As a basic viewpoint, Elaion believes that the Mysteries need not be pursued; they are not a spiritual ‘formula’ that experimentation will eventually rediscover. That said, we also acknowledge that it's a festival many have been drawn to--both then and now--and we want to give our members a chance to celebrate it in a way that is as Recon as possible once you accept that we know far too little about it to ever accurately be so. Since the proceedings of the Eleusinian Mysteries were kept secret in fear of the punishment of death, we will never be able to restore these rites. But we do know a few basics and we have formulated our celebration accordingly. Please read through all information as well as the rituals before deciding to join.

The Eleusinian Mysteries (Ἐλευσίνια Μυστήρια) had festivals throughout the year, which were tied to agriculture through Demeter's refusal to perform her duties as an agricultural Goddess while her daughter Persephone is with Hades, and to the afterlife and Underworld through Persephone's return to the surface of the earth after Her mandatory stay with Hades has ended. Initiation ceremonies were held every year at Eleusis. Of all the mysteries celebrated in ancient times, the mysteries at Eleusis were assumed to be of great importance to a large portion of the ancient Hellenes. The cult itself likely had origins dating back to the Mycenean period of around 1600 to 1100 BC, and it is believed that the cult of Demeter Herself was established in 1500 BC.

The Eleusinian Mysteries consist mostly of two festivals, but the worship of Demeter and Persephone consist of a cycle of seven festivals: the Greater Mysteries (13-23 Boedromion), the Proerosia (6 Pyanepsion), the Stenia (9 Pyanepsion), the Thesmophoria (11-13 Pyanepsion), the Haloa (26 Poseideon), the Lesser Mysteries (20-26 Anthesterion), and the Skiraphoria (12 Skirophorion). These are placed in sequence of the Athenian year.

Mythologically, the foundations of the Eleusinian Mysteries can be found in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. Within the hymn, Demeter travels the globe in her grief over losing Her daughter. She eventually settles at the home of Keleus. Demeter plans to make one of his sons immortal in return for his hospitality but She is interrupted. Instead, she tells Keleus to build Her a temple and altar so she can teach human beings the knowledge they need to have a good life.

The Mysteries were obviously celebrated to honor Demeter--Demeter Eleusinia, specifically. Through the honoring of Demeter, the ancient Hellenes prayed for a good harvest, and through the worship of Persephone--Kore--those who were initiated in the Mysteries assured they would be looked upon favorably in the Afterlife.

For those who wish to join us, the Eleusinian Mysteries will be a ten day event, starting on September 17th with a rite meant to emulate the walk to Eleusis from Athens that all initiates eventually undertook. The procession would have started from the shine of Iakkhos, and Iakkhos was invited to come along to Eleusis by those in the procession. The mystai would sacrifice at all shrines along the way. The mystai would arrive in darkness, or at least guided by torchlight, as Demeter searched for Her daughter with a torch in hand. Upon arrival, sacrifices were made to Demeter. After undertaking this rite, we encourage everyone articipating to put on a króki. Króki were pieces of string (wool), worn around the wrist. The initiates of the Mysteries recieved yellow ones on the way to Eleusis.

For the continuation of the days, you can make daily sacrifices to Demeter and Persephone, as laid out in the rituals provided. All have a different character and different steps to undertake so reading through them ahead of time is quite important. While not mandatory, we also encourage those who join to potentially limit or cut out their intake of pomegranates, apples, eggs, fowls, and fish as the ancient Hellenes would have done for the duration of the Mysteries.

Then, we have prepared a rite for the Epidauria. The Epidauria was a festival of Asklepios placed smack in the middle of the Mysteries--exactly six months after the other major festival of Asklepios in Athens: the one during the Greater Dionysia. The day was named after Asklepios healing centre to the south at Epidauros. It was said that on this day, the cult of Asklepios and Hygeia joined the Eleusinian Mysteries rites in Athens.

What, exactly, happened during the Epidauria is unclear as discussing the rites that took place at Eleusis carried a death sentence, but I think we can safely say that the rites at Eleusis involving Asklepios were most likely similar to the rites to Asklepios that took place at other places--including Epidauros. What we do know is that the rites of sacrifices were held at Demeter’s Eleusinion temple in Athens to honour Asklepios, His daughter Hygeia, and Demeter and Persephone, who also were revered as healing deities.

Asklepios' worship almost always included a 'night watch'; a night time period of meditation and contemplation at a temple to Asklepios; the Asklepion. the initiates would most likely sit, contemplate, and cleanse themselves of ailments, distress, and anything that might distract them form the proceedings to follow. The temple of Asklepios was built near the enclosure of a sacred spring in a small cave and it included an abaton, a sleeping hall sacred to Asklepios where initiates could sleep while watched over by priests of Asklepios who prayed to Asklepios to visit these initiates in their sleep and give them messages intended to heal and cleanse. The following morning, initiates would tell their dream to a priest of Asklepios or Hygeia, called 'therapeutes'. The initiate would then be encouraged to put the advice he or she had gotten into practice. We ask you to take part in this night time practice and follow it up with sacrifices to Asklepios and His daughter the day after.

The day after the epidauria was the day the initiates would have traveled to Eleusis. We moved this to the start as a way to introduce you to the Mysteries themselves, but for the ancient Hellenes, this was a walk that ended in darkness, with a torch lit procession to the shrine of Demeter and an offering that was not burned but buried. In the case of the ancient Hellenes, this was most likely a pig but we leave it to you what you want to offer to the Goddess.

We can say with a relative degree of certainty, that the day before the actual initiation was a day on which the initiates fasted in preparation of the main initiatory rite that took place in the nighttime hours of the next day. If you wish to join us for that fast, we would encourage you to stop eating at dusk on 1 October and consume nothing but water (or juice, if you need to!) until after the main rite that takes place in after dusk on 21 September, once it's completely dark out.

While the Eleusinian Mysteries were held largely out of gratitude for the agricultural knowledge provided to us by Demeter, the ancient Hellenes became initiates for an entirely different reason: to be looked more favourably upon by the Theoi in death. Through the worship of Demeter and Persephone, participants hoped that Persephone would talk to Her Husband and the Judges of the dead. It is this focus that all rituals have: the rites of being initiated into the Mysteries in order to be well taken care of after death.

After the main initiatory right, the festival winded down. It's quite possible the initiated didn't sleep throughout the night of their initiation and the attested sacrifice to Demeter and Persephone the next day, we feel, was most likely done at dusk. Feel free to hold it at the standard PAT ritual time of 10 AM EDT, though. the focus of this sacrifice was the complete tipping out of two jugs of water onto the eath by the initiated, one to Demeter and one to Persephone, most likely in gratitude of the experience and knowledge gleamed the previous night.

The following day, we are unsure of what happened, exactly, but we take it to be a resting day and have prepared a simple rite to the Theoi for it. Day nine is another, general, rite, but we encourage you--as the initiated were--to add prayers and hymns to the Theoi you feel closest to to it with the goal of reestablishing the connection with Them after being so immersed in rites with a Kthonic character.

On the final day, we have prepared a closing rite which thanks the Theoi for guiding you on this journey and has you take off the króki you tied around your wrist on the first day. This will signal the end of the Mysteries.

