Monday, December 5, 2011

Dendraia 2011

Xairete!

Yesterday at the Hellenic Temple of Apollon, Zeus, and Pan, we celebrated the Dendraia.




As usual, new ornaments were brought and offered to decorate this tree honoring both Pan and Pitys, including a set that spell out "PAN," various animals, and a handmade garland.  Also, offerings from past years were hung.


Sorry that doesn't quite tile together, but I hope it lets you see some of the details.

What was new this year was that we also used the pine cones we had decorated and offered at Panaia.  For those who may wish to try this too, there's a step-by-step pictorial post here.

There was also a ritual including thusia, which offerings this year included stir-fried sausage and peppers, penne pesto, tangerines, cheese and bread, pine tree cookies, chocolate cake, chocolate wine, and barleywine.



And this week on "The Hieros of Cranston," we also learned that "Iceland is an island in the North Atlantic.  It's capital is Reykjavik," (points to those who recognize the reference) and that if the first few libations at closing are overly generous we need to try to invoke Time Lord technology to make the rest of the libations fit.  (Or, you know, grab another offering vessel, which we ultimately did, but asking for the offering bowl to get bigger on the inside was worth a try.)

I hope sharing these pictures and accounts of our festivals inspires you to find your own way to celebrate and worship the Gods as well.  Please feel free to comment with any questions or to share some of your own ideas!

Next up is the Kheimonia/Winter Festival and Rural Dionysia on the 18th.  Until then, peace and kharis to you all!

Diane

Sunday, November 20, 2011

November 2011

Xairete!

Hope this post finds you all well.  It's been a great month at HTAZP with two festivals.

On the 6th, we celebrated the Panaia, Pan's birthday.  The day began with an enthusiasmos ritual followed by thusia.  We also had a bit of "Pagan Arts & Crafts" that involved decorating pine cones as offerings to Pan, involving a variety of designs reflecting the diversity of our community.


Today, we celebrated the Pompaia, asking for Zeus' protection from the winter storms ahead.  This included a purification with the Dion Kodion, offerings such as candles and incense, and, of course, feasting. 



As had been posted on the Facebook page, tea-light candles were lit for those unable to be in attendance to request that protection extend to them as well.

The next festivals coming up are the Dendraia on December 4, in which we will each contribute something to decorate a pine tree for Pan, and the Kheimonia/Winter Solstice and Rural Dionysia on December 18, at which we will first celebrate the return of Helios to our skies for a bit longer each day and then the liberating spirit of Dionysos.

Hope to see some of you at one or the other of these festivals. 

Peace,
Diane



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

September/October 2011

Xairete!

Sorry it's been so long. The time got away from me a bit there. It's been a busy couple of months at HTAZP, and here are the highlights:
The 28th of August was scheduled to be the Panaphobeia, however, it was not possible to hold a group ritual due to Hurricane-turned-Tropical-Storm Irene. A ritual was still held at the temple space however, and suggestions for private ritual were provided so that the festival could still be observed individually.
On Sunday the 11th of September, we celebrated Panagon, a day of games devoted to Pan. As the space is not conducive to an actual torch race, a series of board games were dedicated to Pan and the winner received a prize to be placed on their personal shrine at home. At the start of the theoxenia, when we honor the ancestors, we took a moment to also remember those who died on this day ten years ago.

We also discovered that either Pan is not at all fond of battery-operated tea-lights or the batch offered by one temple regular (me, actually) was rather spectacularly defective. Did you know those things could explode? Nope, neither did I.
On the 25th, we held the Fall Festival honoring Demeter and Persephone and commemorating their cyclical separation with the promise of reunion in the Spring.

October's big festival was the Puanepsia and Oskhophoria, celebrating both Apollon and Dionysos as Gods of the harvest and marking the “changing of the guard” at Delphi as Dionysos takes over until Delphinia while Apollon travels to Hyperboria. Many temple members chose to cross-dress in honor of Dionysos' androgyny.



There were offerings of wine and other forms of alcohol for Dionysos and a lentil-kale soup for Apollon as well as other delicious food offerings. (One temple regular who insists he can't cook invented yet another delicacy, this one involving chocolate rice cakes, Nutella, and strawberries.)

Upcoming festivals will be the Panaia on November 6 and the Pompaia on November 20.

May the Gods' blessings be with you all.

