to the earth, an outburst of raw sensuality, and paradoxically it is also a time of great pollution when the temples are closed, the dead walk the earth once more, and must be placated and finally banished on the final day, which is also dedicated to Hermes Khthonios. (See Three Hymns for Anthesteria by Amanda Aremisia Forrester.)
Festival of Anubis Going Forth to Visit Every Necropolis (7 Mesore) On this day Anubis visits the places of the dead and so if you have a message you wish to communicate to them it is an appropriate time to ask him to convey it to them. [See Anubis in The Pantheon and Akhetnu’s Daily Ritual to Anubis.]
Adoration of Anubis Festival (10 Pakhons) Offerings are made to Anubis on this date and his image is carried in procession.
Festival of Anubis and Wepwawet Who Protect the Dead (23 Epiphi) Offerings are made to these two deities and their continued protection of one’s beloved deceased is sought.
Aphrodisia (4 Lōios) The image of Aphrodite is bathed and then adorned with silks and expensive perfumes; bouquets of flowers are laid in front of her and there is joyous feasting and dancing in her honor. [See Aphrodite in The Pantheon and Jeremy J Baer’s article The Goddess of Love, Beauty and Sexuality.]
Apokaluptia (12 Dios) “The Unvealing or Revelation of Zeus-Ammon” This festival is intended to commemorate two events 1) Zeus-Ammon reluctantly revealing his ram-horned shape to Herakles, as related by Herodotos, and 2) Alexander the Great’s consultation of the oracle of Ammon at Siwah. The image of Zeus-Ammon should be covered with a shroud. Preliminary offerings are made to Herakles and Alexander. Individuals may then leave offerings before the still-draped image of the god. Then all lights are extinguished and the image is unveiled in total silence. The participants are to sit for a while in contemplative silence before the manifest presence of Zeus Ammon, and then when the time is right candles may be lit around the image and oracles asked of the god. [See Poppaeus’ Ritual for Zeus-Ammon.]
Festival of Artemis Leukophryene (6 Artemisios) When Artemis made an epiphany at Maeander in Asia Minor the city was declared sacrosanct and a special Panhellenic festival, sponsored by all of the Hellenistic kings, but especially the Ptolemies who showed a special interest in the cult, was celebrated in honor of the goddess under the title of Leukophryene (“of white/shining face”). Hold moonlit processions and dances in her honor and give her amphiphontes (“shining both ways”) or special cakes with candles placed on or around them. [See Artemis in The Pantheon.]
Asklepieia (8 Xanthikos) Aelian reports that during the reign of Ptolemy II a giant serpent was found and brought to Alexandria: this was taken as an epiphany of Asklepios and a temple was built for him. Make offerings to the god of white wine, honey, and chicken. Wear white or gold clothing, and pray to him for health and healing. Avoid all unhealthy foods, and when you eat, do so sparingly and drink only pure water. Maintain purity as much as you can during the day – meaning no sex, alcohol, drugs, or tobacco; control your anger and stay away from anything that might interfere with a proper mindset. When you go to sleep at night, pray that the god visits you in your dreams, for incubation of this sort was practiced in his temples. [See Asklepios in The Pantheon and Amanda Aremisia Forrester’s article Asklepios the Physician.]
Festival of Bast (21-29 Tybi) According to Herodotos the festival of Bast was one of the largest and most extravagant festivals in the Egyptian calendar. People would travel by boat along the Nile and as women passed spectators on the shore they would lift up their skirts and flash them. There was great merry-making, dancing, music, feasting, and sex, and according to him more wine was drunk during this festival than during the whole rest of the year. Enjoy yourself and indulge in every form of sensual pleasure.
Festival of the Beautiful Reunion (21 Epiphi) A week-long festival in which Hathor sails from her temple in Dendera to visit her beloved Horus in Edfu. Their marriage causes the earth to be fruitful and produces the joyous child Ihy. Along the way Hathor’s barque stopped off to visit numerous other deities and was greeted by throngs of priests, dancers, musicians, and the faithful.
Berenikeia (5 Dios) In desperation at the possible loss of her husband Queen Berenike II vowed to cut off her hair and dedicate it to the gods if her beloved would be returned to her. Promptly the Syrian War ended and Ptolemy returned to her safely. In compliance with her vow Berenike cut off a lock of her hair and placed it in the temple of Arsinoe-Aphrodite. The next morning the lock of hair had vanished and shortly thereafter a new constellation was spotted in the heavens, and named after her. On this day cut off a lock of your own hair and dedicate it to the gods in honor of the triumphant power of love.
Besia (15 Payni) On this day celebrate Bes in his jubilant, fun-loving form through dance, feasting, drinking, mask-wearing, and playing board games. (A popular game from Pharaonic Egypt – comparable to our own chess – had opposing pieces, with one side represented by figures of Bes, the other with Anubis.) If possible include children in the fun and games, since Bes is a protector of the young. Ask his blessing over them, especially as they sleep at night. One can also perform oracular work on this day, since Bes maintained a prominent oracle at Abydos late into the Byzantine era.
Birthday of Hathor (12 Phaophi) Hold a lavish birthday feast in her honor, and spend the whole day thinking about her and reflecting on the stories told about her.
Birthday of Horus the Elder (2nd Epagomenal Day) Hold a lavish birthday feast in his honor, and spend the whole day thinking about him and reflecting on the stories told about him
Birthday of Horus the Son of Isis (5 Pharmouthi) Hold a lavish birthday feast in his honor, and spend the whole day thinking about him and reflecting on the stories told about him.
Birthday of Isis (4th Epagomenal Day) Hold a lavish birthday feast in her honor, and spend the whole day thinking about her and reflecting on the stories told about her. [See Jeremy J Baer’s article An Overview of Isis and The Case for Isis.]
Birthday of Nephthys (5th Epagomenal Day) Hold a lavish birthday feast in her honor, and spend the whole day thinking about her and reflecting on the stories told about her.
Birthday of Osiris (1st Epagomenal Day) Hold a lavish birthday feast in his honor, and spend the whole day thinking about him and reflecting on the stories told about him.
