Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bouphonia 2013


Hoping you've all had a great couple of weeks. It's been great seeing the spring come into bloom around here.

Today's Festival

Today we celebrated the Bouphonia, a festival that goes back so far that the Athenians apparently were known to wonder just why they were celebrating it. Our modern understanding is a celebration of Zeus as the Protector of Justice and of Law.

As you can see, rather that slaughtering an ox and then stuffing it to pretend it was alive again, we be-ribboned one that had never been alive in the first place.

There is also some evidence that this was also a time for recognizing the city's honored dead. Given that we are celebrating Memorial Day in the United States, it made sense to include this aspect with offerings to our heroes and ancestors.

Coming Events

June 9Panaphobeia
June 23Philokhoria
July 6-7Anadikia/Athenian New Year
July 21Therapeia/Healing Festival
August 10RI Pagan Pride
August 18Founders' Festival

Until next time, have a great couple of weeks!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Thargelia 2013


After a quiet month, we've had a busy couple of weekends at HTAZP, with the Delphinia last Sunday, a naming yesterday, and the Thargelia today.

Decorations on the birthday cake include a sun, a silvery crescent moon that is more visible IRL than in the photo, two arrows, and two bows. Also, apparently Apollon was more interested in having lots of gold sprinkles on His side of the cake, as that was so not planned.

Today's Festival

We started the afternoon with a cleansing ritual utilizing a pharmakos made of raffia. This was followed by a break to ice the cake, which had been cooling during the cleansing, and also to wait for the thargeloi (aka calzones with vegetable filling, our modern interpretation) to be delivered. This led to some amusing speculation as to whether any enterprising Hermes followers might have developed a fast food/delivery equivalent to make a few dinars back in ancient Hellas. Meanwhile, the ritual space was set up and ready to go.

We offered the thargeloi, birthday cake, and wine for thusia and theoxenia, feasted, and then had a rousing game of Hi-Low-Jack aka Pitch.

We had some discussion around plans for future years, including the possibility of incorporating some form of archery, though probably (given our collective lack of experience and skill in this area) using some type of foam "arrows."

Thoughts on Thargelia from the editor

When I try to explain the import the Thargelia has for me as a festival, I sometimes find myself describing it as "Christmas and Easter all wrapped up in one."  Now, in terms of the surface rituals, there is little in common to be seen. There are no trees (that's the Dendraia) or gifts for children (that's the Diasia) or rabbits and eggs (that's the Eiarinia). But theologically and mystically, I find some resonance there that helps me explain what this festival means to me.

At the most obvious level, it's the birthday of not just one but two Deities, Apollon and Artemis. On a more mystical level, there is the purification aspect, which correlates to the period of fast and sacrifice leading up to Easter, followed by celebration, circling back round to the birthday and also encompassing that Spring is now in full bloom, where it was just starting at the Eiarinia. These are the reasons I find this a helpful comparison to make when I start explaining to someone outside Hellenismos what this festival means to me.

Do you have any thoughts on this festival? What are its meanings for you? How do you observe it, or if you do not, what is the reason behind that choice?

Coming Events

The next festival will be the Bouphonia on May 26th. Looking further ahead, June 9th will be the Panaphobeia or Feast of Fear and June 23 the Philokhoria. Then the year will turn and we'll have our annual Anadikia/Athenian New Year Retreat on the weekend of July 6-7.

Until next time, have a great month!