I happened upon this charming and informative clip from Corinne Boyer on the traditional items that would have been used in charms and spells. Corinne also has a great blog entitled Maple Mist Wood, go check her out 🙂
There is a new book just been released by the author Kate Istra Winter on Hellenic Festivals. Having read her previous works , I have no doubt this will also be a great resource. Below is her website .
Triad of the Moon ~ Hecate
When the moon slipped away, shrinking gracefully into it’s own death, there were no festivities.
The nights grew blacker and the mortals guarded themselves against visiting spirits from the Underworld.Hoards of ghosts lead by Hecate and her baying hounds roamed the earth on moonlit nights.Yet she protected these mortals who purified themselves in her name.With faces averted they offered her virtual suppers at the lonely crossroads, the gathering place of spirits.
When Hecate’s rites were observed, the black night’s passed silently one into another. But if the Goddess was defied, she unleashed the power of her wrath and swept over the Earth, bringing storms and destruction.Animals howled in fright, while her ghosts stalked freely.
Hecate’s disturbances were fierce, yet not all mortals feared them.Some long to join her.In the dark of the moon small covens awaited her near drooping willow trees.She appeared suddenly before them with her torch and her hounds, a nest of snakes withered in her hair sometimes shredding, sometimes renewing.Until the new moon lit the sky Hecate shared clues to her secrets.Those whom believed , understood, they saw that form was not fixed , watched humans become animal become tree become human.
They witnessed the power of her favoured herb, black poppy, smilax, mandragora, aconite.Awesome were her skills but always taught the same lesson : Without death there is no life.
Although tattoos are rare on human remains, they seem to be more frequent on female representations. The geometrical decorations commonly adorning Middle Kingdom statuettes are very similar to tattoos found on the mummies of women who lived at the same period. However, the debate about their identification as tattoos is still open and recent discoveries regularly bring new insights to these questions.
“She is the Golden One,
The Mistress of the Goddesses,
She who comes in peace to her seat.
What a feast it is to behold her!
How sweet it is to look at her!
How happy is he who bows down before her because he loves her!
Gods and men acclaim her, goddesses and women play the sistrum for her.
She is the Mistress, the Lady of Inebriety,
She of the music, she of the dance.”
A fascinating article on the tattooed Priestess of Hathor.
This is a very informative post on setting up a devotional altar.
A fascinating post of Hellenic woman dress and style.
Preparation and Set up
Any depictions, statues and items representing the Goddess Artemis.
A small cauldron / pot for the altar fire. A candle will suffice if you are unable to have a fire.
A vessel of khernips and a hand towel – placed next to the main altar.
A jug of water
A small basket / container of barley
A “ hiketeria “ – an olive or birch branch wrapped with white cotton or wool.
A representation of either a goat or a bear.
~ the goat appeals to Artemis as a goddess of sacrifice who is also merciful.
~ the bear appeals to Artemis as the Goddess of wild and dangerous things.
A representation of a woman – preferably made out of clay or alike that you yourself make ( if possible ) this is to represent you!
Two torches – taper candles or small nimbin candles.
Small round cakes – amphiphontes.
~ Amphiphontes are small round cakes meaning shining all round.With little candles around the edge , similar to the modern birthday cake with candles.
Take a steady pace to the ritual area. Carry your container of water and also barley with you. When you enter the space say:
Far Away! Far Away!
Take your water and sprinkle it around the space then do the same with the barley to activate the space and to state that sacred acts shall occur within ( the water acts as a purification and the barley as a sacrifice).You could say something like:
With the barley and water I define and bless this sacred and holy place.
For the Gods!
Light the altar fire – or candle which ever you are using.
The Barley Prayer – grab a handful of barley and throw into the flames of the altar fire, say a personal word to Artemis.
Light your two torches – taper/ nimbin candles.
Light your incense
Set your bear or goat representation upon the altar as “ the sacrifice “
Artemis the Purifier
Three ways she glances at the centre of purification.
For the season of decay has fallen awaiting her hand
Before the rest, before new can come to all things bow.
She shall strike the blow and shall consume the old.
And the great stag shall be shorn , his blood river red.
Artemis I submit before you, Artemis I await the strike,
I am at the doorway, I am at the gates of death for this life.
And so I surrender the flesh to you so that I may continue ,
There are no tears , the old is like a ghost of what was
The old is a shadow with pale eyes like a rag on the wind.
And when girlhood has gone away , ilay the toys before you,
At your altar I lay the maiden things and unfasten the maidens belt.
For I grow to womanhood and prepare for the marriage bed,
I shall then be flushed with light , you happily see me depart.
For you are the transitions of little girls
That they may don the bridal veils.
I have danced for you, and in that dance I have shown my strength.
In that dance I celebrated innocent joys and prepared to release the maidenhead.
So at your altar I shall dance once more as a girl on the brink of womanhood,
I shall be bathed and cleaned in the sacred running pack
Before I step up to the great stones of your sheltered altar.
And so be flushed with light that will glow from within.
As I come before your holy high- dancing, far-leaping fire.
Before you at your altar I shall lay a golden lock of my hair
And there the delicate threads, unbound will be carried o the winds.
Three unravelled sparkling colour so faint, bound for places unknown.
A memento this I leave behind, as I leave the child’s days.
Hail to you Bright Artemis!
Purifier by the shining lake and rushing stream.
By the burning flame of your Bright Shining Torch!
Take the representation of yourself ( the woman ) and place in the centre of the ritual space. Slowly begin to dance around the figure. Dancing in honour of Goddess Artemis, her femininity, her wild nature, her freedom, her empowerment, the shining moon , her illumination, her huntress.
Pick up your “ hiketeria “ an continue to dance , holding it high and low and incorporating into the dance. Infusing the deep connection between yourself and the Goddess.
When you are winding down your dance place your hiketeria upon the altar . Pick up your woman figure and hold in both hands make a slow circle dance around the space. Finishing at the altar. Keep this on your altar as a sign of your power as a woman and of the Goddess.
While the energy is charged and potent , you can do any type of divination or oracular work you wish.
Cakes and Offerings
Take your cakes – amphiphontes to the altar and put aside the first portions for the Goddess.
Pour a libation to her.
Continue on to feast and drink in her honour.
Give thanks to the Goddess Artemis for her presence, guidance and love. And for the joy and empowerment she can bestow upon you.
Dancing in the Moonlight- Understanding Artemis through Celebration by Thista Minai
Artemis the Purifier Hymn from ~ Hymns to the Temple : A Hellenic Book of Prayer by Lykeia.