Tag Archive | modern festivals

Aegletia Food Guidelines

Aegletia begins October 1st, and ends October 9th

 

A couple years back, I wrote a short ritual for the Aegletia and felt that it was time to add a little bit to it. One thing I’ve always wanted to have as part of our tradition is some shared foodways. Given that we have many different backgrounds, that’s not easy, but the concepts surrounding the Aegletia give us the opportunity to develop some common culinary practices. I’ve outlined some ideas and will be testing them out this year, but I would also like to invite all of you to share your thoughts and maybe even recipes. The great thing about this is that you can do as much or as little of this as you want to and you should be able to accommodate these ideas, even with a tight budget. I’ve been there myself and I tried to write these guidelines with a mind toward compassion for those of us with smaller budgets or who may not have access to a wide variety of ingredients. First, I offer a blessing for food, which I like to say before a sacred meal. There’s a long-ish list of blessings, but you are meant to choose from those that are relevant to your particular meal. If you don’t have beans, for example, you can leave out the one to Kyamites.

 

Blessing the Meal

 

We give thanks to you, Immortal Gods, for the bounty before us.

May you bless our meal, so that from it we might gain strength, health, and long life.

 

We give thanks to Hestia, for blessing our hearth.

We give thanks to Zeus, for bringing the rain.

We give thanks to Apollon, for healthy crops and herds.

We give thanks to Dionysos, for the gift of wine.

We give thanks to Demeter, for the fruits of the Earth.

We give thanks to Athene, for the gift of olives.

We give thanks to Triptolemos, who taught us to farm.

We give thanks to Aristaeos, who taught us to make cheese, keep bees, and tend animals.

We give thanks to Kyamites, who taught us to grow beans.

 

Guidelines for eating during the Aegletia

 

First Night: Purification

 

Drink nothing but water today and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Meals should be high in fiber and plant-based. If you have any sensitivities, such as lactose intolerance, avoid those foods especially today. Avoid added and refined sugars, where possible, as well as highly processed foods.

 

There are a lot of “detox” foods and drinks floating around, but the science behind them is dubious, at best. Nutritionally speaking, water and fiber are your two best weapons against toxins in the body. Our bodies are usually very good at expelling toxins, but need water and fiber as the vehicle with which to do that.

 

Example: Seasoned chick peas, herbed barley, roasted peaches with cinnamon, and fresh salad.

 

Second Night: Arrival

 

Include dates, which Mother Leto ate upon Lord Apollon’s arrival. Include imported foods to remind us that Delos is barren and produces no food for herself. For our purposes, any food not produced locally or regionally is sufficient to consider “imported.” I live in the American South, for example, so anything produced west of the Mississippi river and north of Kentucky would be considered outside my region and, therefore, “imported,” even if it’s not necessarily from another country. The distinction isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, but rather one you can make for yourself based on what you would consider “regional.”

 

Apollon’s arrival may be cause to have a somewhat bigger, nicer, “Sunday Dinner” sort of meal, since we are inviting our Bright Lord on this day.

 

Example: Baked chicken with dried Mediterranean apricots, tropical fruit salad, brown rice or barley, steamed broccoli, and whole dates.

 

Third Night: Artemis

 

Food that has been caught from the wild or hunted would be appropriate for the third night, but availability and expense of something like venison or wild-caught fish might prevent this option from being a practical one. Instead, if you live in a household with children, it is their day to choose their favorite meal. Otherwise, a favorite meal from your own childhood, one that inspires fond remembrances, would also be appropriate. If you have pets, this is a good day to give them a special treat.

 

Example: Hot dogs, sweet potato fries, and baked beans with finely chopped onions and apples. For the dog: a small serving of unseasoned sweet potato, thoroughly cooked and skinned.

