Today I would like to share with you one of the prayers from the Papyri Graecae Magicae, also known as the 'Greek Magical Papyri'. They are a body of papyri from Graeco-Roman Egypt, which each contain a number of magical spells, formulae, hymns and rituals. The materials in the papyri date from the 2nd century BC to the 5th century AD. The manuscripts came to light through the antiquities trade, from the 18th century onwards.

Today, I will quote to you from the first book of spells and invocations. This prayer was noted down to Selene, Goddess of the moon, and served as an interlude to 'Any Spell'. It came with the instructions too:

'Offering for The Rite: For doing Good, offer Storax, Myrrh, Sage, Frankincense, a Fruit Pit. But for doing Harm, offer Magical Material of a Dog and a Dappled Goat (or in a similar way, of a Virgin Untimely Dead).

Protective Charm for The Rite: Take a Lodestone and on it have carved a Three-faced Hekate. And let the Middle Face be that of a Maiden wearing Horns, and the Left Face that of a Dog, and the One on the Right that of a Goat. After the Carving is done, clean with Natron and Water, and dip in the Blood of One who has died a Violent Death. Then make Food Offering to it and say the same Spell at the time of the Ritual.'

The prayer goes as follows:

"Come to me, O Beloved Mistress, Three-faced
Selene; kindly hear my Sacred Chants;
Night's Ornament, young, bringing Light to Mortals,
O Child of Morn who ride upon the Fierce Bulls,
O Queen who drive Your Car on Equal Course
With Helios, who with the Triple Forms
Of Triple Graces dance in Revel with
The Stars. You're Justice and the Moira's Threads:
Klotho and Lachesis and Atropos
Three-headed, You're Persephone, Megaira,
Allekto, Many-Formed, who arm Your Hands
With Dreaded, Murky Lamps, who shake Your Locks
Of fearful Serpents on Your Brow, who sound
The Roar of Bulls out from Your Mouths, whose Womb
Is decked out with the Scales of Creeping Things,
With Pois'nous Rows of Serpents down the Back,
Bound down Your Backs with Horrifying Chains
Night-Crier, Bull-faced, loving Solitude,
Bull-headed, You have Eyes of Bulls, the Voice
Of Dogs; You hide Your Forms in Shanks of Lions,
Your Ankle is Wolf-shaped, Fierce Dogs are dear
To You, wherefore they call You Hekate,
Many-named, Mene, cleaving Air just like
Dart-shooter Artemis, Persephone,
Shooter of Deer, night shining, triple-sounding,
Triple-headed, triple-voiced Selene
Triple-pointed, triple-faced, triple-necked,
And Goddess of the Triple Ways, who hold
Untiring Flaming Fire in Triple Baskets,
And You who oft frequent the Triple Way
And rule the Triple Decades, unto me
Who'm calling You be gracious and with Kindness
Give Heed, You who protect the Spacious World
At night, before whom Daimons quake in Fear
And Gods Immortal tremble, Goddess who
Exalt Men, You of Many Names, who bear
Fair Offspring, Bull-eyed, Horned, Mother of Gods
And Men, and Nature, Mother of All Things,
For You frequent Olympos, and the broad
And boundless Chasm You traverse. Beginning
And End are You, and You Alone rule All.
For All Things are from You, and in You do
All Things, Eternal One, come to their End.
As Everlasting Band around Your Temples
You wear Great Kronos' Chains, unbreakable
And unremovable, and You hold in
Your Hands a Golden Scepter. Letters 'round
Your Scepter Kronos wrote Himself and gave
To You to wear that All Things stay steadfast:
Subduer and subdued, Mankind's Subduer,
And Force-subduer; Chaos, too, You rule.
Hail, Goddess, and attend Your Epithets,
I burn for You this Spice, O Child of Zeus,
Dart-shooter, Heav'nly One, Goddess of Harbors,
Who roam the Mountains, Goddess of Crossroads,
O Nether and Nocturnal, and Infernal,
Goddess of Dark, Quiet and Frightful One,
O You who have Your Meal amid the Graves,
Night, Darkness, Broad Chaos: Necessity
Hard to escape are You; You're Moira and
Erinys, Torment, Justice and Destroyer,
And You keep Kerberos in Chains, with Scales
Of Serpents are You dark, O You with Hair
Of Serpents, Serpent-girded, who drink Blood,
Who bring Death and Destruction, and who feast
On Hearts, Flesh Eater, who devour Those Dead
Untimely, and You who make Grief resound
And spread Madness, come to my Sacrifices,
And now for me do You fulfill this Matter."
[VI. xxvii]
For the British/London readers: the Ligatus Research Centre has announced a public lecture by Professor Petros Koufopoulos on the history and development of the Parthenon Restoration Project. The lecture will be held at the Chelsea College of Arts on February 9, from 18:00 to 21:00. It is open to all and will be followed by drinks and refreshments. Tickets cost £5 (Standard) and £3 for students. If there ends up being a video, I'll hunt it down and post it for everyone else.