Birthday of Seth (3rd Epagomenal Day) Hold a lavish birthday feast in his honor, and spend the whole day thinking about him and reflecting on the stories told about him.
Birthday of Sobek (11 Mechier) Hold a lavish birthday feast in his honor, and spend the whole day thinking about him and reflecting on the stories told about him. (See A Prayer to Sobek on His Festival Day by Amanda Aremisia Forrester.)
Boukoklepteia (4 Daisios) “Cattle-rustling festival” A day of inversion to honour Hermes. Throughout the day participants will tell wild stories, exaggerate, lie, pretend, pull pranks on each other, and generally exist in a state of prolongued silliness. The day culminates in a feast to honour Hermes’ stealing of Apollon’s cattle and the clever way that he covered up the theft – in the form of a steak dinner to which the god is invited as guest of honour, including a special seat set up for him and his own meal. The myth of his cattle-rustling is either read (Homeric Hymn IV) or dramatically reenacted. Afterwards the participants engage in a boasting-game (kauchêsis). Each person starts off by reciting some accomplishment that they are proud of, and everyone else drinks to their skill. With each round the boasts grow wilder and bolder, leaving behind all probability until the participants are out-and-out lying. The winner is the person who can make the most improbable statement while keeping a straight face and not breaking into a fit of laughter.
Death of Alexander the Great (28 Daisios) A solemn day. Fast and wear black clothing. Offer libations and offerings to him in the manner befitting a heros and read accounts of his extraordinary life and death. A literary agon is held in his honor. [See Miguel Oliveira’s article A Brief History of Alexander the Great.]
Death of Antinous (28 October) A solemn occasion on which Antinous disappeared after being seen for the last time alive. Any images of Antinous in one’s home or on one’s altar should be covered on this day, not to be uncovered for another two days. Silent mourning should take place. Water in general should be avoided (since he drowned in the Nile), and those so inclined might either cut their hair or even shave most of it off in mourning. No prayers to Antinous or related figures (e.g. Hadrian) should take place on this day. The short liturgical drama “Hadrian and Antinous” might be performed/read on this occasion. [See Antinous in The Pantheon.]
Death of Osiris (17 Athyr) On this day, according to Plutarch, Osiris was slain by Seth. Take down your statue of Osiris and wrap it in a dark cloth representing death. Lock it away somewhere hidden: it must not be seen again until Isis finds him nineteen days from now. The god is dead, and with him are lost light, fertility, the joy of existence. Hold a vigil for the god over the next couple days: sleep and eat as little as possible; wear clothing associated with mourning, and avoid as best you can things such as personal grooming and the concerns of the everyday world.
Diasia (23 Dystros) The Diasia (from Deus = Zeus) is the principal festival for Zeus Meilikhios (The Kindly), who is Zeus in chthonic aspect, manifesting as a giant snake. On this day everyone makes bloodless offerings (thymata epikhoria) to Him, typically cakes in the shape of animals such as sheep or pigs, but also grain and fruit because He is responsible for the fertility of the soil and is often shown with a cornucopia. Since this is a festival of propitiation, the entire offering is burnt for the God. After that there is general feasting and gifts may be given to children (who are especially dear to chthonic deities). [See Jeremy J Baer’s article An Overview of Zeus.]
Alexandrian Dionysia (13 Artemisios) According to Plutarch Marcus Antonius and Kleopatra observed a festival during this month in honor of Dionysos modeled after the City Dionysia at Athens: there were dramatic competitions, games, and lavish sacrifices to the god. Make offerings to the god and then spend the day watching movies, either at home or at the cinema; attend the theater; or put on your own dramatic performance.
Dryad Nymphaia (27 Artemisios) For the nymphs of the trees and forests. Go to an appropriate wild spot, build a shrine (part of the fun is collecting nice things for their shrine for the weeks leading up to it), recite the Orphic Hymn to the Nymphs, make libations and offerings, and have a meal there with them.
Festival of Eating Onions for Bast (5 Pharmouthi) Although this festival is fairly well attested – and another similar one called ‘Chewing Onions for Re’ – no one is quite sure why or what was done on this date, aside from the obvious fact that onions were eaten for Bast. But it would seem appropriate to make offerings to the goddess on this date, especially if one cooked up a large feast with dishes heavy on the onions.
Epiphany of Aion (10 Tybi) Epiphanios of Eleutheroupolis records that on this date in Alexandria the birth of Aion from Kore was celebrated in her temple. It was a pannukhis or all night vigil in which the celebrants spent the night in singing and dancing before descending at dawn to a hidden chamber to witness the birth of the god in silence. [See Aion in The Pantheon.]
The Foundation of Alexandria (25 Tybi) The most important day on the calendar, the day when Alexander the Great founded Alexandria. Hold a lavish feast and make offerings to all of the gods, but most especially to Agathos Daimon, the patron of the city. Since Alexander marked out the lines of the city with barley meal, use this in your offerings, scattering a handful of it to the wind so that the blessings of the gods, once concentrated on this single spot, may spread throughout all the world.
Foundation Day (30 October) The date on which Antinous’ body was found, his holy city of Antinoopolis (near Hermopolis on the Nile in Egypt) was founded, and the activities of his cult first began. While tinged with sadness, this is a happy and glorious occasion, to be celebrated with great pomp and festivity. The liturgical drama “Foundation” can be read or performed; the re-deification of Antinous and re-foundation of his city should also symbolically take place.
Festival of Hathor-Isis (Winter Solstice) According to Plutarch on the Winter Solstice a cow was led seven times around the temple of Hathor-Isis in search of the sun, the number signifying the amount of months until its return at the Summer Solstice. Cakes were also made with an image of a cow’s head imprinted on them, and sacrifices were made in honor of Hathor-Isis, Horus, and Helios.
Hekate’s Deipnon (last day of each lunar month) Make a dinner of eggs, garlic, beans and other foods traditionally given to the dead and leave it for Hekate and her hosts at the nearest crossroads. This may also include any sweepings, things containing spiritual pollution, or stuff you just want to get rid of. Once you leave the crossroads, don’t look back!