To make things easier, we have laid out a time table:

  • September 6 / 15 Boedromion: starting ritual 
  • September 7 / 16 Boedromion: purification rite
  • September 8 / 17 & 18 Boedromion: sacrifices to Demeter and Persephone / prayers to Asklepios for prophetic dreams and healing (nighttime)
  • September 9 / 18 Boedromion: Epidauria ritual
  • September 9 / 19 Boedromion: sacrifices to Demeter (nighttime) (fasting day)
  • September 10 / 20 Boedromion: initiation rite (nighttime) 
  • September 11 / 20 Boedromion: tipping out of water jugs to Demeter and Persephone
  • September 12 / 21 Boedromion: sacrifices to Demeter and Persephone 
  • September 13 / 22 Boedromion: sacrifices to Demeter and Persephone + personal sacrifices
  • September 14 / 23 Boedromion: closing rite

  • We truly hope you will join us for this event. You can share your experience with the community here and all rituals can be found here. Note, these are ALL rituals, eleven of them in total. One for every day, plus one extra. Read the explanation above and see the schedule for clarification. It is highly encouraged you read through them before the Mysteries start! We are very excited about the opportunity of offering this experience to you and we hope you will find a glimmer of what the ancient Hellenes might have experienced during the most anticipated days of the year.
    An underwater ruin that could be the remains of a public building situated near the port of Salamis in antiquity – possibly one seen and mentioned by the traveler and geographer Pausanias in the 2nd century AD – is gradually emerging following an archaeological investigation of Ambelakia bay near the island.

    Salamis is the largest Greek island in the Saronic Gulf, about 1 nautical mile (2 km) off-coast from Piraeus and about 16 kilometres (10 miles) west of Athens. The traditional etymology of Salamis derives it from the eponymous nymph Salamis, the mother of Cychreus, the legendary first king of the island. A more modern theory considers "Salamis" to come from the root sal 'salt' and -amis 'middle'; thus Salamis would be the place amid salt water.

    When the Persians invaded Greece in 480 BC, they sacked Athens and marched across the mainland after defeating the Hellenes at Thermopylae. The Persian navy then sought to destroy the rest of the Hellenic force in the naval battle at Salamis. If the Persians won at Salamis, Hellas would be lost, and so the site is of great historical value.

    A culture ministry announcement issued on Monday said that a large and robust structure constructed of stone plinths, roughly 13 meters long, is traced in the mud beneath the water. The find is located a short distance from the more contemporary 48-meter pier, built before 1900 using ancient building materials, that stands out in the northern section of Ambelakia bay.

    "It is, in all likelihood, the base (with strong localized foundations in its southern section) of a public building construction."

    The shape of the foundations, other architectural elements and movable finds located on the site, combined with the earlier nearby find in 1882 of a marble pedestal for a statue with a dedicatory inscription, lead to the initial conclusion that the building was either a temple or stoa used in the later Roman era but possibly built earlier, in the late Classical or Hellenistic eras.

    The new finds were revealed during the second phase of a underwater survey along the historically important eastern coast of the island of Salamis, taking in the Ambelakia bay, the port of the Classical-era city of Salamis controlled by Athens, which served as the main gathering place of the united Greek fleet before the Battle of Salamis in 480 B.C., as well as the region off the Kynosoura peninsula in the north of the island, where the most important Nike monuments are situated.

    "[The geophysical survey in the Kynosoura area yielded a] large volume of high-quality digital data, the processing of which is expected to shed light on the paleogeographic development of the region and the location of targets of archaeological significance."

    The aim of the research is to trace the Classical-era coastline of the island and put together the region’s coastal paleogeography, while also revealing possible archaeological finds resting on the seabed or hidden beneath it. It is part of a three-year cooperation program between the Underwater Antiquities Ephorate and the Institute of Underwater Archaeological Research (IENAE), led by Dr. Aggeliki Simosi and Ioannina University professor Dr. Yiannos Lolos, with the participation of the Patras University’s Laboratory of Marine Geology and Physical Oceanography.
    Ancient Hellenic mythology is full of creatures, and many of them are part human, part animal. A short overview of the most prominent today. We don't know, exactly, why hybrid creatures are so often depicted in (Hellenic) mythology, by the way. Some say it's just entertainment, others that it's a way to relate with our more "animalistic" side. The ancient Hellenes were very aware of the fact that societal rules were all that distinguished humans from animals, which might explain why these hybrids were considered so terrifying!

    The Centaur
    Centaurs are depicted as half man, half horse; having the torso of a man extending where the neck of a horse should be. They were said to be wild, savage, and lustful, and in very old Hellenic artwork, they were often depicted as fully human, with a horse's end added to them. Somehow (prior to Harry Potter, anyway), Centaurs ended up being regarded as cute and cuddly, but most Centaurs in the ancient myths were very scary, and very dangerous.

    The Chimera The Chimera is described as a composite creature, with the body and maned head of a lion, a goat's head rising from its back, a set of goat-udders, and a serpentine tail. There was only one, and it was slain by Bellerophon, but that does not have to mea anything in dreams.

    In Hellenic mythology, Echidna was a half-woman and half-snake who lived alone in a cave. She was the mate of the fearsome monster Typhon, and known primarily for being the mother of monsters, including many of the most famous monsters of Hellenic myth.

    The Harpyiai (Ἁρπθιαι) were the spirits of sudden, sharp gusts of wind. They were known as the hounds of Zeus and were despatched by the god to snatch away (harpazô) people and things from the earth. Sudden, mysterious dissappearances were often attributed to the Harpyiai. They are (most often) consdered the daughters of Thaumas and Elektra. They are depicted as birds with the head of a woman.

    The Gorgons
    The most famous of Gorgons is undoubtedly Médousa (Μέδουσα). In ancient Hellas, however, Médousa was one of three sisters, Khthonic daímōns called Gorgons. They were named Médousa, Stheno (Σθεννω), and Euryale (Ευρυαλη), and were born to the ancient marine deities Phorkys (Φόρκυς) and Keto (Κητώ), his sister. They were part of the Phorcides (Φόρκιδες), the offspring of Phorkys. Their sisters were Echidna (Ἔχιδνα, half woman, half snake), the Graiai (Γραῖαι, 'old women', sharing one tooth and one eye), and Ladon (Λάδων, the dragon serpent who guarded the golden apples in the garden of the Hesperides).

    The Hippalectryon The Hippalectryon was a beast with the foreparts of a horse and the tail, wings and hind-legs of a rooster.The creature occurs only in early Athenian vase painting, and may be based on an early artistic rendering of the winged horse Pegasos. It is awesome, however, and you cannot tell me that a creature that looked like that would not scare you half to death if it came upon you.

    Mantikhoras (Μαντιχορας) were Persian monsters with the body of a lion, the face of a man, and a spike-tipped arrow-shooting tail. The name 'Manticore' may have been derived from a Persian word meaning 'man-eater', and that did seem to be a favored past time of the creature.