 

Fourth Night: Leto

 

Once again, this is a good night to serve dates, for the same reason as we did in the second night. This night, it is the mother’s night to choose what’s for dinner. If you are not yourself a mother or no mothers live in the household, you might choose something that reminds you fondly of a motherly figure in your life. This does not necessarily need to be your own mother, just someone who nurtured you as Mother Leto nurtures Her own children and those devoted to Her. Drink only water today and kindly offer water to others when you can. The people of Lycia denied water to Mother Leto, but water is for everyone and should be shared freely.

 

Example: Chopped dates with roasted nuts, ratatouille, barley with herbed pesto and flax seed.

 

Fifth Night: Awareness

 

There are some foods that are supposedly good for your brain and may help you be more alert and aware. The scholarship on this may change over time and we can always make adjustments if that happens. A modest amount of caffeine is appropriate today and foods like flax seed, almonds, eggs, beets, fatty fish (such as salmon), walnuts, fresh fruit, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, whole grains, broccoli, carrots, winter squash, and dark chocolate are purported to be good for concentration, focus, and memory.

 

Example: Spinach/tomato omelettes, whole wheat carrot nut muffins, orange juice

 

Sixth Night: Beauty

 

For the sixth night, it doesn’t matter what you decide to make as long as you put some effort forth into making it look nice. Make food with lots of bright, natural colors, make use of a little garnish, arrange the food nicely on the plate, tidy up the kitchen table, put out the good china. Even if you’re having chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese, put a sprig of parsley on top of that mac and cheese; make it look a little bit fancy.

 

Example: Purple cabbage with onions (sauteed in olive oil with salt and pepper); steamed carrots tossed in honey and butter, baked herb chicken, parsley garnish.

 

Seventh Night: Fellowship

 

This is a good night to invite a friend to dinner or have a potluck with friends. You could even share food with friends and neighbors. There’s a lot of room for creativity and opportunity for strengthening friendships on this day.

 

Example: Chili and cornbread, but with friends.

 

Eighth Night: Quietude

 

For the eighth night, you will want to avoid caffeine and have foods that are calming in nature. Again, like the fifth night, our ideas about what foods are meant to have a calming effect on the body and brain might change over time and we can adjust accordingly when we have new information. As of now, however, you might consider asparagus (which tends to be expensive this time of year), avocados, berries, oranges, foods containing zinc (oysters are suggested, but I find them repulsive), walnuts, almonds, salmon, spinach, turkey, and oatmeal.

 

Example: (For breakfast) Oatmeal with dried berries and walnuts, sweetened with a little honey. (For dinner) Spinach salad topped with sliced almonds, mandarin oranges, avocado, slices of grilled or baked turkey, with a raspberry walnut dressing.

 

Ninth Night: Farewell

 

Hera gave an apple tree to Zeus as a wedding gift and it grows in Hyperborea under the heavy guard of the daughters of Atlas, the Hesperides, and the dragon Ladon. Not even Herakles could go and get any apples himself (having had to ask Atlas to do so), and even if we could, we would have to return them. We do, however, have delicious mortal realm apple trees, so thank the Gods for that! We can eat “golden,” yellow, or green apples on this day to remind us of the probably way more amazing ones that grow in Hyperborea.

 

This is also a good night for simple comfort foods, since we will soon be parted with our Bright Lord, the Discerning One. This may mean different things to different people, depending on your upbringing, but warm soups and stews or any sort of fare that reminds you of the comforts of home will do nicely. This is not a day for fancy food that takes hours to prepare.

 

Example: Grilled cheese and tomato soup with baked cinnamon apples.

— Sunweaver

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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

Ktistêsia Altar Purification

Hello, dear Sisters and associates!  The Ktistêsia is soon upon us, and we will celebrate the fifth full year of the Treasury’s existence!

Ktistêsia occurs on the ninth day of Treasury Month Daphneion (March 7, 2017) and is the celebration of the laying of the Treasury’s foundations, the Anniversary of our Sisterhood, and a time of gentle purification.

