Beginning of the Apollonic Season

The Seas Are Open for Sailing!


The Gathering


This ritual should ideally be celebrated at the Seashore, in celebration of the opening of the seas for sailing. However, if the people celebrating do not live near the seashore, that's all right. Springtime still arrives, and it is a celebration of Spring, and the return of Apollon from His travels. It is a time for fresh flower garlands, greenery, seafood, strawberries, games, etc.. The nature of the place where people live is important, and should be celebrated.

It may also be the time of the first oracles of the season, which can happen at a secluded spot during the general festivities of the Agon.

The People should gather with the Sacra necessary for the ritual. The Barley, the Knife, the Fire, the Cup, the Water, the Wine, the Incense, and the Food. Also a Book or Scroll, if necessary.

Also, for this ritual, everyone should bring the Eirisione which has been hanging in front of the house, as well as the Tribal Eirisione, which has been at the altar of Apollon since Pyanepsia.


The Pompe, or Procession


The Incense is lit, then, in the order dictated by the order of the Sacra, as listed above, the People are lead by the Priest to the Temenos, or Sacred Precinct, containing the altar of sacrifice. At the entrance to the Temenos, each person performs the khernips, or hand-washing, then moves in a counterclockwise direction to form a circle around the bomos, or altar.

After the khernips, everyone remains silent until the Priest cries out:


"Hekas, o hekas, este bebeloi!"


The People Reply:


"Let All That Is Profane Be Far From Here!"


The Lighting


The Priest cries out:


"Paresmen time, sonta tas theas kai tous theous."


The People Reply:


"We Are Here To Honor the Gods and Goddesses."


The Priest then lights the fire on the altar, which should have been laid out beforehand. Most properly this would be done with a pure flame brought from the altar of Hestia, but this may not always be practical; and there are specific rituals in which the fire should be lit otherwise.


The Scattering


The Barley is passed counterclockwise and each person takes some and tosses it upon the altar. The remaining barley is placed near bye.


The Mixing


The Libation bearers move to either side of the Priest and the Wine and Water is mixed.


The Priest says:


"Theasthe ta hudata biou."


The People Reply:


"Behold the Waters of Life!"


The First Libation


The Priest says:


"Hestia, Thine is always the first and the last."


Some of the mixture in the cup is poured out on the altar, then the cup is passed around counterclockwise, each person taking a sip in offering to Hestia, or touching a drop to his or her forehead in offering, and repeating the above formula of offering to Hestia. The Priest takes a last sip, and the remaining part is poured out on the altar.


The Hymn


Here should be recited or sung the First Homeric Hymn to Apollon in the order set by Athanassakis, Homeric Hymn #3.


The Second Libation


The Libation Bearers again mix water and wine. The Priest offers up the cup and says:


"Apollon, this Libation is for You, in the hope that You will join us here today."


The Priest pours some of the mixture on the altar, then passes the cup counterclockwise. When the libation returns to the Priest he takes a last sip, and the remaining part is poured out on the altar.


The Sacrifice.


The Sacred Victims (To Hierion) are brought forward. The Priest or Priestess touches each thing to be offered with the sacrificial knife.

Each one who is making an offering may say, as it is offered:


"Lambane kai heydou anathema mou,"


or simply:


"Accept and Delight in my Offering."


Each one may also add any particulars he or she feels necessary, such as requests or thanksgivings.

When all offerings have been made, the Priest or Priestess says:


"Lambane kai heydou anathemata heymown."




"Accept and Delight in Our Offerings."


In Ancient Times we are told that at "The Blow," that is, when the sacrificial knife stuck the victim, the women ululated. It is appropriate in our own times for the women to do so after this last response, this having the effect of a kind of cheer.


The Ritual Reply


The Priest or Priestess says:


"Apollon, though You have travelled far You have left us with Your pledge, the Eirisione, to secure our well-being and prosperity as best You can. The Eirisione has lain upon Your altar and hung upon our walls since first it was made, our pledge to remember You, and now it is time to give it up to You; for as You give that we may give, so we give that You may give.


The divers Eirisionoi are brought forth one at a time and put upon the fire on the altar, the last one being the Tribal Eirisione. As each is put on the fire, the person putting it there says:


"We give that You may give."


At point it may be appropriate to sing one of the Delphic Hymns to Apollon.

Or it may be that the God will make some reply of His Own.


The Agon


This is the part of the ritual where the most variables occur. In Ancient Times this would be the place for the Sacrificial Dances, such dances filling the time while the priests cut up the sacrificial bull and put the appropriate choice parts upon the sacrificial fire; the Blow itself was the sacral moment.

Music and Dancing, immediately following the ritual response, are most appropriate. So are Sacred Games.

For our Delphinia we have traditionally taken oracles: in this Year 10, we will be using the Lymrian Oracle once again. There will be slight changes this year in the ceremonial for its use, based on last year's experiences. This seems more appropriate for this celebration that full trance oracular work, which is difficult and complex. However, those wishing to make inquiry of the Pythian through a trance oracle may inquire of the Hierosuna to arrange it.


The Sacral Feast


There was a time when Men and Gods supped together. In making Sacrifice and in the exercises of the Agon we have called upon the Deity to join us. When the Agon is done, the Sacral Feast is set and everyone eats. This can be something as simple as bread and wine, or as elaborate as a many course banquet. The important thing to remember is that this is a communion not only between mortal and Deity but between the mortals who share the feast as well. We are all joined in communion, in community, by the sharing of the Sacral Feast.

Everybody eats.


The Libation of Thanks


The Libation Bearers mix wine and water again. The Priest or Priestess leads the people in giving thanks to the God, letting individuals speak at will. Then the Priest or Priestess offers up the cup, saying:


"Apollon Charin echomen soi."


Some of the mixture in the cup is poured out on the altar, then the cup is passed around counterclockwise, each person taking a sip in offering to Apollon, or touching a drop to his or her forehead in offering, and saying:


"Apollon, we thank You."


The Priest takes a last sip, and the remaining part is poured out on the altar.


The Final Libation


The Libation Bearers mix wine and water one final time.


The Final Libation is offered to Hestia, with the words:


"Hestia, Thine is always the first and the last."


It is offered in the same manner as the first, but when the Priest pours out the last of it upon the altar, he cries out:


"Houtos heksoi!"


The Response is:


"Houtos heksoi,"


or simply:


"So Be It!"



This is the End of the Ritual.



9 April 1999.

Thiasos Olympikos 9


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