Heliogenna (Begins 3 or 9 days before the Winter Solstice) A celebration of the birth, death, and rebirth of the sun. For more information, consult this page. [See Cara Schutz’ Two Day Version.)
Hermaia Eriounia (4 Audēnaios) Festival of Hermes as Luck-bringer – games, role-reversal, gambling. Sacrifices for good luck for the coming year. Marketplace oracle (kledon).
Hermaia Propulaia (4 Dios) “Before the gate” – a time of boundaries between life and death as we head into the winter months. A day of introspection when one searches out their soul and life for things that have become stagnant and outgrown, but which we cling to out of a longing for safety and security. Set up an offering embodying those things to him on the outskirts as well as a gift of mutton for Hermes and the spirits.
Festival of Hermanubis and the Dog-Days (25 July) On this day, usually at the beginning of the “dog days of summer” in the Northern Hemisphere, things have tended to start heating up, and will likewise continue for the next few weeks in many places. In recognition of the dogs Sirius and Maira, as well as Hermanubis, acknowledge these figures directly and ask for their blessings and aversion of their wrath; and also ask the blessings and propitiations of their masters, Mithras-Orion, Dionysos, Serapis, Isis, and Zeus, as Aristaios taught the people of Chios to do when besieged by the wrath of the dog-star’s heat; likewise, Herakles and his slaying of the Nemean Lion may have taken place in this time frame, so his help can also be sought. This is a good time to take stock of how one is protecting oneself in life, both literally and figuratively, but also a time to share forth one’s abundance and generosity with others. Drink lots of water, keep hydrated, and appreciate your own canine friends and companions on this day with walks and treats!
Hilaria (First day after the vernal equinox) The Romans celebrated the Hilaria Matris Deûm on this day in honour of Cybele, the mother of the gods. It seems it was their version of mother’s day only for the Mother of us all. With winter’s gloom passed away, spend today in rejoicing the warm season to come. Dance, laugh and have an uproariously good time doing something with those that you love. [See Melia Suez’ article Cybele and Castration.]
Festival of Inebriation (20 Thoth) This festival celebrates intoxication in all of its forms – both physical drunkenness and spiritual ecstasy. According to the myth Re had bowls of beer dyed red with ochre set out to pacify the rampaging goddess Sekhmet. She lapped them up, thinking them blood, and was instantly transformed into the beautiful and joyous Hathor. Spend the day enjoying the pleasures of life, drunkenness, and the transformative powers of ecstasy through music, dance, and ritual.
International Day of the Midwife (5 May) On this day, honor the midwife deities – Eileithyia, Artemis, Hekate and Bes – who watch over and guide women through pregnancy, birth and postpartum. If you are a mother, offer a prayer of thanks and some milk to the Deities. Sculpt a figure of a pregnant woman from clay or other natural material. Read a book on the (long and fascinating) history of midwifery, such as “Woman as Healer” by Jeanne Achterberg, “A Midwife’s Tale” by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, or “The Midwife’s Apprentice” by Katherine Cushman. Make a donation to a midwife organization or school, particularly one which operates in areas with few doctors, such as the International Confederation of Midwives.
Isidis Navigium (5-6 March) The grandest festival of Isis in the Roman Empire. It honored her as patroness of ships and travel and Apuleius describes the huge procession in her honor. [See Jeremy J Baer’s article Navigium Isidis and Amanda Aremisia Forrester’s short ritual Isidis Navigium.]
Isis Rejoices at Finding Osiris (25 Choiak) After nineteen days, Isis has found Osiris! It is a joyous day. If you live near a river go to its banks and perform the rite there. Take earth or mud and moisten it with water. Shape it into the form of a crescent, mix in oils, spices, and costly aromatic perfumes and set this on a bed of silk. Pour out libations and make offerings to this image of the god. When you return home, unveil your statue of Osiris and set him up in his shrine. Celebrate joyously his finding with dances and exuberant shouts. [See Jeremy J Baer’s article Inventio Osiridis.]
Katallageia (5-6 Audēnaios) “Reconciliation” This festival celebrates the resolution of the antagonism between Hephaistos and his mother Hera. On the first day Hephaistos is banished from Olympos. His image is concealed and all fires are extinguished and technology avoided, since this is what the world would be like without the god. No lights are permitted to be lit, whether lamps or electric ones. All food consumed on this day must be eaten raw, without the benefit of fire. Avoid television, radio, internet, or other electrical devices unless your job depends on these – and if possible walk to work. Spend the day in gloomy meditation, thinking about all the ways that the Smith god impacts our lives, and how horrible it would be without him. Then around midnight bring the image of Hephaistos out of hiding: present him before the image of Hera and pour out bowls of wine since Dionysos is the one who fascilitated their reconciliation. Turn on all the lights in your home and celebrate the joyous return of Hephaistos with offerings to him, Dionysos, and Hera. [See Poppaeus’ article A Meditation on Hephaistos and Amanda Aremisia Forrester’s celebration.]
Khalkeia (last day Dios) “The Festival of Bronze-Workers” – offerings are made to all of the artisan gods, including Hephaistos, Athene, Neith, Khnum, and Ptah. Make handicrafts and have a competition to determine the best piece, which is then offered to the gods.
Khloeia (Spring Equinox) The festival begins with khernips and a procession to the altar (or, alternately, if you have a garden, around the garden). The Homeric Hymn to Demeter is read and a libation of wine is poured. Make offerings of barley and incense — and sometimes, flowers — in thanks for the return of Spring. At the end of the festival, another libation is made and more hymns, or original poetry, may be read in her honor. Afterward, minor and major tasks to put an emphasis on the beginning of the growing season are undertaken as a further, ongoing offering. A trip outside to admire whatever may have started growing so far in one’s neck of the woods is a simple, one-time way to honor Her, and if the participant is willing to take on a more serious, longer-term project, he or she can start a garden or, if there’s no room for that, get a houseplant, and take care of it and keep it healthy, in emulation of Her.
Festival of Khonsu (Month of Pakhons) Offerings are made to Khonsu, the moon god on the night of the full moon in Pakhons, after whom the month is named.