    Minos, king of Krete, requested Poseidon raise a bull from the sea, which the king promised to sacrifice; but when Minos refused to do so, Poseidon caused his wife Pasiphaê to fall in love with the bull. The child that came from this union was deformed in such a way that he had the head of a bull and the body of a man. It was locked in the labyrinth beneath the the palace, and eventually vanquished by Theseus.

    Ophiotaurus, or Tauros OphisThis serpent-bull is a terrifying monster that deserves mention on the list. It was born with the foreparts of a black bull and the tail of a serpent and was slain by an ally of the Titanes in their search for a victory against Zeus during the Titanomachy.

    Satyrs weren't considered evil, but they were definitely dangerous and wild. The satyrs were considered constant companions of Dionysos and had goat-like features and often permanent erections.

    The Sirens are dangerous creatures who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. Sirens were believed to combine women and birds in various ways. In early Greek art, Sirens were represented as birds with large women's heads, bird feathers and scaly feet. Later, they were represented as female figures with the legs of birds, with or without wings, playing a variety of musical instruments, especially harps.

    A sphinx is a mythical creature with the head of a human, the haunches of a lion, and sometimes the wings of a bird. It is mythicised as treacherous and merciless. Those who cannot answer its riddle are killed and eaten. This deadly version of a sphinx appears in the myth and drama of Oedipus, for example.
    Have you ever heard of Herostratus (Ἡρόστρατος)? He was a 4th century BC Greek arsonist who was all but erased fro history because he expressed that his reason for doing what he did was personal fame throughout the ages. Who was this man? What did he light on fire? Let me tell you a story.

    Little is known about the life of Herostratos, though he was probably someone of low social standing. On the day Alexander the Great was born in 356 BC, Herostratos decided to burn down the temple of Artemis at Ephesus. The site had been of sacred use since the Bronze Age, and the original building was destroyed during a flood in the 7th century BC. A second temple was commissioned by King Croesus of Lydia around 560 BC and built by Kretan architects including Khersiphron, constructed largely of marble, and measuring 337 feet long and 180 feet wide with its pillars standing 40 feet tall. The sculpted bases of the pillars contained life-sized carvings and the roof opened to the sky around a statute of Artemis. This second temple was included on an early list of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World by Herodotus in the 5th century BC, and was well known to many people in the ancient world. This was also the temple Herostratos destroyed. Plutarch mentions the account in "Alexander":

    "[...] Be that as it may, Alexander was born early in the month Hecatombaeon, the Macedonian name for which is Loüs, on the sixth day of the month, and on this day the temple of Ephesian Artemis was burnt. It was apropos of this that Hegesias the Magnesian made an utterance frigid enough to have extinguished that great conflagration. He said, namely, it was no wonder that the temple of Artemis was burned down, since the goddess was busy bringing Alexander into the world." [3.3]

    So, what happened? Why did he do it? Well, Herstratos was captured and tortured on the rack, where he confessed to having committed the arson in an attempt to immortalize his name. Valerius Maximus, in the 1st century AD, recounts in "Memorable Doings and Sayings":

    "Here is appetite for glory involving sacrilege. A man was found to plan the burning of the temple of Ephesian Diana so that through the destruction of this most beautiful building his name might be spread through the whole world. This madness he unveiled when put upon the rack."

    To dissuade those of similar intentions, the Ephesian authorities not only executed Herostratos, but attempted to condemned him to a legacy of obscurity by forbidding mention of his name under penalty of death. However, the ancient historian Theopompus mentions the name of Herostratus in his Philippica, and it appears again later in the works of Strabo. The latter, in his "Geography" also mentions what happened next:

    "Chersiphron was the first architect of the temple of Diana; another afterwards enlarged it, but when Herostratus set fire to it,40 the citizens constructed one more magnificent. They collected for this purpose the ornaments of the women, contributions from private property, and the money arising from the sale of pillars of the former temple." [XIV. I]
    It's been a very good time for Greece these last few days, at least when it comes to the recovery and return of stolen archaeological items. Let's do a little round-up, shall we?

    Marble fragment lifted from Ancient Olympia 80 years ago returned
    A stolen fragment of a marble gutter, which was taken from the archaeological site of Ancient Olympia and illegally taken to Germany, has been returned by a German citizen, the Ministry of Culture announced.

    The ancient artefact was delivered to the office of the Greek Embassy in Berlin by a German, who said that it was probably transferred from the Stadium of Ancient of Olympia to Germany in the 1930s.

    The director of excavations in Olympia, Reinhard Senff, was also notified and the fragment was transferred by plane to Athens on August 10 and then to Ancient Olympia to the Archaeological Museum. Following a first inspection it is believed to be part of a gutter.

    Parts of an advanced network of water pipes and gutters, used for irrigation purposes and the draining of rainwater, are still visible today in Ancient Olympia.

    Six men charged with illegal diving for antiquities off coast of southern Greece
    The Greek coastguard announced the arrest of six Greeks on suspicion of illegally diving for underwater antiquities off the coast of Mani near Gythio, in the Peloponnese.

    The arrests were made following a tip-off that six individuals were searching for ancient artifacts around a sunken Roman shipwreck at Limeni, eastern Mani.

    Arriving at the scene, coast guard officers located six Greek men, aged 50, 49, 47, 45, 42 and 34 years old respectively, in a vehicle. After searching the vehicle, they found scuba diving gear and archaeological artifacts that were sent for evaluation to the Underwater Antiquities Ephorate.

    All six suspects were led before a public prosecutor and charged with violating laws on the protection of antiquities and cultural heritage, while their diving equipment was confiscated.

    Kythera reveals more items from Elgin’s antiquities smuggling operation
    Greece’s Ministry of Culture have announced the discovery of more treasures from the legendary shipwreck Mentor in Kythera, which includes chess pieces, tobacco pipes, vials, and even a toothbrush as uncovered by marine archaeologists at the underwater excavations.

    The Mentor was the ship on board which Britain’s Lord Elgin smuggled the stolen Parthenon Sculptures as well as fragments of other Greek monuments. In efforts to salvage the precious finds, Elgin called on Kalymnos sponge-divers to haul up whatever they could after the wreck.

    The underwater archaeological excavations were conducted by the Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities on July 8-27 at the Mentor, which went down off the harbour of Avlemonas at a depth of 20m in 1802.

    The fifth year of excavations has brought to light other finds including personal belongings of passengers and crew, coins, musical instrument decorations and two metal buttons depicting an anchor – part of a sailor’s uniform.

    Excavations were carried out with the support of the Kythira Municipality, the Kytherian Research Group, Ilios Shipping Co and the Argo NGO.
    We are proud to announce that Pandora's Kharis members have come through for Mrs. Beazoglou's Magnificent Mythology. Together, they have raised $ 80,- to help support this very worthy cause. Thank you very much!

    Mrs. Beazoglou is a teacher at the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy in Hartford, CT, USA. This year her students will be reading the "The Lightning Thief." This fantasy-adventure based novel is based on Hellenic mythology. Unfortunately, her students come to school with little background or understanding about Hellenic myths. Beazoglou's goal is to build a classroom library of mythology books for her students to access after she teaches a concept or gives a book talk to learn more about a particular God or myth. It will also allow her students to make connections from "The Lightning Thief" to the old Hellenic myths.