Professor Koufopoulos spent 10 years working on the conservation and restoration of the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. He will speak about his experiences and the challenges and achievements of this ambitious project.

Professor Koufopoulos is a world-leading expert in architectural conservation and restoration who has worked on a wide range of projects in Greece, Cyprus and Sinai. Since 2009 he has been Associate Professor of Architectural Design and the Conservation of Historic Buildings and Sites at the University of Patras. He is the author of numerous publications and a regular speaker at international conferences.
This beautiful, beatiful video was created by Panos Photography. Panos began taking photos as an attempt to express the way he sees everything and trying to capture this in photos. Over the course of 365 days, Panos took 55.000 photos, over 825 hours of shooting. He documented 8400 kilometer of Greek skies and spent 650 hours of editing to honour his Hellenic father, Konstantinos, who lost the fight to cancer. the result is spectacular, to say the least.


"Dad the video is ready, I know you are not here to see it together, but forgive me I cannot type “in memory of” for you.. cause you never left me and you never will.
Μy immunosuppression didn’t keep me down, neither the cold, nor the heat. What kept me out there dad was you, because you are out there Dad, up in the Greek Skies, every time I turned my camera up in the sky I was pointing at you.
You made Greek Skies so much more beautiful and so much more amazing.
Dad the video is you, you are the Greek Skies.
I will continue following the lesson you taught me in your last days. Support every human being that gives this battle with everything I can. And this is just the beginning…
You were there Dad. 365 Days, 55.000 Photos, 825 hours shooting photos, 8400 km, 650 hours of editing, and countless hours of praying.
You were there with me & you will always be.
Till we meet Dad!
Your Son."
There is also a 'making of' video that is well worth the watch. Enjoy this look at the beatiful skies of Ellada.


The ancient Hellenic writers were dedicated historians, but they often neglected to mention the achievements of ancient Hellenic women. Now it so happens that I am a woman and I quite like having a few female heroes to look up to, so I want to introduce you to them. Today: Eritha of Pylos

Eritha was a Mycenaean Hellenic priestess in the 13th or 12th century BC. She was one of the most significant priestesses in the Mycenaean state of Pylos, in southwestern Peloponnese. Eritha was in charge of a sanctuary dedicated to the Goddess Potnia, meaning 'Mistress'or 'Lady'. The name was inherited by Classical Greek from Mycenean Greek with the same meaning and it was applied to several Goddesses. Usually the title is Khthonic and refers to Goddesses linked to nature, birth and death. In ancient Hellas the title potnia was usually given to the Goddesses Demeter, Artemis, Athena, and Persephone along with Gaia.

In the Mycenaean era, priestesses from Pylos were known controlled land, textiles, as well as a male and female serf--Tetreus and Eratara. According to the circa 1200 BC records found in the palace of Pylos, Eritha appears to have been one of the most significant priestesses in the region. Together with another local priestess, Karpathia, she appears to be of high status in Mycenaean society, probably the same status female clergy enjoyed in Minoan Krete. Eritha, as a representative of this religious institution also appears to be responsible for the economic resources of the sanctuary.

Eritha was involved in a dispute with the local communal authorities of Pylos due to the legal status of her religious holdings. She claimed that the land of the sanctuary should be exempted from paying taxes. Eritha probably asserted her claim on behalf of the Goddess Potnia. Thus, according to her, the land of the sanctuary should have been classified as a privileged one, presumably free of obligations, rather than a regular leasehold subject to taxes. The preserved records in Pylos don't mention the outcome of this dispute. It appears that Eritha's case remained unresolved by the local authorities due to the fact that Pylos and its palace was burnt to the ground by unidentified invaders in the early 12th century BC.

We don't know much about Eritha as a person. We know that she, as a priestess, was important. She had political, social and economic power. She had serfs in her name as well as large plots of land. even her serfs were important enough to own land in their own name, not Eritha's. This is a definite symbol of Eritha status, making her one of the most powerful women of her time.
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.


"Do you know if there is a specific rule what you can libate or offer a God or Goddess. Like Water for Demeter and Semele. If you could answer, that would be great."

There is no rule, but there are some guidelines. Ouranic deities tended to receive wine libations that were mixed with water. Khthonic deities received either wineless libations (water, milk, and honey, usually), or wine libations of unmixed wine. 'Ouranic' is a term that applies to Theoi and practices who reside or that are associated with Mount Olympos, home of many of the Theoi. As such, Ouranic deities are also referred to as 'Olympians'. 'Kthonic' refers to deities or spirits of the Underworld or the earth, and the rituals associated with Them. Then there are some we know from the ancient writings.

