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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Make it pliable, open and receptive
able to flow with its inherent nature of
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]
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
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]
For my Sisters, and the benefit of any who were perhaps wanting to celebrate with us, I present one of my Pythaea rituals. This modern funerary celebration of the power of Apollon as Pythios, the Rotting God, may be held in a variety of ways, however, I have decided to share the most traditionally inspired ritual I can stand. I think this one is the most widely accessible version I’ve ever done, and so the most worthy of being shared.
Pythaea occurs on the twentieth day of Treasury Month Pytheion (V), which we are currently in, falling upon the Julian date of May 8, 2015.
A modern, though traditionally inspired, ritual to exalt Apollon Pythios, He who rules over Death, the Enlightener, who strips away the pretense of the flesh, revealing the untarnished truth, and sending souls forward on their evolutionary paths.
You may find Him in the cemetery, or the mortuary. You may find Him standing over the roadkill you saw on your morning commute. Pythios is the Rotting God who commanded the corpse of Python to fall into oblivion, and He is the God whose Temple lies before us, after death.
This is a funerary rite, in which we acknowledge the power of Death, and contemplate Apollon’s role in its implementation. Death is not an end, but a first step on a journey we can not yet know, just as we may not yet know our enlightenment until we have received it. But by this rite, may we shed a little of what holds us back.
This ritual is but one example of what might be done for the Pythaea. Feel free to alter or fix the ritual to suit yourself, and your needs.
Be washed and dressed in clean, comfortable, perhaps mournful clothing. Then begin by transferring flame from the sacred hearth/candle to a another candle which can be carried to the altar, while saying: “Hestia, who guards the holy fires of the Lord in Pytho, who holds the sacred task of keeping the ever-burning hearth, we/I ask that You bless this rite and consecrate all that is affected herein.”
Alternatively, if you do not keep a sacred flame burning all, most or some of the time, you may instead light and dedicate the flame to Hestia for this ritual specifically, by saying: “Blessed Hestia, keeper of the universal hearth, She who is the nurturer of all flame, everywhere, we/I ask that You bless this rite and consecrate all that is affected herein.”
Here is the procession toward the altar, where all participants gather before walking together, led by you (the facilitator), who carries the sacred flame. The burning candle should be placed on the altar at this time.
Now, you will take a large bay leaf (or a bundle of other preferred herbs) and light it with the newly consecrated flame. Quickly plunge the flame into the previously prepared bowl of water, saying: “This water is purified in the essence of Hestia, Virgin Most Holy.” Khernips are now prepared.
Next, you will asperge (sprinkle with khernips) first the altar and all implements thereon, moving to each participant in turn, yourself included, while circling the altar. All should hold a prayerful mindset throughout the purification. A prayer to Apollon the Purifier may also be spoken aloud at this time, if you like. Example: “Apollon, our Lord called Daphneios, hear the prayer of Your people. Our Lord called Katharsios, cast out the impurities herein.” The space is now ritually pure, and the leftover water should be placed outside of the ritual area, to be poured onto the ground later.
At this time, participants should place their offerings upon the altar, each saying a personal greeting to the Lord Apollon as they approach, or they may do so silently. Offerings for this rite should include a few previously prepared “bodies for cremation” in the sacred fire, in Apollon’s name. These bodies need not be any more complex than paper cut-outs in vaguely human shapes. Upon these bodies should be written labels of undesirable traits that are relevant to the person(s) present.
Now, you may call to Apollon in earnest, saying (something to the effect of): “Apollon Pythios, our Lord, and commander of the decaying flesh, we/I do call to You, Releaser of the spirit from physical bonds! Dread Apollon, Most Equitable Pythios, hear us/me and arrive!” Calls may continue until you feel the Lord’s presence.
Next comes the explanation of the ritual, the reason(s) why you have come and your intent, spoken thus, or similarly: “Apollon Pythios, Lord called Destroyer, He who waits at the brink of death, who rules the transition at the sacred cemetery, we/I have come here to know You, to exalt You, and to be released from our/my bonds, just as You release the pure souls of those lain to rest before Your holy feet.”
You will now hold each of the “bodies” out toward the image of Apollon upon the altar in turn, saying aloud the labels each were given. Participants will at this time call out any other undesirable traits that they wish to have stripped away by the Rotting God. After all are finished, you will hold the “bodies”, one by one, over the sacred flame until they are consumed. Any leftovers should be collected in a small bowl for burial later. During this process, participants, including yourself, should pray intensely and silently to the Lord Apollon. They may also choose to meditate upon Him in this aspect of Pythios, and the lessons which may be learned from Him.
Afterward, you and participants may light incense from the sacred flame to be placed on the altar in offering and thanks to Apollon Pythios for His presence and purification. Thanks may be verbalized at this time. Example: “Apollon Pythios, Lord of the rot who wields the all-cleansing light, we/I thank You for Your presence at this rite, and in our/my lives/life. Thank You for the enlightenment You bring, and for the gift of death’s release. If we/I have ever pleased You, and if You have ever seen fit to assist us/me in our/my turbulent lives/life, then remember us/me as we/I remember You.”
Next, comes the final offering, in the form of libations poured into a separate bowl. I have determined that the most appropriate libations for this rite are water and wine, though you may use your own discretion in choosing for yourself. As each libation is poured into the bowl, say something like: “May You receive this sustenance in exchange for Your presence and attention. Blessed Apollon, we/I thank You.”
At this time, all participants should follow you outside to pour the libations onto the Earth, as well as to bury any leftovers from the “cremated bodies”, and to pour out the used khernips. Thank Lord Apollon and Lady Hestia one last time to conclude the ritual. Example: “Lord and Lady of Purest Flame, we/I thank You for the kindness You have shown us/me, and we/I humbly seek to remain worthy of Your Divine intervention. If it pleases You, stay; if it pleases You go, and be welcome with us/me, always.”
Hail Apollon! Hail Hestia! Hail the Blessed, Deathless Gods!
I am actually quite a bit late with composing something for the Treasury’s New Year, as it has already passed, though not very long ago. But, since tomorrow is secular new year, I suppose it’s not too, too late. ❤
O, Apollon, Yours is the coarse wind ripping through the tree branches, bare and clawing at the sky, ripe with the howl of Boreas. You drive a chariot of swift-winged swans, gliding through the air, and You direct the wolves’ hunt below, and the flight of their wily prey.
O, God of terror and beauty, Winter, Your Season, is both beautiful and terrible. Though we in this time may forfeit the knowledge of the true darkness of Winter, we remember traces of fear, deep in our bones.
You, the very darkness, are upon us now, veiled by a shroud of light. Ever growing, it spreads out across the land to awaken the slumbering flora. As time passes, as one Season becomes the next, each day has its turn to hold Your magnificent light. And each day, the light reveals a steadily building heat which soon shall envelope the land, in all its glorious anticipation.
With the warming will come the melted snows, to fill the rivers and streams, and the Spring rains shall seep into the Earth. Moisture is the catalyst, and it will herald the births of the new fauna, as surely as it entices the green-growing things. And all this is possible through You, O God of the liminal, of the sacred transition.
Be You now present as the old year falls away. Be You now the bridge over which we all shall cross. And in time, as the Seasons turn and turn again, may You be the dark embrace of Winter, veiled in light, to brighten our way through each long, cold night.