Happy Eumenideia!

The Eumenideia occurs on 27 Anthesterion, which is today until sunset. In the rest of this post, I’m going to talk a bit about how the date for that festival was set, link you to the text of the ritual that I wrote for Neokoroi, and provide some caveats about how my practice has evolved.

Back in 2010, after I created my first separate shrine for the Erinyes, I wrote the following:

After starting my research on the cult of the Eumenides/Semnai Theai/Erinyes, I decided to hold off on posting anything of substance until I had gotten to a good place in the research. Currently, “good place” means that I have a pretty general idea about days sacred to the Eumenides and offerings. Right now, I am hoping that some sources I have just acquired will provide more information about cult centers.

There is a holiday called the Eumenideia, which does not seem to have a preserved date anywhere in the English-language sources I have found. It takes place near the Diasia (which happens in Anthesterion during the Lesser Mysteries). Because Anthesterion begins in the next few weeks, now seems a good time to compile a portion of the information I have. I have set a tentative date of the Eumenideia during the last three days of Anthesterion barring any new findings. My reasons for doing this should become clear as I post information. Eventually, much of this will go on a Neokoroi-based God page, but I want to make this available to anyone who would like to join me in sacrificing to the Eumenides this Anthesterion.

As far as cultic offerings go, the Eumenides can receive honey-sweet cakes, which is typical for the Chthonic deities and dead. They also like honey mixed with water, but one shouldn’t offer them wine. (Incence is all right, though.) One of the most interesting offerings is raw wool. Theoi.com’s page on the Erinyes provides the following:

“[On the road to Titane, Sikyonia] on the other side of the Asopos River, is a grove of holm oaks and a temple of the goddesses named by the Athenians Semnai (August), and by the Sikyonians Eumenides (Kindly Ones). On one day in each year they celebrate a festival to them and offer sheep big with young as a burnt offering, and they are accustomed to use a libation of honey and water, and flowers instead of garlands. They practise similar rites at the altar of the Moirai (Fates); it is in an open space in the grove.” – Pausanias, Guide to Greece 2.11.4

After posting that, I outlined a Eumenideia ritual that was posted to Neokoroi.org. The ritual there is still essentially the one that I perform annually, with some differences. I have Celiac and do not use any gluten-containing products in my rituals. Instead of using scattering barley, I use buckwheat (not related to wheat), rice, or quinoa.

(Tangent: Apart from those with Celiac or severe gluten intolerances or life-threatening food allergies, most just don’t understand how strict one has to be on a medically restricted diet. In the case of making offerings that I won’t eat, I can’t contaminate my kitchen and cooking tools. I don’t even let my girlfriend kiss me after she’s eaten pizza because I can get sick. There was a study in PubMed recently about the elevated anxiety levels in people with Celiac and life-threatening food allergies because food is so connected to social bonding. That article might as well have been about me because I avoid all social events that are food-centric so I don’t make others uncomfortable. This includes religious rituals with other people.)

In a secondary post, I’m going to put up some more content from the Old KALLISTI related to the Erinyes/Eumenides.

2 thoughts on “Happy Eumenideia!

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