    The students will get reading instruction through a literature circle model. This model is a book club where each student is given a role to be an expert on the assigned chapter. Students will then meet as a group to discuss their findings and dive deeper into the message or theme of each book.The project is for grade 6-8 students. More than half of them come from low-income households.

    From this moment on, the Pandora's Kharis Facebook page is open to pitches. If you do not have Facebook, feel free to pitch your cause in the comments. We will relay the message to the community. Please pitch your cause before September 1st. On to another month of pitching, voting, and giving! 
    You thought we were done, weren't you? Nope! But these will be the last two rituals until the Eleusinian Mysteries, which we will be organizing a sort of ten day PAT festival for. The Kharisteria ritual will be held on Monday. The Boedromia is for Tuesday. Both are at 10 AM EDT. Will you be joining us?

    The Kharisteria
    The Kharisteria takes place on the sixth of the month--a day sacred to Artemis. This festival is another commemoration of a battle, in this case, the battle of Marathon which took place in 490 BC. It was also a festival to pay off a debt to the Theoi. During the battle of Marathon, around 10,000 Hellenes stood their ground against a Persian force between 30.000 and 100.000 men. 192 Hellenes fell, opposite 6.400 Persians. That was quite a victory--especially if you consider that the Hellenes were the attacking side. The casualty numbers are known because the Hellenes set up a memorial for their fallen comrades. The Persian dead were counted for a very specific reason: the Hellenes had promised to the Theoi a sacrifice of one goat for ever Persian killed. In the end, they discovered they'd killed so many Persians that they couldn't find enough goats. A payment plan of sorts was devised, and over the course of thirteen years, roughly 500 goats per year were sacrificed, a practice that was still performed in Plutarch’s day. Plutarch also confirms that the sacrifice took place at Artemis Agrotera’s sanctuary at Agrai.

    You can join the community page for this event here and download the ritual from here. As a personal note, this would be a great day to break out your copy of 300 because that's definitely the spirit of the battle that took place! We hope you join us for the ritual on 28 August, at 10 AM EDT.

    The Boedromia
    The festival that gives its name to the month. It might have been sacred to Apollon, and was thus most likely held on His sacred day--the seventh of the month. The Boedromia might have been another war commemoration. The epithet of Apollon associated with this festival is 'Boedromios', the helper in distress. The origin of the epithet and festival are explained in different ways. According to Plutarch, the name was awarded to Him (and the festival created) because he had assisted the Athenians in the war with the Amazons, who were defeated on the seventh of Boedromion, the day on which the Boedromia were afterwards celebrated. According to others, the name was awarded after the war of Erechtheus and Ion against Eumolpus, because Apollon had advised the Athenians to rush upon the enemy with a war-shout (Boê), if they wanted to win--and they did.

    We have already commemorated many ancient wars but with this ritual, we would like to address the many wars currently taking place in our world. We want to plead the Theoi to bring them to a swift end and bring refuge to the many displaced. We ask that xenia--hospitality--prevail in a time where many would turn these refugees away.

    You can join the community page on Facebook here and the ritual can be found here. We hope you join us on 29 August, at 10 AM EDT.
    Two more PAT ritual announcements today, both for the 29th of August. This time it's a sacrifice to the Erkhian hero Epops and an optional celebration of the dead: the Genesia. Join us for both (in that order) at 10 AM EDT.

    Sacrifice to Epops at Erhia
    In the calendar from Erkhia, the hero Epops received two holókaustoi on the fifth of Boedromion. The victims of the two holókaustoi to Epops were piglets and the sacrifices were to be followed by wineless libations designated. Sacrifices to Epops are known only from the Erkhia calendar. The mythological context of Epops is not clear, but he was a hero, perhaps linked (by Kallimachos) to the conflict between the city-states Paiania and Erkhia.

    We hope you will join us for this sacrifice! The community page on Facebook can be found here and the ritual here.

    The Genesia seems to have been a festival of the dead--especially of dead parents. It was celebrated on the fifth of the month of Boudromion in Athens, but that is all we know for sure. There is reason to believe that the Genesia was panhellenic--although we do not know if all city-states performed the rites on the same day. We are also unsure if the Genesia was a set day for all children to visit their parents' grave and perform sacrifices there, or if there was a public commemoration of all the dead. It's most likely linked to honouring fallen warrior (for which there was a state festival) and it was a day to visit the tombs of deceased family members. The day is also sacred to Gaea, who housed the remains of the dead, and brought fertility and wealth to the living.

    If you have family members--especially parents--to commemorate, we invite you to take part in this ritual. For our community page, please go here. You can find the ritual here.
    Two PAT ritual announcements today: On August 25th at 10 AM EDT, we will hold a PAT ritual for the Plataia, followed by a sacrifice to the heroine Basile on the day after, at the same timeslot.

    The Plataia
    The Plataia (or Plataea) seems to have been a commemorative festival, for the Hellenes fallen at the battle of Plataea. The Battle of Plataea was the final land battle during the second Persian invasion of Hellas. It took place in 479 BC near the city of Plataea in Boeotia, and was fought between an alliance of the Greek city-states, including Sparta, Athens, Corinth and Megara, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I. Some 38,700 Hellenes stood their ground against 300.000 Persians. The Hellenes marched out of the Peloponnesus and the Persians retreated to Boeotia and built a fortified camp near Plataea. The Hellenes surrounded the camp, but refused to enter the bare terrain surrounding the camp. They waited for eleven days, and then found their supplies dwindled. They attempted to retreat, and Persian general Mardonius ordered his forces to pursue them. The Hellenes, however--particularly the Spartans, Tegeans and Athenians--stood their ground, and won a great victory over the Perians. The Persian infantry was slaughtered, and Mardonius killed. Plutarch gives the date for the battle to be the fourth of this month, but also attested that the Athenians commemorated the event on the third. In Boeotia (and especially in Plataea), the remembrance seems to have been held on the fourth.

    Herodotus, in his Histories (9. 52. 1), and Plutarch, in his 'Life of Arestides' both remark the following about what is most likely this battle:

    "The seer slew victim after victim, Pausanias turned his face [historical general of the Persian Wars], all tears, toward the Heraion, and with hands uplifted prayed Kithaironion Hera and the other gods of the Plataian land that, if it was not the lot of the Hellenes to be victorious, they might at least do great deeds before they fell."[Life of Aristides, 18. 1]

    As such we can assume that, besides the fallen, a sacrifice to Hera was also made. For this ritual, you can join us here. The ritual can be found here.

    Sacrifice to Basile at Erkhia
    In the calendar from Erkhia the heroine Basile was given a holókaustos on the 4th of the month of Boedromion. The sacrifice to Basile consisted of a white, female, lamb and was followed by a wineless libation. The colour of the animal is noteworthy, since holókaustoi have commonly been classified as khthonian sacrifices, and it is usually assumed that the victims used in such rituals were black. Basile was also worshipped elsewhere in Attica, but nothing is known of the kind of sacrifices she received at those locations. Basile seems to have been a local heroine. Nothing survives about her deeds, as far as we have been able to find, but she was important enough to warrant her own personal sacrifice--the Erkhian calendar also makes note of collective sacrifices to 'the heroines'.
    For this ritual, you can join us here. The ritual can be found here.
    On the day of the Hene kai Nea, I post a monthly update about things that happened on the blog and in projects and organizations related to it. I will also announce Elaion's coming PAT rituals.

