Thanksgiving Potnia Demeter

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. A day on which to be thankful for the circumstances that have resulted in good things in your life. Primarily food, perhaps, but all good things.

Potnia is a Greek word meaning “Lady” or “Mistress”. It comes from classical Greek, and from Mycenean Greek, and it might ultimately come from the lost Minoan language. It was a title given to Demeter, Persephone, and Artemis, among other goddesses.  I think that Demeter should be the presiding deity over the Thanksgiving Day celebrations.

I placed my new statue of Demeter on a pedestal next to the altar today, and I say this to the Goddess:

Potnia! Potnia! Potnia!

Potnia Demeter!

Hail and thanksgiving to Demeter, Great Goddess.

Praise to Demeter, queen of earth goddesses;  patroness of crops and cultivation; guardian of fields, groves, and gardens, mistress of the growing earth; lady of the grains.

Accept our praise, Great Goddess Demeter, and our thanks for the food which sustains us, and may you grant us abundance.

Praise the Goddess, Potnia Demeter.

Published in: on November 22, 2012 at 12:37 pm  Comments (2)  
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Private Calendars Part 2

Chaos wins and everything changes. The private liturgical calendar that I had outlined previously has come to its end. The only festival days that I have any intention of observing at the moment are March 21 for Wepwawet and April 16 for Apis. These two specific days are the recommendation of an oracle and might be one time events. Anything else I do this year might be on an entirely random basis, guided by the feel of the moment. Then again, I might have an inspiration and devise a new calendar, or revive the old one. Everything is up for grabs right now. I am adrift in a sea of chaotic ideas and possibilities, like a galactic cloud of sparkling stars in many colors. Should I follow this one, or that one?  I like the structured feel of the Roman calendar, but quite a bit of the Roman calendar is very specific to the city of Rome and to a vanished lifestyle which has little relevance to other locations or to modern life. This is even more so for the Athenian and Egyptian calendars.

I may use statues as a guide. I used to have a fabulous collection of statues, perhaps 80 or 90 pieces. This collection was disposed of a couple of years ago when I ran out of money and almost became a street person. A very close call. The only thing I kept was a replica of the Dancing Faun from the house of that name in Pompeii, which I use as a statue of Faunus. During the last several months I have started a new collection, with figures of Apis, Sobek, Sekhmet, Wepwawet,  Hermes, Pan, Hercules, Poseidon, Amphitrite, and Triton. A statue of Athena is on the way, and I am looking for a Zeus. I was just informed that a Zeus statue that I had ordered is not available until May, if then. Aargh! Back to looking, because I want something right now! So, these would be the deities around whom to design a new calendar. Maybe. I created flat icons for Hekate, Ianus, Antinous, and various associates of Antinous.

Published in: on February 25, 2011 at 7:41 pm  Comments (3)  

Private Calendars and Patron Gods

Even the best preserved of the old calendars of festivals and holy days, those of Athens and Rome, are imperfectly known. These ancient calendars refer to gods that are unknown or very little known today, or to cultural and political events that have no relevance to modern society, or to agricultural cycles that are very limited in their geographic location. It has become common practice for people today to create their own sacred calendars that are more relevant to their own interests and to modern life. I have such a calendar myself, which I have followed for more than a year now. It uses the modern months, based on the Roman solar year. I make no attempt to follow the lunar cycles. Quite often I do not even see the moon from one month to the next, so why should I use the lunar cycles to mark the passage of time. The sacred days marked on my calendar are dedicated to the deities to whom I feel the most linked and connected. At a minimum, the observance of a festival day consists of placing an image of the deity next to the altar, and the offering of a candle and a short prayer or hymn. Sometimes I perform a more elaborate ritual, with candles, flowers, decorations, offerings of food and drink, hymns, litanies, prayers, and meditation. The calendar has worked fairly well so far, but is becoming increasingly unsatisfactory. I am thinking of scrapping the whole thing and starting over.

The deities listed on the calendar are those to whom I have a link of some sort or in whom I have a more than common interest. I don’t really have a patron deity as such, a deity to whom I am intensely devoted, although perhaps I should say that I have a whole circle of patron deities, with varying levels of interest. 

Day 1 to Hekate. I used to think of Hekate as a sort of fringe goddess, limited to magick practitioners, and of little relevance to the world of classical Greece. Then, one evening in the summer of the year 2006, Hekate paid me a little visit and I changed my mind. Oh, yes indeed, I changed my mind! I approach Hekate from a Hesiodic perspective, seeing her as a bright and primeval goddess of sky, earth, and sea.

Day 3 to Athena. An oracle recommended that I approach Athena. This has not progressed very far.

Day 4 to Hermes. Problematic. Sometimes I feel that I should have strong links to Hermes, but sometimes I feel that I have disappointed him somehow.

Day 6 to Hercules. A long time ago I tended to think of Hercules as a muscle bound oaf of perhaps questionable divinity. Then one day, while in a museum gallery of Hercules statues, he made himself known to me in a rather startling fashion, and I have been a devoted admirer of him ever since.   

Day 8 to Poseidon, Amphitrite, and Triton. The trinity of the sea. A strong link, but mysterious and undefined. They stand at a door, or point the way to something, perhaps.    

Day 11 to Sobek. Mighty and ferocious, terrifying in his immensity, but kind and gentle to his own, of whom I am one.

Day 13 to Faunus. The link to Faunus has faded somewhat over time , but still persists.

Day 15 to Zeus Ammon. A weak link, slight and mysterious, but definitely a link.

Day 18 to Pan. A new link developing within the past couple of years.

Day 20 to Sekhmet. Fierce and welcoming. I used to think that I should have a special relationship with Bast, since I love cats, but nothing ever developed. Then one day Sekhmet said “I am here” and Bast said “Go to my sister Sekhmet”. So I went.

Day 22 to Apis.  An oracle recommended that I approach Apis. There is a link here, but weak and undefined. Or perhaps subtle. Sometimes I see Apis as a cosmic entity rather than as an earthly entity. The bull of the cosmos in addition to the bull of the Nile.  

I pay honors to other deities during the course of the year, as circumstances call for. I make offerings to Saturn and Ops in December and to Ianus at the beginning of the year. I once had very string links to Flora but those have largely faded away. I still pay honors to Flora during the Floral Games around May 1. Antinous has his own annual cycle of holy days and I observe most of those. Wepwawet is a new addition to my circle of deities. I have not assigned a monthly day for him yet.

Published in: on January 14, 2011 at 3:15 am  Comments (3)