So, some examples: Apollon (ouranic)? Mixed wine. Gaia (kthonic, earth)? Water (usually khernips), or milk, or honey. Water for the nymphs (kthonic, earth), unmixed wine to Persephone (kthonic), milk (usually kykeon) to Demeter (kthonic, earth), etc. Does that make sense?

~~~
 
"So I really want to celebrate the traditional festivals. What do you think of the idea of starting them on the days they take place on this year, and doing them on that same day onwards. I know it actually changes each year, but I feel like it would help me be a better worshipper to just have a set date each year."
 
I believe everyone should do as they feel called to do. But I do want to make a case for sticking to the traditional lunar calendar isntead of the solar calendar that was introduced in Roman times. For one, the major monthly festivals (Hene kai Nea (Hekate's Deipnon), Noumenia and Agathós Daímōn) would no longer fall around the new moon--which is Hekate's time and would make celebrating those festivals... not useless but most certainly less valuable. The other festivals are also linked to days sacred to the Gods being worshipped, or connected to a certain phase of the moon, or to a certain time of he year. All of that would shift if you connect the festivals to the solar calendar.

An example: the Elaphebolia takes place on the sixth of Elaphebolion. Elaphebolion relates roughly to March/April, so it would stand to reason to then celebrate the Elaphebolia on March 6 with the above reasoning, right? On the lunar calendar, it would be celebrated on the 14th and 15th of March (note that the ancient Hellenes started a new day at sundown the day before).That is not a major difference, right? Just a few days? March 6, however, would be 26 Anthesterion, the last day of the Lesser Eleusinian Mystries, an impure day and right before the Hene kan Nea--definitely not the right day to commemorate a Phocian victory over the Thessalians, which is what the Elaphebolia celebrates besides honouring Artemis.

There are many people who struggle with keeping up with the ancient Hellenic calendar. That is why Elaion (with whom I am associated) organizes rituals you can perform at home (we call them PAT rituals--Practicing Apart Together) for the major festivals and many of the smaller sacrifices. That is also why I keep a Google calendar you can load into your phone calendar or access online to take all the thinking and math out of it. It doesn't have to be difficult to keep in tune with the lunar calendar, and personally, I have always found it very rewarding to do so.

~~~
 
"I was wondering if you have any books or e-resources on Asclepius. I've been looking everywhere and I can really only find bare basics."
 
Not much, I fear. Many sources have information about Him, but they are often about the same things: That He is the God of medicine and reputed ancestor of the Asklepiades, the ancient Hellenic doctors' guild. That He is the son of Apollon and the Trikkaian princess Koronis. That His mother died in labour and was laid out on the pyre to be consumed, but his father rescued the child, cutting him from her womb. That He recieved His name from this: Asklepios means 'to cut open'.
 
He was then raised by the kentauros (centaur) Kheiron who instructed Him in the art of medicine. Asklepios grew so skilled in the craft that he was able to restore the dead to life. However, because this was a crime against the natural order, Zeus destroyed him with a thunderbolt.
 
After His death Asklepios was placed amongst the stars as the constellation Ophiochus. Some say His mother was also set in the heavens as Corvus, the crow /raven (korônê in Greek). Asklepios' apotheosis into godhood occurred at the same time.
 
For more reading, please turn to these sources:
 
Homer, The Iliad - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
Hesiod, Catalogues of Women - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
The Homeric Hymns - Greek Epic C8th-4th B.C.
Pindar, Odes - Greek Lyric C5th B.C.
Greek Lyric III, Stesichorus - Greek Lyric C7th-6th B.C.
Greek Lyric IV Sophocles, Fragments - Greek Lyric C5th B.C.
Greek Lyric V Cinesias, Fragments - Greek Lyric C5th B.C.
Greek Lyric V Anonymous, Fragments - Greek Lyric B.C.
Hippocrates, The Hippocratic Oath – Greek Medicine C5th-4th B.C.
Aeschylus, Agamemnon - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
Plato, Republic - Greek Philosophy C4th B.C.
Isyllus, Hymn to Asclepius - Greek Poetry C4th-3rd B.C.
Apollodorus, The Library - Greek Mythography C2nd A.D.
Aristophanes, Plutus - Greek Comedy C5th-4th B.C.
Lycophron, Alexandra - Greek Poetry C3rd B.C.
Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History - Greek History C1st B.C.
Strabo, Geography - Greek Geography C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
Pausanias, Guide to Greece - Greek Travelogue C2nd A.D.
Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy - Greek Epic C4th A.D.
The Orphic Hymns - Greek Hymns C3rd B.C. - C2nd A.D.
Aelian, On Animals - Greek Natural History C2nd-3rd A.D.
Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana - Greek Biography C2nd A.D.
Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.
Hyginus, Astronomica - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.
Ovid, Metamorphoses - Latin Epic C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
Ovid, Fasti - Latin Poetry C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
Propertius, Elegies - Latin Elegy C1st B.C.
Cicero, De Natura Deorum - Latin Philosophy C1st B.C.
Statius, Silvae - Latin Epic C1st A.D.
Apuleius, The Golden Ass - Latin Novel C2nd A.D.
Suidas - Byzantine Greek Lexicon C10th A.D.

~~~
 
"This is a stupid question but I don't have a fireplace or hearth and right now I can't practice out in the open but I still want to give offerings to the Theoi. What can I use instead of burning something?"
 
Burning, obviously, is the Traditional way to go about things. The smoke is what carries the offerings up to the Gods, after all. But if you can't do that, then the next best thing is probably to simply lay out the offerings on the altar and remove them once you are done with the ritual. Focus on the act of giving.
 
