Hair offerings: historical context, purpose and uses

Offerings of hair, locks of hair or ritual hair-cutting is quite a regular occurrence in ancient sources and textbooks discussing various religious customs of the ancient Greek world. It also seems to be a fairly forgotten offering in a modern context, which is why I wanted to delve back in and write this post. IContinue reading “Hair offerings: historical context, purpose and uses”

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”

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”

Aphrodite Epitragia: beyond Aphrodite Pandemos

Often, when one finds this epithet of Aphrodite, it is in reference to the many iconographical depictions of her riding a goat. Such depictions seem to appear towards the end of the Classical era and refer to her role as Pandemos, especially in Athens, which Plutarch explains in Theseus, 18: “When the lot was cast,Continue reading “Aphrodite Epitragia: beyond Aphrodite Pandemos”

Local Cultus 3: Dionysus without grapes

Same disclaimer as my previous post on local cultus: This will not be informative unless you’re interested in how I approach the issues I’m trying to solve. Note that obviously this is stuffed with UPG. The grapevine (vitis vinifera) doesn’t naturally grow in this northern part of the world. While there is some wine productionContinue reading “Local Cultus 3: Dionysus without grapes”

Children in Ancient (Athenian) Festivals

Religion was an integral part of ancient Greek life, and certainly was not kept away from children. If anything, children were important participants in city, household and mystery cult. The introduction of children in city cult also contributed to their integration in the life of the polis. Meanwhile, private cult seems to have been oneContinue reading “Children in Ancient (Athenian) Festivals”

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”

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”

Aphrodite of the Sea

This aspect of hers deserves some more attention. As someone who was raised by the sea, grand-daughter of a sailor and one who fell for an ex-sailor, I’m terribly biased. Aphrodite’s association with the sea is not ignored, and I see it come up often through aesthetics, but I’ve more rarely seen the cultic aspectContinue reading “Aphrodite of the Sea”

Worshipping Silenus part 2: Cult

There’s… not that much to say, unfortunately. Generally, it’s safe to assume that Silenos was worshiped alongside his family, that is the satyrs, nymphs and Dionysus. Thankfully, we have some accounts of individual worship from Pausanias in his Description of Greece (2nd century AD), that we can go through. Note that those are my ownContinue reading “Worshipping Silenus part 2: Cult”