Peace,
Diane

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fall Festival

At the turning of the season from Summer to Autumn, we honor Demeter for the gifts of the harvest and recognize Her sorrow as Persephone rejoins Hades in his realm for the duration of the colder months.  The day begins honoring Mother and Daughter together, then shifts to a focus on Persephone as queen of Hades' realm.

Offerings to Demeter and Kore (Persephone in Her maiden state) can be anything related to grains and harvest foods.  Demeter is partial to pork offerings, but there is a taboo against offering Her eggs.  Altar decorations here are likely to be earthy and autumnal in colors and imagery.

Pomegranates can only be offered to Persephone once she is ritually separated from Her mother and joined with Her husband, Hades.  Depending upon one's interpretation of the myths, it may be appropriate to offer wedding cake.  Altar decorations here should acknowledge that Hades' and Persephone's realm is the underworld, possibly including a black altar cloth and images of skeletons or other representations of death.  If an ancestor shrine is included, it should be kept separate and lower in height (usually on or near the floor), because while they are kthonic Gods, Hades is also an Olympian.

Fall Festival 2011

Fall Festival 2012

Fall Festival 2013

Fall Festival 2014

Fall Festival 2016

Fall Festival 2017

Thursday, August 11, 2011

August 2011 News

Actually, this month starts with the end of July, as we spent the Deipnon (which conveniently fell on the 30th) having the Temple's second official naming ceremony, the date having been chosen as the person undergoing the ceremony is dedicated to Hekate.  Again, a very moving experience indeed, followed by fellowship and feasting.

This Sunday, the 14th, we will be celebrating the Therapeia, honoring Apollon, Aesklepios, and Pan as Gods of healing.  If you have specific healing intentions you would like remembered at this ritual, please either comment here or email Hieros Timotheos.

August will wrap up with the Panaphobeia or Feast of Fear on the 28th.  Due to the intensely personal nature of the fear work done at this festival, it is by invitation only.  If you wish to participate or to recommend someone to attend that you feel might benefit from this work, please email Hieros Timotheos first.

Therapeia

7 Therapeion is the HTAZP healing festival. It began centered on Apollon and Aklepios, grew to include Pan as the God who rules over wild herbs, and has recently expanded to include Artemis, who oversees childbirth, Hygeia, Asklepios' daughter and Goddess of health, and Gaia, upon whom we depend for pretty much everything, including healing. Offerings are made to these Deities and healing work is shared amongst the participants and sent out to others in need of healing.


Therapeia 2011

Therapeia 2012

Therapeia 2013


Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy New Year!

Xairete!

From July 1-3, the Hellenic Temple of Apollon, Zeus, and Pan celebrated the Anadikia.   There were five of us present for this amazing retreat.



For those who weren't able to attend, you were remembered throughout the weekend.  Hope you'll be able to come for a festival soon!

As Hieros Timotheos wrote on the top of the weekend's schedule of events, “Anadikia translates to 'renewal of action.' It is based on the ending of the lunar year and the beginning of a new lunar year. HTAZP has developed an annual retreat to celebrate this observance.” The lunar year starts on the first New Moon after the Summer Solstice. Thus the celebration is very similar to the monthly Noumenia (and in fact is sometimes called the “Great Noumenia”) but on a much larger scale. As a three-day retreat, this translates into one day for Hekate's Deipnon, one for Noumenia, and one for the Agathos Daimon.

Friday evening began with us gathering at the temple space and settling in. Then at about 10 pm, we held the Deipnon ceremony to Hekate and the Ancestors. Timotheos taught us a way to cleanse the home for Deipnon, and then we proceeded into the Temple space proper, where there were offerings of food and ribbons for the Ancestors, accompanied by sharing memories of some of those Ancestors. It was incredibly moving and intense. Then offerings were made to Hekate, including canned goods to be given to the homeless over whom She watches as Goddess of the crossroads.


Hekate's shrine, the Agathos Daimon's shrine, and Ancestor shrine.

Once this incredibly intense ritual completed (two minutes before midnight, and finishing before midnight had been an important component), we adjourned to feast and play cards, which is a modern Greek New Year's tradition.
At about 1am, we wrapped that up and did a Diisoteria ritual to dedicate a new Hestia statue and to thank our personal patrons, the Temple patrons, and any other Deities who had bestowed blessings on us over the past year. In the tradition of a side shrine for “foreign Gods,” there was also space set aside for recognition of Deities those of us on dual paths belong to.