Kriophoria (19 April) “Ram-Bearing Festival”: A day to honour Hermes’ role as protector of flocks and fields and his influence over economies, whether primitive or complex. Make little votive sheep out of clay and offer these to him along with mutton, wool, figs, and other produce of the fields as his portion of the greater yield. At night, carry an image of Hermes around your home and property in a torchlit procession in order to frighten off negative influences much as the shepherd frightened off wolves and other predators who threatened the flocks.
Kunègia (6 Xanthikos) This is a hunting festival to commemorate the great elephant hunts of the Ptolemies. Offerings are made to Artemis, Apollon, Ares, Dionysos, Pan, Antinous, Seth, Horus, Montu, Anubis, Sekhmet, and all of the other gods who are connected with this activity. Go hunting on this date if you can, and dedicate your spoils to the gods. If you have moral qualms about killing, still spend time in the wild, perhaps sneaking up on animals and chasing after them, or in other vigorous activity such as running or wrestling. Think about the importance hunting has had on the development of civilization; on the interconnectedness of life and death; on how you can use these skills – clarity of sight, control of body, bravery – in your ordinary life. After all, you don’t actually have to kill to be a hunter! You may change the date of this festival to reflect the start of the hunting season in your area: it was chosen since this was the date of Artemis’ Elaphebolia festival in Athens.
Lagunophoria (11 Tybi) “Feast of Flagons” A festival founded by Ptolemy IV in honor of Dionysos. Bowls of wine were set out and the whole populace got drunk. It was held to commemorate the miracle of Dionysos’ epiphany at Elea, when fountains of water were transformed into wine. In Egypt on this date the Nile was said to become red and when its waters were drunk they tasted like wine. In addition to Dionysos one can honor Hathor, the Mistress of Drunkenness, and drink red-dyed beer as well as wine.
Lamentations of Isis and Nephthys (18 Athyr) A day of intense mourning. Observe a complete fast, unless your health forbids it. Mark your forehead with ashes, wear black or ragged clothing, write the names of Nephthys and Isis on strips of linen which you wear around your arms as phylacteries, and recite the complete text of the Lamentations towards nightfall. Reflect on loss, suffering, and pain. Really feel that the god is dead, and what it would mean if he never returned.
Lampteria (13 Apellaios) “Festival or Torches” Observed for Dionysos on Parnassos. The light of the torches was said to draw Dionysos, and so the Mainades whirled them in their wild dances, and lit torches were carried to the temple during the night in processions; bowls of wine were set up throughout the city. In your home set up candles and bowls of wine everywhere and then turn out the lights and honor the god in the shadows with drinking and dancing.
Limnad Nymphaia (27 Dystros) For the nymphs of the wetlands, marshes, bogs, etc. Go to an appropriate wild spot, build a shrine (part of the fun is collecting nice things for their shrine for the weeks leading up to it), recite the Orphic Hymn to the Nymphs, make libations and offerings, and have a meal there with them.
Festival of the Lion Hunt and the Miracle of the Red Lotus (21/22 August) The date on which the famed lion hunt of Hadrian and Antinous (which the bulk of ancient texts on the deity refers to) is recognized, it being at the end of the general astrological period of Leo as reckoned most widely today. The blood from the lion was said to have become the red Nile lotus that was thereafter associated with Antinous. Texts from the lion hunt should be read or recited on these days. The hunt was nearly a fatal one for Antinous, so the first day should be a day of considering one’s failures and faults, and the second day these are transformed into the beauty and victory of the lotus. The lion is a common symbol of death in the Graeco-Roman world, so this is also a feast presaging the conquest of death undergone by Antinous later in the year. Other lion-slayers and lion-headed deities can be celebrated on this day, including Herakles, Sekhmet, and Nefertem – who was lion-headed as well as associated with Egyptian lotuses.
Feast Day of Ma’at (21 Athyr) Ma’at is a goddess based on ethical principles collectively embracing the values of truth, justice, harmony, balance, cosmological order, reciprocity and propriety. Controlling the movement of the stars and the seasonal flooding of the Nile River, Ma’at also had codes of tradition and customs. To live in a happy, prosperous and peaceful environment, a person had to live within the order established by Ma’at. On this day, ask Ma’at for help in living a life based on her values.
The Marriage of Yahweh and his Bride (7 July) In the early Israelite religion Yahweh was paired with a powerful female figure, the Queen of Heaven, variously identified as Asherah, Anath and Astarte among others. This tradition is still found in certain mystical forms of Judaism, where the union of God and his Chokhma (Wisdom) or Shekhinah (Presence) are celebrated, particularly on Shabbos. On this day we celebrate the joyous marriage of Yahweh and his Bride through feasting, dancing, reading of appropriate poetry (particularly the Song of Songs and certain of the more erotically-themed Psalms) as well as love-making. We celebrate Yahweh in his wild, fertilizing aspect as lord of vegetation and animals, and his consort as the starry Queen of Heaven. Keep in mind as well the Rabbinic tradition: God and his Shekhinah long to be reunited in loving embrace. Whenever man sins it drives them further apart – but when he performs a righteous act it brings them closer together.
Feriae Marti (1 March) This month long Roman festival was started on the birthday of Mars (Ares). Apart from being a war god, Mars (Ares) was also a protector of family and field. This month when nature returns to life after the winter, bang loud items around the house and garden to scare away evil spirits. Next dance and stamp your feet to promote fertility. On the 1st, 9th and 24th of March, during the Feriae Marti, the Salii proceeded through Rome, stopping at certain points to perform a very complicated ritual dance involving much jumping about and chanting a hymn that was so old the Romans themselves forgot the meaning of the words by the late Republic. [See Brontosproximo’s article Ares and the Modern Era.]
Martyrdom of Hypatia (22 March) At the start of Lent in 415 c.e. Hypatia, the last of the great Alexandrian scholars and daughter of the head of the Mouseion, was murdered by a ravenous mob. Although they slew her body they could not destroy her soul, and she has remained a shining example to those who have suffered persecution down through the ages. On this day reflect on her life and its meaning, and make traditional heroic offerings to her spirit. Take a stand in opposition to ignorance, intolerance, and religious violence of every sort. Use this as an opportunity to remove these qualities from yourself as well, for bigotry is a deceptive thing and can hide in the hearts of even the most enlightened person. [See the Martyrdom of Hypatia Ritual by Amanda Aremisia Forrester.]