~~~
 
"How did you explain your beliefs to your girlfriend? I always struggle with how to tell people because so many have false ideas of hellenismos is because of what they were taught in school."
 
My girlfriend is the sweetest, most beautiful woman I have ever met. She is an incredibly skilled artist and painter, and a fantastic teacher. She is the only woman I see myself marrying and possibly having children with. She is also the most religiously-skeptical atheist you could ever meet. My girlfriend finds it incredibly hard to believe in anything that is not proven by science or in another way quantifiable.
 
My girlfriend knows about my practice and she supports it as much as she can. Because she went to artschool, she is aware of Hellenic mythology and appreciates it, but she views it simply as stories. We have religious conversations sometimes but since we will never agree, they are usually short-lived. So how do I explain them? I don't. We've gone over the most important bits in the past and beyond that, we let each other be. We both get the freedom to believe what we want and it works. Some battles you can't win, I fear ;-)
The Gymnopédies, published in Paris starting in 1888, are three piano compositions written by French composer and pianist Erik Satie. The work was possibly based upon the poetry of J. P. Contamine de Latour (1867–1926), who wrote Les Antiques ('The Ancients').

The Gymnopaedia, in ancient Sparta, was a yearly celebration during which naked youths displayed their athletic and martial skills through the medium of war dancing. The custom was introduced in 668 BC, concurrently with the introduction of naked athletics.

Gymnopaedia derives from the ancient Greek Γυμνοπαιδίαι. The word Gymnopaedia is composed of γυμνός (gymnos, 'naked' or 'unarmed') and παιδιά 'game" from παῖς (pais, 'child'or youth'). In Greek the plural form, Γυμνοπαιδίαι, appears most often. The term appears in texts of Herodotus, and several authors in the Attic and Koiné periods. While for the earliest of these authors the meaning of Gymnopaedia appears predominantly as a festival (including several dances, sports, etc.), in the later periods of antiquity gymnopaedia is referred to as a particular dance.

The festival, celebrated in the summertime, was dedicated to Apollon (and/or, according to Plutarch, to Athena). Plato praises gymnopaedia-like exercises and performances in The Laws as an excellent medium of education: by dancing strenuously in the summer heat, Spartan youth were trained in both musical grace and warrior grit at the same time.

Satie was a colourful figure in the early 20th century Parisian avant-garde. His work was a precursor to later artistic movements such as minimalism, Surrealism, repetitive music, and the Theatre of the Absurd. The Gymnopédies are the first compositions with which Erik Satie tried to cut himself loose from the conventional 19th century 'salon music' environment of his father and stepmother.

In August 1888, the 'First Gymnopédie' was published, accompanied by the verse of Contamine that sparked his interest:

"Slanting and shadow-cutting a bursting stream
Trickled in gusts of gold on the shiny flagstone
Where the amber atoms in the fire gleaming
Mingled their sarabande with the gymnopaedia"

Later the same year the 'Third Gymnopédie' was published. There was, however, no publication of the 'Second Gymnopédie' until seven years later. Today I would like to share with you these three beautiful pieces, played one after the other. Enjoy!


Oh my Gods, they are so beautiful! A very important find was unearthed at the archaeological site of Aptera, Chania on the Greek island of Krete: two small sized sculptures (approx 0.54cm height), one of Artemis made of copper and a second of her brother Apollo made of marble.

The statue of Artemis, guardian Goddess of Aptera, is in excellent condition and was standing on a square, ornate, copper base. She is wearing a short chiton and is ready to shoot Her arrow. Extremely spectacular is the preservation of the white material used for the iris of Her eyes.

Apollon's statuette is simpler and in total contrast with the emphatic depiction of the dominating protector Goddess. However, the sculpture is of excellent artistic execution with apparent the use of red colour.

Both statuettes were probably imported from artistic centers outside Krete in order to decorate the altar of a Roman luxury residence. First estimates date both of the statuettes to the late 1st - early 2nd century AD.

Here are the images, found on The Archaeology News Network: