Hail to Helios, the kingly one, o inferno of the heavens. Hail Helios shining star of life, conqueror of night. Hail Helios, o victorious one, may your light infinitely, nourish all life and illuminate our minds and hearts.
Today is the solstice, and prayers to Helios are on my lips for the longest day of the year. Here in Alaska where our summers have such long interrupted periods of light, Helios is as king, shedding his light to feed all life here. Our winters may be dark and long but the reign of Helios in the summer is a beautiful sight to behold! Therefore it is with happy heart that I celebrate the Helioguennia, and honor the beautiful Helios in his cart of radiant white flaming mares. For the past two days I have celebrated the winding down of spring by celebrating the Hyakinthia. For the second day of Hyakinthia I selected a picture to go on my shrine of a youth being embraced by Apollon, as Muses grasped his horses and all about being flew. To me, this represented the arrival of Hyakinthos among the host of Apollon (for more about this read Plato’s Phaedrus in which he is discussing the “armies” of the gods of collected divine being, spirits and souls). It turned out that the picture was actually an illustration of the petition of Phaeton to Apollon to drive the chariot of the sun. It did not strike a very strong chord with me as representing Phaeton, and was unrecognizable to me as such, nominally because of the context of the scene altogether. But also because I do not consider Helios (the actual mythic father of Phaeton) and Apollon to be the *same* god. I do think that they can be linked together as Apollon-Helios to honor their cooperative natures operating harmonic together, but I do not consider Apollon literally the sun anymore than I consider Artemis to be Selene. There are strong associations and very deep working relationships between Apollon and Helios, and Artemis and Selene to be sure, but these relationships are also quite fluid as Apollon and Artemis are generally the twins of light, and by their unified nature don’t tend to fall along absolute distinctions. Therefore Artemis has often been associated too with the sun (and on this day of Helioguennia there are people who celebrate the day with context given to the chariot of Helios standing still in the sky as he observed the dancing of Artemis and her nymphs), and Apollon has very clear associations with the moon (not only as Noumenios but also considering that his Doric festivals tended to culminate on the full moon). This fluidity may also be responsible not only for the worship of Apollon-Hyakinthos, but also of Artemis Hyakinthia (in which the goddess apparently is depicted bearded). With this in mind today during the Helioguennia I will be honor both Apollon and Artemis with Helios, and then later on this weekend on the 23rd I will be honoring them both with Selene on the full moon which shall be a super moon.
Sadly in a great show that the gods have a sense of humor, after weeks of beautiful sunshine today is overcast and chilly. All the same, I shall raise prayers to the gods and give offerings in celebration of Helioguennia. I hope that everyone has a beautiful solstice however they may be celebrating it!