    Changes to the blog:
    • No major changes, but there is a new project in the works for Elaion! Upon request, we've pushed ahead with the publications of all the year's PAT rituals in a handy .pdf book format (that you can even print, if you'd like). No release date yet, it depends on the time I can make available, but somewhere this year for sure!
    • In another, more personal bit of news that I won't be spamming you with too often, my first full-length novel, "Survival Instincts", will be published in March. There is nothing Hellenic in it, but it would really help me a lot if you supported me on social media, either by following or interacting. You can find my website here, and of course social media: Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest. Thank you!
    PAT rituals for Boedromion:

    Anything else?
    With overwhelming votes, Mrs. Beazoglou's Magnificent Mythology has become Pandora's Kharis' Metageitnion 2017 cause. Mrs. Beazoglou is a teacher at the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy in Hartford, CT, USA. This year her students will be reading the "The Lightning Thief." This fantasy-adventure based novel is based on Hellenic mythology. Unfortunately, her students come to school with little background or understanding about Hellenic myths. Beazoglou's goal is to build a classroom library of mythology books for her students to access after she teaches a concept or gives a book talk to learn more about a particular God or myth. It will also allow her students to make connections from "The Lightning Thief" to the old Hellenic myths.

    The deadline to donate is today, August 22, 2017. You can do so by using the PayPal option to the side of the Pandora's Kharis website or by donating directly to Thank you in advance!

    Are you looking for an online shop to buy incenses and other Hellenistic basics from? Try The Hellenic Handmaid on Etsy.

    Absolutely no pressure (I don't even drink coffee, after all), but do you see that little link at the top of the page? That takes you to my Ko-fi page. Once there, you can make a little donation, if you are willing, and Gods bless!
    We are coming upon another festival celebrated in ancient Athens: the Niketeria. Surviving sources date the festival to the third of Boudromion, and it was in honor of one of the most important events in Athens' history: its naming and tutelage by Athena. We will be celebrating it on August 25th at the usual 10 AM EDT.

    Many of us know there was a contest between Poseidon and Athena over who would rule the growing city of Athens (in the name it had before being called 'Athens'), and it is clear who won that contest. The earliest reference to this event we still have access to is from the fourth century BC by Plato, but it does not quite have the poetic touch Ovid's account has. For that reason, I will give the account of Ovid, and build from there. From the Metamorphoses, (trans. Melville):

    "The rock of Mavors [Ares] in Cecrops' citadel is Pallas' [Athena's] picture [in her weaving contest with Arakhne] and that old dispute about he name of Athens. Twelve great gods, Jove [Zeus] in their midst, sit there on lofty thrones, grave and august, each pictured with his own familiar features: Jove [Zeus] in regal grace, the Sea-God [Poseidon] standing, striking the rough rock with his tall trident, and the wounded rock gushing sea-brine, his proof to clinch his claim. Herself she gives a shield, she gives a spear sharp-tipped, she gives a helmet for her head; the aegis guards her breast, and from the earth struck by her spear, she shows an olive tree, springing pale-green with berries on the boughs; the gods admire; and Victoria [Nike] ends the work." [6. 70]

    Ancient Hellenic Neoplatonist philosopher Proklos (Πρόκλος) in 'On the Timaeus of Plato' speaks of this event as well, and notes that there is still a festival held to commemorate this event in his time (between 412 and 485 AD)

     "Farther still, the victories of Minerva are celebrated by the Athenians, and there is a festival sacred to the Goddess, in consequence of her having vanquished Neptune, and from the genesiurgic being subdued by the intellectual order, and those that inhabit this region betaking themselves to a life according to intellect, after the procurement of necessaries. For Neptune presides over generation; but Minerva is the inspective guardian of an intellectual life." [p. 153]

    When this was celebrated, Proklos does not mention, but Plutarch does. One of these is in the Quaestiones Convivales, from the Moralia. Here, he answers the question: 'What is Signified by the Fable About the Defeat of Neptune? And Also, Why Do the Athenians Omit the Second Day of the Month Boedromion?'.

    "While all were making a disturbance, Menephylus, a Peripatetic philosopher, addressing Hylas: You see, he said, how this investigation is no foolery nor insolence. But leave now, my dear fellow, that obstinate Ajax, whose name is ill-omened, as Sophocles says, and side with Poseidon, whom you yourself are wont to tell has often been overcome, once by Athene here, in Delphi by Apollo, in Argos by Here, in Aegina by Zeus, in Naxos by Bacchus, yet in his misfortunes has always been mild and amiable. Here at least he shares a temple in common with Athene, in which there is an altar dedicated to Lethe. And Hylas, as if he had become better tempered: One thing has escaped you, Menephylus, that we have given up the second day of September [Boudromion], not on account of the moon, but because on that day the gods seemed to have contended for the country." [Book 9, question 5]

    Because of this, the official view of Elaion is that the festival of Niketeria--'Victory'--was celebrated not on the second of Boudromion as many modern researchers say, but on the third. The second day, after all, was no longer a part of the month. The question remains why the victory of one Goddess over one God was commemorated at all, and there is no adequate ancient explanation. None of the surviving works mention why and how the festival was celebrated. All we know is that it was noted--it might not even have been a true festival at all. We believe that by omitting the second day, the defeat of Poseidon was omitted, so as not to anger Him. A day later--in a somewhat unrelated fashion to Poseidon's defeat--there was a (possibly somewhat subdued) celebration of the victory of Athena, with sacrifices to Athena, Niké, and perhaps even Poseidon for the many wonderful gifts They had provided--and would hopefully continue to provide--for the city of Athens.

    We will hold a subdued PAT ritual in honor of the Niketeria at 10 AM EDT on August 25th. Will you be joining us? The ritual can be found here and you can join the community here.
    Don't you just want to look at pretty temples sometimes? Just click through and imagine what it could have been like to worship on the site of them? The lovely people over at Greece High Definition agree. They have created an overview of the most famous ancient Hellenic temples and with the list come very pretty pictures. Click on the picture below to visit the site.

    The Acropolis Museum is an archaeological museum focused on the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens. The museum was built to house every artifact found on the rock and on the surrounding slopes, from the Greek Bronze Age to Roman and Byzantine Greece. It also lies over the ruins of a part of Roman and early Byzantine Athens. The museum was founded in 2003, and I have never been there, but yesterday I took a stroll through its collection.

    The Acropolis Museum houses more than 3.000 famous artefacts from the Athenian Acropolis. Located in the historical area of Makriyianni, southeast of the Rock of the Acropolis, the Museum narrates the story of life on the Rock from prehistoric times until the end of Antiquity. The museum has a total area of 25,000 square meters, with exhibition space of over 14,000 square meters.