To mark this occasion, I give you the purificatory formula for the altar wash (of course, feel free to use your own formulas, should you feel so inclined), so that we may enjoy Daphneion, the month of purification, with freshly cleansed spiritual spaces, all in preparation for Theoxenia, at the start of the month after Daphneion.

— Columbine


The ritual of cleansing is simple enough, while it is the preparations for the ritual which should begin almost immediately.  Here is the supply list:

A clean bowl that can hold a gallon of water

Something to stir with, like a wooden spoon

Something to spread water with, like a spray bottle and/or rag

1 gallon of water

1 small Citrine, and 1 small Obsidian (quartz can substitute for either)

1 single serving bottle of vodka (rubbing alcohol may substitute, just use less– about three caps full)

9 drops of Bay Laurel essential oil

9 drops of Lavender essential oil

1 tbsp of sea salt

A previously prepared sacred flame, and something with which to apply flame to the water, such as dried bay leaves or bamboo skewers

The first flowers of the season (optional after wash offering)


To begin, you must charge your stones with the appropriate energies.  First, charge your Obsidian by the light of the crescent moon on the Noumenia just prior to the Ktistêsia.  That is February 27, 2017, for reference.  And on one of the remaining days prior to Ktistêsia, charge your Citrine by the light of dawn. After charging, both stones should be kept in a black pouch or cloth until ready for use.

On the day of Ktistêsia, place your stones at the bottom of your empty bowl. Pour the gallon of water over them, while visualizing the light stored within them mingling with and purifying the water.

Next, add the sea salt and stir until dissolved, while singing, chanting or praying to Apollon for the continued blessing of your altars/shrines, and the Treasury itself.

Now, pour in the vodka (alcohol), while continuing to sing, chant or pray. After that, add in nine drops of each essential oil (Bay Laurel and Lavender), while giving thanks to Apollon as you add each one.

Finally, light your bay leaves or bamboo skewers from your sacred flame, and plunge the flame into the water just as you would when making khernips. Your altar wash is now complete.

The next step is to use the altar wash to gently cleanse your altar or shrine, and the objects upon it.  In order to do that, you should first strip the altar bare of all icons and accouterments.  Set them aside.

If you have altar cloths in need of laundering, go ahead and put them in the wash.  Simply add a cup of your altar wash during the rinse cycle.  All icons, tools, and decorations may be sprayed down with the altar wash and wiped clean with a dry cloth.  To do this, submerge an empty spray bottle in the bowl of altar wash, or use a funnel to pour it into the bottle instead.

Once you have all items removed from the altar, soak a clean rag in the altar wash, then proceed to wipe down your entire altar or shrine area.  As you do this, receive the blessings of Apollon into your sacred space, and your life. Contemplate the continued existence of the Treasury of Apollon, and the ways that both it and you have grown over the years.

Now that all has been cleansed, return your icons and accouterments to their usual places upon the altar or shrine.  You may give devotion and/or offerings at this time.  In addition, if you have gathered the first flowers you have seen growing this season, now is the time to place them in offering upon the newly purified altar or shine, giving your love and adoration unto Apollon as you do so.

As a note, you can use any excess altar wash to wipe down other areas of you home, if you wish, or you may pour what is left over the thresholds leading into your home, or over any stairs outside that lead to your door.  This completes the Ktistêsia ritual for altar purification.

Simple Ideas for a Modern Prostateria

Here are some simple ideas for a modern celebration of Prostateria, the Birth of Apollon.  I usually want to have idea posts like this one published at least one week in advance of the day, but busy life got the better of me in this instance, so I’m posting this on the day itself.  However, there is no reason why you can not celebrate this festival at a more convenient time for yourself.  Everything is flexible.  🙂

For more information on Prostateria, see this post by Lykeia.

— Columbine


Decorating the shrine or altar is one obvious way to mark the occasion– gifts and offerings, incense and lit candles, or anything else that helps to remind you of the beautiful occasion that is His birth into the world.  I recommend asking Him beforehand what He might like, through whatever method of divination or oracle that you prefer.

