I have been meaning to write about the ancient monthly lunar festival of the Noumenia for a few years now. But I have never really had the time to talk about it. Today I am taking time out to write an article on how I do it. I will mark the areas that are my own inventions to my personal ritual. That way you know what’s real and what isn’t.
I’m warning you now. This is going to be one of those long, drawn out articles. And my opinion is in it. And you may not agree with everything I say. If you’re one of those people who get butt hurt, slowly walk away now.
If you find long drawn out articles boring now is your time to go. If you have no patience for them, now is your chance to go. If you triggered by anything involving necromancy, souls of the dead, or really creepy pictures, now is your time to go. Okay? We good? I hope so. If you have any questions regarding any of this you can always comment below.
Today is the first day of the three day festival of the new moon of the ancient Greeks. The first day being Hekate’s Deipnon or “feast”. It’s done once every month near the end of the full moon. Now, the Greeks calculated New Moons very differently than we do. In my case, Hekate showed me via divination when to do it.
How I calculate the New Moon
I go online and I find when it’s the fourth or last quarter of the moon. She told me that was the new moon. So the festival starts the day before at sunset. Why? Because for the ancients of several cultures, the day ended and began at sunset. Sunset was their version of midnight.
So the day of the new moon technically starts at sunset the day before.
House Cleansing (Traditional Deipnon Ritual)
Before the Deipnon even starts, Hekate does a cosmic cleansing. She takes all the negative or dirty energy everywhere to the crossroads to be destroyed. A cleansing for all of creation. So likewise we must do the same. You have to clean your home as thoroughly as possible.
Remove every speck of dust that you can. And throw all the garbage out early. In the old days, you would put all the dust and dirt into a cloth sack. Then go to a cemetery and dump all the dust there. So that Hekate could remove the negative energy in your home and send it to die at a cemetery.
But the cleansing isn’t just a physical one. You should always do a spiritual cleansing as well. Cleansings in general actually. On every energetic level. Even cleanse the physical energies themselves.
I also recommend doing the laundry.
Finally cleanse yourself and your pets. Make sure that all the negative energy stays out of all of you.
Avoid going out like the plague if you can help it. Imagine the pandemic lockdown and do that again, but for just one night. Try not even to order out. Whatever you have to do, get it done before sunset. Now I know that not everyone can do that.
But if you plan ahead and do activities around the Deipnon, you can do things that work for you. I take up to a week of preparation for it. Instead of doing it all the same day as tradition dictates, I break up into days. One day is for the laundry. The next is the house cleansing.
And if I want I can take another day for the spiritual and magical cleansings. I do this all before the actual day so that when the day comes I am not overwhelmed. Another part of the tradition that you may or may not want to follow is : paying all your debts. Debt is considered a sign of negativity. It’s almost like a vacuum of sorts.
So the ancient Greeks choose this time to make sure whatever money they owed was paid back. As an offering to Hekate. Paying your landlord, roommate back, anyone you have a financial debt to. By paying it back you were cleansing yourself. It was a form of expiation.
This is also a time for an expiation of negative energy. Forgiveness of sins is one of them. I personally pray to Hekate before the Deipnon and ask for forgiveness of things I have done wrong. I also ask her to guide me. Even if it was by mistake.
This again has to do with the spiritual side of the holiday. The cleansing of the home. And of the self. The removal of all bad or sinful energy. Although Hellenic practitioners don’t call it “sin”.
We focus on all bad energy, not just things that we believe our against our own morality or that of our Gods. A lot of bad energy you may have in your house probably isn’t even yours. You’re exposed to it every day. Dirty energy on the streets. Stressful energy at work.
People throwing the evil eye at you or even the evil tongue by speaking against you. Or other forms of curses. Or maybe you visited a place that was unclean in the energetic sense. A cemetery, a crossroads, a haunted house. Sometimes even a neighborhood full of nasty people is enough to contaminate your own energy.
And negative energy attracts negative beings. Like the dead who would normally be gathered on Hekate’s Deipnon.
Emptying the Kadiskos
Zeus Ktesios is an avatar of Zeus. One of two of his household aspects. In this form he is the bringer of plenty. He is the “Zeus of the Pantry” and keeps the kitchen well stocked. The image above is an example of his idol, the Kadiskos (small bucket) and how to make one for yourself.
Essentially, every Hekate’s Deipnon, the jar is emptied. You toss the food and what’s inside into the earth. Specifically a place close to your home. Because this is a way to “seed the earth” with prosperity. Good luck to come to you.
You wash it out and clean it nice and good. Then the next day at Sunset at the Noumenia, you refill it again. Until the next Noumenia festival. When you refill it you do prayers to Zeus Ktesios asking for prosperity and abundance to grow in your home. Then you place his idol in the pantry, sealed.
It’s a living good luck charm. Because Zeus is inhabiting that vessel and bringing the luck to you. Meanwhile your prosperity grows as “spiritual crops” everytime you empty it into the Earth near your home.
The Feast on the Crossroads
Hekate doesn’t normally call forth just any ghosts on the crossroads in her Deipnon. Hekate specifically brings with her all the ghosts of murder victims and suicides. And I can tell you personally that isn’t all. Even regular people who died regular deaths but were nasty in life come back as dark, nasty, ghosts.
The type of Ghost that could easily be confused with Demons sometimes.
The Feast of Hekate on the Crossroads is meant to pacify the spirits. They eat a nice hearty meal and as a result they feel satisfied and don’t bother humans. But you see, I live on a crossroads already. One that is mystically charged because of all the people who come here to my neighborhood to leave offerings for the Orishas. Or to leave behind completed spells.
It’s why I don’t pick up the trash where I live. Any brown paper bag could have who knows what inside of it. I have seen large bags of used jar candles left on the sides. Sacrificed animals. And even broken Saint statues that were left as offerings to the crossroads.
So having a dark ghost come once a month to eat is not a good idea. We already have lots of nasty residual energy left behind from all this stuff. So as a fellow Santero and magic user, I do mass rituals to clean this stuff up spiritually. It occurred to me that now I had to do something about this as well. So I made a slight alteration to the ritual.
Timing and Crossing over the Dead
First you need to check your phone for sunset in your time zone. About an hour or so before sunset try to go there to leave the offerings. Tradition states you go at Sunset to leave the offerings. I say, I am not going to a spiritually changed place full of dark miasmic spirits to get ganged up on just to feed them. I do what I call a timer spell or timer prayer.
This part is very important : You have to wash your hands with Lustral water before giving the offerings. The Greek Gods will not accept offerings unless you are clean spiritually. Normally we take a bottle and draw a letter “A” on it. And offer it to Apollon Noumenia. Apollo of the Noumenia festival who acts as a cleanser.
The holy water is blessed in his name with a single bay leaf. You burn the bay leaf to bless the water. Be careful because the bay leaf turns into a mini fire cracker when set a blaze. You toss it into the water as it burns and say,
“Ekas, ekas, ostis alitros,”
(All things wicked out of the water!)
Then let the half burnt bay leaf stew in the water. Releasing it’s essence into the water. Leave it there maybe for four minutes. Then take it out. You have yourself some Lustral waters.
Tip : Keep the half burned bay leaf. It’s blessed and you can use it for anything now. From protection amulets to good luck talismans. You can even use it as a seal of protection you tape behind a door.
Now to the offerings.
I ask a God or spirit to “activate” the offering at a specific time even though it’s already at the area. They seal its energy so that until that time, it can’t become an offering. I have watched and noticed that in most cases before the appointed times, the food isn’t even touched. And in rare times when it is, it doesn’t effect the ritual. Being eaten by an animal ahead of time just means that part of the ritual was done.
The physical part. But the spiritual version of the food remains at the offering place. And the animal or animals often act as an intercessor for the dead to cross over. The offerings for Hekate are as follows : Cheese, Bread, and Raw Garlic as well as red wine if you can. If not grapes will do.
So one of the things I agree with Christianity on, is the use of funerary rituals. Ensuring that the dead are properly protected and kept safe in the afterlife. People are under the mistaken assumption that once you’re dead, that’s the worst thing that can happen to you. No, it isn’t. There’s a lot worse things that can happen.
The wrong religious ritual could trap you in a time-space limbo of sorts. The lack of any ritual could mean you wander the world aimlessly. Hungry and alone. Cold and without rest. There’s a reason a lot of hauntings by ghosts are violent.
Imagine the torment of being hungry, without being able to die of hunger. It just keeps getting worse and worse and worse without the sweet release of death. Because you’ve already died remember? And imagine that as a spirit you literally have no rest. If funerary rituals are done right, even if the spirit is conscious of all things, they are still in a resting state. But if nothing is done for you, you wander the spirit world sleep deprived for eternity.
Until you lose your mind and become a violent animal. One that attacks living humans without reason or remorse in order to lash out. A spiritual madness brought on by the lack of true rest. There’s a reason a lot of ghosts become angry when they’re awakened from deathly sleep. And usually by some idiot doing a ritual the wrong way or trying to control forces that can’t or shouldn’t be controlled.
Or by someone who has no scruples and is using magic to control a spirit and force it from its rest. But I digress. In my necromancy I actually do something different. I don’t summon the dead. I have my own Ancestors and non human spirit guides to aid me.
No, what I use my necromancy for is the opposite. I cross the dead over. I use my shrine at the crossroads for the roaming, unnamed, and forgotten dead. My offerings there constantly cross them over. But on certain holy days it’s stronger.
When I do my offerings to Elegua, Hekate, and other Crossroads Gods, I ask them to share them with the dead and help them. So I do a kind of Pagan mass for the dead. Sometimes I use Orphic hymns in my work. I believe it’s a necromancer’s job to aid the dead. Not manipulate them.
Not enslave them. But to serve and protect them. I have been told by friends that this is extremely naive. And yes it’s true that most modern necromancers seem intent on using ghosts like toys. Forgetting or ignoring that these are still human beings.
Some even abuse the spirits of dead animals. Which disgusts me to no end. So I do a Hellenic version of the Catholic Masses and the Hungry Ghost Festival of Buddhism. I bless food before I offer it up.
Mass at the Crossroads
All Gods have attendant spirits. Specifically they all have Priests in the spirit world. Some are dead people. Others are non human priests who lead their worship services on the other side. I like to work with them.
Take the food and do an incantation over it. Ask the prayer spirits or priestly spirits to bless the food with all the prayers of all creatures who need their help. That way, the food can be charged as a proper offerings to the Gods. They get something out of it besides just the physical offerings. I also infuse my own prayers into the food.
And sometimes I place them in plastic containers on my shrines to absorb the prayers I send. And the prayers of my guides. This has a double purpose. It’s not just sending worship to the Gods. It’s also connecting to them so they can help us. Because they will hear the prayers when taking the food.
And will reply with help. Then I perform a shorter ritual the next day over the food. And I wave my left hand (receiving energy) over it and pray,
“My Gods, please bless this food with your own power. So that as the spirits feast upon it, they will feast upon the food and drink of the Gods. Let them become enlightened by the food and cross over to where they must go,
Normally I perceive the food as becoming heavier. Charged with divinity. Like a Pagan version of the Christian Eucharist. The food becomes the body of the Gods. And when the spirits possess or influences an animal to eat, they are eating divinity.
Not only does this cross them over immediately, but it also creates what I call a Prayer Bridge. A bridge between the Gods and their creations. The Gods eat by also influencing the animals. But they absorb the prayers. When the spirits eat, they absorb the divine power of the Gods.
So both work together. When you are charging the food on your shrine, this can also act as a cleansing. Ask your guides to take everything bad out of your home and into the food. Bad luck, curses, bad relationships, anything you want or need to get rid of. Even diseases.
Now go to the crossroads like I said, an hour or so before sunset. Just to be on the safe side. Take a portion of the food and separate it for Hestia. Drop one portion for her and say,
“Hestia, Goddess who is first and last and gatekeeper of all Gods, intercessor, intercede on our behalf with Hekate the Queen of the Crossroads and Goddess of Magic and All the Dead. I leave this offering to you and to all the Priestly Spirits that they may come here with you and attend to this ritual with Hekate,”
Drop Hestia’s offering near where Hekate’s will be. She will appear with her own priestly spirits. Then, before you take Hekate’s food, right before you leave the food at the crossroads say,
“Queen Hekate, may you bless this food and make it your Divine Ambrosia for all the dead. May the dead go wherever they are supposed to go. And to whatever religion, God, or land, or wherever else. And may all of their uncrossed relatives no matter who or where, be invited to cross over and enjoy this feast as well.
Now drop Hekate’s food in the crossroads. Then drop the final portion for Hestia and the Priestly Spirits and say,
“Hestia, intercessor of humanity before the Gods. Goddess of home and hearth and bringer of fire, ever virgin, I call to you to prepare this ritual to be activated at the very moment of sunset. Please ensure that the spirits of the dead go here and no where else. That they may only enter the crossroads of all countries and the cemeteries and any liminal spaces you deign fit for use. Watch over us and protect us and guide these souls to Hekate along with all the Priestly Spirits,
Yammas for those wondering is the Greek word for cheers. It’s how you end a prayer. Our version of “Amen” in Greek practice. Now you turn around and do not whatever you do, turn back for any reason. If you do, the negative energy you left behind will come back at you.
Or a negative spirit may follow you back home.
This is also very important : you have to ground and cleanse after going to the crossroads. Because those are naturally dark and unclean places. And you don’t want that energy following you home. So before you get home, you need to be cleansed. For this we go back to the Lustral Waters we talked about before.
You keep the water you dedicated to Apollon Noumenios (the bay leaf water) inside a container called the Khǽrnips. This can be any kind of water bottle or pitcher. Make sure it’s something that’s easy to carry. Now you take it to the crossroads with you and you pour it over your head and face. And wash your hands with it too.
You can pray out loud or in your head saying,
“Water of the Gods, keep all that is impure out and away from me,”
When you feel lighter that means you are or have been cleansed and blessed. Now you can go home. Do this whenever you are praying to ancestors or doing any kind of cultus to a God or spirit of the dead.
Honoring the Ancestors
Deipnon also means you celebrate the spirits of your own ancestors. This part of the celebration is in doors. At your own personal ancestor shrine. You give them their usual offerings and you pay them your respects. While also asking them to protect your home from evil spirits. You can charge their offerings with a blessing of the Gods as mentioned before.
This will feed them and make them stronger. And they can use the offering to pray to the Gods and connect to them. They will guard and ward your home while you feed and honor them. But it’s also a nice time to spend at night at home with your people. Maybe read to them, dedicate a poem to them.
Tell them about your month. And ask for their guidance. This is also a good time for meditation and divination. Planning projects and other things with the ancestors. And remember, when you’re done praying, cleanse with the water.
With the dead we typically don’t cleanse before offering to them. But we always cleanse afterwards. I do it before and after in the case of my ancestors. You can also do protective prayers before and after to be on the safe side. Also, I don’t know if this applies to farm stores in other places.
But farm stores in Miami have Cheese bread. Cubans love it. Take some heated cheese bread. Then add garlic seasoning to it. And you got yourself a creative and tasty offering for Hekate.
She loves it. Before that I also used to make her grilled cheese sandwiches cut into triangles. Upside down triangles are sacred to her. I added the garlic seasoning and again she loved it. You can make your offerings modern and creative.
And if you don’t have those three basic ingredients offer to her whatever you do have. Regular bread, crackers, etc..sometimes I have given her fruit and or cake. I gave her an all chocolate offering once and she had a field day with it. Remember this isn’t some stale old idea. Gods are living sentient entities.
Sometimes you have to introduce them to new stuff.
Sometimes instead of food what I offer up is money. Quarters usually. They aren’t exactly like Ancient Greek coins but they are close enough that she’s willing to take them. And the dead can use money to buy things in the afterlife as well. There’s a whole tradition called burning Hell Money for the dead to help them.
So that’s it! That’s how you celebrate the first day of the Noumenia festival. Tomorow I will write about the actual Noumenia day.