This is the promised follow-up post with the HeSP (Hellenic Syncretic Polytheism) ritual for the full moon. It combines some Hellenic recon elements of worshipping the Gods (namely, the majority of the ritual structure) with a few elements from yoga (pranayama and some postures) and two components that I recall from Wicca (grounding/centering and lunar adoration). Part of it is motivated by nostalgia for full moon Esbats, part of it is motivated by what I quoted in this other post at the very beginning, another part is adapted from ideas within the book Stellar Magic that I thought acceptable to consider in this modern ritual after briefly perusing the relevant sections, and another part is adapted from some concepts in Late Antique theurgy related to averting material daimones. In other words, Hekate’s iynges go brrrrrrrrrrr.
Note that I have not actually done this ritual, so if you use this material, please let me know in the comments how it went; if you use this ritual and modify it, I encourage you to create your own blog posts about it as long as you link back to this post. You may want to read this blog post for some context, but I wanted to avoid attaching an extremely long intro to the HeSP ritual content so this post would be maximally useful.
Full Moon Ritual
- Milk, for libation to the Stars
- Incense (aromatic herbs) for Selene — two sticks
- Bowl filled with water, perhaps in view of the moon — note that one will drink from this bowl later
- Candle for Hestia
- Essential oil for use in offerings, frankincense or an aromatic blend
- If indoors, will need an empty bowl to receive libations
Opening: Celestial/Earth Tree
(from Stellar Magic: A Practical Guide to the Rites of the Moon, Planets, Stars and Constellations, Payam Nabarz)
Essentially, this is the exercise in which one visualizes oneself drawing up energy from the earth (grounding) and becoming a tree. Nabarz, instead of doing the more common thing I have seen of imagining sunlight coming from above and down into the body to unite Ge and Sol, provides a counterpoint of envisioning the starlit sky and its light and energy coming into you. Ultimately, the earthy energy is mixed with the celestial energy, linking the practitioner to the world and the cosmos writ large. This is very child of Earth and starry Sky, so it could be rewarding to recall those words during this visualization.
Light Hestia’s candle. Do lustral purification in one’s usual way.
If one does not have a usual way, have some saltwater handy and extinguish an herb (bay leaf or rosemary) in the water, being careful because things on fire are always a fire hazard. Sprinkle water on oneself using the extinguished herb while saying, I pray for purification. May all profane things depart, and may I be fit for doing this ritual for the blessed Gods.
Prayer to Hestia
(Aristonoos of Corinth’s poem to Hestia from Greek Hymns Volume 1: The Texts in Translation, Furley & Bremer)
Offering of frankincense oil or other aromatic oil.
Holy Queen of Sanctity,
we hymn you, Hestia, whose abiding realm
is Olympus and the middle point of earth
and the Delphic laurel tree!
You dance around Apollon’s towering temple
rejoicing both in the tripod’s mantic voices
and when Apollon sounds the seven strings
of his golden phorminx and, with you,
sings the praises of the feasting gods.
We salute you, daughter of Kronos
and Rhea, who alone brings firelight
to the sacred altars of the Gods;
Hestia, reward our prayer, grant
wealth obtained in honesty: then we shall always
dance around your glistening throne.
PGM Prayer to Selene
(PGM IV.2785-2890, ed. Hans Dieter Betz, with modifications)
Offering of aromatic herb incense blend or essential oil.
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 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 [incense/oil], 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,
[Changed last line to what follows to reflect that this is not magic; this is what I am getting at by saying that the averting power of the Goddess is being sought here, as Selene and Hekate seem syncretized in this prayer:]
Goddess, accept this incense due to you,
ruler of the earthly daimones that harm and heal,
you who hold the keys to joy and suffering,
to entombment in the depths of matter as much as to
the release of bonds that grants us the gift of theurgic bliss.
Grant good things in alignment with Providence
to we who forge forward with sacred rites.
May you illumine the channels into the adyta
of the Gods who shepherd our wandering souls.
Orphic Hymn to the Stars
Present an offering of milk and/ or essential oil.
I call forth the sacred light
of the heavenly Stars,
with devotional prayers
I summon the holy daimones.
dear children of black Night,
round your thrones you move in circles,
you spin in circular ways,
O brilliant and fiery
begetters of all,
you do reveal fate,
you determine the divine path
Wandering in midair, you gaze
upon the seven luminous orbits.
In heaven and on earth, ever indestructible
on your blazing trail,
you shine upon the darkness
of the cloak night wears.
Coruscating and gleaming,
kingly and nocturnal,
visit the learned contests
of this sacred rite,
finish a noble race
for works of renown.
Orphic Hymn to Selene
Offer aromatic incense or essential oil.
Hear me, O divine queen,
O light-bringing and splendid Selene,
O bull-horned Moon,
crossing the air as you race with night.
maiden of beautiful stars, O Moon,
waxing and waning,
feminine and masculine,
luminous, lover of horses,
mother of time, bearer of fruit,
shining in the night,
all-seeing and vigilant,
surrounded by beautiful stars,
you delight in the quiet
and in the richness of the night,
you grant fulfillment and favor
as, like a jewel, you shine in the night.
Long-cloaked marshal of the stars,
wise maiden whose motion is circular,
come, O blessed and gentle lady,
lady of the stars, through your own light
shine and save, O maiden,
your new initiates.
(Optional) Moon Salutations
If one knows moon salutations in yoga, this is an opportunity to mindfully do three. Recite “Aiglê, Pasiphae, Eileithyia, Selene, Goddess, accept my devotion” each time a salutation is begun. I am only including this because part of me is very taken by the idea of lunar prostrations. On the one hand, this makes the ritual a tad eclectic; on the other, the moon salutations are, you know, for the moon.
Ideally, hold the bowl of water in a way that puts it line-of-sight with the moon outside. If this is not possible, close your eyes and envision moonlight filling the bowl. Chant Aiglê, Pasiphae, Eileithyia, Selene, in a musical way. Pour out some of the water for Selene and the Stars, then drink the rest while envisioning the power of the celestial vault and the moon filling you.
Follow this with breath of fire, a contraction of the diaphragm on the exhale and passive inhalations. After 60-100 breath repetitions, come into stillness and imagine being connected to the whole of generation, humming with the Gods, while firmly situated at one’s center. This meditation can last as long as one likes.
We thank the Gods for witnessing this full moon ritual:
Hestia, first and last,
the stars who circle in the night sky above,
boundless and bounded, far and yet so near,
to Selene of lush braids,
she who waxes and wanes,
who counts out the month in her dance
around our Earth as the sunlight shimmers upon her surface.
(the following words come from Labrys’ ritual closing described in their book)
Khaire, O Blessed Gods.
Be with us always.
Cease all illness.
Drive away all sorrow.
GENOITO. It is done.
Make a libation of oil in the oil burner and libate any remaining milk.