Ritual Meal, for the Feast of Leto

For the Feast of Leto, prepare a delicious meal, one that you would have no reservations in sharing with the Goddess, as well as Her Children. Set the table nicely, and in the center, prepare a small altar for Leto, with some space for Artemis and Apollon. Utilize whatever images or icons you prefer when making this space. Include a large plate upon which you will place servings of food for your Honored Guests.

Next, you will want to invite Leto, and your other Guests.

Ex: “Blessed are You, Leto, Sister of Asteria, Daughter of Phoebe! Sweet is Your name upon my/our lips! In all of my/our days, shall I/we ever strive toward Your Grace and Excellence!

“Blessed are You, Leto, Daughter of Koios, Consort of Zeus! Ever shall Yours be the way of cunning! Let all brave women follow after Your example, seizing that which they/we desire foremost!

“Blessed are You, Leto, Mother of Artemis, Mother of Apollon! Starry is the veil which covers Your holy face! Within the mystery of twilight, You are the center, the cause from whom ambition emanates!

“Blessed are You, Leto! Be welcomed here, to this seat made comfortable for You! Partake of this meal that I/we have prepared! And please, accept these offerings given freely by Your people!

“Great Goddess, I/we have come only to honor and praise You!

“Hail Leto, Mother of Wolves!”

“Blessed are You, Artemis, Swift-footed Goddess giving chase like no other! Be welcome to rest here at this table, to make merry, and to feast in the name of Your Mother!

“Blessed are You, Apollon, Prince among Gods, and the Preserver of Honor! Be welcomed here to this table, where You might find comfort, as well as sustenance, in the name of Your Holy Mother!

“Blessed and Divine Twins, be welcomed here in peace and in reverence! Hail Artemis! Hail Apollon!”

Once the food is ready, place each dish upon the table in offering, while saying a few words to indicate such.

Ex: “O Divine Leto, please accept this ______ (name of dish), that it might fill You with the sustenance of my/our love!”

You may also address Artemis and Apollon at this time, though it is really only necessary to address the Guest of Honor when offering dishes. Repeat for each dish offered to the table.

Now, everyone should be seated at the table, and all should offer thanks to the Theoi for the bounty gathered before you, first with a small bit of food offered to Hestia, by burning it in a candle flame, or saving it to be burned or buried later.

Ex: “Hestia, Most Sublime, I/we make the first offering to You, as is the/our custom. May You bless this table, and I/all seated before it, that my/our hearth and home might be ever peaceful and secure.”

Next, food should be distributed first to Leto, then to Artemis, then to Apollon, all upon Their plate at the center of the table. After your Guests have been served, everyone else may serve themselves.

Eating, discussion, and general merry-making may now commence. Examples of this could be songs sung, poems or adorations recited, myths told, or experiences shared.

With the completion of their meal, whomever wishes to leave the table must first address Leto, thanking Her and the Twins for being present.

Ex: “Glorious Leto, Illustrious Twins! Thank You for Your presence at this table, which was prepared in honor of You, for this great feast day! May our love given, accompany You back to the Northern heights of Hyperborea, from whence You have come! O Ladies! O Lord! May You be pleased!”

At the very end, before the last person leaves the table, a final food offering should be made to Hestia…

Ex: “Blessed Hestia, Keeper of the Hearth, again, I/we thank You for the peace and gentleness You have brought into this, my/our home! My/our gratitude hangs thick in the air, like the tasteful aroma which has filled this place of feasting!

“Hail to You, Hestia, and farewell!”

…and care should be taken to clean up the table.

Finally, all participants should return to surround the table, to give final thanks/goodbyes to Leto (and the Twins), for all that She does, and will do, in helping us to further understand ourselves within the roles to which we find ourselves attached.

Ex: “Blessed are You, Leto, and Blessed are Your Children, who enact the very essence of Your demeanor! You, who are bold! You, who are driven! You, who commands life to submit to Your will! Great Leto, I/we thank and praise You!

“Hail Mother Leto! Hail the Holy Twins!  Hail, and farewell!”

— Columbine

Advertisements

Contemplating Leto

Leto is the principle of causality.  In taking control of Her life, first by leaving Hyperborea, the place of Her birth, then by orchestrating the events of Her eventual arrival upon Olympos as Zeus’ Consort, She causes the wheels of fate to turn, by Her will.

This is a Goddess who exercises power, who asserts Herself in ways that are perhaps more familiar and relatable to poor, or otherwise ostracized women, rather than the lofty and oftentimes unattainable glories of Hera, and the domain of marriage. Leto is another side of the nature of a woman’s power, the nature of force which exercises its will on the world through cunning.

