New Moon, Full Moon…Time Flies!

November's Full Moon, shining bright above Coventry

So I haven’t posted for a little while again, mostly because this last week I put my back out whilst moving some furniture whilst attempting to rearrange my temple area. During that time I was laid up in bed on painkillers and muscle-relaxants which were fairly trippy but left me semi-conscious and so the week flew by.

Before then though I had marked the Deipnon, Noumenia but as I was approaching the road to recovery the Full Moon came around too so I attempted to mark it with my Covenant-based Rite of the Full Moon.

This November’s Full Moon marked the first year anniversary since the founding of the Covenant of Hekate and as part of my creative votive offering for the Rite I decided to try baking and decorating an anniversary cake.

I decided to make a marble cake of chocolate fudge and madeira (which I added vanilla and almong extracts too). I tried to create a tricolour marble affect by separating off part of the madeira mix and adding red food colouring but unfortunately this mostly baked out.

Either way, once the cake was baked and cooled I levelled it off and iced it in red and black, creating the CoH symbol centrally with white icing (picking out the equal cross and seven-rayed stars with red/black offcuts). I also picked out the edge of the cake will edible silver ball decorations.

The cake was baked/decorated with intent throughout and the first slice (though I was a tad loath to spoil it) was given – naturally – to Hekate as an offering. I only wished I was more local to some of my Covenant brothers and sisters to be able to share in my creation but I’m sure I’ll repeat a similar endeavour in the future where that will be possible. For the record though, it is rather yummy though I think making it as a sandwhich cake next time would add to the nicety and give it added moisture.

CoH Anniversary Cake

Future posts coming include a couple of book reviews, details/photos of a belated (due to my back) Lampteria celebration, poetry and more!

Hail & Praise the Gods!

An Evening with Dionysos

Saturday night I decided to spend the evening with Dionysos, refamiliarising myself with his unique energy and celebrating his many gifts to mankind. I gathered together a good bottle of wine – conveniently called “Satyr” from the Seleni Estates in New Zealand – with good, simple food: grapes, figs, goat cheese, bresaola, rustic bread and some organic pate. Once everything was together, Dionysos was asked to bless the food and wine and I gave a portion in offering.

Good food and fine wine

“Eiresione brings

All good things,

Figs and fat cakes to eat,

Soft oil and honey sweet,

and brimming wine-cup deep

that she may drink and sleep.”

Whilst I munched, I mused and thought of Dionysos and trawled through pictures, info and blogs on the internet slowly building up a feeling for his energies. I found some new and sexy images on a particularly good image blog, Where Dionysos Dwells.

I then moved on to flicking through my books on the God; Walter F. Otto’s “Dionysos: Myth & Cult”, “Dionysos” by Richard Seaford, “The God Who Comes – Dionysian Mysteries Revisited” by Rosemarie Taylor-Perry, Bibliotheca Alexandrina’s devotional anthology “Written in Wine”, Andrew Dalby’s “Bacchus A Biography” and the latest addition to my Dionysian library, “Ecstatic” by H. Jeremiah Lewis (also known as Sannion).

A wealth of knowledge - but still barely scratching the surface!

“The madness of Dionysus is engendered in the vine and is shared by everyone who imbibes its miraculous elixir.”

The wine was warming and was soon coursing through my system which added a delightful haze to the evening’s proceedings. Reading up on history and experience and viewing pictures of that wild, raucous God, with the knowing smile and languid eyes. The Load Roaring One, laden with heavy clusters; intoxicating, liberating – He who has known the darkest depths of me, forced me to confront myself through madness and fear.

Hail Dionysos - God of revelry and the vine!

“A bull be, Bacchus,

or a serpent many-headed be,

or a radiant lion be:

hunt the hunter, Bacchus…”

I had such a lovely, lazy evening; like a symposia of one. I relived memories, both good and bad, was inspired in my future devotion to Dionysos, I am looking forward to upcoming festivals particularly Anthesteria, started to develop ideas for an experiential piece to write and I’m certain I’ll be making these little nights in with the Big Guy a regular occasion!

 

The Gods Who Comes!

Io Bromios! Io Dendrites! Enorches!  Eleutherios!  Bacchus! Io!”