After the Diisoteria.
Saturday morning began with ritual purification baths as we got up.  After that and a bit of breakfast, we began cleansing the various statues and icons in the Temple. As Timotheos said, this is when you realize just how many statues and images of various sorts are in the Temple.


After the Temple cleansing.

Once all of the statues, pictures, sculptures, and other images had been cleansed and returned to their places in the Temple (or a reasonable facsimile thereof, some most certainly found slightly new homes), we made libations to the Gods, offered them Greek New Year's cake, and an amazing ham rigatoni bake.

The cake is called Vaselopita, and it is amazingly delicious. Here's the recipe:

Ingredients

1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
3 cups flour
6 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup warm milk
½ tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup blanched slivered almonds
1 Tbsp white sugar
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and generously grease 10 inch round baking pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light.
  3. Stir in flour and mix until mixture is mealy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine baking powder and milk and add to mixture.
  6. Combine lemon juice and baking soda and pour into batter.
  7. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove and sprinkle nuts over the top.
  8. Return to oven for 20-30 minutes until cake springs back to the touch.
  9. Gently cut a small hole in the center place a quarter in the hole. Cover it with sugar.
  10. Cool on rack for 10 minutes before inverting onto plate.

Whoever gets the quarter, by the way, is supposed to have good luck for the coming year.

Between the emotional and energetic impact of cleansing all the icons, we were all very much in a space of needing to just rest and process. All of us ended up taking naps, even those who'd planned to just quietly read for awhile, and some of us did our processing through rather vivid dreams.

When we regrouped a couple of hours later, we set a plan to finish the Temple cleansing, then have dinner and watch a movie.

Somehow (and I guess that would be this week's edition of "The Hieros of Cranston"), "watching a movie" translated into a mini-marathon of cat videos, including The Cat vs the Cactus, Kitty Is a Very BAD Mystic, and Cat vs Printer - The Translation. In an attempt to, if not be more serious, at least watch something a bit longer, we moved on to John Cleese's How to Irritate People.

Sunday, we made ritual offerings to the Temple's Agathos Daimon as well as our personal Agathos Daimons and any other guiding and guardian spirits in each of our lives.  We shared a brunch with the Agathos Daimon and these other spirits outdoors.  After spending some more time in fellowship, we closed the weekend in the Temple space and dispersed. 

All in all, it was a wonderful and very intense weekend.  Again, those of you who weren't able to attend were remembered throughout, and we hope you'll be able to come sometime in the near future!

May the Gods' blessings be with you all.

Peace,
Diane

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Adonia

The Adonia is a festival commemorating the death and resurrection of Adonis.  It may be celebrated on two separate occasions or as a two-part festival.

Adonia 2015

Sunday, June 26, 2011

June News

Xairete!

Today, we celebrated the Philokhoria, the time when the days shift and begin to grow shorter once again.  A few days late, but  the Gods seem to understand that we meet when we can.

It was a gorgeous day for it, and so the festival was held outside.  (I forgot to take pictures.  Sorry!)  After the procession and as part of the offerings, we re-enacted the Kallimakhos myth upon which the festival is based by way of the Philokhoria Puppet Show.  We're hoping the Gods found it as amusing to watch as we did to perform.  We also made offerings of dance, both a group choreography that Temple regulars have been learning together over the last couple of months and a solo that I just managed to pull the choreography together for this past week.

Feasting followed, as it does, along with a bit of processing, future planning, and fellowship.

We have a bit of a running joke that started when I went on a binge of watching The Vicar of Dibley, that wouldn't it be cool to have our own show about our various foibles (which, like the original, would ultimately touch on an underlying theme of our strengths as a group), which would just have to be called The Hieros of Cranston.   Sort of the "outtakes" of what we get up to on festival days, the stuff that probably has the Gods either laughing or at least shaking Their heads in bemusement.

So, this week on The Hieros of Cranston, somehow, disposing of festival remnants got turned into us joking about the Vashta Nerada.  (Hey, who turned out the lights?)  Also, once we'd finished making noise and settled down, Corbie the cat made clear her displeasure at having not been the center of attention all day.  Pointedly clear, shall we say.

Next weekend, we'll be holding the Anadikia or Great Noumenia retreat, so there will probably be another update shortly after that.