Leto tell us, there is a cause to all things, all situations, and if we would not be taken along by the cause of another, we can be our own cause, and exercise our own will.

The fair-haired and veiled Consort of Zeus is much more complex than the face of motherly demure She is so often characterized by, in what writings we have on Her that survive. Which of course gives us very little information on how the peoples of the past truly viewed Her. In this, we must often rely on doxa, both shared and personal, and on our interactions with Her via dreams, and through symbolism.

When we view Leto, we often do not see one who is tied down by conventional motherhood, though a large portion of our understanding of Her comes directly through Her role as Mother of Artemis and Apollon. We see a Goddess of liminality– of twilight– flanked by wolves, which are fierce predators. This sheds some light into the obscure areas of Her personality. which we can see on the periphery.

Leto suffers no insult lightly, either to Herself or to Her Children, and when She rides out during the darkening days, She does so unveiled, revealed, even as Nyx unfolds Her cloak of stars in the darkness. And in Her awful glory, what does Leto reveal to those who meet Her gaze? It is a glimpse, a mere taste of the wilderness that we have left behind. And in this wilderness, few are more fierce than the Mother of Wolves.

This is the Goddess whom Niobe insulted, the Goddess whose honor is defended by Artemis and Apollon, and the traits which spurred Them in these actions are but a few that They have inherited from Leto.

When we view Leto, yes, we see the Divine Mother, we see She who birthed the Holy Twins, but we see also a complete Goddess, a whole Goddess; Someone with a past, a history, a life that began long before the birth of Her Children.

And in that, we may find common ground for the growth of our relationships with Her, as well as for our own, personal growth.

There is much yet to learn from Leto in regard to keeping our identities intact after becoming parents, and also in celebrating who we were beforehand. In our (American) culture, motherhood specifically is easily dismissed as a necessary but trivial pastime, yet is also lauded as the highest pedestal a woman can be seated upon. This dichotomy is of great detriment to society, however, and it is Leto who can help us to reintegrate the disparate themes of motherhood/parenthood, and to find the balance of ourselves within the roles, as She shows us in Her own life, and lore.

Leto, who is often quiet, who is often veiled, is the same Leto who does not flinch in the presence of Hera, or any Other. She is the same Leto who throws off her veil to ride vigorously through the wild– the same Leto who, for reasons of Her own, and with plans of Her own devising, fled Her birthplace to stake a claim to the varied lands and peoples of ancient Hellas– and was well respected throughout.

Therefore, for the upcoming Feast of Leto (Perihelios 9/Jan. 15, 2019), let us show respect for our Goddess, through shared ritual and feasting. And may we be always reminded to look beyond the surface of things. There is depth in what is hidden, and there are lessons to be learned from what we first must decide to seek.

— Columbine

The Beautiful Truth

Lord Apollon, the very pinnacle of beauty, I pray that You lift the shroud of bias, shame, blame, and control that clouds over the eyes of those who wish to see beauty in the world.  I pray that You, Unshorn One, allow these to see the many truths before them, which they shirk from their sight.  Lord of the Light Unceasing, brighten the world before these who are lost, that they will witness the terrible, ugly, beautiful truth of Nature– that which we see and admire, is also that which may destroy us, even as we sit staring in awe.

The many landscapes are indeed beautiful, especially to those who traverse them not.  Those who look from afar and never step foot into the wild lands.  Fear contains them, and rightly so.  The beautiful world is indifferent to their praises, and hostile to their ignorance.  So, Lord, I pray that You tear away the fragile skin which covers them, that which hides their insecurities, and that which implicates them in the ancient scheme of subjugation.

These whose mouths are open only to speak the ancient falsehoods– that physical beauty alone is the compass of virtue– let their mouths be closed so that their ears, hearts and minds may instead be opened to the vastness of this beautiful, terrible, ugly world.  I pray that You open their eyes to rot and death, to pain and suffering, to plague and fear.  Only then will beauty and ugliness be revealed as twin aspects of the Truth:  All that is beautiful is not automatically good.  All that is good is not necessarily beautiful.  Beauty and ugliness are woven between the fabric of matter, space and time.  One may not exist where the other does not also dwell.

Apollon Despota, Wrathful Lord, I pray that You will do these things and more, to facilitate the growth so badly needed.  For only through the cutting away of disease may the whole body be saved.  So, Lord, to that end, do I offer these gifts, that You might be pleased, as well as favorable toward us who keep Your charge to bring both truth, and beauty, into the world.

