With Agathós Daímōn today, the celebration of the new month and the new year comes to a close. It was a very wild ride for me. Hene kai Nea was wonderfully cleansing, and I made it through a 28 hour fast on just water with only a minor headache. I remember the first fast I did very well, and it was far more of a challenge. Apparently, fasting is a skill.

Noumenia was of a whole different order: the entire mood was different; festive, light, exciting. I had a wonderful, wonderful ritual and I even built a temporary outdoor altar to honor the Theoi on! It was so wonderful to give sacrifice like it should be done: outside, on an altar, into a blazing fire. I have been managing in my own way, and it is very nice, but this feels right. It's going to be difficult going back to the old way, but unfortunately, this was a vacation situation which made it possible. Until I move, I will have to give sacrifice in my sacrificial offering bowl, but as soon as we find something new, I'm constructing an altar in the back yard.

These sacred days are all the more special to me because they are my first repeats. As the year has passed, I am celebrating the new year, just like I did when I was first starting out. I have come a long, long, way indeed, and yet--some things have not changed. The excitement, and the sense of completion is still there. I still perform the rituals to the best of my knowledge, and I am sure I will look back on them in a year and shake my head with a bemused smile, wondering how I could not have known some of what I did was plain wrong. It doesn't matter; religion is not a sport. Religion is freedom, excellence. To me, it's like the air I breath: it feels like I would die without it.

As I have said repeatedly on the blog, yesterday's ritual was practiced apart together with a wonderful friend of mine who lives in the United States, so I decided to record my ritual, just to show him some of it. Seeing as I had the material, I figured I would share it with you. My apologies for the sound issues--especially during the sacrifice to Artemis--it was supposed to be sixteen degrees Celsius and suddenly, my camera was out in 26 degree weather, full in the sun. Apparently, it will turn you into a smurf on speed when it overheats.

I had four cameras set up, but ended up using only three as one of the cameras overheated almost instantly. It was the first one I put up, so it had been sitting out in the sun for a while. I managed to cover the angles with the other cameras, though. The quality was decent enough, so I edited a few parts together, taking out a lot of the ritual, but trying to keep a sort of red thread going. I stumbled a few times and because I had to do it in English, I had to read off of the paper (something I never do when practicing alone, because I have the often-used hymns and prayers memorized in Dutch), but it didn’t hamper the experience in any way.

[will add subtitles shortly, see description on YouTube for text]
I hope you have all had a wonderful turn of the year and of the Olympiad. I'm really looking forward to another year of learning, sharing, and meeting wonderful people. May the Theoi watch over you and your oikos kindly in the coming year, and may They never forsake you. Gods bless!