May the blessings of the Gods be with you!

Peace,
Diane

Saturday, May 28, 2011

May News

Xairete!
So, on the 15th, we celebrated the Thargelia with a purification ritual, enthusiasmos, and offerings to the Twins, including thargeloi in the form of veggie calzones and birthday cupcakes.   The day flew by, which is probably why it's taken me nearly two weeks to write it up.  We did lots, but it seems impossible to capture in words!

This weekend, there'll be a fellowship day/movie night on Sunday the 29th, as we share one of the more accessible forms of modern drama.

Coming up in June is the Philokhoria on the 26th.  For those planning to perform a bit of belly dancing at this celebration, as a way of honoring the myth that gave rise to this modern festival, there's also a rehearsal day scheduled on the 12th.  The song we're dancing to, Tellegrafin Telleri by Turbo Tabla, is also relatively modern, which seems fitting.

That's all I've got for now.  Have a great weekend and may the Gods' blessings be with you.

Peace,
Diane

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hermaia

This is a festival of games in honor of Hermes. There is very little info as to the timing of the historical festival, and so modern worshippers may arrive at different conclusions as to when it is best to observe it.

Hermaia 2014

Saturday, April 23, 2011

April News

Xairete!

Now, with some of the basic housekeeping setup done, here is our first news post at the new site.

This month started off with the first official Temple naming ceremony. It was a deeply moving experience, bearing witness as this person took vows to his Patrons. The basic ritual structure, for those who are curious, is outlined in Timotheos’ contribution to From Cave to Sky: A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Zeus.

After the ritual feasting was done (and given some time to settle) we unwound a bit by doing a bit of belly dance. Several members had expressed interest in learning this form, and so now we’re working on learning a choreography for the Philokhoria, our summer festival honoring the Twins through, among other things, dance.

On the 17th, we celebrated Delphinia with offerings of fish and seafood to honor Apollon as the God of dolphins who guide ships safely home. One Temple member brought lemon meringue pie as an offering, explaining that the meringue looks like waves, and sailors need lemons or other vitamin C sources to avoid scurvy. Another offered a “dolphin adoption” in the name of Apollon Delphinios. We also honored His love for Hyacinthos with offerings of hyacinth flowers and His return to Delphi from Hyperborea with divination.

For May, we’ll be celebrating the Twins’ birthday at Thargelia on the 15th, a festival that promises cleansing, purification, more cleansing, more purification, and a birthday party.

May the Gods’ blessings be with everyone!

Peace,
Diane

Setting up

Xairete!

My name is Diane, and I'm going to be helping out with this blog for the Hellenic Temple of Apollon, Zeus, and Pan. 

In the interest of making it easier to embed links in blog posts that describe some of the basics of the festivals we observe regularly, I'm going to create a series of short posts to hold that information, much of which is also found on the Temple website.  These entries will be backdated to the day before this blog actually launched, in the interest of not taking up people's dashboards as they are posted.

New Blog!

Xairete!

I have started a new blog for the temple which has been more complicated than I originally thought but it's finally up and running! This particular blog will be for the Hellenic Temple of Apollon, Zeus and Pan's newsletter and my friend Diane has graciously accepted to maintain it so that it is regularly updated. I give thanks to her for that and you should be seeing posts pretty soon. The blog is still in its beginning stages but as we continue to grow and develop as a temple the blog will continue to do the same. Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Remember if you are interested in the temple, send me an email at neokoros@htazp.org! We're always glad to hear from you!

Peace,

Hier. Timotheos Anderson

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day

Earth Day is a secular holiday focused on preserving the natural environment of our planet.  It seems only natural to honor Gaia on this day.  Ways to do this range from a simple libation to a blessing of new plants for the season to an environmental project such as beach cleanup.

Olympieia

The Olympieia honors Zeus as the King of the Gods and was the founder's festival of Zeus's temple at Olympia. One way to celebrate is with a feast and games in His honor with a prize given to the winner.

Olympieia 2015

Anadikia

At the start of our spiritual year, we hold a festival called the Anadikia or the Great Noumenia.  Over the years, this has evolved into a retreat at the Temple, including offerings to our spiritual ancestors from Ancient Greece as well as our personal ancestors and sacrifices to the Olympians, Nature Gods, and Khthonic Gods.