Ie Paian!

He Comes, Bearing the Fruit of Conquest

Today is Theoxenia on the Treasury’s calendar.  Theoxenia is the day when Apollon returns to us from His abode in Hyperborea, where His focus was no longer upon the everyday needs of mankind, but instead set upon the many, many deeply primal aspects of creation, over which He governs.  It is widely accepted that during this time, Apollon is absent from our world, yet, as many devotee’s of the god will know, He often is most keenly present in our lives during His Hyperborean stay.

This might be due to the nature of the connection that intimate devotees share with Him.  Not only are we in constant contact with Him, what we experience of Him during the Hyperborean season especially, is well below the surface of what He shows to many others.  He is Lykeios and Telkinios, the wolf and the wind, ripping and cutting away the weak, in nature.  He is the blizzard that whites out all before you, leaving you stranded yet totally enveloped by Him.  He is also the spark that dwells in your heart and never fades, its light always there to show the way through the darkness.  And in this darkness, in this reality of the Hyperborean season, we walk a path that He has laid out– a path that leads to Him.

So, as He does each year at the height of the winter darkness, Apollon seizes the hearts of many new devotees.  These will be led through the wilderness of the Hyperborean season, and out through the gates of coming spring.  And then they will know Him in His completeness, as the light grows with the passage of time.

When He arrives at the doors of the House of Apollo, made up of the households and individuals dedicated to Him, He carries the enthusiastic and unfiltered love and adoration of those whose hearts He won in winter, who will be added to the glorious collection of souls that greet Him on Theoxenia.  For, as befits a conqueror, Apollon comes bearing the fruit of His conquest.

May we all celebrate the inclusion of our new fellows among the blessed of Apollon.  May we welcome them openly, and share what we have to share without hesitancy.  And, may we love them under the light of Apollon, as the members of His family that we all are.  For some, walking an Apollonian path may be difficult, and they may desire varying amounts of guidance.  May we be gentle in our interactions with them, remembering always, that once, many of us were conquests, too.

Hail Apollon!  Blessed Theoxenia!

— Columbine

Bi-Yearly Oracular Forecast

Telchinion through Daphneion 2017/2018

 

Telchinion (XII) Oct. 20 – Nov. 18, 2017

(T) Tau, (Δ) Delta, (I) Iota

During the month of Telchinion, there is the warning of separation for one’s own betterment.  If you now socialize with, or otherwise associate with individuals who do not share your own ethic of hard work and accountability, then you are better off without them.  The Gods and circumstances will conspire to fulfill this promise, if you are unwilling to do it yourself.  Things that may hold you back from taking this action may be tradition or customs, cherished and long-standing in your circle, but you must go your own way.  Tradition is useless if you stagnate upon it’s corpse.  What comes next will be determined by your tenacity.

 

Hyperboraios (XIII) Nov. 19 – Dec. 18, 2017

(N) Nu, (Θ) Theta, (Π) Pi

The month of Hyperboraios portends a great blessing to be bestowed by the Gods.  It will make your life more difficult.  This is not an easy blessing to bear, but the Divine Ones walk beside you, guiding and showing the way.  You must remain focused, and stay upon the path They have laid out for you.  Any attempt to set aside Their gift will result only in loss, pain and hardship.  So struggle forward, and you will earn the righteous rewards for your efforts.

 

Perihelios (I) Dec. 19 – Jan. 17, 2017/2018

(K) Kappa, (M) Mu, (Δ) Delta

A great wave of motion will toss you within its twirling winds, during the month of Perihelios.  It will sweep you up, and affect all that you have done up to this point.  Do not fight change.  Change is the constant.  It will grind you down like a weathered stone if you try.  And yet, through this change, it is possible to forge ahead on your journey, resting in far off places you never would have known had the great wind not taken you.  Change is harrowing, but also a blessing in disguise.  Do your work, and the timing for ascent out of the maelstrom with reveal itself to you.  Strike then, with force, and be released.

 

Prostaterias (II) Jan. 18 – Feb. 15, 2018

(T) Tau, (A) Alpha, (Ψ) Psi

During the month of Prostaterias, you will be called upon to release someone (or something– this could easily pertain to a project you have worked on for many months or years– something so dear to you, it is as a child parted from its mother’s arms) into the harsh world, where they may face struggles and criticisms that you can not shield them from.  It must happen for the growth of the one you hold dear.  Letting them (or it) go now will result in the most favorable outcome.  To attempt to withhold them (or it) will likely be disastrous in the long term, though it may assuage your short term fears.  The Gods are watching, and have concurred in this oracle.

