Dromena He Demeter


Note: This is a generic sort of ritual, and is not tied to any one season. We have placed it where it is in our calendar to correspond with the time of the Greater Mysteries at Eleusis, which were in honor of the Two Goddesses, but the nature of which is not known. One should feel free, therefore, to make use of this Dromena at any time one wishes to honor this great mother Goddess.


The Gathering


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

For this ritual Food is the important thing, so Bread, particularly Barley Bread, is important to the Sacral Feast. As noted above, the libations are of Milk, not wine. If meat is to be served, the appropriate meat is pork.


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 or Priestess to the Temenos, or Sacred Precinct, containing the altar of sacrifice. At the entrance to the Temenos, each person performs the chernips, or hand-washing, then moves in a counterclockwise direction to form a circle around the bomos, or altar.


After the chernips, everyone remains silent until the Priest or Priestess cries out:


"Hekas, o hekas, este bebeloi!"


The People Reply:


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


The Lighting


The Priestess cries out:


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


The People Reply:


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


The Priestess 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 nearby.


The Pouring


As the Libation in this ritual is made with milk, there need be only one Libation bearer, specifically a woman, who at this point comes forward and fills the cup.


The First Libation


The Priestess says:


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


Some of the Milk 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 forhead in offering, and repeating the above formula of offering to Hestia. The Priestess takes a last sip, and the remaining part is poured out on the altar.




The Priestess cries out:

"Koimeson stoma!"


The People Reply:

"We will stop up our mouthes!"


(The People then maintain silence through the Hymn) 


Here should be recited or sung the Second Homeric Hymn to Demeter,in the order set by Athanassakis, Homeric Hymn #13.



The Second Libation


The Libation Bearer fills the cup once again with milk. The Priestess offers up the cup and says:


"Hear, Oh Demeter, First Mate of Father Zeus, Goddess of the Barley and the Wheat: You Who preside over the growing of all crops, You in Whose care is all that lives upon Gaea, the Earth; without Whom the seed does not sprout nor the blossom blow nor the fruit mature and fall from the tree. Mother Who brings forth, and Mother Who defends; Mother Who Destroys if aught assault Her Offspring; You before Whom the very throne of Olympus must give homage, lest we poor mortals utterly fail and fall. Goddess of the Biosphere: we call upon You with whatever name it pleases You to be called! If ever we have made offering to You, or honored You in word or deed, grant us that sustenance without which mortal life cannot go on."


The Priestess pours some of the Milk on the altar, then passes the cup counterclockwise. When the libation returns to the Priestess she 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 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 Priestess says:


"Lambane kai heydou anathemata heymown."


Response: "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


At this time one might recite the First Homeric Hymn to Demeter, which is quite long. In the order set by Athanassakis, it is Homeric Hymn #2. If this is done, it is well to choose a reader or reciter who has a good voice and dramatic delivery.


If this ritual is done during the season when they are in flower, narcissisoi might be passed out, or passed around, their fragrance to be inhaled during the long recitation.


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 pigs and put the appropriate choice parts upon the sacrificial fire; the Blow itself was the sacral moment.


For Demeter, it might be appropriate at this point to pass out stalks of wheat or barley, as in the finale of the Eleusinian Mysteries mentioned in the text. If one were rich, and had a lot of time, stephanos or corolas of barley would be appropriate. These could be presented on a liknon, if one has a liknon. A simple dance, such as a Syrtos, can follow; or, women's dances can be done exclusively.

(The dance floor is the threshing floor, and the women of Greece still do dances at Eleusis; this unity of dance and the corn harvest is a deeply understood mystery. It may be well to note, however, that the grain harvest occurs in the Springtime, after the rains, not in the Autumn as in Northern European climes.)



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 milk, or as elaborate as a many course banquet. For Demeter, the Bounty of the Harvest should figure prominently in the Feasting. 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 Bearer pours milk again. The Priestess leads the people in giving thanks to the Goddess, letting individuals speak at will. Then the Priestess offers up the cup, saying:


"Demeter Charin echomen soi."


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


"Demeter, Hilathi!"

(Demeter Be Propitious!)


"Demeter, Sponde!"

or simply

"Demeter, we thank You."


The Final Libation 

The Libation Bearer pours milk 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 Priestess pours out the last of it upon the altar, she cries out:


"Houtos heksoi!"


The Response is:


"Houtos heksoi,"


or simply: " So Be It!"


This is the End of the Ritual.








26 January 1998

Th.O.C. 8

Revised Slightly 14 September 2001

Th.O. 12



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