Prepare a meal for Him, a special meal that you only make on special occasions, so He feels welcomed in the best way possible.

Dress nicely for Him.  It doesn’t have to be overly formal, but put on something flattering, and be sure to clean up a little around the house, especially in the room where His shrine or altar is located.

Express your love and appreciation for Him, with poetry or songs, art or dance.  If you play an instrument, this is an ideal occasion to regale Him with your art form.

Include His Mother and Sister in the festivities.  Invite Them also when you invite Apollon to be present in your home.  His love for Them is well known, and any celebration in His honor is better celebrated in Their honor, as well.

And finally, one of the very best ways to honor Him on this day, is to decorate a doorway inside your home in His honor.  Apollon Prostaterios is the Lord Before the Doors, who, by His liminal qualities, opens us up to all new possibilities.  This is especially relevant as the moment of His birth opened the world to the many possibilities of His existence.

Doorways are inherently liminal spaces, existing between one room and another, or between the outside and inside.  Birth is a liminal phenomenon, bridging the time between life and pre-life.

To decorate the doorway, you can use any number of things that you associate with new life life.  Seasonal flowers or fruits are always nice, and depending on your area and climate, may be readily available.  Barring that, you could use artificial flowers and fruits.  Although, you might prefer to hang or wrap evergreens on the doorway, for they are symtbolic of the unchanging, youthful nature of Apollon.  Evergreens are also usually still available in colder climates at this time of year, in the Northern Hemisphere.

Within the decorated doorway, as opposed to before the altar (or better still, at an altar erected in the doorway), you may choose to present your offerings and recite prayers or poetry, as well as greet the God, in welcoming.

Blessed Prostateria, and Hail to Apollon, on this, the day of His birth.

Aegletia 1: Purification

By Sunweaver, for the first day of Aegletia.

~

We come to Aegletia 1: Purification, so that we may turn our minds and hearts toward Lord Apollon, the Purifier, and that we might be freed from the impurities that afflict us. Our afflictions aren’t limited to physical illness; we can harbor ill will, greed, envy, doubt, sloth, and more just as easily as a virus or a cancer. Our Lord offers us the light of awareness so that we can cleanse ourselves of that which hinders us and prevents us from recognizing our true and divine nature. When we are true to our nature, compassion and honesty come easily. We need not push away ill will or doubt; those are a dreaded Python that constricts us and consumes us, but one that can be burned away with His light. Our choice is this: Do we open our eyes to His blessings or do we turn from Him and allow the sickness of hatred and delusion to slowly kill us?

 

It seems like it ought to be a pretty simple choice, but it’s all too easy to get caught up in the quick high of self-righteousness and a much harder road to reflect on how we can change our actions and our attitudes for the better. Right now, right very now, someone is wrong on the internet. Someone has said something ignorant, plain stupid, hateful, factually incorrect, or just something that disagrees with somebody else’s worldview or opinions. I’d point out examples, but there are too many to count. Someone, somewhere, is being wrong on the internet or at work or in your family or somewhere else I haven’t thought of. Temporarily, it feels pretty good to speak your mind and be right at the person being wrong, but more often than not, a person will simply cling tighter to their beliefs or opinions rather than consider yours. When we greet someone with a shaking fist of righteousness, we get conflict in return. When we open our hands and speak with patience and compassion, that’s when productive dialogue can happen. That’s not to say that holding ourselves to a higher standard in the comments sections will necessarily lead to anybody else seeing the light, as it were, but we can at least cleanse our own souls by not being hateful and reactive, even when they’re really, really wrong and we can walk away when the conversation is no longer productive.

