The Adeia – a modern festival to Demeter

Historically, it’s often during times of hardships and crisis that new cults would be established and religious innovations would appear. This one is no different. It’s through discussion with @iliosflower that the idea of creating a new festival, one that would more accurately respond to modern problematics, came to fruition. This is what we’d likeContinue reading “The Adeia – a modern festival to Demeter”

Actual ancient lapidaries or “the ancient Greeks and Romans probably didn’t use crystals the way you think they did”

The Internet being of cyclic nature, I feel like talks about the use of crystals come back to view at least twice a year. I usually don’t pay much attention to those discussions, since they tend to be unfruitful and, to be quite frank, boring. However, the topic of the historicity of linking certain stonesContinue reading “Actual ancient lapidaries or “the ancient Greeks and Romans probably didn’t use crystals the way you think they did””

Making a festival from scratch: the Priapeia

Whoever worships “minor deities” knows the struggle: historical information is scarce, tends to be fragmentary and/or scattered across centuries and locations, and just overall badly documented. Priapus is one of those, who, having joined the pantheon later than most (not before the 3rd century BC) and having had several different forms of worship, albeit allContinue reading “Making a festival from scratch: the Priapeia”

Festivals we know (almost) nothing about – Part 2

This is the second part of this post. Please refer to its introduction for details if you haven’t read it yet. As stated in the disclaimer last time: this list is in no way exhaustive, as I have taken out deme-specific festivals, festivals relating to hero-worship or political events/commemorations. Again, all information comes from ParkerContinue reading “Festivals we know (almost) nothing about – Part 2”

Attempting to set up a “holiday decoration” box

For hellenic reconstructionists, the question of “what do the festivals mean and how did people celebrate?” is very real, especially when the information is fragmentary and doesn’t do justice to the religious diversity of the Ancient World. One of the things that make holidays feel like holidays is symbolic decor. There’s a reason why, whenContinue reading “Attempting to set up a “holiday decoration” box”

Festivals we know (almost) nothing about – Part 1

Once in a while, it’s good to remember that none of our calendars are complete. This is much more obvious with non-Attic/Athenian calendars, and anyone who decides to jump into attempting to reconstruct the cultic calendar of Delphi, Delos, Sparta, Argos etc. will know exactly what I mean, as they are painfully fragmentary (not toContinue reading “Festivals we know (almost) nothing about – Part 1”

The protective function of ancient Greek sanctuaries

It is very tempting to look at the kind of protection sanctuaries granted to people and call it “asylum”. To some extent, it would be correct, but not quite. The ancient world had an institution called asylia, which literally translates as “prohibition against stealing” and guaranteed the safe conduct of the people who went outside ofContinue reading “The protective function of ancient Greek sanctuaries”

Hera the Blossoming

For the last post of this Hera series, I will be focusing on her Antheia epithet. This will be a rather short post, as information is limited, but I hope to cover the bases. Antheia means “blooming” or “blossoming” and is a word obviously closely linked to vegetation, and flowers in particular. While, as anContinue reading “Hera the Blossoming”

Hera Henioche, the charioteer

This will be a short deep dive into the curious epithet of “Henioche”, which translates to “charioteer”. This name is only found in Lebadaea in Boetia and is linked to the oracle Trophonius. In the context of this sanctuary, Hera Henioche received offerings alongside Zeus Basileus (“King”), implying that she was indeed worshipped in closeContinue reading “Hera Henioche, the charioteer”

Hera and her ship models

When I wrote the post about the Samos Heraion, I quickly mentioned this impressive dedication of a boat in the sanctuary, but left out other ship and navigation related offerings that have been discovered there. The conservation state in Samos was expectional (allowing wooden objects to have survived!), which is why it is an importantContinue reading “Hera and her ship models”

Hera in Samos

Why Samos? Samos is an island located on the coasts of Asia Minor (of the coast of Turkey) which became, over time, one of the most important location of Hera cult. Her sanctuary gained in importance most likely thanks to trade. Despite this, the sanctuary has always been a local one and never became pan-hellenic,Continue reading “Hera in Samos”

Throwing barley

I’m again a bit too short on time for a complete post, so I’ve decided to fall back on an article summary (+ some thoughts). Today we will be discussing the ancient custom of throwing barley during sacrifice through an article written by Stéphanie Paul and titled “Les grains du sacrifice: le lancer d’orges dansContinue reading “Throwing barley”

Spiritual protection in the Greco-Roman world

This was this week’s hot topic, so I’m using the opportunity to make some things clear from a purely hellenic and historical perspective. Needless to say I am tired of seeing modern magical concepts being slapped on ancient beliefs and I am not writing this post unbiased. AmuletsEtymologically, the word amulet probably means “something thatContinue reading “Spiritual protection in the Greco-Roman world”

Why personal devotion matters

This week’s post is a commentary of K. A Rask’s article titled “Devotionalism, Material Culture, and the Personal in Greek Religion” published in Kernos, 29 in 2016 (you read the whole thing here). This 15-page article explores the notion of personal devotion in Ancient Greece and highlights the issues of academia on the matter. Yet, this articleContinue reading “Why personal devotion matters”

Dionysus, this winter god

Having been a hellenic polytheist for several years has completely changed my way of considering the year. Because the Attic calendar’s New Year typically falls somewhere in July/August, I naturally consider the first Dionysian event of the year to be the Oschophoria, which I celebrated last month. I’ve often seen people be surprised by theContinue reading “Dionysus, this winter god”

Healing shrines and incubation in Asclepian cult

Someone recently mentionned how cool it’d be to bring back sleeping in temples for healing purposes, which created a “hell yeah, let’s talk about incubation” reaction in me. So yeah, let’s talk about incubation as a practice. However, as always with topics that are linked to health and healthcare, I feel a disclaimer is needed:Continue reading “Healing shrines and incubation in Asclepian cult”

The Werewolves of Arcadia

This is my contribution to adrilechat ‘s Halloween “Haunting Pagan Lore” event. As you can see from the title, I’ve chosen a classic of horror and folklore tales for which many have forgotten the ancient origins. This will be long, so let’s get into it. The myth of King Lycaon While the earliest known exampleContinue reading “The Werewolves of Arcadia”

Priapus hymns

He’s got none. That’s the whole issue. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do with that fact. So far, I’ve honoured him with small prayers that I’d write or make up on the spot. It’s satisfactory but not ideal, as I’m someone who enjoys the formality of reciting/reading anContinue reading “Priapus hymns”

An updated list of Priapus epithets

Because the list on theoi.com is sad af. Let’s start with those actually. On the theoi.com page for Priapus are listed 5 epithets: Ανδροσαθων, Androsathon “man-pricked” Ιθυφαλλος, Ithyphallos “Erect-phallus” Τυχων, Tykhon “Fortune” Θριαμβος, Thriambos “Thriamb” Διθυραμβος, Dithyrambos “Dithyramb” And they’re fine, Ithyphallos and Tykhon are two important ones and I’m glad they’re there. However, it’sContinue reading “An updated list of Priapus epithets”


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