 

Daphneion (III) Feb. 16 – Mar. 17, 2018

(O) Omicron, (Φ) Phi, (Ξ) Xi

In the month of Daphneion, we receive a warning.  What we give to the Universe comes back to us.  Our actions have consequence.  When we receive the fruit of our labors, or our words, we must take full responsibility.  The Gods are not at fault for what we do and say, and the criticisms or troubles we reap.  If we wish to receive the good, we must first cultivate the good in ourselves, so we may send it forth to generate the profits we seek.  If we do not, or we do nothing, we can not expect a prize fruit from a tree untended.

— Columbine [Aegletia, Day 7]

The Divine Lineage of Apollon

The familial lineage of Apollon can tell us much about Him, and about His sphere of influence.  Today, we will take a look at Apollon’s Grandparents, Phoebe and Koios, Their domains and the legacy They have left to Apollon, and to Their other Grandchildren.


Koios is the Titan of the Axis of the Heavens, who is traditionally and commonly today seen as governing over the point of the North, in which He personified the pillar of the North, which, along with His Brothers, the Titans Krios (South), Iapetos (East), and Hyperion (West), held up the body of the Heavens (Ouranos).

It is surmised that, as Koios presided over the Axis of the Heavens, the point at which the constellations of the Heavens revolved, He may also have been a God who presided over Heavenly oracles.  This could provide further meaning to His name, meaning “the inquiring”, in that an inquiring mind seeks to understand the movement of the body of the Heavens, through such noble pursuits as study and observation (Astronomy/Astrology), as well as seeking the word of the Divine through an oracular vehicle when the information sought is of a more spiritual bent.  Also, as His domain is of the North, it is feasible to speculate that the seat of His domain may have been the legendary Hyperborea, the land of eternal summer, which lies further North than the gates of Boreas, or, beyond the North Wind.

Phoebe, on the other hand, was the Titaness who governed and ruled over the Axis of the Earth, Delphi, also called the Navel of the World.  She received Delphi from Themis, who in turn received the prophetic seat from Gaea, Earth Herself, the oracular tradition at Delphi already having been long established by the time of Phoebe’s ascent.  Phoebe’s name means “radiant prophesy, or purity”, and may give a clue as to Her function at the oracle.

For one to dispense the infallible word of the Theoi, one must be pure and ready to receive the radiance of the Theoi into oneself.  Phoebe may have acted as a kind of Divine bridge from which the sybils learned how to properly treat themselves before and during the oracular possession.  Before Her, Themis ruled the oracle, and Hers is the domain of Divine Law, Justice and Morality.  She would likely have been concerned more with the absorbtion of decrees handed down to the people (through the sybils) by the Gods, rather than the giving of specific and personal advice.  Once Phoebe had been established as the head of the oracular seat, by Her very nature the focus of the oracle would have changed to suit a more open and receptive dynamic between Goddess and sybil.

Furthermore, we can see that the joining of Koios and Phoebe would produce a specific set of traits, handed down in fact to Their Daughters, Leto and Asteria, which would have seamlessly married the domain of the Heavens with that of not only Earth, but with the bright radiance of illumination in all forms.

Leto, whose name may mean “the unseen”, is the Mother of Apollon and Artemis by Zeus.  She is the Goddess of the light between night and day, of the twilight, and as such is often veiled, obscuring the truth of her full potency from those who may not yet be ready to look upon such things.  With Her Sister, Asteria, Mother of Hekate by Perses, She arrived in the lands held by the Olympians, having come from the North. Specifically, Hyperborea, which later Apollon would come to rule for half the year.  Asteria, whose name means “falling stars”, may have been seen as a Goddess of the signs and portends of the night sky (Astrology), as well as of the Divine inspirations of Oneiromancy.

Leto passes down Her radiance to Apollon and Artemis both, who in later times were said to be representative of the Sun and Moon.  Although, it should be noted that the idea that They have somehow usurped the domains of Helios and Selene are entirely false.  Apollon and Artemis are torch-bearing Gods who deal in the illumination of truth– both the truth of the mind and logic (Apollon), and the truth of one’s nature and the natural world (Artemis).  Naturally, light becomes a metaphor for these truths, thus the Twins are seen to govern the properties of light.  This perceived governance in no way detracts from the domains of Helios or Selene, who are the physical bodies of the Sun and Moon, respectively.