    A tailor made museum building with extensive use of glass ensures breathtaking views of the Acropolis, the surrounding historic hills and the modern city of Athens and immediate views of the archaeological excavation that lies below the Museum, visible through large expanses of glass floor. With the benefit of the changing natural light, visitors can discern and discover the delicate surface variations of the sculptures and select the vantage point from which to observe the exhibits.

    The archaeological excavation that lies beneath the Museum provides the opportunity to visitors to appreciate both the masterpieces of the Acropolis in the upper levels of the Museum against the remains of the day to day lives of the people that lived in the shadow of the Acropolis over various periods.

    After crossing the ground floor lobby of the Museum, the first collection that lies before the visitor presents finds from the sanctuaries and the settlement which were developed on the slopes of the Acropolis during all historic periods.

    On Level One visitors learn about the history of life at the top of the Rock, from the 2nd millennium BC until the end of Antiquity. On Level Three, visitors are afforded the opportunity to view the sculptural decoration of the Parthenon, the most significant temple of the Acropolis.

    It's going to be a while until I can visit the museum myself, but through the wonders of the internet (and Google), you can already have a look at not only the collection but the museum itself. In order to relax a bit after a stressful day, that's exactly what I did last night. Go grab some tea, put your feet up, and have a look at all the pretty things by clicking the picture above.
    To this day, Spartans are seen as the toughest SOB's of the ancient Hellenic world--and they were! The physical (and often intellectual) prowess of both Spartan men and Spartan women outdid that of those of any other Polis. Why? Because every minute of a young Spartan's life--right up to adulthood--was taken up with becoming the best adult they could be.

    Spartan youngsters faced their first obstacle the second they were born: their father. If their father found a birth defect or otherwise rejected the child, he or she was literally left to the wolves. A child deemed worth raising was raised by its mother until it was seven years old, but boys accompanied their father to the syssitia (τὰ συσσίτια, tà sussítia, dining clubs) where he would sit on the floor and learned what it was like to be a Spartan man through watching and listening.

    The laws of Sparta were developed and written by Lycurgus, a legendary lawmaker who, in the 7th century BC reorganized the political and social structure of the polis, transforming it into a strictly disciplined and collective society. He also developed the stringent military academy of the agoge (ἀγωγή, agōgē), where Spartan boys were trained from childhood to adulthood in three stages: the paídes (about ages 7–17), the paidískoi (ages 17–19), and the hēbōntes (ages 20–29).

    Lycurgus instituted the practice of appointing a state officer, the paidonomos (παιδονόμος, paidonómos, boy-herder) who organized the boys into divisions of about 60 each called agelai (ἀγέλαι, agélai, herds). These were groups of peers of the same age. Most of their time was spent in this compan. The agelai were under the supervision of an eiren (εíρήν, young adult) aged about 20, at whose house the agelai ate.

    Children went barefoot to encourage them to move swiftly, and they are encouraged to learn to withstand the elements by having only one outfit. They were never satiated with food or fed fancy dishes. If the boys wanted more food, they went on hunts or raids. Their stealing was not only allowed but encouraged--but if they got caght, they suffered floggings. If they made a sound during their punishment, they were flogged again. From Plutarch's Life of Lycurgus comes this little titbit:

    "The boys make such a serious matter of their stealing, that one of them, as the story goes, who was carrying concealed under his cloak a young fox which he had stolen, suffered the animal to tear out his bowels with its teeth and claws, and died rather than have his theft detected." [18.1]

    During the day, the boys played ball games, and learned to ride and swim. They studied dance as a kind of gymnastic training for war dances as for wrestling. This was so central that Sparta was known as a dancing place from Homeric times. It is not clear whether they learned to read; Sparta abhorred written records and laws, and prided themselves on not needing them. After dinner, the boys sang songs of war, studied history, and discussed morality with the eiren. He also quizzed them, trained their memory, logic, and ability to speak laconically. They slept on reeds.

    And what of Sparta's girls? The law reforms of Lycurgus also included certain rules and allowances for them. Spartan women were seen as the vehicle by which Sparta constantly advanced. Unlike many other ancient Hellenic girls, they were afforded formal education as well, although it seems they lied at home with their mothers instead of being into room and board like the boys. They also could not use their education to have careers or earn money.

    Spartan girls were forbidden from wearing any kind of makeup or enhancements. The girls would exercise outdoors, unclothed, like the Spartan boys, which was impossible in the rest of the ancient Hellenic world. They also participated in athletics, competing in events like footraces.

    Giving Spartan girls a physical (and mental) education was seen as a guarantee that the strong and fit Spartan women would reproduce, and when they had babies, those babies would be strong warriors in the making. I note the mental aspect because Spartan women of all ages mingled, in public, with Spartan men. Through these meetings, they learned many of the intellectual pursuits of the men and the ancient Spartan women were infamous for their ability to trade conversation and give political commentary. They were known for their razor-sharp wit and outspoken natures.

    Their methods worked: Around 650 BC, Sparta rose to become the dominant military land-power in ancient Hellas and held that position for almost 300 years.
    An archaeological excavation team from Yarmouk University has recently discovered a Hellenistic temple and network of water tunnels in Umm Qais, Atef Sheyyab, president of the archaeology department at the university told the Jordan Times. 

    Umm Qais is a town in the extreme northwest of Jordan, near it's borders with Israel and Syria. It is perched on a hilltop 378 metres (1,240 ft) above sea level overlooking the Sea of Tiberias, the Golan Heights, and the Yarmouk River gorge. It's known for its proximity to the ruins of the ancient Gadara.

    A member of the Decapolis, Gadara was a center of Hellenic culture in the region, considered one of its most Hellenized and enjoying special political and religious status. By the third century BC the town was of some cultural importance. It was the birthplace of the satirist Menippus and one of the most admired Hellenic poets,  Meleager. In 63 BC, when the Roman general Pompey placed the region under Roman control, he rebuilt Gadara and made it one of the semi-autonomous cities of the Roman Decapolis.

    The temple dates from the Hellenistic era (332 BC to 63 BC) and was later reused during the Roman, Byzantine and Islamic eras, Sheyyab said. The temple, built following the Hellenic architectural  design of “Distyle in Antis”, consists of a pronaos (the inner area of the portico of a Greek or Roman temple), a podium and a naos, the holy chamber of the temple. At the temple, the team has found a number of Ionic-order columns that once supported the structure’s roof.

    The team has also discovered a network of water tunnels at the centre of the ancient town, which are separated from the external tunnel that was discovered decades ago in the area, the professor said.
    The network consists of a number of Hellenistic wells and Roman tunnels, he noted, adding that the tunnels lead to a hot bath inside the town.

    The team has taken pottery samples to examine in order to identify the exact date of the temple. The experts will also use them to prepare a blueprint showing the temple’s layout at the time, according to Sheyab.
    Theokritos was a Hellenic bucolic poet who flourished in Syracuse, Kos and Alexandria in the 3rd century BC. His surviving work can mostly be found within an old compendium of 30 poems known as the "Idylls of Theocritus," Many of these works, however, are no longer attributed to the poet. In "Idyll 1" Thyrsis sings to a goatherd about how Daphnis, the mythical herdsman, having defied the power of Aphrodite, dies rather than yielding to a passion the Goddess has inflicted on him. Ift's a lovely song and I would like to share it with you today.

