preparing for Metageitnia and Karneia

Though I celebrate these as two distinct festivals they share some root commonalities that can of tie the passage of one into the next for me. This commonality is based on the idea of migration-emigration-immigration, and keeping in mind that traditionally Karneia was celebrated for nine days so typically during the time of Metageitnia Karneia was also already underway. However, since I don’t have access to a large worship community to carry out nine days of worship I celebrate Metageitnia and do prep work and focus for the days leading up to the Karneia. Metageitnia perhaps is overlooked by some because it deals directly with Athens, however I think the underlying principle in which the people are being brought together to form a singular great democratic state is something that is not unfamiliar by far. So I celebrate in the spirit of Metageitnia. This honors where I have come from (my ancestrial connections) and where I am today. I have been planning a painting of Columbia (the divine personification of our country more or less) and it is a shame that there is no chance it will be done by Saturday to be part of the ritual…but maybe a sketch can be done of her to represent my homeland along with “flags” made of paper from my homestate and current resident state (so Alaska where I was born and raised and have a deep emotional connection and North Carolina that I call home at this point in time) with the flag of Hellas as a spiritual home. I will be posting more abou tthe ritual on my website over the next day or two so that folks will be able to see how exactly I lay this ritual out.

Karneia likewise is said by scholars to have some connections with the migrations of the Doric people. But emigration to form social-political unity as with the Metageitnia, and the process of colonization–immigration of people to encourage prosperity for the people who need to relocate can be aligned with a higher ideal…spiritual evolution and the higher idea of the transmigration of the soul. August is the time of the first autumn harvests, the bringing of the crops which are ready to be sheared..crops of fruit largely, therefore it is logical that we begin celebrating this spiritual harvest here in this month. So the shepherds reared the most beautiful ram to be sacrificed to Apollon Karneios, a symbol perhaps of the self that they offered in a “sacrifice” not unlike the idea of the offering of the goat to Artemis in place of a maiden. We are the ram that has been raised to beauty and we are saying that we have matured and are ready to go into the next phase of spiritual evolution and we praise Apollon who is the god presiding over this boundary.

So all between the Metageitnia through to the Karneia this idea of harvest for the hope of a greater spiritual rebirth. Unfortunately the way the calendar falls means that I won’t be celebrating Nemoralia this year, the only Roman festival that I have carried on in my personal worship practices. the Roman calendar when it was adjusted into a solar calendar fixed the dates that the fullmoon was represented by the ides of August (the 13th of August). So the festival of torches for Diana Lucifera changed from the literal fullmoon to a symbolic midmonth. However since the fullmoon (the day for celebrating Karneia) falls exactly on the 13th this year it means that I will bypass Nemoralia, though I will be celebrating the festival on the 15th for Artemis with Hekate as divine nurses. Nemoralia does intrigue me though because it comes in close parallel with my thoughts of Karneia. Karneia which as I said above initiates the ideas of harvest and rebirth, and the migration of the peoples (therefore also a political aspect), the Nemoralia (which was celebrated in honor ofthe goddess of the Latin League not unlike the status of Apollon over the Doric peoples) was on one hand a festival of common unity and therefore quite important to the people, but was also a symbolism for birth. This was played out more literally by the women who attended thanking the goddess in procession for the births that they had been placed with, and those women who are seeking children, it was more about the role of the goddess in this festival as the goddess who presided over THE FIRST OF LIGHT OF BIRTH, Artemis of the portal so to speak in Hellenic terms. This was so much the thing that while one scholar spoke of the statue of Apollon Karneios set within a boat during celebration, in Nemoralia boats were floating on the lake of Nemi. So we have the boat, significantly tied to images of the traveling Dionysos….the voyage of the soul, the harvest and the rebirth. Therefore, though Karneios I will be celebrating Artemis shall not be far off at all, and the honoring of the goddess as the nurse of the soul seems appropriate in connection here following after Karneia and Nemoralia :)

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2 thoughts on “preparing for Metageitnia and Karneia

  1. It’s so much fun to be reminded that, while there are others who worship related gods to the ones that are central to my life, one’s religious calendar can *widely* differ. The illusion of cohesion within Hellenic polytheistic worship has been on my mind a lot — not that people intentionally create that illusion; I think it’s more the short-hand we use when talking about the gods and the influence of living in a (mostly) (somewhat secularly) monotheistic culture. But there’s such wonderful variety to be had.

    Gah. Way too deep thoughts for this early in the morning, but your post just brought it all in the forefront of my mind, is all.

    You sound like your next month is going to be nice and full. :)

    • Oh you are quite right…there sometimes seems to be some common bits in our personal calendars among Hellenic polytheists, but there is always going to be slightly different focuses considering that there are so many festivals and sometimes we have to pick and choose (especially for those festivals that occur on the same day). For example any festival of Apollon trumps any other festival…so I follow a wide smorgasboard of festivals for him, but there are also of other festivals too for other gods that are happily part of my life though they sometimes get a little less “air time” on my blog ;) But still I have noticed how different many personal calendars are each with their own focuses and it is actually rather charming to me :) And I learn something new by looking at the rituals that other people are doing. For example you will likely be more informed than I on when a festival is occuring for Poseidon so if you mention such a festival I would take notice and quite probably mark the date on my calendar if it is not already full and is something of interest to me :) So there are definently benefits! Differences are nice :D

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