Apollon becomes the light which purifies and casts away all evil– and of course, that which burns if we look upon it for too long a time; and Artemis becomes the subtle light that aids in the darkness, the light by which the farmers may still gather their crop after nightfall.  These are all the Divine radiance of Phoebe, inherited by the Twins through Their Mother, Leto.

Asteria, who walks often in the company of Nyx, is however, typically seen to represent the shadow, the dark which obscures the truth before illumination, or the dreamscape which reveals hidden messages. As dreams, and thus sleep, are often thought of in tandem with death, the final sleep, Asteria passes down these Mysteries to Her Daughter, Hekate.

Hekate, whose name means “worker from afar”, is another torch-bearing God, this time illuminating the way of the Dead into the Underworld.  Along with Her deep associations with necromancy and other forms of magic, this may help to explain the truth of Her name.  The restless dead which Hekate escorts are of a nature long considered miasmic.  Hekate purifies the living by removing the dead from in and around living spaces.  Wandering spirits, and spirits who cling to their loved ones in their dwelling places, are gathered up into Her retinue, where they either remain with Her, or are taken into Hades to complete their journey.  She gathers the souls of living folk, as well, if they are unfortunate enough to cross Her path, especially during the Dark Moon.

Perhaps this is why She is the worker from afar.  Her domain takes Her, and thus those dedicated to Her, into realms far removed from the works of the everyday man or woman.  She lives within the company of the Dead, and so one may communicate with the Dead, through Her.  The oracular power of Hekate comes from the Khthonic realm, deep within Earth (Gaea), the first source of the oracular gift.

However, we must not forget that Hekate holds equal dominion over Earth, Sky and Sea, a vast domain inherited from Her Titan Parents, much as Apollon and Artemis both hold sway over vast arrays of the natural and civilized worlds.  Indeed, the Twins and Their Cousin hold Their torches high to illuminate all spaces of the fathomable world.  Their power runs deep, poured out from the Heavens, and welled up from the Earth.  They are the nexus at which the Ouranic and Khthonic converge.  They are the legacy of Koios and Phoebe.

Sources:  Various Theoi.com pages used for reference, but mostly my own insights.

— Columbine

Seasons Turning, and New Beginnings

Well, where to begin?  Apollon has begun His tour of the world before He inevitably retires to Hyperborea for the Winter.  Persephone has begun Her decent into the Underworld.  Winter is on its way, and I have felt the stirrings of the veil between the worlds.  The Departed Ones will soon join us once more, in our Autumn celebrations.

What does this season mean to you?  In years past, even last year, I met this season with anxiety and foreboding.  I was, and am prone to be, stretched too thinly in my attentions at this time of year.  But this time around, I have resolved to be less, fervent, shall we say, and instead more present in my life and in the festivals that I celebrate, as they come.

So, the Aegletia this year will be less performative, and more contemplative. It will be for me a family celebration, as it was always meant to be.  This is my son’s second Aegletia, and he is at a point of forming memories of our time together with Apollon, so this is very important for our household.  It is time for us to be in the spirit of the season, and not outwardly focused.

And I have another reason to feel intensely the turning as it unfolds.  It has been five years since Apollon and I exchanged our marriage vows.  When we did, He did not tell me for how long we were to be joined, but only that I should enjoy each day as it comes, and welcome Him into the whole of my life.  And I have.  Earlier this year, however, He told me it was time to renew our vows, this time for another seven years.  I knew this was probably coming; for a least a year I had anticipated it.  And yet, when I was given the news and the time frame, I just sort of… retreated into myself.  I have been putting it off for the better part of the year.  Apollon, patient and understanding that He is, only asked me to find myself before making this commitment.  To be certain that this is what I want for the next seven years. It’s taken time, but I believe I have worked through my apprehension and that I am now ready for the new commitment.

So, on the second day of Aegletia, when the Treasury welcomes our Lord into our hearths and hearts for the duration of the festival, Apollon and I will once again exchange our vows.  New vows this time. Clearer vows.  Deeper, more meaningful vows.  I won’t lie and say that I am not nervous still, but I am definitely no longer stuck, unable to move forward.

And I’m happy.  I usually spend so much time worrying about things– how will I organize the festival, how will I balance my time online with my time with the children, how will I deal with the sheer agony of being separated from Apollon when He has finally left?  Not this time.  Not this year.  This year, I will let myself just be in the season, and in the turning.

— Columbine