    "‘Tis Thyrsis sings, of Etna, and a rare sweet voice hath he.
    Where were ye, Nymphs, when Daphnis pined? ye Nymphs, O where were ye?
    Was it Peneius’ pretty vale, or Pindus’ glens? ‘twas never
    Anápus’ flood nor Etna’s pike nor Acis’ holy river.

    Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

    When Daphnis died the foxes wailed and the wolves they wailed full sore,
    The lion from the greenward wept when Daphnis was no more.

    Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

    O many the lusty steers at his feet, and may the heifers slim,
    Many the claves and many the kine that made their moan for him.

    Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

    Came Hermes first, from the hills away, and said “O Daphnis tell,
    “Who is’t that fretteth thee, my son? whom lovest thou so well?”

    Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses.

    The neatherds came, the shepherds came, and the goatherds him beside,
    All fain to hear what ail’d him; Priápus came and cried
    “Why peak and pine, unhappy wight, when thou mightest bed a bride?
    “For there’s nor wood nor water but hath seen her footsteps flee –

    Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses –

    “In search o’ thee. O a fool-in-love and a feeble is here, perdye!
    “Neatherd, forsooth? ‘tis goatherd now, or ‘faith, ‘tis like to be;
    “When goatherd in the rutting-time the skipping kids doth scan,
    “His eye grows soft, his eye grows sad, because he’s born a man; –

    Country-song, sing country-song, sweet Muses –

    “So you, when ye see the lasses laughing in gay riot,
    “Your eye grows soft, your eye grows sad, because you share it not.”
    But never a word said the poor neathérd, for a bitter love bare he;
    And he bare it well, as I shall tell, to the end that was to be.

    Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

    But and the Cyprian came him to, and smiled on him full sweetly –
    For thou she fain would foster wrath, she could not choose but smile –
    And cried “Ah, braggart Daphnis, that wouldst throw Love so featly!
    “Thou’rt thrown, methinks, thyself of Love’s so grievous guile.”

    Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

    Then out he spake; “O Cypris cruel, Cypris vengeful yet,
    “Cypris hated of all flesh! think’st all my sun be set?
    “I tell thee even ‘mong the dead Daphnis shall work thee ill: –

    Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

    “Men talk of Cypris and the hind; begone to Ida hill,
    “Begone to hind Anchises; sure bedstraw there doth thrive
    “And fine oak-trees and pretty bees all humming at the hive.

    Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

    “Adonis too is ripe to woo, for a ‘tends his sheep o’ the lea
    “And shoots the hare and a-hunting goes of all the beasts there be.

    Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

    And then I’ld have thee take thy stand by Diomed, and say
    “’I slew the neatherd Daphis; fight me thou to-day.’

    Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

    “But ‘tis wolf farewell and fox farewell and bear o’ the mountain den,
    “Your neatherd fere, your Daphnis dear, ye’ll never see agen,
    “By glen no more, by glade no more. And ‘tis o farewell to thee
    “Sweet Arethuse, and all pretty watérs down Thymbris vale that flee.

    Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

    “For this, O this is that Daphnis, your kine to field did bring,
    “This Daphnis he, led stirk and steer to you a-watering.

    Country-song, more country-song, ye Muses.

    “And Pan, O Pan, whether at this hour by Lycee’s mountain-pile
    “Or Maenal steep thy watch thou keep, come away to the Sicil isle,
    “Come away from the knoll of Helicè and the howe lift high i ’ the lea,
    “The howe of Lycáon’s child, the howe that Gods in heav’s envye;

    Country-song, leave country-song, ye Muses.

    “Come, Master, and take this pretty pipe, this pipe of honey breath,
    “Of wax well knit round lips to fit; for Love hales mé to my death.

    Country-song, leave country-song, ye Muses.

    “Bear violets now ye briers, ye thistles violets too;
    “Daffodilly may hang on the juniper, and all things go askew;
    “Pines may grow figs now Daphnis dies, and hind tear hound if she will,
    “And the sweet nightingále be outsung I ’ the dale by the scritch-owl from the hill.”

    Country-song, leave country-song, ye Muses.

    Such words spake he, and he stayed him still; and O, the Love-Ladye,
    She would fain have raised him where he lay, but that could never be.
    For the thread was spun and the days were done and Daphnis gone to the River,
    And the Nymphs’ good friend and the Muses’ fere was whelmed I ’ the whirl for ever."
    A small catch-you-up news post today: Greece asks EU for the return of the Parthenon Marbles as part of Brexit, and the discovery of a 2000-year-old road in Western Turkey

    Greece asks EU for return of Parthenon Marbles as part of Brexit
    Greece asks EU for return of Parthenon Marbles as part of Brexit

    For over three decades, Greece has repeatedly called on the British Museum to return the 2,500-year-old marble sculptures that once adorned the Parthenon and have been the subject of dispute since they were illegally removed and sold by Lord Elgin to the British Museum in 1817. Now, with Brexit negations going strong, the Greek government is requesting that the ongoing issue of the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece be made a part of it. Greece cites EU treaty law as the foundation of its claim. European Parliament member Stelios Kouloglou adds:.

    “Brexit negotiators must take into account the need to protect European cultural heritage… The Parthenon Marbles are considered as the greatest symbol of European culture. Therefore, reuniting the marbles would be both a sign of respect and civilised relationship between Great Britain and the EU, and much more [than] a legal necessity.”

    In response, a European Commission spokesperson said he believed that the Brexit team is not legally obliged to address the issue, citing Articles 3, 50 and 167. “The Parthenon Marbles were removed long before this date, and the EU has no competence in the matter,” Tibor Navracsics, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport said, referring to a directive on the return of unlawfully removed cultural objects which applies to items removed after January 1, 1993.

    A 55-kilometer section of a road that was built 2,000 years ago has been discovered in ongoing excavations of the ancient city of Aigai, located in Turkey‘s Manisa province. Aigai was one of the 12 ancient cities established in Western Anatolia. Assistant Professor Yusuf Sezgin, faculty member at the Celal Bayar University Archaeology Department and head of the excavation team, explained that the team had come across a road dating back to the Roman era in 1st century A.D., which started from the Aegean Sea shore and was once used to facilitate transport between Izmir and Manisa.

    "It is noteworthy that the road is as solid as the first day is was built. Our examination showed that large water discharge channels were constructed under the road to prevent possible flash floods. In addition, we noticed that engravings were carved upon the stone plating to prevent horses from slipping during winter."

    The road was first used as a route for war campaigns, and later for trade caravans, Sezgin explained, noting that it was part of a larger system of paths operated by the Roman Empire, which was famous for building vast networks of roads. Sezgin said that excavation work, which began in 2004, has pointed to evidence that the city became a regional point of economic and cultural attraction during the Hellenistic period in the 3rd century B.C., with the support of the Kingdom of Pergamon, located some 30 kilometers north of Aigai, nestled in the Yunt Mountains of the Aegean region. Sezgin added that he hoped the road would be open for visitors in the upcoming years.
    With overwhelming votes, Mrs. Beazoglou's Magnificent Mythology has become Pandora's Kharis' Metageitnion 2017 cause!