Covenant of Hekate Camping & Picnic Weekend

Our humble abode for the weekend!

This weekend I have been away in Yorkshire at a very enjoyable weekend set up by Tara Sanchez (author of “The Temple of Hekate“.

After resigning myself to not being able to attend two weeks ago and subsequently making other, more local, plans things all changed at the last minute and I found myself scrambling about attempting to be able to attend with less than 24hrs to go!

As luck would have it and thanks to the support and generosity of both Tara and my partner Darren, I was able to jump in a car with just a few things and zip off first thing Friday morning to Bredsbury to meet with Tara, help her finish getting everything together and then together with another attendee, we drove up to Sentry Circle in Yorkshire.

Bly our HGH (Holy Guardian Hound) - no Hekatean should be without one!

We were very fortunate on a number of levels from the glorious weather (28-30 degrees at end of Sept/beginning of Oct!!), a beautiful site, welcoming people and all round just great energy. Of note is the wonderful Bly, the owner’s dog who is a real sweet character and

very friendly. He captivated everyone and was dubbed our HGH or Holy/Hekate Guardian Hound. His personality was so much bigger than his humble little form but he was such a heart-warming addition to the weekend.

On the Friday itself there was just 4 of us to open up and once the tent was pitched and we’d had a rest we set up an altar to Hekate, situated by the campfire (that was left up day and night for the entire weekend) and performed an opening/gathering ritual.

Amazing people, amazing place, amazing time!

The night continued with good food, good company, and good wine; with conversation trailing well into the wee hours – Tara and myself talking until 4am (until the wine ran out, lol!) It was a first for me camping – and only a second occasion of a group gathering. In the early hours of Saturday I went up to the stone circle that was raised in accordance to the old ways back in 2008 and considering it is in effect a modern construct it’s look and energy feels like it has been there for 1200 years or more!

Each stone was alive with a different energy and personality and the whole circle felt protective, still and calm. Lying on the ground in the center and gazing up at the clear, star encrusted sky was just wonderful and I could have easily fallen asleep up there. The local nature/land spirit seemed to take quiet an interest in me also, tempting me to play “chase” with a Pan-esque energy that was quite familiar. For the entirety of the night I was aware of Him wandering around just

Our altar to Hekate, left day and night by the campfire

behind me, just out of sight.

The next morning, despite being late to bed I was still early to rise (just before 9am) although it was plain to see that it’d been a good night even if the morning was a tad rough! But the beautiful Mima was on hand with cuppa and a smile which helped get things moving and the weather was still glorious! After a breakfast of sausage, bacon and egg (more like elevenses because the cooker was a bit slow) we got on with the rest of the day.

The afternoon was filled with laughter and frolics, with the “Covenant of Hekate Autumn/Winter Fashion Shoot” and the formation of Hekate’s Angels! The day continued with a shared picnic lunch (houmous, lavender bread, grapes, figs, sausages, cheese, antipasti, olives and so much more), lots of conversation and more wine. There were some other people who arrived on the Saturday, some who stayed and some who just came for a short

Hekate's Angels!

while. It was still very nice and during the winding down of the picnic, the land spirit (I think the name is Nur? Nor?) took a shine to a bag of apples which no one had touched. So I asked if anyone would mind if I got some food to offer to Hekate and also the apples to leave up by the circle for Him.

Night fell and the magick continued. I went back up to the circle eventually to offer the apples, despite feeling a little apprehensive because of the playful urgency with which the land spirit seemed to want me up there. Despite trying to offer the apples reasonably neatly, He just got stuck in; knocking apples from my hand and them rolling all over the place. I spent some time up there on my own and got a nice feeling overall and that He was very pleased with the apples (and my confrontation of my desire to run away) and I have promised that whenever I return, I will now bring Him apples.

The fire which burned almost continuously for the weekend thanks to the dutiful attendance of those present

Sunday morning, the heavens opened and the view of the previous two days had truly turned autumnal. In fact it was like we’d actually been camping in July and then fallen asleep for three months, only to wake up in the beginning of October cold, wet and gloomy. But it was still nice; fresh and natural. I had a last walk around, went up to the stones again, helped pack up and put the tent away and then it was time to say goodbyes and head on home.