Anadikia 2011

Anadikia 2012

Anadikia 2013

Anadikia 2014

Anadikia 2016

Anadikia 2017

Diisoteria

The Diisoteria celebrates the end of the year and addresses the Patrons of the Temple as well as Hekate and Hermes, thanking Them for the blessings of the past year and for the blessings of the year to come. A cake is offered in the shape of an equal armed cross symbolizing the crossroads.

Panaphobeia

The Feast of Fear honors Pan as the God who both rules and relieves Panic. During the festival, worshipers discuss with each other their own fears, and images, tokens or masks are made to represent these fears. Sometimes a dream incubation ritual is done at home in preparation for the festival.

After the theoxenia is over, each participant goes home and uses the mask in a personal ritual to Pan, where they offer their representation to Him asking that He help them face their fear (usually in a dream or guided meditation). The festival closes with a drum circle in honor of Pan giving thanks for His assistance.

Panaphobeia 2011 (no group ritual on account of Hurricane Irene)

Panaphobeia 2012 (not held due to temple moving)

Panaphobeia 2013

Thargelia

The Thargelia honors the birthday of Apollon and Artemis. It is a purification festival, where one or more dolls are consecrated as a Pharmakhos (scape-goat) and passed around the circle during ritual. The participants place all of their negativity magically upon the doll(s), which are then burned.

This ritual is followed by a spiritual bath (where blessed waters are poured over the heads of individuals so that Apollon can grant healing. When purification has been achieved, offerings of cakes are given to Apollon and Artemis. A traditional offering, called thargeloi, would be bread with vegetables baked into it. As a modern adaptation, sometimes vegetable calzones are offered.

Thargelia 2011

Thargelia 2012

Thargelia 2013

Thargelia 2014

Thargelia 2015

Thargelia 2017

Philokhoria

The Philokhoria is a celebration on the Summer Solstice which incorporates a myth by Callimachus. In the myth, Artemis dances and her dancing is so beautiful that Helios (the God of the Sun) stops in the sky to watch and the days get longer. In the festival, there is a dramatization of the myth which includes a modern ending where the other Gods try to find a way to get Helios to continue on His path again so that things can return to normal.

At the Hellenic Temple of Apollon, Zeus, and Pan, we celebrate this festival with a theoxenia to Artemis and Apollon, followed by games and dancing, and on one occasion, the dramatization of the myth through the use of puppets. Along with Apollon and Artemis, Helios, the nymphs, and the muses are honored with offerings.

This festival was created by Hiereia Thista Minai of the Tempe of Artemis at Cataleos.

Philokhoria 2011

Philokhoria 2015

Philokhoria 2016

Philokhoria 2017


Delphinia

For the festival of Delphinia, we make offerings of wool to Apollon as the god of Dolphins, who guides ships safely home. Sometimes we save these offerings of wool, wrapped onto branches, for use at Puanepsia to create eiresioni.

On this date, a sacrifice of fish is given to Apollon, asking that He protect our loved ones who may be overseas and to others who have suffered damage from flooding and great storms. Other offerings may include images of dolphins or donations to organizations that support them in some way. In times of peace, this is a time to thank Apollon for helping our loved ones return to us.

We also often honor the love of Apollon and Hyacinthos at this time. Though the Spartan Hyacinthia was held in early summer, this is the season during which the flower Apollon creaetd from Hyacinthos' spilled blood is blooming in this region, hence the timing. In 2013, this aspect was moved to the Eiarinia, again because the hyacinth flowers were more abundant at that time.


Delphinia 2011

Delphinia 2012

Delphinia 2013

Delphinia 2014

Delphinia 2015

Delphinia 2016

Delphinia 2017

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Festival of Zeus Xenios

Zeus Xenios rules over hospitality and maintains the boundaries that make good neighbors.  During this festival, we honor Zeus Xenios and all the foreign Gods.

Zeus Xenios 2014

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Eiarinia/Spring Festival

At the turn of the seasons from Winter to Spring, we celebrate Persephone's return from Hades' realm and Demeter's rejoicing seen in new growth of plant life.  We also acknowledge Artemis and Pan in their relationship to the wild and domesticated animals respectively who begin to be more active during this season.

Eiarinia 2012

Eiarinia 2013

Eiarinia 2014

Eiarinia 2015

Eiarinia 2016

Eiarinia 2017