    Mrs. Beazoglou is a teacher at the Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy in Hartford, CT, USA. This year her students will be reading the "The Lightning Thief." This fantasy-adventure based novel is based on Hellenic mythology. Unfortunately, her students come to school with little background or understanding about Hellenic myths. Beazoglou's goal is to build a classroom library of mythology books for her students to access after she teaches a concept or gives a book talk to learn more about a particular God or myth. It will also allow her students to make connections from "The Lightning Thief" to the old Hellenic myths.

    The students will get reading instruction through a literature circle model. This model is a book club where each student is given a role to be an expert on the assigned chapter. Students will then meet as a group to discuss their findings and dive deeper into the message or theme of each book.

    The project is for grade 6-8 students. More than half of them come from low-income households. The goal of the project is $ 340,- and around $180,- has been raised so far. We can do better, can't we? Spread the word and get these kids books!

    The deadline to donate is August 22th, 2017. You can do so by using the PayPal option to the side of the Pandora's Kharis website or by donating directly to Thank you in advance!
    The annual sacrifice at Erkhia to Zeus Epoptes (Εποπτες) was held on 25 Metageitnion. It is a sacrifice to the King of the Gods, and we will celebrate it on August 18th, at 10 AM EDT. Will you be joining us?

    'Epoptes' (sometimes 'Epopteus' or 'Epopetei') is often translated as 'overseer' or 'watcher'; 'to look down upon'. Among the ancient Hellenes, the title of 'epoptes' was used of those who had attained the third grade of initiation, the highest, of the Eleusinian Mysteries; a religious cult at Eleusis, with its worship, rites, festival and pilgrimages open to all Hellenes willing to undergo initiation. The epopteia were--appropriately--charged with overseeing the proceedings at Eleusis, but seemingly received the name mostly because they had beheld the full mysteries of the Mysteries.

    From the calendar we have recovered from Erkhia, we know that the sacrifice to Zeus Epoptes was a pig, burned completely in a holókaustos, without an offering of wine. It cost the Erkhians three drachmas.

    You can find the ritual for the sacrifice here, and if you would like to join our community page for it, come on over to Facebook here. We would love it if you could join us!

    I get a lot of questions from readers, and most of the time, the answers are fairly short. When I feel the question or the reply would be valuable to others as well, I make a post with a collection of them and post them in one go. Today is one of those posts.

    "I recently participated in one of the Elaion PAT rituals. This was my first Hellenismos ritual and it was interesting. Coming from an eclectic Pagan background this was a quite different, but it felt good. I didn't have "honey sweet wine" (mead?) or several bowls for libation but I did the best I could, offering several times khernips. Does each Theoi have Their own offering bowl that is brought out at each ritual or can they be cleaned after each use? Any experience or advise coming from a Pagan background and moving into Hellenismos?"

    The most common style of wine in ancient Hellas was sweet and aromatic, which is what we mean when we say "honey sweet". In ancient Hellas, sacrifices were given to the fire so the smoke could take the sacrifices up to Olympos. If you can't use a fire, feel free to pour all libations into a single bowl. Once the ritual is over, dispose of the libation and wash the bowl. Preferably, the libations are poured into a (small) pit outside

    I came into Hellenismos from a practice of Eclectic Religious Witchcraft and yes, it's definitely different. The best advice I can give you is to embrace repetition and leave as much flair behind as you can. Find the absolute barebones of your religious practice to "detox" from all the embellishments of modern Paganism and build up from there. Oh, and enjoy it!


    "I have been working on refining my practice and have been doing more reading about daily ritual and trying to incorporate certain elements into my daily practice. My question is about Libation. So far as I can tell from my reading is that the Cthonic Gods gets Libation poured on the ground. Others Deities that I have seen seem to get some of the Libation poured on the altar or on the fire. Even some get a bowl. I currently live in an apartment. How could one provide libation in such a setting. I could do a bowl, but do I pour it outside?  Also as a devotee of Aphrodite would you have any specific recommendations of libation (unfortunately I cannot drink alcohol, but could I do something like grape juice and honey?)."

    Wine is the traditional libation liquid; as drinking water was often stagnant, wine was used to purify it, and mask the taste. All men, women and children drank water which had some wine added to it. Wine was believed to be a healer–and it is–so everyone drank it, sometimes more when they were sick. Now, that is the Traditional side of it; what you do as a modern Hellenist is allowed to differ due to the changed from the ancient to the current society. One part of that is finding substitutes if wine is not something you want to consume–or can’t consume.

    As wine pretty much was the ancient Hellenic equivalent of water, water is a good replacement. That said, it may feel a little to plain and personally I enjoy the fact that I libate wine because it has ties to the grape vine and Dionysos. So, as a replacement, I would suggest plain grape juice–as pure and sugarless as you can find it. It still has the same ties to the Gods, but without the alcohol.

    Traditionally speaking—which is what I practice—all Ouranic sacrifices should be burned. Sacrifices to heroes too, by the way, and even some Khthonic sacrifices were burned. The ancient Hellenes burned things (like sacrifices, incense, but also the firebrand to make khernips) because smoke was the only way the sacrifice reached the Ouranic Gods. That’s how the sacrifice traveled to Olympos and how the sacrifice itself became sacred. Pure. Not burning sacrifices, traditionally speaking, is promising the gods sustenance and giving them an empty plate along with a message saying “just imagine it’s food. I’m sure you’ll feel full”. Of course, I–and hopefully They–know it isn’t always possible, but I do advocate burning sacrifices if at all possible. That's also why household worship was mostly practiced outside, by the way: the smoke needs to be able to rise up freely. If you burn your libations, you also won't have a wet bowl at the end Most Khthonic offerings are buried as that is where most Khthonic Gods reside—not in the soil but far below our feet, which is why scooping earth into a bowl and pouring libations into it wouldn't traditionally reach Them.

    All of that said: most of us practice with limitations. A bowl of dirt put on the ground could work to pour libations into for the Khthonic Gods. Pouring libations into a bowl on your altar without burning them and praying really, really hard might please the Ouranic Gods. It's a choice you will have to make, based on the options at your disposal.


    "Hi! Thank you for all you do and for being so informative and helpful in people's practices. You said in an earlier ask if people has suggestions for more YouTube videos to send them. Idk if this would be visually appealing but maybe going over a traditional prayer structure? Another thing is disposing of offerings/ashes. I think you said you give them to Hecate at crossroads but obviously not everyone can do that. Either way I'd be interested to see how you do it! Thank you!"

    I think that might be a good video idea, but I already have a post about prayers (and hymns) too. Offerings and ashes are still sacred to the Theoi, and are to be disposed of in a respectful manner. In ancient Hellas, these were buried in votive pits, on the temenos, the sacred site, be it near a temple or at home. In modern times, this is usually a (shallow) pit dug in the garden where you can dispose of whatever remains after sacrifice. As for the crossroads: a crossroad is by definition a point where two roads meet, but in ancient Hellas it was often seen as any liminal place--a point of transition--from home to street, for example. I place my offerings to Hekate near the gateway from our home to the alleyway that runs past our backyard, for example, as that is a crossroad too.