I was fortunate enough to be able to get my copy of Tara’s book signed by her too, so I was made up with that. Icing on the cake! During my time at the campsite, I was drawing a card from my Mythic Oracle deck every morning and I found it mildly amusing that the card Eros~Desire was drawn on each morning; the description of the cards meaning echoing my experiences perfectly…”He represents the almost ethereal and ecstatic state of desire that is evoked within us when we feel a reconnection to nature and divine, to life and death, to eternity and change rather than the fixed and mundane.”

Sentry Circle, Yorkshire

The weekend was a triumph and I miss the place and company already! I’ve met so many lovely, genuine souls; laughed very hard and had some very profound experiences on a personal level. It’s looking to be that this camp will now become an annual event which will be brilliant and can only go from strength to strength!

 

The first sighting of the crescent moon just breaking over the hills

(Photos courtesy of Tara, Kath and Myself)

Deipnon & Noumenia

Last night marked the transitional phase between the end of the lunar month Boedromion and the beginning of Pyanepsion. At this time Hekate is honoured with a small feast; usually a meal of eggs, onions, garlic as well as traditionally household sweepings, ash and other ritual detritus from househould shrines which were burnt at crossroads in Ancient Greece, in little clay censers.

My phylactery, made as instructed in "The Temple of Hekate" by Tara Sanchez

Myself, I marked the occasion simply by spending some time with Hekate at her shrine. I offered incense and recited a prayer and then listened to Jade Sol Luna’s “Tales of the Witch Moon”. I usually try to keep it simple if the deipnon falls in the middle of the week as work gets in the way due to the odd hours I work; I make up for this on the occasions when I’m either off during a deipnon or it falls on Friday or the weekend.

During my time listening to Jade’s latest chants, I also made a start on creating the phylactery, an exercise laid out in Tara Sanchez’s book “The Temple of Hekate”, which I reviewed in a previous post. The phylactery, which is a simple braided thread/cord, is used to create a connection with the Goddess Hekate and to aid in protection. I bought some simple thread in white, black and red (the red was slightly “fancier” as it was made up of two types of thread itself) and proceeded to braid them together, as the exercise says that from the period between new and full moon, the phylactery should be worn about the person in order to imbue it with your own personal energies, before consecration at the full moon.

I’ve never braided before in my life – had to get a “how to” guide off the Internet – and it was painstakingly slow progress and it still didn’t turn out quite right. Perhaps some practice is in order, and if this phylactery fails to last between now and the full moon, I still have cord aplenty to make a new one, but I think it’s growing on me and the inconsistency of the braided just makes it more personable to me. I also made one for a friend which I will send to him to “scent” and then instruct him in the simple consecration ritual. I feel he could use some Hekatean energies in his life right now and although he has no connection with Hekate, she helps those in need – sometimes even when they haven’t out right asked for it.

Dionysos~Ecstacy from the Gods & Titans oracle deck by Stacey Demarco; illustrated by Jimmy Manton

For Noumenia, I ensured all my shrines were clean and tidy, placed fresh flowers to all the Gods on the main altar area. Various incenses were lit and I read aloud a number of prayers and hymns, always giving special thanks to either those Gods who have helped me in the last month and especially those who are more prominent in my life such as Hekate and Dionysos. Simple libations and food offerings are also made as well as the recreation of a fresh Kathiskos in honour of Zeus Ktesios.

Usually at Noumenia, I also will pick a card from my tarot deck as a focus and guide for the month ahead. I have thought lately on changing this slightly by each month drawing a card from a different tarot/oracle deck (as I do have quite a few). By doing this I can open myself up to not only the meaning of the card itself but the richness and variation of the different symbolism and imagery of the various decks in my (slowly expanding) collection. Some decks have a leaning towards Greek myth and imagery, others more traditional and still others which are original and somewhat radical in their appearance.

This Noumenia I decided to draw from the Gods & Titans deck (as the sister deck Goddesses & Sirens has just been released, it seemed fitting) and was very pleased to draw out Dionysos – Ecstacy! It helped reinforce my connection with Him which of late had felt tenuous and distant.