Megala Antinoeia (21 April) “Sacred Games of Antinous”, an artistic and athletic competition in honor of Antinous, celebrated in many places in Egypt, Greece, and Asia Minor. Consecrate your daily exercise (if you do this) to Antinous on this day, or get out and do some physical activity, whether swimming, riding horses, hiking, rowing, or any other sport or exercise. Make offerings to Antinous of red flowers, and garland your own head with wreaths of them. Invoke Antinous with the poem “Antinous Agonodikes,” as well as the Muses, and sculpt, paint, draw, write poems, stories, or music in his honor or under his inspiration. Offer these to the god and share them with your friends; and if there is a local or communal Megala Antinoeia being celebrated, enter your contributions into it!
Megalesia (April 4th-10th) The festival of the Meter Theon (Mother of the Gods) in Rome. Make a joyful noise as Kybele/Rhea loves incessant din. `The ancients are said to have dieted on pure milk and on herbs produced by the earth itself, White cheeses,’ she says, `are mingled with pounded herbs, so the primal goddess sees primal food.’ So offer white cheese with herbs to her on this day.
Festival of Mendesian Pan (2 Apellaios) Herodotos records that the festival of Mendesian Pan was one of the most popular of all Egyptian festivals – it celebrated the god as the source of fertility and animal sexuality: images of the god in goat form were carried about to bless women and induce pregnancy. Orgiastic rites also seem to have been carried out at this time. [See Diotima Sophia’s article Reports of My Death ….]
Festival of Min (New Moon of Pakhons) According to the festival list in the temple of Rameses III, the festival of Min began on the new moon of Pakhons and lasted for four days. Representations on temple walls depict the Pharaoh hoeing the ground and watering the fields while Min looked on, and on this date, the start of the harvest season, the Pharaoh ceremonially reaped the grain. This is a time to celebrate the growth, fertility, and abundance that Min represents. If you have a garden, spend time in it. Get fresh vegetables and make a feast in his honor – especially lettuce as this is his sacred plant, said to be produced from the god’s semen. Min is an unapologetically phallic god, therefore anything sensual, ribald, and downright sexy would be a great way to honor him at this time. Just be careful – he is very much a god of fruitfulness!
Festival of Montu, Lord of Hermonthis (20 Pakhons) On this date the barque of Montu arrived in Hermonthis and was received by the priests with lavish celebrations.
Festival of the Muses (9 Artemisios) This festival was instituted by Ptolemy I in honor of Apollon and the Mousai and the establishment of their temple, the Mouseion. Offerings are given to them and artistic, musical, and literary competitions are held in their honor. Do something creative on this day, even if you don’t normally consider yourself skilled in this area.
Naiad Nymphaia (27 Panēmos) For the nymphs of the rivers and streams. Go to an appropriate wild spot, build a shrine (part of the fun is collecting nice things for their shrine for the weeks leading up to it), recite the Orphic Hymn to the Nymphs, make libations and offerings, and have a meal there with them.
Natalis Antinoi (27 November) The birthdate of Antinous, as reckoned on a calendar from Oxyrynchus in Egypt, as well as that celebrated by the Lanuvium collegium of Antinous and Diana near Rome. Several appropriate things to do include: “horse rites” of some sort (use your imagination!); a feast for the god; and a bath in honor of the god (perhaps an outing with friends to a swimming pool or hot tub?).
Natalis Urbis (21 April) The old festival of the foundation of Rome, the Parilia, which was a herdsmen’s festival involving the driving of herds (especially of goats) between two bonfires for purification and protection, was celebrated to mark the beginning of the existence of the city of Rome. In the early 120s CE, Hadrian re-founded this festival as the Natalis Urbis (birthdate of the city), and also inaugurated his Temple of Venus and Roma on that date. Read poetry and literature having to do with the foundation of Rome (including tales of Romulus and Remus, and Virgil’s Aeneid), write poems and prayers and sing songs to Roma, as well as other deities associated with Rome (Venus and Mars, Vesta, the Capitoline Triad of Juno, Minerva and Jupiter) as well as the Numen Augusti and any deified emperors one regards highly, and observe a re-foundation of the “empire” of your own life with commitments to love (i.e. Venus), and ask for protection (as it seems the goddess Roma was associated with protection in the Greek East as Rhuma). [See Jeremy J Baer’s article Roma Aeterna.]
Naukrateia (13 Panēmos) This festival celebrates the founding of Naukratis by Pharaoh Amasis and the bringing of the Greek gods to Egypt. Begin by making offerings and libations to Amasis. Then carry images of the gods of Naukratis – Apollon, Hera, Zeus, Aphrodite and the Dioskouroi – in procession and set them up in their shrines. Offerings are given to them, starting with earth and water to represent their reception in the land of Egypt. Then pour out libations of milk, oil and wine and make offerings of local produce. Pray for them to bless the land and to protect their followers however far from home they may have traveled.
Festival of Neith (28 Choiak) According to Herodotos, at Sais the Egyptians held a Festival of Lamps in honor of Neith. They set up lamps in their homes and kept them burning all through the night while they feasted in her honor.
Nemeseia (5 Hyperberetaios) A day to honor the forgotten dead and their protector, Nemesis. Visit a cemetery and leave offerings at the graveside of strangers, in case their families no longer remember them. Spend time reflecting on your own beloved deceased, and if you have made any promises to them in the past and were unable to keep them, now would be a good opportunity to rectify the situation. Athletic competitions were also held in honor of Nemesis during Roman times on this date.
Noumenia (1st of each lunar month) Your whole home should be cleaned on this date as a devotion to Hestia, with special attention paid to your personal shrines. Place garlands around your statues, burn frankincense, and make special offerings to Agathos Daimon, Apollon, Hestia, Hermes, Hekate and all of your household gods. [See Miguel Oliveira’s Noumenia Hymn to All the Gods and Lykeia’s Noumenia Hymn.]
Oread Nymphaia (27 Hyperberetaios) For the nymphs of the mountains. Go to an appropriate wild spot, build a shrine (part of the fun is collecting nice things for their shrine for the weeks leading up to it), recite the Orphic Hymn to the Nymphs, make libations and offerings, and have a meal there with them.
Festival of Pan of the Mountains (27 Panēmos) When Pan was brought to Egypt he became a god of the mountains that served as the barrier between the inhabitable world and the isolated desert wastes. On this day spend some time away from home in those lonely haunts where his presence is most strongly felt. [See Diotima Sophia’s article The Origins of the Goat Foot God.]
Panegyris or Festival of Thanksgiving to Isis-Agathetyche and Ankhoes (20 Pakhons) This was one of the most important festivals of Isis at Medinet-Madi in the Faiyum. It celebrated the goddess in her role as discoverer of grain and giver of fruitful crops. At this time the pious would give a portion of those blessings back in the form of a tithe (apodekateuo) consisting of one-tenth of what was given to them. While the exact number is not important, on this date one should reflect on all of the blessings that the gods have given to us, and return a portion of that to them, either by making a large purchase for their shrine or donating money to a worthy charitable cause in their name, or if one is low on funds they can donate their time and energy to the gods, beyond what they normally would.
Pelusia (20 March) This was the festival of the Nile held at Rome and other locations outside of Egypt. Even though they were far from the banks of the Holy River, its powers of fertility, strength, abundance, and sanctity could still be felt, because the Egyptian Nile was in fact only the earthly reflection of the true Nile, the Celestial River which flowed through the heavens, and upon which the gods steered their barques. Make offerings to the god in numbers of sixteen since this was a holy number for him through its connection to the Nileometers in Egypt. If you live near a body of water perform your ritual there, since all rivers and lakes are connected in Greek thought. Wade into the water, if possible, and feel the purifying force of the Nile’s child enfold you. Take some of the water home and sprinkle it throughout your house and on your shrines, asking the Nile to bless your home with his power and purity through the medium of his child. If you don’t have access to such bodies of water, use pure spring water in its place, first blessed in the name of Neilos.
Pesakh (9 April) This is a festival of exile and homecoming, celebrating release from bondage and slavery of every kind. No leaven is to be consumed during the holiday. The central event of Pesakh is the seder, a ritual meal during which the story of the Exodus is retold, certain foods are eaten and (at least) four cups of wine are drunk. It is also a time of intense cleaning and purification. Contemplate your own bondage – physical, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional – and how you can find true liberation from them. Where is your real home – and what do you need to do to get there?
Pharia (8 Audēnaios) This festival is named after the Pharos Lighthouse, whose light could be seen for miles and offered sailors a safe passage into port. Offerings are made to Poseidon, Isis, Serapis, the Dioskouroi and the Nereiades. Prayers are recited for calm waters and the protection of all those whose livelihood depends upon the sea. If you live on the coast perform your offerings at the seashore, otherwise light a candle to represent the Pharos and its protection and keep it burning as long as you are able. (See Amanda Aremisia Forrester’s A Prayer to the Saviour Gods on Pharia.)
Philokhoria (Summer Solstice) Kallimakhos wrote that Artemis would dance in meadows and fields with the Nymphai during summer to the music of Apollon and the Mousai. Helios would stop his chariot to watch, causing the days to get longer and hotter. During the summer solstice, when Helios is closest, men and women dance in the fields with the gods, joining the joyous celebration and trying to distract Helios so that he will continue his journey through the circuit of the heavens. Some activities that can be performed at this time are: dance (with or without poi), set up candles at sun-set, perform a dramatic reenactment of the myth or read Kallimakhos’s hymn. Make offerings to Artemis, the Nymphai, Helios, Apollon, the Mousai, and Zeus.
Pompaia (sometime in Apellaios) In a procession (pompaia) through the city, priests carry the Dion Kodion (Sacred Fleece), the skin of a sheep sacrificed to Zeus Meilikhios (Open to Propitiation, Kindly), a chthonic aspect of Zeus in which He appears as a snake and is especially protective of children. In the Pompaia a priest also carries the Kadykeus, the magic wand of Hermes with its entwined snakes. By this rite storms and other evil are driven out of the community, and the newly sown grain is protected. A polluted individual may likewise purify himself by standing with his left foot on the Fleece, which absorbs the pollution. Or one may sit barefoot on the fleece, with covered head, and be purified by a priest applying the Liknon (Winnowing Fan). The Pompaia corresponds to the springtime Diasia for Zeus Meilikhios, such spring-fall pairing being common for Greek agricultural festivals.
Procession of Set (17 Pharmouthi) The image of Set is carried in procession, and he is hailed as the vanquisher of Apophis and the destroyer of stagnation. All the decorations should be red, and Plutarch records that cakes were made at this festival with images of an ass on them in Set’s honor.
Proerosia (5 Dios) [Note: The date may be altered to coincide with the start of spring in your locality.] A pre-planting ritual to ask Demeter and Zeus to bless the planting season with a good harvest. If you are not a gardener, think of what you want to plant and harvest in your life, but just like a gardener you will have to water and weed to see the fruition. Offer grains or seeds.
Day of Prolonging Life and the Goodness of Ma’at (13 Tybi) Ma’at was central to funerary practices in which if the deceased had been found to not have followed the concept of Ma’at during his life (if he had lied or cheated or killed or done anything against Ma’at) his heart was devoured by a demon (she was called Ammut — Devouress of the Dead) and he died the final death. If the heart weighed the same as Ma’at, the deceased was allowed to go on to the afterlife. The heart of a person was considered the center of intellect and memory. This symbolic weighing of the heart against the feather of truth was performed to established the righteousness of the deceased. On this day ask Ma’at not only for help in correcting any transgressions against her but also the time to do it.
Feast of Ptah Protecting the Winged Golden Disk (22 Mecheir) Offerings are made to Ptah and Re-Herakhti. A winged disk symbol is created, blessed in the name of the gods, and set up over one’s door to give protection for the year to come.
Puanepsia (7 Dios) Apollon is offered a sacrifice of goat or lamb, and a theoxenia meal is held for the god. Eiresione, branch of the supplicant, is made of laurel or olive and decorated with pastries, ribbons, fruit, etc. and hung on/over the door. Offering of the puanepsion, a stew of vegetables and grains in honor of the harvest are made.
Purim (10 March) A very joyous festival that celebrates the survival of the Jewish people due to the courage of Queen Esther. It involves dressing in costume (often in drag), riotous behavior, making noise and very excessive drinking, with the proceedings often becoming pretty wild. As with most holidays, there are also special foods associated with it. Though very joyous, Purim is also a time for reflection about our duties towards our community. The day before Purim is a minor fast day.
Festival of the Reconciliation of Horus and Set (27 Thoth) A joyous festival at which joint-offerings are given to the two gods. Pray that other conflicts may be overcome in a similarly peaceful manner. [See Joan Lansberry’s article The Two Powers Reconciled.]
Regifugium (24 February) The “Roman independence day,” when the last of the Tarquin kings was driven from the city and the beginning of the Republic resulted. This was also the day that was doubled in leap years in the later calendar (hence the “bisextile year,” since February 24 was VI Kal. Martis). Think about the goddess Roma’s advocacy for the individual, and consider devoting time or money to efforts to promote freedom and stand against tyranny and oppression. [See Amanda Aremisia Forrester’s modern Regifugium ritual.]
Rosh HaShana (30 September) This festival is both a joyous and solemn event. It is the Jewish new year, a feast of remembrance and the birthday of the world. Tradition has it that on this day, god created mankind and on this day he is symbolically re-enthroned, calling for appropriate celebration. The next ten days are filled with thoughts of mortality, sin, repentance and redemption, and we ask friends and family for forgiveness for whatever way we may have wronged them – god can pardon the transgressions against the Eternal, but only a person who has been sinned against may forgive the one who wronged her. After kiddush, bread and apples dipped into honey are eaten, wishing each other a sweet new year. Fish is also often eaten as a symbol for fertility.
Septuagint Festival (19 November) The Jewish author Philo mentions a specifically Alexandrian festival that unfortunately has not been attested elsewhere. This festival commemorated the translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek by the 70 scholars under Ptolemy Philadelphos. According to Philo it was a hugely popular festival celebrated by Jews and Gentiles alike. People from all over the Mediterranean came to the great Pharos lighthouse where they set up tents on the beach, offered prayers and thanksgiving, and celebrated lavish open-air feasts all day long. The principle theme of the festival was light – the light of the Pharos, the power of the divine to banish the darkness of ignorance and hatred, kindling the flame of wisdom in our lives so that it may guide us safely through the dangerous, rocky waters we face, keeping that illumination burning no matter what obstacles confront us. Light candles and keep them burning into the night. Make offerings to the divine and to Ptolemy Philadelphos. Have a feast with all of your friends and family. Celebrate culture and learning. Spend the day in study, reading great books and reflecting on their impact in your life. Share the light with others.
Serapeia (16 Pharmouthi) Honors the bringing of Serapis’ statue from Sinope to Alexandria. Install an image of him and crown it with garlands, and then give offerings and libations to the god. That night, pay attention to your dreams as he may visit you in them. [See Jeremy J Baer’s article The History of Serapis.]
Festival of Seshat, Lady of Builders (World Architecture Day; First Monday of October, in 2008, Oct. 6) This is a day to honor Seshat and reflect on the role of architecture in our lives and how it preserves memory, whether the memory of ancient people, or the memory of contemporary architects and the people who live and work in their buildings. It’s also a day to reflect and work on what we are building in our lives – are our foundations true? Suggestions for observation: Offer to Seshat. Take a devotional architectural walk. Learn about historical preservation. Build something – a model building, and/or play with building toys. Take steps to give your life a solid foundation. Learn about sustainable building practices. Pay attention to how architecture shapes your life and work. Record your new experiences and knowledge in some way. [See Ariana’s Devotional Architecture Walk for Seshat.]
Day When Set Kills Apep (14 Mecheir) Create an image of Apep in the form of a snake, either drawn or made out of clay. Invest it with all of your negativity and whatever may be holding you back, physically or spiritually. And then spit on it, telling it that Seth has triumphed and removed its power over you, then ritually hack it apart and burn the pieces until nothing remains. Then make offerings and libations to Seth.
Festival of Sobek (4 Khoiak) This is a day to honor Sobek and respect his power. Consider your own fears and face some of them as a devotion to him. What is created when fear is no longer an obstacle? Go to a local body of water, especially a river if there’s one nearby, and consider its life-giving aspects, as well as its dangerous or harmful ones. Go somewhere where you can observe crocodiles or their relatives and learn about more about this amazing (and ancient) group of animals. Look and listen for Sobek in all of this.
Festival of the Stella Antinoi (29 January) The date upon which the Star of Antinous most likely first appeared in the months following his death. This is a night for star-gazing and wish-making, and for considering Antinous a celestial god in addition to his more well-known role as a chthonic deity. Dream-work and visionary activities, and general meditation/contemplation would also be most appropriate on this day.
Suarentauro Festival (29-31 May) A festival honoring Zeus, Ares, and the Dioskouroi. The Suarentauro is a lustration ritual meant to purify and bring prosperity to the home and the land. Lavish offerings of grain and meat of a pig, a sheep, and a cow are made to the respective deities, as well as a circumambulation around the home, yard, or field to invoke their blessing and purification.
Sukkot (Begins 14 October) One of the three pilgrim festivals when Jews would travel to Jerusalem bring offerings from the fall harvest. It lasts for 8-9 days and is very joyous. Every family builds a temporary hut in which at least one full meal is eaten each day. it is both a harvest holiday as well as a remembrance of the time in the wilderness; it was also a festival of water-drawing in ancient Israel when prayers for water were said and libations poured over the altar. Sukkot is so long that it includes Simchat Torah, a festival where we rejoice about the Torah and dance with it.
Thalusia (14 Gorpiaios) A festival of thanksgiving to Dionysos and Demeter for the harvest. Includes a shared meal made entirely from local ingredients found at the farmer’s market, freshly baked bread, local wine.