 

When I am out in the world or out in the internet, I see it as my sacred duty as a Priestess and Treasury Sister to hold myself to a higher standard when disagreeing with someone. I can’t say that I’ve perfectly fulfilled that duty and I’ve gotten myself caught up in ridiculous arguments about who’s more right, but I do, at least, try to be polite about it and I eventually remember that I don’t have to be right about everything. Somebody somewhere is going to be wrong about something. That’s just going to happen and if I cling to being right, I’m going to blind myself to new perspectives and ideas.

 

This doesn’t mean that I’m going to roll over and show my belly to hatred or injustice. That does mean that I’m going to try to handle those things with compassion and with xenia in mind. I don’t have to stoop to anyone’s level and another person’s poor behavior doesn’t have to ensnare me into doing something or saying something unwholesome. That also means having firm personal boundaries. I’m not going to engage with someone who acts out in a harmful way toward me and I’m not going to stay in a situation that’s harmful. I’m not going to put my kids, my family, or my friends in danger, either, and I will always reserve the right to say no or to walk away. Being polite to others is, for me, a matter of respect and I sincerely believe that everyone is deserving of kindness, but I’m also not going to be a doormat. Xenia works both ways and though that middle way is not always easy to see, Lord Apollon gives us the ability to be aware of when we stray from that path. Fortunately, the Moirae will be happy to present us with plenty of opportunities to practice.

 
I pray, then, that Apollon Aegletia purifies my heart and mind of the afflictions that obscure my true nature. May His light cleanse me of ill will, doubt, delusion, and all that is unwholesome and unlike the Bright One, son of Leto. May his blessing shine through me, even as he recedes to His place of rest in Hyperborea. May my speech and actions be wholesome and my body purified. May I shine as my true self, free from affliction, a reflection of His radiant glory. So say we all.  

— Sunweaver, Aegletia [Day 1]

Take My Heart

Take my heart
Make it pliable, open and receptive
able to flow with its inherent nature of
Unconditional Love
Make it fluid and resilient
Let it be the strongest voice in my being
Let it penetrate where the thickness and density of the world
and my own emotional wounds
Throw up smoke screens
Obscuring its fierce and bright force

Open my eyes
Clear my vision
Make me aware of how my thoughts and words and deeds
Affect the whole and those closest to me
Keep me vigilant in my self-awareness
That I may not get lost in distraction, stupidity
Or self-absorption to the degree that I cause harm in the world
Ground me firmly in that meditative state where I can hear
the silence talking

Open my mind
That I may be curious and flexible in my thought patterns
Teachable and not calcifying as I grow older
But young and fresh and vibrant as I was in my youth
Ever ready for a new lesson a new understanding a new way of being
Grant me the ability to communicate well and listen even better

Open my Spirit to receive You when You have work for me
as a Healer or a Poet or a Messenger or Teacher
Whatever you call me for
According to the current need
Teach me patience when I am not needed
when the times call for still reflection and non-action
in the fallow times when wisdom would have me wait

Teach me to attend to that which is core to living in harmony
With the will that co-creates reality each precious moment.

This is my prayer and my intent.

 

— Christine Berger (Nerthuschild) [Aegletia, Day 5]

The Red Cloak

You, streaking across the wilderness

Darting between the doors of civilization

A phantom, an apparition now gone

Trailing behind You is the red cloak of sunrise

For where You have passed, night retreats

And where You have been, the sun too shall be

And when the light arrives, I will be waiting,

Waiting to catch the scarcest glimpse of You

Fading into the dawn

 

O Lord, Who is the majesty of the spaces between our natures

Of animal and human

Of predator and prey

Of survival and starvation

Of twilight and midday

Wrap me in Your blood red cloak,

That I might always feel the blood within me

Like rivers upon the landscape

 

Aegletes!

Apollon Aegletes!

O Shining God!

Welcome to these lands

Nourished upon Your Truth

Strengthened by Your perilous winds

And never to feel a moment without Your Love

Come, O Glorious One!

As the day progresses, so too shall my thoughts of You

And Your red cloak drifting downward,

Sunset settling upon my dwelling place

 

— Columbine [Aegletia, Day 1]