September 8 2018 Pagan Style
Tonight is the Dark Moon. Ancient Greeks, modern Hellenists and other pagans celebrate today as the Night of Hekate Suppers (Hekate's Deipnon). It takes place during the dark phase of the moon: the end of the lunar month (any time before the sliver of the new moon has been sighted). Hekate (also spelled Hecate), according to the Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon, means "bringer or giver of light" ('Ekate phosphoros). Hekate is the triple goddess of crossroads and the patroness of Witches, Hekate. Hecate had many names and titles: Hecate Trevia, “of the three ways”; Hecate Phosphoros, “the light bringer”; Hecate Nykterian “of the night”; and Hecate Basileia, “Hecate Queen.”
At the darkest part of the month, we prepare our homes for the transition to a new month. Hekate's Deipnon is a time of purification of self, home, and affairs. There are differing theories as to if Hekate's Deipnon is solely a meal offered to Hekate, or if there is a secondary intent of the meal offering going to the less fortunate. For example: Aristophanes, Plutus 410 ff (trans. O'Neill) (Greek comedy C5th to 4th B.C.):
"Ask Hekate whether it is better to be rich or starving; she will tell you that the rich send her a meal every month [i.e. food placed inside her door-front shrines] and that the poor make it disappear before it is even served."
For this reason a very popular way to mark the Deipnon is to make a donation of food or money to a local food shelf or other charitable group. Traditional offerings include: sweepings from the home, garlic, eggs, leeks, and "things you don't want to bring into the next month." Some modern Hellenes choose to put the more traditional offerings onto an altar, offer them at a 3 way crossroads, or place them at an intersection of air, water, and land - such as a rock jutting out of the water or a bridge over a stream or pond.
On this night of the waning Moon we have a perfect opportunity to work with this Goddess and ask for Her blessing to illuminate our darkest times, and grant us Her protection.
Hellenes also offer a special libation in honour of Demeter and Persephone today.
Tonight, Darsha Amavasya, or Darsh Amavasi, is the no moon (dark moon) night in Hinduism according to the lunar calendar. Special prayers and offerings are made for the ancestors, and some do a full fast or partial fast at this time.
In Vodou and Santeria, today is the Feast of Oshun, Orisha or Goddess of love, compassion seduction.
The Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk of California celebrate their Acorn Festival today and tomorrow. In ancient times, the Me-Wuk relied heavily on the highly nutritional acorns for food. The Me-Wuk would celebrate the acorn harvest every year at a tribal gathering known as Big Time. Families from widely scattered Me-Wuk villages would come together to share the fruits of the harvest, exchange news and supplies, and perform ceremonial dances.
San IIdefonso Pueblo hold a Corn Dance today.
Today is the Slavic Feast of Lada and Lela. Lada and Lela are honoured because the work in the fields has come to a close. A celebration is held with dancing and song. This marks the passing of Summer and its attendant warmth.
On this day in 1637, Robert Fludd, known as Robertus de Fluctibus, a prominent Paraclesian physician, astrologer and mystic, died. He was not a member of the Rosicrucians, but he defended their thoughts in his own publications. He studied medicine, chemistry and the occult, and is best known for his work in occult philosophy.
On this day in 1956, Benita Sabina and Christina Trajo were murdered as witches at Alfajayucan, Mexico. After being charged, they were hacked to pieces and thrown on a bonfire that “their souls be purified.” Rest in Peace.
On this day in 1964, Alexandra David- Néel died. She was a Belgian–French explorer, spiritualist, Buddhist, metaphysical adept, anarchist and writer, and the first European woman to explore the forbidden city of Lhasa in Tibet. She was 100 years old when she passed.
Image: Acorn Festival Dancers – Craig Bates, SC32559, Dorothy Morehead Hill Native American Collection, MS 160, Special Collections, Meriam Library, California State University, Chico. Reproduced with permission.