Panathenaia Ritual


Introduction: In ancient Athens, this ritual (held every four years) commemorated the birthday of Athene. But, more than that, it was a means of adorning the Goddess in a new set of robes. This item of clothing was placed upon her knees during the ritual, then held in the treasury for safekeeping. A procession was held the night prior, and this day was one of feasting, a torch being brought to the temple to illuminate the way. Plunteria marked the day of her official re-robing. Sacrifices were made to her, and the days that followed were filled with the athletic competitions that Athene so favored.

Tools: statue of Athene, votives, bowl with sand, new robe or robe with new symbol attached, tiger lily, olive oil, matches, wine or other beverage, almond bread

The Ritual: As dusk approaches, line a series of votives along the edge of your tub and light them. Ritually cleanse your body in water containing the petals of the tiger lily. Concentrate on the occasion by gazing into the light of the votives or read hymns to Athene, dressing in the new/newly decorated robe when you are done. Extinguish all the candles but one, and carry this one as you proceed toward the altar. Use your own words or these:

“Of the most skillful and brilliant Athena do I now sing, she who watches over the heroes and brings good fortune to her favored mortals. Let there be rejoicing tonight, celebration of the Gray-Eyed Goddess’s birth, she who sprang to life so long ago, known during the age of Mycenae as the One Who Comes.”

Place the lit votive on the altar by the statue, and anoint the feet of Athene with the olive oil. Raise your hands upward, and continue:

“I sing of the Virgin and Mother, She who came to be known as the thought-form sprung from the head of Zeus, and whose name is praised with every shout of Victory. Lady Wisdom, accept this garb as my re-dedication to You.”

Lower your hands, and trace the forms sacred to Athene in the sand: the snake, the spear, the helmet, and Gorgon. Prepare your mind for sleep and dreams of the deeds of Athene’s favorite mortals. Know that as one dedicated to Athene, you are among these. Put out the candle, and go to bed.

When you awaken in the morning, anoint the statue again, and honor Athene by going out to get some exercise. Upon coming home, give the physical portion of the almond bread to the animals, and pour the drink on the Earth.


1 Response to Panathenaia Ritual

  1. Pingback: Rite for Panathenaia-Birthday of Athene | Fiercely Bright One

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