Thargelia (6-7 Daisios) Thargelia is a complex festival. On one level it is a celebration of the birthdays of Artemis and Apollon, who were born on the sixth and seventh day respectively. On another level it is a harvest festival, when the first fruits are given to Apollon. But it is also a festival of purification, when the evil forces that afflict the community and the fields are driven out. On the first day of Thargelia a pharmakon is built, a poppet in the form of an ugly man who is decked with a string of figs. The collective miasma of the community is ritually placed inside of the poppet, and then it is “driven out”, either cast into a ravine, left at the edge of town, or burned. On the second day first fruits are carried in a procession and laid before the god, especially grains, olives, wool and fruit. [See Lykeia’s Thargelia for Solitaries.]
Theogamia (26 Peritios) The marriage of Zeus and Hera was celebrated on this date. The ritual should be carried out in the manner of a traditional Greek marriage, perhaps with a reading of the passage in Iliad (14.153-353) which describes their union on Mount Ida, ending in offerings to Zeus and Hera and games to celebrate the blessed union of the two and the fertility that it produces in the earth. This would be an excellent time to renew your vows or commitments, to honor married couples in your community, and to fight for the rights of all people to wed. [See Amanda Aremisia Forrester’s A Song for the Gamelia.]
Theoxenia Aethiopia (8 Gorpiaios) On this day Poseidon goes to feast at the table of the Sun with the Ethiopians. Hold a lavish dinner in his honor with spicey or yellow foods (even better if you can actually get Ethiopian foods!) with a plate of food set before his image.
Thesmophoria (11-13 Dios) According to Herodotos this festival of Demeter and Persephone was brought from Egypt into Greece. It was their most important festival after the Eleusinian Mysteries and is attested in over 30 city-states, including Kyrene and Alexandria. It was, however, exclusively reserved for women, although men may make offerings to the Two Goddesses on this date if they so wish. The festival commemorates the time when Demeter abdicated her role as goddess of the earth’s fertility. The first day is called Anodos and marked the carrying of a holy image up to Demeter’s temple. The second day was a day of fasting, when women sat on the ground and could only eat pomegranate seeds. Any food that fell on the ground belonged to the dead and could not be eaten. At the start of the third day a large feast was held consisting mostly of meat, especially pork to commemorate the pigs that were swallowed up when the earth opened to receive Persephone. The rotting flesh of swine which had been dumped in a ravine the previous year was retrieved to use as fertilizer for the fields, and those who didn’t retrieve the remains shouted and performed frightening and lewd actions to scare off anyone who might be lurking about. Solemn rites were also performed, which closely guarded and thus have not come down to us.
Festival of Thoth (19 Thoth) Make offerings and libations to Thoth, and spend the day in contemplative meditation, writing, or discussing philosophy as much as you can. It is also an excellent day for divination and magic. Plutarch also records that on this date honey and figs were eaten in honor of Hermes-Thoth with the admonition that “a sweet thing is Truth.”
Festival of the Valley (7 Payni) One of the most important festivals in Egypt, centered around the Necropolis at Thebes. The barque of Ammon was carried in a procession similar to that at Opet, but ending in the Necropolis, where people could make offerings of food and drink to their ancestors and the underworld gods. Despite the funerary nature of the festival, it was a joyous occasion where large amounts of wine were consumed amid dancing and music. In addition to the above one can perform necromancy to commune with one’s beloved deceased.
Veterans’ Day (11 November) Veterans’ day, a modern observance founded by President Wilson in 1919, has become a celebration to honor veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Libations should be offered to both Ares and Athene on this day in memory of the soldiers, both living and dead, who serve(d) their country.
Vestalia (7-15 June) Festival of Vesta, Roman Goddess of the hearth who was associated with Hestia. Make offerings of violets, simple foods or even bake something from scratch. Share the remainder with friends and family. On the 15th, cleanse your home and altars, both spiritually and physically. Take the results out of the home for disposal.
Wag Festival (17-18 Thoth) The Wag festival was originally celebrated in honor of Osiris-Sokar, though later Thoth was included in the festivities. It was a solemn day in which people visited the Necropolis and left offerings of food and drink for their deceased and the gods of the underworld. Often they would also write letters to the dead, letting them know what was going on in the world above, asking them for some assistance, or simply telling them that they would not be forgotten.
Wep-Ronpet, Egyptian New Year festival (1 Thoth) The “Opening of the Year” festival marks the start of the Egyptian year. It is the single most important festival on the calendar, a time of renewal rebirth and regeneration. Offerings to all of the gods should be made on this day. Reflect on the past year and on what you wish to accomplish in the year to come. Ask the gods to bless you in these endeavors, and to remove whatever obstacles may lie in your path. [See Erynn Rowan Laurie’s Wep Ronpet and P Sufenas Virius Lupus’ A Year of the Gods.]
Festival of Wepwawet (8 June) Process with an image of Wepwawet or something representing Him around your home, or in an outdoor place if you have access to one. Make offerings to Him. Consider the possibilities in your own life, and the ways that have been opened for you. What doors still need opening? What paths branch off? What possibilities do you not see yet? Ask Him for guidance, and reflect on the courage and strategy sometimes needed for this work. Take the first steps on the opened way, and if possible, help open the way for others.
Festival of Zeus Nikephoros (12 Lōios) This festival commemorates the defeat of Typhon by Zeus and his claiming of the heavenly throne. At the start of the festival a competition is held – wrestling or a race are ideal, but any sort of game will do – and the winner is then crowned as the priest of Zeus for the festival. (If you are celebrating this alone, choose a difficult task to perform beforehand. Only those who have shown themselves worthy through agon may serve the god in this capacity.) The priest of Zeus then smashes an image of Typhon which has been constructed beforehand and all make loud exclamations praising Zeus at this time. The priest then recites a hymn to Zeus and makes offerings to him – gold to symbolize prosperity, milk for life, figs for peace, and a feather for justice – the blessings which Zeus’ kingship bestow on mankind. Afterwards a lavish feast is had in his honor. [See Jeremy J Baer’s article An Overview of Zeus.]